NYS Sheep And Wool Festival Contest/Giveaway for Can’t Sleep Without Sheep

[To all my regular devoted readers, this post is a special one for the NYS Sheep And Wool Festival and you may read it or skip it as you wish :)]

Come Join The Fun At The 2013 New York State Sheep And Wool Festival!!!
October brings fresh apples, autumn leaves, and the NYS Sheep And Wool Festival at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds in Rhinebeck, NY!
Come join me on Saturday October 19 from 11-3, with a special story time at 12:15 when I’ll read Can’t Sleep Without Sheep!
While you’re waiting for the Sheep & Wool Festival to get here, you can do something fun!
In Can’t Sleep Without Sheep, Ava has a hard time falling asleep so she counts sheep.  But she has to count them so many times that they get tired and quit!  Ava has to find something else to count instead!
illustration copyright Mike Wohnoutka 2009
For a chance to win a free, signed copy of Can’t Sleep Without Sheep, you can do one of two fun things!
1.  On a piece of paper, write down what animal Ava could count instead of sheep and why it would be a good choice for falling asleep.
OR
2. Draw a picture of an animal Ava could count!  (You can draw on your own piece of paper or use this free downloadable page)
Bring your entry with you to the Merritt Bookstore booth in Building B on Saturday October 19 by 1 PM (but come at 12:15 if you want to hear the story!)  Please make sure your name is on your entry.  After the story, we will randomly choose one winner to receive a free, signed copy of the book.  You must be present to win.
My friend, Iza Trapani, will also be at the festival reading her delightful book, Baa Baa Black Sheep!  Please visit her site for a chance to win a book from her, and be sure to come see her at the festival on Saturday between 9 and 12:30 or on Sunday from 10-5!
If you’re excited to share you entry ideas or drawings, you are welcome to post them in the comment section below.  You can also take a picture of your drawing and email it to me at susanna[at]susannahill[dot]com and I will be glad to add it to this post so visitors can enjoy your artwork!
Have fun writing and drawing!  I look forward to seeing you at the festival!

Vote For You Favorite Jingle! – And Your Favorite Kids Entry!

Alrighty my friends!  I hope you ate your Wheaties this morning!

Today is the day you get to vote for your favorite jingle!

You’ve got two big decisions ahead of you, so I won’t waste your time with a long intro.  Just go through the entries below, and after you’ve viewed them all, choose your favorite and vote!  Feel free to have your friends and relations visit and vote too.  You will have until Thursday May 16 at noon EDT to cast your vote, and I will announce the winner on Friday after Perfect Picture Books.  The prizes (if you need a refresher) can be viewed HERE.

Oh and BTW, I’m sorry I couldn’t get all the entires to load right here.  I tried.  But you know me and technology.  So I apologize if you have to click.  They should at least all open in separate windows or tabs!

Ready? Set? Vote!

#1 Ruth – rhyme, no tune

Text/Jingle Copyright Ruth Benedum 2013
Illustrations Copyright Mike Wohnoutka 2010

#2 Vivian – rhyme, no tune

Ava Ava needs some sleep.
Ava Ava counts some sheep.
Ava Ava wide awake!
Ava Ava take a break,
Count some pigs and cows instead.
Much too noisy for my bed!
If you please, I need my sleep
Cannot sleep without my sheep.

#3 Nancy – to the tune of Swagger Jagger

You can’t stop reading this book
Reading this book
Reading this book
You can’t stop reading this book
So get a copy now
You can’t stop counting those sheep
Counting those sheep
Counting those sheep
You can’t stop counting those sheep
So get a copy now
Can’t sleep without sheep
Can’t. Can’t.
Can’t sleep without sheep
So get a copy NOW!

#4 Heather – camp chant
Leader:  What do you do when you cannot sleep?
Group:  Call for sheep!  Call for sheep!
Leader:  What will you do when they jump the gate?
Group:  Count and wait!  Count and wait!
Leader:  What are you waiting for?
Group:  Sleep!  Sleep!  Sleep!
Leader:  What kind of sleep?
Group: Long and deep!  
Leader:  What will you do when the sheep wear out?

Group:  Um’s and uh’s and shoulder shrugs. 

Leader:  Sounds like you guys need a back up plan.  Read Susanna Hill’s  E-Book “Can’t Sleep Without Sheep” to find out what  happens after the sheep get tired.

#5 Delores – to the tune of Ghost Riders In The Sky
Go HERE to hear Delores sing it!
Young Ava
she went to bed
one dark and stormy night.
She said “Oh Mommy
please,
please don’t turn out the light.
I’ve lost my sheep
and I can’t sleep
without him by my side.
How will I get to sleep tonight.”
was her mournful cry. 
“I need my sheep.
I need my shee-eep.
No sleep for me tonight.”
Up in the land of happy dreams
her mournful cry was heard
and one brave soul raised his head
and gazed upon his herd.
“We’re needed now
and we must run
to stand by Ava’s side.
If we don’t bleat
she won’t sleep.
Come on my friends, let’s ride.”
“She needs her sheep.
She needs her shee-eep.
Let’s help her sleep tonight.” 
They gathered
all around her bed
their bleating rose on high.
Young Ava smiled
and counted them
as round her bed they’d fly.
“I’ve got some sheep
now I can sleep
and every thing’s all right.
Brave Wulliam and the herd
have come to save the night.
I’ve got some sheep
Now I can slee-eep
Now I can sleep tonight.” 

#6 Iza – please click HERE to hear her jingle to the tune of The Beverly Hillbillies
Or go HERE and click on the link in her post if the above doesn’t work!

#7 Carrie

#8 Catherine – go HERE to see her video if it doesn’t come up below!
Ava hard time fallin’ asleep
Pigs and hippos too slow
and through the fence go buffalow
Lots of rushin’
Tush Tushin’
Haulin’ and hollerin’
Crowdy and rowdy
Oh sheep…come back!

http://youtu.be/jbo2QsFD9Fo

#9 Penny – Go HERE to see her video!

#10 Julie – Go HERE to see her video if it doesn’t show up below

http://youtu.be/zYi6BRceTig

#11 Erik – please click HERE to see Erik’s sheep rap

#12 Laura – please click HERE to see her video to the tune of Clementine

#13 Tim – please click HERE to see his video if it doesn’t show up below

http://youtu.be/rzsXyiplJK8


KIDS CONTEST

#1 Josie – please click HERE to see her 2 drawings.

#2 Matthew – please click HERE and scroll past Catherine’s video to the TOP drawing

#3 Rylee – please click HERE and scroll past Catherine’s video and Matthew’s drawing to the BOTTOM drawing.

As with the jingle poll, please cast your vote for the kids’ contest winner by Thursday May 16 at noon EDT.

Thank you all for being such good sports about entering and about voting!  Especially since, after all this, the e-book is still not available!  But we had fun anyway!

Looking forward to seeing who the winners will be!!!

Please spread the word to anyone you think would like to vote!

Have a great day, everyone! 🙂

The Can’t Sleep Without Sheep E-Book Launch Jingle Contest!

It’s finally Monday!

It’s okay.  You can admit it.  I know you couldn’t sleep last night (even with plenty of sheep to count :)) because you were So Excited about today’s contest! 🙂

And today’s contest is happening because tomorrow, May 7, Can’t Sleep Without Sheep is coming out as an E-Book!!!

It will be available on all platforms, and it is one of 4 books that Walker has chosen to launch their E-Book line.  For that reason, it is very important that it do well.  It is a representative!  Sallying forth and bearing the flag of honor!  So I really want to help spread the word so that Woolliam and Ava don’t end up hanging their heads in disgrace!

UPDATE:
Here is the E-Book link for Bloomsbury! Can’t Sleep E-Book – Bloomsbury

This contest has gone through a few metamorphoses, but has ended up as follows.  You may participate in any or all of the 3 categories! 🙂 (and if you’ve already read the rules you can skip a bit :)):

1.  Write a jingle that makes Can’t Sleep Without Sheep sound irresistible!  So that everyone will want to read it!!  On whatever electronic device they happen to have!!!  The judges will look with extra favor on anyone who produces a video (sorry, they can’t help it :))  For more details on writing your jingle, please go HERE)

On Monday May 6 – Tuesday May 7, please post your jingle of awesomeness on your blog and include the links to the E-Book (which I’m sorry you’ll have to add tomorrow because the links don’t exist yet!)  Add your post-specific link to the list below so we can all come and be entertained by your jingle.  (And as always, if you’d like to participate but don’t have a blog, you may either post in the comments or email me and I’ll add your entry to this post.)

On Monday May 13, we will vote for a winner.  If we get fewer than 15 participants (*sob*) I will post them all here for popular vote.  If we get 16 or more (YAY! :)) my lovely assistant and I will select up to 10 finalists for your voting pleasure.

Prizes for Category #1- The Jingle (given for 1st place if 15 entries or fewer, 1st-3rd if more than 16 entries) are as follows:
Winner’s choice of one of the following:

#1 The Serenity Spa Gift Basket from It’s Only Natural – a $55 value of organic soaps and lotions!
#2 A $50 gift certificate to Amazon!
#3 Tangy lemon bars, fudgy brownies, and sugared butter cookies from Sweet Sally’s Bakeshop! (A $40+ value)
#4 Winner’s choice of any 3 of my books, specially signed for whoever you like (A $30-$50 value depending on which books you choose)
#5 Winner’s choice of my online picture book writing course (a $99 value) OR a picture book manuscript critique by yours truly (a $75 value)

2. Face Book post, Tweet, and/or blog that Can’t Sleep Without Sheep is coming out as an E-Book for all platforms, including links (which won’t be available until Tuesday May 7 when the e-book is actually available – I will add the links to this post as soon as I have them.)  Make sure to tag me on your FB posts (Susanna Hill), mention me on your tweets (@SusannaLHill), and email me at susanna[at]susannahill[dot]com to tell me you blogged so I can keep score.  You may post, tweet and blog to your heart’s content all week – May 6 – May 14 at 9 PM EDT – and you will receive a point for every single one!

Your names will be entered into random.org at 9 PM EDT on Tuesday May 14, with the number of times you’re entered equal to the number of points you earned (so if you tweet 14 times, your name will be entered 14 times etc.)

Prizes for Catogory #2 – Social Media Love (FB posting, tweeting and blogging):
The randomly selected winner will have his/her choice of either:
#1 A signed copy of any of my books PLUS the new Can’t Sleep e-book on their choice of platform (which they may also choose to have gifted to a young friend :)) or
#2 A $25 amazon gift certificate

3.  KIDS CONTEST!

Download The Sheep Drawing Activity so your child/children/preschool or kindergarten class 🙂 can draw something for Ava to count and/or The Sheep Hats Activity so they can draw hats on the sheep and/or write entertaining captions for what the sheep are saying.

Scan the gorgeous results and post them on your blog and link to the same link list that will be posted here on Monday May 6-Tuesday May 7 – just put (kids) so we’ll know 🙂  (Again, if you want to participate and don’t have a blog, just email me the scanned pictures and I’ll post them for you here.)

Kids Contest participants will also be voted on May 13, and of course there will be a prize for that too! The winner of the Kids Contest will receive either the new Can’t Sleep Without Sheep E-Book on the platform of his/her choice or a signed hardcover copy PLUS a Folkmanis Sheep puppet!
All winners will be announced on Wednesday May 15!

Now.  Fasten your seat belts.  I have a sample (don’t I always?), maybe two!  And I also have an entry from Ruth!

Are you ready?

This video is a Hill Family Production featuring the musical talents for Eric who made up the jingle and is singing and playing guitar, the videography talents of Number Five who was roped in because I didn’t have enough hands, and Yours Truly as actor/prop manager, producer and director!  As you can see, we are amateurs at movie-making 🙂

Great Scott it took me about two days to get this to load!  I hope it’s running properly.  You might have to turn your volume pretty high…  Fingers crossed it works!

And now, at last, here comes video #2.  Fair warning… don’t put your volume too high and get ready to cover your ears 🙂  Never let it be said that I’m not willing to make a fool of myself for my art 🙂

Here is Ruth’s  Entry:)

Text/Jingle Copyright Ruth Benedum 2013
Illustrations Copyright Mike Wohnoutka 2010

And may I just say that Ruth and I struggled mightily to get something up that worked.  This is her third effort.  I’m sorry the first one with sound wouldn’t load properly, but isn’t this beautiful and fun?

And here is Carrie’s Entry! 🙂

Now, all you talented people who have your jingles posted, please add your post-specific links to the list.  We’re all coming to see you! 🙂

Let’s Talk Sheep – BAAH! A CAAHNTEST!!!

Well, folks, not only is there always adventure around here, there is always excitement! 🙂

First of all, I’m pretty sure my hair has grown at least a millimeter since last week 🙂

Really!

Pretty sure!!

But even more exciting than that, I just found out that Can’t Sleep Without Sheep is being released to E-Book on May 7!!!

 It will be available on all platforms, and it is one of 4 books that Walker has chosen to launch their E-Book line.  For that reason, it is very important that it do well.  It is a representative!  Sallying forth and bearing the flag of honor!  So I really want to help spread the word so that Woolliam and Ava don’t end up hanging their heads in disgrace!

Phyllis is sulking.  She thinks everything should be about her.  And usually it is.

But this week I really think Woolliam and Ava deserve their turn in the limelight.

illustration copyright Mike Wohnoutka 2010

So I put on my Old Thinking Cap and thought to myself, what can we do that will be fun and also help spread the word about the E-Book?

Right away I thought of cake.

Because, as you may have noticed, that is often my first thought.

But although I feel quite sure there will be cake involved, I think this occasion calls for even more than cake.

I know.

The mind reels.

But I want Ava and the sheep to have a chance to kick up their heels and have some fun.

So here’s what I’m thinking…

LET’S HAVE A CONTEST!!!

You know how I love contests 🙂

Here’s what we’ll do:

Write a jingle that makes Can’t Sleep Without Sheep sound irresistible!  So that everyone will want to read it!!  On whatever electronic device they happen to have!!!

You can do straight rhyme like the old roadside Burma Shave commercials, you know, like:

I’ve heard it praised
By drugstore clerks
I tried the stuff
Hot dog!  It works!
Burma Shave!

Or you can do it to a tune (just tell us what is is so we can sing it :)), like:

My bologna has a first name
It’s O-S-C-A-R
My bologna has a second name
It’s M-A-Y-E-R
I love to eat it every day
And if you ask my why I’ll say…
‘Cause Oscar Mayer has a way
With B-O-L-O-G-N-A!
(I’m assuming everyone is familiar with that one, but if not you can view it HERE :))

If you’re REALLY feeling creative, you can post a photo or slide show to accompany your rhyme/jingle, or do a short video so we can hear your rhyme/jingle, preferably featuring the book cover, or a sheep in pajamas or tucked in bed, or a stuffed animal pajama party, or a pillow fight, or stuffed animals demolishing Lincoln Log fences…, or anything fun to do with the story whilst you recite or sing! (And I’ll tell you right now, any entry like this is bound to get extra love from the judges! :))

Doesn’t that sound fun?  Plus it can count as your Short & Sweet for the week 🙂

So that’s it.  You have a whole week to come up with an awesome jingle to help Woolliam and Ava in their quest for fame and fortune 🙂

On Monday May 6 – Tuesday May 7, please post your jingle of awesomeness on your blog and include the link (which I will hopefully have by then to give you!) to the E-Book.  Add your post-specific link to the list that will be here on my post that day.  (And as always, if you’d like to participate but don’t have a blog, you may either post in the comments or email me and I’ll add your entry to my blog post.)

Earn extra points by spreading the word on Face Book and Twitter (and make sure I know by tagging me – Susanna Hill on FB, @SusannaLHill on twitter).  You may do this to your heart’s content all week 🙂

Because of course there’s a prize!

On Monday May 13, we will vote for a winner.  If we get fewer than 15 participants (*sob*) I will post them all here for popular vote.  If we get 16 or more (YAY! :)) my lovely assistant and I will select up to 10 finalists for your voting pleasure.

The winner will receive his or her choice of the following prizes:
#1 The Serenity Spa Gift Basket from It’s Only Natural – a $55 value of organic soaps and lotions!
#2 A $50 gift certificate to Amazon!
#3 Tangy lemon bars, fudgy brownies, and sugared butter cookies from Sweet Sally’s Bakeshop! (A $40+ value)
#4 Winner’s choice of any 3 of my books, specially signed for whoever you like (A $30-$50 value depending on which books you choose)
#5 Winner’s choice of my online picture book writing course (a $99 value) OR a picture book manuscript critique by yours truly (a $75 value)

If we get more than 25 entries, prizes will be given for 1st – 3rd!

IN ADDITION there will be a special contest FOR KIDS!

Download The Sheep Drawing Activity so your child/children/preschool or kindergarten class 🙂 can draw something for Ava to count and/or The Sheep Hats Activity so they can draw hats on the sheep and/or write entertaining captions for what the sheep are saying.

Scan the gorgeous results and post them on your blog and link to the same link list that will be posted here on Monday May 6-Tuesday May 7 – just put (kids) so we’ll know 🙂  (Again, if you want to participate and don’t have a blog, just email me the scanned pictures and I’ll post them for you.)

Kids Contest participants will also be voted on May 13, and of course there will be a prize for that too!  The winner of the Kids Contest will receive either the new Can’t Sleep Without Sheep E-Book on the platform of his/her choice or a signed hardcover copy PLUS a Folkmanis Sheep puppet!

WHEW!  That is so much excitement I’m feeling a little faint.  I think I’m ready for a nap.  And a brownie.  Not necessarily in that order 🙂

I hope you will all join me in going hog-wild (well, I guess SHEEP-wild would be more appropriate in this situation… perhaps BAAHzerk? :)) to help launch this little e-book out into the wide world.  I will be truly and deeply grateful for any and all participation, and I hope the prizes will help make it worthwhile for you 🙂

Thank you, my friends, and have a wonderful day! 🙂

Tons Of Fun Monday!

I hope you’re all feeling bright-eyed and bushy-tailed this morning (and really, don’t ask me what being “bushy-tailed” means exactly or what it has to do with being awake… :))

Since it’s Monday, I assume some of your bushy tails look like this:

google images

and some like this:

google images

But if you’re feeling like the second one, never fear!  You’ve come to the right place!  We have donuts 🙂

And, as you know, we always have plenty of fun around here!  Today is extra-especially fun because of all the winning!  Ready?

First  off: this week’s Fun Foto theme is HIBERNATION!  So scout around for a child-friendly photo that says hibernation to you and get ready to post it on your blog Friday for everyone to enjoy and use as a story prompt 🙂

Next up: the October Pitch Pick.  The winner, whose pitch will be sent to the awesome editor Erin Molta for evaluation and comment, is none other than KIM!!!!!  Congratulations, Kim!!!  Well done!!!  And congratulations also to Carla, Christie, and Tracy, our other brave contestants, who put their work out there for everyone to see and critique.  As always, all the pitches were wonderful, and I’m sorry that everyone can’t win.  But please, keep those pitches coming.  It’s great practice, and who knows?  You could be a winner next time!  Stay tuned for Straight From The Editor coming up whenever Erin’s comments happen to arrive… 🙂

Next: the winner of which book will go on a journey around the world is Can’t Sleep Without Sheep! If you would be interested in having Can’t Sleep come to your neck of the woods, please sign up in the comments.  I will either choose one person to start with (possibly by a contest of some kind… mwah-ha-hah!) and let them send it on, or if enough people from enough far-flung places sign up, perhaps I’ll just put together an itinerary.  The idea is for the book to travel around and be signed with a first name, location and date (and a tiny message if you like) and then come back to me eventually to share with kids on school visits!

illustration copyright Mike Wohnoutka 2010

Finally: here are the Halloweensie Contest finalists for you to vote on.  Boy did this turn out to be way harder than I expected!  Everyone’s entries were so good!  In the end, though, my assistant judge and I narrowed it down with heaviest emphasis on what a child would most enjoy since the point is, after all, to write for kids, with secondary consideration to how close you came to the 100 word count.  So here are the 3 finalists, identified by number. not name.  Please read them and vote for #1, #2, or #3!

#1

Oh Judy!
A gaggle of boys and girls dressed like soldiers, dancers, animals and one lone devil walked down the street in search of Halloween treats.
Before they reached Judy’s house, a ghost darted out of the bushes.
“Boo!”
A ballerina jumped throwing her candied apple into the air.
A bear cried as the gooey treat fell on his furry head.
The devil stumbled over a jack o’lantern into the bushes.
The group joined together to return the devil to his feet.
“Oh Judy,” they yelled.
“What?” she cried from her front porch, as a shadowy figure slipped into the bushes.

#2

Red candied apple dripping in goo.
Orange carved pumpkins spelling out BOO!
Yellow glowing jack o’lantern’s grin,
Green as the wart on an ugly witch chin!
Blue satin Cinderellas looking for a shoe,
Purple bubbling cauldron of stinky witch brew.
Black is the cat, white ghost in flight,
A rainbow of colors on Halloween night!

#3

Boo smirked and pulled Jack O’Lantern to the spooky looking house.
“Come on. Let’s go here.”
Jack O’Lantern gasped at skeletons and ghosts hanging from trees. The eerie sound of a wind chime, the only noise.
“Maybe we should have come out earlier,” said Boo, shivering in the cold and dark.
Circumnavigating a hanging ghost to reach the door, Boo dared to ring the doorbell.
Just as the door creaked open, a gust of wind blew the hanging ghost into them.
“Aargh!” They screamed as two candied apples were thrust toward them.
The boys ran and called back,
“Thank yoooooooo!”

So please vote for your favorite today or tomorrow!  (Poll will close Wednesday November 9 at 5 AM EST so I can post the winner on Wednesday morning.)


<a href=”http://polldaddy.com/poll/5648197/”>Halloweensie Contest</a>
The winner will receive a signed hard cover copy of Haunted Party by the incomparable Iza Trapani!
And as I said, all of the entries were fantastic – I was so impressed with the quality and with how imaginative people could be within the constraints of the writing requirements!  I’m looking forward to the Thanksgiving Contest I’ve had requests for which I will post as soon as I think up what it is 🙂

Don’t forget to vote for the Halloweensie winner, let me know if you’d like to have Can’t Sleep journey to your house, and pick out a hibernation foto for Friday!

Three Tidbits of Interest

Today’s post is a bit of a smorgasbord – a few rather unrelated items but all (to my mind :)) worth mentioning.

First, for any of you who read last week’s post The Wonderful World of Kid Lit, here is a very articulate, thoughtful rebuttal of the Wall Street Journal article mentioned therein which you might find interesting: Deeper Understanding: The Dark Is Rising, from Shelf Awareness, Enlightenment for the Book Trade.  Let me know what you think of Jennifer Brown’s article!

Second, I had a great visit at Merritt Bookstore in Millbrook, NY to celebrate Not Yet, Rose winning the Mom’s Choice Award.  Two large groups from three local preschools came to hear the story (about 100 children all together!)  They were a terrific audience.

Phyllis is trying to convince
the kids that Not Yet, Rose
is about her – because she
looks EXACTLY like Rose!

Unbeknownst to me, one of the adults in the back was videoing with her phone.  Quel horreur!!!  Although watching and listening to myself give a presentation was quite horrifying and made me want to go hide in the closet with a burlap sack over my head, I have been told I should edit the video and put it on my website so that interested teachers/schools can see a sample of a presentation.  What do you think?  Should I do it?

Finally, when I went to shut my computer down Friday night, I discovered a google alert in my inbox for Can’t Sleep Without Sheep.  Following the link, I was amazed and honored to see that Can’t Sleep has been nominated for the Alabama Camellia Children’s Choice Award (the state children’s choice for Alabama!!! click on the 2011-2012 NEW list to see.)  It’s up against some much better known books, so I don’t know if it has a chance of winning, but it was SO nice to be nominated!  Thank you to every child in Alabama who voted for Can’t Sleep!!!  Ava and Woolliam and I appreciate it 🙂

A Few Words About Postcards…

So it turns out marketing is a hotter topic than I realized.  People are pretty interested.

In response to a question about postcards, I promised to post pictures of my most recent ones, so here they are:

Here’s the front of the April Fool, Phyllis postcard…
… and here’s the back

I really like how Jeff was able to put the Punxsutawney Phyllis cover on the front, since April Fool is a sequel.

And here’s the front of the Can’t Sleep Without Sheep postcard…
… and here’s the back.

(It’s hard to see that the back of the Can’t Sleep postcard does actually extend to the right so there’s room for the address and stamp, but it’s there!)

I am so lucky to have talented illustrators to work with!  The basic information on the postcards is just the book cover, a review or two, website, and school visit information.

I hope that helps answer the questions about the postcards.  These two were both made on Vista Print (not by me! – one by Mike Wohnoutka and the other by Jeff Ebbeler – I’m still learning how to upload templates to Vista Print…) but I’ve also heard good things about GotPrint and I personally have used Zazzle a number of times because it’s so easy to work with for the non-computer savvy such as yours truly 🙂

In answer to another question about supplemental materials, I have made a lot of them myself – the classroom guides to the early books, madlibs, library activities, word searches etc., but my wonderful illustrators have been terrific abut making coloring and activity pages to go along with the books – fun things that teachers can use in school, or that parents can download for fun at home.  They are all on the School Visit page of my website, along with the new fancy classroom guides for April Fool, Phyllis! (and coming soon for Can’t Sleep Without Sheep.)  I just asked Jeff, Nicole, and Mike for what I wanted, and they put their own creative spin on it.  Then we can all post the activities on our websites.

I hope that answers some of the questions, but please feel free to ask more, and also share things that have worked for you!

Why Writing Is Fun :)

Today is all about gratitude, and some of the things that make writing fun 🙂

Anyone who is a writer will tell you writing is hard work.  You put in long hours with no guarantee that anyone besides you will ever read the words you struggled to get just right.  Hopefully you’re not in it for the money, because in children’s publishing it will probably be a while before you can quit your day job.  But if you’re lucky, your stories will go out into the world and you’ll have some moments like these.

Today I want to share three things that have happened in the last three weeks that make all the long hours and at least some of the rejection letters worthwhile 🙂

1.  A librarian in California whom I have never met, wrote me this note about Can’t Sleep Without Sheep and sent these pictures:

I finally got to share your beautiful book with the kids and they loved it. Thanks so much for the link to the coloring pages. I took pictures of some of the kids having fun coloring them and thought I would share them with you. Thanks so much and I can’t wait to read more of your writing in the future.

Wasn’t it so nice of her to take the time to write this note and send pictures?

2.  A mom who bought Can’t Sleep Without Sheep took time out of her busy schedule to send me this note:

I have not in recent memory had my daughter beg for a book more and laugh harder than she did with this book. The chickens that make such a concerted effort to scale the fence and very comically fail makes her laugh so hard that her 5 year old little face turns bright red and she actually tears up. I was forced to re-read that page 4 times tonight. 

There is really nothing better than ability to make a child happy; maybe only making MY child happy :-).  Thank you

Knowing they liked it makes me happy!

3.  I visited a school last week and yesterday received a packet of letters – one of my absolute favorite things about school visits.  It doesn’t happen that often, but when it does, it’s priceless, and I cherish the notes and pictures that young readers took time to send.  Here are a few of the letters about April Fool, Phyllis!:

He’s referring to Phyllis’s song 🙂
…and here’s his picture of me with my Phyllis puppet singing 🙂
Awesome handwriting, no? and I would love to do another book about Phyllis!
Someone who appreciates effort 🙂
A budding artist (with great taste in books :))
This is one of my favorites!  Short and sweet!  I think this is me, sitting in the chair, reading 🙂
Me, too!
So sweet!

So there you have it – the little things that make my days!  For me, knowing that even one child enjoyed one of my stories is what it’s all about.  (And you may all feel free to remind me of this the next time I’m fretting about rejection letters :))  Thanks for letting me share 🙂