Would You Read It Wednesday – The 40th Pitch and Book’s Journey

Happy Wednesday, amigos!

I am eyebrow deep in a week of school visits and having tons of fun!

This is the week I get to participate in what I consider to be one of the best programs for kids there is.  It’s called Book’s Journey, and it is the brainchild of Pat Sexton who is a passionate advocate of Arts in Education.  I think every school should do this, so I’m hoping if I tell you all about it, maybe the word will get out and some other schools will give it a try 🙂

Here’s what the kids get to do:

The program is for 4th grade (although I think it could easily be done with 5th or 6th grade too.)

They begin with visits from an author, an illustrator, and an author/illustrator who talk about the creative spark (basically where they get their ideas from) and show and tell a little bit about how they work.

Then each child is given a notebook/journal to draft his or her story in.  Over the next two weeks or so, the kids work on their stories in selected class periods and as much as they want on their own.

Then I come in right at the point where they’re all getting stuck and aren’t sure what to do 🙂  We talk about the elements of story – what things you need to make a story work – character, setting, problem/goal etc. – and what you can do to get your story going again if it has stalled out.

A week after my visit, a professional editor comes in to help them edit their stories.

This is followed by a book cover designer who teaches them basics of making an attention-grabbing cover.

Finally a marketing specialist comes in and talks to them about various ways to market books.

Illustrations are created on separate pages so they can be easily put into the finished book, which will be handmade by each child.

They finish the whole spring project with a book fair to which parents and all the rest of the students in the school are invited.  Each book is displayed for everyone to view and read.

Doesn’t that just sound amazing?  I wish my school had had a program like that when I was in 4th grade (or ever!)!  I think it’s such a valuable experience for the kids to get that much hands-on learning from professionals in the field of writing and publishing, and to have the opportunity to create and display their own work.  They come away from the experience feeling that writing and illustrating are possibilities, not just pipe dreams, and that has to be a boost to their creative spirits.

So please, go forth and spread the word! 🙂

Now then, grab a donut!  It’s time for everybody’s favorite Wednesday feature, Would You Read It!

This week’s pitch comes to us from Jarm, a freelance writer for Women & Children.  She has been published three times in Thriving Family Magazine.  Her passion is to make the Bible and history come alive for children.  Feel free to check out her blog.

Here is her pitch:

Working Title:  Waiting For An Idea
Age/Genre:  PB (ages 6-11)
The Pitch:  Jerry is waiting for an idea to come.  He walks his dog, swings in his backyard, and even goes inside for milk and cookies. hoping to coax one into his head.  But, alas, it’s not until he opens Aunt Polly’s gift that an idea… well… an avalanche of ideas, spill forth!

So what do you think?  Would You Read It?  YES, MAYBE or NO?
If your answer is YES, please feel free to tell us what you particularly liked and why the pitch piqued your interest.  If your answer is MAYBE or NO, please feel free to tell us what you think could be better in the spirit of helping Jarm improve her pitch.  Helpful examples of possible alternate wordings are welcome.  (However, I must ask that comments be constructive and respectful.  I reserve the right not to publish comments that are mean because that is not what this is about.)
Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on the Would You Read It tab in the bar above.  There are openings in August, so you have time to polish 🙂 for a chance for it to be read by editor Erin Molta!
Jarm is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!
And I am off to another day of school visiting 🙂

Being Transformed

Our first grandchild is due tomorrow (well, I guess if you want to get technical about it I should confess that it’s my step-grandchild – there are those (me) who would say I shouldn’t be old enough to have a genetic grandchild :))  Anyway, it’s got me thinking about what it was like becoming a parent.

Parenthood is a transformation.  Once you have a child, you never look at the world quite the same way again.  You do the basics – feed, clothe, shelter, and care for your child – but it goes way beyond that.

You find out what delights them so you can hear them laugh again and again.  You sit with their little freshly-bathed pajamaed selves in your lap, breathing in the sweet scent of Johnson’s baby shampoo and sleepy child while you read them bedtime stories.  You kiss boo-boos better, hand them pieces of bread to feed the ducklings, build block towers for them to destroy, listen to their thoughts, answer their questions, encourage their exploration of the world, sit up with them at night when they don’t feel well, share their wonder as they discover new things about themselves and the world around them, chase away their bad dreams, comfort them when they’re sad, bake cookies on rainy afternoons, hold onto them so they feel safe while the ocean licks at their feet, carry them when they’re tired even if you are too, run beside the bike until they’re ready for you to let go… – well, you know.

You do what makes them happy.

Case in point:  Last week, I took my kids to see Transformers.


(yes, there’s more!)

I sat through the whole thing!

I’m pretty sure that qualifies as parental devotion.

Have you seen this film?  I don’t know know how they took themselves seriously.  The drama of Optimus Prime (I did not make that up – that’s one of their names!) and the other autobots (I think that’s what they called the good transformers but I confess the decibel level beat me into a stupor) marching toward their exile was supposed to be so intense, and all I could think was, they’re trucks that turn into robots – where’s the emotional pull in that?  I guess I just don’t get it.

Oh, darn.

Transformers is not a movie I would have chosen to see – ever – but my kids and their cousins wanted to go, so my sister and I did what parents do: we allowed our eardrums to be assaulted for, like, 2 1/2 hours (it was r e a l l y long – well, maybe not, but it seemed endless!) while we feigned interest in the robot drama so that our kids could have a good time.  Which they totally did.

But that’s what I’m talking about.  Being Transformed 🙂

What have you done with or for your kids recently that you never would have done without them?

(And feel free to place bets on the actual arrival date and gender of our grandbaby – we’ve got a bracket going that rivals March Madness!)