Would You Read It Wednesday #376 – Hairy Bigfoot Believes In Humans (PB) PLUS The October and November/December Pitch Winners!

Hi Everyone!

I hope you all enjoyed Groundhog Day yesterday!

Phyllis and I certainly did. We had to dig out of our burrow which was buried under 16+ inches of snow in order for Phyllis to determine that Punxsutawney Phil was nuts to claim he could see his shadow! There were no shadows on Blueberry Hill – only more snow! As far as we’re concerned, it’s going to be an early spring! 😊🌷 (Which reminds me of the plot of a certain picture book I know. . . 😊)

With that in mind to cheer us on, let’s get down to business! First off, the pitch winners!

The winner of the October 2020 Pitch Pick was Nicole with her PB pitch for Dear Duchess!

And the winner of the November/December Pitch Pick was Patricia with her PB pitch for Back To The Sea!

Congratulations to both of you on terrific pitches that made people want to read your stories, and for making good use of the feedback you received to improve your originals! Great job! Your pitches have been sent to editor Erin Molta and I’m sure you’ll hear from her as soon as she is able!

And congratulations also to all our other pitchers! You also did a great job! It is no easy thing to put your work out in the world for evaluation. But not only do you get the opportunity to learn from the experience, all of us do, too. So thank you for your bravery and generosity!

Let’s all celebrate with Something Chocolate! This morning, we will be indulging in Cheesecake Brownies because why not?! 😊

Doesn’t the day look better already with breakfast like that? Scrumptious!!! 😊

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Corey who says, “Hey there!! My name is Corey King (C.E. King) and I have been writing for a few years now. Just turning to Kidlit last year, I have enjoyed learning new ways of communicating through the power of words! I have an awesome 7 year old to judge my stories and give me daily inspiration. I hope to see you all in print someday!! To see current titles in progress, visit my website: http://www.scribblebuddy.com/ceking or look my up on Twitter @ckinginator”

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Hairy Bigfoot Believes In Humans

Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)

The Pitch: Hairy Bigfoot has spent years writing books & hosting weekly podcasts proving that humans exist.
After a gang of non-believing bigfeet vandalized his storefront, Humans-R-Real, INC., he sets out to disprove the naysayers. BRAVE READERS ONLY! #pbpitch #ha

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 Corey 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 Would You Read it in the dropdown under For Writers in the bar above.  There are openings in early April, so you could get your pitch up pretty soon for helpful feedback and a chance to have it read and commented on by editor Erin Molta!

Corey is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to trying out 1 or 6 of those brownies! (writing fuel – it’s allowed!) 😊😊😊

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 😊

Would You Read It Wednesday #375 – Just Right For Jack Ambrose (PB) PLUS Pitch Winners And More Pitch Picks!

Howdy, Friends!

We’ve got a busy Would You Read It schedule today!

First, in the closest vote we’e ever had, with the winner one point ahead of second, and second one point ahead of third!, the winner of the April Pitch Pick was Sierra with her PB pitch for The Bug Battle Circus.

The winner of the April/May/September Pitch Pick was Lindsey with her PB pitch for The Wind Keeper.

Congratulations Sierra and Lindsey on your stellar pitching! Your pitches have been sent to editor Erin Molta for her thoughts and comments and I’m sure she’ll respond as soon as she is able!

Congratulations also to all our other pitchers! You all did a great job writing and revising your pitches, and you were brave to share your work for evaluation from your peers and so that we could all learn!

Thanks so much to all the talented, generous readers who take the time to read and comment on the pitches and help our pitchers out! And thanks to all of you for reading and voting!

I hope all of you feel that you ended up with stronger pitches than you started with!

Now, let’s do some more Pitch Picking so we catch up to where we should be!

First, the October 2020 Pitch Pick:

Please read and think over the pitches below and then vote for the one you think is best and most deserving of a read and comments from editor Erin Molta in the October 2020 Pitch Pick Poll below by Sunday January 31 at 9PM.

1 – Eileen – Tree Monster Tea Party (PB 4-8)

With the BFF tea party any minute, a broken chair could mean disaster! Never fear, good-natured Bear is off to the rescue until he trips, and gets his head stuck a log! As more forest friends stop to help, the problem grows and grows to epic proportions! In this action-packed cumulative comedy, the kooky cast of characters learn that teamwork makes the dream work and, there’s more than one way to solve a problem

2 – Sandy – Little Blue (PB 3-6)

Pfffft!  Normally, the sound of flatulence is associated with a balloon deflating, but it might be just the right thing to lift Little Blue’s spirits.  Little Blue is down, dejected, and downhearted which is distressing when you’re a balloon!  Little Blue’s buddies display real friendship when he’s dragging the ground.   Green and Orange wedge Blue between them as they skip over the jump rope. Pink pulls him onto a swing to help him remember how to fly through the sky.  Yellow pounds the ground with the teeter-totter, propelling Blue into the air. Friends and a bit of flatulence buoy him along as he struggles to get his float back.

3 – Katie – Imagine That: The Lion, Maria, and Brindy (PB 4-8)

Brindy’s never lonely thanks to the amazing characters she meets in books. Trouble is, Brindy can’t hide in the pages of books in class, at church, or during swim practice. But making real friends seems impossible amid all the talking, teasing, tiring activity. Then some lively characters appear and encourage Brindy to sing with confidence and speechify with courage. The unimaginable becomes possible and Brindy finally makes a true friend.

4 – Nicole – Dear Duchess (PB 4-8)

When her octopus stuffie, Duchess, moves to the ocean to pursue a lifelong dream of becoming a mermaid, Charley isn’t sure she’s brave enough to face the first day of school alone. Duchess and Charley comfort and cheer each other through letters until Duchess realizes that some things are even more precious than her magnifique new tail.

Finally, the November/December 2020 Pitch Pick:

Please read and think over the pitches below and then vote for the one you think is best and most deserving of a read and comments from editor Erin Molta in the November/December 2020 Pitch Pick Poll below by Sunday January 31 at 9PM.

1 – Patricia – Back To The Sea (Informational PB 4-8)

At sunrise on a lush, tropical island, an inquisitive child accompanies a huge cast of terrestrial hermit crabs as they scritchedy-scratch and clickety-clack on their annual journey to spawn in the sea. They face rocky terrain, hungry gulls, and larger animals that could crush them, but the crabs remain focused on their instinctive goal. This lyrical STEM manuscript is Hawk Rising set in the Caribbean.

2 – Diana – Little Witch Zooming Broom (PB 4-8)

Look up! There she zips again. Now she’s off to Grandma’s house with her basket of Trick-or-Treat goodies. But when Werewolf tries to trick Little Witch Zooming Broom, he finds she has tricks of her own under her hat.

3 – Aundra – Gregory The Garbage Truck (PB 3-9)

 GREGORY THE GARBAGE TRUCK loves his daily routine: Drive around/Clamp the bin/Lift it up/Dump it in. But his stench becomes too much and making friends is impossible. He tries washing and bouncing the trash off but he’s left smelling like old socks sprayed by a skunk and washed in dirty diapers. One evening at the dump his crusty clamper catches the eye of two rifling raccoons. They are excited to help Gregory clean up!

4 – Sarah – My Antler Is Missing (PB 4-8)

“MY ANTLER IS MISSING” Moose cries when he wakes and scratches his head. A mystery is afoot. Moose and his bestie Mouse head off on an adventure discovering clues and track prints. They romp through the winter forest chasing down possible thieves as they search for Moose’s missing antler.

Wow! Such hard choices! Thank you all for reading and voting! You have earned. . .

. . . your reward!

Something Chocolate!

Here you go. Some DELICIOUS Frosted Peanut Butter Cookie Cups!

Frosted Peanut Butter Cookie Cups

Aren’t they just making your mouth water? Yum! Grab a glass of milk and help yourself to 2 or 3 or 5 😊

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Mindy who says, “Due to the pandemic, I retired after 35 years working with developmentally delayed young children and their families. Writing children’s books is my next chapter.”

Find her on the web at:
Facebook: Mindy Meyer
Instagram: mjmeyer06
Twitter: @MindyJ06

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Just Right For Jack Ambrose

Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 3-8)

The Pitch: Jack Ambrose Kalabash wants everything to be just right, from his fly swatter collection hanging on the wall, to the seat he chooses on the bus, to even the sounds he hears or doesn’t hear throughout the day.

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 Mindy 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 Would You Read it in the dropdown under For Writers in the bar above.  There are openings in March, so you could get your pitch up pretty soon for helpful feedback and a chance to have it read and commented on by editor Erin Molta!

Mindy is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to Groundhog Day which is right around the corner! Phyllis and I are hoping for an early spring! (Mostly because we’ve had a week of very cold weather which is normal for January in New York but we still don’t like it! 😊)

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 😊

Story Antics – Something New for Self-Published Authors!

I know!

It’s Thursday!

What the heck are we doing here? 😊

It just so happens that I have something a little different to share with you today.

I’ve never done a post like this before, but I happened upon this tidbit of information which I thought some of you might find interesting and helpful.

Everyone who has had the good fortune to be published knows that the next hurdle is sales. And even traditionally published authors can have a hard time getting their books noticed and selling like hotcakes.

For self-published authors without the marketing and distribution power of a publishing house behind them, it can be even harder.

Enter Story Antics!

Today’s post is provided by Lara Solomon, the genius behind this new platform.

I hope you guys will find it interesting and take a moment to explore the site and share with anyone you know who might be interested!

3 Reasons You Should Join Story Antics Today!

You might be reading this thinking, what or who is Story Antics? Good question! It is a new marketplace for self-published and independent children’s books. It was launched this month (September 2020) after self-published author Lara Solomon realized that yes, she could write more books, but there are already so many books out there that readers haven’t discovered. Lara decided rather than writing more books, she would help authors promote their books which often don’t get seen, for a wide variety of reasons.

If you are a self-published or independent children’s author of physical books (audio and ebooks are in the works but that won’t be until 2021) you can add your books to the Story Antics site for FREE.

How easy is it to join Story Antics and what’s involved?

It is very easy, it takes about 5-10 minutes, depending on how many books you have to add, and there are really clear instructions on the site. Plus, if you get stuck you can email for help.

1) Create your author profile here

2) You now can login. Add a photo to your profile and a bit of blurb about you so that customers get to know you

3) Next add your books with at least one image of the book cover and a blurb about the book. Select which age group it is for, the genre and the price

4) Finally, set up the shipping for the books, decide how much you’d like to charge and if you want to offer international shipping

Once your book sells you are sent an email from the site with the customers details for you to mail it out to them.

3 Reasons to Join Story Antics
  1. Promotion and Exposure

Marketing and promoting your books takes time and effort, and can be a daunting task. By adding your books to the Story Antics site they do the marketing and promotion for you. Story Antics is all about promoting their books and Authors through,

· Social media posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Authors can use their socials to promote themselves at NO extra cost

· Email newsletters to potential customers every fortnight highlighting new books and authors

· The website, with book exposure on the homepage

· Monthly Author newsletter with tips and ideas to get more sales

2. A Mini Website

You may have thought, yes, I should get a website, but haven’t got round to it due to time or money. With Story Antics you have a page all about YOU with your books on it. You can even design your page with a banner displaying all your books. Plus, customers can email you directly from the site with questions, comments or fan mail!

3. Cost Effective Marketing Channel

Running Facebook ads, Google ads, growing your own social media can be expensive and time consuming. With Story Antics they take care of all that for you, and only charge a 10% commission when your book sells.

Story Antics takes the pain and headache out of marketing and promoting your books to get sales. They are starting a big PR and advertising campaign from the beginning of October, so now is a great time to get onboard and watch your sales soar!

Thanks for sharing, Lara! And I hope at least some of you find this information valuable – for yourselves or a friend!

Have a great Thursday! 😊

Would You Read It Wednesday #311 – Hazel Lee Flew A Fighter Plane As Well As Any Man (PB) PLUS The October Pitch Pick!

Hey there, Peeps!

How are things in your reading, writing, teaching, library-ing, and parenting worlds today?

There is snow in my world, and it’s making me want to write a picture book about snow. The Snowy Day has been done 🙂  but there’s got to be another possibility!

snow scout

For any of you who didn’t notice the post I snuck in on Sunday evening, the guidelines for the 4th Annual Pretty Much World Famous Valentiny Contest have been posted!  And for those of you who did see it, the prize list has been updated! 🙂 So hop on over and check it out.

Then hop back here and make your choice in the October Pitch Pick!

Here are the revised pitches from our talented October participants.  Please read through them and choose the one you think is best and most deserving of a read and comments from editor Erin Molta, then vote for your pick in the poll below by Sunday February 3 at 5 PM (see? you’ll be done before the Super Bowl! 🙂 )

#1 – Katie – The Night There Was No Bedtime (PB ages 3-6)

Mischievous Bedtime decides sleeping is boring. When she and one playful little girl sneak outside for some starlit hide & seek, parents everywhere wonder if their children will ever sleep again—until Bedtime discovers the one thing that makes sleeping sound fun.

#2 – Ciara – Drop The Dragon (PB ages 4-12)

Dragon theft is a real problem for Lily.  Her best frenemy, the family dog, is a pilfering pup.  To thwart the theft of her toy dragon, Lily engineers towers, traps, and more. But when their toy disappears, these two must join forces to save their beloved dragon. 

#3 – Meghan – Weeping Willow (PB ages 4-10)

Todd is a young boy that faces an unexpected choice: one that could ruin or fulfill his new friend’s deepest dreams. She is a tree that yearns to be made into something magical, but the consequence might be too much for Todd to bear. Can he handle the pressure?

#4 – Sarah – The Punching Ballerina   (PB ages 4-8)

KC, a karate student, longs to take ballet lessons.  He weaves all things dance throughout his days, which encourages negative attention at school.  After several minor social losses, a group of kids confronts him on the playground.  He sticks up for himself peacefully, winning confidence, and gaining something else.

Thank you all in advance for your votes!  I think everyone has earned Something Chocolate! I’m on a Valentines theme apparently, started last week with the creme filled chocolate cake hearts, so let’s have heart-shaped butter cookies dipped in chocolate today!

Easy Cream Cheese Butter Valentines Cookies

That’s what I call breakfast/second-breakfast/elevenses/afternoon snack/dessert/bedtime snack/midnight snack! Perfect for dunking in coffee/hot chocolate/milk/maybe even tea 🙂

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Fanny who says, “I’m a Chinese-American writer who used to design multicultural dolls and puppets for the early childhood education market. After my retirement, it’s natural I want to write for children.”

Find her on the web at www.fannywrites.com

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Hazel Lee Flew A Fighter Plane As Well As Any Man

Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 6-9)

The Pitch: A Chinese-American woman fighter pilot in WWII? No way! Women shouldn’t be flying alone, they are too nervous, too emotional. But Hazel Lee is not the stereotyped Chinese women!

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 Fanny 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 Would You Read it in the dropdown under For Writers in the bar above.  There are openings in March, so you could get your pitch up pretty soon for helpful feedback and a chance to have it read and commented on by editor Erin Molta!

Fanny is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to writing my snow story!  I hope I get farther with it than I did with last week’s pie story! 🙂

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂

Oh, and P.S.  If I manage to scrape it together, I will post a Straight From The Editor post with the 6 I have hopefully on Saturday or Sunday!

Great Opportunity For Writers

Hi Everyone!

I’ll be back to business-as-usual on the blog this week, but just a quick PSA for those of you who might be interested in a fantastic writing opportunity!

Tara Luebbe is once again running her Writing With The Stars mentorship program and there is still time to apply.

screen-shot-2016-12-20-at-10-13-05-pm

What is Writing with the Stars?

Writing with the Stars is an opportunity for aspiring picture book writers and illustrators to win a free, three-month mentorship with a published author or author/illustrator. Mentors will help mentees further develop their craft and share invaluable advice and insight into the publishing world.

When is Writing with the Stars?

The application window is from January 9, 2019 through midnight January 13, 2019 EST. Winners will be announced on Twitter (@T_Luebbe) and on my blog on January 31, 2019 at 11:00 am EST, and the mentorships themselves run from February 1 through April 30, 2019.

For official rules click here.

So jump at the chance!  Who knows what you might achieve in 2019!

Have a great rest of the weekend and see you Wednesday! 🙂

Tuesday Off

Today’s scheduled Tuesday Debut must have gotten cold feet 😦

The interview materials did not arrive, so, sorry to disappoint but we don’t have a post today.

Think of it as a day off, though.  An unexpected few extra minutes for you to write something new!

Here’s a prompt if you need one:

Geraldine could not remember whose idea it had been to cross the road, but she was beginning to wish she’d stayed home!

chicken-3727097_1920

Have a terrific Tuesday, everyone!

Dog Days

Happy August Everyone!

I hope you’re all on the beach with a great book, a cold lemonade, and people you love, having a wonderfully summery time!

We are Dog Day-ing it like the pros we are here on Blueberry Hill…

IMG_5237

I mean, can we lie down and sleep, or what?!

IMG_6277

It is extremely important not to overtax yourself in the heat 🙂

Traditionally, I take August off from blogging, but this year everything is so topsy-turvy that there’s no point in trying to pretend any kind of organization.

So I will mostly take August off from blogging… except for starting my new series on August 14th (because that’s the day it has to start)… and maybe having a little bit of a party on the 28th because some MONKEYS I know are having a book birthday… which gives us an excuse for cake 🙂

The new series, entitled Tuesday Debuts, will feature debut authors sharing the intimate details of how they sold their first picture book.  It is intended to be educational and inspiring for all picture book writers, but especially for those who have yet to make that first sale.  Who knows what nuggets of insight and wisdom and insider tips you might glean???!!!  I hope you will all read it while you’re on that beach we were just discussing and find out! 🙂

Please tune in on Tuesday August 14 for our debut debut author, Chris Mihaly!

Meantime, read something good, write something great, and don’t forget your sunscreen 🙂 🙂 🙂

Happy Holidays! Writing With The Stars Mentorship Opportunity!!!

Hi Everyone!

Writing With The Stars is running their mentorship contest again and I thought you’d all like to participate because there are so many amazing opportunities!  And someone who heard about it on my blog last year was one of the winners!  This year it could be YOU! 🙂

screen-shot-2016-12-20-at-10-13-05-pm

Writing with the Stars is a picture book contest where writers and illustrators apply to win a mentorship from published authors and illustrators. The mentors will evaluate the applications and pick a winner to work with for three months. The contest is open to unpublished and un-agented picture book writers and illustrators. All the details can be found at http://beckytarabooks.com/wwts-contest/

Doesn’t that sound amazing?!  And you could win a mentorship with Andrea Loni, Alistair Heim, Stacy McAnulty, Lindsay Ward, Josh Funk, Laura Gehl, Adam Lehrhaupt, Corey Rosen Schwartz, Annie Silvestro, Lori Degman, and many more!

Such an incredible opportunity!

Please share with anyone you know who might be interested!

Full details are at this link: http://beckytarabooks.com/wwts-contest/

Consider it a little holiday gift to you! 🙂  Good luck!!!

screen-shot-2016-12-20-at-10-17-58-pm

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Maurice The Unbeastly

Darlings!

Right now this very second while you are reading this, I am winging my way to the Lone Star State for the North Texas SCBWI Conference!

texas
Sing with me!
“The stars at night
are shining bright
deep in the heart of Texas!”

Okay.  I confess that’s all I know.  But I am very excited!  I have only been to Texas once before and that was a drive-thru on a family cross-country trip when I was 12.  My only memory of Texas is of being forced to eat Velveeta sandwiches on white bread whilst we drove.  Yuck!  Seriously, whose idea was THAT?!  So I’m hoping it’s going to be a lot more fun this time… if I survive my presentation… which I have been nailbiting over for weeks already!  If you hear a jackhammering sound, that’s just my teeth chattering with nerves! 🙂

ANYway.

I’m thrilled beyond measure to be sharing this fabulous book today, written by the very talented Amy Dixon.  Such fun!  I love it!  I hope you love it 🙂

Maurice

Title: Maurice The Unbeastly

Written By: Amy Dixon

Illustrated By: Karl James Mountford

Sterling Children’s Books, September 2017, fiction

Suitable For Ages: 3-7

Themes/Topics: individuality, being true to yourself, monsters, humor

Opening: “Maurice was not like the other beasts.  His voice was as sweet and refreshing as dandelion lemonade on a hot day.

Brief Synopsis: Maurice the beast is a misfit, about as un-beastly as they come.  His worried parents enroll him in the Abominable Academy For Brutish Beasts, hoping to help their son be more like he should.  But Maurice is just different… and maybe that’s not a bad thing!

Links To Resources: make a collage of pictures that represents who you are; make a list of at least 5 words that describe you; draw a picture of yourself doing something you love to do; write a poem about someone who makes you feel valued; draw a picture of the animal you feel is most like you and make a list of at least 5 words that explain why you are like that animal (e.g. brave, pretty, strong, fast, etc..)

Why I Like This Book: Maurice is delightful!  He is so gloriously and humorously un-beastly, with his melodious voice like “dandelion lemonade on a hot day”, his love for organic kale, and his smile which makes him “ridiculously photogenic”.  And when it comes to “messy meat eating” he asks for “the vegetarian option” 🙂  You’ve got to love a character who is so much himself in spite of how different he is from his peers.  And this is a message so many kids can benefit from, because we should all be true to ourselves.  The art is perfect for the story in shades of muted rust, green, and black with touches of red and white, and includes fun details like the Academy sign with the slogan “Hear us roar.  Hit the floor.  We’re the mighty carnivore!”, and Maurice pictured with birds and flowers.  A humorous, entertaining but also sweet read!

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do 🙂

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

PPBF folks, please add your titles and post-specific links (and any other info you feel like filling out 🙂 ) to the form below so we can all come see what fabulous picture books you’ve chosen to share this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!! 🙂

And please wish me luck in Texas!!!!!!!

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Stepping Stones: A Refugee Family’s Journey

Well, folks, the groundhogs have spoken!

And apparently they were not all on the same page!

Punxsutawney Phil said 6 more weeks of winter.

Punxsutawney Phyllis was on the fence at first, but reluctantly ended up concurring with Phil when the sun undeniably came out and cast her shadow in all its beauteous perfection 🙂

Staten Island Chuck (short for Charles G. Hogg VII 🙂 ), who has the best track record of accuracy at 80%, said early spring.  (And you may be pleased to know that the current Chuck is actually a girl… so she’s probably right! 🙂 )

Nova Scotia’s Shubenacadie Sam agreed with Chuck.

So as you can see there is some furry headshaking and dispute over what will actually happen.  I guess we’ll all have to just wait and see who is right and who should have stayed in the burrow 🙂

Early spring or no, we can still enjoy Perfect Picture Books!

Although part of me wants to share a cozy fuzzy book today as an antidote to all that’s happening in the world, I think sometimes there’s an important place for more serious books that address meaningful issues in a way kids can manage and appreciate.  So today I have what I consider a very special book to share.

stepping-stones

Title: Stepping Stones: A Refugee Family’s Journey

Written By: Margriet Ruurs

Illustrated By: Nizar Ali Badr

Orca Book Publishers,  October 2016, nonfiction – bilingual edition English/Arabic

Suitable For Ages: all ages

Themes/Topics: family life, geographic location (Syria), war, hardship, refugees, settling in a new life

stepping-stones-3

illustration copyright Nazir Ali Badr 2016

Opening: “‘Rama, wake up!’
the rooster crowed
every morning when we still lived at home

From my warm bed
I listened as Mama prepared breakfast –
bread, yogurt, juicy red tomoatoes
from our garden.

When I was little, not so long ago,
my brother, Sami, our friends and I
played on sunbaked soil.
We laughed, ran across rocks and sand,
free as birds.

When Papa came in from the fields,
he would sit for a time under the orange tree
and tell stories of our ancestors.

Brief Synopsis: (From the publisher’s description) “Stepping Stones tells the story of Rama and her family, who are forced to flee their once-peaceful village to escape the ravages of the civil war raging ever closer to their home. With only what they can carry on their backs, Rama and her mother, father, grandfather and brother, Sami, set out to walk to freedom in Europe.”

stepping-stones-4

illustration copyright Nazir Ali Badr 2016

Links To Resources: the foreword of the book tells all about how the author discovered the incredible stone artwork of the artist which inspired the story; the back matter gives information on “how you can make a difference”; the book itself is informational and educational

Why I Like This Book: Although this book deals with a very difficult and sensitive topic, one which has the potential to be upsetting to children, the author handles it so beautifully, so gently, with such poetic language, that the story manages to convey a wealth of information and experience in an accessible and palatable way while maintaining enough emotion to be truly meaningful.  It is really masterfully done.  The story is moving.  The art is exquisite.  The message is one everyone – adults and children alike – needs to hear and understand.  Jane Yolen said that “the text would both break and mend your heart.”  I think that describes it well.  An important book that everyone should have the opportunity to read!  The text is bilingual – English/Arabic.

stepping-stones-2

text copyright Margriet Ruurs 2016, illustration copyright Nazir Ali Badr 2016

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do 🙂

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

PPBF folks, please add your titles and post-specific links (and any other info you feel like filling out 🙂 ) to the form below so we can all come see what fabulous picture books you’ve chosen to share this week!

[Here’s hoping this version will work!  Google forms/spreadsheets does NOT want to cooperate!]

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!! 🙂