Perfect Picture Book Friday – Green Green: A Community Gardening Story

Happy Friday, Everyone!

So, over Memorial Day weekend I put my planters full of flowers out on the back porch for summer.  (Please see exhibit A)

Exhibit A

 

(I refer to them as “flowers” because I grew up in an apartment in New York City where our windowsills were decorated with pigeons and we didn’t have a back porch.  I’ll hazard that some of my “flowers” are petunias.  And some others are possibly geraniums.  But that’s as far out on that limb as I’ll crawl! 🙂 )

Anyway, then we had a violent thunderstorm with fierce wind and giant hail.

I will not depress you with exhibit B – the resulting carnage.  I’ll just say it was sad!  Very sniff VERY sniffsniff sad!

While I am waiting for my poor little flowers to resurrect themselves (which is uphill work for them due to continued rain and not very much healing sunshine), I will share a gorgeous picture book about a garden that does grow 🙂  I think it will inspire us all to go out and spend the weekend digging in dirt 🙂

Green Green

Title: Green Green: A Community Gardening Story

Written By: Marie Lamba & Baldev Lamba

Illustrated By: Sonia Sanchez

Farrar, Straus & Giroux, May 9, 2017, fiction

Suitable For Ages: 2-5

Themes/Topics: community, environmental preservation, gardening, city, nature

Opening: “Green green,
Fresh and clean.
Brown brown,
Dig the ground.”

Brief Synopsis: First a green meadow is wide and fresh and clean for kids to play in, and brown dirt is just right for digging. But buildings grow up around the green space, gradually crowding it out.  Will the community lose their green?

Screen Shot 2017-06-08 at 1.55.22 PM

text copyright Marie Lamba & Baldev Lamba 2017, illustration copyright Sonia Sanchez 2017

Links To Resources: wonderful resource material at the back of the book gives a guide to making your world more green, helping bees and butterflies, and making bee and butterfly decorations.

Why I Like This Book: Simply told with gorgeous pictures (so beautiful I couldn’t decide which interior spread to share because I wanted to share them all!), this story is perfect to introduce youngest readers to the idea of community gardening.  It’s also empowering because it’s the kids who band together to save the green space.  I love the concept that even if a child lives in the city, he or she can have a garden and care for our earth.  The illustrations are wonderful and offer something for everyone from plants to animals to construction vehicles 🙂

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text copyright Marie Lamba & Baldev Lamba 2017, illustration copyright Sonia Sanchez 2017

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!!! 🙂  I’m off to the Children’s Writers of the Hudson Valley Conference.  I hope I’ll see some of you there! 🙂

 

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Lost In The Woods

Happy June, Everybody!

It seems we’ve had rain forever. It’s so bad that the farmers can’t get enough rain-free days in a row to cut the hay, and it’s now well past time for first cutting.  Wednesday evening we had a violent thunderstorm with tornado warnings and hail that turned my porch garden into a cuisinart special.

But yesterday morning, as if to welcome June, we had a gorgeous clear sunny morning – the kind that makes you glad you’re alive to be out in it.

My daughter and I went for a walk.  We saw Mama and Papa Goose out on the pond with their 6-gosling flotilla (I tried to get you a video but they were too far away!)  And upon our return to the driveway we found a tiny fawn – not quite newborn, but pretty close, maybe a couple weeks old.  The fawn and our two dogs came face to face.  They were all the same size, looking at each other, and for a moment no one knew what to do!  Then I called the dogs off (they did not listen!), and the fawn bleated for his mama who was quite nearby and came running, and I panicked lest the dogs hurt the fawn or the mama deer hurt the dogs! and there was a bit of chaos!  But in the end I got the dogs in the house and the fawn and her mama scampered safely off into the green woods.

So after that, there was no doubt about what Perfect Picture Book I would share today!

I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I do!

Lost In The Woods: A Photographic Fantasy

Written By & Photographed By: Carl R. Sams II & Jean Stoick

Published By: Carl R. Sams II Photography, June, 2004, Reality Based Fiction

Suitable For: ages 5 and up

Themes/Topics: Animals, Patience, Seasons (Spring), Trust

Opening: “The Spring frogs sing-singing with a thousand trilling voices were silenced by the rising sun.  New life came into the woods before the sun touched the tops of the trees.  He slept quietly in the tall grass on the north edge of the meadow where the trees start the forest.”

Brief Synopsis:  The woodland creatures are worried that a newborn fawn might be lost.  “Mama said to wait right here,” the fawn whispers.  “She will come back.”  But the other animals aren’t convinced and offer their advice and help.  Does the doe come back?  What do you think? 🙂

Links To Resources:  The book itself is a resource.  Page after page of gorgeous photographs of woodland creatures will introduce children to animals and birds they may never have seen, especially if they live in the city.  The very last page of the book challenges readers to look back through the pictures and see if they can find a number of hidden animals.  Activity pages, Lesson Plan.  If you’re lucky enough to live in a rural area, go for a “deer drive” in the evening, cruising slowly along back roads, and see how many different animals and birds you can spot 🙂

Why I Like This Book:  I love this story!  It’s simple and sweet.  On the first page where the fawn appears, he is a tangle of fragile limbs.  His spotted fur helps him blend into the forest floor.  By the last page, he has mastered those rascally legs and can be seen bounding through the meadow grass with such joy you can’t help but smile at his airs above the ground.  But the best part is the photography.  It’s breathtaking.  Absolutely stunning!  The fawn’s fur looks like you could reach out and touch it.  You can see his eyelashes!  And there are so many other animals pictured – chipmunk, goslings, a tree frog whose camouflage is amazing!, cardinal, red-winged blackbird, raccoon, and many others.  I know I’m an animal lover (and therefore biased :)) but I think this book is exquisitely beautiful and one that anyone would enjoy!

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!!! 🙂  I hope to see lots of you at the NJSCBWI Conference!!!  And please tune in Monday for the next installment of Oh Susanna!

Also, just a heads up that we will have 2 more weeks of Perfect Picture Books – Friday June 9 and Friday June 16 – and then go on hiatus for the summer!

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Lost Cat

Golly!  What a week!

A graduation!  A twentieth birthday! And first copies of three new books!  All within 5 days!

It’s no wonder I don’t know where the week went, yet here we are at Friday again!

Friday is a really excellent day.  It means we’re about to get a weekend, and it means a list of Perfect Picture Books to enjoy over that weekend – an unbeatable combination!  All we need to make it true perfection is a nice chocolatey snack to go along with our picture books and our weekend 🙂  (Those of us who are mothers might luck out 🙂 )

I had another book in mind for today.  Something Mother’s Day-ish.  Based on the jacket copy I thought I’d love it.  But when I read it my reaction could only be described as meh (not what you want for a Perfect Picture Book!) and then I read this one and loved it start to finish, so there was really no contest, even though technically this one is NOT Mother’s Day-ish.  Preconceived idea out, awesome surprise book in 🙂  I hope you like it too 🙂

Title: Lost Cat

Written & Illustrated By: C. Roger Mader

Houghton Mifflin Books For Children, October 2013, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: journey, pets, love (person/pet)

Opening: “Ever since Slipper was a tiny kitten, she’d lived with a little old lady in a little old house in a little old town.”

Brief Synopsis: Slipper has always lived happily with Mrs. Fluffy Slippers, but when Mrs. Fluffy Slippers moves, Slipper accidentally gets left behind in the commotion.  Slippers searches for a new home, but not just any home will do – it has to be the right one.  Will she find a new family she can adopt?

Links To Resources: Washington Children’s Choice Award Activities (scroll about 1/2 way down the pdf); Fun Facts About Cats; How To Draw A Cat video; learn to draw a cat step-by-step guide.

(Sorry – I can’t make that picture turn the right way around so you’ll have to tilt your head! 🙂 )

Why I Like This Book: First and foremost, I love the art!  Soft pastels that render that beautiful kitty so life-like!  Her expressions are perfect, especially her fright at High Tops, her polite pleading with Miss Shiny Shoes, and her bliss on the last two pages.  And the cat’s-eye-view perspective is wonderful.  The story is a sweet one with both humorous and poignant moments.  I love that all the people in the story are named for their footwear – which is what Slippers sees of them first 🙂  And most of all, I love that this lost cat story has a happy ending 🙂

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!!! 🙂

Oh, and P.S.  For those of you who didn’t already see it on FaceBook, my single first copies of my new books DID arrive 🙂 🙂 🙂

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Perfect Picture Book Friday – The Giant Jam Sandwich

Today is a big day!

Our little boy is graduating from college!

Scan 157

One moment he was running around the house in nothing but a diaper singing “Oklahoma” at the top of his 21-month-old voice (yes, I have video footage but I think I’ve embarrassed him enough just by mentioning this 🙂 ), the next he’s a smart, kind, funny, lovable, handsome 21-year-old young man (nope, not at all biased 🙂 ) setting off into the world.

So I though I’d celebrate the day by sharing one of his favorite picture books – possibly THE favorite of all time for him 🙂

I hope you’ll enjoy it too!

giant jam sandwich

Title: the Giant Jam Sandwich

Written & Illustrated By: John Vernon Lord (with verses by Janet Burroway)

HMH Books For Young Readers, April 1987, fiction

Suitable For Ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: humor/nonsense, teamwork, creative thinking/ingenuity

Opening: “One hot summer in Itching Down,
Four million wasps flew into town.
They drove the picnickers away,
They chased the farmers from the hay,
They stung Lord Swell on his fat bald pate,
They dived and hummed and buzzed and ate…”

Brief Synopsis: When four million wasps come to Itching Down, the villagers must figure out how to get them to leave.

Links To Resources: what kind of pests might come to your town or village?  what would you do to outwit them?  draw a picture of your plan and/or write a poem or a story about how you would defeat the pests!

giant jam sandwich int

Why I Like This Book: It is impossible not to love a book where 4 million wasps come to town and the obvious solution is a giant jam sandwich 🙂  I love that no one thinks of anything violent – they think, what do wasps love?  Strawberry jam, of course!  So let’s make bread that requires a scaffold to slice, tractors and horses to pull, and helicopters to drop.  The nonsensical, fun plan – exactly the kind of thing a child might think up and find perfectly reasonable! – makes for a most entertaining read.  As I can attest.  Since I think I read about 4 million times 🙂

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!!! 🙂

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Happy Birthday, Cupcake!

It’s Perfect Picture Book Friday and a perfect day for birthday cupcakes! 🙂

Join me, won’t you?

HB Cupcake

Title: Happy Birthday, Cupcake!

Written & Illustrated By: Terry Border

Philomel Books, July 2015, fiction

Suitable For Ages: 5-8

Themes/Topics: birthdays, creativity, friendship, surprise

Opening: “‘Today’s my birthday,” said Cupcake, ‘and I want to share it with friends!  But what kind of party should I have?’

Brief Synopsis: It’s Cupcake’s birthday and she wants to celebrate with a party, but her friend Blueberry Muffin finds problems with every single idea!  What’s a cupcake to do?!

Screen Shot 2017-04-13 at 3.40.01 PM

text and illustration copyright Terry Border 2015

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text and illustration copyright Terry Border 2015

Links To Resources: have a cupcake party! bake your own cupcakes (easy cupcake recipes HERE or use a mix 🙂 ), then provide lots of fun toppings so your friends/family can decorate their own; draw a picture of the perfect cake or cupcake and label all the toppings!; brainstorm a list of party ideas for yourself or your friends or siblings – what’s the craziest or most fun idea you can think of?

Why I Like This Book:  Well, for starters, it’s about a cupcake 🙂 and stars a host of other dessert item characters like Donut, Ice Cream Cone, and Eclair 🙂  But seriously, half the fun of a birthday is planning what kind of party to have – every kid does it!  But it can be hard to come up with an idea that pleases everyone.  This story puts a fun twist on the whole concept, taking the anxiety out of the planning by the sheer silliness of the problems experienced by friends who are food.  And the ending is just right 🙂

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 Happy Easter to all who celebrate!

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Tony

GAH!

So sorry to be late posting Perfect Picture Books!

We had a huge storm yesterday afternoon – icy rain, thunder, lightning – totally weird for early April!  My poor little Jem-dog, who hates thunder!, quivered and shook and pressed herself as close to me and Scouty as she could get.  She expects it in July and August, but not now!

Anyway, the storm took out the internet… for a change… and it only just came back!

So here, a little late!, is my Perfect Picture Book 🙂

Tony

Title: Tony

Written By: Ed Galing

Illustrated By: Erin E. Stead

Roaring Brook Press, February 2017, fiction

Suitable For Ages: 3-6

Themes/Topics: friendship, days-gone-by/history

Opening: “Tony
that was his name
he was such a wonderful horse

Brief Synopsis: A sweet simple story of a boy and his horse delivering milk and the friendship between them.

Links To Resources: kids, ask your parents and grandparents about things they remember from their childhood – what things were different? what things the same as today?  Do they remember having milk delivered by horse and cart? Getting ice from an ice house? how did they entertain themselves in the days before TV, computers and video games?  Ask them to teach you how to play a game they played as a child.

tony 2

Text copyright Ed Galing 2017, Illustration copyright Erin Stead 2017

Why I Like This Book:  This is such a lovely book.  180 words, it was written as a poem.  The story itself is as basic and simple as can be: a boy and his horse go out in the early morning to deliver milk.  But Erin Stead’s illustrations bring it to life in the most beautiful way possible.  The horse’s loving, kind and patient nature shine through.  The companionship and teamwork of the boy and the horse as they set about their daily run at 3 AM comes clearly through the quiet dark when the rest of the world sleeps.  It is obvious how much they value each other and how much the narrator of the story (a man to whom they deliver) loves Tony too.  If you’re looking for a sweet and very quiet book, this is a gem.

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!!! 🙂

 

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Red Sings From Treetops: A Year In Colors

Happy Friday, Folks!

Ok.  So I had another book ready to share today.  But then, while I was writing my post, it started to snow!

Seriously!

On the Very Last Day of March?!  (When, may I remind you, Mother Nature, we’re supposed to be going out like a lamb!)

I consider this unfair, especially as we were only just melting out from the two feet of snow we got two weeks ago.

And the poor little robins just came back the day before yesterday, brave and hopeful!

So I felt it was important to embrace spring today, in open defiance of the dreadful ice/sleet/rain/slush/snow falling out to the sky, and as a result I am re-sharing one of my all-time favorite picture books which is so gorgeous to look at and so beautifully written that it makes me feel spring even though it doesn’t look that way outside at all!

This book is a treasure for readers and for writers!  If you haven’t had a chance to experience it, please!  Treat yourself! 🙂

red sings

Title: Red Sings From Treetops: A Year In Colors

Written By: Joyce Sidman

Illustrated By: Pamela Zagarenski

Houghton Mifflin Books For Children, April 2009, Fiction

Suitable For: ages 5 and up

Themes: Colors, Seasons, Poetry

Opening:

In SPRING,
Red sings from treetops:
cheer-cheer-cheer,
each note dropping
like a cherry
into my ear.

Red turns
the maples feathery,
sprouts in rhubarb spears;
Red squirms on the road after rain.”


(Don’t you just love that?  Can’t you just hear that cardinal singing and see the worms wiggling on the pavement?)


Brief Synopsis:  From the jacket: “Color comes alive in this whimsical, innovative book.”  That pretty much sums it up!


Links To ResourcesJunior Library Guild Activity GuidePoem StartersReaders Guide


Why I Like This Book:  I love the lyrical language of this book.  The author was so creative in her thinking – the way she describes the colors makes you see, feel, hear, touch, and taste Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.  The art is exquisite and perfectly suited to the poetry.  How can you not love lines like,

Green waits
in the hearts of trees,
feeling
the earth
turn.”

I hope you’ll get a chance to read this book, linger over the language, enjoy the images it evokes, maybe challenge yourself or your children to come up with your own descriptions!

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!!! 🙂

I hope spring is coming to your house 🙂

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Finding Spring

Look at that!  It’s Perfect Picture Book Friday again!

And just in time, too!

In keeping with my theme for this week (you know, the one where I insist that spring is coming in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary 🙂 ) I have the perfect book!

Finding Spring cover

Title: Finding Spring

Written & Illustrated By: Carin Berger

Greenwillow Books, January 2015, fiction

Suitable For Ages: 4-8 (though I think a lot of 3 year olds would love it too 🙂 )

Themes/Topics: seasons (spring), animals (bears), perseverance, patience

Opening: “The forest was growing cold.  Mama said that soon it would be time to sleep, but all Maurice could think about was his first spring.

Brief Synopsis: Mama bear says it’s time to sleep, but all Maurice can think about is spring.  So when Mama goes to sleep, Maurice sets out to find it.  He has never seen spring, however, so he’s not really sure where to look or even what he’s looking for!

Finding Spring - interior

text and illustration copyright Carin Berger 2015

Links To Resources: take a nature walk and look for signs of spring; make up a list of signs of spring and check them off as they appear – is spring here yet?; How To Make A Diorama (video); Diorama Crafts For Kids; try making your own diorama about spring; make paper flowers; how to make tissue paper flowers (video)

Why I Like This Book: Every child on earth understands impatience – how hard waiting is, and how much more fun to take action!  Maurice is not deterred in the slightest by the fact that he doesn’t actually know what spring is.  He just looks until he knows he’s found it.  And he can tell he’s found it because it’s the most magical thing he’s ever seen!  Just wait until you see what it is (and no, I’m not telling! 🙂 )  The book is illustrated with dioramas and cut-paper collages and is just gorgeous – a feast for the eyes of kids and grown-ups alike.  A perfect choice for those of us currently longing for spring 🙂

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!!! 🙂

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Big Cat, Little Cat

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, Everyone!

Oh boy, do I have a gem to share with you today!

Perhaps this lovely book particularly appeals to me because its message of loving, losing, and new beginnings strikes a chord with me right now, but I think anyone and everyone can appreciate what it has to offer!  I wish I could show you the whole thing – every page! – but you’ll just have to trot right out to the library after PPBF! 🙂

Big Cat Little Cat

Title: Big Cat, Little Cat

Written & Illustrated By: Elisha Cooper

Roaring Brook Press, March 2017, fiction

Suitable For Ages: 3-6 years

Themes/Topics: friendship, cycle of life

Opening: “There was a cat who lived alone.  Until the day a new cat came…”

big cat little cat 2

copyright Elisha Cooper 2017

Brief Synopsis: Two cats become friends and do everything together until one day the older cat has to go…and he doesn’t come back.

Links To Resources:  draw a picture of you and your pet; write a story or poem about your pet; how would you describe your pet to someone who had never met it?  talk about what love means – is love for a pet the same as love for a sibling or friend or parent?  what are some things that let you know you love someone, or that someone loves you?  has a pet you loved ever died?  how did it make you feel?  what did you do to feel better?

Why I Like This Book: I LOVE this book.  It is the most beautiful, perfect, sweet book I’ve read in a long, long time.  186 words of sheer genius.  The kind of book every writer (well, at least this one!) dreams of writing.  A full, emotionally satisfying, complete story arc in less than 200 words.  Simple, yet so evocative.  Wonder and delight, learning and play, joy, contentment, friendship, love, grief, endings and beginnings – it’s all here.  The art is  a perfect complement – simple black and white drawings that convey personality, action, expression, and just enough detail, with one page in gray to show sadness, and a soft glow of pale butternut on just three pages to show warmth and contentment.  The text and art are also thoughtfully spaced to give time and distance where needed.  A lovely book to gently help children understand life, love, loss, new life and new love.  And writers, if you haven’t seen this book, rush out and read it – seriously I am not kidding! – a fabulous example of how to do it right!  Definitely in the “wish I wrote that!” category 🙂

big cat little cat 3

copyright Elisha Cooper 2017

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!!! 🙂

Perfect Picture Book Friday – The Rock Maiden

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday!

Today we have a special treat!  Author Natasha Yim is blog touring with her brand new book and she has been kind enough to share her writing inspiration with us!

rock maiden

Title: The Rock Maiden – A Chinese Tale of Love And Loyalty

Written By: Natasha Yim

Illustrated By: Pirkko Vainio

Wisdom Tales, March 2017, fiction

Suitable For Ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: retold legends/folktales, faith, hope

Opening: “There was once a beautiful maiden named Ling Yee.  She lived in Hong Kong, a fishing village on the southern coast of China.  All the young men in the village wanted to marry her.
But Ling Yee loved Ching Yin, a young fisherman.  She was touched by his kindness.  H often helped the old men pull in their boats and haul in their fish.

Brief Synopsis: From the publisher: “When her fisherman husband fails to come home after a storm at sea, the beautiful maiden Ling Yee is heartbroken. Every morning, she puts her baby on her back and clambers to the top of a cliff looking for any signs of his return. But day after day, she is disappointed. The villagers try to convince her to give up her vigil. “No,” she would say, “He will come home soon.” Tin Hau, the Goddess of the Heavens, takes pity on her grief and turns Ling Yee and her child into stone so that they would mourn no more. The fisherman eventually finds his way home―only to discover that his wife has been transformed into the Rock Maiden. Will the family forever be kept apart? Or will devotion and faithfulness ultimately be rewarded?”

Links To Resources:  The Rock Maiden is a retelling of an old Hong Kong legend.  What favorite folk tale, legend or other classic tale might you retell?  How would you do it?  Write your own!  Draw a picture that represents a favorite moment in one of your favorite folk tales or legends. The story of  The Rock Maiden explains how a certain rock came to be.  Write a story about how something you know of came to be – a specially shaped rock, like in The Rock Maiden, or a mountain range, or a lake or pond, or an ancient tree…

Special Resource!  A glimpse into inspiration and writing – author Natasha Yim shares her thoughts about how she became inspired to write the story of The Rock Maiden:

“The story of the Rock Maiden has been brewing in my head—and my heart— since my adolescent years growing up in Hong Kong. On occasional weekends, to get away from the bustle of city crowds, my parents would take the family to Sha Tin, a region in the New Territories, an area of Hong Kong that in the 1970s was still rural. We referred to it as our “countryside,” even though it was on the outskirts of a city of six million people.

On these weekend outings, we would often lunch or have afternoon tea at a hotel with an outdoor patio. From the patio, one could get a good view of the Amah Rock, a natural granite rock formation shaped like a woman with a baby on her back. In the lobby of the hotel was a plaque that told her story: how a young woman had lost her fisherman husband at sea and her faithful vigil on top of a hill looking for his return. Tin Hau, the Goddess of the Sea, took pity upon her and turned her into stone so she wouldn’t mourn anymore.

This story captured my adolescent romantic fancy and on every outing to Sha Tin, I would gaze at the Amah Rock wondering what happened to this family. As I grew older, this woman and her baby continued to penetrate my thoughts from time to time. I knew that one day, I’d write her story.

Years later, when I did sit down to write this tale, I was writing for children and imagined it as a picture book. However, I thought it was a bit too sad and depressing as a story for kids to have her end up as a rock on top of a hill. So, I re-envisioned the story with a happier ending.

I created the story about twelve years ago, but it’s had a difficult time finding its way to publication. Many of the rejections I received said it was a lovely tale but too “quiet” or that it doesn’t have a child protagonist or that folk tales are a “hard sell” as standalone picture books.

One of the lessons I’ve learned as a writer is that if a story sinks its teeth into me and won’t let go, I must write it. And two, every story has to have a champion to help it find its way into the world. First, the writer who feels compelled to write it, and then the editor/publisher who feels its voice needs to be heard. For this reason, I am grateful to Wisdom Tales Press for their vision, insights, and support of The Rock Maiden.

I hope children around the world will enjoy the story of the Amah Rock as much as I did as a child.”

Why I Like This Book: I love retellings of classic tales – especially tales I’m unfamiliar with.  This one, though sad for a while, is a story of love, faith and hope.  And in Natasha’s retelling, it has a happy ending in which love overcomes all obstacles.  The art is so beautiful – delicate and stunning – a perfect complement to the story!

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!

The other stops on Natasha’s blog tour are listed below, in case you are interested in finding out more about Natasha and her wonderful new book!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!! 🙂

MARCH 3: Jeff Barger, NC Teacher Stuff
MARCH 7: Sheryl Hagan-Booth, Booth Talks Books
MARCH 10: Susanna Hill, Susanna Leonard Hill’s Blog
MARCH 14ReaderKidZ, reviewer Nancy Bo Flood
MARCH 20: MaryAnn Scheuer, Great Kid Books
MARCH 22: Pam Margolis, An Unconventional Librarian
MARCH 28: Stephanie Kammeraad, Mama-Lady-Books