Perfect Picture Book Friday – Mowing

How awesome is it that it’s Friday?! 😊

Before I share my perfect picture book for today, I’d like to take this opportunity to announce that this will be the last official Perfect Picture Book Friday until September.  As you all know, I put PPBF on hiatus for the summer.  Between my own unpredictable schedule and the fact that many of you spend less time online in the summer, it just seems to make sense to take a break.  But for those of you who are dedicated (and there is a core group of you – you are wonderful!) I look forward to seeing what you’ll share. You are welcome to add your summer books to today’s link list or to the first one I put up in September.

Would You Read It Wednesday will continue through June and July (I usually take a complete blogging break in August because really… how much of me do you all really want to have to pay attention to?! 😊 … but this year we have a couple of Tuesday Debuts on July 30 and August 6), and you never know what other high jinx I might get up to if I get a hair brained scheme out of the blue…

Anyway, onto today’s choice!  Maybe my favorite summer book 😊

Mowing 1

Mowing
Written By:  Jessie Haas
Illustrated By:  Jos. A. Smith
Greenwillow Books, 1994, Fiction
Suitable For: ages 4-8

Themes/Topics: farms, grandparents, generations, modernization, respect for wildlife, vehicles

 

Opening:  “Early in the morning Gramp and Nora go to the field to mow.  They hear the cry of the bobolink, the swish of the tall grass, the thud of the horses’ hooves.
At the edge of the field Gramp lowers the cutter bar.
“Hop off, Nora,” he says.  “You’ll be safer on the ground.”  Gramp speaks softly to the horses.  “Giddap!”  They walk, and the mowing machine begins to clatter.”

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Brief Synopsis:  Just as morning is peeking over the horizon, Gramp and Nora head out to mow the hay.  Gramp drives an old-fashioned sickle bar mower with Nora in his lap holding the reins.  When they reach the field, it’s Nora’s job to hop down and keep an eye out for any little animal that might be injured by the horses or the cutter blades.  What does she see?  (I’m betting you can guess one thing she sees! :))  When the mowing is done, two tall islands of grass still stand.  Gramp says some would call that a bad job of mowing, but he and Nora know better.  They know they have taken care to leave the animals safe and protected.

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Links To Resources: Fawn Coloring Page 1, Fawn Coloring Page 2, Fawn Facts, National Geographic Groundhog Facts, National Geographic Killdeer Facts.  Talk about the difference in the way hay is mowed today.  Talk about other situations where you might want to be respectful of wildlife.

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Why I Like This Book:  This is the kind of sweet, quiet book that I absolutely love.  My kids loved it too, and we read it over and over and over.  The language is gentle, the story is simple with that nostalgic feel of hearkening back to a different time, and the message of caring for all the creatures who share our world is lovely.  On top of that, the art is just beautiful, particularly the way the artist captured the changing light, from dawn through late afternoon, and the different perspectives he uses.  It’s a wonderful book for nap time, bedtime, or anytime kids need to unwind.

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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!!! 🙂

Tuesday Debut – Presenting Marla LeSage!

So apparently this is the last Tuesday Debut on the schedule for about 6 weeks – must be summer! 😊 But that’s okay.  I think we can all use a break to lie on the beach and work on our tans (and by that of course I mean slather ourselves in SPF 1000 and chase around after the kiddos from dawn til bedtime 😊)

I’m thrilled to be sharing today’s author/illustrator and picture book because the book had at least some of its origins in the writing contests I run here on my blog!  How cool is that?

Marla entered two contests with stories that centered on the same wonderful character.  She placed in the 2015 Halloweensie Contest with Pirate Prepares For Halloween, and in the 2016 Valentiny Contest with Pirate Gets A Valentine, (in addition to placing and receiving honorable mention in several other contests over the years with other stories.) Eventually, she came to submit versions of those stories and lo and behold, this terrific picture book came to be!  When you read it, I’m sure you’ll be as glad as I am that she entered those contests! Who knows? The stories might not have been written without the contests! 😊

Pirate Year Round
Written & Illustrated by Marla LeSage
Acorn Press, May 31, 2019
Fiction ages 4 – 8

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In four seasonal stories Pirate faces her fear of the water, chooses a Halloween costume, gets through winter with the help of her friends, and steals the show!

 

SUSANNA:  Welcome, Marla!  So glad to have you aboard! 😊 🏴☠️ Where did the idea for this book come from?

MARLA:  When my son was about 4, he didn’t want to go to swimming lessons and told me, “I’m a pirate and pirates don’t swim!” It was such a great line I knew I had to use it in a story. I was still struggling to write a first draft when I came across your Halloweensie contest. The prompt: a halloween story for kids under 100 words using the words costume, dark, and haunted. I abandoned my idea for a pirate who didn’t swim and decided to use the pirate for my Halloweensie story instead. I thought it might be fun to have the pirate dress up as a ballerina. I was imagining a male pirate but in then end decided to make her a girl. My daughter was taking ballet lessons at the time and I suspect that influenced my choices. The story tied for 3rdin the contest! A few months later, you ran your Valentiny story contest and I was so in love with Pirate that I wrote a second story which placed 7thin the contest. But at that time I was not imagining Pirate in a book.

 

SUSANNA: How long did it take you to write this book?

MARLA: Pirate Year Round contains four stories in one picture book which is a somewhat unusual format for the genre. It took me about two weeks to write each story. So about eight weeks total but the last two were written 2-3 years after the first two. It usually takes much longer for me to write a picture book manuscript. I have a few manuscripts I’ve been working on for years! But I think it really helped to have a prompt and a deadline.

 

SUSANNA: Did you go through many revisions?

MARLA: Revising is writing, so yes, many, many revisions! To make your deadline, have good rhyme and meter, and a good story I thought about my entry all day long. I think I spent the two weeks with a paper and pencil in hand revising. When writing in rhyme I also keep the following handy: a rhyme dictionary, dictionary.com, and a highlighter to mark stressed beats. Keeping the manuscript or a scrap of paper on the bedside table helps too – the answer to plot or meter problems often reveals itself just as you’re about to fall asleep!

 

SUSANNA: When did you know your manuscript was ready for submission?

MARLA: I didn’t! The Halloween & Valentine stories were well polished but I had no intention of submitting them for publication, they were just fun stories that I’d written for your contests.

 

SUSANNA: When and how did you submit?

MARLA: Because I am an illustrator I’d also taken advantage of the contest prompts to build my portfolio. I’d even used Pirate on a self-promo postcard that I sent out to publishers. I honestly don’t know if it was the Pirate postcard or another postcard that caught the eye of my publisher but based on the timing I suspect it was another postcard. Terrilee Bulger of Acorn Press contacted me about illustrating another author’s manuscript but mentioned that she’d noticed Pirate in my portfolio as well as the two stories on my blog and expressed interest in publishing them. I didn’t think too much of it at first but agreed to look at the manuscript she had contacted me about. When that project didn’t pan out she asked again about the Pirate stories. I sent the manuscripts and she liked them but asked if I envisioned them as separate stories or as four stories in one book. After some careful consideration and research I suggested that if it were to be a volume of stories, I would prefer to have four seasonal stories rather than two and pitched a spring and summer story. (In the summer story Pirate would rather do her chores than swim!)

 

SUSANNA: When did you get “the call”?  (Best moment ever!😊)

MARLA: It really felt like it took forever to get the acceptance email! We’d been back and forth for months, I think, on the project she’d initially contacted me about. After I pitched the additional two stories the yes was fairly quick but then I had to write the stories and wait again for an official acceptance. Once I finally sent in the text for all four stories, the response was fairly quick – maybe a month? I’m not sure though – I accidentally deleted all the emails! It took a while after that to get the contract. At least it felt that way, but I think it was relatively quick for the publishing industry.

 

SUSANNA: Hahaha!  You made me laugh out loud with that comment about deleting all the emails!  Isn’t that just the way of things sometimes?! 😊 How did you celebrate signing your contract?

MARLA: I did a little happy dance, told my family & closest friends. Nothing big though! I guess I waited to have the book in hand to really celebrate – my daughter insisted I buy a cake for the book birthday & I have some locally brewed strawberry apple cider that I’m saving for after the book launch.

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SUSANNA: Was the contract what you expected in terms of advance, royalty percentage, publication timeline, author copies etc.?

MARLA: Based on feedback from fellow Canadian author/illustrators the contract was pretty standard. I had a generous timeline for completing the artwork and the royalties were standard for an author/illustrator (10%). The advance was small but adequate/fair. The contract was accidentally sent with an advance listed lower than we had agreed too but when I pointed it out, my publisher was very quick to respond and correct the error.

SUSANNA: Tell us about the editorial process.

MARLA: There were no suggested changes to the story.

 

SUSANNA: Tell us about your experience of the illustration process…

MARLA: This is my writing and illustrating debut but I didn’t have a dummy when I submitted the manuscript, only 6 sample illustrations. And my sample illustrations were older. I felt that my skill had grown and my style had evolved so after receiving my contract I started the illustration process from scratch. Well, almost from scratch. I’d thumbnailed out the four stories to see how they might fit into a single picture book before pitching it as that. After I’d received the advance, I sent in a very rough dummy for approval and ended up asking for more pages to improve the pacing.

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It was really fun to complete my first fully finished illustration project. But I when I got to page 32 of painting I kept thinking – if you’d stuck with 32 you’d be finished by now! The book is 48 pages… Other than that little voice in my head it was perfectly manageable.

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The only surprise was the book cover. I’d drawn a white banner with a hand-lettered title & when I was sent the digital proof, the designer had made my banner bigger & red. He also added Year Roundusing the style of text I’d created. I was really surprised but I absolutely love it. It really pops now!

 

 

SUSANNA: Did you get to see advance reviews from Kirkus, SLJ, etc? What was that like?

MARLA: I haven’t seen any reviews yet.

 

SUSANNA: How long did it take from offer to having the first copy in your hand?

MARLA: From the date I signed the contract to the publication date was 11 months.

 

 

SUSANNA: What was your print run?

MARLA: The initial print run is 2000 copies.

 

SUSANNA: If your book has been out for at least one statement cycle, has it earned out yet?

MARLA: It hasn’t been out that long yet!

 

 

SUSANNA: What kind of marketing and promotion has your publisher done for this book?

MARLA: I’m not certain, honestly. They offered to print bookmarks and invitations/posters for my book launch. And they do have someone who does promotion.

 

 

SUSANNA: Describe any marketing/promotion you did for this book.

MARLA: I made a book trailer – I’m not sure how effective that is for marketing purposes. For me it was more about doing a fun project with my kids. You can check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubKpDA4vEes Did you notice that the cat looks just like Pirate’s cat?

I’ve done a couple of blog posts like this but with the goal of giving back to the writing community by sharing my journey. I do plan to do a blog post soon about Pirate’s cat (he’s based on a foster cat rescued from a feral cat colony). I also had an article about my debut in the Canadian Military Family Magazine – that was fun!

I’ve done a few school visits already & plan to do more this fall through my local Writers in Schools Program/Literary Festival.

A friend suggested I contact boutiques/stores in the province who might be interested in carrying my book – seaside towns especially. Life has been a bit hectic for me lately and my dedicated art/writing time is much tighter than I like so I’ve done it yet. But I still hope to if it’s not something my publisher has already taken care of.

 

SUSANNA: How long was it between the time you started writing seriously and the time you sold your first picture book?

MARLA: Five years!

 

SUSANNA: Anything else you’d like to share about your book’s journey from inspiration to publication?

MARLA: While my submission story is not what we expect when we start out on this journey, it is not uncommon and just goes to show how much luck is involved. It also shows that we have to be ready for that lucky moment – get yourself out there and be ready for luck to find you!

 

 

SUSANNA: Thank you so much for taking the time to participate in this series and paying it forward to other writers, Marla!  We all so appreciate it and wish you the very best of luck with this and future books!!! 😊

 

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Author/Illustrator Marla LeSage with her scurvy crew! 😊

@marlalesage on twitter & instagram

Readers, if you have questions for Marla, please post them in the comments below and if she has time I’m sure she’ll respond!

You may purchase Marla’s book at:
(all links below are book-specific)
Amazon (Canada)
Nimbus Publishing

We can help our debut authors successfully launch their careers by:

– purchasing their books

– recommending their books to friends and family

– recommending their books to our children’s teachers and librarians

– recommending their books to our local libraries and bookstores

– suggesting them as visiting authors at our children’s schools and our local libraries

– sharing their books on social media

– reviewing their books on Goodreads, Amazon, and other sites where people go to learn about books.

Thank you all for stopping by to read today!  Have a lovely, inspiration-filled Tuesday!  Maybe today is the day you’ll write your debut picture book 🙂

 

Missed any previous Tuesday Debuts?  Check them out!

Christy Mihaly – Hey! Hey! Hay! A Tale of Bales And The Machines That Make Them

Jessie Oliveros – The Remember Balloons

Beth Anderson – An Inconvenient Alphabet: Ben Franklin And Noah Webster’s Spelling Revolution

Hannah Holt – The Diamond And The Boy

Laura Renauld – Porcupine’s Pie

Annie Romano – Before You Sleep: A Bedtime Book Of Gratitude

Melissa Stoller – Scarlet’s Magic Paintbrush

Sherry Howard – Rock And Roll Woods

Kate Narita – 100 Bugs! A Counting Book

Vivian Kirkfield – Pippa’s Passover Plate

Laura Roettiger – Aliana Reaches For The Moon

Matthew Lasley – Pedro’s Pan: A Gold Rush Story

Natalee Creech – When Day Is Done

Margaret Chiu Greanias – Maximillian Villainous

Wendy Greenley – Lola Shapes The Sky

Danielle Dufayet – You Are Your Strong

B.J. Lee – There Was An Old Gator Who Swallowed A Moth

Cathy Ballou Mealey – When A Tree Grows

Pippa Chorley – Counting Sheep

Sandra Sutter – The Real Farmer In The Dell

June Smalls – Odd Animals ABC

Jill Mangel Weisfeld – Riley The Retriever Wants A New Job

Kathleen Cornell Berman – The Birth Of Cool: How Jazz Great Miles Davis Found His Sound

Eleanor Ann Peterson – Jurassic Rat

Sarah Hoppe – Who Will? Will You?

 

 

 

 

Perfect Picture Book Friday – You Are Home: An Ode To National Parks

Hey, everyone!  Sorry I’m late with the post this morning!

I want to take this moment to say that next Friday (June 14) will be the last official Perfect Picture Book Friday until September, but I know many of you carry on throughout the summer.  Please feel free to continue adding your books to next week’s PPBF list (June 14), or add them in September to the first list that goes up then!

Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy today’s breathtaking selection!

You Are Home

Title: You Are Home: An Ode To National Parks

Written & Illustrated By: Evan Turk

Atheneum Books For Young Readers, June 4, 2019, nonfiction

Suitable For Ages: 4-8 (though anyone can enjoy the gorgeous illustrations and language!)

Themes/Topics: nature, respect and appreciation of the land and all that inhabit it

Opening: “To the chipmunk in her burrow, sleeping beneath the leaves to keep warm; to the resilient bison in the steaming oases of an endless winter: you are home. to the wildflowers painting the warming hillsides; to the pronghorn chewing the grass of her first spring: you are home.

Brief Synopsis: (From the jacket): “From the rugged coast of Maine to the fiery volcanoes of Hawai’i, Evan Turk’s stirring ode to nature and the nation reminds us that every animal, plant and person is an integral part of what makes this land a brilliant, beautiful sanctuary of life.

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Links To Resources: the book itself is a resource, picturing approximately 27 National Parks and the flora, fauna, geographic formations, and people that exist (or have existed) there; the back of the book includes A Note From The Author which gives a lot of information about the National Parks and the author’s connection to them and purpose in making the book; the back of the book also includes a map of the United States showing the locations of all the National Parks (not just the ones pictured in this book) and additional information about the parks and animals in the book.  If you have the opportunity to visit one or more National Parks, take advantage of it! 😊

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Why I Like This Book: the book is a celebration of the United States, a gorgeous tour in pictures and language of this amazing and beautiful country.  The art is full of light and dappled shadow and velvet darkness, rocky crags, lush forest, grassy plains, the animals that inhabit the parks and the people who visit – it brings to life the concept of “America the beautiful from sea to shining sea.”  And the language matches the art:

“Beneath the soaring doorways of stone,
and peaks that pierce the ceiling of clouds,
from every river, star, and stone
comes the eternal refrain:
you are home.”

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!!! 🙂

Tuesday Debut – Presenting Sarah Hoppe!

It’s time for Tuesday Debut, and today’s debut is very nearly a double!

We have our lovely and talented debut author, Sarah Hoppe, and her debut picture book is one of the earliest to be released by the brand new Blue Whale Press, owned and operated by Alayne Christian and Steve Kemp.  Be sure to check out their site and submissions page!

But first, let’s have a look at Sarah’s beautiful book!!!

Who Will? Will You?
Author: Sarah Hoppe
Illustrator: Milanka Reardon
Date of Publication: August 2019
Fiction, Picture Book
Age Range: 4-8

Who Will Will You Cover Reveal Official

Lottie’s discovery of an extraordinary pup on the beach leads her to search all over town for someone to help.  It takes someone special to care for this very special pup.

 

SUSANNA: Welcome, Sarah!  Where did the idea for this book come from?

SARAH: The idea came to me, in part, due to my son’s love of nonfiction.  He always has a stack of nonfiction by his bed, for pre-bedtime perusal.  He loves animals and had a seal book he shared with me one evening.  A baby seal is called a pup, and so are some other baby animals.  I started thinking about a case of pup confusion and the story fell into place in my head.

 

SUSANNA: How long did it take you to write this book?

SARAH: Though this is a work of fiction, it has a lot of animal facts within the story. The story structure was there, but it took a while to research the animals I wanted to include.  I also wrote some back matter. It was important to me to make the back matter fun, engaging, and most importantly, true.  I got books from the library, I poured over the internet.  It was fun, but I would get burnt out and take breaks.  That process took a while, working on and off with other things as well.

 

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Sarah’s writing space – so pretty 😊

 

SUSANNA: Did you go through many revisions?

SARAH: My story went through a few revisions.  Who Will? Will You? is different from my other manuscripts, in that it had a definite outline right from the beginning.  I’m usually a lot looser when I write, but with this story, I knew a had to happen, then b, then c. But, this is the one getting published, so maybe I should outline more!

 

SUSANNA: When did you know your manuscript was ready for submission?

SARAH: I knew it was ready when all the facts were there, the repetitive lines made sense, and I addressed the feedback from critique partners.

One of the many things critique partners are great for is bringing new mindsets.  Sometimes you don’t even see what’s wrong in your story.  My opening lines have changed, but the main character was initially racing while crab-walking.  I thought it was so cute, and showed off her spunky, daring nature. Several people who read it thought the main character was a crab.  I thought something like, Where on earth did you get that idea?  Then I re-read it with fresh eyes and realized I had written an ill-worded confusing paragraph.

 

SUSANNA: That is such a good point, Sarah.  We live with our stories in our heads – we’re the ones that invented everything – so it all makes sense to us!  It takes objective readers to show us where things might not be clear!  When and how did you submit?

SARAH: I am currently seeking an agent.  It is awesome, though, that are a lot of publishers who will accept unagented submissions.

I’ve sent many submissions directly to publishers through my writing journey.  I submitted Who Will? Will You? plus a query letter directly to the publishing house as well, through a writer’s group called 12×12. Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 Picture Book Writing Challenge is a fantastic group to be in.  I’d consider it a must for new writers.  So, some members of the group get a chance to submit through 12×12, and you bypass the slush pile.  That’s what happened to me with Blue Whale Press.

 

SUSANNA: I second a hearty two-thumbs-up recommendation for 12×12!  When did you get “the call”?  (Best moment ever! ☺)

SARAH: I had received a couple of rejections, and the manuscript was out on multiple submissions when I got an email from Blue Whale Press.  They wanted to set up a phone call.  Well, I didn’t want to be overly optimistic, but I thought they wouldn’t call if they weren’t interested.  They weren’t going to call to tell me how horrible it was, right? Right?! Well, maybe they wanted me to revise and resubmit.  Either way, I was a ball of nerves.

But Alayne Christian at Blue Whale was so nice!  Blue Whale Press is a small publisher, and I felt that was perfect for my first book.  I knew I wouldn’t get lost in the shuffle.  It has been a wonderful experience.

 

SUSANNA:  Alayne is amazing! I know you’ll have a great experience with her! How did you celebrate signing your contract?

SARAH: I called my mom!  Then I called my sister and my husband.  Then I danced around with my dogs.

 

SUSANNA: Was the contract what you expected in terms of advance, royalty percentage, publication timeline, author copies etc.?

SARAH: I don’t have an agent and didn’t know what to expect in a contract.  I became a member of The Author’s Guild and used their resources to study my contract before I signed. It was the right move for me and I’m excited about the results.

 

SUSANNA: Can you tell us about a little about the editorial process?

SARAH: There will always be revisions, but most of mine were pretty minor.  They asked for an extra (small) scene and made a couple of wording changes.  The back matter was shortened.

The most significant change was the title.  It’s completely different!  I submitted it with the title Little Lost Pup.  I honestly didn’t love it, but couldn’t think of a better replacement.  Well, they didn’t love it either and gave multiple suggestions.  I was strangely attached to something I didn’t really like.  I think it had been Little Lost Pup for so long, that it was hard to imagine it any other way.  Alayne was extremely patient with me.  She explained why she felt it needed a new title, and I agreed.  Then it became easier to let it go.

 

SUSANNA: I love the title you came up with, so, well done!  What was your experience of the illustration process like?

SARAH: One benefit of working with a small press is the amount of feedback I was able to give.  Alayne and I looked through artists’ portfolios together (via email) and picked our favorites.  I’ve seen sketches, rough copies and finished digital files.  I was asked my opinion on the look of the people and animals in the story. I’ve been included and valued every step of the way.

When I read a book, images just pop into my head. Yes, Sarah, that’s the magic of books, you know. Even if the author says a character looks one way, I have some image already there and it’s not leaving.

That’s how it was with Who Will? Will You?  For reasons unknown to me, in my head, the illustrations looked like Felicia Bond’s work in the If You Give a Mouse a Cookie books.

I had looked at Milanka Reardon’s portfolio.  I knew her work was beautiful and I knew it was different from Felicia Bond’s style. Still, I wasn’t ready for the main character, Lottie, to come to life like she did.

Both Felicia and Milanka are talented illustrators, but Milanka was truly meant for this text. She created a world of pastel backgrounds and detailed expressions.  It was nothing like I thought but better than I imagined.

I didn’t submit the story with art notes, other than to specify the kind of pup at the beginning.  The reader won’t know what it is, but the illustrator needed to.

 

 

SUSANNA: How long did it take from offer to having the first copy in your hand?

SARAH: About one year.

 

SUSANNA: What kind of marketing and promotion has your publisher done for this book?

SARAH: Blue Whale has arranged interviews on blogs for me. They’ve created a beautiful book trailer.  Alayne featured it at an SCBWI event. And they have been submitting copies for reviews as promised.

 

SUSANNA: Describe any marketing/promotion you did for this book.

SARAH: I’ve really tried to up my social media game.  I’ve sought and completed blog interviews.  I will do some local book tours next school year when the book is out.  I will reach out to the local writing group and the local library.

 

 

SUSANNA: How long was it between the time you started writing seriously and the time you sold your first picture book?

SARAH: About two years.

 

 

SUSANNA: Thank you so much for taking the time to participate in this series and paying it forward to other writers, Sarah!  It was generous of you to share your writing experience with us!  We all wish you the best of luck with this and future books!!!

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Author Sarah Hoppe

Twitter: @Sarahlhoppe

 

Readers, if you have questions for Sarah, please post them in the comments below and if she has time I’m sure she’ll respond!

As yet, there are no links for purchase or pre-order, but please keep an eye out!  The book is due for publication in August!

We can help our debut authors successfully launch their careers by:

– purchasing their books

– recommending their books to friends and family

– recommending their books to our children’s teachers and librarians

– recommending their books to our local libraries and bookstores

– suggesting them as visiting authors at our children’s schools and our local libraries

– sharing their books on social media

– reviewing their books on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and other sites where people go to learn about books.

Thank you all for stopping by to read today!  Have a lovely, inspiration-filled Tuesday!  Maybe today is the day you’ll write your debut picture book 🙂

 

Missed any previous Tuesday Debuts?  Check them out!

Christy Mihaly – Hey! Hey! Hay! A Tale of Bales And The Machines That Make Them

Jessie Oliveros – The Remember Balloons

Beth Anderson – An Inconvenient Alphabet: Ben Franklin And Noah Webster’s Spelling Revolution

Hannah Holt – The Diamond And The Boy

Laura Renauld – Porcupine’s Pie

Annie Romano – Before You Sleep: A Bedtime Book Of Gratitude

Melissa Stoller – Scarlet’s Magic Paintbrush

Sherry Howard – Rock And Roll Woods

Kate Narita – 100 Bugs! A Counting Book

Vivian Kirkfield – Pippa’s Passover Plate

Laura Roettiger – Aliana Reaches For The Moon

Matthew Lasley – Pedro’s Pan: A Gold Rush Story

Natalee Creech – When Day Is Done

Margaret Chiu Greanias – Maximillian Villainous

Wendy Greenley – Lola Shapes The Sky

Danielle Dufayet – You Are Your Strong

B.J. Lee – There Was An Old Gator Who Swallowed A Moth

Cathy Ballou Mealey – When A Tree Grows

Pippa Chorley – Counting Sheep

Sandra Sutter – The Real Farmer In The Dell

June Smalls – Odd Animals ABC

Jill Mangel Weisfeld – Riley The Retriever Wants A New Job

Kathleen Cornell Berman – The Birth Of Cool: How Jazz Great Miles Davis Found His Sound

Eleanor Ann Peterson – Jurassic Rat

 

 

 

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Butterflies On The First Day Of School

Hurray! It’s Perfect Picture Book Friday and tomorrow is June!

What could be better?

I have a wonderful book to share today, and yes, it’s true that perhaps a book about the first day of school when we’re nearing the last day of school is a little out of order… 😊

But this book is too special not to be on Perfect Picture Books right now while I’m thinking about it!  So get ready to enjoy!

Butterflies

Title: Butterflies On The First Day Of School

Written By: Annie Silvestro

Illustrated By: Dream Chen

Sterling Children’s Books, May 7, 2019, fiction

Suitable For Ages: 3-8

Themes/Topics: first day of school, nerves/anxiety

Opening: “A month before school, Rosie picked out her very first backpack.  It was covered with flowers, and she loved it with all her heart.
She paraded around proudly.  ‘Don’t worry,’ she told her sister, Emily. ‘Someday you’ll be big enough to go to school like me.’

Brief Synopsis: Rosie can’t wait for her very first day of school, but when the big day arrives, she’s suddenly unsure.  “Maybe I’d better stay home,” she tells her mom.  But with gentle encouragement from her parents, she heads off to school and discovers that she is not the only one with butterflies in her tummy.

Links To Resources: Butterfly Activities for Preschoolers; 5 Circle Time Lessons About Emotion; pair with First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg and/or The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn and/or Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney

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text copyright Annie Silvestro 2019, illustration copyright Dream Chen 2019

Why I Like This Book: This sweet story is one every young reader can relate to.  Even if they don’t suffer a moment’s trepidation about going off to school, they are bound to have butterflies in their stomachs at some point about something!  Grown-ups too 😊 I particularly loved how the butterflies were released, one or two at a time, as Rosie (and other characters in the story) bravely tried new things, their success allowing the butterflies to fly away.  I won’t give away the lovely ending – you have to read it because  it’s so perfect!  I dare any mom not to get a little teary! 😊

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!!! 🙂

 

Tuesday Debut – Presenting Eleanor Ann Peterson!

Hello, Everyone!

Time for another epic installment of Tuesday Debut!

Everyone’s publication journey is a little bit different.  Today’s author achieved publication by winning a Golden Ticket!

I’m delighted to introduce you to Eleanor Ann Peterson and her fascinating debut picture book, Jurassic Rat!

Title: Jurassic Rat
Author. Eleanor A. Peterson
Illustrator: John Seckman
Publishing house: Clear Fork Publishing- Spork Imprint
Nonfiction
Age range 5-8 years

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‘Jurassic Rat’, introduces children to the fascinating world of a rat that lived in the Jurassic Period. Young children will enjoy the rat’s clumsiness and misadventures while he’s out hunting for food and will learn other dinosaur’s names of that period, and that rats have been around for a long time.

 

SUSANNA: Welcome, Eleanor!  Thank you so much for joining us today!  Where did the idea for this book come from?

ELEANOR: While researching how to remove roof rats from my old rambling house, I found an article about discoveries in Spain and China of a rat as big as a cat belonging to the Jurassic period. Bingo! I thought, why not introduce young readers to the evolution of a species in a fun way with Jurassic Rat?

I’m very curious and eager to learn new things. I surf the web looking for a variety of information that interests me at the time, and many have sparked an idea for a new picture book. I eavesdrop on conversations between parents and their children and jot down notes. Kids can be funny! Observe your environment.

 

 

SUSANNA: Great advice for finding ideas!  How long did it take you to write this book?

ELEANOR: The first draft took me a few weeks to write. I let it sit for a month then took it out of the drawer and read it out loud. I tweaked it a bit then set it aside once more.

 

SUSANNA: Did you go through many revisions?

ELEANOR: The book went through many revisions.  I’d put it aside once more while working on other manuscripts.

 

 

SUSANNA: When did you know your manuscript was ready for submission?

ELEANOR: I didn’t.

 

 

SUSANNA: I love your honesty on that, Eleanor.  I think we all feel like that – at least to some degree!  When and how did you submit?

ELEANOR: I don’t have an agent at the moment but would like to have one. I didn’t submit. What happened is that I followed an illustration course at the Children’s Book Academy. I used Jurassic Rat for the text. I illustrated the book dummy and had brilliant critique partners that encouraged me along the way. Then…

 

SUSANNA: When did you get “the call”?  (Best moment ever! 😊)

ELEANOR: The Children’s Book Academy have a contest at the end of the course called the Golden Tickets.  I got the call from Mira Reisberg, she was one of the judges. She wrote to me saying she loved the story but asked if I were willing to let another artist illustrate it?

My illustrations were not kid friendly for the age range. I accepted immediately.

Here’s a pic of one of my illustrations.

EP 1

SUSANNA: Your illustration is amazing! But very different from what ended up being in the book – so interesting!  How did you celebrate signing your contract?

ELEANOR: My husband and I went out to dinner.

 

SUSANNA: Was the contract what you expected in terms of advance, royalty percentage, publication timeline, author copies etc.?

ELEANOR: No secrets. I had no advance, but I got higher royalties, and the more books I sell, the higher the royalties. Being a small house, I can understand that they can’t risk paying advances with a newbie author. I help run a family business, so I know how risky it can be when we take on a new employee. The important thing for new authors is to get their foot in the door. They will understand how the publishing world works and be better prepared when the time comes to submit new projects to publishers or agents. From the time I got the call, it took 20 months for the book release, which is a standard timeline for publication. There’s a lot of work involved in creating a picture book. I will receive three hardcover copies.

 

SUSANNA: What can you tell us about the editorial process?

ELEANOR: I was impressed with the support of my publisher, editor, and illustrator. Mira Reisberg edited the text, but few changes were made.

 

SUSANNA: How about your experience of the illustration process?

ELEANOR: As a rule of thumb, authors do not butt in. We can’t give our opinion unless requested by the publisher. In my case, a few months after the call, I received an email requiring feedback about the setting and the protagonist. For example; the birds in the Jurassic period were toothed birds as big as hens. The illustrator had drawn a sort of ostrich which didn’t exist then. He promptly changed the illustration to better suit the period. It was a delightful experience working with Clear Fork and Company.

 

 

SUSANNA: Did you get to see advance reviews from Kirkus, SLJ, etc? What was that like?

ELEANOR: Not yet.

 

 

SUSANNA: Describe any marketing/promotion you did for this book.

ELEANOR: I’m very ambitious, and as soon as I signed the contract, I was thinking about marketing tactics. I’ve contacted book bloggers for early reviews, posted teasers on social media, created a puppet of Rat, my protagonist for school visits. I’m preparing a video where I interview Rat,  to post on social media to create engagement with my readers. I have bookmarks and will have T-shirts printed with a scene of the book. I’m negotiating prices for a plush toy of Rat with a vendor to add to my giveaways (all depends on the price and my budget), and I’m in contact with a developer for a book trailer. I’ll have free downloadable coloring pages of the book on my revamped website, courtesy of the illustrator John Seckman. I could go on and on.

 

 

SUSANNA: I can’t wait to see that video!  How long was it between the time you started writing seriously and the time you sold your first picture book?

ELEANOR: I’ve been writing for ten years, and in the past three, I’ve dedicated my time writing for children. I signed the contract for my debut picture book in 2017. My book will be released on June 4th,2019

 

 

SUSANNA: Anything else you’d like to share about your book’s journey from inspiration to publication?

ELEANOR: For Jurassic Rat, I can thank my lucky star and Dr. Mira Reisberg and my publisher for believing in me and my story. I never thought I would win a Golden Ticket at the Children’s Book Academy. I worked hard and long hours to create my book dummy, and my hard work paid off in the end.

 

 

SUSANNA: It’s a great feeling when hard work pays off!  Thank you so much for taking the time to participate in this series and paying it forward to other writers, Eleanor! We all so appreciate getting to share your knowledge and experience!  All the best of luck with this and future books!!!

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Author Eleanor Peterson

https://www.facebook.com/eleanorannpeterson/

https://eleanorannpeterson.com/

https://www.instagram.com/eleanorannpeterson/

https://www.pinterest.it/eleanorannpeter/

https://twitter.com/eannpeterson

https://www.goodreads.com/EleanorAnn_Peterson

 

Readers, if you have questions for Eleanor, please post them in the comments below and if she has time I’m sure she’ll respond!

You may purchase Eleanor’s book at:
(all links below are book-specific)

Indiebound
Amazon
Barnes&Noble

We can help our debut authors successfully launch their careers by:

– purchasing their books

– recommending their books to friends and family

– recommending their books to our children’s teachers and librarians

– recommending their books to our local libraries and bookstores

– suggesting them as visiting authors at our children’s schools and our local libraries

– sharing their books on social media

– reviewing their books on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and other sites where people go to learn about books.

Thank you all for stopping by to read today!  Have a lovely, inspiration-filled Tuesday!  Maybe today is the day you’ll write your debut picture book 🙂

 

Missed any previous Tuesday Debuts?  Check them out!

Christy Mihaly – Hey! Hey! Hay! A Tale of Bales And The Machines That Make Them

Jessie Oliveros – The Remember Balloons

Beth Anderson – An Inconvenient Alphabet: Ben Franklin And Noah Webster’s Spelling Revolution

Hannah Holt – The Diamond And The Boy

Laura Renauld – Porcupine’s Pie

Annie Romano – Before You Sleep: A Bedtime Book Of Gratitude

Melissa Stoller – Scarlet’s Magic Paintbrush

Sherry Howard – Rock And Roll Woods

Kate Narita – 100 Bugs! A Counting Book

Vivian Kirkfield – Pippa’s Passover Plate

Laura Roettiger – Aliana Reaches For The Moon

Matthew Lasley – Pedro’s Pan: A Gold Rush Story

Natalee Creech – When Day Is Done

Margaret Chiu Greanias – Maximillian Villainous

Wendy Greenley – Lola Shapes The Sky

Danielle Dufayet – You Are Your Strong

B.J. Lee – There Was An Old Gator Who Swallowed A Moth

Cathy Ballou Mealey – When A Tree Grows

Pippa Chorley – Counting Sheep

Sandra Sutter – The Real Farmer In The Dell

June Smalls – Odd Animals ABC

Jill Mangel Weisfeld – Riley The Retriever Wants A New Job

Kathleen Cornell Berman – Birth Of Cool: How Jazz Great Miles Davis Found His Sound

 

 

 

 

Perfect Picture Book Friday – If You Had Your Birthday Party On The Moon

Wow!  Somehow it’s Perfect Picture Book Friday again!

Wasn’t it just here???!!! 😊

I seem to have moon books on the brain – maybe because I have one of my own coming out in less than two weeks 😊 – so would you care to join me for a birthday party in a venue that beats Chuck E. Cheese hands down??? 😆

birthday moon

Title: If You Had Your Birthday Party On The Moon

Written By: Joyce Lapin

Illustrated By: Simona Ceccarelli

Sterling Children’s Books, April 23 2019, nonfiction

Suitable For Ages: 7 and up

Themes/Topics: the Moon

Opening: “How amazing would it be to have your birthday party on the Moon?
Of course, everyone would want to come.  Not just because it’s the Moon – but who wouldn’t want to ride to a party in a rocket?
You’ll get to fly 40 times faster than a plane.  And for most of the trip, you’ll also get to. . .

Brief Synopsis: In the context of imagining a birthday party on the Moon, young readers will learn all kinds of amazing facts about life without gravity, air, or atmosphere, and about the Moon itself.

birthday moon 2

Links To Resources: the book itself is a resource, nonfiction with sidebars on almost every page that add even more interesting facts.  The back of the book includes a glossary, selected bibliography, suggestions for further reading, sources for videos of astronauts moonwalking, and a link to NASA Kids’ Club.  Falling For Gravity activity; Moon crafts and activities for kids

birthday moon 1

Why I Like This Book: This book imparts all kinds of interesting information in a conversational tone.  Did you know that Pizza Hut delivered Pizza to the International Space Station? Or that astronaut Alan Shepherd snuck two golf balls onto Apollo 14 and became the first person to play golf on the moon?  I didn’t! 😊 And there are all kinds of birthday party related details that would work differently: candles wouldn’t light, balloons wouldn’t float, and you wouldn’t be able to hear the music of the Happy Birthday song.  Young readers will learn lots of fun facts in an entertaining way.  A great choice for budding astronauts, astronomers, and scientists… and anyone who has a birthday! 😊

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 enjoy the Waning Gibbous Moon! 😊

 

Tuesday Debut – Presenting Kathleen Cornell Berman!

Woo hoo!  Time for Tuesday Debut!

I am thrilled to introduce today’s debutess to you all!  She took my class way back in 2013 when it had only been running for 6 months, so she was an early graduate!  I think it’s fair to say, judging by the photo below, that I was incredibly helpful in teaching her the importance of chocolate for good writing 😊

Please join me in welcoming the lovely and talented Kathleen Cornell Berman and her fabulous book about Miles Davis!

BIRTH OF THE COOL: HOW JAZZ GREAT MILES DAVIS FOUND HIS SOUND
By Kathleen Cornell Berman
Illustrated by Keith Henry Brown
Page Street Kids, April 16, 2019
Non-fiction  Age 8-11

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BIRTH OF THE COOL: HOW JAZZ GREAT MILES DAVIS FOUND HIS SOUND is a picture book biography about Miles’ journey to creating his unique sound. Readers will discover what inspired his sound and how his perseverance pushed him to new heights.

SUSANNA: Where did the idea for this book come from?

KATHY: I was brainstorming ideas for a Tara Lazar’s picture book month. I was anxious to write a picture book bio and my husband suggested Miles Davis. I loved the idea. I had fallen in love with Miles Davis’ music as a kid, and was eager to discover how he developed his sound on the trumpet.

I didn’t start research until almost year later. I read several books about Miles, including his autobiography and magazine articles. I listened to countless YouTube interviews, and played his music while I wrote.

 

SUSANNA: How long did it take you to write this book?

KATHY: The seed for idea started in 2012, but I didn’t start the research until much later. Research plus writing and revisions took about two and half years. As I wrote the book, I continually went back and forth to check for accuracy, since some interviews contradicted others.

 

 

SUSANNA: Did you go through many revisions?

KATHY: It went through many revisions. My first draft was filled with facts, but also very boring. I had recently finished Renee LaTulippe class that had given me the audacity to write in free verse. Once I started writing in free verse, the words flowed.

Kathy3

Chocolate definitely helps with revisions. I always have an assortment on hand.

 

SUSANNA: When did you know your manuscript was ready for submission?

KATHY: It’s so hard to know when a manuscript is ready. That’s why it’s really important to share your work with other writers who also write in verse. I asked Tameka Brown as well as another writer in Renee’s group to read the story. Getting good feedback is essential in making the big decision.

 

 

SUSANNA: When and how did you submit?

KATHY: I don’t have an agent. I submitted to about 25 agents and 6 publishers over 2 years, which isn’t a lot according to some. I had 4 agents who were interested, but alas, not interested in my other fiction picture books. I like to check out the #MSWL website to see what editors and agents are looking for. I was elated to read Charlotte Wenger’s tweet, looking for PB biographies related to the arts, music. Charlotte is the editor at Page Street Kids. So yes I submitted directly to the publisher.

 

SUSANNA: When did you get “the call”?  (Best moment ever!😊)

KATHY: I submitted to Charlotte in May 2017 and heard back quickly.  After going through a few rounds of revisions, I signed the contract at the end of August 2017. The heart of the book is essentially the same, but with a few specifics to help clarify Miles’ journey, and more revisions process concerning word choice.

When my editor wanted to change the title to Birth of the Cool, I added more text about some details about the Birth of the Cool band.

 

SUSANNA: How did you celebrate signing your contract?

KATHY: I think I sang at the top of my lungs (I’m tone-deaf and have no musical ability), then toasted a glass of Proseco with my husband.

 

SUSANNA: Was the contract what you expected in terms of advance, royalty percentage, publication timeline, author copies etc.?

KATHY: I wasn’t sure what to expect. Fortunately I have critique partners who do have experience with contracts, so they advised me. I also contacted a lawyer for the final decisions.

My advance was standard, less than 5k and 5% royalty, with 15 author copies.

 

SUSANNA: Can you tell us a little about the editorial process?

KATHY: The revision process was smooth and straightforward. The editor and I basically had the same vision. I basically made changes where the text was confusing to some. And I added more text because of the change of the title. Each time I revised I kept the audience in mind. I wanted kids to be able to relate to Miles in some way and also to be inspired by his journey.

 

SUSANNA: What was your experience of the illustration process like?

KATHY: I was consulted every step of the way in choosing the illustrator as well as the ongoing sketches for the book. I loved Keith’s illustrations and how they’re free flowing, rhythmic, and moody. Since the book is non-fiction, I notified them of any inaccuracies in the illustrations.

 

Kathy4

Keith Henry Brown and I at Jazz Gallery

 

I think art notes are important for a non-fiction text, they help the illustrator to keep the art in line with the time period or with specific facts noted in story.

Some of my notes were used to describe the high school band or places where he played music as a young man.

 

 

SUSANNA: Did you get to see advance reviews from Kirkus, SLJ, etc?  What was that like?

KATHY: Yes we got to see the reviews and we were thrilled to get a starred review from Kirkus. Being a debut author and illustrator, we didn’t fully realize the significance. We were both beyond thrilled.

 

Kathy5

 

SUSANNA: How long did it take from offer to having the first copy in your hand?

KATHY: I signed the contract August 31, 2017.  We had the book in our hands in less than two years. Very cool feeling.

 

 

SUSANNA: What kind of marketing and promotion has your publisher done for this book?

KATHY: They use social media to promote the book. We’re also in contact with the publicist who has contacted booksellers as well event venues for book signings. They also made gorgeous bookmarks and provided us with a curriculum guide that is downloadable on my website.

 

SUSANNA: Describe any marketing/promotion you did for this book.

KATHY: Keith made a booktrailer and is also creating a coloring book. I’ve created the swag bag along with a wordsearch and goodies. There will be activities added to my website as time goes on.

I have done a number of blog tours and a podcast. Both Keith and I appeared on Jazz 88 WBGO radio show. We were asked interesting questions and it was amazing to hear ourselves on the radio.

 

SUSANNA: How long was it between the time you started writing seriously and the time you sold your first picture book?

KATHY: It took seven years of reading, writing, reading, classes, conferences, and of course being in a critique group is essential to getting published

 

SUSANNA: Anything else you’d like to share about your book’s journey from inspiration to publication?

KATHY: I totally enjoyed the research and the revisions. I never felt overly frustrated. It always brought me joy in hopes that my book would inspire kids to find their own voice and be inspired by Miles’ tenacity to reach his goal. Obviously many kids will not become musicians, but I hope they find their own voice in what ever they attempt.

 

 

SUSANNA: Thank you so much for joining us today, Kathy, and for taking the time to participate in this series and pay it forward to other writers!  We all so appreciate the knowledge and experience you shared with us today, and who knows how many writers you may have helped toward publication?! 😊

 

Kathy1

Author Kathleen Cornell Berman

Website: kathleencornellberman.com

Twitter: @bermankathy

Instagram: kcornellb

 

Readers, if you have questions for Kathy, please post them in the comments below and if she has time I’m sure she’ll respond!

You may purchase Kathy’s book at:
(all links below are book-specific)

Indiebound
Amazon
Barnes&Noble

We can help our debut authors successfully launch their careers by:

– purchasing their books

– recommending their books to friends and family

– recommending their books to our children’s teachers and librarians

– recommending their books to our local libraries and bookstores

– suggesting them as visiting authors at our children’s schools and our local libraries

– sharing their books on social media

– reviewing their books on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and other sites where people go to learn about books.

Thank you all for stopping by to read today!  Have a lovely, inspiration-filled Tuesday!  Maybe today is the day you’ll write your debut picture book 🙂

 

Missed any previous Tuesday Debuts?  Check them out!

Christy Mihaly – Hey! Hey! Hay! A Tale of Bales And The Machines That Make Them

Jessie Oliveros – The Remember Balloons

Beth Anderson – An Inconvenient Alphabet: Ben Franklin And Noah Webster’s Spelling Revolution

Hannah Holt – The Diamond And The Boy

Laura Renauld – Porcupine’s Pie

Annie Romano – Before You Sleep: A Bedtime Book Of Gratitude

Melissa Stoller – Scarlet’s Magic Paintbrush

Sherry Howard – Rock And Roll Woods

Kate Narita – 100 Bugs! A Counting Book

Vivian Kirkfield – Pippa’s Passover Plate

Laura Roettiger – Aliana Reaches For The Moon

Matthew Lasley – Pedro’s Pan: A Gold Rush Story

Natalee Creech – When Day Is Done

Margaret Chiu Greanias – Maximillian Villainous

Wendy Greenley – Lola Shapes The Sky

Danielle Dufayet – You Are Your Strong

B.J. Lee – There Was An Old Gator Who Swallowed A Moth

Cathy Ballou Mealey – When A Tree Grows

Pippa Chorley – Counting Sheep

Sandra Sutter – The Real Farmer In The Dell

June Smalls – Odd Animals ABC

Jill Mangel Weisfeld – Riley The Retriever Wants A New Job

 

 

 

Perfect Picture Book Friday – I’m Happy-Sad Today

Welcome to Perfect Picture Book Friday, everyone!

Get out whatever you make lists with (I still use scrap paper and a pen, but I’m old-fashioned that way 😊) so you can prepare for your weekly trip to the library! 😊

I have a very helpful book to share today.  I hope you like it!

Happy Sad

Title: I’m Happy Sad Today: Making Sense of Mixed-Together Feelings

Written By: Lory Britain

Illustrated By: Matthew Rivera

Free Spirit Publishing, April 9, 2019, fact-based fiction

Suitable For Ages: 3-8

Themes/Topics: feelings/emotions

Opening: “Sometimes I just feel happy . . . that’s all!
I feel the “noisy, giggly, jump and run” kind of happy.

Brief Synopsis: Sometimes we feel just plain happy or sad, excited or scared, but emotions don’t always come in tidy, neatly-labeled boxes.  Lots of times what we experience are a mix of feelings, which can conflict or confuse.  The little girl in this story works through her layered emotions to conclude that all her feelings are okay, and it’s okay to have more than one at a time.

Screen Shot 2019-05-16 at 9.14.02 PM

text copyright Lory Britain 2019, illustration copyright Matthew Rivera 2019

 

Links To Resources: the back of the book is a wonderful resource, including material on How To Read This Book With Children, and Strategies For Supporting Children’s Social-Emotional Development both aimed toward adults, as well as Using Words With Friends, Pretending With Animals, Dolls, or Little Figures, Dancing and Movement, Making Up Words, Twirling Feeling Faces, Puppet of Many Feelings, Basket of Cards, Story and Discussion Starters, Making Music from Feelings, and Other Feelings Activities.  This book would pair nicely with Danielle Dufayet’s picture book YOU ARE YOUR STRONG.

 

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text copyright Lory Britain 2019, illustration copyright Matthew Rivera 2019

 

Why I Like This Book: It can be hard for kids to identify and articulate what they are feeling, and this can lead to frustration and misunderstanding.  This book with its bright, warm art, diverse characters, and many familiar, child-friendly situations will give kids a vocabulary and a strategy for understanding and expressing what they’re feeling as well as show them clearly that they are not alone in their emotions.  A lovely book that all little ones will relate to, especially helpful for those who struggle with their feelings.

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 am happy-excited – happcited? 😊 – for this weekend’s graduation celebration!

Tuesday Debut – Presenting Jill Mangel Weisfeld!

Hey there, folks!

It’s time for another edge-of-your-seat episode of Tuesday Debut! 😊

Today, we have something very special in store.

To date, in this series, we have focused on the journey to publication for traditionally published authors, because that is what the majority of pre-published writers are striving for.  And for the most part, that will continue to be the focus of the series.  But some authors choose a different route for their own reasons, and I thought you might enjoy hearing at least once about a different kind of publication journey because I think there’s a lot we can learn and apply to our own situations.

So I now have the pleasure of introducing you to Jill Mangel Weisfeld and her adorable book, Riley The Retriever Wants A New Job!

Title: Riley the Retriever Wants a New Job
Author: Jill Mangel Weisfeld and Deborah Mangel
Illustrator: Shirley Ng-Benitez
Publishing house: Peek-a-Bear Press
Published: August 2018
Fiction
Picture book for ages 4-8

SM-VSK Riley cover

Book description: The book tells the adventures of Riley who is trying to find a more meaningful job than being a Retriever. Riley begins her quest researching working dog jobs on “Doogle” to see if she can find one that is a better fit for her. The book is entertaining and educational. The colorful illustrations bring Riley’s adorable personality to life. The story is based on Jill’s own dog Riley who is a certified therapy dog with the Good Dog Foundation.

IMG-5880

Jill’s daughter with Riley when she was about 4 months old 😊

SUSANNA: Welcome, Jill!  Thank you so much for joining us today!  We’re looking forward to hearing about the publication process from a different angle!  Where did the idea for this book come from?

JILL: The idea of the book came to me when I was working with Riley at the library about six years ago. The idea was fully formed when I first came up with it. I wanted the story to be educational so immediately I thought the idea of Riley being bored being a Retriever and having her research working dog jobs on her computer. The word “Doogle” came to me later. I began to do my own research on different kinds of working dog jobs and picked different jobs that I thought would be appealing to children.

riley head shot

Riley at the library! 💕

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SUSANNA: How long did it take you to write this book?

JILL: I wrote the book with my mom and it took us about 3 months for the first draft. I sent my mom all of my research about working dogs and a very rough draft of the story and then she tightened it up for me and added some of her ideas. My mom’s writing is a little more formal than I wanted it to sound so I adjusted it so it sounded more like Riley’s voice.

 

SUSANNA: Did you go through many revisions?

JILL: The book went through many revisions. Like the Beatles song I got by with a little (actually a lot) of help from my friends. I had the librarian at the local library where Riley works read the manuscript to make sure the language was suitable for the intended age group. I had a friend who is a child psychologist read it to make sure the images were suitable for the age group as well. Two of my close friends helped me with editing the book. My husband and daughters also helped me a lot. I read the book out loud many times to make sure the sentences flowed well to the ear.

 

SUSANNA: When did you know your manuscript was ready for submission?

JILL: I was never 100% sure the book was completely ready for publication. Grammar can be very subjective, one person would tell me to add a coma and another person would tell me to remove the same comma. I hired a children’s book editor who was very helpful but the book still went through many grammatical revisions after he edited it.

 

SUSANNA: When and how did you submit?

JILL: I started my own publishing company called Peek-a-Bear press when I published my first book titled: “Take a peek with Peek-a-Bear. I like self publishing because you have creative freedom with the end product such as the illustrations and design of the book.

 

SUSANNA: How did you go about creating your book?

JILL: I searched for illustrators on the internet who used the style I was looking for. I also posted the job on Guru but in the end I found my illustrator on Instagram.

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Before I sent manuscript to the illustrator I had her sign a non disclosure form. The illustrator is represented by an agency and I did sign a contract. I didn’t want to pay an illustrator a royalty every time I sold the book so the contract stated that I was paying a flat fee for the art.

The fee is based on the page count of the book and the number of illustrations. I spoke to many illustrators and the fees ranged from 1,500-15,000.

I am a graphics designer so I designed the book with clip art that represented what I wanted the illustrations to look like. The illustrator, Shirley, first sent me sample art of Riley, once I approved those she sent me black and white sketches of the rest of the book.
Shirley moved on to color after the black and white sketches were approved. I really enjoyed seeing Shirley bring the book to life with her color illustrations. Shirley lives on the west coast so everything was done over email. The entire process went well and Shirley completed the book in about 9 months which is fast.

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I designed the book on Quark which is the design program that I use. I exported the book to the printer who is in Hong Kong.

My husband is an exporter and he works with agents in Hong Kong who helped me find the printer. They also printed my first book and since they were competitively priced and nice to work with I hired them again.

 

SUSANNA: How did you handle print run and distribution?

JILL: I printed 2,000 copies of my book and I am distributing it through Amazon Advantage, local bookstores and my website. I just had a book signing at FAO Schwarz in Manhattan. I am going to approach toy stores and pet stores as well.

 

SUSANNA: How long did it take you to have the first copy in your hand?

JILL: The total process writing to publication took at least three to four years.

 

SUSANNA: Did you get to see advance reviews from Kirkus, SLJ, etc?

JILL: I did not submit my book yet to be reviewed by Kirkus or Booklist but maybe I will after reading this question.

 

SUSANNA: Describe any marketing/promotion you did for this book.

JILL: Book Marketing has been a challenge for me, it’s hard to know what is going to generate sales. Riley has an Instagram account. I just decided I am going to donate 100% of my proceeds to The Guiding Eyes For The Blind in Yorktown, NY. I have socialized guide dog puppies from this wonderful organization. When I do a book event I bring a coloring page of Riley to give to the children. I have not done a book trailer or sent out flyers.

I have hired a PR person, Valerie Kerr, to send out a press release to print and media when I have an event. Valerie has gotten me write ups in local newspapers and web sites, podcast interviews and a guest spot on a local radio show.
My first book won five awards but I wasn’t able to enter this book because the copyright date was for 2015 and it has to be the same as the publication date

 

SUSANNA: Anything else you’d like to share about your book’s journey from inspiration to publication?

 

JILL: One thing I would like to share is that sadly my mom passed away almost two years ago while we were still working on the book. My father who is suffering from dementia moved in with me and I was not able to work on the book for for a long time afterwards. Part of the reason was it was too painful for me and for a while I didn’t think I would be able to complete it. I knew my mom would be really upset with me if I didn’t finish the book so this gave me the motivation to do so.

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Jill’s mom with Riley

SUSANNA: So sorry to hear about your mom, Jill, and that she never got to see the finished book.  I’m sure she’d be proud of you, though, and really pleased with how it came out.  And it’s clear from the photo how much Riley meant to her.  Thank you so much for joining us today.  I think I can speak for everyone when I say it was really interesting to hear about publishing a book from a new perspective.  We can all learn a lot from you! Best of luck with this and future books! 😊

 

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Author Jill Weisfeld with Riley

Instagram: @workingdogtales

 

Readers, if you have questions for Jill, please post them in the comments below and if she has time I’m sure she’ll respond!

You may purchase Jill’s book at:
(all links below are book-specific)

Bronx River Books in Scarsdale, NY and other Independent Bookstores
Amazon
Jill’s Website

We can help our debut authors successfully launch their careers by:

– purchasing their books

– recommending their books to friends and family

– recommending their books to our children’s teachers and librarians

– recommending their books to our local libraries and bookstores

– suggesting them as visiting authors at our children’s schools and our local libraries

– sharing their books on social media

– reviewing their books on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and other sites where people go to learn about books.

Thank you all for stopping by to read today!  Have a lovely, inspiration-filled Tuesday!  Maybe today is the day you’ll write your debut picture book 🙂

 

Missed any previous Tuesday Debuts?  Check them out!

Christy Mihaly – Hey! Hey! Hay! A Tale of Bales And The Machines That Make Them

Jessie Oliveros – The Remember Balloons

Beth Anderson – An Inconvenient Alphabet: Ben Franklin And Noah Webster’s Spelling Revolution

Hannah Holt – The Diamond And The Boy

Laura Renauld – Porcupine’s Pie

Annie Romano – Before You Sleep: A Bedtime Book Of Gratitude

Melissa Stoller – Scarlet’s Magic Paintbrush

Sherry Howard – Rock And Roll Woods

Kate Narita – 100 Bugs! A Counting Book

Vivian Kirkfield – Pippa’s Passover Plate

Laura Roettiger – Aliana Reaches For The Moon

Matthew Lasley – Pedro’s Pan: A Gold Rush Story

Natalee Creech – When Day Is Done

Margaret Chiu Greanias – Maximillian Villainous

Wendy Greenley – Lola Shapes The Sky

Danielle Dufayet – You Are Your Strong

B.J. Lee – There Was An Old Gator Who Swallowed A Moth

Cathy Ballou Mealey – When A Tree Grows

Pippa Chorley – Counting Sheep

Sandra Sutter – The Real Farmer In The Dell

June Smalls – Odd Animals ABC