Good 6-Days-Until-Halloween-Morning-But-Only-2-Days-Until-Halloweensie-Morning, Darlings! (not that we’re counting down or anything! 🙂 )
I’m sure you were wondering, so let me just say that 1.5 billion pounds of pumpkins are grown in the United States each year, and the Top 5 Pumpkin Producing States are (get ready!…and hold your breath to see if you live in one of them!) Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and California!
The Largest Pumpkin Ever weighed in at 1,502 pounds!!! on October 7, 2006, grown by Ron Wallace of Greene, Rhode Island, even though Rhode Island is not a Top 5 Pumpkin Growing State.
The Largest Pumpkin PIEEver was baked in New Bremen, Ohio in 2010 and was 20 feet in diameter and weighed 3,699 pounds! Here’s the recipe in case you need to whip up a little pie for your family 🙂 1,212 lbs of canned pumpkin, 2,796…
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Five years ago I was reading Joanne Levy’s SMALL MEDIUM AT LARGE—such a clever title and a fun read. I thought to myself…what elementary school joke’s punchline could I turn into a picture book title?
I got whacked upside the head…
Why is 6 afraid of 7?
Because…7 ATE 9!
I felt a powerful surge of muse awaken all my senses, sorta like this…
When I get smacked so soundly, I immediate go research my idea. Surely someone already had to have published a 7 ATE 9 book, right?
Well, I should have searched on worldcat.org, but instead I went somewhere else. You can probably guess where.
And somehow I did not find a picture book with that name. I found other items, like a card game, but no picture book. But it turns out, there were picture books with that title—I was…
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Today I invited author Laurie Wallmark to pontificate on a female computer science pioneer…and to introduce her new picture book biography, GRACE HOPPER: QUEEN OF COMPUTER CODE, illustrated by Katy Wu.
Laurie and I first met ten years ago (!!!) when I joined her critique group. Who could imagine that a decade later, we would be celebrating each other’s books?
Laurie, this is your second PB biography about an important female computer scientist (the first being award-winning ADA BYRON LOVELACE AND THE THINKING MACHINE). What drew you to your subjects?
People say, “write what you know,” but I disagree. If you’re not familiar with a topic or an idea, you can always research it. I’d rather say, “write what you’re passionate about.” After all, you and your story will be together for a very long time. From your initial idea to that first draft, from innumerable revisions to a published…
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Dragons Rule, Princesses Drool…and Author-Illustrator Courtney Pippin-Mathur Does it All (plus a giveaway!)May 2, 2017
Today is the day that my second written and illustrated picture book DRAGONS RULE, PRINCESSES DROOL! will be released into the world!
It’s the story of a dragon whose land had been invaded by two adorably horrible princesses who change everything. As you have read on other posts on Tara’s awesome blog and during Storystorm, you know that characters are very important in picture books. A strong character can inspire strong emotions and getting his/her/their look is extremely important to the book.
DRAGONS RULE, PRINCESSES DROOL is comprised of three main characters; a grumpy dragon and the two princesses who have invaded his land.
Below, I’m going to share a quick, edited run through the many, many, many different versions of the Dragon and the Princesses. Just like revisions in the text, there are revisions in the art.
The story originally started out with the dragons invading…
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[Prize pack and review copy provided by Disney Hyperion]:
Feminist Baby with her cute pink, and sometimes blue, bow and large, adorable eyes is not to be trifled with. She is her own baby and fully intends to express herself in all her baby-ness and beyond.
Told in a sassy and lighthearted tone, Feminist Baby offers giggles and laughs and ends on an uplifting and determined note that this baby will be whatever she wants to be.
© 2017 by Loryn Brantz. Image Used with Permission.
Feminist Baby is not a gentle, sweet book about how she can be a good helper. Instead it chronicles a baby as she pukes on you, refuses pants, makes noise, throws her toys, and really doesn’t care what you think of her clothes. She has her own agency, her own personhood, and fully inhabits her own dualities — because not only does she dance…
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Check out Lauri’s fun picture book quiz!
Picture Book Personals
Boy and girl seek playmate to pet bunnies, smell flowers, read books, and play peek-a-boo.
What Classic Picture Book Am I?
Leave your best guess in the comments below. Find out the answer when the next Picture Book Personals is posted.
And the answer to last week’s Picture Book Personals is…
Caps For Sale
The number of kids with incarcerated parents has increased nearly 80% in the last 20 years, according to data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics. More than 2.7 million children have a parent who…
Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Lane Pearman
I know a lot of authors feel overwhelmed in the digital age of publishing and that is perfectly understandable. But today I would like to pan back and maybe offer a refreshed perspective to keep you pressing.
Today we face the challenge of creating a brand. But you might be thinking, “What exactly is a brand?” There is a lot of misinformation floating around so that is a reasonable question to ask.
A brand is the power of a name to drive sales. Our name alone compels action.
No easy task. Overcoming inertia is critical for any author who wants to make a living doing this writing thing. In an age of instant? This is going to take a while, but hopefully I can help 😉 .
The Struggle is NOT New
Publishers have always struggled to help authors…
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Image from The Peddler’s Bed
The Peddler is jumping for joy because it’s a brand new year, full of possibilities. It’s also a year full of giveaways! I’ll be giving away a prize each month to folks who comment on a post–any post–during the course of the month. Winners will be chosen at random and announced on the blog. Subscribing to Frog on a Blog is recommended (though not required) to keep track of posts and to see if you’ve won.
Those who share a post, will get an extra chance to win that month’s prize. Prizes will consist of picture books, picture book critiques from me, a set of pilot’s pens (Night Writer–for writing in the dark), and other fun picture book or writing related stuff.
To kick things off, for January, I’m giving away a signed copy of my book The Peddler’s Bed. All you…
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I am celebrating the 2nd Christmas season of Dust Fairy Tales: Absolutely Aggie with an awesome giveaway. From now until December 25, I am offering a free audio book, free gift wrap, and free shipping with any Absolutely Aggie book purchase (USA only) via my web site www.michelleeastmanbooks.com
Aggie’s heart-warming story is a perfect gift for the little ones on your list. You can watch a preview trailer here: Absolutely Aggie Trailer
I wish each and every one of you a safe, blessed, and happy holiday season!
Wow! What a touching review…
Oh my word, do I love reading great kids books! The magical world of the Dust Fairy Tales, was recently introduced to me and I fell in love. A book that was cute, rhyming AND uplifting…. this one is a home-run! Michelle Eastman conquered a major feat with this one, because what some people don’t understand, is just how hard it is to write a children’s book that carries a positive message, without being preachy or sounding like an after school special. There is a fine line. What Eastman puts out in her Absolutely Aggie, is a message of belonging. To be and become the person you were created to be. Kids face hard truths each day, they get up, get on a bus or carpool head to school where parents aren’t there to protect them from bullying, crass language, and situations where they aren’t seeing themselves in the best…
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November 28th is National French Toast Day in the U.S. – to celebrate (and honor Sir French Toast), I’m running a giveaway! What am I giving away? One winner will receive:
- A signed copy of Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast (now) … AND
- A signed copy of The Case of the Stinky Stench (as soon as I receive my 2nd copy – the first is for me … er, my kids).
Simply retweet the tweet below by midnight Hawaii time to enter!
(if you’re not on twitter, you can share on Facebook and post a comment below to enter)
Note: The Case of the Stinky Stench will be released on May 2, 2017, so I probably won’t…
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I love answering questions asked by kids about my book! Recently, I was interviewed by several enthusiastic second graders from Redwood Elementary School in Fort Bragg, California. The interview has been posted to Jeanette Stickel’s blog SpeakWell, ReadWell. Jeanette is a licensed speech-language pathologist who works closely with these students. SpeakWell, ReadWell is a speech therapy and kid-lit blog that explores language, literacy, and literature, and I’m honored to be featured there. Thank you, Jeanette and kids! 🙂
To read the interview, clickHERE.
If you are a teacher, librarian, or parent, and have kids who’d like to ask me questions about my book, The Peddler’s Bed, or about being an author, please contact me by clicking HERE. I’m more than happy to answer!
Presenting a new little picture book fairy tale
Tilly and the Tooth Fairy
Friends, I am excited to present newly launched on Amazon “Tilly and the Tooth Fairy” written by Brian G Chambers and illustrated by yours truly, Söndra N Rymer.
Published by Fairy Tales Imagery, Inc.
Such a pleasure to work on the cover and art for a sweet children’s picture book story for children preschool age through third grade.
Tilly and the Tooth Fairy is an enchanting tale featuring a young girl loosing her very first tooth! Tilly loses one of her teeth the day before her seventh birthday. Her mum tells her the Tooth Fairy will give her a silver coin for it while she sleeps. Tilly wakes to find the Tooth Fairy at her bedside. Does this mean she won’t get her silver coin, or is there a great surprise for her? A gorgeously illustrated and…
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Having trouble finding the perfect book for the young child on your holiday list? Look no further! Hildie Bitterpickles Needs Her Sleep, is a sweet story that will leave little ones begging to have it read over and over again. Written by Robin Newman and Illustrated by Chris Ewald, the story will take your imagination to far away lands and leave images dancing in your mind.
Hildie Bitterpickles is a young witch who likes things done her way. In this fun story, young readers will learn how to handle situations when things don’t go their way, and how to implement problem solving skills in their lives.
Newman has written a beautiful character in Hildie Bitterpickles, and pulls in characters from fairytale favorites. Newman’s ability to bring new imagination and life to older characters is a great feat that she accomplished in a way that seems like it’s her second nature.
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Today it’s all about … Story Arc Components To be clear, I’m not discussing all components of the picture book story, just those relating to the arc. And personally, I am not a fa…
by Ruth Spiro I’ve spent the past few weeks in a flurry of activity, celebrating the release of my new science-themed board books, illustrated by Irene Chan. BABY LOVES AEROSPACE ENGINEERING! and B…
Enter to win an adorable prize package!
Dust Fairy Tales: Absolutely Aggie Children’s Book Review and Feature on Two Classy Chics blog.
I’m delighted to bring you another interview with one of the funniest picture book authors I know: Josh Funk. You may remember him from my last interview with him or you may have heard about him from somewhere else like his website. He has had 3 picture books published now (“Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast”, “Pirasaurs!”, and “Dear Dragon”) and it’s his third book release we are talking about today.
Me: “Dear Dragon” has gotten a lot of buzz lately as a story that addresses how to make friends despite our assumptions or prejudices. Was this something you had in mind while writing it? Did you anticipate that reaction?
Josh: Absolutely not. When I set out to write DEAR DRAGON, I mostly just thought it would be funny to see the characters misinterpret each other’s writing. I was more interested in the humor of it. Plus, I always…
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When your favorite book reviewer takes a crack at your book…in a good way!
Absolutely Aggie is a fantastic book that will make you simultaneously feel as if you’ve been given a hug and told to stand up straight. It’s a book about accepting who you are and finding the courage and hope to being even better than ever. This book will put a mirror up to you, analyze your flaws, fears, and self-doubts and then tell you to get over it because you don’t have to be perfect to be amazing.
Aggie doesn’t fit in with the other female fairies. She’s loud, she’s clumsy, she plays the bagpipes, she’s outgoing, her appearance is a bit ragtag, and she can’t quite figure out how to be so “perfect” all the time. The other fairies try to help her and give her lots of advice, but as much as she tries, it isn’t for her. She’s most content and truly herself when she’s playing her…
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Picture Book Personals
Boy seeks three portly bakers with a giant pitcher of milk to help make the morning cake.
What Classic Picture Book Am I?
Leave your best guess in the comments below. Find out the answer when the next Picture Book Personals is posted.
And the answer to last week’s Picture Book Personals is…
I bet you got it right!
Happy Birthday RIF, and go Tara!
Three years ago I visited RIF Headquarters in Washington D.C. to deliver a donation from Picture Book Idea Month. I was told an incredible story of how a RIF executive had just returned from one of the poorest areas of Appalachia. She visited a school with children who lived in run-down homes of five families each. Many more lived in tents patched together. These children had no books of their own. The books RIF provided would help give them a chance to succeed.
I wish I could recall the story in full. I was riveted listening about the sheer joy of the children. Many couldn’t believe the books were theirs to keep.
Every year I have taken the proceeds from the PiBoIdMo Cafe Press shop and given it to RIF. Every year I wish it were more. RIF is a charity I believe in so deeply. I believe in the power of…
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There is hope for our reluctant readers…
I have a confession. I did not read books when I was a kid. Of course, there was the time in 5th grade that I conspicuously placed A Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson on my desk, but that brief brush with literature was meant only to impress the two bookish girls in my class that I liked (one of whom is now a children’s writer but I’m not telling who!). Other kids were skateboarding to look the part. I was pretending to read books.
It’s not that I wasn’t surrounded by these bound bits of paper. My professorial parents lined our living room with volumes of fiction and non-fiction to quickly pull off the shelf if my sister and I needed help with our homework. I was a good student. Valedictorian even. But reading was something I only did when someone made me. Not because I didn’t like…
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“But…but…but…THAT”S not YOUR name as the Author!” I hear you declare indignantly…
That’s TRUE – I’M not the AUTHOR, my Mother is, but unfortunately she is not alive to publish it herself, (she died in 2000), so I’ve published it in her name.
Today would have been Mum’s 90th birthday if she’d still been alive, so my sister and I felt that this book would be a nice way to celebrate Mum’s life and memory.
What’s it about?
As stated in the book description:
We all have dreams, loves and hopes; but what if you are a girl growing up in 20th century Northern Ireland before, during and after the ‘Troubles’?
From the poetic thoughts of our Mother, we get a sense of what it was like, ranging from humour, sadness, wistful thinking and sometimes just downright nonsensical, these are the words of one such girl.
Each poem tells a story.
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I catalog hundreds of new picture books each year, and I read as many of them as I can. Unfortunately, I can’t review them all, but I can share them. Below are a few recent titles. (Summaries have been taken directly from the books whenever possible.)
On his first day of work, Maxi the little taxi zooms around town splashing in puddles and getting very dirty. Soon, no one wants to ride in him–until a little boy convinces Maxi to go to the car wash.
Pig siblings Henry and Henrietta love their blanket. As much as they each love playing with the blanket, they don’t love sharing it. Will ripping it in two solve all their problems?
Poco loves birthdays, and he loves inventing things. He invites his amigos over and fires up a new invention, the Cake-Baking Bunk Bed. But things don’t go quite as planned.
Getting George to…
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I posted this piece a while back…
With my son’s 4th grade year coming to an end, I find this information more timely than ever.
I love picture books, and I often write about them. In my post, Top 10 Reasons Picture Books Rock, I touch upon the importance of continuing to read aloud to your child even AFTER he/she is able to read independently. Please note that although children may be ready for early readers and chapter books, I implore parents to continue reading picture books with/to your children. There is no better way to connect at the end of a hectic day than to get lost in a picture book together. This ritual is one you can continue well into their teen years (yes, really, I promise). A child should not be denied this sacred time with you, just because he has “grown up”. Reading and/or revisiting picture books is a comforting ritual for children, and picture books have a magical way of opening dialogue and accessing feelings that older children may not otherwise share with you. So, crack open a picture book and enjoy!
If you are making this transition, you may find the following articles helpful.I hope you’ll discover something to enhance your family’s shared reading experiences.
1. Children listen on a different level than they read.
2. Life Lessons.
4. Reading aloud with older children helps builds vocabulary.
5. Physical closeness.
6. Sense of security.
7. Sense of belonging.
Here is another great resource for reading to your older child. This article includes an extensive list of recommended books.
Do you read aloud with your older child? I’d love to hear about your experience.
Children were sitting together as I carefully picked up each ‘masterpiece’, mounted and framed, and labeled with a title. They knew this was IT, seeing the results of their love and labor. I held up each piece, one at a time, as if it were the Mona Lisa. Then, I slowly panned each work of art to the audience and simply said the title and artist; “The Storm the White House and the Grass, by Dillon”, “The Big Scissors, by Hannah”, “Charlotte, by Ella”. Twenty-two pieces of beautiful art, and each one brought spontaneous comments from their peers: Eleni said, “That is so beautiful.” Jackson said, “Whoa!” Frankly, each piece of art they saw drew a wonderful comment. When I asked children, “What will all these masterpieces look like hanging together on a wall?” Miles immediately shouted out, “An art museum!” He was right. After carefully hanging all the art…
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We have an agent in the house!
Today, we are fortunate enough to have an agent’s perspective on rhyme. Raise your hand if you’ve heard, “We don’t accept rhyming manuscripts.” or “We don’t publish rhyme.”
We all know that’s not true. Brilliant, singing rhyme is published every day and the children who listen to it love it. So why do they say not to write in rhyme?
Answer: shhhhhh….listen carefully…
“It’s a trick so that unprofessional writers won’t send stinky rhyming manuscripts.”
Only the good stuff gets through, is published and blesses the laps of parents everywhere. Today’s guest blogger is here to share why this winning title is one such book.
I’m pleased to introduce
Agent Tricia Lawrence with
Erin Murphy Literary Agency
Agent Tricia Lawrence
Rhyme From Acquisition to Award
It’s the quintessential children’s book ideal. A sweet, rhyming story, sold in bookstores everywhere…
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It’s very easy to write bad rhymes. Lots of people do it. Therefore, there is a stigma associated with rhyming picture books.
Note: The following advice has been taken from Lesson 8 (Don’t Write in Rhyme) and Lesson 9 (Rhyming Is All About Rhythm) of Josh Funk’s ‘Resources for Writers – Guide to Writing Picture Books’ and from a ‘Mistakes You Can Make When Writing a Rhyming Picture Book’ list on TheListApp.
Also note: Despite everything Josh Funk says below, he is the author of Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast (a rhyming picture book), the forthcoming Pirasaurs! and Dear Dragon (both rhyming picture books), and several other upcoming picture books (nearly all of which are also written in rhyme).
If you’re going to write a picture book, the best advice I can give you is:
Don’t Write in Rhyme
“Why not?” you ask.
“But publishers are constantly printing new…
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Most of us have goals, intended to keep us moving progressively forward in a positive way, and frequently aimed at improving our life and happiness. To-Do lists of progressive, sequentially timed steps. Frequently aimed at acquiring bigger and better “things.” But examining our lives today at this moment and looking back, how many completed goals and fulfilled ambitions produced a lasting and enduring sense of joy and happiness? Or was that fleeting feeling gone upon setting the next “Happiness Target?”
Constant striving and yearning for “more and better”, along with unfulfilled desires create their own anxieties, stresses, competitiveness, anger and discord. This is not a prescription for laziness, but rather a realization that happiness is an inside job. It is not to be found in the world outside, achieved with the acquisition of more and more and more bigger and better things, recognition, awards or accolades, or arrived…
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The John Lennon Song Writing Contest voting opens today. Emily Arrow’s song “Curious Garden” inspired by Peter Brown’s 2009 picture book The Curious Garden is a finalist in the children’s category. I highly encourage you to visit the JLSWC Voting Page and vote for Emily Arrow and “Curious Garden” – if you haven’t listened to it, you can do so on that page (I’m doing that right now).
You can vote once per day during the month of April.
Here’s How Emily Will Thank You For Voting
Vote 1x – raffle for free album
Vote 10x – raffle for free album AND kazoo
Vote 20x – raffle for free album AND kazoo AND 3 books
Vote 30x – you’ll receive an album, kazoo,
and be entered in a raffle for a song written about YOU!
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Top 10 Reasons to Create Little Free Libraries in Your Community by Tammy Mulligan and Clare LandriganMarch 31, 2016
We often support schools and communities with promoting summer reading. We want students to continue their “readerly lives” over the summer. A few years ago, we were researching ideas to get books to students in different communities and we came across Little Free Libraries. We immediately feel in love! We were so enamored by this idea we decided we had to give it a try ourselves. We put a Little Free Library in Tammy’s yard.
- Share Your Books – If you are like us, you have books sitting on your shelves collecting dust. Instead of dusting, share your books with your community.
- Meet Your Neighbors – I can’t tell you how many neighbors I have met thanks to the Little…
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I catalog hundreds of new picture books each year, and I read as many of them as I can. Unfortunately, I can’t review them all, but I can share them. Below are a few recent titles. (Summaries have been taken directly from the books whenever possible.) Rating System: 🙂 Good, 🙂 🙂 Great, 🙂 🙂 🙂 Excellent. Don’t let my ratings keep you from reading a title just because I didn’t give it a smile. You may absolutely love it!
A vegetable garden appears to be a quiet, peaceful place. But appearances can be deceiving.
Kids celebrate happiness as they have fun doing everything from riding a hot air balloon into outer space to dancing on clouds, laughing with emojis and rocking out as a band.
One rainy day, Sam spots a perfect spring puddle. With his very first jump, he is off on an adventure of the imagination.
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