Kid Lit Author and Advocate

Tag Archives: children’s book

Happy summer, everyone. I have been taking a break from writing to spend time with my son; however, I wanted to take a moment to spread the word about a new kid lit site, Storytime Pup. You can also find Storytime Pup on Facebook, Twitter and You Tube.

In addition to their kid-friendly web site, Storytime Pup hosts a You Tube channel featuring children’s books.

I was delighted to have my book, The Legend of Dust Bunnies, a Fairy’s Tale, featured last week https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rB_XIeuFdFg/

Storytime Pup was created by Bill McManus. Bill lives in upstate NY with his wife Diane and his 3 kids: Ryan, Colin and Shannon. He is the creator of Storytime Pup.  He is also an author, entrepreneur, inventor and actor. He enjoys entertaining and writing books for children because their joy makes him happy.

If you are a published children’s author (traditional or indie), I encourage you to contact Storytime Pup for submission information. There is no charge for having your book/s featured on the site.

I wish you all a wonderful summer!

scooter

 

 

 


nerd

I posted this a while back, but with the summer slide upon us, it seems fitting to revisit.

Are you, or someone you love, a book nerd? If so, how did it happen? Was it nature or nurture?

DSC_1809

My son has always been surrounded by books. Even before he was born, his bookshelves bore the weight of the legions of titles I had collected for him. With few exceptions, he has been read to/with every day of his 10 years on this earth. Each week, we visit the library and heap our bag to the top with books. He receives books at Christmas and on his birthday, and for no reason at all. He delights in choosing titles from the Scholastic book order forms sent home from school, and we are regulars at Half-Price Books. Books are ever-present in his day to day operations. In theory, he has all the makings of a book nerd. But, he’s anything but that. He will, on occasion, crack open his copy of Ripley’s Believe it or Not, or his Guinness Book of World Records to entertain himself. But, rarely does he deliberately choose to read for pleasure. Where did I go wrong? Why isn’t my boy a book nerd?

DSC_4364

I, on the other hand, grew up with no books in our house. I, honestly, don’t know if I laid my eyes on a book until I was in elementary school. We were poor, and my parents were teenagers. I was raised on reruns of Batman and Gilligan’s Island. I was also a PBS junkie (we had only 4 channels back then). In my parents’ defense, books were not as readily available as they are today. They were not crammed onto the shelves of Target and Walmart (we didn’t even have Walmart back then). For whatever the reason, no one read to or with me. Nevertheless, I sought out books. I couldn’t wait until the Book Mobile pulled up, in my neighborhood, and I could climb aboard and select my 2 book limit. I read whatever I could get my hands on. I read books beyond my years, and books I probably shouldn’t have read. I was not “nurtured” to love books-but I did, and I do.

shelf

So, I ponder the question: Are book nerds born or made? Clearly, despite my efforts, I’ve not nurtured a book nerd. And, despite my parents’ lack of effort, I am a book nerd.

lion

I welcome your thoughts on this topic.  Please leave a comment, nerdy or not…


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.

DSC_9435

 

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!

Mother-son-reading-resized-750x325

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.

Suggested articles:

7 reasons why reading aloud to older kids is still very important

1. Children listen on a different level than they read. 

2. Life Lessons.

3. Enjoyment.

4. Reading aloud with older children helps builds vocabulary.

5. Physical closeness.

6. Sense of security.

7. Sense of belonging.

The hidden benefits of reading aloud – even for older kids

Here is another great resource for reading to your older child.  This article includes an extensive list of recommended books.

Reading Aloud With Children Twelve & Older

Do you read aloud with your older child?  I’d love to hear about your experience.

 

yes kid

 


April is Rhyming Picture Book Month, so I thought I’d celebrate by giving away my newest picture book, Dust Fairy Tales: Absolutely Aggie.

Download the ebook for FREE, this week, on Amazon. Here’s the link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0155J4Q7I/

I just discovered that UK Amazon customers are eligible for the free offer as well.

Happy Reading!

 

aggie_cover_front_r-1

Here are some other literacy celebrations going on this month:

National Poetry Month

This April marks the 20th anniversary of National Poetry Month, which was inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996. Over the years, National Poetry Month has become the largest literary celebration in the world with schools, publishers, libraries, booksellers, and poets celebrating poetry’s vital place in our culture.

National Library Week  April 10-16, 2016

http://www.ala.org/nlw

First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country each April. It is a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation’s libraries and librarians and to promote library use and support.

Children’s Day/Book Day – El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Día) April 30, 2016

http://dia.ala.org

Children’s Day/Book Day, also known as El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Día), is a celebration of children, families, and reading and held annually on April 30. The celebration emphasizes the importance of advocating literacy for every child regardless of linguistic and cultural background.


When I learned that nearly 2/3 of children living in poverty do not own books, I started my literacy initiative, Picture Book Pass it On. My intention was to celebrate picture books and encourage people to donate books to kids in need. Fast-forward, a year later, and the grass-roots effort I began has grown into something truly remarkable.

PBPiO badge

Last March, I created a special initiative to collect books for children of incarcerated parents in Iowa. I reached out to friends, online and in person, to help with the month-long book drive called MARCHing Books to Kids. The books benefit the VNS of Iowa Storybook Project. Each month, the Storybook Project volunteers record incarcerated parents reading aloud to their children. The audio CD’s and books are then mailed to their children to keep.

In just one month, we collected over 350 books, 450 incarceration-themed Sesame Street book/CD sets, and loads of books signed and donated by children’s authors from across the US and several countries outside of the US.

books

This year, MARCHing Books to Kids is going strong. I reached out to authors I know, and they came through in a big way! So, I thought I’d reach out to some authors I don’t know and see what happens. Well, this is what happened yesterday…

kitty covers

I was delighted to learn that Nick Bruel, author and illustrator of the Bad Kitty series, donated a bundle of his books. Not only did Nick donate his books, he signed and added a doodle inside each one.

signed kitty

Owning a book signed by an author may not seem like a huge deal. But, the children and families served by the Storybook Project would likely never know that joy.

I truly believe books have the power to change lives. I am grateful to all of the authors who have already donated books to the 2016 MARCHing Books to Kids drive. Thank you for making a positive impact in the lives of kids in need.

The VNS of Iowa Storybook Project serves children birth-17 years of age. You can post your own pledge and learn more about the project at https://www.facebook.com/PBPiO/ If you’d like to donate a new or like-new book, please mail it to the address below.

VNS of Iowa, Storybook Project
c/o Tabby Kuehl (MARCHing Books to Kids)
1111 9th Street Suite 320
Des Moines, Iowa 50314

 


WARNING-

This post contains a shameless plug for my new children’s picture book…

200381425-001

What’s cuter than kitties in bunny costumes?

021

My new picture book! And it makes a much more practical Easter gift. For a chance to win a copy, head over to my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/michelleeastmanbooks/

aggie_cover_front_r-1

Post your favorite bunny picture on my Facebook page, and you are entered to win a free hard cover book and the audio book CD (US residents).

DSC_5505

Meanwhile, the real Easter bunny will be kissing winter good-bye…hello razors!

legs

 


MARCHing Books to Kids is underway! Throughout the month of March, I am reaching out to all of the book lovers, reviewers, bloggers, and authors who’d like to help get quality books into the hands of deserving kids. Happily ever after starts with one book and one child…

Featured Image -- 1290

Last year, I started the literacy initiative, “MARCHing Books to Kids” to raise awareness and collect books for children of incarcerated parents. I was delighted to have authors and lit lovers from all over the world support this cause. In fact, we received books from generous people in 11 different states and 4 countries! I hope this year will be just as great! The feedback from the participating families was incredible. They were especially touched that authors signed books for their children. That was a new experience for most of the families.

According to Reading is Fundamental (RIF), Nearly two-thirds of low-income families in the U.S. DO NOT own books.  That is just plain wrong.  But, we can help fix it.

girl wagon

I believe that every child’s Bill of Rights should be indelibly inked with the right to have picture books read to him/her and to own their very own books.  Many of us take for granted the sacred ritual of cracking open a picture book, and cuddling together while the words and pictures collectively take us away.  You can probably recall having been read to by your parents or caregivers.  You likely hold a special picture book, from your childhood, close to your heart.  And, until now, you’ve probably not given much thought to how profound that experience can be.

Imagine, never having that.

I CAN imagine a child, growing up, never knowing the power of a picture book.  I WAS that child.  I DO want to lead the charge to ink “Picture Book” on every child’s Bill of Rights.  I’m a mom, teacher, and children’s author who believes, passionately, that we should never, ever, underestimate the power of a picture book.

fist book

I celebrate the power of the picture book through my Picture Book Pass it On (#PBPiO) project where I share literacy information and resources and encourage people to donate books to kids in need.

Throughout the month of March I invite you to participate in a special initiative called “MARCHing Books to Kids”.  Book lovers can donate a favorite children’s book, and we invite children’s authors to donate signed copies of their books to the Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa, Storybook Project.

The Storybook Project recruits, screens and trains volunteers to work with incarcerated parents and/or grandparents at the Iowa Correctional Institute for Women (ICIW) in Mitchellville, Iowa and the Newton Correctional Release Center (CNRC) in Newton, Iowa. Once per month, volunteers work with the mother, grandmother or father. The parent/grandparent and volunteer choose a book from the Storybook library that is appropriate for the child. The parent or grandparent reads the book while the volunteer records the reading onto a digital voice recorder. The book and CD are mailed to the child.

To participate in MARCHing Books to Kids, please follow the 3 calls to action:

#1 Pledge to donate a new picture book/s to Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa, Storybook Project.  Authors are invited to sign their books. We accept books for kids birth-17 years of age, so the sky is the limit!

Books may be mailed or sent via Amazon to:

VNS of Iowa, Storybook Project

c/o Tabby Kuehl (MARCHing Books to Kids)

1111 9th Street

Suite 320

Des Moines, Iowa 50314

#2 Post your pledge on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/PBPiO .  I share posts on my social media, so please include photos, book links, etc.

Share it on your blog and on social media.  Please include our badge (see below) and #PBPiO, and #MARCHingBookstoKids.

#3 Pass it on.  When you post about your pledge, challenge one or more friends to join your #PBPiO  giving chain.  Encourage them to take the pledge and keep passing it on…

If distance prohibits your ability to mail books to the Storybook Project.  Please consider donating books to children in need in your own community.  Oh, and be sure to share your giving story on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/PBPiO We love to see how books are reaching kids all over the globe.

Please feel free to contact me at www.michelleeastmanbooks.com

I appreciate your help spreading the word! Please share on your blogs and social media. Thank you for making the difference in the lives of children and families!

PBPiO badge


I would like to reach out to kid lit authors and book bloggers to get quality books into the hands of deserving kids.

Featured Image -- 1290

Throughout the month of March, I am collecting new children’s books to benefit children of incarcerated parents. Authors, I hope you will consider donating signed copies of your books. Book bloggers, please help us by sharing this information with your readers.

I am a children’s author, teacher, and mom who is passionate about children’s literacy and the power of children’s books. When I learned nearly 2/3 of children, living in poverty, DO NOT own books, I was moved to act. I founded the literacy initiative, Picture Book Pass it On, to raise awareness for literacy issues and get books to kids in need.

Three years ago, the Picture Book Pass it On initiative grew to include a month-long book drive called MARCHing Books to Kids.

Throughout the month of March, MARCHing Books to Kids collects books (ages birth-17 years) for the VNS of Iowa Storybook Project.

VNS of Iowa volunteers travel to The Iowa Correctional Institution, in Mitchellville, once a month. With the aid of volunteers, mothers select one book per child to read via a digital voice recorder.  The audio CD and book are mailed to the child to keep. The mission is to strengthen the bond between parent and child, during incarceration, while promoting reading and literacy.

Since 2015, MARCHing Books to Kids has collected more than 1,500 books.                               Over the years, the drive has received donations from notable children’s authors such as    Robert Munsch (Love You Forever) and Nick Bruel (Bad Kitty series). Last year, more than 30 children’s authors donated signed copies of their books. Owning a book, let alone a book signed by the author, is a joy most of these children have never experienced.

girl wagon

I believe that every child’s Bill of Rights should be indelibly inked with the right to have books read to him/her and to own their very own books.  Many of us take for granted the sacred ritual of cracking open a book and cuddling together while the words and pictures collectively take us away.  You can probably recall having been read to by your parents or caregivers.  You likely hold a special book, from your childhood, close to your heart.  And, until now, you’ve probably not given much thought to how profound that experience can be…Imagine, never having that.

To participate in MARCHing Books to Kids, please follow the 3 calls to action:

#1 Pledge to donate a new book/s to Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa, Storybook Project.  Authors are invited to sign their books.

When packing your book/s, please include a note stating that your book is part of the MARCHing Books to Kids initiative.  Books may be mailed to:

VNS of Iowa, Storybook Project

c/o Tabby Kuehl

1111 9th Street

Suite 320

Des Moines, Iowa 50314

#2 Post your pledge on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/PBPiO .  Share it on your blog and on social media.  Please include our badge and tags #PBPiO and #MARCHingBookstoKids

#3 Pass it on.  When you post about your pledge, challenge one or more friends to join your #PBPiO  giving chain.  Encourage them to take the pledge and keep passing it on…

I appreciate your help spreading the word. Thank you for making the difference in the lives of children and families in need.

pbpio-and-marching-2017


I am trying out the new Amazon Giveaway service. Andy Mulberry recently blogged about her experience, so I thought I’d give it a whirl.

Many authors have a love/hate relationship with Amazon, so I understand if you do not want to participate.

old clown

But, if you are willing to give it a go, Amazon tells me my giveaway is now live and I should, “Share this link to let the world know.” I am quite sure the world has bigger fish to fry…

fish

but here it is:

https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/7483c0f0946705bc

I appreciate any feedback you have about the entry process. If you’ve used this service, please feel free to share your experiences/opinions.

You are all winners in my book! Thank you!

Girl wearing 1st place medal with arms in the air

 


To say the past year has been a whirlwind would be an understatement.

cat

I self-published my first children’s picture book around this time in 2014. Aside from my first year teaching, I have never worked so hard, or felt more inept. But, in both cases, I was determined to learn what I needed to know in order to be successful.

From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books

I set out to learn the best way to publish my book, but I gained much more than that. I started this blog, fumbled my way around Twitter and a few other social sites, and met a lot of truly wonderful people along the way.

Success is a relative term. And, for me, it has been a dichotomy. I have enjoyed many successful moments. But, for whatever reason, I still beat myself up about my shortcomings (not sure if that is an indie author thing or just an all-around author thing).

bully

They say success breeds success, and despite my attempts to sabotage my own, I’ve managed to publish a second children’s book. I was blessed to work with the same illustrator on what we both feel is our best work to date.

I’ll host the book launch party for my second book tomorrow. And, I’ll also celebrate the one-year anniversary of the book that started me on this wild and winding path.

To mark the event, I am offering both books for $.99 on Kindle from December 4-11.

I’d like to extend a sincere thank you to all of my online friends and colleagues. Being part of this community has definitely been one of the best aspects of becoming an author.

than

I wish each of you joy in the things you love to do. I’d love to hear about your experiences. Please feel free to leave a reply about your joyful moments.

Here are some of the moments that have brought me joy:

 

 

 


I am celebrating the arrival of baby book number two, Dust Fairy Tales: Absolutely Aggie. So, I am offering a giveaway each week, leading up to the official launch party on December 4.

free

Both of my books feature mischievous fairies who enjoy making messes in our homes while we sleep. Legend has it that each fairy has his/her very own dust bunny. The dust bunnies accompany the fairies during the long, and sometimes lonely, nights. The legend also says, the fairies are sometimes careless and leave a dust bunny or two behind.

DustBunnies_pg03DustBunnies_pg19DustBunnies_pg20

I advocate letting sleeping dust bunnies lie. If you agree, post a selfie or picture of the most active or interesting place YOUR dust bunnies hide.

self

Yes, this is a poorly-veiled attempt to plug my book.

Drain Plug

But, I am donating $1 from each book sold to Operation Christmas Child. And, I am giving away a print copy of my book (or ebook for outside the US) to the winner of the “selfie-sweepstakes”.

aggie_cover_front_r-1

Head over to my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/michelleeastmanbooks to post your entry.

Show Me the BUNNY!

021


WARNING-Shameless Plug to follow…

200381425-001

I’m celebrating the 6 month birthday of my first published children’s book. The whole experience has been more than a bit surreal. I never dreamed I’d see my self-published book on the shelves of libraries and bookstores, let alone that people would ask me to sign copies. I also never thought I’d come up with another idea for a book. But, Kevin Richter and I are currently working on book #2 in what has now become a series of Dust Fairy books. Needless to say, I am blessed.

10887478_10202900100657190_622404392503898149_o

The star of our newest book is Absolutely Aggie. She longs to join the fairy band, but she is too loud, too bold, and just too much for the more dainty fairies in the group. Aggie follows her heart, and she eventually discovers you don’t have to be perfect to find your perfect fit. You can read the latest Dust Fairy updates on Facebook.

KevToon_Aggie_v2

I’m also blessed to enjoy the company of my awesome blogging buddies. Your support and encouragement means a lot to me.

monkey

So, here comes the plug.

Drain Plug

In honor of the 6 month anniversary of my book, I am offering the Kindle version for 99 cents for 6 days. If you enjoy picture books with colorful pictures and subtle, yet sincere take-away messages, you won’t be disappointed in The Legend of Dust Bunnies, a Fairy’s Tale.

Thanks to Chris, The Story Reading Ape for pointing out that I previously did not include the Amazon link. Be sure to check out his blog. It’s like Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory for Indie authors! He is amazingly generous (not sure he’ll let you eat his dishes, though).

Featured Image -- 1083

Here is the US Amazon link to get your .99 cent Kindle book:

The Legend of Dust Bunnies, a Fairy’s Tale http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NT6MXM0/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_awdm_KZKvvb1XC9JFF via @amazon

Here’s a preview of the book I created using Animoto:

Happy reading!

Are you celebrating something special? I’d love to hear about it. Don’t be shy, leave a reply!

elephant asleep on rug


Wow! That’s all I can say about the wonderful authors who donated books to MARCHing Books to Kids of incarcerated parents book drive. I dropped off another huge collection today, and I was able to spend time in the VNS library. It was great to see all of the books on the shelves, but the best part was seeing all of your books. I was able to “Drop Everything And Read” a few days late, and I read many of your awesome books for the first time! You authors are as talented as you are generous. It was a pleasure to read the books you’ve created. The VNS staff members are very appreciative of the outpouring of donations from authors in 12 US states, and 3 additional countries. I’ll have the final book count very soon, but I can tell you the sentiment outweighs that total by loads and loads. Tabby, the program coordinator, mentioned how touched the inmates have been by the kind gesture from so many people who do not even reside in our community. Thanks to you, it will be a very special Mother’s Day for these ladies. Many of the MARCHing Books to Kids donations are being distributed in May. I am so happy to have been a small part in the work the VNS is doing to serve these families. Thank you so much for your generosity!

UPDATE-We received over 312 books and 450 Sesame Street Books/DVD Kits (Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration)

Here’s a shot of VNS staff members proudly displaying some of the donations.

11025874_810216532383450_4596285958879768004_o

Here’s a shot of the VNS library. Every month 60-80 books are sent to children of incarcerated parents (along with an audio recording of the parent reading the book to his/her child). They serve children birth-17 years of age.

11066818_10203236392584278_4570216960379558156_o

Here’s what I imagine the VNS staff and volunteers do every morning. They are awesome!

10422364_10152647964353581_3390424018745161189_n

It’s never too late to donate. Learn more about the VNS Storybook Project and how they connect children of incarcerated parents with their children through the magic of books. https://www.facebook.com/PBPiO

You can donate books anytime. Your book donations may be mailed to:

VNS of Iowa, Storybook Project
c/o Tabby Kuehl (MARCHing Books to KIds)
1111 9th Street Suite 320
Des Moines, Iowa 50314

mom jail

If you participated in MARCHing Books to Kids (in any way) or PBPiO, please feel free to post a comment below and include a link to your books or author page or blog.


If you are an author, you’ve heard it a thousand times, “Show, don’t tell.” So, why not go one better and let a video do the talking?

camera

One of the best things about being a children’s author is visiting schools. I love reading to the children and answering their questions about my book and about being an author. One of the most common questions is, “How did you make the book?” As a self-published author, I had a hand in every aspect of the publishing process, so my answer to their question could get pretty involved. Since most of us have an attention span of a…”Oh, look, glitter!” You get the idea. I decided to create a video to give kids a peek inside the book making process.

smurf

I am not a tech-savvy gal, and I am not made of money. So, imagine my delight when I discovered I could create a video for FREE! Yep, free. And, wait for it…EASY!

gluten

I used Animoto to create a short preview video. It is free to create a video that is 30 seconds long. It doesn’t seem like you can get much out of 30 seconds, but I was able to create a trailer to suit my needs.I later upgraded to the $30.00 per year plan to create a longer preview and the “Making the Book” video seen below.

No, I am not getting a commission from Animoto (although, that would be nice). I am just excited to tell people about it, because I was intimidated by the prospect of creating a trailer for my first book. That changed when I found this site.

Yessss!

boy fist

I love sharing things about my self-publishing journey with others. I hope this information is helpful, and I wish you well as you forge your own path.

From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books

I also love to hear from you. Don’t be shy, leave a reply. What cool things have you learned as a self-published author?

Tah-Dah…Here is my “Making the Book” video:

And, here is the preview trailer:


Thanks to everyone who was kind enough to indulge me in my shameless Easter Plug (re-posted below). We have a winner! I am happy to send a copy of my book and a dust bunny adoption kit to Clarike Bowman-Jahn. Everyone who “liked” or commented is welcome to a copy of the PDF version of my book. I’ll contact you to send that along.

photo 5

Little more than a year ago, I was working to get my first children’s picture book published. At the same time, I was making a clumsy effort at starting this blog. Social media was a completely uncharted territory for me. Millions of clicks later, I am blessed to have made many friends online. I am grateful for the connections, laughs, and knowledge we share. I wish you all the very best in your endeavors.

Okay…another shameless plug…

I am currently working on the second book in the Dust Fairy series. I am pleased to introduce “Absolutely Aggie”.

KevToon_Aggie_v2

WARNING-

This post contains a shameless plug for my new children’s picture book…

200381425-001

Something DUSTY is going on!

duster

Head over to my Facebook page for the details. https://www.facebook.com/michelleeastmanbooks

I am offering a special Easter GIVEAWAY. You can enter for the chance to win The Legend of Dust Bunnies, a Fairy’s Tale and an official Dust Bunny adoption kit. In this book, dust fairies come out at night and create all sorts of messes in our homes. The naughty nymphs hold crumb-spitting contests and fire soot from their slingshots. And they have a “fairy” good time doing it!

photo 5

To enter to WIN, simply LIKE my Facebook page, and ANSWER the following question in the FB COMMENTS.

What messes do you blame on dust fairies?

Or simply like or comment below to win a PDF version of the book.

man


I was both nervous and delighted when Matthew Winner, The Busy Librarian, and all-around great guy, invited me to come on his Let’s Get Busy Podcast.

I was excited, because I had never participated in a podcast. It sounded like a lot of fun.

scooter

I was nervous, because Matthew typically interviews folks such as New York Times Bestselling Author, Ame Dyckman (Wolfie the Bunny), and Nick Bruel, author of The Bad Kitty Series. I’m just an indie author, from Iowa. Someone pinch me!

pinch

We talked about my strange journey into self-publishing The Legend of Dust Bunnies, a Fairy’s Tale, investing time in building a presence on social media, and how connecting kids with books absolutely can make a difference.

fairy fan

If any of those things interest you, check out the podcast at http://lgbpodcast.blogspot.com/

Meanwhile, I will be doing this…

monkey


WARNING-

This post contains a shameless plug for my new children’s picture book…

200381425-001

Something DUSTY is going on!

duster

Head over to my Facebook page for the details. https://www.facebook.com/michelleeastmanbooks

I am offering a special Easter GIVEAWAY. You can enter for the chance to win The Legend of Dust Bunnies, a Fairy’s Tale and an official Dust Bunny adoption kit. In this book, dust fairies come out at night and create all sorts of messes in our homes. The naughty nymphs hold crumb-spitting contests and fire soot from their slingshots. And they have a “fairy” good time doing it!

photo 5

To enter to WIN, simply LIKE my Facebook page, and ANSWER the following question in the FB COMMENTS.

What messes do you blame on dust fairies?

Or simply like or comment below to win a PDF version of the book.

man


Why would anyone want to put a picture book in prison? I’ll give you 2.7 Million reasons why…

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 is incarcerated, and parents of another 10 million children have been incarcerated at some point.  The experience can be profoundly difficult for children, increasing their risk of living in poverty and housing instability, as well as causing emotional trauma, pain, and social stigma. http://www.americanlibrariesmagazine.org/article/reading-inside

prison

But, through programs like the Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa Storybook Project, some of that stress melt away when kids are able to visit their parent and read a special book together. Through an audio-tape reading program wherein imprisoned parents/grandparents read books to their children/grandchildren on tape, family bonds are strengthened and literacy skills improve as they encourage their children to read with them and in their absence.

mom jail

The Storybook Project recruits, screens and trains volunteers to work with incarcerated parents and/or grandparents at the Iowa Correctional Institute for Women (ICIW) in Mitchellville, Iowa and the Newton Correctional Release Center (CNRC) in Newton, Iowa. Once per month, volunteers work with the mother, grandmother or father. The parent/grandparent and volunteer choose a book from the Storybook library that is appropriate for the child. The parent or grandparent reads the book while the volunteer records the reading onto a digital voice recorder. The book and CD are mailed to the child.

How can you help?  Donate a book.  Visit https://www.facebook.com/PBPiO

The Storybook Project serves children Birth-17 years. They welcome donations of board books, picture books, early readers, graphic novels, chapter books, novels, non-fiction, etc. The sky is the limit!

Throughout the month of March, Picture Book Pass it On is launching a special initiative called “MARCHing Books to Kids”.

We encourage book lovers to donate a favorite children’s book, and we invite children’s authors to donate signed copies of their books to the Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa, Storybook Project.

To participate in MARCHing Books to Kids, please follow the 3 calls to action:

#1 Pledge to donate a new picture book/s to Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa, Storybook Project. Authors are invited to sign their books. Please include a note stating that your book is part of the Picture Book Pass it On/MARCHing Books to Kids initiative. Books may be mailed to:

VNS of Iowa, Storybook Project

c/o Tabby Kuehl

1111 9th Street

Suite 320

Des Moines, Iowa 50314

#2 Post your pledge on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/PBPiO. Share it on your blog and on social media. Please include our badge and ‪#‎PBPiO‬, and ‪#‎MARCHingBookstoKids‬

#3 Pass it on. When you post about your pledge, challenge one or more friends to join your #PBPiO giving chain. Encourage them to take the pledge and keep passing it on…

If distance prohibits your ability to mail books to the Storybook Project, please consider donating books to children in need in your own community. Oh, and be sure to share your giving story on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/PBPiO We love to see how books are reaching kids all over the globe. So far, we have people “Passing it On” in the US, the UK, Australia, and Greece!

Please feel free to contact me at www.michelleeastmanbooks.com

Thank you for making the difference in the lives of children and families!

Please consider sharing this message on social media to help spread the word about #PBPiO and #MARCHingBookstoKids.


I am celebrating the power of picture books through an initiative called #MARCHingBookstoKids https://www.facebook.com/PBPiO Please join us by donating a book to a child of an incarcerated parent.

prison

The Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa, Storybook Project is collecting books for children birth-17 years of age. Each month, VNS volunteers record an incarcerated parent reading a book to his/her child. The book and the recording are mailed to the child to keep. Please include a note stating that your book is part of the Picture Book Pass it On/MARCHing Books to Kids initiative.

VNS of Iowa, Storybook Project

c/o Tabby Kuehl (MARCHing Books to KIds)

1111 9th Street

Suite 320

Des Moines, Iowa 50314

Thank you for making a difference to a family in need.

burn books


I write books for children. I’ve actually managed to get one published. But, I have a LOT to learn about the craft. The ReFoReMo Challenge was created by, children’s book writer, Carrie Charley Brown. You can learn more about it here http://www.carriecharleybrown.com/reforemo/the-reforemo-challenge-is-coming-soon

As Brown puts it, the basic idea is: “As picture book writers, it is necessary to read heaps and gobs of picture books to truly understand the form, the market, and the craft of writing them.  This challenge will be a place to build your reading background with current widely recommended picture books, research, learn how to use mentor texts, and share GREAT picture book models.”

The challenge begins March 1 and ends March 31. So, I am a little late to the party. To add insult to injury, I am not exactly following the guidelines. Instead of researching picture books, I am researching the writers. My search today resulted in some mind-blowing (to me) facts about Shel Silverstein, author of The Giving Tree and numerous poetry books for children. Sit back, relax, and enjoy a peek into the weird and wonderful life of a true Renaissance Man.

  1. He served in Japan and Korea for the United States Army.
  2. In 1957, Silverstein became one of the leading cartoonists in Playboy Magazine.
  3. Silverstein’s editor at Harper & Row, Ursula Nordstrom, encouraged him to write children’s poetry.
  4. He wrote the lyrics and music for many hit songs for artists such as Dr. Hook, Johnny Cash, and Loretta Lynn. He wrote most of the Dr. Hook songs, including “The Cover of ‘Rolling Stone
  5. Silverstein composed original music for several films and displayed a musical versatility in these projects, playing guitar, piano, saxophone and trombone.
  6. He had a popular following on Dr. Demento’s radio show. Among his best-known comedy songs were “Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout (Would Not Take The Garbage Out)” and “The Smoke-Off” (a tale of a contest to determine who could roll—or smoke—marijuana joints faster).
  7. Silverstein’s “A Boy Named Sue” won a 1970 Grammy. He was nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe for his song “I’m Checkin’ Out” in the film Postcards from the Edge. He was posthumously inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2002.
  8. He believed that written works needed to be read on paper—the correct paper for the particular work. He usually would not allow his poems and stories to be published unless he could choose the type, size, shape, color, and quality of the paper. Being a book collector, he took seriously the feel of the paper, the look of the book, the fonts, and the binding. Most of his books did not have paperback editions because he did not want his work to be diminished in any way.
  9. In January 1959, Look, Charlie: A Short History of the Pratfall was a chaotic off-Broadway comedy staged by Silverstein, and he went on to write more than 100 one-act plays.
  10. Silverstein’s estate continues to control copyright permissions on his work.

mouse

UPDATE-Children’s authors are giving BIG!

MARCHing Books to Kids launched just over a week ago, and children’s authors are already making a big impact.  Thanks to all of you who have blogged or re-blogged about the initiative.  And thank you to every person who has donated a book to help a child and an incarcerated parent connect through the power of reading. If you’d like to learn how you can help get books to kids in need visit Picture Book Pass it On (https://www.facebook.com/PBPiO)

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 is incarcerated, and parents of another 10 million children have been incarcerated at some point.  The experience can be profoundly difficult for children, increasing their risk of living in poverty and housing instability, as well as causing emotional trauma, pain, and social stigma. http://www.americanlibrariesmagazine.org/article/reading-inside

But, through programs like the Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa Storybook Project, some of that stress melt away when kids are able to visit their parent and read a special book together. Through an audio-tape reading program wherein imprisoned parents/grandparents read books to their children/grandchildren on tape, family bonds are strengthened and literacy skills improve as they encourage their children to read with them and in their absence.

The Storybook Project recruits, screens and trains volunteers to work with incarcerated parents and/or grandparents at the Iowa Correctional Institute for Women (ICIW) in Mitchellville, Iowa and the Newton Correctional Release Center (CNRC) in Newton, Iowa. Once per month, volunteers work with the mother, grandmother or father. The parent/grandparent and volunteer choose a book from the Storybook library that is appropriate for the child. The parent or grandparent reads the book while the volunteer records the reading onto a digital voice recorder. The book and CD are mailed to the child.

How can you help?  Donate a book.  Visit https://www.facebook.com/PBPiO

The Storybook Project serves children Birth-17 years. They welcome donations of board books, picture books, early readers, graphic novels, chapter books, novels, non-fiction, etc. The sky is the limit!

Throughout the month of March, Picture Book Pass it On is launching a special initiative called “MARCHing Books to Kids”.

We encourage book lovers to donate a favorite children’s book, and we invite children’s authors to donate signed copies of their books to the Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa, Storybook Project.

To participate in MARCHing Books to Kids, please follow the 3 calls to action:

#1 Pledge to donate a new picture book/s to Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa, Storybook Project. Authors are invited to sign their books. Please include a note stating that your book is part of the Picture Book Pass it On/MARCHing Books to Kids initiative. Books may be mailed to:

VNS of Iowa, Storybook Project

c/o Tabby Kuehl

1111 9th Street

Suite 320

Des Moines, Iowa 50314

#2 Post your pledge on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/PBPiO. Share it on your blog and on social media. Please include our badge and ‪#‎PBPiO‬, and ‪#‎MARCHingBookstoKids‬

#3 Pass it on. When you post about your pledge, challenge one or more friends to join your #PBPiO giving chain. Encourage them to take the pledge and keep passing it on…

If distance prohibits your ability to mail books to the Storybook Project, please consider donating books to children in need in your own community. Oh, and be sure to share your giving story on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/PBPiO We love to see how books are reaching kids all over the globe. So far, we have people “Passing it On” in the US, the UK, Australia, and Greece!

Please feel free to contact me at www.michelleeastmanbooks.com

Thank you for making the difference in the lives of children and families!

Knowing that the future of our country is inextricably linked to our skills in literacy, and you can make a difference immediately.  We have known for as long as we have had written language that literacy is the vehicle for other learning. When children have access to books, we empower them to develop a lifelong love for learning, which strengthens us all. http://www.americanliteracynews.com/reading-fundamentals/americas-literacy-crisis-an-overlooked-epidemic

burn books

PBPiO badge


1.  Deadlines, Schmedlines…

My deadlines are self-imposed…sort of like my flexible rule about the acceptable number of days clean clothes may remain peacefully at rest in their basket.

laundrey

2.  The opportunity to relentlessly stalk work closely with my super-talented illustrator…

I’m not sure this one would be on Kevin Richter’s Top 5 list. But, he has the patience of a saint and has agreed to travel this road with me one more time. Allow me to introduce our newest Dust Fairy, Absolutely Aggie.

aggie pic 2KevToon_Aggie_v2

3.  I can give my book away for free…

I don’t mean KDP Promotions. I mean I can give my book to any charity, school, library, or organization I choose. In fact, I started my own literacy initiative to get books to kids in need. Since November, over 30 authors have joined me to get books to kids in need!

PBPiO badge

4.  Even though I’m self-published, I get invited to “real author” events…

I love visiting schools. I recently had a Skype visit with my first group of out-of-state children, and it was awesome!

2014-11-10 11.53.18

I am not exactly proud of it, but I did autograph a girl’s arm (seriously, I tried to decline, but she was eerily persuasive).

tattoo

5.  I was able to find a high-quality Print on Demand service that did not suck…

dead

I am really happy with the quality of my final product. It passed muster and earned the right to sit with “real” books in libraries and bookstores (it’s even on the shelves at our local Barnes and Noble store). Bonus-people, not related to me, actually bought copies of my book!

book on shelf10887478_10202900100657190_622404392503898149_o

 

What things DON’T suck about your self-publishing story? I’d love to hear about your journey. Don’t be shy-leave a reply!

 


prison

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 is incarcerated, and parents of another 10 million children have been incarcerated at some point.  The experience can be profoundly difficult for children, increasing their risk of living in poverty and housing instability, as well as causing emotional trauma, pain, and social stigma. http://www.americanlibrariesmagazine.org/article/reading-inside

But, through programs like the Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa Storybook Project, some of that stress melt away when kids are able to visit their parent and read a special book together. Through an audio-tape reading program wherein imprisoned parents/grandparents read books to their children/grandchildren on tape, family bonds are strengthened and literacy skills improve as they encourage their children to read with them and in their absence.

The Storybook Project recruits, screens and trains volunteers to work with incarcerated parents and/or grandparents at the Iowa Correctional Institute for Women (ICIW) in Mitchellville, Iowa and the Newton Correctional Release Center (CNRC) in Newton, Iowa. Once per month, volunteers work with the mother, grandmother or father. The parent/grandparent and volunteer choose a book from the Storybook library that is appropriate for the child. The parent or grandparent reads the book while the volunteer records the reading onto a digital voice recorder. The book and CD are mailed to the child.

How can you help?  Donate a book.  Visit https://www.facebook.com/PBPiO

The Storybook Project serves children Birth-17. They welcome donations of board books, picture books, early readers, graphic novels, chapter books, novels, non-fiction, etc. The sky is the limit!

Throughout the month of March, Picture Book Pass it On is launching a special initiative called “MARCHing Books to Kids”.

We encourage book lovers to donate a favorite children’s book, and we invite children’s authors to donate signed copies of their books to the Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa, Storybook Project.

To participate in MARCHing Books to Kids, please follow the 3 calls to action:

#1 Pledge to donate a new picture book/s to Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa, Storybook Project. Authors are invited to sign their books. Please include a note stating that your book is part of the Picture Book Pass it On/MARCHing Books to Kids initiative. Books may be mailed to:

VNS of Iowa, Storybook Project

c/o Tabby Kuehl

1111 9th Street

Suite 320

Des Moines, Iowa 50314

#2 Post your pledge on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/PBPiO. Share it on your blog and on social media. Please include our badge and ‪#‎PBPiO‬, and ‪#‎MARCHingBookstoKids‬

#3 Pass it on. When you post about your pledge, challenge one or more friends to join your #PBPiO giving chain. Encourage them to take the pledge and keep passing it on…

If distance prohibits your ability to mail books to the Storybook Project, please consider donating books to children in need in your own community. Oh, and be sure to share your giving story on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/PBPiO We love to see how books are reaching kids all over the globe. So far, we have people “Passing it On” in the US, the UK, Australia, and Greece!

Please feel free to contact me at www.michelleeastmanbooks.com

Thank you for making the difference in the lives of children and families!

Knowing that the future of our country is inextricably linked to our skills in literacy, and you can make a difference immediately.  We have known for as long as we have had written language that literacy is the vehicle for other learning. When children have access to books, we empower them to develop a lifelong love for learning, which strengthens us all. http://www.americanliteracynews.com/reading-fundamentals/americas-literacy-crisis-an-overlooked-epidemic

burn books

PBPiO badge


It’s a little early, but I wanted to reach out to all of the book lovers and authors who’d like to join me to get quality books into the hands of deserving kids.

Featured Image -- 1290

Last year, I started the initiative, “MARCHing Books to Kids” to raise awareness and collect books for children of incarcerated parents. I was delighted to have authors and lit lovers from all over the world support this cause. In fact, we collected 348 books from generous people in 11 different states and 4 countries! I hope this year will be just as great! The feedback from the participating families was incredible. They were especially touched that authors signed books for their children. That was a new experience for most of the families.

According to Reading is Fundamental (RIF), Nearly two-thirds of low-income families in the U.S. DO NOT own books.  That is just plain wrong.  But, we can help fix it.

girl wagon

I believe that every child’s Bill of Rights should be indelibly inked with the right to have picture books read to him/her and to own their very own books.  Many of us take for granted the sacred ritual of cracking open a picture book, and cuddling together while the words and pictures collectively take us away.  You can probably recall having been read to by your parents or caregivers.  You likely hold a special picture book, from your childhood, close to your heart.  And, until now, you’ve probably not given much thought to how profound that experience can be.

Imagine, never having that.

I CAN imagine a child, growing up, never knowing the power of a picture book.  I WAS that child.  I DO want to lead the charge to ink “Picture Book” on every child’s Bill of Rights.  I’m a mom, teacher, and children’s author who believes, passionately, that we should never, ever, underestimate the power of a picture book.

fist book

I celebrate the power of the picture book through my Picture Book Pass it On (#PBPiO) project where I share literacy information and resources and encourage people to donate books to kids in need.

Throughout the month of March I invite you to participate in a special initiative called “MARCHing Books to Kids”.  PBPiO encourages book lovers to donate a favorite children’s book, and we invite children’s authors to donate signed copies of their books to the Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa, Storybook Project.

The Storybook Project recruits, screens and trains volunteers to work with incarcerated parents and/or grandparents at the Iowa Correctional Institute for Women (ICIW) in Mitchellville, Iowa and the Newton Correctional Release Center (CNRC) in Newton, Iowa. Once per month, volunteers work with the mother, grandmother or father. The parent/grandparent and volunteer choose a book from the Storybook library that is appropriate for the child. The parent or grandparent reads the book while the volunteer records the reading onto a digital voice recorder. The book and CD are mailed to the child.

To participate in MARCHing Books to Kids, please follow the 3 calls to action:

#1 Pledge to donate a new picture book/s to Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa, Storybook Project.  Authors are invited to sign their books.  Please include a note stating that your book is part of the Picture Book Pass it On/MARCHing Books to Kids initiative.  Books may be mailed to:

VNS of Iowa, Storybook Project

c/o Tabby Kuehl

1111 9th Street

Suite 320

Des Moines, Iowa 50314

#2 Post your pledge on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/PBPiO .  Share it on your blog and on social media.  Please include our badge and #PBPiO, and #MARCHingBookstoKids

#3 Pass it on.  When you post about your pledge, challenge one or more friends to join your #PBPiO  giving chain.  Encourage them to take the pledge and keep passing it on…

If distance prohibits your ability to mail books to the Storybook Project.  Please consider donating books to children in need in your own community.  Oh, and be sure to share your giving story on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/PBPiO We love to see how books are reaching kids all over the globe.

Please feel free to contact me at www.michelleeastmanbooks.com

I appreciate your help spreading the word! Thank you for making the difference in the lives of children and families!

PBPiO badge


I am happy to join gargoylebruce on his Oddity Odyssey.  The challenge is all about finding books that are odd FOR YOU!

I headed to our local library last week, in search of a weird picture book.  I was not disappointed when I discovered this little beauty.

Here Comes the Garbage Barge is not a title one typically finds in the Easy Reader section.

The somewhat grotesque illustrations stand out among the “sea” of kid-lit cuties.

image

The subject matter was undeniably yucky!  But, I decided to “dive” into its pages.

image

I’m guessing this book is not at the top of the most checked-out titles list.  Probably just a few Wednesday Adams-types and I took the “plunge”.

image

You know what they say about judging a book by its cover?  Well, it turns out this book was much “deeper” than I suspected.

The book is based on the true story of a barge called the Mobro 4000.  By the late 1980’s, Long Island’s landfills were overflowing and polluting the groundwater.  City officials outlawed burying any more garbage.  Since hauling the trash upstate was very expensive, the decision was made to ship it down South.  In March 1987, the barge left Long Island, piled high with 3,100 tons of rotting garbage, looking for a place to discharge its cargo. It traveled all the way from New York to North Carolina, Alabama, Louisiana, Texas, Mexico, and Belize, but no community wanted to let it unload. After 162 days at sea, the Garbage Barge returned to Long Island, and the trash was incinerated.  The media attention highlighted our country’s waste disposal problem, and recycling became much more widely practiced.

The moral of the story?  Don’t Make so Much Garbage, and trashy books can make a big “splash”!

image

Have you read any weird books lately?

odd


free

If you are into sling-shot toting fairies and dust bunnies, you can get the Kindle version of my new children’s picture book, The Legend of Dust Bunnies, a Fairy’s Tale, for FREE until Friday.

When given lemons you’re supposed to make lemonade, right? This story does one better, it turns DUST into DUST BUNNIES. The Legend of Dust Bunnies is the story about how and why a misfit Dust Fairy turns dust into cuddly dust bunnies and the joyful aftermath that follows. It will have families looking at dust bunnies in a new light, and may actually give kids an excuse NOT to clean their rooms. Read more of the review at http://thepicturebookreview.com/

The Legend of Dust Bunnies, a Fairy's Tale


As a self-published author, I have to find the humor in my daily existence, or I would go insane. Each morning, I sit down and commence work on any number of projects, in various stages of development. As my eyes drag my brain from one work pile to the next, I try to determine which hamster wheel I’ll climb into today. As with most things in life, the squeaky wheel gets the grease (in my case, elbow grease). Most recently, this hamster has been doing laps on the book promotion wheel. And, I can tell you, promoting a book is no walk in the park.

hamster

I released my first children’s picture book in November. I hopped on my wheel and convinced several stores to host signing events, and I scampered my way onto the shelves of local bookstores and libraries. Since then, I’ve sold around 600 copies. I am self-published, so that means I have to hustle and work for every single book I sell. I am up for the challenge, and I actually enjoy cultivating these local connections.

cog

It’s when I venture out into the online world that I feel the pressure of the rat race. It’s easy to get caught up in Amazon rankings, Goodreads reviews, Twitter, Facebook, and the like. Ironically, I find myself becoming the squeaky wheel, vying to be greased, “Buy my book. Review my book. Get my book for free.”

openreg

Despite my best efforts, my online sales are slow moving (only around 100 books sold). But, I lick my paws, and hop on the wheel for the next go ‘round. And, a little elbow grease never hurts.

Don’t be shy, leave a reply. There’s plenty of room on this wheel. How’s your publishing journey rolling?

Original image courtesy of Flickr Creatinve Commons, courtesy of Ali Samieivafa.


The Girl with the Picture Book Tattoo

Embed from Getty Images

Spoiler Alert…I don’t have a picture book tattoo. But, as I was driving my son to school today, the idea of a picture book tattoo popped into my head. A lot of weird thoughts pop in and out of there, so I didn’t give it much thought. But, imagine my surprise, when I later opened The Story Connection Daily and saw this article: 50 Incredible Tattoos Inspired by Books from Childhood. While I scrolled through the photos, I was reminded of the truly remarkable pieces of art picture books house.

But, I was most struck by the poignant simplicity of many of the choices.

I wondered why a person would choose to permanently mark herself with Lemony Snicket’s line, “The world is quiet here.” The answer, in her words, “the world is quiet here,” reflecting its dedication to keeping the world quiet, in other words, peaceful, knowledgeable and safe.”

Other choices needed no explanation: Shel Silverstein’s sketch of the old man from The Giving Tree, Dr. Seuss’ teetering stack of turtles, or Margret Wise Brown’s scampering Runaway Rabbit. One image said it all.

As I reflected on the imagery, conveyed by both text and illustration, I was reminded of the indelible imprint picture books etch on each one of us.

I may not have a picture book tattooed on my skin, but I proudly wear their marks on my heart.


Or, anytime, really. But, it wasn’t until I became a mom that I really began to savor that smell.

To be honest, I never knew it as a child. When I look back at my earliest memories, I recall a lot-good and bad.  But, there is not a single memory of anyone reading to or with me.  I cannot name a favorite picture book from my childhood; I don’t have one.  Picture books were not a top-priority for my teenaged parents.  Later, picture books were not on my single-mom’s priority list either. The weird thing is that I never knew what I didn’t have; I wasn’t conscious of the fact that my childhood was devoid of picture books. It wasn’t until my son came along…that it hit me-hard. I’ll never forget that night. We were curled up together, lights dimmed, reading our way through Goodnight Moon for the 100th time. He looked up, and asked me a very simple question, “Mom, what was your favorite bedtime story when you were little?” As I struggled to grasp hold of the memory, I could hear the sound of my tears, dropping onto the pages of the board book. I couldn’t answer; I didn’t have an answer.

Many of us take for granted the sacred ritual of cracking open a picture book, and cuddling together while the words and pictures collectively take us away.  You can probably recall having been read to by your parents or caregivers.  You likely hold a special picture book, from your childhood, close to your heart.  And, until now, you’ve probably not given much thought to how profound that experience can be.

Imagine, never having that.

When I look back on my early childhood memories, I recall a lot-good and bad.  But, there is not a single memory of anyone reading to or with me.  I cannot name a favorite picture book from my childhood; I don’t have one.   Picture books were not a top priority for my teenaged parents.  Later, picture books were not on my single-mom’s priority list either.

I guess that’s why picture books hold such a special place in my heart now. Perhaps that’s why, like a starved hyena, I gobble them up. Maybe it’s why I chose to write my own. I know it is why I jump up on my soapbox, touting the power of picture books.

It’s Picture Book Month, people! So, crack open a picture book. Cuddle with your child or loved one. Take a whiff, and enjoy.

Embed from Getty Images

I started a new literacy initiative called Picture Book Pass it On #PBPiO, giving free books to kids in need.  Learn how you can help kids in your area https://michelleeastmanbooks.wordpress.com/about/picture-book-pass-it-on-pbpio/

Share your giving story on our new Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/PBPiO


Embed from Getty Images

I am thrilled to count myself among the ranks of children’s picture book writers. I believe, whole-heartedly, in the power of picture books. Of course, there are thousands of reasons to love picture books, but I’ve compiled my top ten.

My Top Ten Reasons Picture Books ROCK:

  1. Picture books provide an ideal setting to connect with your child.  Reading picture books provides a time for parent and child to just be, together. 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 that you can continue well into their teen years (yes, really, I promise). Trust me, these shared moments are what kids look back on.  That child becomes a parent who reads to his/her child, and so on, and so on…
  2. Picture books are funny.  Where else can you laugh, out loud, about a pigeon begging to drive a bus or a “crack-up” over a dog, who despite his farting habit, becomes a hero?
  3. Picture books are serious.  Some of the heaviest social and personal issues seem more approachable when told through a picture book.  This can be a fantastic opportunity to explore situations, fears, and events that children might otherwise be reluctant to explore.
  4. Picture books are art. You don’t have to be an art expert to enjoy the limitless artistic styles waiting to be explored within a picture book.
  5. Picture books are ideal for reluctant readers. The illustrations in picture books help children understand the story better by providing visual clues of what is happening in the story and what might happen next. While a chapter book, filled with lines of text, might be intimidating-a picture book welcomes us to step inside-no special skills required. And wordless picture books provide an excellent opportunity to explore a story, without reading a single word. Wordless picture books can also be a great tool when working with English language learners.
  6. Picture books teach. I challenge you to find a non-fiction topic NOT explored in picture books. From world cultures and traditions, to life-cycles, or politics, picture books have it all. Teachers often use non-fiction picture books to supplement a specific topic or concept.
  7. Picture books are accessible. There is a reason librarians place picture books in bins on the floor and on low shelves. Picture books can take it, they are meant to be handled.
  8. Picture books make kids better readers. When we read picture books with our children, we are laying a strong foundation for their emergent literacy skills. The simple text helps them become skilled at sounding out words. They learn about the context and structure of stories, and recognize the relationship between cause and effect. All of these skills are crucial to becoming fluent readers.
  9. Picture books are NOT just for young children. As children get older, reading becomes a solitary adventure. We often push them (too fast, too soon) into chapter books and novels. But your child should not be denied this sacred time with you just because he/she is “growing up”. No one, nope, no one is EVER too old for picture books.
  10. Picture books are empowering. Children depend on adults for so much. We tell them what to eat, how to dress, what to say, and when to play. There aren’t a lot of opportunities for children to feel empowered. Going to the library, and allowing your child to choose his/her own picture books, is a great opportunity for him/her to feel independent. Very young children are able to memorize their favorite picture book stories. I don’t believe there is any better feeling of accomplishment than when a child can “read” a picture book to his/her parent. Can he/she truly read the words? No, but “reading” what he/she has memorized means he/she is internalizing the structure of a story. He/she knows it has a beginning, a middle and an end. He/she knows how to hold the book, and to turn the pages at the appropriate time.  And this tiny person is reading, to you, all by him/herself!  How cool is that?!

I hope my top ten list encourages you to crack open a picture book, with your child or loved one, and enjoy! Please feel free to leave a comment and share what you love most about picture books. I am interested to know how picture books impact you and your family.


Embed from Getty Images

Too many picture books? That’s like saying there are too many flowers.

I am thrilled to count myself among the ranks of children’s picture book writers. I believe, whole-heartedly, in the power of picture books. It’s Picture Book Month.  And I am celebrating my favorite genre all month.  I am offering a Goodreads Giveaway of my new children’s picture book, The Legend of Dust Bunnies, a Fairy’s Tale. Throughout the month of November, I’ll post tips, links, and articles pertaining to my favorite genre. The following recommendations were adapted from Reading Tips for Parents, developed by the National Center for Family Literacy .

I hope you’ll discover something to enhance your family’s shared reading experiences. 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!

Happy Picture Book Month!

An Age-Appropriate Guide to Books:
Your bedtime reading routine will evolve as your child develops physically and intellectually.

Birth to Toddlers

  • Developmental Stage: As babies, children learn by using their five basic senses to explore the world. By age 2 years, a child can use his oral language skills to identify objects and communicate ideas.
  • Bedtime reading suggestions:
    • Sing lullabies and songs.
    • Choose picture books with 1 or 2 pictures per page that are clear, simple, and filled with vivid colors. Repetition with these books helps foster language development by creating familiarity and associations.
    • Use board or plastic books and allow the child to explore the pages.
    • Help the child discover her senses through textured (e.g. Pat the Cat), scented (“scratch-n-sniff”), or squeaky books.
    • Play with rhythmic activities like clapping rhymes and knee bouncing.
    • Relate story time to nighttime/bedtime through simple “good night” books.
  • Recommended books:
    • Time for Bed, by Mem Fox (fosters early language development)
    • In the Small, Small Pond, by Denise Fleming (uses language that rhymes and repetition)
    • When Mama Comes Home Tonight, by Eileen Spinelli (introduces rituals)
    • Hush Little Baby, by Sylvia Long (details and reinforces the parent/child bond)

3 to 5 Years Old

  • Developmental Stage: Children in this age group learn that words represent objects and things. They are able to understand shapes, numbers, colors, and seasons. This is a time when children see themselves as the “center of the universe.”
  • Bedtime reading suggestions:
    • Read stories that repeat catchy phrases, inspire creativity and make reading enjoyable (rhyming, nonsense words).
    • Look for sturdy, pop-up and pull-tag books to help coordination.
    • Choose short stories that relate to everyday events.
    • Introduce books focusing on the ABCs, counting, colors, and shapes.
    • Kids this age love non-fiction. Read books about dinosaurs, trucks, and farm animals.
    • Select simple folk tales to expand a child’s world.
    • Begin to introduce longer stories and more detailed pictures.
    • Look for stories that can be acted out, such as The Three Little Pigs.
  • Recommended books:
    • On the Day You Were Born, by Debra Frazier (story includes nature)
    • The Relatives Came, by Cynthia Relant (creates an association with family)
    • Cowboy Dreams, by Kathi Appelt (includes repetition, rhythm, and word play)
    • Guess How Much I Love You, by Sam McBratney (encourages different and new ways to express an idea)
    • There’s Something There!, by Mercer Mayer (ideas that center on the child)

6 to 8 Years Old (Beginning Readers)

  • Developmental Stage: This age group is “grown up” and has many capabilities. They have a good command of language, have well developed imaginations, and are able to describe feelings and events. They like to read about things and events that are real. This is when children start to be able to see things from another person’s viewpoint. Parents and teachers of this age group should encourage children to read on their own as well as with a parent.
  • Bedtime reading suggestions:
    • Choose short stories with more words per page, pictures that match text, simple chapter books, and big print in chapter books.
    • Let the child choose books with subjects that interest her.
    • Begin to read real-life stories, simple biographies, and mysteries.
    • Have fun with joke and riddle books.
    • Introduce simple magazines.
  • Recommended books:
    • The Patchwork Quilt, by Valerie Flourney (story involves multi-culturism)
    • The Tale of Peter Rabbit, by Beatrix Potter (one of the longer editions; introduces fantasies that seem real)
    • May We Sleep Here Tonight?, by Tan Koide (plot that focuses on fear and resolution).
    • The Sneetches, by Dr. Seuss (story that involves stereotypes and encourages conversation)

Adapted from Reading Tips for Parents, developed by the National Center for Family Literacy


Embed from Getty Images

It’s Picture Book Month.  And I am celebrating my favorite genre all month.  Throughout the month of November, I’ll post tips, links, and articles pertaining to my favorite genre.  I hope you’ll discover something to enhance your family’s shared reading experiences.  I’ll also be participating in fellow-bloggers’ PBM events and challenges.

I am thrilled to count myself among the ranks of children’s book writers.  I shared a little about my self-publishing misadventures in a previous post, Pinterest Devoured my Soul, and All I Got was This Lousy Bookmark  In that post, I reveal the hidden horror behind self-publishing…BOOK PROMOTION!!!!

Embed from Getty Images

Yes, I must try to convince other people that my children’s picture book,The Legend of Dust Bunnies, a Fairy’s Tale, is worth their consideration.  I invite you to sign up for my  Goodreads Giveaway but I’d also like to celebrate Picture Book Month by thanking the awesome bloggers who bless me with their posts and sense of community.

For the month of NOVEMBER, anyone who leaves a comment, on this post, sharing a a favorite picture book memory or quote, will be entered to win a copy of my book.  I will also donate a copy to a local children’s charity.   Oh, I almost forgot.  Promoting a self-published kids’ book makes a person do some cray-cray stuff.

Embed from Getty Images

At the top of my cray-cray list is “adoptable Dust Bunnies”.  I created the “Dust Bunny Rescue Club” to raise funds for our local animal shelter. The Animal Rescue League of Iowa is hosting my very first book signing event, on November 13. The margin on a self-published book isn’t great, and I was determined to give the ARL more than $1 per book.  So, I’ll be donating 100% of the $5 Dust Bunny adoption fee to the ARL as well. The winner of the WordPress drawing will receive a copy of my book and an adorable Dust Bunny, complete with adoption certificate and pet carrier.  The book and bunnies are featured in my super-professional  iPhone shots below.  Be sure to leave your comment about your favorite picture book.  Thanks everyone, and Happy Picture Book Month!

photo 1photo 4photo 5


Embed from Getty Images

November is Picture Book Month, an international literacy initiative that celebrates print picture books during the month November.  I am a picture book fanatic.  I love picture books so much that I recently wrote my own called The Legend of Dust Bunnies, a Fairy’s Tale.   To celebrate Picture Book Month, and the launch of my very first book, I am giving away 15 FREE copies on Goodreads

Throughout the month of November, I’ll post tips, links, and articles pertaining to my favorite genre.  I hope you’ll discover something to enhance your family’s shared reading experiences.

I think sharing picture books is one of the most loving gifts a parent can bestow upon a child.  The good news is that it doesn’t take any special training to read aloud with your child.  If you are reading with your child, you are doing it right!  The great thing about picture books is that everyone, no matter how busy, can set aside 5-10 minutes a night to share a picture book.  There is no better way to unplug from a hectic day than getting lost in a good story. Creating a daily or nightly ritual of reading with your child is powerful way to connect with each other. I’ll get into this in greater depth in a forthcoming post, but parents should NOT stop reading picture books to their children when they become independent readers. Children should be allowed to continue to enjoy this sacred time with you. My son is almost nine, and we still come home with a heaping bag of library books each week, and they are all picture books. He reads chapter books at school and at home, but picture book time, is OUR time. Sometimes I read with him, and other times my husband takes the lead. But we never go to bed without at least one picture book story. Okay, now I’ll come down from my soap box and share some practical advice for getting the most out of your read-together time.

Here are a few articles I found interesting:

http://rochester.kidsoutandabout.com/content/picture-books-why-not-rush-your-kids-out-them/

http://www.thechildrensbookreview.com/weblog/2010/11/how-picture-books-play-a-role-in-a-child%E2%80%99s-development.html

http://www.rif.org/us/literacy-resources/articles/getting-the-most-out-of-picture-books.htm

The following suggestions and additional resources can be found at http://www.readingrockets.org/article/read-aloud-daily-practical-ideas-parents/

Read Aloud Daily: Practical Ideas for Parents

By: Texas Education Agency

When children hear books read aloud, they come to understand why learning to read is important. They learn that people read for different reasons – books that tell a story can be read for pleasure; books full of facts and information can be read in order to learn new things. Children learn a great deal when they listen to books read aloud – they hear new words, learn new ways of saying things, and are introduced to new ideas, different people, and faraway places

When reading a book with your children, you can:

  • Let them hold the book and turn the pages.
  • Talk about different parts of the book such as the front, back, title page, first page, and last page.
  • Take your time reading. Do not rush.
  • Point to the words as you read. Help them to see that there are spaces between words, that you read from the top of the page to the bottom, and that you read from left to right.
  • Ask them to think about the story as you read it.
  • Point to the pictures and talk about them.
  • Read expressively: talk the way the story’s characters would talk; make sound effects and funny faces; and vary the pitch of your voice throughout the story to make it more interesting.
  • Encourage them to ask questions about the story’s characters and events.
  • Talk about the story and relate it to their personal experiences.
Embed from Getty Images

http://picturebookmonth.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/PBMBADGE-AMBASSADOR.gif


Embed from Getty Images

As I make my way through the self-publishing world, I continue to be amazed at the kindness of strangers.  I have been touched by individuals I call “Cyber-Samaritans”.  From gestures as small as a website “like”, to those as grand as spending their hard-earned free time tutoring me…I am blessed.  As I stay the course, I hope to pay my blessings forward and back.

My first shout-out went to fellow indie kids’ book author, Aaron Peters. This time, it’s a two-fer. I’d like to recognize the dynamic duo, Judy Voigt and Karen LoBello. This sister team forged a path, as indie authors and self-publishers, while creating The Great PJ Elf Chase, a Christmas Eve Tradition. I ran across their blog very early in my self-publishing journey. I was on a mission to learn everything I could about self-publishing. I’d make my way from post to post, site to site, in search of knowledge. I’d dive into one “online haystack” after another, hoping to find that needle (in my case a compass needle to direct my path).

Typically, I’d dive in and 27 clicks later, I had found no practical advice for self-publishing a children’s picture book. Instead, I’d wind through a labyrinth, ending in advertisements for vanity presses and/or a push to buy a how-to book on publishing a novel or an ebook.

Embed from Getty Images

So, imagine my delight when I stumbled upon The Great PJ Elf Chase site. There it was, a blog about self-publishing a children’s picture book! More than a blog, it read like a personal diary, chronicling their every step and misstep. I couldn’t read through the posts fast enough. Suddenly, I believed I could do this. I could publish a bookstore-quality picture book. Like me, both women are teachers and moms. So, I felt a connection with them. I found their comments page and left a note thanking them for their inspiration and information. I also bought a copy of their book.

Since that time, I’ve corresponded with Judy a few times. She’s been kind enough to answer questions and offer her advice. I continue to read their blog and learn from them. You may want to check out their latest blog post Website Design Tips for Authors: An Interview with Jessica Zeigler.

I truly believe reaching out to helpful, knowledgeable, people like Karen, Judy, and Aaron helped pave the road to publishing my first children’s picture book, The Legend of Dust Bunnies, a Fairy’s Tale. I hope to pass on what I learn about the crazy and beautiful process of bringing a book to life. I keep this thought in mind: We can’t help everyone, but we can ALL help someone. I can’t buy every indie book, but I do buy as many as I can. My collection is growing as are my connections in the indie publishing world.

Embed from Getty Images
Embed from Getty Images

We know what happens “If you Give a Mouse a Cookie”…but what happens when you give a mom a blog?

If you give a mom a blog, she’s going to sit for hours, staring at a blinking cursor.  She’ll probably realize that she needs some help.  Then, she’ll venture out into cyberspace looking for advice.  When she looks for advice, she’ll notice that there are some really cool pins on Pinterest…3 hours later, she’ll remember that she was supposed to be looking for advice on starting a blog.  When she remembers that she was supposed to be looking for advice, she’ll realize that 9:00 am has become 2:30 pm, and it’s time to pick up her son from school.  When she looks in the mirror, she might notice that she’s still in her PJ’s and hasn’t bathed…again.  Which means, she’ll need a quick change, a spray of perfume, and a Diet Pepsi for the road.  And chances are, as she passes by the computer, she’ll notice, from the corner of her eye, the blinking cursor.

When I began the journey to self-publish my own children’s picture book, I had no intention of starting a blog.  But, start one, I did.  My foray into blogging and social media has introduced me to a wonderful community of like-minded Indie authors. I am grateful for their advice and support, especially when the cursor is blinking, and we’re out of cookies.

How did your blogging journey begin? How’s it going?


Embed from Getty Images

It’s Raining Books, Hallelujah It’s Raining Books!  At long last, the first shipment of The Legend of Dust Bunnies, a Fairy’s Tale books has arrived!  Is it wrong to dance around, in the garage…in my pajamas?  The doors are closed, so what the heck?  I am dancing with joy, and a whole lot of relief, since I scheduled my book launch party before I actually had books in hand.  The hardcover books are still in route, so I am not entirely out of the woods.  But, the paperback books are beautiful!  Please check out my free book giveaway on Goodreads or get your copy at Amazon

photo(2)

If you’d like to learn more about my self-publishing journey, check out this short book preview video:



iowalibrarychick

Librarian, Reader, Cook, and Wine Lover

CalicoKidz.com

Diverse. Fun. Books

Angel Krishna Story Books

Imagination is a gift...

Beth Anderson, Children's Writer

Reader, Writer, Miner of Moments

laurieajacobs

Thoughts on writing

Sweet Tea & Paperbacks

Each time you read a book, a tree smiles knowing there is life after death.

Jena Benton

Writer & Illustrator

nannygrannie

adventures of an adoptee, her garden & her outdoor adventures

Stacy J. Garrett's Blog

The Unicorn Without Training Wheels

Lifexperiment Blog

Sharing my experiences with all life's experiments!

nomnian

Something to see here, decide for yourself if you wanna stay...

Jean's Writing

Jean M. Cogdell, Author-Writing something worth reading, one word at a time in easy to swallow bite size portions.

Dayne Sislen Children's Book Illustration

The right illustration can bring your characters and stories to life

Animal Crackers & Couture

“Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it's better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.”

A Simple Life,really?!

A Little Bit of This And A Little Bit of That...

The Naughty Author

Be careful, or you might land up in my book.

%d bloggers like this: