Kid Lit Author and Advocate

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

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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. https://www.vnsia.org/mothers-children-families/volunteer-to-help-children/

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 signed 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.

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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 #MARCHingBookstoKids 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.

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Picture books are my all-time favorite genre.  Each week, I fill my book bag and amble out of our local library; looking like Quasimodo, but feeling like Santa Claus. My son is almost 9, and we still cuddle up each night and lose ourselves in the pages of a new or favorite picture book.  Our nightly ritual is what inspired me to write my own picture book, The Legend of Dust Bunnies, a Fairy’s Tale.  As Picture Book Month approaches (November), I’ll dedicate more of my posts to reading strategies and shared reading activities.  I tailored the following activity to suit my book, but it can be modified to fit almost any children’s picture book.

PICTURE WALK

What is a picture walk?

A picture walk is a shared activity between an adult reader and child or group of children before reading an unfamiliar story.  During a picture walk, the reader shows the book’s cover and browses through the pages in order. The reader encourages the children to talk about what they see and what may be happening in an illustration.   Children draw upon background experiences as they interpret the illustrations.

Why take a picture walk?

Walking through the storybook pictures with an adult prepares a child for reading the story and teaches the use of visual cues as a reading strategy.  It allows the child to get a sense of where and when the story happens, the characters in the story, and what might happen in the story.  Picture walks spark interest in the story and set the purpose for the child to read and learn more about the story. Picture walks can help a child connect the visual images in the story to their own experiences and activate prior knowledge.  They can give children a tool to organize the information in the story, increasing the child’s comprehension of the story. The child is able to make predictions about what might happen in the story and how the story might end.

How to take a picture walk?

Explain that before you read the story, you and the child will look at the pictures together to see if you can guess what the book is about. Then you will read the book together to see if your guesses match the story.

Start by looking at the cover of the book. Ask the child what he/she sees on the cover. Ask what he/she thinks the story might be about. Travel through the pages of the book. Look carefully at the details in each picture, without reading the words.

Ask the child who, what, where, when, why and how questions about the pictures: Who is the main character? What are the fairies doing? Where do you think the fairies are going? When does the story take place? Why do you think the boy is sitting by himself? How are the lightning bugs helping the fairies? What do you think will happen next?  The reader can also focus on how the artist’s use of light, color, and perspective impacts the story: Why do you think the artist used a close-up image of the fairy’s face? Did you notice the different patterns on the wings of the fairies? Encourage the child to make personal connections: Does he remind you of any storybook character you’ve seen? Have you ever been left out of the group?

Acknowledge the child’s input: That’s possible. I can’t wait to see if you are right! Once you have previewed all of the pictures, read the story with the child. Stop when appropriate to discuss whether the child’s predictions matched the story.  Discuss why/not the prediction was accurate using information from both the pictures and the text.  After the child is familiar with the picture walk concept, invite him/her to take the lead and guide you through a picture walk.

Find more literacy activities at https://www.nationalserviceresources.gov/literacy-training-picture-walk#.VDQLshZHgbg

Find more literacy activities at https://www.nationalserviceresources.gov/literacy-training-picture-walk#.VDQLshZHgbg



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