Hooray for summer mornings, good books and cozy porches – perfect for story time! With that in mind, each Tuesday throughout July I will be hosting Summer Story Time on the Porch (and a Craft!) on my Facebook Author page. Here’s the schedule:
This week’s story time features GOODNIGHT ARK, my rollicking, yet ultimately soothing story about Noah trying to put the animals to sleep on at the ark! I do hope you will join me! You can get there by clicking my Facebook picture in the sidebar of this blog.
Now for the craft:
Inspired by Jane Chapman’s delightful renderings of the animals aboard Noah’s Ark, these painted rock animals are easy to make and fun to display.
Here are the steps for creating your own:
Read GOODNIGHT, ARK and marvel at all the different kinds of creatures that illustrator Jane Chapman has included the illustrations.
Have your child find an unclaimed rock. Examine that rock together with creative eyes. Then look through the illustrations in GOODNIGHT, ARK again. What animal could it be transformed into?
Using acrylic paints (so you can display your rock outside and the paint won’t wash off in the rain), let your child paint their rock to look like their chosen creature. Tip: Apply paint without diluting with water. Let one color dry before adding another.
FOR EXTRA FUN: Take a picture of your child’s finished painted rock and send it to me. With your permission, and I will double check to make sure I have it, I will share the pictures on Facebook and my blog so we can all enjoy each other’s creativity!
And here’s the story time (just in case you didn’t get a chance to watch it live.
THANK YOU for joining me for the LOVE IS KIND Puppet Challenge! I just finished live streaming on Facebook and thought I would take a minute to share the challenge with you here. Please find the video of the Facebook Live stream here, or simply scroll down for the instructions below. (The video is just for extra fun.) I can’t wait to see what you come up with!
Inspired by Little Owl, who extended love and kindness everywhere he went – and in very creative ways – the goal of this challenge is for children to extend love and kindness by creating a fabulous one-of-a-kind Little Owl puppet. They will then use that puppet to make someone else feel special and loved. Here’s what you and your child need to do:
Read LOVE IS KIND (Zonderkidz, 2018) and think about all the ways Little Owl was kind and loving.
Using materials found at home have your child design their own, original Little Owl puppet. Possible construction materials include: brown bags, construction paper, felt, newspaper, fabric, Legos, an old sock or mitten, a yogurt tub or milk container, feathers, sequins etc. Be creative and have fun!
Once the puppet is finished, spread joy by using the puppet as a side kick (like I do in my story times) to share LOVE IS KIND (or another story of your choice) with a special person in your child’s life – either in person or virtually!
FOR EXTRA FUN: Take a picture of your child’s puppet or you and your child reading with the puppet and send it to me. With your permission, and I will double check to make sure I have it, I will share the pictures on Facebook and my blog so we can all enjoy each other’s creativity!
INTERESTED IN PURCHASING A COPY? LOVE IS KIND is available wherever books are sold, but if you live locally, and want to show support for an indie bookstore — Anne, at The Town Bookstore if Westfield, NJ is offering 10% off any of my books (for a limited time only). Simply mention that you watched my Facebook Live Story Event. If you’d like the books signed, mention that to Anne and we’ll make it happen! The phone number for The Town Book Store is (908) 233-3535. You can also email Anne, at email@example.com
There’s a new TRUCK-LOVING picture book that recently roared onto bookshelves everywhere, just in time the new school year. It’s called TWO TOUGH TRUCKS (Orchard Books, September 2019) and it’s co-written by Corey Rosen Schwartz and Rebecca J. Gomez, with illustrations by Hilary Leung. Using two big trucks as stand-ins for two kids, it’s the perfect story to calm back-to-school nerves and set the wheels in motion for a terrific school year. Written by two of the best rhymers around, it’s also full of fun word play that will tickle the engines of young readers everywhere.
Now, to celebrate reading in general – and this book in particular – here are six book-themed extension activities perfect for 3 – 6 year olds. So, invite your kiddos to find a good spot to read… then extend the fun with one, two, or all of these activities (which rhyme, by the way, just because).
Take a local truck tally! After reading TWO TOUGH TRUCKS, have each child grab an index card and pencil, then take a little drive to look for trucks of all sizes. For younger kids, simply tally the number of trucks you spot. (This is a good opportunity to teach them how to tally- a wonderful counting skill.) For older children, consider having them list the different types of big trucks they see, then make tallies for each of those categories.
Have a mini-truck rally! Inspired by Rebecca’s and Corey’s truck-racing text and Hillary’s wondrous setting, grab your favorite toy trucks (and/or cars) and head outside to the sandbox, playground, or even your backyard. Rev up your engines for some good old-fashioned races, challenges, and maybe even a few stunts.
Take a picture read through. After reading TWO TRUCKS, let your littlest ones re-read it to you using the pictures as clues. Reading the pictures is a great pre-reading skill because it encourages interacting with the page. So, snuggle up and enjoy being “read” to. (Older kids who can read on their own, can also enjoy investigating the illustrations ways the pictures also tell part of the story.)
Do a “Read. Discuss. Do!” Author Rebecca Gomez has created a delightful reading extension initiative called Read.Discuss.Do! Here’s one she created for this book. To find others for a wide variety of favorite titles, search the hashtag #ReadDiscussDo on social media.
Have a truck-themed book fest. After reading the story, your kids might be inspired to read more truck-themed books. If so, head to the library and have a truck-themed book fest! Your librarian can help you find some good books.
Painting truck tracks is the best! Mess and grime and MUD are part of the fun when it comes to trucks (at least in my opinion). That’s why I’ve selected this messily adorable craft for post-reading artsy fun. Be sure to spread out some newspaper or a vinyl cloth before running those trucks through the paint! Smocks also advised. Afterwards, simply rinse the trucks off in a bucket of water -which also becomes an activity in and of itself that your kids will LOVE!
I found many renditions of this craft online. Here’s the one I thought had the clearest instructions:
Thanks for stopping by today. I hope these extension ideas inspire you and your littles to extend the conversation and the fun after reading TWO TOUGH TRUCKS. If you enjoyed this post, please help me to grow my audience (and ensure that you’ll be among the first to know about new posts) by following my blog or liking my Facebook Author Page. Thank you.
Now for the GIVEAWAY! If you’d like a chance to win a FREE copy of TWO TOUGH TRUCKS (Orchard Books, September 2019) simply post a comment below. (NOTE: Must be U.S. resident and at least 18 years old to enter.) The giveaway ends Thursday, 10/3/19 at 11:59 pm EST. The winner will be announced that Friday!
CUTE! Time for STOP FOUR of the LOVE IS KIND Valentine Tour and it’s craft time! This VALENTINE BOOK INSPIRED CRAFT FOR SIBLINGS makes a great valentine, but is also fun any time of the year. And the precious conversation that she suggests to accompany the craft is priceless. Head on over to Glitter on a Dime for more on the craft as well as details regarding their book giveaway.
Sunday afternoon, I participated in a very special Girl Scout story time at The Book House in Millburn, where Fernando, Delores and I got to share our story, DIVA DELORES AND THE OPERA HOUSE MOUSE! Our goal was to help the girls earn their “Respect Myself and Others” Petals.
First, after an animated reading of DIVA DELORES AND THE OPERA HOUSE MOUSE, I asked the girls several respect-focused questions about the story. Here they are, if you’d like to do the same with your class or troop:
What did you think of Delores? Of Fernando?
Were they respectful to each other? How or how not?
Were they respectful of themselves? How or how not?
Did they learn from their mistakes and become better seal/mouse because of it? How?
Next, I had the girls think about their own lives. How can they show respect for the themselves and others? As they brainstormed examples, I wrote them down on a master list so we could all refer to them during the craft. Here are their responses:
Finally, for the craft, I had the girls make Respect Fans. The fan craft was a twist on the Feathered Fan craft below created by picture book author Rebecca Gomez. If you choose to do this activity, you’ll definitely want to follow this link to get the details on creating Rebecca’s charming feathered fan.
Our added twist was to write examples showing respect for self and others in each blade. (This is where the master list was helpful, especially since the girls were still beginning writers.) Each fan needed to include at least two examples that related to self and two that related to others.
I think all agreed that the lesson and craft were fun and successful in getting the girls thinking about respect and the many varied ways that it can be shown.
Thank you The Book House for having me, and thank you Daisies, for being such thoughtful, engaged participants. Finally, thank you Delores and Fernando for letting us learn from your experiences! Happy Reading, all!
When Rebecca Gerlings, the illustrator of DIVA DELORES AND THE OPERA HOUSE MOUSE, told me she was going to be one of the featured artists at this year’s The Big Draw Epsom, I was excited and wanted to learn more about the event and her role.
What I learned is that The Big Draw is a big deal! The Big Draw is a “a visual literacy charity that promotes the universal language of drawing as a tool for learning, expression and invention” and, according to their website, since their launch in 2000, over four million people have participated. That makes them the world’s largest drawing festival! This year the festival ran from 1–31 October, and involved over 400,000 people from over25 countries!
The 2018 theme was “play” and in Epsom activities included live cellists, chalk drawing on pavements, abstract art in the square, and readings and workshops in the library. Visitors also had the chance to meet local artists, art educators and designers – including picture book author-illustrator Rebecca Gerlings, illustrator of Diva Delores and the Opera House Mouse!
Here’s a round up of Rebecca’s part of the day:
Rebecca read Diva Delores and the Opera House Mouse, then lead a puppet-making workshop where children could take home their very own Delores and Fernando.
She cut 40 templates for both characters, snipped 40 woolly mouse tails, punched 80 mouse ears, and dotted 120 sticky eyes ahead of the event.
The Fernando puppets were made by rolling each brown sugar-paper template into a little cone and securing it with sticky tape. A pair of ears and eyes and a woolly tail later and – voila-la-la! – Fernando!
Once the kids had completed their puppets they popped them on stage for their debut performances!
All 40 cute Fernando puppets found new homes with their little makers.And in a flurry of feathers and glittery makery so did all 40 Deloreses!
It was such a smash that when the templates ran out a half hour before the end of the workshop the resourceful kiddos stayed to make cute characters out of the cotton wool balls meant for Delores’ wigs!
Doesn’t that sound like a wonderful day! And perhaps it will inspire you to grab a copy of DIVA DELORES AND THE OPERA HOUSE MOUSE to read with your kiddos. And, afterwards, maybe you, too, can create puppets and put on a show! Happy reading and creating, all!
TEACHERS AND PARENTS: This post is a treasure that should be book-marked. It contains a wonderful activity kit offered by Zonderkidz and created by my illustrator Lison Chaperon. The not-to-be-missed kit has an assortment of LOVE IS KIND-themed printables – including coloring pages, an adorable Little Owl mask craft and a post card activity!
TEACHERS, PARENTS, LIBRARIANS: Extend your story time with this printable DIVA DELORES AND THE OPERA HOUSE MOUSE coloring page created by Sterling Children’s Books. After coloring it in, make it super special by adding pink feathers and glitter. For extra, extra fun, use the coloring page as a jumpstart to write your own story about what you think might happen when Diva Delores and Fernando star in their next opera production. Have fun!
Thank you, Rebecca Gomez, for creating this fabulous feathered fan craft to go along with DIVA DELORES AND THE OPERA HOUSE MOUSE. The activity also includes thoughtful suggestions for a “diva-themed” discussion with your child as well as ideas for using the fan to re-enact parts of the story. You can check it out here or by clicking the image above.
A children’s author, poet, and fan of all things creative and fun, Rebecca enjoys sharing helpful tips and inspiration for readers and writers, occasional book reviews, and random musings about life. Her picture books WHAT ABOUT MOOSE? (Atheneum, 2015) and HENSEL AND GRETEL NINJA CHICKS, (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2016). Check out her wonderful website/blog to learn more.
I am adding the activity to the DIVA DELORES AND THE OPERA HOUSE MOUSE extension activities tab above. Please check back periodically for more fun book-themed activities.
This week I’m delighted to share with you Susanna Leonard Hill’s ADORABLE new board book WHEN YOUR LLAMA NEEDS A HAIRCUT, illustrated by Daniel Wiseman and published by Little Simon. It’s the third in her WHEN YOUR… series and just as cute as the first two. Now, to celebrate reading in general – and this book in particular – here are six book-themed extension activities perfect for 2 – 4 year olds. So, invite your darling little ones to find a good spot to read… and then extend the fun with one, two, or all of these activities (which rhyme, by the way, just because).
WATCH A LLAMA CLIP! CLIP!! After reading WHEN YOUR LLAMA NEEDS A HAIRCUT, you and your little ones might be wonder what it looks like when a real llama gets a hair cut. If so, grab your tablet and watch some llamas getting hair cuts with this short but fun youtube video from Galloping Winds Ranch in Florence, Texas:
2. TAKE A HAIRY FIELD TRIP! After reading WHEN YOUR LLAMA NEEDS A HAIRCUT, you and your little one may decide it’s time to get your own buzz or trim. Take along the book and read it while the stylist snip, snips.
3. CREATE A SNAZZY HAIRDO (without scissors)! After enjoying all the snazzy llama hair-do possibilities, you and your little ones may decide you want to give each other hair-dos. Make sure there are no scissors in sight, but do encourage gentle combing to remove the tangles. A spray water bottle will add lots of styling options and help the hair-dos to stick. Barrettes, ribbons, mousse and gel, optional. Afterwards, pretend it’s picture day – just like in the story – and say “Cheese!” for the camera.
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4. DO A PICTURE READ THROUGH… After reading WHEN YOUR LLAMA NEEDS A HAIRCUT, your child may want to re-read it to you using the pictures as clues! Reading the pictures is a great pre-reading skill because it encourages interacting with the page. So, snuggle up and enjoy being “read” to.
5. HAVE A LLAMA BOOK FEST! After reading the story, you and your little ones may decide you want to read more llama-themed books! If so, head to the library and have a llama-themed book fest! Your librarian can help you find some good books.
6. LLAMA CRAFT TIME IS THE BEST! After reading WHEN YOUR LLAMA NEEDS A HAIRCUT, you and your little ones may want to do a llama-themed craft. There are oh, so many, possibilities on Pinterest and elsewhere. Here are a couple of links to get you started. Enjoy!