COUNT DOWN TO THE NEW YEAR: Top Five Posts of 2018


I thought it would be fun to kick off the new year with a countdown-style look back at my TOP FIVE BLOG posts from 2018. It’s rather fascinating because only one was actually published in 2018. The rest are from past years and folks just keep coming back to them! Over the past few days, I revealed all but #1 on Facebook. Now here’s the complete roundup all in one spot:

#5 PICTURE BOOKS WITH P.U.N.C.H: Cumulative Stories. This a post from 2013 which also, incidentally, places #2 for all-time popularity in the 6 years since I started the blog. It’s part of a series I did a few years ago about picture book structures. Is this an indication that maybe I should re-open the series this year with some fresh posts?

#4 PICTURE BOOKS WITH P.U.N.C.H: Parallel Stories. This is another post from my 2013 Picture Books with P.U.N.C.H Series, which writers keep returning to.

#3 IN MEMORY OF MY EIGHTH GRADE TEACHER:  Thank you, Shirley Vaux! I wrote this heartfelt post at the beginning of the year right after learning that a dear teacher who influenced my journey to becoming a writer had just passed away – days before I had hoped to reach out to her to share my thanks. My prayer with this post was that her family would somehow see it… and they did!

#2 (and #1 OVERALL since the blog began with 4,663 hits!): FIVE CHARACTERISTICS THAT GIVE PICTURE BOOKS P.U.N.C.H. This is the post that kick-started the Picture Books With P.U.N.C.H Story Structure Series. Thank you for returning to this post again and again! And again, it makes me wonder if you would like more posts like this in 2019?

#1 Examining LYRICAL PICTURE BOOKS with Diana Murray This guest post by the talented Diana Murray, written in 2016 when her lovely lyrical picture book CITY SHAPES released, also continues to be a perennial favorite – so much so that it was my top-hitting post for 2018!  

So there you have it! Thank you all, for reading my blog. Now I have a favor to ask. What kinds of posts would you like to see in 2019? I’m all ears (and I have my pen ready.) Happy New Year!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS 2018!

Wishing you all good things as we celebrate the joys of the season. I’m taking a break for Christmas to be with my family but look forward to seeing you all with new posts in 2019. Blessings all, Laura

12 Days of Christmas Books Giveaway: GOODNIGHT, MANGER

I’m excited to be teaming up with Christian Children’s Authors in a special 12 Days of Christmas Books Giveaway. The giveaway is their way of saying Merry Christmas and it’s your only chance to win a copy of GOODNIGHT, MANGER this holiday season, so I hope you’ll head on over for a peek at my post and all the others!  I’ll make it easy for you. Here is the link

BONUS: TODAY Show Parenting Team Feature!

happy fallI’m excited to report that this week’s “Love is Kind” inspired kindness post about “50 (Almost) Kid-Thought-of Ways to Spread Kindness” with Noelle Kirchner was picked up by the TODAY Show Parenting Team for their Grinch/Kindness Challenge! Please take a moment to pop over there and click “Vote Up!” — and leave a comment too, if you are so inspired. Thanks for helping to spread this message of kindness far and wide.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN from Little Owl!

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LOOK! Little Owl, the sweet protagonist from LOVE IS KIND (Zonderkidz, 2018), is all dressed up for Halloween with spider buttons and a pointy hat.  And he’s got his little jack-o-lantern, ready to fill with Halloween treats. In this sweet illustration, created by illustrator Lison Chaperon (thank you, Lison!), it looks to me like he’s also whispering to Dragon that he’s ready to share his candy along the way and say please and thank you at every house he visits.  (That’s showing showing thoughtfulness and love in true LOVE IS KIND style, don’t you think?) Happy Halloween, all!

EXTRA! EXTRA! News Reporter Miss A. Weighs in on Latest AUTHOR VISIT!

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As part of our homeschool time together, I have looked for opportunities to make writing experiences as authentic as possible for my reluctant writer, so when Miss A. asked if she could join me on a Friday afternoon author visit to her old elementary school, I said yes – IF she agreed to be a journalist for the afternoon – taking notes on the visit, conducting a few interviews, and then putting it all together into a news article, using the format we’ve been examining while reading our local newspaper together.  She fully embraced the assignment!  Take it away, Miss A!

AUTHOR LAURA SASSI VISITS SCHOOL

By Miss A.

CRANFORD – On Friday, May 4th, my mother, picture book author Laura Sassi, came to Bloomingdale Avenue School to share her new book, Diva Delores and the Opera House Mouse with kindergarteners through second graders. The purpose of her visit was to get kids excited about reading and writing and to share a little bit about how a picture book goes from inspiration to publication. 

Starting at 1:00 pm, three different groups came to the auditorium for this special event. The students quietly listened to their teachers and all had smiles on their faces. The kids looked very excited and happy to see that a special guest had come to visit them at their school. 

Dressed like a diva herself, and using lots of expression, even singing, Laura Sassi read her newest book. The kids “ooohed” and “aaahed” as if they were watching fireworks. After reading Diva Delores and the Opera House Mouse, the author showed the students the very first drafts of her story. She even showed the kids pictures of what Diva Delores looked like before she was a seal. The kids were surprised that she was once a hippo! Untitled

A few days after the visit, I had the chance to interview a student and two teachers to see what they thought of the visit. Everyone was very positive. Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Benoit, said that the favorite part for her students was “the author in costume and the use of her voice demonstrating not just fluency, but voices and even sound effects”.   She added that because of the visit, “The use of voices is starting to show up in speech bubbles in their writing.”  

Second grade teacher, Mrs. Oricchio, praised the visit as making “the art of writing a ‘real world’ experience” for her students.  She added, “I think Mrs. Sassi’s energy and passion for her work really came through and inspired my young writers.”

I was lucky enough to get student feedback as well! Second grader, Taylor, explained that her favorite part of the visit was when the author “dressed up fancy and was reading Diva Delores”.  She added that the visit also inspired her to make a writing notebook for her own stories. 

It was amazing being able to see my author mom in action reading her book. I could tell that the teachers and all the students enjoyed the visit. My mom enjoyed it too, especially when one of the students raised her hand and said, “You look like a movie star!” But my favorite moment was when I was able to reunite with all my teachers from kindergarten through second grade. I was so happy to be able to see my teachers and I was so happy to see so many kids enjoying and listening to the book.

IMPORTANT Housekeeping Matters: Please read!

IMG_2384It’s time for a little housekeeping. By now, you’ve probably heard about the new General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”), that comes into effect May 25, 2018. Though most of my followers are from the U.S., out of an abundance of caution and in order to comply with GDPR consent requirements, if you are currently receiving my post announcements in your email,  please take a moment to decide whether or not you would still like to receive them in your email. (I don’t sell or share your information with anyone, ever.)

If you wish to continue receiving my weekly (approximately) new post announcements in your email, you do not need to do anything. If you would prefer not to continue, simply hit the unsubscribe tab (at the bottom of this email if you are looking at this in your inbox) or by using the “You are following this blog – manage” tab on the right sidebar of my blog.  Then you will be officially unsubscribed from my blog.  Thank you so much and have a wonderful day!

And the winner is…

20180409_154659 (2)I’m delighted to announce that the winner of last week’s special giveaway, a fresh off the press two-book bundle of Glenys Nellist’s adorable new board books, GOD MADE MOMMY SPECIAL and GOD MADE DADDY SPECIAL, illustrated by Estelle Corke and published by Zonderkidz,  is…

Jennifer S.!!!!!

Congratulations!  I will be in touch with you today so we can get the book to you.

Thanks again, Glenys, for sharing your five fun facts about your newest books. I’d also like to thank Zonderkidz for providing the winning book bundle.  Happy Friday, all!

FAN MAIL with MISS A: Thank you, Tami Charles!

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Today Miss A. – my reluctant reader and writer – asked if she could write a guest post to share her excitement over receiving an author-response to a recent fan letter she wrote to an author whose book she LOVED.  Maybe, I need to rephrase this… Today, my daughter, who USED to be a reluctant reader and writer – asked if she could write this guest post.  My response?  Of course!  Take it away, Miss A.! 

Have you ever been inspired to write a letter to an author whose book you loved?  Well, I was inspired to write one to author Tami Charles after reading her book Like Vanessa (Charlesbridge, 2018).

Like Vanessa is about a girl named Vanessa who enters a school pageant as a way of finding her happiness and who discovers that happiness isn’t found exactly where she thought it was.  

After reading Tami’s book, I just knew I had to reach out to her.  In the letter, I told her how much I loved her book and how I found her book such an inspiration for me. I found her book inspiring because I’ve always had trouble having to speak up for myself. Her book shows me that I can be strong and have confidence in myself.

I’ve written fan letters before, but never gotten a response. This time, however, was different because in the mail today I received a special letter from Tami Charles! And here is a little piece of that letter:

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In her wonderful letter, she explained that she wrote the book for girls just like me and she thanked me for writing her an old-fashioned letter!  I may even get to meet her this summer!  

Thank you, Tami, for inspiring me with your book and for taking the time to answer my letter!  I will keep it tucked forever in my copy of Like Vanessa!

And the winner is…

Cover

I’m delighted to announce that the winner of last week’s special giveaway, a brand new copy of Denette Fretz’s faith building new picture book I LOVE YOUR SMILE, CROCODILE, published by Zonderkidz, and illustrated by Jackie Urbanovic is…

Tina!!!!!

Congratulations!  I will be in touch with you today so we can get the book to you.

Thanks again, Denette, for sharing your six thoughtful extension activities. I’d also like to thank Zonderkidz for providing the winning copy.  Happy Friday, all!