And the winner of GOD’S ALWAYS LOVING YOU is…

I’m delighted to announce that the winner of this week’s special giveaway, a brand new signed copy of Janna Matthies’ new board book GOD’S ALWAYS LOVING YOU is…

Antonia.!!!

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

And thank you to Janna for providing the winning copy.

Happy reading and writing, all! 

FUN NEWS! Diva Delores and the Opera House Mouse is an Iowa Goldfinch Award Nominee!

The nominees for the 2021-2022 Iowa Goldfinch Award, which is given annually by the Iowa Association of School Librarians, have been selected and DIVA DELORES AND THE OPERA HOUSE MOUSE made the list! For the complete round up of nominees plus links to the book trailers for each click here

According to the official description, the four-fold purpose of the Iowa Goldfinch Award is to:

To encourage children to read more and better books.

To discriminate in choosing worthwhile books.

To provide an avenue for positive dialogue between teacher, parent, and children about books and authors.

To give recognition to those who write books for children.

The Goldfinch Award is special because it offers school kids an opportunity to choose the winning book and to suggest books for the yearly reading list.

Delores and Fernando are delighted to be included and can’t wait to have their story shared and talked about by Iowa school kids!

If you live in Iowa, please ask your library, school or bookstore to provide books and voting materials etc. for this award. What a neat chance to be a part of celebrating reading in this special way!

And now, just for fun, here is the book trailer for DIVA DELORES AND THE OPERA HOUSE MOUSE. Enjoy!

FUN NEWS: New Board Book Deal!

I’d like to take momentary break from all things December, to share some fun Easter-themed news. I’ve been keeping this to myself for a little while, but the announcement ran in Publishers Marketplace so I think I can finally let out exuberant, “Hip-hop-hooray!” 

Here’s the official announcement:

Thank you, Charlotte Wenger, for representing me so skillfully and kindly in the process of making this a reality.

And, thank you, Zonderkidz for saying “yes!” to this new board book that is rooted in my love of Easter traditions, but always with a heart towards pointing kids to the real meaning of Easter.

I can’t wait for you to meet Bunny as she hops through her day searching for what Easter is all about. You won’t have to wait long. The tentative publication date is February 2022! 

P.S. The bunny pictured at the top is a little wooden bunny my mother painted for me, and which was part of my Easter basket in, gulp, 1980. Both at Easter and Christmas, she always did a great job of blending fun with meaning. I’d like to think I am following in her foot steps. I now keep that Bunny in an antique printer’s tray that hangs in our downstairs powder room. It’s full of all sorts of tiny treasures from my childhood. Remind me to share more about it in another post. =)

Thanks for helping me celebrate! Now back to December. =)

And the Winner of LITTLE MOLE’S CHRISTMAS GIFT is…

I’m delighted to announce that the winner of last week’s special giveaway,  a brand new copy of LITTLE MOLE’S CHRISTMAS GIFT is…

Melissa D!!

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

Thank everyone who took the time to comment. And thank you to Glenys for writing the book and to Beaming Books for publishing it and providing today’s winning copy. Happy reading and writing, and remember that signs of hope are everywhere. Blessings all!

And the winner of Noelle’s book is…

I’m delighted to announce that the winner of this week’s special giveaway,  a signed copy of HOW TO LIVE YOUR LIFE PURPOSE: THE SIX-STEP JOURNEY TO GOD’ BEST by Rev. Noelle Kirchner, M. Div. is…

Ginny N.!!!

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

Thank you, Noelle for writing this thoughtful study in the first place, and for providing the winning copy! 

Happy reading all!

And the Winner of GRANDMA SNUGGLES is…

I’m delighted to announce that the winner of this week’s special giveaway,  a brand new copy of GRANDMA SNUGGLES is…

Ellen G.!!!

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

Thank you, Glenys, for providing your thoughtful post on connecting during covid19 and thank you, Zonderkidz, for providing the winning copy of Glenys’ new book.

Happy reading and connecting, all!

And the Winner of DOZENS OF DOUGHNUTS is…

I’m delighted to announce that the winner of last week’s special giveaway,  a brand new copy of DOZENS OF DOUGHNUTS is…

Rebekah H!!!

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

Happy reading and writing, all! (And now I’m off to nibble a doughnut.)

SUMMER ON THE PORCH STORYTIME CRAFT: Diva Delores and the Opera House Mouse BOUQUETS

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 DIVA DELORES AND THE OPERA HOUSE MOUSE, an ode to cooperation and the joy of performance starring a new diva seal and the little mouse who wants to help her, but she thinks she deserves bigger help than a mouse! 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 Rebecca Gerlings’ delightful depiction of Diva Delores being showered with bouquets these tissue paper bouquets are easy to make and fun to give away. 

Here are the steps for creating your own:

  1. Read DIVA DELORES AND THE OPERA HOUSE MOUSE and perhaps have a quick discussion about the tradition of throwing bouquets to performers on stage. Hint: It’s a way to show admiration and love. 
  1. Gather five chenille sticks, a little glue, twenty 4” squares of colorful tissue paper in assorted colors, a bit of ribbon or yarn and a small piece of paper folded in half to make a note. 
  1. For each flower, stack four tissue squares. Using thumb and fingers, pinch the center to create the base to a flower, as shown.
  1. Wrap the end of a chenille stick tightly around the pinched base of the flower, using a tiny dab of glue to secure.  Bend the stick so its upright, like a stem.
  1. Gently fluff and the tissue paper flower, snipping the corners to make them rounded, if you choose.
  1. Once you have five flowers, arrange them in a colorful bouquet, tying with ribbon or yarn. 
  1. Finally, add a card, then “shower” someone you love (to use the wording from the story) with the bouquet.
  1. FOR EXTRA FUN: Take a picture of your child’s finished bouquet. 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!

NOTE: Facebook Live reading of DIVA DELORES AND THE OPERA HOUSE MOUSE, courtesy of Sterling Children’s Books, is no longer available. But the good news is the book is still available at book stores and at your local library. If they don’t have it, you can request it, for which Delores, Fernando and I would be most grateful. And if you’d like us to come to a reading for your class or library or organization, reach out to me via the contact tab above. I’d love to hear from you.

TIME TO BAKE: FIVE tips for PAIRING PICTURE BOOKS with TASTY TREATS.

Little Owl and I want to share with you something special that illustrator Lison Chaperon created to go with our book LOVE IS KIND – a muffin recipe with adorable muffin toppers! In addition to being absolutely delicious, this LOVE IS KIND-inspired baking activity has gotten me thinking about how wonderful it is when we pair picture books with a tasty book-themed treat. 

In doing so, not only are we giving our kids the opportunity to learn some baking/cooking skills, we are helping them to connect to the story in a new and fun way.  As we nibble and chat about the book, we’re also instilling in them a framework to talk about the stories we read and an opportunity to think about how picture books relate to our lives and the world. Finally, we’re fostering good critical thinking skills as we converse with our little ones about what treat would be best paired with a particular picture book.

With all this in mind, here are FIVE TIPS for PAIRING PICTURE BOOKS with TASTY TREATS.  Enjoy!

TIP #1: Pick any picture book (Better yet, let your child pick the book.)

TIP #2: Pre-read the story so you can gather your ingredients. Once you’ve selected your picture book, take a few minutes a day or two ahead of time so that you can anticipate what types of treats you and your child might want to create to pair with the story.  This way you can be sure to have the ingredients in stock for a seamless and tasty brainstorming to baking to eating experience. 

TIP #3 As you read with your child, ponder the treat-making possibilities.It’s most beneficial (and engaging) to your budding critical thinkers if you include them in the process of deciding what book-themed treat to create, though it’s perfectly acceptable, in my opinion, to gently lead them towards the ingredients you have on hand (see step two). As you are pondering, the treat might be obvious. For example, in my third book DIVA DELORES AND THE OPERA HOUSE MOUSE, Fernando the mouse loves gumdrops, popcorn, and cheese on try toast, so those would be obvious picks. 

But…

TIP #4: Sometimes you will have to be creative!  Some picture books, however, won’t have such obvious choices. My recommendation, in these instances, is to pick a character or a defining element of the story and create a treat inspired by that.  For example, on her blog, Easy Elegant Entertaining™, trained chef and cookbook author (and mom to an adorable young budding reader) used the concept of tails in GOODNIGHT, ARK to create an adorable book-themed treat.

You can also create character-based cookies for almost any book, as my daughter did for DIVA DELORES and GOODNIGHT, ARK.

TIP #5: Have fun!  (Need I say more?)  

And if you are interested in the link to the LOVE IS KIND muffin recipe with adorable muffin toppers, here it is.  

A version of this post previously appeared on Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog with a lovely review.  You can review that here, if interested.

Happy Reading and Treating!

And the winner of EL AMOR ES BONDADOSO is…

I’m delighted to announce that the winner of last week’s special giveaway,  a brand new copy of EL AMOR ES BONDADOSO (Vida Editorial, 2019) written by Laura Sassi and illustrated by Lison Chaperon is…

Pamela H!!

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

Thank everyone who took the time to comment. Happy reading and writing, and keep spreading love and kindness!