Today I am delighted to be guest blogging over at picture book author and librarian Lauri Fortino’s blog on one of my favorite topics: USING PUPPETS TO ENGAGE YOUNG READERS. Plus, you’ll get to meet Little Owl, my newest puppet storytelling companion. (And I hear there is a giveaway, too!) Thank you for having me, Lauri. So fly on over, friends. I’ll make it easy for you. Here’s the link.
Looking for something fun to do with the kiddos this summer? How about joining me for one of these summertime author events. Meet my storytelling companions – Diva Delores and Fernando – and enjoy a special craft. And if you are vacationing on the Jersey shore the week of August 11, be sure to stop in at the Comfort Zone in Ocean Grove where I’ll be chatting with customers and signing ALL FOUR of my books including my newest LOVE IS KIND which releases with Zonderkidz August 7, 2018. BONUS: I’ll also be introducing my newest puppet companion – Little Owl – at the Comfort Zone. Please stop in at one of these events. I’d love to meet you!
Mark your calendars!
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.
Look what landed on my porch today. Six copies of the Korean edition of GOODNIGHT, ARK! The illustrations by Jane Chapman are just as gorgeous as ever and the text looks wonderful. What a delightful experience it is to see my words translated not only into a different language, but into a different language with such a beautiful alphabet. My next goal is to see if one of my Korean-speaking friends will read it to me. Story time, anyone? And will it still rhyme, I wonder? I will find out and let you know.
In the meantime, keep sailing, Noah and friends. First English, then German, then Korean. What language next?
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.
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!
Llama Drawing Project: http://www.smallhandsbigart.com/llama-drawing-project/
Make a Llama Vase: https://abeautifulmess.com/2018/01/make-your-own-llama-vase.html
This week my author friend Rebecca J. Gomez (WHAT ABOUT MOOSE? (Atheneum, 2015) and HENSEL AND GRETEL: NINJA CHICKS (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2016)) shared with me a wonderful new reading campaign she and her co-author Corey Rosen Schwartz are working on called Read. Discuss. Do!
Read. Discuss. Do! (hashtag #ReadDiscussDo) celebrates reading beyond the book by creating sharable images that give simple ideas for book related discussions and activities. Rebecca got the the idea after creating an image specifically for their co-authored book WHAT ABOUT MOOSE? (pictured above) in the hopes that it would encourage people to think beyond the story when reading with kids. However, when Corey saw the original image, she and Rebecca decided it would be fun to take the idea further and include other authors and their books!
That’s when Rebecca contacted me to see if I’d like to create a short #ReadDiscussDo activity for GOODNIGHT, ARK. I replied, yes, of course. And so Rebecca created an image for my book as well. Thank you, Rebecca. The format is similar to her original except she’s replaced her website address with the hashtag #ReadDiscussDo.
Rebecca hopes this fun reading initiative and social media campaign will really take off, reaching parents, caregivers, teachers, librarians and more.
How can authors, parents, teachers, or librarians get involved? By tweeting and retweeting and sharing on Facebook, Pinterest etc. using the hashtag #ReadDiscussDo. We can also post story time tips using that same hashtag. Rebecca will also be creating more sharable images for other books. If you’d like to learn more, contact Rebecca via the “School Visits” tab of her website.
Finally, I’ll end with a little hashtag hunt. Head on over to Twitter or Facebook, type in #ReadDiscussDo and see what you find. Have fun!
In January the editor of my alumni magazined asked if I might be interested in writing a piece for their new essay series on the Princeton Alumni Weekly website called “Voices”. My name came to his attention because of my blog (just in case you’ve ever been torn about the benefit vs. effort of keeping a blog), and he asked if I might be interested in writing something about my experiences as an author of children’s books.
I said yes. And today that piece is live! Titled “Creating and Connecting: One Picture Book Author’s Journey”, the essay is about how my passion for story has opened my heart and broadened my sense of community. I’d be honored if popped on over for a read. Happy reading all!
This week, in celebration of PICTURE BOOKS and READ ALOUD TIME, KidLitTV will be hosting a READ ALOUD LIVE STREAM. The event will take place tomorrow, Friday, March 3rd, from noon – 3pm EST. The festivities will be streamed LIVE on the KidLitTV Facebook page and will include picture book readings from a whole host of authors and illustrators (including me) who will be sharing their own books. I will be reading Goodnight, Ark.
So, please join us and share the magic of reading with your kiddos tomorrow afternoon. Tune in for a few minutes, or for 30 minutes, whatever works best. We’re looking forward to celebrating reading aloud TOGETHER… LIVE with you!