2016 SCBWI Crystal Kite Awards Announced

The SCBWI announced the winners of the 2016 Crystal Kite Member Choice Awards for fifteen regional divisions:

I always love to see which books are chosen from each region of SCBWI for this award. This year, the book chosen from my region (the Mid South) is:  “Secret Files World War II, by Stephanie Bearce.  I had the opportunity to meet Stephanie earlier this year at a SCBWI workshop. She talked to us about the joys of writing non-fiction for children.

See ALL the chosen books for 2016 on the SCBWI website. 

A few of the chosen books.

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About the Crystal Kite Awards

The Crystal Kite Awards are given by the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators to recognize great books from the seventy SCBWI regions around the world.  Along with the SCBWI Golden Kite Awards, the Crystal Kite Awards are chosen by other children’s book writers and illustrators, making them the only peer-given awards in publishing for young readers.

“Children need art and stories and poems and music as much as they need love and food and fresh air and play. “

Phillip Pullman makes his point very well in this blog:

Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award

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Wise words from Philip Pullman, who received the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award in 2005:

Children need art and stories and poems and music as much as they need love and food and fresh air and play. If you don’t give a child food, the damage quickly becomes visible. If you don’t let a child have fresh air and play, the damage is also visible, but not so quickly. If you don’t give a child love, the damage might not be seen for some years, but it’s permanent.

But if you don’t give a child art and stories and poems and music, the damage is not so easy to see. It’s there, though. Their bodies are healthy enough; they can run and jump and swim and eat hungrily and make lots of noise, as children have always done, but something is missing.

It’s true that some people grow up never encountering…

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Reading to Big Kids..Don’t Stop, Be Readin’…Hold on to that Feelin’

Reading with your kids, no matter what age, will help them in later life.

Michelle Eastman Books

I posted this piece a while back…

With my son’s 4th grade year coming to an end, I find this information more timely than ever.

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I love picture books, and I often write about them.  In my post, Top 10 Reasons Picture Books Rock, I touch upon the importance of continuing to read aloud to your child even AFTER he/she is able to read independently. Please note that although children may be ready for early readers and chapter books, I implore parents to continue reading picture books with/to your children. There is no better way to connect at the end of a hectic day than to get lost in a picture book together. This ritual is one you can continue well into their teen years (yes, really, I promise). A child should not be denied this sacred time with you, just because he has “grown up”. Reading and/or…

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Top Ten Reasons Picture Books ROCK…

This is a great post, no one can say it better. Thank you Michelle, I love picture books!

Michelle Eastman Books

I am thrilled to count myself among the ranks of children’s picture book writers. I believe, whole-heartedly, in the power of picture books. Of course, there are thousands of reasons to love picture books, but I’ve compiled my top ten.

My Top Ten Reasons Picture Books ROCK:

  1. Picture books provide an ideal setting to connect with your child.  Reading picture books provides a time for parent and child to just be, together. There is no better way to connect, at the end of a hectic day, than to get lost in a picture book together. This ritual is one that you can continue well into their teen years (yes, really, I promise). Trust me, these shared moments are what kids look back on.  That child becomes a parent who reads to his/her child, and so on, and so on…
  2. Picture books are funny.  Where else can you…

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In Praise of Picture Books by Randall de Seve

Some very insightful thoughts on Picture books. I love the comment by Patricia Gauch, “The Picture Book is an Act of Mischief.” I have always felt picture books had an important place in literature. This excellent blog post  justifies that belief very well.

Nerdy Book Club

I noticed something sad over years of teaching first grade.  As soon as children learned to read, they abandoned picture books in favor of what they imagined to be more impressive, or “grown-up,” chapter books.  I’m sorry to say that some of their teachers and parents did, too.

What many children (and the adults that guide them) don’t realize is that the best picture books can be equally, if not more, sophisticated than some of their longer kin.  Plus, you can have an entire picture book experience in a fraction of the time it takes to read a novel; said another way, you can have a wide variety of experiences in that same time.

So what, exactly, is this picture book experience?

“There is in a picture book, make no mistake, something for the eye, something for the heart, something for the mind, something for the funny bone, something for…

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A special treat for Mother’s Day.

The full video of “There’s a Mouse on My Head” is available on YouTube for a limited time.

Donna Warwick and I  have posted the full video of our book There’s a Mouse on My Head” on YouTube for you to enjoy with your little ones. Sing-a-long with the music and share it with friends. It will remain up through Mothers Day May 8th. Here is the YouTube link.

Our book focuses on imagination and the Grandmother/Grandchild bond. The book may be purchased in hard cover or soft cover from Amazon  or signed copies can be purchased in our Etsy Shop.

Donna Warwick is singing in the video and her cousin Sandy Weltman playing the uke! Of course all the illustrations are by me! Hope you enjoy the “story ‘n song.”

There's a Mouse on My Head Children's Picture BookIt’s also Children’s Book Week, so you don’t even have to be a Mother or Grandmother to view our free picture book video. ENJOY!!12524174_455257744678996_2433843190805924425_n

I Have the Best Job in the World

 

Sketches for a picture book

Sketches from an earlier picture book I illustrated.

A fresh start on a new picture book

My favorite thing about my job as a children’s book designer and illustrator is, starting to illustrate a new picture book. It’s the fresh beginning of a four to six month relationship with new characters that I get to bring to visual life with my pencil. It’s the excitement of finding the perfect details to enhance the story to take it further. It’s the joy of transforming an author’s manuscript into a colorful inviting picture book.

It’s also the time when I get to really get to know the talented author who created the story. I love working with creative people. Together the author and I form a team dedicated to “birth” their new picture book.

Today is my first day starting to illustrate a new picture book for an author I have not worked with before.  I will read the story several times to get a feel for the mood of the book and to get to know the characters. Once I form clear visual images of the characters in my mind, I can start to put my ideas on paper. I share these early sketches with the author to see if I have captured the personality of their characters.

I better get to work.

Behold the Art Show

What a wonderful way to introduce an appreciation for art and literature. I just love creative teachers. It’s amazing to see pre-schoolers doing this kind of art.

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A Teacher's Reflections

Children were sitting together as I carefully picked up each ‘masterpiece’, mounted and framed, and labeled with a title.  They knew this was IT, seeing the results of their love and labor.  I held up each piece, one at a time, as if it were the Mona Lisa.  Then, I slowly panned each work of art to the audience and simply said the title and artist;  “The Storm the White House and the Grass, by Dillon”, “The Big Scissors, by Hannah”, “Charlotte, by Ella”.  Twenty-two pieces of beautiful art, and each one brought spontaneous comments from their peers:  Eleni said, “That is so beautiful.”  Jackson said, “Whoa!”  Frankly, each piece of art they saw drew a wonderful comment.  When I asked children, “What will all these masterpieces look like hanging together on a wall?” Miles immediately shouted out, “An art museum!”  He was right.  After carefully hanging all the art…

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I Love Picture Books!

I love everything about picture books. The books themselves are short but they tell fully realized stories without using many words. The illustrations carry half the meaning, so all ages can figure out what the story’s about.

The words can be; colorful, noisy, irreverent, serious, silly, impertinent, sassy,  wriguldy-wrag, cheeky, and just plain fun to say. FYI: Wriguldy-wrag is a real word meaning mischief.

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Picture books introduce children to books before they can read. First, as a young child on a reader’s lap soaking up all the fun of the words and pictures. Second as a pretend reader, “reading” to a sibling or pet. At this stage, the illustrations act as a reminder for the words of the story and encourage visual thinking. Still later, when the actual written words start to make sense with the pictures, the children become real readers.

All you have to do to start children on the road to becoming a lifetime reader is start reading aloud to your kids, your grandkids, your nieces and nephews and any other kid you want to help. If we all do this, the world will be a more educated and tolerant place for all.

A not so secret confession: I love to read picture books out-loud in all the funny voices, even when I am all alone.

The books I’ve shown above are just a small selection of my favorites: The Day the Crayons Quit, by Drew Daywalt, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers; Where the Wild things Are, written and illustrated by Maurice Sendak and A Splash of Red, by Jen Bryant, illustrated by Melissa Sweet.

 

 

World Read Aloud Day is Coming

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February 23, 2016 is World Read Aloud Day.

Every year World Read Aloud Day calls global attention to the importance of reading aloud and sharing stories.

Scholastic is the Sponsor of Wold Read Aloud Day 2016. Here is a link to the Scholastic website where you can find information on hosting your own read-aloud event.

Reading aloud to your children and grandchildren has been proven to make them better readers for life. It expands children’s knowledge and imagination and helps with their concentration and verbal skills.  All of these things can help your kids excel in school and life. Plus it’s just a fun thing to do.

Calling all Book Lovers and Authors to Make a Difference to a Child in Need…

 

Reblogged on WordPress.com

 

Source: Calling all Book Lovers and Authors to Make a Difference to a Child in Need…

Winners of Newbery, Caldecott and Printz awards announced | Children’s books | The Guardian

A re-blog from the Guardian. I always love to see the winners of this prestigious award each year. Congratulation to all.

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Congratulations to Sophie Blackall, Matt de la Peña and Laura Ruby for winning the most prestigious awards in US children’s literature

Source: Winners of Newbery, Caldecott and Printz awards announced | Children’s books | The Guardian

Fairy Tales! Happy Birthday Charles Perrault! 

A re-blog from a super middle-grade author of the SkyCastle Series and online friend, Andy Mulberry.

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Quick Happy Birthday shout-out to Charles Perrault! If you ever think you’re too old to start writing, Charles Perrault was almost 70 years old when he wrote his first fairy tales in 1697! They were instant hits, and it is from Perrault Fairy Tales that we get the most famous versions of some classic stories. …

Source: Fairy Tales! Happy Birthday Charles Perrault! – something smells fishy here…something smells fishy here…