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…

A Picture Book for Newbery! (REJOICE!) | Writing for Kids (While Raising Them)

This is a re-blog of Tara Lazar”s wonderful post on the Newbery Metal winner for 2015. It’s been a long time since a picture book won this prestigious award.

Source: A Picture Book for Newbery! (REJOICE!) | Writing for Kids (While Raising Them)

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How to get your self-published picture book illustrated.

 

Self-publishing children’s book authors always ask how they can get their children’s book illustrated. They also ask how long will it take and how much will it cost.

If you are planning on self-publishing, print on demand (POD) like CreateSpace or Ingram Spark or a vanity printer like Lulu, Blurb, BookBaby, AuthorHouse, OutSkirts, Balboa Press or other publishers (that you pay to print your book) you WILL need professional illustrations for your children’s book. I would love to work with you.

 

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A lot depends on what results you want and your taste level. Some self-published authors are perfectly happy having their illustrations done by  a young relative or friend or illustrators from  Fiverr.comElance or UpWork featuring illustrators from 180 countries around the world. Sometimes these online services work out just fine. Sometimes there is a language barrier and delivery time problems. Other times the images you purchase are just reworked images from a previous illustrating job. It takes time to develop unique characters for a story, if an illustrator is only charging $5 or $10 per illustration, they don’t have time to read the whole book and design characters to fit YOUR story’s characters.

Or do you prefer to work one-on-one with a professional illustrator in the United States,  an illustrator who will actually read your story and create characters unique to your vision? I would then suggest you visit SCBWI’s (The Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) illustrator’s Gallery, you can find me listed under my name Dayne Sislen or do a search for illustrators in your city or state. Children’s Illustrators.com is also a great site to find professional illustrators.

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With today’s high-speed Internet and the ability to send high resolutions files back and forth, location doesn’t make a lot of difference, but the ability to communicate clearly and make deadlines is very important.

Here is a link to my website where you can see more of my work. I like to send rough sketches to my clients for approval before moving onto finished color illustrations. This gives you an opportunity for feedback and direction.

Illustration price depends on the type of book the illustrations will be used in, how many illustrations and what type of illustrations the book needs. I can give you a price after I read your manuscript and knowing more about the type of book. I will gladly sign a Non-disclosure contract if you are worried about privacy and piracy.

The time it takes me to illustrate a complete 32 page picture book  usually takes between 3 months and 6 months. This includes reading the book, creating characters, research for costumes and background, doing pencil roughs for each page for discussion with author, doing the finished illustrations, coloring the illustrations and also laying out the pages with custom type in place. I can also design and illustrate your cover with custom type. I can also work directly with your printer to make sure you get the best possible printed book.

DON’T FORGET: If you are thinking about submitting to one of the top 10 traditional publishers, you do NOT need to submit your manuscript with illustrations.  The traditional publisher will choose an illustrator for you. They will provide the illustrations and pay for them, but you probably will not have any control over the process. Showing a traditional publisher your manuscript with illustrations may hurt your chances of being traditionally published. I love to work directly with publishers and art directors of these large publishers, but they are the ones who control this process and hire the illustrators.

Hope this helps you in your self-publishing journey.

Contact me directly through my website, I’d love to read your book.

Dayne Sislen

 

 

6 Tips to Encourage Your Child to Read

These six steps will start your children on the road to a lifetime of learning and reading.

  1. Read to children as often as possible. If you expose them to reading early and often, it will become a pleasurable experience they will want to repeat when they read on their own.
  2. Picture books can help struggling readers to comprehend a story before they can read all the words. Let them enjoy the process, without getting bogged down with the exact words. Let children ‘pretend to read’ using the pictures for guidance.SCBWI_Postcard_sm_sq_WP
  3. Encourage young children to write and illustrate their own stories. Children have great ideas, make sure they are able to express these ideas freely.
  4. Set aside family reading or story time. This can be a read-aloud by the parent or by an older child. As children get older, this time can set aside just for independent reading, for adults (yes, you too) as well as children. It doesn’t matter so much what they read, as long as they enjoy it. When children see their parents finding enjoyment in reading, it helps them to see the benefit.
  5. Discuss books. Encourage children to talk about the books they are reading, what they like about a book and even what they don’t like.
  6. Get your child a library card. Reading doesn’t have to be an expensive pastime. Take them to the library often. Make it as much fun to them as a trip to a toy store. Let them choose their own books to read.

MOYH_New ETSY SoftRead “There’s a Mouse on My Head!” with your child. Imagination is fun. Below is a quote from one of our reviewers.

“Mouse!” is the story of a special relationship between a grandparent and a grandchild. The grandmother is the protagonist. She’s a caring caregiver, a tough but cagey disciplinarian. The grandchild is the antagonist. He’s a clever kid who has no intention of eating his peas but has no such issues with pie.

A stuffed [toy] mouse comes to life, and a wisecracking sister enters the picture. High jinks ensue, and lessons are learned.

St. Louis Jewish Light review

We are now scheduling school and library visits for March and April.

Donna Warwick and I are now scheduling author and illustrator visits forMOYH_New ETSY Soft schools and libraries featuring our children’s picture book “There’s a Mouse on My Head!” Donna loves to work with children combining  interactive play, music and acting using her ArtFusion Method. I like to work with grades 2 to 5 in a classroom or art room to demonstrate and encourage kids to create funny characters to illustrate their own stories.

We are now scheduling visits for March and April of 2016. Visit the “School Visits” page on Donna’s website to schedule your own class visit. www.DonnaWarwickAuthor.com

 

Book Launch Party Has Started!

Hey, today is the start day of our #SCBWIparty launch for the children’s picture book “There’s a Mouse on My Head!” Here is the link for our Book Launch Site.

You can get a free signed bookmark and download coloring pages, games and activities. We would love to have you drop by to visit. http://bit.ly/1NjSOnE Don’t forget to sign our guest book and leave your email address, we will send you a bookmark.

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Below is an image of Donna Warwick’s Author web page where you can find “There’s a Mouse on My Head!”coloring pages, games and activities.

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