Children’s Book Week is Coming!

Children’s Book Week celebration is ready to kick off. From April 30 to May 6, bookstores, libraries, and schools across the country will take part in a busy week-long event, as they commemorate children’s books and the joy of reading.

What can you do? Read to your children and take them to local
Children’s Book Week Events. Check what is available in your area.

Mark your calendar! The St. Louis County Public library will be celebrating Children’s Book Week during April 30-May 6. Activities include a visit from Curious George, book-inspired crafts & more! Get the full schedule of events here:http://ow.ly/V3P330j6zC1

Reading aloud is the best advertisement because it works. It allows a child to sample the delights of reading and conditions him to believe that reading is a pleasureful experience, not a painful or boring one.”—Jim Trelease

Don’t forget to read the picture books in all the character voices. When I was a kid, that’s what I liked the best. Make every book special for your children.


If you are thinking about writing your own picture book for children and will be needing illustrations, contact me. I love to talk pictures books with self-publishing authors.

Spring is a time of new beginnings.

Spring is a time of rebirth and celebration. Easter celebrates the resurrection or rebirth of Jesus Christ and Passover celebrates the liberation of the Israelites from Egyptian slavery. The ancients celebrated the return of the sun after a long dark winter.

What does spring mean to our children? Spring means a time of growth and new beginnings. Spring means more daylight hours to play in the sun. Spring and religious holidays can also mean a time to reconnect with family. Getting together with cousins and seeing grandparents again. Family connections are important to children. Children thrive on the feeling of belonging.

Spring growing illo

When children receive love and support in a warm family environment early on, they are better able to take on the childhood tasks of exploring their world and learning new skills. They learn from their family environment how to connect and interact with other people and build healthy relationships. These experiences help them establish more positive peer friendships and teaches them how to interact with other adults.

Reading together is the perfect way to form close bonds with young children. A time should be set apart for snuggling and reading out loud. Even children that have learned to read on their own enjoy being read to during story time with their family.

Have you written a special story for your children or grandchildren and have thought about turning it into a picture book? I love to talk to children’s book writers about the different paths to publishing. Traditional publishing to self-publishing there are a lot of choices to make and a lot of decisions. Fill in the form below with your questions.

 

The Magic of Storytelling

Today I have re-blogged Norah Colvin’s blog because it perfectly follows up with the idea of my blog Monday about increasing the attention span of children by reading to them. Nora is an outstanding teacher and talented writer from Australia. Check out her website www.readilearn.com.au


Screen Shot 2016-07-02 at 4.09.29 PM

“The Magic of Storytelling

Telling stories to and with young children has many benefits. Including other things, it helps to develop:

  • relationships with the storyteller and other listeners
  • language – vocabulary, language structure, imagery
  • understanding of narrative structure as it applies to fiction and non-fiction accounts
  • curiosity about one’s family, the immediate environment, and other places
  • empathy for others
  • interest in books and reading
  • imagination”

Continue reading Norah’s blog:  .via The magic of storytelling

How to extend the attention span of your children.

Kids today are bombarded with video games as well as fast action cartoons and movies. Picture book publishers are requesting shorter and shorter picture books for young children. No wonder our children have problems keeping their minds focused on one thing for very long.

What can you do to help your kids have a longer attention span? My advice is not some new technical invention or app for your phone or tablet, but something easy and inexpensive that you can do in your own home.

SCBWI_Postcard_sm_sq_WP

You can extend your children’s attention span by reading to them.

What better way to show them you love them and help them at the same time. Kids love getting attention from their parents and grandparents. This one-on-one time without any distractions from phones or TV is important. Children can later illustrate the stories you read together so you have a visual reminder of the time you have spent together.

Reading books to your children:

  1. Helps their creative imagination to develop.
  2. Expands their vocabularies
  3. Instills a future love of reading on their own
  4. Gives children time to slow down and unwind
  5. Creates a bond between the child and the reader
  6. Gives you an opportunity to teach life lessons through discussions of the stories
  7. Improve reading comprehension so they get better grades in school
  8. Opens the doorway to creative writing
  9. Is not expensive

For older kids who are able to read on their own, establish a family reading night when parents and children each read their own books. TV and cell phones are off-limits during this time. When children see their parents reading they know how important it is.

See the thought balloon in the top right corner for comments and replies.

If you have written a children’s picture book and would like to discuss it with an illustrator, contact me below.

 

 

Quiet and Loud Picture Books that Speak Volumes 

I Liked this blog post because I believe there is a time for quiet and a time for LOUD.

This post is by Jackie Leathers

A while back, I wrote a post entitled, Ten Quiet Picture Books that Speak Volumes which described ten books that quietly deliver strong messages.  Some books whisper, but some books shout.  Here are ten picture books that are loud in one way or another.

To read more about LOUD books: Ten Loud Picture Books that Speak Volumes by Jackie Leathers

Deborah Underwood (Houghton Mifflin 2011)

David Elliot, illus. Basil Ering (Candlewick Press 2009)

 

 

  

 

Jackie Leathers is a reading specialist at Alton Central School in Alton, New Hampshire and an avid reader of books that have loud messages.

Why Grandparents Should Make Great Storytellers!

September 10th is Grandparent’s day.

So we have a guest post by Susan Day

Susan Day is a passionate author, educator and, of course, a grandmother. She wants to allow all grandparents to build meaningful relationships with their grandchildren. 

 

The role of grandparents has changed dramatically over the past years.Read out LOUD to your grandkids

Never before have we grandparents had access to some much time and resources. In fact, I’m of the opinion that we are in the ‘Golden Age’ of grandparenting, an era never before seen in history.

Without a doubt, we are truly blessed to be able to share our time and resources with our beloved grandchildren. We can speak to them in ‘real time’ across the globe, share photos and images online, as well as, interact in ways our grandparents couldn’t have dreamed of.

One of the most significant things any grandparent can do is spend quality time with their grandkids on a regular basis.

And, what better way to create long-lasting memories than by sharing books and stories?

Reading Out LOUD!

There are two ways to read a story to your grandchildren. 

The first way involves just reading the words on the page in an effort to inform and convey the meaning of the story. To be honest, this is quite boring. Sure, you are reading to them, but are you really connecting with them?

The other way – a truly more fantastic way – is to read out LOUD!Reading out loud just for fun

And, I mean really loud and engaging.

Don’t just read the words.

Instead, live and act them out.

Use your voice to bring to life the storyline, as well as, the characters. Give each character a different sounding voice to add more meaning to what they are saying.

And, don’t forget to stop at the end of the page or chapter to add more suspense. You could even stop mid-sentence and ask your grandchild if he or she knows what is going to happen next.

Stop and discuss the illustrations as you go. Use them to put the story into context. For example, you might say, “Look, the little pig has built a house of straw.”

Learning to Become a Great Storyteller 

Not everyone is born a natural storyteller. Some people find it natural to just sit down and unravel an amazing story from out of thin air.

If you are very good at telling stories, then go forth and confidently share your skills with your grandchildren.

If not, don’t despair.

By simply practicing your storytelling skills you will improve. While you are reading, look for ways where you can improve. As you get more practice, your skills and then your confidence will improve.

You will know you are doing the right thing when your grandchildren cry out for more when you’ve finished reading to them.

Our grandchildren have more and more things to distract their developing minds, and many are not learning the necessary literary tools they need to enhance their educational chances.

As grandparents, we have the opportunity and the means to bring books alive in an effort to make reading more enjoyable and rewarding. Our grandchildren should not only love reading but be excited about writing and using the written word as a powerful tool to connect with others.

Together we grandparents can really make a difference.

More about Susan Day

 Susan lives in country Australia with four dogs, three bossy cats, three rescue guinea pigs, and an errant kangaroo.

Discover what the Top 10 Things Happy Grandparents Never Regret Doing.10 Things Happy Grandparents Never Regret Doing

 

Plant the seeds of literacy

By Norah Colvin

This is a repost of a blog by Norah Colvin. I’ve been following Norah’s blog for quite a while, she always has current spot-on information about early childhood education. Norah lives in Australia, where she is a teacher, a writer and founder of ReadiLearn, a collection of early childhood teaching resources. Books are Important for young children.

Picture Books

Read more of Norah’s post via Plant the seeds of literacy — Norah Colvin

Thankful Thoughts . . .

scbwi_banner_sm-copy

Illustrated by Dayne Sislen @2014

Each year at this time of year, I take a little time to think about the things that make me thankful. Of course, my wonderful husband and family come first, then supportive friends and my dear patient dog. After that, I think of good health, my warm home and nourishing food. This year I can not help but worry about and pray for those whose lives are not as comfortable and happy as mine. I wish them a Happy Thanksgiving and holiday season filled with peace and love.

I am also grateful for the supportive community I have found in children’s literature,  and publishing. We support and help each other through setbacks and cheer on each success. It’s wonderful to surround myself with talented like-minded people. I am thankful to have a creative and fulfilling job I love, illustrating children’s books.

I think children’s books are important. Children are the building blocks of the human race and the future of the world. Reading is important to build knowledge, imagination and self-confidence.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Dayne

Gigi and Grandma Remember, by Maggie Konopa, illustrated by Dayne Sislen ©2016

Gigi and Grandma Remember, written by Maggie Konopa, illustrated by Dayne Sislen. ©2016

 

Thank You, Jim Trelease! – The Power of Reading Aloud to Children

I believe that reading to your children is one of the most important things you can do to raise inquisitive, intelligent, creative and informed kids. Bravo to Jim Trelease.

Oxford Tutoring

Picture copy.jpg My son, Matt, reading to my four grandchildren.

Reading aloud to my four children is one of the fondest memories I have of their growing up years.  They are all adults now with their own families and busy lives, but I have wonderful memories of cuddling on the couch with them, reading stories together, watching their eyes light up as we traveled to other lands and other times through story.

As a teacher, reading to my children seemed a natural part of the parenting process.  Even when they were babies, they would sit on my lap as we enjoyed books like Pat the Bunny.  As they grew older, we graduated to story books.  Some were fairy tales, some were Bible stories, but all were chances to bond together over printed word. They had their favorites that they asked to be read to them over and over and over. We went…

View original post 535 more words

1,000 books before Kindergarten

Start your child on the best path
for life-long learning.

I think this movement to encourage parents to read to their children very early in their lives is a great idea. The 1000 Books Foundation is a non-profit charity which was founded in 2013 to promote reading to newborns, infants and toddlers. It seeks to create parent-child bonding through reading.

Studies have shown there is a connection between early exposure to reading and early stimulation for brain development. The American Academy of Pediatrics urges parents to read aloud to their children daily. Reading to your children helps children with literacy and language skills. Spending time with your children each day in a shared activity strengthens bonding and development.

My local library has just started a  1,000 books Before Kindergarten Program. I know many library systems all over the U.S. and Canada have similar programs. This is something you can do with your children to give them a solid start in life. There are so many fantastic picture books and story books being published every year that you can discover together. You can also share your childhood favorites with your little ones.

Visit the 1,000 books before Kindergarten website They have instructions, activities, charts, reading logs, book lists and t-shirts. Start your child on the best path for life-long learning.

 

Maybe you have a picture book idea you want to publish. Contact me, I illustrate children’s books. I can help you navigate the complicated world of the publishing business.

 

Children are the building blocks of the human race.

Children’s Books Are My Life. I read them, I study them, I illustrate them and I write them. You might ask how children’s books can capture this much of my time and energy? Children’s books are important to me and they should be to you also. 

There's a Mouse on My Head Children's Picture Book

There's a Mouse on My Head

Picture book I illustrated for Donna Warwick

Children are the building blocks of the human race.

Educating our children to guide them to become the future leaders, innovators, and educators of our world is one of the most important things we can do.  Children’s books help young humans form their early outlook on life, their opinions, and values. Children’s books expand a child’s world beyond the four walls of their home. They prepare a child for a life of learning and interaction with other children. They help children become open-minded, educated and responsible adults.

Quiet reading time or taking a child to the library or a favorite bookstore should be a treat. It’s important to foster an early positive love of books and the wonderful world held between their covers. Books should hold a precious place in every home. Our children are our future, we need to make sure they have the best education, wide experiences and open minds to become our next generation of adults.

My love of books has turned into my career. I have always been a creative thinker and a creator. I love the rhythm of words and the look and smell of them on the printed page. I love to take a complicated problem and make it easy to understand with a few simple illustrations and words. My background in graphic design and art direction in the world of advertising gives me an advantage in illustrating and designing children’s books.

 

Don't be a Pig in a Panic! by Leila Leidke

Don't Be a Pig in a Panic!

Picture book I illustrated for Leila Leidke

I love working with publishers and authors to develop characters and bring stories to life. I use my skills in art direction, graphic design, and problem-solving together with my children’s book illustrations to help authors develop their characters and design their book covers. I design and incorporate the text into the page illustrations for beautiful spreads. For self-publishing authors, I can create the whole package, working directly with your printer, publisher or POD company, so you get the best results possible.

Visit my website portfolio:www.behance.net/DayneSislenDesign or my website for more information:www.daynesislendesign.com or email me directly:

 Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to the playground to get inspired…

 

Why children’s picture books are so important.

Of course, I’m prejudiced, my passion and my job are to write and illustrate children’s picture books.

But why do I feel they are so important for children? We all want what is best for our children, picture books start the process of learning and appreciating art at a very young age.

Mother and children reading before bedtime.

The illustrations in Picture books help very young children understand the story and encourage them to use their imagination to expand beyond the story.

As children start to learn to read on their own, the pictures help with comprehension and to decipher the meaning of unfamiliar words. The stories in picture books are not necessarily simpler than chapter books, in fact, they are richer because the pictures can tell a lot of the details of the story.

Picture books help children to explore interesting words in language, rhythm and rhyme at an early age. Repetition allows a child to anticipate words and actions, so they become a part of the story. Not only do children hear the story, they see the illustrations and touch the pages. They become excited that they can guess what an upcoming action or sound will be.

Picture books nurture, they can teach useful tools for dealing everyday life. When a child reads and sees  a picture book about a child or young animal dealing with an age-appropriate problem, they learn about problem-solving and cause and effect.

Picture books allow a very close relationship between child and parent or grandparent and child. Picture books are the perfect prop to make together-time and reading time, a special time to look forward to. A time to relax and settle down for bedtime. There is little pressure with picture books, the stories are meant to be fun and interactive.

If you have written a children’s book, contact me we can talk. I illustrate picture books for other authors.

Don't Be a Pig in a Panic!

Don’t Be a Pig in a Panic! written by Leila Leidke illustrated by Dayne Sislen

 

There's a Mouse on My Head

There’s a Mouse on My Head by Donna Warwick Illustrated by Dayne Sislen

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…

View original post 792 more words