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

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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This the week I pause to give thanks

Every year about this time,  I stop and look back on past the year and all the things I am thankful for. I am fortunate in life to have a wonderful loving husband, two fantastic children, two incredible grandchildren, a mother who is healthy and still lives near by and many fun and supportive friends. When you really get down to what’s important, it’s friends and family. Oh yeah, and that other important thing– health. We have been healthy also.

Soaring_Sislen_300Let me make a short list:

  • Sunrises
  • Sunsets
  • Baby’s cute little toes and noses
  • Puppies and kittens
  • Mittens
  • Snowflakes
  • Good friends
  • Good food
  • Good health
  • Fireplaces
  • Long walks with someone you love
  • Picture books

I also feel very lucky to work at a job that I love so much, I don’t even consider it working. I have met a lot of new friends through the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) by attending conferences, workshops and meeting with my critique group every month. I also meet fellow children’s book writers and illustrators online using social media that share my love of children’s books. Since I work alone each day in my studio, I enjoy the companionship of a large group of dog walkers and their delightful dogs every morning at 7am in the park across the street from where I live. We walk 3 to 4 miles every morning in all but the most inclement weather (ice storms and thunder storms, we stay home).

This year I was fortunate to illustrate a children’s picture book called “There’s a Mouse on My Head!” with my good friend, Donna Warwick. I have worked with so many authors to illustrate their picture books and chapter books and we usually become friends by the end of the project. But this is the first time to start out as friends at the beginning. It’s been a fun experiment in self publishing. Other authors I have worked with have self-published, but I have never been so involved in the process of marketing the book. It’s a lot of work, but also a lot of fun.

School visits, presentations, readings, signings, and give-aways keep us busy. I feel like I need to take a breather to start work on another picture book. I keep writing manuscripts and sending them off into the world and I keep illustrating, it’s what makes me happy.

I hope everyone who reads this has a Happy Thanksgiving and a warm and wonderful  Holiday Season.

I am praying for the victims and families of victims senselessly murdered in terrorists acts in Nigeria, Yemen, Paris, Turkey, Tripoli, Israel, Philippines, Ukraine, Pakistan, Mali, Tunisia, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Kenya, India, Afghanistan and Cameroon. And home grown terrorism (shootings) in the U.S. I pray we can all learn to live together in peace.

 

New Etsy Shop for our books!

Screen Shot 2015-11-06 at 1.18.43 PMI just set up a brand new Etsy shop called Glass Pen Press so everyone can buy the SIGNED versions of Donna Warwick’s and my book, “There’s a Mouse on My Head! The signed books can be purchased locally around St. Louis at: The Jewish Book Festival Book Store until November 12th, Imagination Toys in Ladue, Webster Groves Book Store in Webster and Sound Mind in Creve Coeur, Missouri. The books can also be ordered from Amazon.com and B&N.com in hard cover and soft cover, but the books ordered online are not signed by us because they are shipped directly.

The books in the Etsy shop will be signed by both of us.

I also plan to add art prints suitable for framing using a few of the illustrations from the book. I still need to figure out the logistics of having them printed and mailing them safely. So books are ready now, the art prints in a few weeks.

Hope you can drop by the shop. Let me know if you see any glitches. It’s brand new and untested.

Preparing for our picture book presentation tomorrow

Tomorrow is the big day

Donna Warwick and I have been preparing for this event since March. We will present our book “There’s a Mouse on My Head!” to the Jewish Book Festival Book Club Tea.  Representatives from all the book clubs throughout St. Louis and the committee chairs for the Jewish Book Festival will be attending the tea. Our book will also be available for sale at the Jewish Book Festival Book Store in the Missouri’s Own Section the first week in November.

MOYH 3d_BookCoverOur book release was based on being ready for this event. Donna Warwick, the author of “There’s a Mouse on My Head!” has prepared a video of the book using my illustrations, Donna’s singing the words with ukulele music in the background played by her cousin Sandy. I saw the finished version yesterday for the first time and it is fantastic. We thought it would much better to show it large on a 9 1/2 foot x 8 foot screen. Much easier for 70 people to see than holding up a picture book.

We will also talk to the group about self-publishing. We feel that everyone has a story they want to tell. We will give insight into the children’s book publishing world.

Yesterday I spent a large part of the day preparing small chocolate mice favors for each attendee. It was a lot of work. I sure hope everyone likes them. Making 70 of anything requires quite an assembly line, I had no idea what I was getting into. I don’t think there is a career change in my future as a candy maker. You can buy our book on Amazon and B&N.com or order it from your neighborhood independent book store :-).

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“There’s a Mouse On my Head! is officially on sale today!

delivery of books

My puppy Ghillis is “helping.”

Today is P-Day or publishing day for us. Our book, There’s a Mouse on My Head! is finally able to ship. Amazon listed it earlier, but held up shipping until today. My front hall is filled with books for Donna Warwick and me to sign. My puppy Ghillis “helped” with the unwrapping.

Right now the only way to get a signed book is directly from one of us. Hard cover books are $14.99, Soft Cover books are $9.99.

MOYH 3d_BookCoverWe did a lot of running around like crazy people at the last minute. I have to admit the website site is not quite up. The author Donna Warwick has a few more things to write and finalize. I have posted activities pages and coloring sheets for parents and teachers to download for their kids. We will be setting up school visits and library visits for this Fall and Spring. Hopefully the website will be up and running by Wednesday, August 19, 2015. Contact us directly: DonnaWarwickAuthor(at)gmail.com or Dayne.Design(at)gmail.com 

 Here is the website link, be sure to wait until August 19th to visit:  www.DonnaWarwickAuthor.com

The Amazon listing for our book & the B&N.com listing. “There’s a Mouse on My Head” is also available by special order from your local independent store book.

I’m so excited! Self-published books have arrived.

MOYH_coversOur self-published picture books (sample run) have arrived!!! They look great and I’m so excited! IngramSpark prints a very quality book.

OK, I keep telling myself to act like the “cool girl.” You know the one who doesn’t show she is excited, who is cool and collected and blasé about something like this happening. The girl who doesn’t use exclamation points after every sentence when she does something like this!!! Well, I never was that girl (now woman) and I will never will be that sophisticated cool girl, because I’m really, really excited about this!!!!

I have illustrated many children’s books for other authors, but never been as closely involved in the whole process. Donna Warwick, the author of There’s a Mouse on My Head! is a good friend. She is also a member of my SCBWI picture book critique group here in St. Louis. When I first read her poem, which was very much shorter than this book, I was hooked. I loved the idea of the clever boy who doesn’t want to eat his veggies and comes up with a way to win over his grandmother. Donna listened when our critique group advised her to lengthen the story and bring more action and characters into the mix. I loved this story so much I suggested we work together to bring this book to the world.

The books, a 8 1/2 by 10 1/2″ hardcover version $14.99  and a soft cover version at the same size for $9.99 will be distributed through IngramSpark to independent bookstores and Barnes & Noble’s online store. They will be available for special order from Barnes & Noble brick and mortar stores. They will also be printed by CreateSpace for distribution on Amazon.com at a 8″ x 10″ size. There is a good reason for the two printers, I will go into later. I did quite a lot of research and had a lot to learn about this whole process.

Our publication date is set for August 17th. We are setting up a website right now, where we should soon be able to  take pre-orders and eventually sell the books.  We are planning free activity sheets and lesson plans available to teachers and homeschoolers.  We are scheduling school visits, library visits and even senior center visits for this Fall. We also are presenting our book at a Jewish Book Festival luncheon in St. Louis this October and the Jewish Book Festival Book Store in November. So much to do, so little time.

Yes, I’m having fun!!!

Pre-orders at Amazon.com, just search for “There’s a Mouse on My Head!” WordPress won’t let me put links to Amazon on this site. B&N.com will have our book by August 17th.

Reviews are the  lifeblood of authors and illustrators, please leave honest reviews on Amazon, B&N and GoodReads.

 

 

7 Steps for Marketing a Children’s Picture Book

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Back Cover, There’s a Mouse on My Head!

Everything I’ve read says it’s a lot of work to market any book, much less a self-published children’s picture book. Donna Warwick the author of “There’s a Mouse on My Head!” and I, as the illustrator, are starting down this long road to what we hope is success.

The first copies of the book have been printed and shipped. They haven’t arrived yet. We need to make sure everything is perfect before we release them to the public. Publication date is set for August 10. Our book will be available on Amazon, B&N, and other Internet bookstores. Brick and mortar book stores can special order it for you directly from Ingrams. “There’s a Mouse on My Head” will also be available at the Jewish Book Festival Book Store this November. We are making hardcover books as well as soft cover books. Later we plan an e-book.

1. We are working on an author’s website. I am setting it up and doing the graphics, Donna will write all the text.

2. A Facebook fan page is in the process of being set up.

3. A Twitter account needs to be started.

4. We are also working on teacher materials, and activity sheets for parents to download from the website for their kids.

5. Donna is working on a trailer to promote the book

6. She is also working on the presentation we will give at the Jewish Book Festival luncheon in October.

7. In the Fall, both Donna and I will be setting up grade school, pre school and library visits.

So much work and so little time. Wish us luck and abundant creativity.

There’s a Mouse on My Head!

As I sit here illustrating, There is a Mouse on My Head!.. there actually is a mouse on my head. It’s an illustrated one because I’m designing a promotional bookmark we will be giving away for the release of the book. The bookmark will feature a large cartoon mouse suitable to place on your head. The book in hardcover and soft cover will be printed by August 3, 2015. We will later have an e-book available.

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The author Donna Warwick and I will be presenting our book at a Tea in October, sponsored by the Book Club for the Jewish Book Festival in St. Louis . We will also have the books available for sale at the “Missouri’s Own” section of the Jewish Book Festival bookstore in November. I have my good friend Ray Wenneker to thank for this wonderful opportunity.

The book is a fun, bedtime picture book for 2-8 year olds, featuring a grandmother as caregiver who builds a bond with her grandchildren. This charming book explores how a resourceful and creative boy uses his incredible imagination to convince Grandma that his toy mouse wants to eat his peas. Little sister, not wanting to be left out of his dinnertime game, gleefully jumps in. As their fun fantasy runs wild, their understanding grandmother is delighted to play along with the children as they brush the mouse’s teeth and put him to bed.

This joint project between author and illustrator has been an adventure. We are striking out into new territory. Ingram Spark will be publishing and distributing the books. We will be doing all of our own marketing and publicity. We have planned school and library visits as well as senior center visits where we hope to appeal to the grandmothers in the crowd. Being a part of the Jewish Book Festival is an important event for us. We have a wonderful program planned with music and a video along with our talk. Both of us can hardly wait to start visiting schools. Donna Warwick, the author works with children all the time and is very entertaining. I’ll let everyone know when the books are available. We can start taking preorders by late July.