Friday, March 16, 2012

Focus Friday and Perfect Picture Books

My first Friday back at work in about a month...so there's plenty of need for focus.  But how does one do that with 800 emails to be read and a stack of to-dos higher than ever?

Prioritize.

Many of you who read this blog know what it's like to be super-busy, even if you haven't taken a month out of your life to go trekking in West Africa.  You're signed up for 12 x 12 in '12 or the March Madness of Poetry or you've just formed a Critique Group or you recently finished the Picture Book Marathon Month or you're doing a blog tour.

And during all that, when are you revising?  Submitting?  Meeting deadlines?  Getting your work published?

I made the decision to read emails NOT in the order they were sent.  And, after about 50 important ones -- I marked the rest as read (sorry, but I had to prioritize).  Then, I began my work day with important things:

Contracts that needed to be signed (yay!)
Following up with an editor
Turning in articles with upcoming deadlines
Revising a cover letter for a piece I plan to submit soon
Writing 2,000 words on my novel

These things are important.  My blog came next.  Paid writing work will fill the rest of my day and clear my priorities so that I am free to choose what will follow.  Sorry, I'll not be reading blogs today, checking Twitter, or beginning Facebook conversations. 

Sorry, this is something my kids actually taught me.

My children are perfect examples of knowing how to prioritize.  For example, if I say "we're only reading four books tonight," they prioritize.  Which books do they really want to hear first?  Which books will they forego (we have more than 300 to choose from here, plus there's always a stack of library books in rotation).  If I say, "one treat in the picnic basket," I watch them weigh their options  and choose one.  Although the decisions I have to make are a bit more complex, applying a simple strategy of prioritizing helps me actually get things done.

And, that brings us to today's Perfect Picture Book - a major "priority" at bedtime for the last five years in our household.  This book has been chosen many times over award-winning classics, my favorites, and even longer books that would stretch out the bedtime routine (yes, every kid knows that trick).  So, what is this favorite book of my kids?

Today's Perfect Picture Book is:

Baby Bill and Little Lil 
by Sue Heap

Title:  Baby Bill and Little Lil

Author and Illustrator:  Sue Heap

Publisher:  Kingfisher, 1999

Genre/Age: Picture Book, Ages 0-6

About (from Jacketflap copy): Baby Bill's expedition to catch a pet fishy looks doomed when he drops his pail into the sea...but Little Lill–and some moonlit magic–may yet save the day.

Why I like it:  It's a good example of all of the elements that make a picture book kids love, the illustrations are bright, it's short and simple, and the wacky characters are delightful.  Also, it's not a rhyming book, but Sue Heap has really paid attention to rhythm and word choice and the book reads so well aloud!  This was her second picture book, and it shows that she knows how to prioritize!
Additional Resources:  You might want to discuss high tide and low tide with kids, and here's a page that covers that subject well!

If you want to learn more about Perfect Picture Book Friday, please visit Susanna Leonard Hill's website for more info.  Comments are open below...leave a brief one and then GET TO WORK! :)

8 comments:

Christie Wright Wild said...

Thanks for sharing. I've never heard of Kingfisher Publishing.

It's cool to hear how your children prioritize. I do the same thing with my budget. Time? Sometimes that's a little harder.

Hope you had a blast in Africa.

Patricia T. said...

Miranda, sounds like a lovely selection. The rhyme sounds lovely and the illustrations very bold. Great selection for PPB.

Kirsten Larson said...

I appreciate your message about priorities. Since I've started teaching a class, I've had to address mine. Good luck getting back into the swing of things, and thanks for recommending this adorable book.

Susanna Leonard Hill said...

Thanks for finding room for PPBF in your priorities. I have a thing or two to learn from you! If you get a chance, let me know about themes for this book - since I haven't read it I don't know where to place it :) Good luck catching up!

Heather said...

Prioritize is the magic word! Thanks for this week's book choice.

Amy D said...

Prioritizing is so hard, especially when we are choosing between all good things! Looking forward to checking out this PPB selection.

Myra Garces-Bacsal from GatheringBooks said...

Hi Miranda, you do sound busy!! I teach in the university so it's also kind of crazy with all the marking and the teaching and yes the publish/perish conundrum, so I can truly sympathize. Not to mention the admin work!!!! It's insane, really.

I'm glad to have been led to your site though through the PPBF meme hosted by Susanna. I haven't heard of this picture book yet, so I shall definitely be on the look out for this one. I love books with lyrical text. Thank you for sharing this.

Penny Klostermann said...

I'm just now commenting on last week's PPBF...I had to do some prioritizing last week, too!
This sounds like a book I need to read.

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