Friday, January 31, 2014

The Metal Man by Aaron Reynolds

It's Perfect Picture Book Friday!

And my latest book deal was announced in Publisher's Marketplace this week! So here you have it. Long-awaited details of my next book:


(I actually missed the announcement because I was too busy working on another book project. How diligent of me!)


Moving on to Perfect Picture Book Fridays (you can learn more about this awesome list at Susanna Hill's blog), I've chosen a book that my son really loves because it involves power tools and creating things from junk, two of his favorites.

He discovered the book on the Reading Rainbow App—one I'd recommend, because of the quality of the titles, the ease of use (my son is four years old), and the extension or "field trip" videos with LeVar Burton.

And the picture book is. . .

Metal Man
by Aaron Reynolds


Title: Metal Man

Author: Aaron Reynolds

Illustrator: Paul Hoppe

Publisher: Charlesbridge, 2008

Category: Picture Book

Ages: 4-8

Genre: Fiction

Topics: Art, Sculpture, Creativity, Welding, Tools, Urban, Multicultural

Synopsis: With the help of the Metal Man, can Devon weld a sculpture of his own, or will the scrap metal amount to a pile of junk as his Mom suspects? 

First Page:


Why I Chose this Book: 
Actually, my son chose it But my husband worked in a quarry once, which involved some welding and creative metalwork, and since I love poetry, it's a natural fit for our whole family. My son is a lot like the boy in the book, always watching his Daddy working on something, then trying his own hand at invention. My son was also really into the pictures, and on the Reading Rainbow App, there are interactive elements that make the illustrations "move."

I think it's both a quiet book and a powerful one in that it's a poetic text about where we find inspiration and the courage or confidence to do something with those ideas.

Resource Activities:
KinderArt has a number of sculpture and collage art activities for children to do. Since this book is all about creating something of your own, this is a perfect start.

Have a great weekend!


Friday, January 10, 2014

Great Joy!

It's 10 a.m. on the 10th day of a New Year, and I'm just getting to my first post of 2014. This week has been a little crazy—need I say more than Polar Vortex?


Yes, it's been cold here. And we've been thinking a lot about the homeless in our city (shelters have been filling up).

As it happens, Santa Claus brought the kids a very timely book this winter called GREAT JOY by Kate DiCamillo. It's not only timely because of the current climate, time of year, and subject matter of the book (which features a homeless man), but also because Ms. DiCamillo was recently named the Ambassador for Young People's Literature. Our family couldn't be more thrilled with this selection!

Today, the weather is finally above freezing and school is back in session. Thank goodness, because next week we're welcoming two girls from Peru into our home who have never seen snow. One of them emailed me to say her favorite books are Pride and Prejudice and Divergent—I can tell we're going to get along swimmingly. If that's not an invitation for joy, what is?

Recently, we also learned that our family in St. Lucia is all OK after the Christmas Eve flooding rains that caused mudslides and widespread damage. All in all, we have a lot of GREAT JOY to celebrate.

Before I get to today's perfect picture book, I do want to share one more piece of SUPER AWESOME AMAZING EXCITING GREAT JOY. To be honest, it's not more joyful to me than that previous piece of good news I shared about our family being OK in St. Lucia. But it is worth large, highlighted font.

I SOLD MY THIRD BOOK!!!

The contract arrived yesterday, and I am thrilled to be blessed with another forthcoming book! Since it's slated for 2016, there's lots of time for me to post more about it, and I'll spare the details thus far. (Warning: the suspense may kill you.)

I'll also spare the huge long "thank you list" of everyone I know who has helped me to realize my writing and publishing goals—for now, anyway. But know that you are appreciated far more than I might ever express on this blog, in a thank you card, or in person.

It is on that note of almost-make-you-sick bubbly gladness that I review GREAT JOY by Kate DiCamillo, today's Perfect Picture Book. (And I promise to return to my more usual, less-squeaky tone and witty sarcasm in future posts.)


Title: Great Joy

Author: Kate DiCamillo

Illustrator: Bagram Ibatoulline

Publisher: Candlewick, 2007

Genre: Fiction / Historical Fiction

Category: Picture Book

Ages: 4-8

Topic/Subject: Christmas, New York, Homelessness

Opening Line: "The week before Christmas, a monkey appeared on the corner of Fifth and Vine." (Isn't that a great first line?!)

Why I chose this book: See above. Plus it has GOLD endpapers. This book looks like it's a hundred-year-old classic of great worth and importance and reads like a story anyone in any time period will appreciate. It's text is spare and contemporary, yet poetic in sense and detail. It's a great conversation starter for children and a reminder to parents not to let our busy-ness or fears get in the way of the love for all people. You know, that uncomplicated and amazing innocence, empathy and affinity for inclusion we had as a child? Trust me, we all still have it, and this book reminds us to embrace it.

Resources: 

Kate DiCamillo's Website: http://www.katedicamillo.com/books/great.html

PBS Kids has ways that kids can take action to help the hungry and homeless here: http://pbskids.org/zoom/activities/action/way02.html

Thank you for visiting. If you want to read about more Perfect Picture Books, head on over to Susanna Leonard Hill's blog. And if you missed my last Perfect Picture Book review on Seven Spools of Thread over the holidays, here it is.

I promise to reveal more about my new forthcoming book soon!

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