A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure and privilege to do a radio interview with Stefani Milan on her show called READ ALL ABOUT IT. We talked about my book, writing for children, historical research and more in the 30 minute spot. Stephani does a wonderful job of making a person feel at ease and the time just flew by. For any other authors out there who might like to do an audio spot, give it a try. Stefani is always looking for authors that she can promote on the show.
Here’s the link to the program. Let me know what you think.
I loved this post so much, I wanted to share it with my blog viewers. Let me know what you think and if you have other “tips” you’ve tried to get your kids to eat better.
Last Friday’s post had suggestions for ways to be kinder and gentler to the Earth. Today I have a few more suggestions in honor of Earth Day.
1. Commit to perform an act of Green at: http://www.earthday.org
2.Sign up for Community Recycling’s CR Home program where you follow their 3 simple steps to send gently used clothing, shoes, and accessories to those in need. YOU put them in a box. YOU print a shipping label and place it on the box. YOU leave the parcel for your mail carrier who will pick it up FREE OF CHARGE. For more info: http://www.communityrecycling.biz/programs/cr-home
3. Read…and Seed: At bloomin.com, purchase Bloomin Seed Paper that is 100% biodegradeable and embedded with seeds. Use the paper as stationary, for invitations, grocery lists, then plant it and watch your garden come to life. http://www.bloomin.com
In honor of Earth Day (April 22) and Arbor Day (April 24) I’ve brought together several great sites that help you and your child do something to help and honor our Mother Earth. There are numerous organizations and manufacturers who dedicate themselves to reducing waste, recycling, and leaving a smaller footprint. Some cost a donation; other only require time. Here are a few of them:
1. GO WILD: Protect the World’s Ocean’s through Oceana’s ADOPT AN ANIMAL Program. If you spend $50.00 on a stuffed sea creature, the money will be used to protect endangered ocean creatures and the habitats they live in. http://www.oceana.org. The WORLD WILDLIFE FUND http://www.worldwildlife.org offers species adoptions for $55.00, which entitles you to a phot, stuffed animal, adoption certificate and gift bag.
2. PLANT A TREE: The Nature Conservancy’s program of Plant a Billion Trees, aims to restore forests around the world from Brazil to China. You can see a map of progress so far and how to donate. http://www.plantabillion.org You can also protect forests in the American West at http://www.americanforests.org
3. RECYCLE FOR A CAUSE: Fight poverty by donating new and gently used shoes to: http://www.soles4souls.org.
Assist victims of domestic violence by passing on old cellphones: http://www.shelteralliance.net
At http://www.greenergadgets.org you can find out what to do with your old cell phones, and electronics so they don’t end up in a landfill. The site also teaches you how to buy green, live green and recycle responsibly.
You can also spare the landfill by donating electronics to local charities at: http://www.donationtown.org
Send used baby clothes to outfit needy infants at: http://www.newbornsinneed.org
4. RAISE A PUPPY: If your child is begging for a puppy but you’re not sure, you can get a feel for what is involved by volunteering to be a puppy raiser for the blind. http://www.guidedogs.com
5. HELP ELEPHANTS: A gift of $30.00 provides the 150-200 pounds of food an elephant requires each day at the Tennessee Elephant Sanctuary, the largest natural habitat for old, sick or needy elephants in the US http://www.elephants.com
6. At http://www.eartheasy.com your child will find dozens of eco-friendly websites with activities, ideas and information on how to help protect the earth, and how to live sustainably.
You can also do things in your own backyard and neighborhood. Plant a tree, start an herb or vegetable garden, go organic when you can to reduce dependence on pesticides. Use less water. Have a day without electricity, where you play games and tell stories by candlelight.
Check out the other Earth Day posts on this blog for more ideas.
Be kinder and gentler to Mother Earth…she’s the only planet we’ve got!
To celebrate National Poetry Month, I asked a fellow writer and poet, Lori Degman to share some different kinds of poetry forms. Lori’s picture books, 1 Zany Zoo, (Simon & Schuster 2010) and Cockadoodle,Oops! (Creston Books 2014)
were written in rhyming verse, and are an absolute delight to read aloud. Here’s Lori:
Thank you, Darlene, for asking me to do a guest post on your wonderful blog!
As a writer of rhyme – most of the time (but not always), and because April is National Poetry Month, I thought I’d share four unusual forms of poetry I’ve discovered through the years. I challenge you to give them a try – I bet you’ll have fun if you do!
1. Cinquain – a five-line poem that follows this pattern:
Line 1: One word (subject or noun)
Line 2: Two words (adjectives that describe line 1)
Line 3: Three words (action verbs that relate to line 1)
Line 4: Four words (feelings or a complete sentence that relates to line 1)
Line 5: One word (synonym of line 1 or a word that sums it up)
Here’s my Cinquain:
Raining, blossoming, growing
Goodbye to old winter
2. Clerihew – a light verse, usually consisting on two couplets of uneven length and irregular
meter, with the rhyme scheme AABB. The first line usually contains the name of a well known
person. The Clerihew was invented by Edmund Clerihew Bently (1875 – 1956), an English
writer, at the age of 16.
Here’s my Clerihew:
Is out on the loose.
He’s hunting for words
that are silly and absurd.
3. Sausage Poem – a string of words which are “linked” with the same letters/sounds at the
endings and beginnings of words. An extra challenge is to go full circle and have the last
letter/sound of the sentence match the first letter/sound. It’s harder than I thought it would be!
Here’s my Sausage Poem: (Darlene highlighted the letter sounds in orange to show the technique)
Spring goes slowly yet time elapses.
Summer rain nurturing growing greens.
Fall leaves swirl like caustic kids.
Winter rains snow over rustic cabins.
4. Skeltonic Verse – The Skeltonic Verse was named after English poet, John Skelton
(1460-1529). The rules are simple:
Line 1: Keep the line lengths between three and six words
Line 2: Every end word rhymes with the previous, until you start a new set of rhymes
Line 3: Keep the same rhyme until it starts to lose its energy or impact
Line 4: The poem should be full of energy and fun
Here’s my Skeltonic Verse (I wrote this right before going out to do my “duty”):
The weekend’s here
I shout and cheer
Until I hear
A voice so clear
From in the yard
the words were hard
So I was jarred
My plans were marred
Outside on the stoop
With a bag and scoop
His words made me droop
“Let’s pick up poop”
Lori Degman is a teacher of Deaf/Hard of Hearing students by day and a writer of picture books by night, weekends and school holidays. Her debut picture book, 1 Zany Zoo was the winner of the Cheerios New Author Contest and was published by Simon & Schuster in 2010. Her second picture book, Cock-a-Doodle Oops! was released by Creston Books in May, 2014! She is represented by Karen Grencik at Red Fox Literary.
Darlene here: I don’t know about you, but I am going to have to try a Skeltonic poem of my own. Which form speaks to you?
It gives me great pleasure to feature another one of my author friends who has a debut book releasing this month. ROBIN NEWMAN’S Chapter Book, The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake, A Wilcox and Griswold Mystery, is being released by CRESTON BOOKS to starred reviews. Here’s Robin to tell us about her path to publication:
I’ve often been asked how I ended up writing children’s books, and for that matter, a mystery series. “After all, you’re a lawyer, right?”
It’s a good question. A very good question.
Yes, I am a lawyer. When I was practicing, I was what you would call a “disgruntled lawyer.” That’s disgruntled with a capital D. Not an unfamiliar term to many lawyers.
One day, my mom gave me some good advice.
“Quit,” she said.
“What did you say?” I said. At the time, I was on my lunch break at a pay phone on a congested street in lower Manhattan. My hearing has never been great, but I knew I must have been imagining our conversation.
“Can you please repeat what you just said? I think we have a bad connection.”
“Quit. We’ll figure it out.”
I did. Surprisingly, my mom had a plan. I had no other plan but to eat my way through the chocolate éclair section at my local bakery. (It wasn’t a pretty sight.)
“Call Barry,” she said. He was one of my mom’s neighbors with a family law practice. He also taught family law.
I made the call. He needed help with some research projects. So, I wrote a bunch of memos, and then he asked me to write the content for his mediation website. It was this project that got me my job as a legal editor. When I was pregnant, I decided to freelance, and around that time, I began writing short stories. My twin suggested I enter the Symphony Space Selected Shorts contest. I did. I lost. Year after year. Rinse and repeat. But I was writing.
My husband suggested I take a writing class. I signed up for a children’s fiction class and as soon as I walked in the classroom, I knew I had found my people.
Then, during one Christmas holiday, I noticed my niece yawning while she was opening her presents. It was an eye opening moment. She was bored. That’s when I decided to give my nieces and nephews more meaningful gifts.
I wrote them stories. One of those stories was about the Double Trouble Banana Split Detective Agency on the hunt for a missing birthday cake. The detectives were two monkeys working their beat from a tree house. All of the characters were named after, or inspired by, members of my family.
I brought a version of this story to my writing workshop. Everyone hated the monkeys. Got it! The monkeys had to go. So what kind of detectives would kids find engaging? It somehow crossed my mind, wouldn’t it be interesting if the detectives, the enforcers of justice, were the smallest animals on a farm? Little by little, the enforcers became mice, and at some point I started to play around with the idea of making them like the FBI. But what kind of enforcement would be needed on a farm? And that’s when it hit me. Food enforcement. They would be MFIs, Missing Food Investigators. Hence, the creation of The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake, A Wilcox and Griswold Mystery.
At first, the story was a picture book. But my word counts were off the charts. They were around 1200-1600 words. I knew an editor would be hyperventilating if he/she saw the word counts. Playing with the line spacing, margins, fonts, etc. wouldn’t help. (Although I can’t say I didn’t think of it. )
But I had no idea how to cut that many words and still write a mystery that was laden with clues, flushed out suspects, red herrings, etc. Then I went to one of the NJ SCBWI (www.njscbwi.org) conferences. I had a one-on-one critique with the great, Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen. She told me, I’m paraphrasing a tad, but this is the gist of the conversation.
“This is not a picture book.”
Once again, I thought I was hearing things.
“This is a chapter book. Eight short chapters and you’re done.”
It was as if a light bulb went off. I started rewriting it as an early chapter book. Back to my critique group for what must have been a gazillion rewrites before I sent it out. In 2012, I met my wonderful, stupendous agent, Liza Fleissig, from the Liza Royce Agency, who coincidentally is also Darlene’s agent. I did a number of rewrites for Liza, and then a number of rewrites for Creston Books. My amazing, awesome editor and publisher, Marissa Moss, suggested I add more food metaphors, hype up the humor, leave more red herrings, and tighten the story. Her comments were spot on.
So, in a nutshell, that’s pretty much how I ended up writing a mystery series. And I have to say, it is hands up and down the absolute best job in the universe!
Watch the trailer for THE CASE OF THE MISSING CARROT CAKE: https://vimeo.com/123638587
Raised in New York and Paris, Robin is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and the City University of New York School of Law. She’s been a practicing attorney and legal editor, but she prefers to write about witches, mice, pigs, and peacocks.
She is the author of The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake, A Wilcox & Griswold Mystery, illustrated by Deborah Zemke (Creston Books, Spring 2015), about two hardboiled mouse detectives working their beat from a shoebox at the back of Farmer Ed’s barn. They are MFIs, Missing Food Investigators, and on their seminal case, they’re on the hunt for Miss Rabbit’s missing carrot cake. (Note: The names of the animals have been changed to protect the good guys.) Other books include Hildie Bitterpickles Needs Her Sleep, illustrated by Chris Ewald (Creston Books, Spring 2016) and The Case of the Poached Egg, A Wilcox & Griswold Mystery (Creston Books, Fall 2016).
You can visit Robin at www.robinnewmanbooks.com.
Now here’s the interesting part of the post. If you’d like a chance to win a FREE copy of The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake, A Wilcox & Griswold Mystery, illustrated by Deborah Zemke (Creston Books, Spring 2015), please post a comment below. If you’d like to increase your chances of winning, please also tweet about this post on Twitter, share it on Facebook, and reblog it. For each additional “shout out,” an extra piece of paper will be added to the magic sorting hat with your name on it. Don’t miss out on this once in a lifetime opportunity! And don’t forget to let Darlene know how many “shout out’s you did so she can add the correct number to the mix. Deadline is April 20, 2015.
May the best blog reader win!