Go Take a Hike: by Marilyn Ostermiller

If you need a reason to enjoy the great outdoors, why not take a hike?   With more than 60,000 miles of trails in the National Trail System across the 50 states, there is no lack of opportunity to go for a walk.   The benefits of walking are well documented: eases stress, great for cardio/vascular and joint health, improves mental function and helps maintain or even lose weight.  There are even locations that are open for hiking year round.

To find a hiking trail close to home or in an area you plan to visit, enter the zip code at www.Trails.com. It list locations and the length of each trail.

To set off on the right foot, the Wilderness Society offers 10 tips, among them:

  • Keep it simple. Select a hike that isn’t too long or too strenuous. If you are introducing children to hiking, pick a trail that has an interesting feature, like a lake, stream or waterfall, to give them something to look forward to.
  • Plan for frequent energy stops because hiking requires a lot of energy.
  • Leave no trace. Take a ziplock plastic bag large enough to hold all the trash you are likely to generate.

For the full list, visit http://wilderness.org/blog/take-your-kids-hiking-10-tips-make-adventure-fun-whole-family

Be prepared. Take the 10 Essentials including:                  file0001233456056

  • water and electrolytes
  • food and salty snacks
  • flashlight or headlamp
  • first aid kit
  • sunscreen
  • hat
  • sunglasses
  • rain jacket
  • spray bottle
  • good attitude

Learn what makes each item essential, at the National Parks Service website  https://www.nps.gov/grca/learn/photosmultimedia/hike_smart-02.htm

What you wear depends on whether you are hiking around town or someplace more ambitious. Basic apparel includes sneakers or boots, socks that aren’t going to cause blisters, long pants to avoid scratches and poison ivy, and a light weight, long-sleeved shirt that will wick away perspiration.

Among the books that will introduce children to hiking:

The Book on Hiking by Andy Dragt. This is a basic introduction to hiking for youngsters 10 to 18 years old. The focus is hiking in the Canadian Rockies and the preparation, gear, and knowledge required to do so. Also included are wildlife, survival techniques and the benefits of hiking with a club.

Walk on the Wild Side, written and illustrated by Nicholas Oldland, is for children 3 to 7 years old. One day, a bear, a moose and a beaver go for a walk in the mountains. To make the hike more exciting, they decide to race to the top. But soon the friends fall into deep trouble and one of them must find a way to save the day.

 

Marilyn OstermillerMarilyn Ostermiller is a long-time business journalist who now writes for children. You can follow her on Twitter @Marilyn_Suzanne.

 

 

Just One Thing from Author Nancy Viau!

When Darlene asked me to write a post about my new middle grade, I wasn’t sure what I’d say that wouldn’t give away one of the surprises within the plot. Then it hit me—KA-BOOM! I’ll give away a book, so you can see for yourself.

Here’s a bit about how Just One Thing! (illustrated by Timothy Young) came to be:

Having raised two sons (and two daughters, but that’s beside the point), I wanted to write from a boy’s point of view. So naturally, in the beginning stages, I asked them, “What were your memories of growing up?” Their answers: hanging out with friends, the traumatic move from PA to NJ, water gun fights, bikes, soccer, gymnastics, goofing off when homework was due, school projects, road trips to South Philly to visit relatives and eat cheesesteaks, and more. I also asked guys I connected with on the Blue Boards, and they chimed in with: the Booger Wall at school, whoopee cushions, playground obstacles courses, bullies, and nicknames.  (I can’t find these guys on the boards anymore, but Adam, Marcus, and Ryan, if you’re reading this, I promised you a copy for helping me, so contact me.)

Bottom line, many of these adventures became part of Anthony Pantaloni’s quest to find one thing he does well; one thing that replaces the awful nickname he got tagged with in fifth grade, and one thing he could be known for before he moves on to middle school. We all have those things that contribute to our identity. For kids, it’s more profound and constantly changing. How many of you remember that friend who was obsessed with horses, or the jokester who made funny faces behind the teacher’s back, or an amazing athlete, or extremely talented musician?

Just One Thing! is available at bookstores and online. Oh, I almost forgot! You can doodle in the book, but of course, only if it’s your copy. And only if you promise to contemplate, what’s your one thing?              just-one-thing-cover

Nancy Viau no longer worries about finding her one thing for she has found quite a few things she loves, like being a mom, writing, traveling, and working as a librarian assistant. She is the author of the picture books City Street Beat, Look What I Can Do! and Storm Song, and an additional middle-grade novel, Samantha Hansen Has Rocks in Her Head. Nancy grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA and now resides in South Jersey. www.NancyViau.com/ @NancyViau1

To win a copy of JUST ONE THING, Leave a comment on what your one thing is and how/when you discovered it.  Darlene will draw a name at random and announce the winner here on Wednesday, 12-7-16.

 

 

 

NYT Best Illustrated Children’s Books of 2016

Writing and Illustrating

The 2016 New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books
in alphabetical order:

nyt1hungermountain-articlelargeThe Cat From Hunger Mountain

Written and illustrated by Ed Young

The wealthy, selfish Lord Cat lives in wasteful luxury high on a mountain and treats his servants with contempt, until a drought brings hunger and he is forced to change his ways. With complex collages that mix photographs, torn paper, string and other materials, Young creates a stunning visual symphony with a surprising and unsettling emotional power.

32 pp. Philomel Books. $17.99.

nyt2dead-bird-articlelargeThe Dead Bird

By Margaret Wise Brown. Illustrated by Christian Robinson.

Brown’s quiet 1938 story of children who find a dead bird in the woods and give it a proper burial gets an exuberant, emotionally resonant update from Robinson, who moves the setting to an urban park and gives one child fairy wings, another a fox costume. Our reviewer, Mark Levine, praised Robinson’s “bold and…

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THINGS TO BE THANKFUL FOR.

As we approach another Thanksgiving, I am reminded that for all the uncertainty and turmoil throughout the world, I have blessings worth celebrating this Thanksgiving Season.  Love of family and friends. Food for my family, and the resources to provide food for those in need.  Good health, employment.  And those “free” things we always take for granted: sunshine, water, kindness, helping hands, laughter, love.

Here’s to counting our blessings this Thanksgiving…for me, they far outweigh the trouble.  Here’s a simple recipe for a breakfast or brunch treat that can be made ahead and frozen until ready to eat.  Let the kids help and be part of the celebration.

APPLESAUCE CARROT MUFFINS             applesauce-arrot-walnut-muffins

3/4 C sugar    1/4 C oil (I used coconut, but you can use whatever you choose).

2 C unsweetened applesauce            1 C shredded carrots         3 eggs.

Mix these ingredients together until blended.   Set aside.

Dry Ingredients: 

2 C flour ( I use a mix of oat flour, whole wheat and white).  2 tsp baking soda, 2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp each of nutmeg, cloves, ginger.   Ad this to the wet mixture and stir until blended.  Optional:  Add one C chopped walnuts and/or diced apple.

Pour into paper lined muffin pans.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.  Makes about 16 muffins.

While they’re baking, here is a link to some great books that teach kids how to be thankful.

http://www.readbrightly.com/books-that-show-kids-what-it-means-to-be-thankful/?ref=PRH0563577803&aid=randohouseinc13256-20&linkid=PRH0563577803&cdi=2AEB03AD52D94BE9E0534FD66B0A7FAD

May your blessings be many this holiday season! 

 

Hildie Bitterpickles Needs Her Sleep

Sweet Tea & Paperbacks

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Having trouble finding the perfect book for the young child on your holiday list? Look no further! Hildie Bitterpickles Needs Her Sleep, is a sweet story that will leave little ones begging to have it read over and over again. Written by Robin Newman and Illustrated by Chris Ewald, the story will take your imagination to far away lands and leave images dancing in your mind.

Hildie Bitterpickles is a young witch who likes things done her way. In this fun story, young readers will learn how to handle situations when things don’t go their way, and how to implement problem solving skills in their lives.

Newman has written a beautiful character in Hildie Bitterpickles, and pulls in characters from fairytale favorites. Newman’s ability to bring new imagination and life to older characters is a great feat that she accomplished in a way that seems like it’s her second nature.

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Buy American Made This Holiday Season. Why? Because it Matters.

As you head out  or go online in search of the perfect gift this holiday season, consider buying items made here in America.  If we want to keep jobs and create well paying, we need to support companies that hire workers and make products here in our country.

Sometimes it seems as if there is NOTHING made by American workers.  We can search rack after rack of clothing and be discouraged to find nothing that says Made in USA.  But there are plenty of well made products manufactured on our soil.  Local artisans, crafters, painters, woodworkers and the like can be found in most towns and cities.  Here is a link to online companies that produce a variety of goods made here.   Happy shopping!

http://www.americanmadematters.com

Where is your favorite place to “buy American”?

NJSCBWI Craft Weekend Rocks!

It was a joy to share workshops with fellow writers at the New Jersey Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators (NJSCBWI) Fall Craft Weekend November 12-13 at the Theological Seminary in Princeton. NJ.  I had the pleasure of presenting a workshop titled SKELETONS IN THE CLOSET: HARVESTING YOUR ANCESTRY FOR STORY.  There were other workshops as well as panels of agents and editors discussing their wants in children’s books.  Here are some photo highlights:

Yvonne Ventresca, Patricia Keeler, me, Laurie Wallmark, Robin Newman: All represented by Liza Fleissig or LRA.

Yvonne Ventresca, Patricia Keeler, me, Laurie Wallmark, Robin Newman: All represented by Liza Fleissig or LRA.

 

 

We three conducted workshops on Suspense, PB's and Using Genealogy in storytelling.

We three conducted workshops on Suspense, PB’s and Using Genealogy in storytelling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PB Author Superstar Tara Lazar

PB Author Superstar Tara Lazar

 

Editor/Agent Panel.

Editor/Agent Panel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

With workshop attendee Eileen Holden

With workshop attendee Eileen Holden

 

 

With Jody Staton

With Jody Staton

Annie Silvestro with her debut PB: Bunny's Book Club.

Annie Silvestro with her debut PB: Bunny’s Book Club.

 

 

 

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Most diners raved about the chocolate dessert...I really enjoyed the edible nasturtium!

Most diners raved about the chocolate dessert…I really enjoyed the edible nasturtium!

 

 

 

       If you’d like copes of the handouts from my workshop, let me know and I’ll email them to you.

SKELETONS IN THE CLOSET: MINING YOUR ANCESTRY FOR STORY. (How to use photos,documents, diaries, etc to develop character/setting and details in a story)

Many thanks to RA Cathy Daniels and her “CREW” for making the weekend a great success!