And The Winners Are…Book Give-aways.

As promised in earlier posts, I have THREE books to give away and here are the winners:

The board book ALL COLORS by Amalia Hoffman goes to Kathy Oldham and a second copy to Naomi Gruer.

The picture book A ZEBRA PLAYS ZITHER by Janice Bond goes to Briana McGhee

The MG book SOMETHING IS BUGGING SAMANTHA HANSEN by Nancy Viau goes to Marilyn Ostermiller.

Congratulations to the winners. Please forward me your address so I can get your books to you ASAP. Thanks to all who participated. Happy Reading!

Easy Last-minute Thanksgiving Treats Kids Can Make.

I recently went to a party and we did this “food craft” with the kids. They had fun making these treats and serving them to everyone afterwards. The recipe was on the package of Kisses.

Candy Acorns

You will need:  Hershey Kisses unwrapped, peanut butter morsels, mini Vanilla Wafers, vanilla frosting for glue.  Take a look at the photo…it’s self-explanatory.

acorn treats

MAY YOU AND YOURS HAVE A SAFE AND BLESSED THANKSGIVING!

3 New MG Book Reviews + A Give-Away.

As promised, here is the third post with a book give-away. This one features Three MG books I’ve recently had the pleasure to read and review.

Goodbye, Mr. Spalding

GOODBYE, MR. SPALDING, by Jennifer Robin Barr is a thoughtful and heart-warming middle grade tale of friendship, family and baseball set in Philadelphia in the early 1930’s.

Twelve-year-old Jimmy Frank and his best friend Lola have lived next door to each other since they were babies. Their houses overlook Shibe Park which happens to be the home of the Philadelphia Athletics baseball team. They and their families enjoy cheering on their favorite team from the rooftop bleachers of their 20th Street homes. The small admission fees charged to the folks that fill up the bleacher seats goes a long way toward making ends meet during difficult times. And, every so often an A’s player – like Jimmie Foxx – hits a right field home run right over the fence and onto their rooftop.

At the end of the 1934 season, the neighborhood gets news of a wall that is planned to be built to block their view and make the rooftop bleachers obsolete. This “spite wall” will take away a source of income for the families and erase a beloved tradition. Jimmy sets out to try and stop the wall. With Lola’s help, they try one scheme after another and only succeed in causing trouble for themselves and the community. Will Jimmy’s obsession with the wall ruin his chances of being bat boy for the A’s? Will it ruin his friendship with Lola? Will the Polinski brothers – AKA the neighborhood bullies succeed in ruining Jimmy?  Reader’s will eagerly turn pages to find out.

This delightful story is solidly grounded in the 1930’s with enough local and historical details to fix the depression-era time period. Hopeful, heart-felt and a celebration of teamwork and sportsmanship, it is sure to become a classroom favorite. It knocked me out of the park. Rule # 1934: Goodbye, Mr. Spalding is a home run!

The Joke Machine: Create Your Own Jokes and Become Instantly Funny!

This book is a delight and easy to read.  Comprehensive and user-friendly, THE JOKE MACHINE, by Theresa Julian, is filled with so many ways to create jokes and add humor to writing, including figures of speech such as simile, alliteration, onomatopoeia, and metaphor.  It will jump start imaginations and get kids thinking of ways to add humor and make up jokes of their own.  A definite hit for kids of all ages, and handy for anyone who wants to write funnier.

Something Is Bugging Samantha Hansen

SOMETHING IS BUGGING SAMANTHA HANSEN by Nancy Viau. Ten-year-old Samantha Hansen, the rock loving fourth grader from SAMANTHA HANSEN HAS ROCKS IN HER HEAD is back with a new obsession – insects. The future entomologist thinks science rocks and learning about insects is the best of all.
When Sam discovers that a local apiary – that’s a scientific word for bee farm – is for sale, she is determined to save the honey bees. Will her best friend –who’s maybe not her best friend anymore – and her someday boyfriend Todd help in the cause? Will that annoying kid Richard get in the way?
Reader’s will enjoy Sam’s list of insect facts and her humorous musings about school, friendship, fractions, boys, and how to keep her temper from taking over. It’s a kid-friendly sequel with lots of heart and a perfect addition to STEM and for science loving kids.

I am giving away a copy of SOMETHING IS BUGGING SAMANTHA HANSEN to one lucky reader. To enter, leave a comment and I will put your name in a hat. Share this post and I’ll put your name in twice. One winner will br drawn at random and announced on 11-27-19.

3 New Picture Book Reviews +A Give-away.

This is my second post featuring a book give-away just in time for holiday gifting. Last week I ran a contest for the board book ALL COLORS by Amalia Hoffman.  This week I am featuring three new picture books I’ve recently read and will be giving away one of them to one lucky reader. On Thursday, I will highlight two MG book reviews and a give-away as well. Winners for all the give-aways will be announced on this blog on WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 27TH, 2019.

REMARKABLY YOU by Pat Zietlow Miller is a delightful and joyous celebration of all the things that make each of us unique and memorable. I love the positive message painted on every page with words and pictures. A spirited and gentle reminder to be ourselves, no matter what our passions may be, to share our talents, and to spread our sunshine wherever we go. A perfect gift for all ages.

Remarkably You

A ZEBRA PLAYS A ZITHER by Janice Bond is a glorious and beautifully illustrated celebration of the many ways we make music. Shown with a wide variety of animals, this colorful and whimsical picture book makes you want to make music of your own. The illustrations leap off the page as if the animals are dancing to the melodies and instruments they present through the letters of the alphabet. Using alliteration and gentle rhyme, it’s an alphabet book filled with originality. It’s bound to be a favorite for music and animal lovers of all ages.

A Zebra Plays Zither: An Animal Alphabet and Musical Revue

THE SCARECROW by Beth Ferry is a tender and beautifully illustrated story of how kindness is never forgotten and friendship can happen if we open our arms and hearts to the possibility. A perfect book to show children that we all, no matter how small or different, deserve kindness. Makes me want a scarecrow of my own!

The Scarecrow

For a chance to win a copy of A ZEBRA PLAYS A ZITHER, LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW AND YOUR NAME WILL BE PUT INTO A HAT.  If you share this post, let me know and I will add your name again. One name will be chosen at random and announced at the end of the month.

Mincemeat Enjoys a Storied Past, by Marilyn Ostermiller.

“Would you like a mincemeat cookie?”

When I offer holiday guests a platter of fresh baked mincemeat cookies, I’ve come to expect one of two responses, happy or sorta queasy.

It’s understandable. Minced meat and cookies aren’t a famous pairing, like peanut butter and jelly, or cheese and crackers.

 

Mincemeat can be traced back to Medieval Times in Europe. Back then, it was a way to preserve food without refrigeration. Finely chopped lamb was mixed with dried fruits, sugar and vinegar to keep it from spoiling.

 

A tradition evolved that tied mincemeat pie to Christmas. The pie crust was rectangular, like the manger in Bethlehem. It was filled with mincemeat and a small replica of baby Jesus rested on the filling. A sprinkling of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg symbolized the gifts of the Magi. 

 

Over the years, the meat — finely chopped beef became popular — gradually began to be supplanted with preserved fruits, and sweeteners.

Crosse & Blackwell Rum & Brady Mincemeat Filling & Topping ~ 1 count ~ 29 oz jar

Today’s mincemeat is made mostly from preserved fruits. The brand I prefer doesn’t have a trace of meat or suet. Instead, it’s made with apples, raisins, and orange peel, mixed with corn syrup, vinegar, cornstarch, spices and salt. Some other brands still include beef and suet. Some are spiked with brandy or rum.

While I take the shortcut of prepared mincemeat, two of the cookbooks that will guide more adventurous cooks through the steps to make theirs from scratch include:

  • The Forgotten Arts: Making Old-Fashioned Pickles, Relishes, Chutneys, Sauces and Catsups, Mincemeats, Beverages and Syrups (Yesterday’s Skills Adapted to keywords=Mincemeat+recipes&qid=1571846370&s=books&sr=1-1
  • Preserve & Pickle Recipes (Preserve & Pickle Recipes : With these Fruit Cheeses, Curds, Mincemeat, Conserves, Chutneys And Relishes Book 2) Written by Ana Bridge.

Like pumpkin pie and fruit cake, mincemeat pies, tarts and cookies have their season. It begins at Thanksgiving and ends at Christmas, although leftovers are fair game until New Year’s Eve.

My family favors this recipe:

mincemeat

Mincemeat Cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups sugar

3 eggs

3 cups unsifted flour

1tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/3 cups mincemeat (I use Crosse & Blackwell brand)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Cream butter and sugar in a mixer. Add eggs, one at a time. Whisk together dry ingredients. Add gradually to the creamed mixture. Stir in mincemeat. Drop tablespoon-sized rounds of batter on a greased baking sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes. Makes 6 dozen.

Marilyn Ostermiller      Marilyn Ostermiller is a long-time journalist, who enjoys baking for family and friends.

 

 

Roseanne Kurstedt Presents:KARATE KID + A Chance to Win a Copy.

Today it is my pleasure to host my friend and fellow Children’s Book Author ROSEANNE KURSTEDT who will share some things about her awesome picture book KARATE KID.

Karate Kid Cover High Resolution

Two Favorite Experiences through the Process

I have two favorite experiences. The first occurred during the creation of the story. As I was doing research, I wanted guidance from a senesi.  The master I trained with had moved away. I took Tae Kwon Do anyway so not sure how helpful that would have been since this book is about karate­, so I needed to find a Karate sensei. I reached out to a sensei at a local dojo and after briefly speaking on the phone, he agreed to meet. He was very helpful in validating and clarifying the information for me. He was so open and willing to help. He also agreed to host the New Jersey book launch for Karate Kid. He could not have been more kind and I am grateful to have connected with him.

My other favorite experience was meeting James and his family. He is the star in all the video promotions. He even ventured into the city to do a Karate demonstration during my New York City book launch. Meeting him and his family was certainly a highlight. His willingness to take risks and try new things is inspiring. He embodies many tenets of Karate.

Copy of Day 30.Quote 5-2 copy

Three Things About Karate Kid

1. Karate has helped Karate Kid have confidence to try new things–even outside of the Dojo. 2. His favorite move is not in the book. It’s a tornado kick.  3. It took him a long time to learn his first Kata.

When writing the book, I tried to have the tone and flow of the words parallel the tenets of each move, and karate in general.  When I read the following comment in the ALA Booklist review, I was thrilled. “…the books entertaining but accurate content, and the smooth written text incorporates the mental component of the sport.” Booklist @ALA_Booklist

Book Giveaway

Join the #IAmAKarateKid campaign—kids and adults can send pictures or words describing how they are a Karate Kid—someone with confidence and focus—someone who embodies the discipline and respect which is at the heart of karate.

So, if you are, or know of someone who is a Karate Kid, tweet, post to Instagram, or to my author Facebook page.  Remember to use #KarateConfidence and #IAmAKarateKid.  One person will receive a signed book and some awesome swag.

Rosanne L. Kurstedt, Ph.D. has been an educator for over 20 years. She’s been an elementary school teacher, staff developer, administrator, adjunct professor, literacy coach, curriculum writer, and most importantly an advocate for children and teachers. She is a co-author of Teaching Writing with Picture Books as Models (Scholastic, 2000) and author of the 100+ Growth Mindset Comments series (Newmark Learning, 2019) for grades K-6. She is currently the Associate Director of READ East Harlem/Hunter College and is so excited about the launch of her new picture book KARATE KID (Running Press Kids)—on sale September 3, 2019.

Finally, she is the founder and president of The Author Experience, a 501(c)(3) organization committed to the transformative power of sharing stories. In collaboration with students, families and educators, The Author Experience provides sustainable experiences that build a culture of literacy—one that elevates connections and delivers lasting impact. Please check us out at www.theauthorexperience.org and become a part of the story! IMG_9645Rosanne can be found on Twitter and Instagram @rlkurstedt and on Facebook @rlkurstedtauthor.

 

Book Giveaway: CRUSHING THE RED FLOWERS by Jennifer Voigt Kaplan

A new book that is an important addition to the WWII genre.

Writing and Illustrating

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Germany in 1938 comes alive and will be unforgettable to young readers in this powerful debut novel, Crushing the Red Flowers.”―James Patterson

What if the person you are supposed to hate is the one person who can save you?

Crushing the Red Flowersis the story of how two ordinary boys cope under the extraordinary circumstances of Kristallnacht. Emil Rosen and Friedrich Weber couldn’t have less in common, but in the summer of 1938, they must both deal with the changes steamrolling through Hanover, Germany. Friedrich struggles with a cruel new Jungvolk Hitler Youth leader and n uncle in jail, while Emil does his best to avoid the blistering anti-Semitic fog that’s seeped into every cranny of his life and is threatening his family. As the rules of yesterday no longer make sense, both boys find comfort at a private spot along the Leine River. Friedrich…

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