Today I am so excited to feature my author friend TERESA ROBESON who will tell us something about her new PB Two Bicycles In Beijing (Albert Whitman & Company 2020). Here’s Teresa:
There are times when a happy confluence of somewhat random thoughts and ideas in my brain end up creating something wonderful. Two Bicycles In Beijing was the end result of one of those circumstances.
My father took my family on a trip to China back in 2013. It was something my parents had wanted to do for a while since the last time we went was in 1987 before I was married with kids of my own. They were eager to visit our ancestral homeland again with our expanded family to share our heritage with my kids who are half-Chinese, and my white American husband who had never been.
Sadly, my mom passed away before we could take this trip, but we still had a memorable time. We toured four cities—Shanghai, Beijing, Xi’an, and Hong Kong. Each of those places had their own unique character and attractions. Perhaps it was because we spent the most time in Beijing, and because it’s the capital of modern China, but my mind kept going back to our time there after our vacation. So that is the first random reoccurring thought.
Another involves one of my favorite photos that I took in Beijing. It features a row of bicycles parked outside of a building, and flanked by colorful flowers and lanterns. I love it so much, I used it online as a header on social media for a while.
At some point, I had also come across an article about all the bicycles that are in China, in particular Beijing. It really stuck with me as I think about environmental issues a lot with my husband being a climatologist who studies pollution and climate change.
With all these things flitting through my mind, it was only natural that a story involving bikes, and set in Beijing, would suggest itself. I wanted it to be a friendship story because that is a common theme in books, especially kids’ books, and I still, at the age of 55, wrestle with the concept of friendship. I think I had imagined the main characters to be human with bikes being involved, but somewhere along the way, I decided that it would be fun to have bikes take the center stage since they are so important in China.
With China being such a huge country, going from one city to another requires transportation with mechanical power. But within cities and towns, bicycles are the perfect way to travel: they don’t cost much, and you don’t need to rely on someone else’s schedule, like you would with buses or trains. Yet, despite their simple design and inexpensiveness, bikes can help you traverse distances faster and with less effort than on foot. With the addition of a basket or an attached seat, you can also carry cargo that you might not otherwise be able to on foot. It’s no wonder that bicycles are so popular and important in Beijing: what else can give you such speed and independence so inexpensively?
And when you’re that reliant on your bike, you might start to see it as more than a useful tool…perhaps you might even see it as a friend? *smile*
Here is Darlene’s review of this unique story:
A lovely tale of friendship between two bicycles made together in a factory, side-by-side in a store until one day when they are separated. Each is bought by someone different. Will the red bicycle find her yellow friend? The story take us on a ride to the sites and sounds of the bustling city of Beijing past all the yellow that brightens the countryside. The soft and joyful illustrations are the perfect accompaniment to this story. Told from the point of view of Lunzi…the yellow bicycle who goes out in search of her red friend Huangche…this tale will delight anyone who’s ever loved a bicycle.
Darlene will be giving away a copy of this book to one lucky winner drawn at random. To enter, leave a comment about your favorite bicycle experience. If you share this post on social media, she will give you a second chance to win. The winner will be announced on this blog sometime in May.
TERESA ROBESON was born in Hong Kong, raised in Canada, and now writes and creates from her mini-homestead in southern Indiana, where she lives with her scientist husband. Visit her online at:
Today it is my pleasure to feature middle grade author Michele Weber Hurwitz, with her new book HELLO FROM RENN LAKE. I am really excited about this book since it is centered around a cause I’m passionate about: Environmental activism.
Welcome to RENN LAKE:
Twelve-year old Annalise Oliver, who was abandoned as a baby in a small Wisconsin town, has a unique bond with Renn Lake because of events that occurred the night she was left. When a small patch of algae quickly becomes a harmful bloom and the lake is closed, Annalise and her friends take a risk to save their beloved lake and the town that depends on it. But this means Annalise must confront her deepest fears and most troubling questions. There are secrets about the night she was left, and the lake was the only witness.
Three things about Annalise
- Annalise is grappling with her unknown origins but instead of searching for where she came from, she makes a decision to put down roots in the place she was found. Roots are also part of the possible solution that may help Renn Lake recover. So, both literally and figuratively, roots play a role in the story’s theme.
- Annalise becomes a determined activist in her small town, convincing others to join her crusade to save the lake after authorities take a “wait and see” approach. When she was three, Annalise first discovered she could sense what Renn Lake was thinking and feeling. Renn has always been a source of comfort and calm, so when the lake is covered with the algal bloom and goes silent, Annalise is devastated. Michele said that while she was writing, she kept thinking about the phrase “body of water” – that lakes, rivers, and oceans are living beings as much as plants and animals.
- When Annalise meets Zach, who’s visiting for the summer and staying with his dad in the cabins near the lake, they help each other work through not only their own issues but also the environmental crisis. One aspect Michele loves about this book is while there’s certainly normal tension between Annalise, her friend Maya, her little sister Jess, and Zach, the four kids support and accept each other. There’s no mean girl or backstabbing. And no one is left out.
Three things about Renn Lake
- Renn narrates part of the story. Michele didn’t have the lake as a narrator in her first draft, but as she wrote, she said she realized that the only way to fully tell this story was to include the lake’s perspective. She loved how Ivan narrated in The One and Only Ivan, but wasn’t sure if an element of nature could do the same. But the idea took hold and wouldn’t let go, so she said she took a leap of faith. Once Michele gave Renn a voice, the story flowed (pun intended) from there. She thinks it deepened the narrative to understand how a lake would feel if it was covered with toxic algae and couldn’t breathe.
- Renn is centuries old and has seen many people come and go. Only a few have had the special ability to sense the lake like Annalise can. People have always gravitated to and lived near water – it’s an essential element of life. In this story, readers will really get the sense of the importance of water and how our actions are negatively affecting its viability.
- Renn’s connection with its cousin, the river Tru, is an essential part of the plot. Their relationship is as tender, complex, and believable as any human characters. While they have different personalities and outlooks, their support of each other is strong and enduring.
Michele is the author of four other middle grade novels, from Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster – Calli Be Gold, The Summer I Saved the World in 65 Days, Ethan Marcus Stands Up, and Ethan Marcus Makes His Mark. Her books have been on several state reading award lists, received starred reviews, and have been published in other countries. She lives in the Chicago area and often spends time at nearby lakes. Also, she loves ice cream.
Here is a pre-order link on Indie Bound
Here is a quote from Kirkus Reviews
“An earnest and disarming tale of human and environmental caring.”
Michele is happy to do a giveaway for readers . Please leave a comment and share some small thing you do to care for the Earth and reduce your carbon footprint. Names will be entered into a hat and one winner will be drawn at random and announced on this blog.
A beautiful story that reminds us to appreciate the moment. Comment for a chance to win a copy.
Denise Brennan-Nelson has a new picture book, MAE THE MAYFLY, illustrated by Florence Weiser and published by Sleeping Bear Press. Sleeping Bear Press has agreed to share a copy with one lucky winner. All you have to do to get in the running is leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you do to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.
Sharing on Facebook, Twitter, reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. Thanks for helping Denise and Florence, especially at this stressful time when authors and illustrators need to promote their books completely online.
If you have signed up to follow my blog and it is delivered to you everyday, please let me…
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…the winner is KIM PFENNIGWERTH. Thanks to all who shared their experiences and favorite summer activities. Congratulations Kim!
Who doesn’t love how children’s books transport us to amazing places and introduce us to characters who steal our hearts? Their lasting legacy, though, is the life lessons they share with us.
Take, for example these pithy quotes from timeless children’s books that comfort and challenge us to be our better selves.
Wonder, by R.J. Palacio
R.J. Palacio started an international movement with Wonder, her middle grade book about a boy with a facial deformity who is desperate to fit in with his classmates. More than 16 million copies of the book have been sold and it was made into a motion picture.
The full thought is, “When given a choice between right and kind, always choose kind.”
It’s proactive. It doesn’t have to cost anything. Anyone can do it. No wonder that simple thought grabbed our collective attention.
“Friendship doesn’t have to be hard”.
Wishtree, by Katherine Applegate.
This thought, communicated by “Red,” a wise oak tree, speaks to the middle school kid in each of us, who remembers how it felt when everybody else had someone to sit with in the lunchroom.
“We can all dance, if we find the music we love.”
Giraffes Can’t Dance, Giles Andrea
Reminiscent of Rudolph, Santa’s red-nosed reindeer, Gerald, the giraffe, longs to dance, but crooked knees and long, skinny legs make it difficult and his companions laugh at him. Gerald learns it’s okay to be different and dance to your own tune.
“I love you right up to the moon — and back.”
Guess How Much I Love You, Sam McBratney
This is the beloved story of Little Nut Hare and Big Nut Hare. Little Nut Hare asks his father “Guess How Much I Love You.” Thus begins an endearing contest, with each one finding bigger and bigger ways to express their love for each other. There are no losers in this competition.
“There’s no place like home”
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum.
That’s what Dorothy said to Toto after they returned to home to Kansas from the Land of Oz. The feeling is universal, especially when home is another word for love.
The first press run of 10,000 copies in 1901 quickly sold out. Three million copies had been sold by 1955, when it entered the public domain.
Makes you want to read someone a bedtime story, doesn’t it?
Marilyn Ostermiller is a long-time journalist, who never outgrew her love of children’s books.
With all of us sheltering in place and most outdoor venues closed to the public, we might not think of zoos or aquariums. But, If you want to give your kids an extra boost to their online learning, many zoos and aquariums are providing online curriculum and classes for kids of all ages to learn more about animals.
Here are some you might want to check out:
ADVENTURE AQUARIUM, Camden, NJ is providing printable word searches, coloring pages, and home craft ideas. http://www.adventureaquarium.com/kids-activities
CAPE MAY COUNTY ZOO AND PARK, Cape May Courthouse, NJ is hosting “Zoo School”. Monday through Friday at 11:30AM they feature a short clip on a different animal and teach about it. They will also answer questions at noon on their FB page. facebook.com/capemaycountyparkzoo/
Like watching penguins? JENKINSON’S AQUARIUM in Point Pleasant Beach, NJ, has a webcam on it’s website for you to observe their antics:
MYSTIC AQUARIUM, Mystic Connecticut also does a live Facebook program at 11AM each day featuring a different animal. facebook.com/mysticaquarium/
PHILADELPHIA ZOO, Philadelphia, PA has a new series “Philly Zoo at 2” where you can get an insider look at the zoo and virtually meet and interact with the animals and staff.
You can also check out the local zoos and aquariums in your state to see what programs they are offering during this stay-at-home learning.
Today is the official release date for my new MG novel-in-verse WISHES, DARES, AND HOW TO STAND UP TO A BULLY (Creston). Even though I’m not able to celebrate with all of you in person, I still want to share the excitement.
I am still in the midst of a blog tour to promote the book, and you have several opportunities to win a signed copy beginning here:
This is a story that takes you back to the lazy summer days of the 1960’s when summer fun included riding bikes, swimming, games of tag and Red Rover, ice cream, lemonade, flying kites, and playing jacks.
To enter the drawing for this SWAG BAG, leave a comment with your favorite summer fun activities you remember as a kid. Your name will be entered in the random drawing. If you share this post on FB, or Twitter, I will add an extra name to the hat. If you follow this blog, I will add a third name. Let me know what you do, so I can add the correct number of entries. A winner will be announced later this month.
For a second chance to win a signed copy of the book, visit Vivian Kirkfield’s blog:
And now, here’s some cake…can’t celebrate a birthday without it!
To order a copy:
We are midway through the blog tour for my book and I wanted to let you know there are more stops coming up. Feel free to stop by the sites and share any posts you enjoy. Thanks and stay safe! Love you all! xo
The official release of my new MG historical fiction novel in verse, WISHES, DARES, AND HOW TO STAND UP TO A BULLY (Creston) is APRIL 7.Here are some early reviews:
“Uniquely original and with an important underlying social message for children ages 8-12, “Wishes, Dares, and How to Stand Up to a Bully” is especially and unreservedly recommended for elementary school, middle school, and community library General Fiction collections.
“Although it’s set in the 1960s, the story reflects timeless issues that will resonate with modern readers. A fresh, inspiring exploration of a daunting issue.” (Historical verse fiction. 9-12) KIRKUS
In anticipation and celebration of this book birthday, I am having a tour of several blogs in March and April. At these spots you can learn more about how the book came to be, why it’s in verse, how I determined the 1960’s setting and more. PLUS there will…
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The winner of a copy of Beth Ferry’s book THE BOLD, BRAVE BUNNY is…Ashley Congdon!
Send me your address Ashley and I will send out the book. Congratulations and thanks to all who entered the give-away.