We’re Giving Something Away to These Lucky Winners…

Today I am happy to announce the 3 winners of the GIVE SOMETHING AWAY DAY give-away that Kim Pfennigworth blogged about on July 15.

A copy of WE ARE THE RAINBOW We are the rainbow by Claire Winslow goes to:  Helen Hill.

A $25.00 Amazon Gift Card goes to: Michele Prestininzi.

And, a copy of BLOB by Anne Appert goes to: Lisa Billa. Blob by Anne Appert Please email me with your mailing address so Kim and I can send you your items. Thanks for all who commented and shared things that gave and received. Make kindness contagious…keep on giving!

Author Annette Whipple Presents: RIBBIT: THE TRUTH ABOUT FROGS.

Ribbit Cover

Did you know there are more than 7,000 kinds of frogs worldwide? Ever wonder why frogs blink their eyes so much? Blinking helps them swallow. The eyes help push food down into the stomach. Unique and interesting details like this have become a trademark for Annette Whipple’s books in THE TRUTH ABOUT series.

This newest entry, RIBBIT: THE TRUTH ABOUT FROGS (Reycraft Publishing) follows the Q & A format of previous books (WOOF: THE TRUTH ABOUT DOGS, SCURRY: THE TRUTH ABOUT SPIDERS) and provides many fascinating and kid-friendly facts about these amazing amphibians.

Ribbit p 6-7

The book also includes a craft, glossary, and numerous photographs to complement the text. It is  a welcome addition to a classroom library and science resources.

You can order this awesome book here: https://www.amazon.com/Ribbit-Truth-About-Annette-Whipple/dp/1478875879/

About MeAnnette Whipple celebrates curiosity, especially through her informational books for children.
Annette Whipple
Ribbit! The Truth About Frogs (Reycraft Books, 2022)
Scurry! The Truth About Spiders (Reycraft Books, 2021) 
Woof! The Truth About Dogs (Reycraft Books, 2021)
Whooo Knew? The Truth About Owls (Reycraft Books, 2020)
The Laura Ingalls Wilder Companion: A Chapter-by-Chapter Guide (Chicago Review Press, 2020) 
The Story of the Wright Brothers (Rockridge Press, 2020)

April Book Give-away Winners…

Here are the winners for the two book give-away events for the month of April.

A copy of THE WOMAN WHO SPLIT THE ATOM: THE LIFE OF LISE MEITNER by Marissa Moss goes to: Danielle Hammelhef.

TheWomanWhoSplitTheAtom(1)

A signed copy of PRUETT AND SOO by Nancy Viau goes to Kim B Love

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Please email me your addresses so I can get the books to you.

Thanks to all who entered and Happy Reading!

Remember, the best way to show authors how much you love their books is by leaving a review on Amazon, and Goodreads.

The Joy and Magic of…CRAYONS.

Close your eyes and take a trip back to your childhood. No matter what age you are, wasn’t there a time when getting a brand new box of 64 colors Crayola crayons rocked your world? The smell of new crayons, fresh from the box, the array of colors begging to be used, awaiting your creativity. It is hard to find someone who hasn’t used, enjoyed, or created something special with crayons.

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Today is NATIONAL CRAYON DAY. To celebrate, I thought I’d share a few fun things about these magic wands of creativity.

THE FIRST BOX OF CRAYOLA CRAYONS MADE IN 1903 COST ONLY A NICKEL AND INCLUDED THE COLORS RED, ORANGE, YELLOW, GREEN, BLUE, VIOLET, BROWN, AND BLACK. When I bought my first box of crayons, this 8 Pack cost a quarter.

IT’S BEEN SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN THAT THE SMELL OF A CRAYON IS UNIVERSAL. A study done by Yale on the 20 most recognizable scents ranked crayons number 18.

THE AVERAGE CHILD WEARS DOWN 720 CRAYONS BY THEIR TENTH BIRTHDAY. Talk about creativity…I’m willing to bet many of those crayons were used to make “I LOVE YOU” cards for parents.

drawing

CRAYOLA MAKES 3 BILLION CRAYONS A YEAR. That’s enough crayons to circle the world six times!

AMERICA’S FAVORITE CRAYON COLOR IS BLUE. We like it so much that the top ten favorites included these other shades of blue: cerulean, midnight blue, aquamarine, periwinkle, denim and blizzard blue.  

Big Blue is the world’s largest crayon.
Big Blue

Getty Images

The giant was made from 123,000 leftover blue crayons collected from kids around the nation. It weighs a whopping 1,500 pounds and is almost 16 feet long!

Crayons are so popular, books have been written about them:

For ideas on how to enjoy the magic of crayons, visit: https://www.crayolaexperience.com/

THREE CHEERS FOR CRAYONS... Long may they continue to inspire creativity.

Celebrate National Peanut Butter Day + Free Pancakes… by Marilyn Ostermiller

Today, March 1 marks the National Day for peanut butter lovers.

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Picture a regular size jar of peanut butter. Either creamy or crunchy. Now, guess how many peanuts were crushed to fill that jar. (More about that later.)

Legend has it that a doctor whipped up the first batch of peanut butter in the early 1890s for his patients who had difficulty chewing. His name has been lost to history, but that tasty spread has stuck around ever since. 

National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day was designated as March 1 in 1990 on the 100th anniversary of the day peanut butter made its commercial debut in the United States.

Subsequently, peanut butter was introduced to a broader audience at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair. It caught on quickly. Entrepreneur C.H. Sumner had sales of $705 for the new treat at his concession stand. Its popularity has grown to an estimated $800 million a year in sales in the U.S. alone.

Peanut butter is best know for the company it keeps.

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Chocolate, for example. Reese’s Peanut Cup candy, chocolate covered portions of peanut butter, was introduced in 1928.

And, jelly. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are classic, but other nutty sandwich combos are limited only by imagination. Elvis Presley was known to enjoy peanut butter and banana sandwiches.  similar-image

According to the National Peanut Board, it takes 540 peanuts to make a 12 ounce jar of peanut butter. It’s also possible to make it at home in a food processor with two cups of dry roasted peanuts, a couple of tablespoons of honey or sugar and salt to taste. Visit the Pinch of Yum blog for specifics.

https://pinchofyum.com/5-minute-homemade-peanut-butter#tasty-recipes-41113-jump-target

 Here is an easy and nutritious recipe for PEANUT BUTTER DIP  that is perfect for snacks and potlucks. Kids can make it since there is no cooking required.

SAVORY PEANUT BUTTER DIP

1/4 C creamy peanut butter, 3 oz. cream cheese, 1 to 2 T of apple or orange juice, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/8 to 1/4 C unsweetened applesauce.

  • Combine first 4 ingredients in a food processor. Blend until smooth.
  • Add applesauce, little by little, to bring to the desired consistency for the dip.
  • Chill before serving with fresh fruits, veggies, graham cracker sticks, crackers.

Makes 8 servings. From: http://www.peanutbutterlovers.com

Kids love to eat peanut butter, but they also may like to read about it. Among the related children’s books, is “Peanut Butter & Cupcake!” written by Terry Border. The hero is a peanut butter-covered slice of white bread, that wanders around his new neighborhood trying to make a friend.

pb and cupcake

National Pancake Day, sponsored by IHOP, also will be celebrated on March 1 this year. Since 2006, IHOP restaurants have offered a free short stack of their Original Buttermilk Pancakes between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. on that day. Guests are asked to consider leaving a donation — and they have. Since the first annual event, nearly $30 million has been raised for charities on National Pancake Day. http://www.ihoppancakeday.com

For the ULTIMATE CELEBRATION, how about peanut butter pancakes? Makes me hungry just writing about it…

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Marilyn Ostermiller is a long-time journalist, who also writes stories for children.

More Book Winners For February

Thanks to so many wonderful authors, February has been a month of amazing book giveaways on this blog. Today I have two more to announce.

Kizzi Roberts is the winner of a copy of the board book BUNNY FINDS EASTER  by Laura Sassi.

bunny easter

The winner of a copy of ABSURD WORDS by Tara Lazar is Mia Geiger.

absurd coverCongratulations to the winners and thanks to all who left comments about these awesome books. Please email me your addresses so I can send them to the authors and you can get your books.

Truth, Honesty and Cherries in the Snow: by Marilyn Ostermiller

Presidents’ Day will be celebrated Monday, February 21. Originally created as a national holiday in the 1880s to commemorate the birthday of America’s first president, George Washington, the celebration was expanded later to include Abraham Lincoln, because he was also born in February.

However, in 1968 Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Bill, which moved a few federal holidays to Mondays, to create more of the popular three-day weekends. Now Presidents Day is the third Monday in February. Other holidays covered by the bill were Memorial Day, Labor Day and Columbus Day.

Below: George Washington at the Delaware River 1776

George Washington at the Delaware River, 1776 George Washington on horseback looking back at troops crossing the Delaware River on the evening previous to the Battle of Trenton, December 25th, 1776. George Washington stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

The general who led the Continental Army to victory against the British was born in Virginia Feb. 22, 1732. Unanimously elected president twice, Washington declined to run for a third term, and moved back to his country estate in Virginia.

One of Washington’s first biographers was an itinerant minister and bookseller, Mason Locke Weems. In his book, “The Life of Washington,” published in 1800, Weems set out to show that Washington’s great rise to leadership and the presidency were due to his great virtues. The life of George Washington: Mason Locke Weems ...

The fifth edition of that instant best seller, was expanded to tell the tale of how six-year-old George took his brand new hatchet and chopped down his father’s favorite cherry tree. According to the myth, when George’s father confronted him, he said, “I cannot tell a lie. I did cut it with my hatchet.” Upon hearing his confession, George’s father embraced him and rejoiced in his son’s honesty.

Another myth spread that Washington’s false teeth were made of wood. He wore dentures, but they were made of teeth from other humans, animals and wood, according to the Mount Vernon Ladies Association.

Among the children’s books about Washington:

DK Biography: George Washington: A Photographic Story of a Life, written by Lenny Hort, is geared toward teens with photos and graphics that enhance the biographical details of Washington’s life.

The Story of George Washington: A Biography Book for New Readers, by Lisa Trusiani is for six to eight-year-olds. The book describes who Washington was as a child and how he came to be a soldier and statesman.

The Story of George Washington: A Biography Book for New Readers (The Story Of: A Biography Series for New Readers)

More About Cherries:
If you want a sweet way to commemorate Washington’s Birthday, ‘Cherries in the Snow’ is a quick and easy dessert.IMG_0471

Recipe:
–  Cut an angel food cake into bite-sized pieces and put them in a large, glass bowl.
– Fold in a big tub of Cool Whip.
– Pour on a regular size can of cherry pie filling.                          

  • Stir to distribute the pie filling throughout.
  • Refrigerate until ready to serve.

thumbnail_img_1886Marilyn Ostermiller is a longtime journalist who also writes stories for children and loves to try new recipes.

Cover Reveal: Cabby Potts, Duchess of Dirt by Kathleen Wilford

Today it is my pleasure to be among the first to see the fabulous cover reveal for a debut MG historical. Those who follow me know my love of historical fiction, so I was  excited when debut author KATHLEEN WILFORD contacted me about a blog post cover reveal.

So…without further ado, here is the gorgeous cover of CABBY POTTS, DUCHESS OF DIRT  and a short interview with Kathleen about her book.

Cabby Potts cover (no wrap)

Describe your book in 10 words or less.

Thanks so much, Darlene! How about this:

A sod house, a grand manor. A mystery, a match-making scheme. (That’s 11 . . .)

Tell us about your debut historical MG novel, Cabby Potts, Duchess of Dirt. When is it coming out?

Cabby Potts, Duchess of Dirt will be released September 1, 2022 with Little Press/Blue Bronco Books.

The book is set in Kansas in 1875, the year after the grasshoppers devastated the state. My main character, Cabby Potts, is inspired by some of my own favorite literary heroines, Laura Ingalls and the pioneer women in the novels of Willa Cather. Like them, Cabby is “outdoor kind of girl,” more interested in farming than fashion. Cabby’s struggling homestead is her first real home, and she’s desperate not to lose it, even if that means accepting a housemaiding job at stuffy, high-class Ashford manor. She’s also a bit naïve and has what her mother calls an intemperate tongue, qualities that get her in trouble after she hatches an improbable matchmaking scheme between her romantic older sister and the young lord of Ashford Manor. When her rash plot backfires, Cabby must use her voice to stand up for herself, a Native American friend, and her entire community.

How did you get the idea for this story?

I ran across a book called Prairie Fever, by Peter Pagnamenta, and I was intrigued to learn about the British aristocracy’s fascination with the American West. Cabby Potts, Duchess of Dirt is based on the true story of Victoria, Kansas, an enclave of British aristocrats in the 1870’s. Victoria was designed as a “community of culture and refinement” where “the arts and graces of life” could be imported straight from London. I couldn’t imagine a bigger culture clash than between the English nobility and the hardscrabble American homesteaders who might have worked for them.

At the same time, I didn’t want to portray Americans as somehow free from the race and class prejudices of the wealthy English. One of the things Cabby wakes up to as she befriends a Kiowa boy is the pigheadedness, as she puts it, of her own community, beloved as it is.

The cover for this book is beautiful. Tell us about it.

 Thanks, I love it! The cover was created by Katie Kear of the Bright Agency. I think she captured Cabby’s character: curious, determined, a bit headstrong, and not very girly! That’s Ashford Manor at the bottom, a grand English manor plunked down on the windswept plains of Kansas. You’ll also notice a brooch and a mysterious document on the cover—there’s a mystery in this book that readers will enjoy helping Cabby puzzle out.

Here is the artist’s website to see more of her amazing work. Her name is Katie Kear, and the website is:

 Was your road to publication long and winding, short and sweet, or something in between?

 I would describe my speed along the road to publication as . . . glacial. My first novel manuscript, which I still hope to revise one day, suffered from rookie mistakes like not considering marketability! I gained from experience, and I think that Cabby is a stronger book. Still, after a few close calls with editors and agents, I stopped submitting for over a year. I was still in that stage where a rejection seemed like a verdict. You know, “lousy book.”  

I will be forever grateful to Michele McAvoy of The Little Press for seeing the potential of the book based on a #PitMad tweet in the summer of 2021. After acquiring Cabby, Michele and her team have guided me through an editing process that has made the story as polished and strong as possible.

What are some of your favorite classic MGs? How about recent ones?

 I grew up with immersive fantasies like the Narnia books and The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander. Anything English seemed magical to me, but I also loved Beverly Cleary and The Witch of Blackbird Pond and The Wolves of Willoughby Chase. 

There are so many recent MG’s I admire, so I’ll just name some historical ones I think are amazing: Moon Over Manifest, The War that Saved my Life, Esperanza Rising, Front Desk, and anything by Linda Sue Park.

war

 What projects are you working on now?

I’m having a great time reading some super-recent MG’s like Cuba in my Pocket, A Place to Hang the Moon (more English magic) and Frankie and Bug. manifestAnd my fellow #22Debuts authors have some great things coming out!   

What advice would you give to your younger self? Is this the same as you’d give to aspiring authors?

 My biggest advice to my younger self would be to start writing earlier, ha ha!

For aspiring authors, my first piece of advice would be to join a critique group. For a thousand reasons.

Also, read, read, read! Study the market and read in your genre. When you come across a book you love, study its structure, themes, characters, etc.

And be willing to learn. Don’t fall in love with your first draft. When agents or editors are “critical” of your work, try to understand why. Writing for publication is a skill not learned overnight!

Tell us about yourself and how you came to write for children.

 No surprise, I was a READER as a kid. In fact, my memories of childhood are often pegged to books. Snuggling with my mother as she read out loud: Heidi (I cried.) Summer camp rest time: Rascal. Favorite Christmas present: my now worn-out boxed set of the Narnia books. There was never any question what I’d study in college and grad school: English literature. I taught middle-school and high school English, and I now teach writing at Rutgers University.

Several years ago, I started pursuing what had always been a background dream: writing my own books. I’m grateful to a friend who encouraged me to get started, to SCBWI for opportunities to learn from industry insiders, and most of all to my dedicated, professional critique group who help me conquer my self-doubt. It’s been quite a journey, and we’ve been on it together.

What is one thing most people don’t know about you?  Kathleen Wilford head and shoulders

I was born in a place that no longer exists: The Panama Canal Zone, Panama. (The Canal Zone was once a U.S. territory but was formally returned to Panama in 1999.) I also lived in Costa Rica and Colombia. I can speak some Spanish, but I’m rusty.

Where can people find you online?

People can find me on Twitter by following @kathwilford. I also have a website at kathleenwilford.com.  

Congratulations on your first book Kathleen. Can’t wait to see it out in the world!

Traveling To Asian Art Museums: Merely a Click Away by Marilyn Ostermiller

(Third in a three-part series on how to accompany the children in your life on virtual visits to a variety of museums.)

Art is the universal language.

Da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” and Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” speak to us through time and space.

Likewise, “The Great Wave” created by Katsushika Hokusai of Japan has cast its spell over generations of art lovers throughout the world. This is one of a series of 36 he painted of views of Mount Fuji.   Mount Fuji Photo from Wikipedia.

You don’t have to travel to expose your children to the wonders of the art world. A few Asian Museums offer virtual visits that include special features for children. Among them:

National Palace Museum, Taipei, Taiwan

https://theme.npm.edu.tw/npmonline/en/page-kids.html#menu

The National Palace Museum’s virtual experiences for children feature video adventures in English that feature artwork from its collections.

Its permanent collection of Chinese artifacts and artworks includes almost 700,000 pieces, including some that date back 8,000 years. Its Children’s Gallery online offers online activities such a game of “I Spy” that will help youngsters to explore an original painting, “Malay Fisherman at Changi Beach” by Chua Mia Tee.

Another activity starts with a montage of a typical breakfast that introduces them to a different, but similar, cuisine, and a riddle to solve.

A gallery tour, told by kid-friendly narrator, weaves traditional stories, in English, based on art masterpieces in the museum’s collection, beginning with King Midas and his golden touch.

 Asian Art Museum, San Francisco

In the United States, the Asian Art Museum based in San Francisco offers children’s virtual visits tied to grade level.

A video tale about celebrating the new year in tells the story of Jizo, a deity whose statues are popular in Japan along the roadside.

https://education.asianart.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/6/2021/07/Elephant-5-600x450.jpg 1x, https://education.asianart.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/6/2021/07/Elephant-5-1200x900.jpg 2x

Caption: One of many hands-on activities on the site available for kids of all age groups.

https://education.asianart.org/regions/china/

Here’s a link to the Coloring Pages Offered by the museum: https://education.asianart.org/resources/lunar-new-year-zodiac-animals-coloring-pages/

Another way to explore the Asian Art Museum is through the book, Adventures in Asian Art: An Afternoon at the Museum,” by author Sue DiCicco. Appropriate for ages 4 to 9, this 48-page picture book travels from exhibit to exhibit inviting kids to picture themselves in a variety of Asiant countries as they ride a rhino, become a samurai or climb Mt. Fuji. It is available through at http://www.amazon.com

Adventures in Asian Art: An Afternoon at the Museum by [Sue DiCicco]

 

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Marilyn Ostermiller is a long-time journalist who also writes stories for children.

 

 

 

Easy Holiday Paper Crafts For Kids.

I am in love with the RED TED website! If you haven’t discovered this gem, head on over. There are so many great crafts for kids and adults and many come with step-by-step videos to show you how to make each project. Using any kind of materials imaginable, you and your kids can create so many wonderful gifts to decorate your home or give to family and friends for the holidays.

If you plan of giving some books as gifts this Christmas, why not add a homemade bookmark?  You and the kids can make them following the tutorials on the site.  It’s a simple way for kids to give a gift to classmates,  or as a Scout or Sunday School Project. Here is the link to some of the awesome BOOKMARK PAPER CRAFTS  with a holiday theme:

https://www.redtedart.com/christmas-paper-crafts-for-kids/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=top_crafts_for_the_week&utm_term=2019-11-15

*Christmas Paper Crafts for Kids*. Everyone has paper, right? Combine paper with basic stationery items such as scissors, pens and glue and you have a fantastic list of fabulous Christmas Crafts and Christmas DIYs for kids and grown ups. Love how versatile Paper Crafts. CUTE Christmas Paper Crafts. #PaperCrafts #PaperChristmasCrafts #Christmascrafts #ChristmasPaperCrafts #Christmas #Christmascraftsforkids #papercraftsforkids

For more ideas on Do-it-yourself projects, check out the book BE A MAKER, by Katey Howes.

Happy crafting!