Author Katey Howe Presents: WOVEN OF THE WORLD, a new PB + a give-away.

Today it is my pleasure to share another wonderful picture book by author Katey Howes.

woven cover

Woven of the World

Words by Katey Howes  Art by Dinara Mirtalipova

Published by Chronicle Books  Releases Feb 7, 2023

Katey uses the metaphor of how we are all woven together into a tapestry of humanity to pen this lovely book about how weaving has shaped and connected cultures throughout history.

Here is my review for the book as well as an interview with Katey about how WOVEN came to be.

“The clack and swish of loom song carries stories to my ears” is one of many figurative expressions used to convey the sensory experience of weaving as an art form that connects cultures across the world. Weaving as song is conveyed not only in the thoughtful rhyme, but also in folk art-like illustrations that show cultures of the past and how these traditions are “woven” into our psyches as humans. A beautiful introduction to an ancient craft that transcends time and place. Weaving fibers not only creates cloth. It connects the weaver to those who came before. A lovely message and a lovely book.

What inspired you to write Woven of the World?

People who know me, know I love a good metaphor. Seriously, my family sometimes makes fun of me for it! And when I find metaphors that I think will speak to children, that will help them connect something physical and tangible with an idea or concept, those are the ones I like best.

My children all have a fondness for fiber arts – one embroiders designs on her clothing and makes stuffed toys, one knits scarves for friends (sometimes during chemistry lectures), one pulled my punch-needle out of my hands and took over. I know that kids of all ages and backgrounds can really connect not just to playing and creating with yarn and fabric, but to the emotions that are carried by sharing a cozy gift – or a cozy art form!

Woven of the World was shaped from the beginning by the idea that a child could be unsure about their identity, their future, but comforted by imagining themself as a tapestry, a piece of art woven row on row, with many different yarns brought together to create pattern and strength and warmth.  The idea that we are each a tapestry, woven of the world, took me on a long journey down a lot of (fuzzy, colorful) rabbit holes!

What do you hope people take away from the book?

Honestly, this book traveled way beyond my imaginings for it. It carries the reader around the world and through time…but also into the loving relationship between a child and an elder, sharing a beloved craft. Plus, it’s stuffed with back matter on weaving tools and weaving milestones and moments in history. I don’t suppose any two readers will take away the same meanings or emotions from reading it – but I do hope everyone who reads it comes away feeling connected.

I have a signed copy of this beautiful book for one lucky person chosen at random from those who leave a comment on this post. Good luck!

katey howes

Katey Howes is a haphazard gardener, a darn good rhymer, and a fun mother. She’s also the award-winning author of RISSY NO KISSIES, BE A MAKER, and a growing assortment of other books. You can find Katey under a big tree on a small mountain in Eastern Pennsylvania with a bowl of popcorn, a notebook full of ideas, and a rescue pup named Samwise. Or find her on Twitter @kateywrites, on IG @kidlitlove, and at www.kateyhowes.com.

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The Joy of Sharing Books on WORLD READ ALOUD DAY

World Read Aloud Day (WRAD) is an annual event where schools invite authors to read from their books and share the love of reading with students and teachers. On Wednesday, February 1, 2023, I had the pleasure of visiting two different classrooms to share my books with students across the country.

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Thank you staff and students from the fifth graders at Kenosha School in Wisconsin who wanted to know my favorite poems from WISHES, DARES, AND HOW TO STAND UP TO A BULLY. wrad

Three classes joined in and asked me some wonderful questions about writing, how I chose the names for my characters, the setting, and why the book is in verse. Thank you Ms. Andre, Ms. Steele, and Ms. Langerman, and all your students for their interest and enthusiasm.

My second visit of the day was with the George A. Jackson Elementary School in Jerico, NY. District Media Specialist Danielle Melia and her 3RD, 4th, and 5th grade classes were excited to hear some of the poems from WISHES, DARES, AND HOW TO STAND UP TO A BULLY. Some students asked questions about the book and how I got my idea for the story.

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THANK YOU to the media specialists, teachers, and students for inviting me into your classrooms and for your enthusiasm about my book. HAPPY WRAD!

January Book Giveaway Winners…

There were two lovely picture books featured for giveaway this month. It is with great enthusiasm that I announce the winners:

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ANGIE QUANTRELL wins a copy of MR. THATCHER’S HOUSE  by Kristin Wauson

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WENDY GREENLEY wins a signed copy of A POEM GROWS INSIDE YOU by Katey Howes (illustrated by Heather Brockman Lee)

Please email me you addresses so I can get the books out to you!

Many thanks to all who commented on these beautiful books. Stay tuned for more giveaways in the month of February in celebration of World Read Aloud Day (2-1-2023) and Read Across America.

Author Katey Howes Presents: A POEM GROWS INSIDE YOU + A GIVE-AWAY

Just before the holidays I had the pleasure of receiving a signed copy of a new picture book by award-winning author KATEY HOWES. This book is so lovely I wanted to share it with all of you.

poem inside you cover

Here’s my review for this gem:

A POEM GROWS INSIDE YOU by Katey Howes Illustrated by Heather Brockman Lee

A beautiful story of how the seed of imagination – once nurtured and given expression – grows into a poem, using the metaphor of a seedling sprouting, being watered with imagination, and growing as we take a chance sharing our poem with the world. Joyful and animated illustrations accompany the tender and thoughtful rhyme. A treat for the eyes and ears. A wonderful introduction to all the magic of poetic expression.

I was so intrigued by the idea of a seed growing into a poem, I asked Katey about it.

Where did A POEM GROWS INSIDE YOU come from?

Several years ago, author/poet Laura Shovan shared a story. I think it was on Twitter, maybe Facebook.  I wish I could hunt down the details – but you’ll have to bear with my flawed memory instead. As I recall, she posted that a student had come to her a year after having had class with her, to share a poem with her. He had held onto the idea generated in class for a long time, but hadn’t felt ready to write it down. It had lain dormant in his heart until he had what he needed to bring it to life. And when he finally did, he brought it back to Laura to share it with her.

This little window into that student’s experience touched my heart deeply. I had absolutely felt the same way about ideas many times, especially for poems. I know well that often a person needs to be in the right space emotionally, physically, and even spiritually to tackle some topics in their writing. We aren’t always equipped to process the emotions and experiences life gives us- but when we are, poetry can be such a beautiful and healing way to do it.

I held onto the idea of a seed of a poem, planted in the heart, for quite awhile. Checked on it. Dreamed about what it would grow into. Supplied myself with the tools I needed to  nurture it into life. Found its rhythm. And then I began to write.

What do you hope readers will take from A POEM GROWS INSIDE YOU?

I hope readers will recognize that ideas aren’t always ready to grow right away – that they can lie dormant inside us until conditions are right – and then bloom in beautiful and unexpected ways!

If that isn’t inspirational, I don’t know what is!

I am giving away a signed copy of A POEM GROWS INSIDE YOU to one lucky person drawn at random from those who leave a comment on this post.

katey howes

Katey Howes is a haphazard gardener, a darn good rhymer, and a fun mother. She’s also the award-winning author of RISSY NO KISSIES, BE A MAKER, and a growing assortment of other books. You can find Katey under a big tree on a small mountain in Eastern Pennsylvania with a bowl of popcorn, a notebook full of ideas, and a rescue pup named Samwise. Or find her on Twitter @kateywrites, on IG @kidlitlove, and at www.kateyhowes.com.

Homemade Soup Warms Family Ties by Marilyn Ostermiller

Winter is soup season Especially if the family’s been out sledding or skiing, a tureen of hot soup for supper brings everyone together.

Soup is readily available as takeout, canned, dehydrated or frozen. But to enjoy its full benefit, consider making it at home. As it simmers on the stove, the flavors meld and the tempting aroma carries throughout the home.

Soup making lends itself to getting everyone involved. If the kids in the family are interested, a new cookbook that includes lots of basic skill-building — and recipes for two popular soups — is Cooking with Kids: Fun, Easy, Approachable Recipes to Help Teach Kids How to Cook. Brianne Grajkowski wrote it. Fox Chapel Publishing introduced it in October.

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Not only does soup taste good, the nutrients in soup can help ward off cold and flu. Studies show that chicken soup in particular can help prevent the common cold, especially if it’s loaded with fresh garlic, onions, celery and carrots.

Tomato, chicken noodle, potato, clam chowder are especially popular soups across the United States. Gumbo is the official Louisiana state cuisine. It’s a strongly-flavored stock that includes meat or shellfish, celery, bell peppers and onions. It’s thickened with either okra or crushed sassafras leaves.

Gumbo can be tricky to prepare, but celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse makes it seem achievable through several of his step-by-step videos available online.

gumbo

Photo credit: Courtesy of Amadoscientist

Soup is enjoyed around the world. Trying recipes from different cultures is another way to expand a child’s horizon.

Minestrone is Italy’s most famous soup. It’s made with vegetables and pasta or rice usually in tomato broth. It is an easy soup to make with kids and you can find a recipe at the end of this post.

heart smart minestrone

Pho is a popular soup from Vietnam. Rice noodles, herbs, and meat float in a broth.

Tom yum from Thailand pairs hot and sour flavors and shrimp.

Ramen is a noodle soup made with wheat noodles served in a broth seasoned with soy sauce and miso. Typical toppings include sliced pork and scallions. Although ramen originated in Japan, it has also gained popularity throughout Asia and beyond.    ramen

Unlike most soups, gazpacho, which originated in Spain, is served cold. Ingredients include tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, and green peppers.

Another perspective on making soup is the timeless tale, “Stone Soup.” A recent revision, written by Marcia Brown, retells the  tale of clever soldiers, who outwit greedy townspeople with the creation of a special soup. This cherished classic is for children from 3- to 10-years old.  stone soup

Heart-Healthy MINESTRONE SOUP

Sauté in 2 tsp. olive oil;
3/4 cup onion, chopped
1 clove garlic

Add:
3 cups water
2 cups zucchini, sliced
3/4 cup celery, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
I 19-ounce can cannellini beans
1 14-ounce can petite tomatoes
1/4 tsp, oregano
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. basil
1/4 tsp. salt
2 beef bouillon cubes

Bring to a boil.
Cover for 25 minutes.

Add:
1/4 cup elbow pasta
Cook for 10 minutes.
Serve and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

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Marilyn Ostermiller is a longtime journalist who also writes stories for children.

Book Review: THE DREAMS OF SINGERS AND SLUGGERS by Antoinette Truglio Martin

sluggers cover

After reading the first book in this Becoming America’s Stories series – THE HEARTS OF ARTISTS AND BAKERS, I knew I was going to enjoy this second book in the middle grade series. The book picks up where the first one left off, following the ups and downs of life in the Lower East side tenements in 1911 NY City. Told through the eyes of nine-year-old Lily, we get a firsthand look at the lives of the hard-working Taglia family. Lily, like all children and even some of their parents, have dreams. Being in poverty means everyone old enough works and helps out the family in any way they can. But still, they think about one day being able to realize those dreams. Lily wants to use her strong, beautiful voice to sing in the Henry Street Settlement Children’s Choir.

Rich in period details, this story brings the early 1900’s to life and reminds readers that with hard work, dedication, and the support of family and friends, dreams can come true for anyone. A great book for classroom discussions on child labor, immigration, family values, and life in the tenements of NYC, with some baseball thrown in!

You can order this book from Amazon here:

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=the+dreams+of+singers+and+sluggers&i=stripbooks&crid=2XYZF0VYPRWZT&sprefix=the+dreams+of%2Cstripbooks%2C104&ref=nb_sb_ss_ts-doa-p_4_13

A NEW YEAR OF KIDLIT BOOK REVIEWS

HAPPY 2023!  As we begin a new calendar year, I always like to start off by reviewing all the notable books I read and reviewed the previous year. While I read 70 books in 2022, the ones below are mostly from authors in the kidlit community who don’t often get the recognition for their books like the well-known authors do.

So, one of my resolutions is to post reviews for books I’ve enjoyed throughout the year. As a fellow author, I can tell you how much it means to have a reader take a few moments to say something they enjoyed about a book. IT MAKES AN AUTHORS DAY!!

So, I am spreading the word about these great books I had the pleasure of reading in 2022.

  1. EACH OF US A UNIVERSE (MG) by Jeanne Zulick Ferruolo
  2. IF THERE NEVER WAS A YOU (BB) by Amanda Rowe
  3. ABSURD WORDS (MG) by Tara Lazar
  4. PRUITT & SOO (PB) by Nancy Viau
  5. BUNNY FINDS EASTER (BB) by Laura Sassi
  6. BIRDIE’S BILLIONS (MG) by Edith Cohn
  7. MASHA MUNCHING (BB) by Amalia Hoffman
  8. MORE THAN (Adult) by Diane Barnes
  9. MIGHTIER THAN THE SWORD (MG) by Rochelle Melander
  10. AFRICAN TOWN (YA) by Irene Latham & Charles Waters
  11. RIBBIT: THE TRUTH ABOUT FROGS (PB) by Annette Whipple
  12. SHADOW GRAVE (MG) by Marina Cohen
  13. THE WOMAN WHO SPLIT THE ATOM (MG) by Marrissa Moss

BOOKS READ 2022

  1. LET’S PLAY AN INSTRUMENT (PB) by Rachelle Burk
  2. I WILL PROTECT YOU (MG) by Av Mozes Kor & Danica Davidson
  3. CABBY POTTS: DUCHESS OF DIRT (MG) by Kathleen Wilford
  4. DUET (MG) by Elise Broach
  5. CLARICE THE BRAVE (MG) by Lisa McMann
  6. WOMEN WHO CHANGED THE WORLD (MG) by Rachelle Burk
  7. HANUKKAH NIGHTS (PB) by Amalia Hoffman
  8. OUT OF A JAR (PB) by Deborah Macero
  9. THE GIFT OF STORY (ADULT) by John Schu
  10. ODDER (MG) by Katherine Applegate
  11. HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHRISTMAS CHILD (BB) by Laura Sassi
  12. ALONE (MG) by Megan Freeman
  13. SHIPSHAPE (MG) by E. E. Dowd
  14. MEOW: THE TRUTH ABOUT CATS (PB) by Annette Whipple
  15. THE LAST SHADOW WARRIOR (MG) by Sam Subity
  16. GOOD DIFFERENT (MG) by Meg Eden Kuyatt
  17. SKYSCRAPING (YA) by Cordelia Jensen
  18. MR. THATCHER’S HOUSE (PB) by Kristin Wauson
  19. A POEM GROWS INSIDE YOU (PB) by Katey Howes
  20. THE DREAMS OF SINGERS AND SLUGGERS (MG) by Antoinette Truglio Martin

I hope your reading adventures are good ones for 2023! And, if you have a book you’d like to recommend, please let me know. HAPPY READING AND REVIEWING!

MR. THATCHER’S HOUSE: a new PB by Kristin Wauson + a giveaway

HAPPY NEW YEAR! I hope this finds everyone healthy, safe, and looking forward to a new year with hope and anticipation of better things to come.

One good thing that recently came to me is a great new picture book by Kristin Wauson titled MR. THATCHER’S HOUSE (Sleeping Bear Press 2022)

thatcher cover

A delightful cover for an equally delightful story. Here’s my review:

Mr. Thatcher – a rabbit – works hard to build a perfect house. He saws, hammers nails, adding rooms until the house gets bigger. And bigger. But Mr. Thatcher can’t stop building until the house is perfect. It isn’t until neighbors come knocking on his door, looking for a place to live, that Thatcher finally realizes what it takes to make the perfect home. An endearing lesson in kindness, loving one’s neighbors, and what really makes a house a home. Young readers will enjoy meeting favorite characters from popular stories gathered together in this lively and charming debut.

I am giving away a copy of this gem to one winner chosen at random. Just leave a comment at the end of the post if you are interested. Let me know if you are sharing the post on social media and I will give you a second chance to win. The winner will be announced on this blog later this month.

Who Won a Signed Copy of THE LAST SHADOW WARRIOR? by Sam Subity?

A drum roll please…

I am pleased to announce the winner of a signed copy of the modern day viking adventure story THE LAST SHADOW WARRIOR is…

Janet Smart! Congratulations. I will be sending out the book sometime over the next week.

shadow warrior cover

Thanks to Sam Subity for so graciously donating a copy of his book for the give-away. The best way to show an author how much you enjoy their books is by leaving a review on Amazon and Good Reads, and spreading the word on your socail media.

Thanks to all who entered. Have a safe and joyful holiday!

Gingerbread Houses Are Welcome Holiday Treats by Marilyn Ostermiller

Gingerbread houses are a treasured Christmas tradition, dating back to the early 1800s in Germany after the fairy tale, “Hansel and Gretel” was published by the Brothers Grimm. The original tale included the line, “When they came nearer they saw that the house was built of bread, and roofed with cakes, and the window was made of transparent sugar.”

It’s easy to imagine how magical that sight would be to children. It would be almost impossible not to reach out to discretely grab a corner of the roof to taste or pluck a gumdrop from the door.

nut house

Gingerbread Houses can be lots of fun to make. An online search reveals easy-to-follow video instructions

Getting together with friends for a group gingerbread house construction project can become a holiday tradition. Everyone brings their own dough, royal icing, and candy for decorating. A basic homemade gingerbread house starts with patterns for four walls and a peaked roof. Printable gingerbread house templates are available online.

gingerbread templates

After the gingerbread is baked, cooled and cut to order, royal icing is the edible “glue” that olds it together. Royal icing is made from softly beaten egg whites and powdered sugar. The usual proportions are 2 egg whites to 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, 1 teaspoon glycerin (to prevent the icing from setting too hard) and about a pound of powdered sugar, according to

hhttps://www.confectionperfection.co.uk/

Lots of different candies are used to decorate the houses, including peppermint sticks, licorice, and gumdrops.

pretzel house

Children especially like to be involved. A Plan for the Gingerbread House: A STEM Engineering Story, is a book for ages 4 through 12. The plot revolves around a Gingerbread man and woman who need a new house. A team of kids struggle to create the perfect gingerbread house for them. Darcy Pattison is the author, and John Joven, the illustrator.

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As for the original inspiration for gingerbread houses, “Hansel and Gretel” books are available in versions for all ages.

Anyone who is in the vicinity of Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville, N.C., through Jan. 2, 2023, can view the entries in the National Gingerbread House Competition. Whimsical and elaborate, these handmade gingerbread houses come in a variety of sizes, shapes, complexity and theme. There are rustic cabins, gumdrop-adorned castles and sugar spun landscapes. The entrants compete for more than $40,000 in prizes. Here’s the link about the winners of the 2022 competition.

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/omni-grove-park-inn-announces-170800591.html?fr=yhssrp_catchall

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Marilyn Ostermiller is a longtime journalist who especially enjoys writing for children.