PB Author Katey Howes Presents: BE A MAKER, a New Picture Book.

I’m so pleased to be back here on Darlene’s blog to talk a bit about my new book, BE A MAKER, and to share a fun craft that pairs well with the book.

BE A MAKER is a picture book about all the things a child can make in a day – like a tower, a mess, a friend, and a difference.  It’s published by Carolrhoda, an imprint of Lerner books, and is illustrated by Elizabet Vuković.

Right now, the Maker movement and Makerspaces get a lot of buzz. And that’s a great thing – I love that we are encouraging kids and adults to tinker, explore and build. But sometimes, I think people get the (mistaken) idea that being a “maker” means you have to be good at coding, or robotics, or welding a gigantic fire-breathing mechanical dragon from spare parts. Now, that’s some awesome making, for sure, but I want kids to understand that there are countless ways to create and that it’s not size or complexity  – or even electricity – that makes your creation valuable. What matters is that you feel proud of what you made. BE A MAKER was born of that idea.

BE A MAKER is told in 2nd person and contains 2 questions that I hope will lead the readers – young and old – to reflection and discussion. It opens with:

Ask yourself this question in the morning when you wake: In a world of possibilities, today, what will you make?

and later closes with: Ask yourself this question as the sun begins to fade:

In a day of making choices, are you proud of what you made?

Be A Maker by Katey Howes, copyright 2019

In between, readers follow the main character as she makes music, plans, a snack, a friend, and a pledge to make her neighborhood a better place.

Before I read the book to a class of kids, I ask “How many of you think of yourselves as makers?” Results vary, but it is never unanimous.

After reading BE A MAKER to a class, I ask the same question.

And every hand goes up.

When I then ask them what they are proud of making, the answers come fast and furious.  I make cake! Legos! Songs! Stories! I make people smile! I make my mom laugh! I make boats. I make pompoms.

 There’s no hesitation and no judgement. Each thing made is valued – not weighed or compared. The kids feel proud of themselves and eager to try making new things.

With this in mind, I created a simple craft that can be adapted for an individual or a whole classroom. I call it the Maker Mobile.

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You’ll need:

-A dowel, stick, embroidery hoop, clothes hanger or other item to use as the base.

-string -card stock -scissors -glue

  1. Cut card stock into matching shapes. For this example, I made 2×2 squares and then cut each on the diagonal to make triangles.
  2. Have kids think of something they like to make. Count the number of letters in that word. They will need twice that number of cardstock shapes.
  3. Write each letter of the word on 2 matching shapes.
  4. Line up one set of shapes spelling out the word, vertically (spelled top to bottom.) Like this:

 

F

R

I

E

N

D

S

 

  1. Flip the shapes over. Glue the string to the backs of those shapes.
  2. Glue the other copy of the word on top of the string, facing up.
  3. When the glue is dry, hang the string from your dowel or other base.
  4. Repeat with other words on different lengths of string until you like the look and balance of your mobile.
  5. Glue or tape a long strip of cardstock with the words “MAKERS MAKE…” to your dowel.
  6. Tie string to the ends of your dowel and hang!

Variations:

For large groups, consider making a bigger mobile with a hula hoop as the base and one string from each student.

  • Challenge kids to think of two words with an equal number of letters to put on opposite sides of the string.
  • For less cutting and gluing, purchase adhesive-backed foam shapes to use in place of cardstock.
  • For more variety, encourage kids to make their strings from any materials available in your maker space/craft area.

 

Katey Howes Headshot

Katey Howes is thrilled to be making books for children. She also makes bad jokes, great apple crisp, and messy mistakes. Katey lives in Upper Makefield, Pennsylvania (really!) with her husband and three adventurous daughters makers. Katey is the author of picture books Magnolia Mudd and the Super Jumptastic Launcher Deluxe and Grandmother Thorn. In addition to her own blog about raising readers, Katey contributes to websites including All the Wonders, The Nerdy Bookclub, STEAM Powered Family and Imagination Soup. Katey is a member of SCBWI and is very active in the kidlit community. Find her online at kateyhowes.com, on Twitter @kateywrites, and on Instagram @kidlitlove.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Don’t Throw Away Orphan Toys. Do This Instead.

With summer winding down, we often want to welcome fall with a bit of cleaning and getting rid of some of the “stuff” that accumulated all summer long.  If your children are tired of their old toys and books or you just need to make some room, try donating the items to some of the following:

http://www.stuffedanimalsforemergencies.org  delivers gently used toys to children in need. Go on the website to check for your local community chapter.       

http://www.Babybuggy.org  takes kids and baby gear along with maternity and children’s clothing that is in good condition.  They distribute it to needy families.

For books contact:  www.donationtown.org    to schedule a pick up along with others in your area.  Just enter your zip code and choose from local charities you’d like to sponsor.

Another way to re-purpose books is at: www.booksforafrica.org     You pay for shipping to the Atlanta warehouse, but it is tax-deductible.

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You can also donate unwanted items to your local GOODWILL, SALVATION ARMY, VIETNAM VETERANS OF AMERICA   www.pickupplease.org    And, Habitat For Humanity will accept household items and furniture at their ReStore outlets to use in their building projects. Check out their needs at: www.habitat.org

Got Museums? Go For Free.

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 22  is Museum Day.  You can take the WHOLE FAMILY out for a free day at a museum, zoo or cultural center near you.  SMITHSONIAN Magazine has paired up with museums in almost every state to encourage families to explore local museums and cultural centers. 

Check out http://www.smithsonianmagazine.com/museumday to find a museum near you and to get your tickets.

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Music in the Schools Month: Make your own Clarinet…With a Carrot!?

What better way to celebrate MUSIC IN THE SCHOOLS MONTH than to help the kiddos make some musical instruments.  One of my favorite tutorials on making a clarinet involves using a carrot. You will be amazed watching Linsey Pollak create that mellow clarinet sound from an ordinary carrot.

To make your own carrot clarinet:
Watch the amazing demonstration by Lindsey Pollack at TedxSydney2014.  When you get ready to make your own clarinet, adult supervision is needed.  Use caution with the drill bits.
http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/07/02/he-starts-out-with-only-a-drill-carrot-and-mouthpiece-but-its-the-final-product-thats-leaving-people-in-disbelief/

Who knew carrots were not only delicious but also quite lovely to listen to.

For other interesting sites that have easy-to-make instruments, check out:

http://www.spoonful.com/crafts/music-instruments

and: http://www.freekidscrafts.com

Apple Cinnamon Ornaments

Here is an easy no-bake dough you can use to make holiday ornaments, beads for jewelry or magnets.  The fragrance is heavenly and lasts for years…even after being stored away with other Christmas ornaments. All you need is the following: 2 C. applesauce, 2 C ground cinnamon and 2 T white glue.  Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl until you have a soft dough.  Roll it out onto waxed paper until about 1/4 inch thick.  Cut it into shapes using various cookie cutters.  Use a straw or nail to poke a hole at the top if you are making ornaments.  This will give you a hole for the string. Set the cut ornaments aside to dry.  They will take 24-48 hours and should be turned over half way through to ensure both sides are completely dry.  cinnamon stars

After they dry, you can decorate them with glitter, sequins, etc. by brushing a layer of glue onto the front and sprinkling the decoration of choice.

CAUTION: Even though this dough smells heavenly and is made of food products, don’t eat it.  It is strictly for craft use only.

Kids Can Build: Free Hands-on Workshops at the Home Depot.

Do you have a child who loves working with her hands?  Does he enjoy taking things apart or building things from scratch?  Or, do you want to teach your child the proper way to use tools while creating something hand-made and original?  Try signing him or her up for one of the MONTHLY kids classes at your local Home Depot.

A recent class had children building a Military Appreciation Humvee.   Other projects have included: fire trucks, birdhouses, picture frames, toolboxes, mail organizers, race cars and many more.

These classes are FREE and the store will provide all the materials needed to complete a project.  Classes take place one Saturday each month and begin around 9AM, usually lasting a few hours.  BUT…YOU must register in advance to make sure your child has a spot.  Spaces can fill up quickly. 

The Home Depot Kids Workshop is for children ages 5-12. An adult will need to stay with the child during the entirety of the Home Depot Kids Workshop.

Interested?  Here’s information from the site on how to register:

Visit Home Depot Weekly Workshops and click on the Kids Workshops tab to view the project for the upcoming Home Depot Kids Workshop.

Click the Register button and your local Home Depot by using the Find Store button.Select the store you’d like to take your child to and choose the workshop day and time.

To complete the registration, you’ll need to fill out your name, email address, number of kids attending and their names and birthdates.

Free Rice: Increase Your Vocabulary and Feed the Hungry.

There is a wonderful site that I go to now and then to challenge my vocabulary.  It’s called Free Rice.  Not only are there levels of difficulty to help develop vocabulary skills, every time you successfully define words, grains of rice are added to your account.  This number quickly adds up.

Where does this “Rice Money” go?  To those in need.  For each answer you get right, they donate 10 grains of rice to the United Nations World Food Program.

We spend so much time on social media and computers.  Why not take a few minutes to help ease hunger while doing it.  Here’s the link to the site:

http://freerice.com/#/english-vocabulary/1458

Over 96 billion grains have been donated to date

WARNING: This game may make you smarter. It may improve your speaking, writing, thinking, grades, job performance.  It also makes you feel good.