Wowie…Boom. A Poem For July 4th

The following poem is taken from my novel-in-verse WISHES, DARES, AND HOW TO STAND UP TO A BULLY (Creston). WoCCover01

On this July 4th, I am dedicating it to all those who mourn a loved one, those who have lost someone, those who grieve for a better world, those who celebrate kindness, friendship, and love.

BOOM
Wowee booms are what Katy calls
fireworks since she learned
to talk. Wowee for what you see
bursting in the sky and boom for the
noise it makes a few seconds later.

It’s the best definition
for something spectacular,
not like anything else.

Dad is the one
who likes to celebrate things
in a big wowee boom kind of way.

Even though these fireworks
are just as spectacular as ever,
there is something missing.

Someone who made
everything around us seem
louder
brighter
shinier.
I miss that kind of boom.

I imagine Dad staring at the
same moon, watching fireworks
like us, imagining that we are together.

Where are you Dad? Are you MIA
in a place that has fireworks?
Can you see them, hear them?
Are you someplace safe?

This is my wish for all on this Fourth of July, this day we set aside to celebrate our nation’s birthday:  May you all be safe, may you all feel love, may you all be kind and treat your fellow men and women as you wish to be treated. May you have a “WOWIE BOOM” kind of day.

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Nancy Churnin Presents: Two New Picture Books That Celebrate Speaking Up and Righting Wrongs + Enter to Win a Copy of One.

Today it is my pleasure to feature one of my favorite non-fiction picture book authors Nancy Churnin, who has two new books out. I asked Nancy to tell us about these stories and the connecting themes between them. Here’s Nancy:

Thank you so much, Darlene, for the opportunity to share my journey with A Queen to the Rescue, the Story of Henrietta Szold, Founder of Hadassah, illustrated by Yevgenia Nayberg (Creston Books) and Dear Mr. Dickens, illustrated by Bethany Stancliffe (Albert Whitman & Company)

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As a lifetime member of Hadassah, the Jewish women’s charitable organization, I was familiar with the name, Henrietta Szold, as the founder, but my knowledge didn’t go much beyond that. When I was accepted to the PJ Library’s TENT program at the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Massachusetts in 2019, I looked forward to fulfilling a commitment to working on a book about a Jewish subject. I researched Henrietta Szold and the more I learned about her, the more amazed I was and the more determined I was to tell her story in the book that became A QUEEN TO THE RESCUE.

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Here Henrietta was, a woman growing up in Baltimore in the 1800s, a child during the Civil War, a young woman without the right to vote, limited in opportunities, and yet, when she saw a need, nothing could stop her from pouring her formidable energy and organizational skills into solving that problem. Immigrants having trouble finding jobs or supporting their families because they didn’t how to speak English or what the customs of their new country? She created the first night school in America so they can work during the day and learn what they need to know to succeed at night. People in need of medical care in Palestine? She founded Hadassah, the first charitable organization established run by women. Children at risk in Nazi Germany? She expanded an existing program, Youth Aliyah, and raised money with the help of the women of Hadassah, to save, relocate and educate 11,000 children.

When asked the secret to her success, she said, in an interview cited by the Jewish Women’s Archive, “a strong constitution, a devotion to duty and a big conscience,” together with “a flair for organization” and “a pretty big capacity for righteous indignation.”

I hope her story shows and inspires a new generation that you don’t have to be rich or famous to make a difference. If you care about doing the right thing, if you’re willing to work hard and team up with others who share your goals, you can help heal the world. That’s why I created a project to do with this book, Heal the World, in the hope that it would encourage kids to team up to help others.

https://www.nancychurnin.com/a-queen-to-the-rescue

I discovered Eliza Davis, the heroine of DEAR MR. DICKENS by accident, but the minute I found her, I became obsessed with telling her story.

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I have been a fan of Charles Dickens as long as I remember. But, I also had been troubled and hurt by the way he wrote about Jewish people – my people – particularly in Oliver Twist when he referred to the wicked Fagin over and over again as “the Jew.” How could someone as noble and great-hearted as Charles Dickens have no heart for the Jewish people, I wondered. I had gone to the library to do research on another topic, when my mind drifted to Dickens and I started browsing articles about him. That’s when I found two lines that leapt out at me – lines about a Jewish woman, Eliza Davis, who had written him a letter about the very thing that had upset me – his portrayal of Fagin!

I read with wonder as the article went on to say that following their correspondence he had created the kindly Mr. Riah, his first sympathetic Jewish character in Our Mutual Friend, because of her letters. What? I had to find those letters! With the help of my wonderful librarians at my local library in Plano, Texas, I was able to locate a book in the rare book collection of the University of North Texas library in Denton, Texas, donated by Professor Don Vann (to whom the book is dedicated along with his late, lovely wife, Dolores Vann), that contained the full correspondence.

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I learned from careful reading and rereading how persistent Eliza Davis had been. Charles Dickens’s response to her first letter had been dismissive, but Eliza didn’t give up. She wrote again, trying to explain her feelings in a more persuasive way.

What I learned from my research and journey with this story was that an ordinary person like Eliza Davis – or you and me – can have an impact on people who are powerful and famous – like Charles Dickens – simply by speaking up.

Before I told her story, many people may not have known that this ordinary person whose name few people outside her family and community knew was the reason his heart changed and he became more inclusive in his world view – a change that would affect how England, going forward, would treat her Jewish population. In the same way, we may not know the long term good any of us do by speaking up. But we have to trust, like Eliza Davis, that speaking up matters and may help bend the arc of the moral universe toward justice more than we realize. That’s why I created a project to do with this book, Dear…, in the hope that it will encourage kids to write letters to people in positions of influence, asking them to do better. https://www.nancychurnin.com/dearmrdickens

Nancy has generously agreed to give away a copy of one of these wonderful books…winner gets to choose! To be in the running, leave a comment telling us about a time when speaking up made a difference in your life or someone you know. One winner will be randomly drawn from all entered. If you share this post on social media, I will give you a second chance to win.

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Jack and Katy Get Ready For School: A Poem From WISHES, DARES, AND HOW TO STAND UP TO A BULLY.

No matter how much fun we have each summer, we eventually have to go Back To School. While this can be welcome by some, and dreaded by others, the new school year 2021 continues to be a challenge for all.

As teachers and students head back to school virtually, or in person, or as some hybrid combination, may all of you be blessed with good health, curiosity, excitement for learning, and may it be a good year for all.

Here’s a Back-To-School poem from my novel in verse WISHES, DARES, AND HOW TO STAND UP TO A BULLY (Creston) where Jack and his sister Katy just spent a day with Mom, Gran and Pops, shopping for school goodies.

LOOT
Two
L

O

N

G
hours later, my stomach
growling like a grumpy bear, we
carry out shopping bags
stuffed with all the loot a kid needs for school.

Even though Mom protested,
Pops emptied his wallet to pay for everything.
Besides shoes
socks, underwear,
there are two pants and shirts for me,
two dresses for Katy.
A Barbie lunch box that has Katy wanting to
put food in it already.
Why didn’t you get a lunch box, Jack?
Guys my age brown bag it, I say.

A second shopping bag holds
pencils
sharpeners
notebooks
a 64 pack of crayons that has Katy
sniffing and squealing over the colors,
wanting me to read the names of each one.
Later, I tell her.

There’s also enough chalk to draw a line on the
highway all the way home probably.

Katy wears her
patent leather black shoes in the car, sitting
up front with Gran and Pops,
both of them beaming at her,
their own miracle,
their one-of-a-kind treasure no wish or
money can buy.

Mom snaps a picture of me with
my nose pressed
between the pages of one of the notebooks.
I take a whiff,
the smell of school disguised as paper,
a good smell, even though I complain.

I’ve done a lot of
thinking today, but not about school.
You know how
when you’re not even thinking
about something and
an idea,
a good idea
maybe the best idea comes to you?
That’s what I’m hoping
will happen to me.

May all of you “hang on” through the ups and downs of this school year and may you find what you need to shine like the patent leather shoes Katy wears.

If you don’t mind, I’d love to hear your favorite Back-to-School ritual from your own childhood. Care to share?

National “Go Fishing Day”…Take a Kid Fishing.

Tomorrow, June 18, is NATIONAL GO FISHING DAY.  Fishing has been around as long as man and women have.  It is a major industry that yields billions of dollars worldwide annually. It is also a great recreational activity for everyone, young and old. It’s a way to add food to the table and an opportunity to bond with family and friends.

The benefits of fishing are numerous. Did you know fishing actually boosts your immune system? When you do something you enjoy, your body responds by healing and strengthening itself. Being out in nature helps promote relaxation and is a way to practice calm and patience. It can lower blood pressure and can be done individually or with others. You can fish from the shore, from a boat or by standing in a stream.  However you decide to do it, why not teach a kid, your kid or a friend’s kid, to fish.

Check your local recreational areas for competitions and rules regarding proper fishing etiquette. Even during this Covid-19 pandemic, it’s okay to go fishing. 

kid fishing

When you go fishing, or teach a child to fish, you never know what you might catch.

Here’s a case in point, where eleven-year-old JACK takes his five-year-old sister KATY to fish for the first time from my newest MG novel in verse WISHES, DARES, AND HOW TO STAND UP TO A BULLY (Creston)   WoCCover01

FISH
Katy feels sorry for worms
and won’t fish with them.
I make balls of dough
from the crusts of our sandwiches to
bait her hook.

She breaks every rule about fishing.
Making loud noises, scaring the fish.
She can’t stand in one spot
more than a minute without
dancing
wiggling
spinning
tangling the fishing line,
asking so many questions
my ears are ready to
EXPLODE!!!

When are we going to catch a
FISH!!! she shouts for the
tenth time, dropping her pole to
chase a butterfly.
Fish don’t come around when it’s noisy,
so zzzzip your lips, I say.

She pretends to zip her lip,
humming the tune to
Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.
Good grief.

FRED

After lunch I’m ready to leave.
No fish today, let’s go, I say.
Maybe the fish don’t like worms.
Maybe they’re veterinarians, Katy says.
She means vegetarians because
she hands me a grape and says
put it on the hook, Jack, please?

Can you sit without making a sound,
quiet as a stone?
She puts a finger to her lips, Shhhhh.
I hook the grape, toss the line,
hand the rod to Katy.

Before I settle onto the grass,
the line gives a tug.
Too heavy for me, I can’t do it, Jack.
I grab the rod and pull a fish out,
a fish with one eye.

It’s Fred, I tell her.
Katy strokes Fred’s tail with a pinkie.
A special fish, I say.
Like magic special?
Katy’s two eyes as wide as Fred’s one.
Don’t know, I say.
Katy frowns, so I say,
make a wish, quick before Fred goes back.

Pancakes for supper! she wishes,
kissing Fred on the tail.
Pancakes, I agree. As I slip
Fred into the water, he seems to
wink his eye before he swims away.

While you may not catch a fish that grants wishes, taking a child fishing will be something you’ll both remember for a long time. 

BOARDWALK BABIES: a New PB by Marissa Moss + Giveaway.

Today it is my pleasure to feature a new non-fiction picture book from author Marissa Moss titled BOARDWALK BABIES ( Illustrated by April Chu Creston 2021). Here are the reviews for this fascinating story:

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“A thought-provoking telling of an unusual historical episode.”

— Kirkus Reviews

“In the late 19th century, hospitals didn’t know how to care for premature babies and believed they were “doomed to die.” However, one young doctor believed he had the answer. Dr. Martin Couney of Germany asked Empress Augusta Victoria to allow him to care for babies from her hospital in his newly invented baby incubators. Empress Victoria approved his request. Couney created a traveling showcase of the world’s tiniest babies, first in exhibition halls and world fairs, then finally settling into a permanent spot on Coney Island in 1903. Babies received the best care from a dedicated and trained nursing staff, paid for by the entrance fees to see the exhibit. Babies of all races, religions, and backgrounds were accepted. Couney generated as much publicity as he could. He hired carnival barkers to advertise the exhibit and emphasized the small size of the babies by dressing them in oversized clothes and bows. The public loved watching the tiny tots grow and thrive, but it was the hospitals that Couney hoped to convince—he wanted incubators in every hospital. Over the years, Couney saved 6,500 babies, many of whom came back to thank him when they grew up. Moss turns a little-known historical subject into a poignant and readable picture book. In particular, the direct and clear approach to explaining the needs and the care of premature babies is handled well. The soft illustrations and the heartwarming approach make this story beautiful and relevant to all families. VERDICT A moving must-have for every nonfiction collection.”

  • Starred Review, School Library Journal

​”Moss (the Amelia’s Notebook series) surveys the use of premature infants as sideshow entertainment in this informative overview of pioneering pediatric history, which occurred on the Coney Island boardwalk from 1903 to 1943. To convince a highly skeptical medical establishment of incubators’ lifesaving value, neonatal technology advocate Martin Couney ran the Baby Incubator exhibit each summer. Staffed by medical professionals—including Couney’s wife and, later, daughter (born prematurely)—the exhibit saved 6,500 babies: “It didn’t matter what religion they were, the color of their skin, or how poor the parents were. Families weren’t charged anything… entrance fees paid for everything.” Chu’s (In a Village by the Sea) realistic illustrations in muted hues set a gentle tone.. . this narrative nonfiction account will prove absorbing. Ages 8–9. (Mar.)

— Publishers Weekly

I am giving away a copy of this fascinating book to one person drawn at random from those who leave a comment on this post. If you share the post, let me know, and I’ll give you a second chance to win.

Marissa Moss is the award-winning author and illustrator of more than 70 children’s books, including her own graphic novel series, Amelia’s Notebook. You can see more of her work at http://www.marissamoss.com.

April Chu has won awards for her gorgeous illustrations. She studied architecture and infuses that knowledge of detail and perspective into her art. Her work has been featured in the Society of Illustrator’s Original Art show.

Author Robin Newman Brings on Fall with a Case of Bad Apples.

Fall is one of my favorite seasons—it’s back to school; crisp air and brisk walks in Central Park; and if you’re a fan of apples, as I am, it’s apple picking and baking season!

So, it’s no surprise that my character Porcini Pig is also a big fan of apples.

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In my latest book in the Wilcox & Griswold Mystery Series, THE CASE OF THE BAD APPLES, Porcini finds what appears to be a gift basket of apples. Naturally, he pigs out. He is a pig after all. But strangely, he becomes sick as a dog. Fortunately for him an anonymous squealer calls in a SWINE-1-1, and the MFI (Missing Food Investigators) are investigating what looks like a Code 22 (attempted hamslaughter). Who poisoned Porcini and why? Could one bad apple have poisoned the bunch? One bad765 apple indeed.

One especially sweet treat about my latest book is Mollie Katzen’s APPLE-TAS-TIC recipe for apple pockets.

recipe

 

steps

DE-LI-CIOUS!

My family and I devoured these apple pockets for breakfast and afternoon snack with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

apple pockets

And while you’re snacking on your yummy apple pockets, please be sure to check out the adorable book trailer for THE CASE OF THE BAD APPLES!

 

Enjoy and bon appétit!

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Six New Children’s Books For Summer Reading + a give-away.

I’ve been enjoying some wonderful books during this “sheltering in place” season. Here are three recent reads that are perfect for summer enjoyment for kids from 4-9.

OUR FRIEND HEDGEHOG: THE STORY OF US by Lauren Castillo is a tender, sweet, and thoughtful story that will delight young readers. Endearing illustrations add whimsy and heart to a friendship tale destined to become a favorite.

SWASHBY AND THE SEA written by Beth Ferry and illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal.

Old Salt Swashby loves the quiet life by the sea. So salty and serene. No time or need for noisy new neighbors who disrupt his peace. He writes his displeasure in the sand. But the sea knows what’s best and changes his messages until Swashby realizes maybe the sea is right. Delightful for sea lovers big and small. Illustrations add heart and soul to a tale that dances and sings the magic of the sea.

WE ARE WATER PROTECTORS, written by Carole Lindstrom and illustrated by Michaela Goade is a lyrical story of caution, celebration, and endurance. The words are a tribute and honor to the thing most important to life – water. Illustrations flow, undulate, and embrace plant and animal life and remind us how we are all one on this Mother Earth.
The author and illustrator are members of indigenous tribes who know what it means to be one with the land and all its living creatures. They show how taking action and standing up for environmental justice is important and necessary. We need books like this now more than ever.

HELLO FROM RENN LAKE by Michele Weber Hurwitz

Hello From Renn Lake cover

Annalise and Renn Lake, the beloved lake at her parents resort, are connected to one another ever since Annalise was a baby. An abandoned baby found after an unexpected flood at the lake.

Annalise talks to Renn and Renn listens. Renn answers. Renn knows things about Annalise that no one else knows. Renn is a comfort, as dependable as a friend. Until one day Renn is silent.

As an algae bloom threatens to choke the life out of the lake, Annalise is determined to do something to save Renn.

A brave and beautiful tale of our interconnectedness to nature, and how when one thing in the chain of life is sick, it affects us all. Annalise and her friends become environmental heroes who

take activism to the next level and do what needs to be done to make change.

A perfect story for our time. A story that reminds us we all need to listen to as well as observe what is happening around us. Nature speaks. We just need to listen. Should be part of every STEM classroom curriculum.

The book back matter lists links to numerous science sites about lakes, rivers, algae blooms, and how to get involved in environmental causes.

TODAY IS A BEACH DAY by Nancy Viau

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Come along for a trip to the beach in this lively, sensory story written in alliterative rhyme. Little ones will experience the sights, sounds, textures, tastes, and feelings a day of sand, sun, and surf have to offer. A perfect read-aloud for the youngest beach lovers.

 

 

And finally, my own book, filled with summer fun: WISHES, DARES, AND HOW TO STAND UP TO A BULLY (Creston).

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Here is what three teachers had to say about the book:

Darlene Andre  5.0 out of 5 stars An engaging book with important life lessons

 “Wishes, Dares, and How to Stand up to a Bully is a brilliant book written in verse that gives readers a look into the world of Jack, his family, and friends as they navigate difficult issues. This book, while taking place in the 60s, resonates with readers today. So much wisdom and hope are spread throughout the pages of this book. My fifth graders loved it.”

Trish Lugo  Apr 21, 2020 Trish rated it 5 stars: it was amazing

“This beautifully written novel-in-verse tugs at the heart strings. Jack and Jill have reeled in a magical one-eyed fish that grants wishes. When Jill’s wish doesn’t quite go as planned, Jack realizes that it really is important to be careful what you wish for. I couldn’t put the book down, and my class enjoyed it just as much as I did. This one will be read year after year with my fourth-graders!”

May 14, 2020 Hallee Adelman rated it 5 stars: it was amazing

“Wishes, Dares, & How to Stand Up to a Bully is a wonderful book filled with heart. The characters are sweet, relatable and lovable. They grapple with big issues, which Jacobson handles deftly and honestly. Like books by Linda Mullaly Hunt and Donna Gephart, readers will feel how much Jacobson cares about young readers. A fantastic historical fiction story in verse that I’d not only read again, but also share with other educators for their students.”

I will give away a signed copy of WISHES, DARES, AND HOW TO STAND UP TO A BULLY + a classroom activity packet to a teacher who leaves a comment sharing one of the books you recommend for your student’s summer reading. If you share this post on your social media, let me know and I will add your name a second time to the list. One winner will be drawn at random and announced on this blog later in the month.

 

Nancy Churnin Presents: BEAUTIFUL SHADES OF BROWN: THE ART OF LAURA WHEELER WARING + a give-away

Today it is my distinct pleasure to feature one of my favorite non-fiction picture book authors, NANCY CHURNIN, who is here to talk about her recently released book BEAUTIFUL SHADES OF BROWN: THE ART OF LAURA WHEELER WARING. (Creston Books) Here is the interview:

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How did you discover the art of Laura Wheeler Waring?

I am always looking for heroes and heroines that have been overlooked, that kids — and often adults — don’t know enough about. I love fine art and I was thinking about how we mostly hear about male painters with just a handful of female painters, such as Mary Cassatt and Frida Kahlo, getting multiple books from different angles. Surely there were more female painters! I started researching paintings by female artists. I found a painting of Marian Anderson (reproduced in the book) and I stopped. Magnificent! I had to know more about the woman who painted her. It was hard to find information. Nobody had written a book about Laura Wheeler Waring. But the more I found out, the more I wanted to find out. Her parents, Amos Noe Freeman, a Presbyterian minister, and Christiana Williams Freeman, were activists in the African American community, standing up against slavery, helping in the Underground Railroad. Laura shared their passion for equality, but she spoke through her paintbrush. She wanted representation of African Americans on museum walls. But even more than that, she wanted people to see the beauty, the dignity, the accomplishments of people in her community. When she got the opportunity to paint Marian Anderson, that gave her the opportunity to break down walls with her brush the way Marian did with her voice. It’s a reminder that we can all break down walls using our own unique gifts.

The story is told in such a beautiful, poetic way. Was this how you envisioned telling the story from the beginning?

I was struck by her passion for showing the beauty of brown skin, but even beyond that how she would set her subjects in settings with brown walls, desks, clothing. Was she trying to make a point by showing the variations in this color? I became increasingly convinced she did. In a segregated world, where white people made generalizations about African Americans, the individuality of each shade of brown she used made a statement about each person’s individuality. I studied the color brown to try to figure out how she created all those variations of hue and it all began to make sense once I realized how many colors mix to make brown. Usually, when we think of something being colorful, we compare it to a rainbow. But it struck me that there was a rainbow in the color brown. That’s when I had the epiphany that brown is a rainbow, “with orange and blue, red and green tucked inside, playing hide and seek.” And I was off and running.

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What were the challenges in telling Laura Wheeler Waring’s story?

The biggest challenge was finding information about Laura Wheeler Waring. I went to curators at the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. Erin Beasley, Digital Image Rights and reproduction Specialist; Dr. Tuliza Fleming, Curator of AmericanArt at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and Riche Sorensen, Rights & Reproduction Coordinator at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, were a tremendous help. Erin Beasley put me in touch with Laura Wheeler Waring’s great-niece and heir, Madeline Murphy Rabb, who not only gave me permission to reproduced Waring’s paintings at the Smithsonian Institution, she answered questions about her life I couldn’t find answers to elsewhere. She also affirmed how proud her great-aunt was of her skills at blending colors, which went to the heart of my book. Still, even with all that support, I could never have pulled this off without the brilliance of illustrator Felicia Marshall, who channelled Waring’s style, seamlessly incorporating Waring painting her actual portraits in the spreads, with incredible detail and attention to shades of brown. I am so grateful to my editor Marissa Moss, who believed in this story from the start, guided me as only Marissa Moss can, and knew that Felicia Marshall was the artist who could do justice to Waring.

 

Your books seem to champion creative, and sometimes unsung heroes. Why are you particularly drawn to these kinds of people?

It all began with the journey of my first book, THE WILLIAM HOY STORY. I was a full-time staff writer with The Dallas Morning News when I got to know Steve Sandy, a Deaf man who shared his dream that more people would know the story of the great Deaf baseball player, William Hoy, who taught umpires signs so he could play the game he loved — signs we still use today — and that someday Hoy would be honored in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. I wrote that book, with the help of Steve’s research, guidance and friendship with the Hoy family, with the goal of sharing Hoy’s story with kids. I created a project, Hoy for the Hall, that encouraged kids to write letters to the National Baseball Hall of Fame asking for Hoy to be inducted. They’ve sent thousands! Here’s the sweet surprise. I wrote that first book to make Steve’s dream come true, but I found that I was also making an old dream of mine come true — a longtime dream of creating books and sharing them with kids. It felt so good to share the story of this hero that the kids didn’t know about, to break down walls between the Deaf and the hearing, to inspire kids to persevere and find ways to make the world better. I immediately started to look for and think about other people whose stories hadn’t been told, who had persevered against great odds to make their dreams come true and whose dreams, realized, made the world a better place. My next book was MANJHI MOVES A MOUNTAIN, the first picture book about Dashrath Manjhi, who spent 22 years chiseling a path through a 300-foot mountain so kids in his poor village could get to school on the other side. Those have been the kind of heroes I’ve looked for straight through to Laura Wheeler Waring and beyond. 

What would you like readers to remember about this story?

I would like them to remember that each and every one of us is beautiful, unique and a complex mix of many characteristics as surprising and wonderful as the varied pigments that make up our skin. I would like them to remember that representation is important and to make sure that you and your community can be seen and appreciated. I would like them to remember that when you have a dream to do something that’s never been done before, you may hit a lot of obstacles, you may hear that what hasn’t been done can’t be done, but if you persevere you will get there, maybe not in a day or a week or a month, but you will get there. I would like them to remember that that you don’t fail unless you give up. Every rejection, every setback is just another step on the journey to achieving your goal.

Is there anything you would like to add?

I hope folks will check out the free teacher guides, readers theater, resources and projects on my website, nancychurnin.com. The project for Beautiful Shades of Brown is PAINT YOUR WORLD. With the permission of parents and educators, kids are invited to sent photos of their artwork of themselves, their families and their communities with a short caption describing who they’re portraying. I will post those pictures on the PAINT YOUR WORLD page so we can celebrate how beautiful everyone is.

Nancy has agreed to give away one signed copy of her book to one randomly chosen person who leaves a comment on this post. Winner will be drawn from all those entered. If you share the post on social media, let me know and I will give you a second chance to win.

Here is my review for this amazing book:

“This book is like a painting whose rich, bold, and lyrical text conveys the depth of feeling and care Laura put into each of her portraits. I love how Churnin conveyed the idea of a “rainbow of shades of brown” that Laura spent hours on, mixing blues, greens, reds, and yellows to get just the right and perfect shade. I love how Laura felt and heard the color whenever she began to paint. This is a stunning book that reminds us of the beautiful variety found in just one color, and how important it is for each of us to see ourselves reflected in the art we choose to celebrate.”

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Nancy Churnin is the award-winning author of eight picture book biographies on multiple state reading lists with a ninth due in 2021. Beautiful Shades of Brown, The Art of Laura Wheeler Waring is A Mighty Girl pick selected for the 2020 Ruby Bridges Reading Festival at the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee. The William Hoy Story, a Bank Street Book Awards selection, has been a Texas 2X2 pick and Armadillo Readers Choice selection, on Illinois’ Monarch Award master list, the Louisiana Young Readers Choice Award and Connecticut’s Charter Oak Book Award list. Manjhi Moves a Mountain is the winner of the 2018 South Asia Book Award, a Junior Library Guild selection, an Anne Izard Storytellers Choice Award and Silver Eureka honoree. Martin & Anne, the Kindred Spirits of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Anne Frank is on the 2020 Notable Book for a Global Society list from the International Literacy Association, the Wisconsin Picture This list, the Brave Book list and was featured at the Ruby Bridges Reading Festival in Memphis and the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles. Irving Berlin, the Immigrant Boy Who Made America Sing is a 2019 Sydney Taylor and National Council for the Social Studies Notable. Nancy is a founding member of the Nonfiction Ninjas and the NF Chicks. She graduated cum laude from Harvard, has a master’s from Columbia, and lives in Plano, Texas, with her husband, their dog named Dog, and two cantankerous cats.

You can find Nancy Churnin on social media.

On her website: nancychurnin.com

On Facebook: Nancy Churnin Children’s Books

On Twitter: @nchurnin

On Instagram: @nchurnin

 

 

I Wish…I Imagine…Craft For Mother’s Day in the Time of Coronavirus.

While we are sheltering in place and social distancing, it doesn’t mean we can’t do something special to honor our moms, grandmas, step-moms, and the other women in our lives who love us and take such good care of us. 

This simple craft comes from my new book: WISHES, DARES, AND HOW TO STAND UP TO A BULLY  (Creston).

WoCCover0111 year-old Jack, his 5 year-old sister Katy, and their mom Lily are spending summer with their grandparents as they wait and hope to hear word about Jack’s dad who is MIA in Vietnam. To help get through the worry and anxiety of not knowing his whereabouts, Lily tells them to “hold onto hope”.

When we hold onto hope, we can imagine better times and imagine how we hope things will be when those better times return.

At the end of their summer together, JACK, KATY, JILL, and CODY decide to make a hand wreath to symbolize their wishes, hopes, imaginings, for when they meet again a whole year away. Here is that poem from the book:

HAND
It’s Jill’s idea to trace everyone’s hand,
both hands actually, so we can make two circles
with hands joined together, fingers
touching wrists,
so it looks like a paper wreath.

Hands of friendship, Jill says, forever linked.
And holding on to hope, I say, thinking of Dad.
We trace the grown-ups hands, too,
all of us linked together
in a circle that doesn’t end, like the silly song.

Jill and Cody keep one circle
and I give the other to Gran and Pops.
We have to make another one, Katy says.
I want a hand wreath so I can always remember
my summer of wishes and how all of them
came true.

Eyes wide, Katy says, Let’s write a wish
on each one so
next year we can see if they
come true without Fred.

Kid genius, Cody says, smiling at Katy.
I think we should keep them
secret, I say as we write down our
hopes and dreams on this third wreath.

We cover the back of each hand with
a paper door,
to be opened like a time capsule
next time we meet. We trade this new one,
the one with our
hopes and dreams,
for the one we gave Gran and Pops,
so we aren’t tempted to take a peek.

wish hands

You and your kids can do this, writing I WISH…I IMAGINE…I DREAM…on one side of each hand, and then what each hope, wish, or dream might be when we are over this pandemic and things are back to normal, on the reverse. Write down the things you’d want to do with your MOM or GRANDMA when you can be together again. Hang it up, or tuck it away and bring it out when we are free of self-isolation and see how many of your hopes, dreams, and imaginings came true.

Stay Safe, hold onto hope, and have a Happy Mother’s Day.