New Spring Picture Books from Creston Books

CRESTON BOOKS – the small publisher run by Marissa Moss in Berkeley, CA – continues to impress readers and reviewers alike.  Many of its books, my own WHEELS OF CHANGE included, have won awards.  The new spring list is out and it looks like another winner.   Check out these gems:

The Girl Who Saved Yesterday
Written by Julius Lester, Illustrated by Carl Angel                Yesterdaycvr

Julius Lester at his best, language so rich you can feel it on your tongue

When the girl, Silence, is sent by the trees to save Yesterday, she doesn’t know what her
task is, only that it is important. Returning to the village that cast her out, Silence recognizes her
purpose: to join the dead with the living in an act that celebrates their memory.

“The Girl Who Saved Yesterday reads like an ancient myth. At times I found myself getting
lost in the dreamlike text, but the joys of re-reading allowed me to dig deeper into the stunning
illustrations. A challenging, but ultimately very provocative tale with illustrations to match.”
– Martha Pettit, Folio Books
ISBN: 978-1-939547-24-8              Ages: 4 to 9

Hildie Bitterpickles Needs Her Sleep
By Robin Newman, Illustrated by Chris Ewald

Hildie Bitterpickles has the perfect home until a cast of noisy neighbors move in next
door. Who can sleep near a giant clomping on his beanstalk, children running all over their
shoe house or three blind mice who like to play with hammers and saws?     HildieCoverFINAL

“Bewitchingly funny, Hildie Bitterpickles’s story leaves kids howling with laughter while
sharing with them a lesson about how to solve our problems and get along with others.”
– Mr. Gilvarry’s Third Grade, Southold Elementary School

“This magical story teaches us all that it is better to face your troubles, rather than run
away from them. Young readers will delight as they recognize some noisy guest stars among
the pages, visiting us from classic fairy tales.”
– April Howe, Villa Park Public Library
ISBN: 978-1-939547-23-1        Ages: 4 to 8

Mira’s Diary: California Dreaming By Marissa Moss
Mira travels to 1864 San Francisco to confront her mother about changing history only to learn that things aren’t what they appear and much more is at stake than she could have imagined.
In the last book of the time-travel series, Mira explores the past of her familiar Bay Area,
discovering layers of history in San Francisco and learning the real reason her mother has
been working to change history. On the way, she meets Mark Twain and uncoversMiraCalifCvr the Watcher’s real identity.

“Readers will enjoy this enthralling glimpse of history.”
– School Library Journal
“An engrossing, diary-style blend of history, mystery, and time travel.”
– Publishers Weekly

ISBN: 978-1-939547-22-4    Ages: 8 to 13

 

 

Busy Busy by Lucy Scott

What do toddlers really do all day? Busy, Busy lets you in on the secrets of their imaginative world.
Parents may think their toddlers are simply playing or making messes, but really they’re building cities, going on exciting adventures, and creating masterpieces.

“Busy Busy captures in stunningly detailed illustrations the glory that is an energetic toddler. Kids will adore seeing what a mess the nameless busy, busy narrator can make in this quirky, fun book.”
– Martha Pettit, Folio Books                 BusyCvr

“In the delightful Busy Busy parents are sure to recognize their own child, whether she is an explorer, an architect, a master chef, or just plain tired.
– Jim Averbeck, author of One Word from Sophia
ISBN: 978-1-939547-25-5
Ages: 3 to 5

Please address any questions to Marissa Moss:
marissamoss@crestonbooks.co
Creston Books
PO Box 9369
Berkeley, CA 94709

facebook.com/crestonbooks

Twitter @CrestonBooks
http://www.crestonbooks.co

 

Interview With Children’s PB Author Laurie Wallmark: Blog Tour Exclusive + Give away!

Today I am pleased and excited to be a stop on a blog tour for debut PB Author Laurie Wallmark.  She’ll be talking about her wonderful historical PB about the life of Ada Byron Lovelace, the first female computer programmer.   The book has already earned critical acclaim and a starred review from Kirkus.  If you’d like to be entered in a drawing for a free signed copy of the book, check out the end of this post.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

First, give us some background on how you came to the field of writing for children.
Unlike many of my fellow children’s book authors, I didn’t grow up dreaming of being a writer. I wrote some protest poetry and songs as a child, but that was about it. I didn’t major in English or Creative Writing. Instead, my undergraduate degree is in Biochemistry and my masters is in Information Systems. I’ve always loved reading children’s books, though. One day, out of the blue, I thought of an idea for a middle grade novel. I wrote for about an hour every day and soon had produced the perfect manuscript, or so I thought. I was wrong. Many years and many manuscripts later, not to mention a great deal of time spent working on my writing craft, I finished Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine.

Your debut PB Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine (Creston Books 2015) is historical non fiction. How did you discover Ada and decide to write about her?
The question of how I discovered Ada is one I’m often asked. The answer? I have no idea. Ada is one of the many historical figures and their associated accomplishments I’ve learned about growing up. As a child, like Ada, I wanted to be a professional mathematician, so I read many math-related books and articles. I would guess I heard about her from one of them. Another possibility is from my mother, since she was a math teacher. Maybe she introduced me to Ada. No matter how Ada came to my attention, she was clearly a good subject for my first picture book biography. In a previous career I was a programmer, and I now teach computer science. Ada Byron Lovelace was the world’s first computer programmer. Without a doubt, I had to share her story.

What kind of research was involved in writing the book? What part of the research process did you enjoy?
I was fortunate in my research efforts become Ada lived at a time when people wrote letters. In doing my research, I relied heavily on a book (Ada, the Enchantress of Numbers) which contains a curated collection of letters to and from Ada throughout her lifetime. These letters provided great insight into Ada’s character and her relationship with others. I worry that future biographers will not have access to these treasure trove of primary research material, since fewer and fewer people write letters.

What was the most surprising thing you learned throughout the whole process of writing, editing, publication, etc.?
Although I knew that after a manuscript was acquired, you still have to do further revisions, I was surprised by the number of them. Each new version I created uncovered yet another area in the text that could be improved. My wonderful editor, Marissa Moss, was invaluable in leading me to find the true heart of Ada’s story. For the record, from when my agents first expressed interest in my story to when it was sent to the printer, I did about fifteen revisions. These were, of course, in addition to the multitude of revisions I had done throughout the years.

What’s next?
First up is celebrating the launch of  the book, Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine, on October 13, 2015—Ada Lovelace Day. (For those who don’t know, this is an annual celebration of women in technology.) Two months later, I graduate from Vermont College of Fine Arts with an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults. I will continue to write for children, both picture books and novels, fiction and nonfiction, prose and poetry.                 Ada cover 72dpi

ADA BYRON LOVELACE AND THE THINKING MACHINE (Creston Books, October 2015) is a picture-book biography of the world’s first computer programmer. Ada was born two hundred years ago, long before the invention of the modern electronic computer. At a time when girls and women had few options outside the home, Ada followed her dreams and studied mathematics. This book, by Laurie Wallmark and April Chu, tells the story of a remarkable woman and her work. Kirkus Reviews describes the book as a “splendidly inspiring introduction to an unjustly overlooked woman.” [starred review]

Laurie Wallmark writes exclusively for children. She can’t imagine having to restrict herself to only one type of book, so she writes picture books, middle-grade novels, poetry, and nonfiction. She is currently pursuing an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts. When not writing or studying, Laurie teaches computer science at a local community college, both on campus and in prison. The picture book biography, Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine (Creston Books, October 2015), is Laurie’s first book.
Website: http://www.lauriewallmark.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lauriewallmarkauthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/lauriewallmark

Join Laurie as she travels from blog to blog to introduce her debut picture book, Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine. The next stop on the tour is:  November 6, 2015 – Guest Post (Five Favorite STEM Women in History)
http://www.viviankirkfield.com Picture Books Help Kids Soar (Vivian Kirkfield)

All stops are listed at: http://lauriewallmark.com/blogtour.php.

Now, to win a free signed copy of ADA BYRON LOVELACE AND THE THINKING MACHINE, leave a comment below and your name will be entered in a drawing.  Share this post on social media and you will get a second chance to win.  You have until Monday, 11-2-2015 to enter.  The lucky winner will be announced on this blog on Wednesday, 11-4-2015.

Poetry Challenge: by Lori Degman

To celebrate National Poetry Month, I asked a fellow writer and poet, Lori Degman to share some different kinds of poetry forms.  Lori’s picture books, 1 Zany Zoo, (Simon &     1 Zany Zoo CoverSchuster 2010)     and Cockadoodle,Oops! (Creston Books 2014)          cokadoodle oops

were written in rhyming verse, and are an absolute delight to read aloud.  Here’s Lori:

Thank you, Darlene, for asking me to do a guest post on your wonderful blog!

As a writer of rhyme – most of the time (but not always), and because April is National Poetry Month, I thought I’d share four unusual forms of poetry I’ve discovered through the years. I challenge you to give them a try – I bet you’ll have fun if you do!

1. Cinquain – a five-line poem that follows this pattern:
Line 1: One word (subject or noun)
Line 2: Two words (adjectives that describe line 1)
Line 3: Three words (action verbs that relate to line 1)
Line 4: Four words (feelings or a complete sentence that relates to line 1)
Line 5: One word (synonym of line 1 or a word that sums it up)

Here’s my Cinquain:

Springtime
Fresh, green
Raining, blossoming, growing
Goodbye to old winter
Rebirth

2. Clerihew – a light verse, usually consisting on two couplets of uneven length and irregular
meter, with the rhyme scheme AABB. The first line usually contains the name of a well known
person. The Clerihew was invented by Edmund Clerihew Bently (1875 – 1956), an English
writer, at the age of 16.

Here’s my Clerihew:

Dr. Seuss
Is out on the loose.
He’s hunting for words
that are silly and absurd.

3. Sausage Poem – a string of words which are “linked” with the same letters/sounds at the
endings and beginnings of words. An extra challenge is to go full circle and have the last
letter/sound of the sentence match the first letter/sound. It’s harder than I thought it would be!

Here’s my Sausage Poem: (Darlene highlighted the letter sounds in orange to show the technique)

Spring goes slowly yet time elapses.
Summer rain nurturing growing greens.
Fall leaves swirl like caustic kids.
Winter rains snow over rustic cabins.

4. Skeltonic Verse – The Skeltonic Verse was named after English poet, John Skelton
(1460-1529). The rules are simple:

Line 1: Keep the line lengths between three and six words
Line 2: Every end word rhymes with the previous, until you start a new set of rhymes
Line 3: Keep the same rhyme until it starts to lose its energy or impact
Line 4: The poem should be full of energy and fun

Here’s my Skeltonic Verse (I wrote this right before going out to do my “duty”):

The weekend’s here
I shout and cheer
Until I hear
A voice so clear
From in the yard
the words were hard
So I was jarred
My plans were marred
Outside on the stoop
With a bag and scoop
His words made me droop
“Let’s pick up poop”                                     mompic_small

Bio –
Lori Degman is a teacher of Deaf/Hard of Hearing students by day and a writer of picture books by night, weekends and school holidays. Her debut picture book, 1 Zany Zoo was the winner of the Cheerios New Author Contest and was published by Simon & Schuster in 2010. Her second picture book, Cock-a-Doodle Oops! was released by Creston Books in May, 2014! She is represented by Karen Grencik at Red Fox Literary.

Darlene here:  I don’t know about you, but I am going to have to try a Skeltonic poem of my own.  Which form speaks to you?