Tuesday, May 23, 2017

THINK QUICK with Author, Judy Carey Nevin

Hi Judy!  I love how your book features the relationship between a father and child.    All of the THINK QUICK themes below appear in your book. Let’s see which way you lean. Remember, THINK QUICK!

On Daddies:

Best Friend or Teacher?
Me: Best friend 
Husband/Daddy: Teacher 

On showing affection:

Smooches or hugs?
Ooh--a tough one. Smooches, I think 
I like to get hugs from our daughter--she's a STRONG hugger.

On adventure:

Swings or Roller Coaster?
Swings, definitely swings 
I'm a chicken!

On imaginary play:

Monsters or Kangaroos?
Monsters--more fun making goofy faces and sounds (Kangaroos are kinda quiet.)

On stuffed animals:

Bunnies or Bears?
Bunnies (I like the ears)

On games:

Peek-a-boo or Duck Duck Goose?
Duck Duck Goose 

On bedtime:

Night-light or Pitch black?
Pitch black for me
Nigh-light for daughter 

On sleep:

Early Bird or Night Owl?
both! (yawn!) 

On books:

What Daddies Like or What Daddies Like?
Sneaky question! I like What Daddies Like! :-) 

Thank you Judy!  

Judy's inspiration for the book: 

This book started when our daughter came into our lives and I watched my husband read "aren't mommies great," "a mommy's hug is the best hug," and other lovey-dovey books written with no fathers in sight. My husband is a devoted father who has been besotted with our daughter from the moment he met her in the delivery room. It broke my heart to experience the complete lack of books--especially for very young children--depicting happy, loving interactions between fathers and their children. One day I overheard my husband playing with our infant daughter; he said, "Daddies like hugs too." I thought, "That's what I need to write," and the book was born. I am so pleased to hear from new fathers who say they're thankful to have a book to read with their babies--that is the most fulfilling part of seeing my book go out into the world. The book works for any dad in any situation--married dads, single/divorced dads, same-sex couple dads, widowed dads--they can all see themselves represented in the book, and that makes me so very happy. (P.S.--the illustrator added a surprise "spot the toy bunny" game throughout the book, which I LOVE!) 

Judy Carey Nevin is a mommy who likes seeing her daughter and husband play together.  She likes listening to their laughter and seeing their love for each other--AND eating the delicious blueberry pancakes they make almost every weekend.  Judy is the director of a library in Ohio.  She really likes her life with her family and their slightly neurotic dog.  What Daddies Like is her debut picture book.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

On the Punny Side of the Street Challenge

By Janie Reinart

Have you ever written a funny story? (Oops! Autocorrect.)

A puny story? (Autocorrect again.)

A punny story? Word play can make us laugh out loud.

Story, pictures, and bad grammar by Cece Bell

"I YAM a donkey," says the donkey to the Yam

"The proper way to say that is 'I AM a donkey.'"

"You is a donkey too?"

And so the wordplay begins while the story ends with a "dark and deeply funny ending."

A punny show and tell by Alan Katz

The teacher announces indoor recess.

Show and tell doesn't turn out like the teacher and class expected. 

The page turns show great timing.

"That stinks!" exclaimed Jimmy.
 The class gasped. (Page turn.)
"It's my pet skunk, Harry! He really stinks!"

"Aw,nuts!" said Susie. (Page turn.)
"Pecans, almonds, and walnuts. Yum!"

And then the principal come in. 

By Jeff Mack

 The story starts when a little boy asks his dad why he always reads him Mother Goose before he goes to sleep. 

"Well...it all started when I found a duck in the fridge," says the dad.

The mayhem continues with ducks all over the house. Then the ducks order out for pizza.  When asked ,"Who's going to pay for all of this?" 

The answer is simple.One of the ducks says," Put it on my bill."

Then the father as a boy invites sheep to get rid of the ducks, dogs to get rid of the sheep and so on.  He finally figures out an idea to get all the animals to get to sleep. Can you guess what it is? More puns ensue. 

by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen                                                                                                                               

One morning a fairy appeared. There is a lot of kissing going on in this story after the fairy delivers her message.

"Your Highness", she said bowing in front of Eldon. "I'm Fairy Miranda, here to help you break the spell."


"The Hog Prince Spell. When you kiss your true love, you will be changed into a prince."

Meanwhile, Miranda muttered,"Was it a hog prince or a dog prince? Or was it a frog prince...? And POOF she disappeared. 

Try your hand at writing a punny story. Remember seven days with out a pun makes one weak.

Tell us your favorite picture books with puns and word play in the comments.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Revealing ReFoReMo: Redux- Looking Back to Move Forward

This was my third year of meeting the ReFoReMo challenge, one that has changed for me every year. My debut year, I fretted about filling out forms and doing the challenge “correctly.” Last year I studied nonfiction texts and researched publishers. This year, ReFoReMo inspired me to write out of my comfort zone.

2015…I Was Green

Like most newbies, I was nervous about completing the challenge, finding mentor texts, and organizing my research. The question loomed…what am I supposed to do with this research anyway?  Here are my tips for neophytes:

  • If you can’t find specific texts, use other books by the author.
  • If you live in a remote area with limited library access, check Youtube for book trailers and read alouds with recording rights.
  • If you have ADD like I do, check the ReFoReMo research tools page for an easy-peasy graphic organizer that works for you.
  • If you don’t want to reinvent the wheel, ReFoReMo’s Facebook page includes a plethora of thematically organized files such as “Books in First Person,” “Texts with Bookish Themes.”

2016…A Leaner Machine

Ah, year two, and I knew much better what to do. I had my organizational tools from 2015 and customized the process to better fit my needs. In a serendipitous surprise, I noticed my reading log encompassed many Charlesbridge texts. I had a previously scheduled professional critique coming up with Charlesbridge editor Julie Bliven. Kismet!

This spurred me toward a serious study of biographies and narrative nonfiction covering 2012-2016. 

My story stack included these mentor texts:

I examined first and last lines, nonfiction structure, themes, language, and back matter for common elements that would inform my manuscript revision. I hoped to enhance my chances of making my biography a good fit for Charlesbridge.  My revision did garner some interest from Julie, and she complimented me on a strong, marketable topic and theme. ReFo fueled this successful step forward in my writing journey.

2017…Writing Queen

This year I read even more voraciously. I read books while eating breakfast; I consumed a steady diet of books that fed my desire to write. I binged on alphabet books, poetry, and classics like JAMBERRY. The urge to write new formats came from this year’s reading list. Several of my new drafts almost wrote themselves:

Reading made risky writing possible for me, and I can’t wait to see what happens during ReFoReMo 2018 in this great community that Carrie and Kirstine created for us all. We travel the “write” road together in a ReFoReMo world.

In another life, Kathy taught English and served as a K-12 school librarian. She writes humorous picture books, biographies, and stories that feature outlandish characters. She lives in Columbus, Ohio, with her husband Bob and silly Corgi, Wiley. You can check out her blog posts on the GROG blog and learn more about Kathy at http://www.kathyhalsey.com/.  

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Mentor Text Author Study: Kim Norman

By Keila Dawson

Kim Norman is a word wizard. She masters word play whether writing in rhyming verse or prose. Her writing is lyrical and her word combinations mimic musical sounds. 

Before she became an author, Kim was a graphic artist. She is also a thespian, a singer (with a beautiful voice I might add!) and songwriter. It’s no surprise with all her talents that she is very popular on the school visit circuit. Kids, teachers and librarians adore her presentations!

Kim is also a giver. In addition to guest posting for blogs, she started COOL SCHOOL VISITS, a website with loads of information to help other authors plan fun, interactive school visits. Authors can also request to be included on her AUTHOR VISITS BY STATE page. 

Although Kim preferred writing in rhyme, she read agents and editors didn't like rhyming stories so wrote her first book, JACK OF ALL TAILS, in prose. In this story, her main character is determined to be a successful part of the family business. They pretend to be animals and rent themselves out to pet loving people. But when the girl gets fired over and over she learns success is finding your own talents. 

Like the main character in this story, Kim stuck with her natural talents too - writing in rhyme!

These rhyming texts are great examples of the extent of her talent.

 Kim is a natural at using alliteration. 

 These books showcase her songwriting talents. 

Kim Norman's books are excellent mentor texts that highlight lyrical language combined with humorous, engaging child-centered stories. Her writing style invites kids to shout, "Read it again!" over and over. And they are really fun for adults to read aloud too.

Keila Dawson is a ReFoReMo Contributor. She’s hiked the rice terraces in the Philippines, climbed Mt. Fuji in Japan, and Mt. Sinai in Egypt. Keila finds adventures in picture books too. When she isn’t traveling, reading or digging in genealogical archives, Keila is writing and visiting schools. She enjoys sharing her love of Louisiana and world cultures with others. THE KING CAKE BABY, her debut picture book released in 2015, by Pelican Publishing Co., Inc.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

ReFoReMo Prize Housekeeping

It has come to our attention that the ReFoReMo Prize Announcement Post did not deliver via our email notification system. We sincerely apologize. You will find the prize post HERE. It features something for everyone! We hope you'll give it a read and show your support. We are all winners!


Carrie & Kirsti

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

ReFoReMo 2017 Bonus Winners & Call for Submissions

After the challenge is over each year, we delight in hearing how ReFoReMo has helped you grow as writers, illustrators, and educators.  Words like these inspire us to keep going:

Kristen Browing says:
"I have loved studying the language in the mentor texts. It is so inspiring to read beautiful writing. It has also been wonderful to read books that I probably would not have selected on my own and to read biographies of people with whom I was not familiar. This challenge really does expand my horizons and makes me want to work harder to be a better writer. Thanks for everything. Although I actually kept up with the reading/commenting this year, I appreciate your giving us extra time at the end here, if we needed it. Can't wait to do it again next year!"

Natalie Lynn Tanner says:
"REFOREMO LADIES: What didn't I learn? What posts didn't teach me? What books didn't speak directly to me? How was I not inspired and encouraged with my own writing? EVERYTHING, EVERY BOOK, EVERY POST taught me invaluable lessons TOO NUMEROUS to count! The month of ReFoReMo might be over, but what I am taking away from it will continue to be with me, inspiring me and guiding my pen! THANK YOU for SUCH AN AMAZINGLY INSPIRING JOURNEY! Whether or not I win one of the AWESOME prizes the presenters have SO GENEROUSLY donated, I am walking away a WINNER with ALL I have learned and the NUMEROUS ways I have grown as a writer, reader, and researcher! THANK YOU, EVERYONE!!!"

If you are shaking your head in agreement, we'd love to hear your deeper revelations in the form of a blog post. Every year, we sponsor a series on the blog called Revealing ReFoReMo. It is open to ReFoReMo participants who are interested in sharing the glory of mentor texts, research methods, specific revelations, or anything else related to your ReFoReMo experience. Submissions should be 600 words or less (including your 50 word or less bio) and attached as a .doc or .docx.  If your submission is chosen, you will also be asked for a jpeg headshot and any other .jpeg images you would like to feature.  To be considered for online publication at the ReFoReMo blog, please send your submission to Carrie and Kirsti.  

Here are a few great examples from this series:
Author Sue Ganz-Schmitt
Poet Lori Gravely
And a whole slew more on the first ReFoReMo blogsite!

We are excited to feature your experiences!

ReFoReMo in and of itself is a prize. We are so thankful for our dedicated ReFoReMo 2017 Team! The varied perspectives and stellar recommendations help us see picture books from many angles.

The prize drawing winners for the 2017 ReFoReMo Picture Book Challenge are as follows: 
(Be sure to read all the way to the end of the post. You'll find a surprise!)

Two winners of the Mentor Texts for Writers eBooks from Marcie Flinchum Atkins

-Kay Slowey-Sly-    -Ree Augustine-

Thirty Minute Skype Session with Matthew Winner
-Heather Stigall-

One Copy of Arnie the Doughnut or We Are Growing! by Laurie Keller
-Therese Nagi-   

Winners Choice: Book or Critique from Heidi Stemple
 -Angie Quantrell-

Picture Book Quick Look Critique from Carrie Charley Brown
  -Kim Ball-

Two Winners of Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code from Meredith Mundy
-Charlotte Dixon-   -Jodi McKay- 

William Hoy Story & Teacher’s Guide from Nancy Churnin
-Linda Kulp Trout-

One Signed Copy of Turkey book from Wendi Silvano
-Susie Sawyer-

One Signed Copy If I Had a Little Dream from Nina Laden
-Nicki Jacobsmeyer-

One Signed Copy of The Raindrop Who Couldn’t Fall from Kirsti Call
-Frances Moshos Kalavritinos-

One Copy of May I Have a Word? from Caron Levis
-Traci Bold-

One Copy of Mr. McGinty’s Monarchs from Linda Vander Heyden
-Joana Pastro-

One Signed Copy of Antoinette from Kelly DiPucchio
-Elizabeth Curry-

Picture Book Critique or Query Letter Critique from Katey Howes
-Susan Bruck-

Thirty Minute Query Improvement Phone Consultation from Danielle Smith
-Alice Fulgione-

Picture Book Critique from Vivian Kirkfield
-Robin Keeler-

One Copy of Plants Can’t Sit Still from Rebecca Hirsch
-Dee Knabb-

One Copy of Laundry Day, plus Poster/Bookmarks from Jessixa Bagley
-Lauri Meyers-

Winner’s Choice of Course: Hero’s Art Journey, Scrivener (course), or Writing Wonderful Character-Driven Picture Books from Mira Reisberg
-Artemis Roehrig-

Pacing Picture Books class from Jodell Sadler
-Stephanie Gray-

One Copy of Reading PB with Children from Yolanda Scott
-Lynne Marie-

Winners will be notified by email to coordinate prize delivery. Thanks again to our presenters for their time and expertise, as well as these bonus prize donations!

I delight in helping writers grow and have been offering fiction picture book manuscript critiques professionally for the last three years. As a special bonus to you, I am offering ReFoReMo participants $25 off critique services if reserved before April 30. The critiques will run as far out as my calendar allows. Current prices and services are detailed HERE. To take advantage of this limited-time discount, contact Carrie HERE. Please mention your participation in ReFoReMo along with your picture book writing experience/training, and a pitch for your project, including word count.  I will respond with availability and payment information. 

For the remainder of the year, we are ReFoRe...Reading for Research. After a two week blog break, your blog posts will come every Tuesday. There will be plenty of recommendations and perspectives throughout the month. This will include author studies, Revealing ReFoReMo, featured picture books, and a monthly challenge element to study. We hope you will continue on your research path. There's always more to learn!  

Congratulations on your participation!

Carrie & Kirsti