Tuesday, January 31, 2017

ReFoReMo Reviews

Our ReFoReMo presenters are always so generous to offer their time and perspectives each March.  There are lots of ways you can support other creatives. During ReFoReMo, you will be encouraged to analyze picture books. Writing book reviews will help you highlight all the wonderful writing and illustration techniques in each story. If you post your review publicly, that’s when your words support the makers behind them, too. It’s pretty cool to think that while you are helping a fellow creative, you are also benefitting yourself. As we begin our research journey, I hope you will take the time to read Helping Hands and What a Review Can Do for You.

I propose that we support our team of presenters by writing reviews of their books. Last year, we were lucky to have Liz Garton Scanlon as one of our presenters. Additionally, the work of Karma Wilson came highly recommended by several of our past presenters. I was pleased to see that each of them had amazing books on the way. BOB, NOT BOB! and DORMOUSE DREAMS release next month.

BOB, NOT BOB! by Liz Garton Scanlon and Audrey Vernick, Illustrated by Matthew Cordell
Releases February 14 from Disney Hyperion
Unless you have never been sick a day in your life, you likely know the horrible, no-good, stuffy head feeling of a bad cold. And what’s worse, it can make you sound like you're speaking into a tin can. Poor Louie is so stuffed up that no one can understand him, even his Mom. Even though he doesn’t usually need Mom’s help, he sure needs her now. But how could she know that? When he calls out for her in his congested voice, it sounds as if he is calling for his dog, “Bob!”
Liz Garton Scanlon and Audrey Vernick turn a frustrating illness into a hilarious and endearing story of human need. The brilliant illustration of Matthew Cordell capitalizes on disproportionate scale (larger head and smaller body.) Coupled with a scratchy line that communicates woe, Louie’s illness comes to a head.  Readers will not catch the sniffles from BOB, NOT BOB!  Instead, they will clear their heads with laughter as they dramatize this fun read-aloud.

Releases February 7 from Disney Hyperion 
Dormouse dreams through the cold, snowy day, dreaming warm, sunny thoughts of the times he will play. No plunk or plop or chitter will stop his peaceful dreams while his friends do not. Although my rhymes cannot touch the genius of Karma Wilson’s lyrical literary universe, I love that she inspired me to play with rhyme, too. One can only assume that she will inspire the same in her young readers.  Karma’s gentle rhyming slumber is accompanied by Renata Liwska’s peaceful, soft forest creatures in pastel tones and wispy brush strokes. Parents and children will consider this a warm snuggly bedtime book on cold wintry nights. It’s a bonus that we subtly learn about dormouse hibernation.  A book that leaves you in thought is a special find and this one prompted me to research the dormouse.

*Thank you Disney Hyperion for providing review copies of these books. *

I hope you will seek out these wonderful mentor texts as soon as they release. In the meantime, how about getting a head start with some of our upcoming presenters’ books? You will find the updated calendar here with a new revelation on March 1! Can you believe how lucky we are?! 

It’s not too late to enter the sharing contest giveaway. Go forth and share! Our contest is open until February 6th. ReFoReMo registration opens February 15. Details coming soon!  

Which book will you review first?

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

ReFoReMo 2017 Presenters Revealed & Giveaway

On behalf of the ReFoReMo Team, we are honored to share new perspectives every March during Reading for Research Month. As we roll out the ReFoReMo carpet for our third year, we reveal our calendar of inspiring, talented publishing professionals. 

The 2017 ReFoReMo Team of Presenters
ReFoReMo will benefit writers at any level...from beginner to multi-published authors and prekindergarten through college level classrooms.  Why?  No matter the level, great gains come from reading picture books as mentor texts. As the February 15 registration date nears, we'd like to create a buzz!  Let's kick it into gear with a sharing contest and some prizes! All you have to do is share between the dates of January 24-February 6 in order to enter the drawing.  As you know, the bigger the buzz, the more picture book writers we will inspire. Together we can transform our writing through ReFoReMo.  That's a great thing to share!

Pick your favorite social media sites: Twitter, FB, Google +, your blog, You Tube, etc.  If you are not sure what to say, you can find information about our mission here.  Please feel free to use the Tweet examples below keeping in mind that we love originality, too!  I've included our Twitter handles in each Tweet so we can retweet you and show our appreciation.  Feel free to expand on these in other forums that allow more characters. 

PB writers! #ReFoReMo 2017 presenters revealed! Sign up for updates and enter #giveaway. @carriebrowntx @kirsticall http://bit.ly/2kgevPz

PB writers from beginner to multi-published need to read #picturebooks!  Read w #ReFoReMo! @carriebrowntx @kirsticall 

Does your classroom know about #ReFoReMo 2017? Read for Research with us this March! @carriebrowntx @kirsticall http://bit.ly/2kgevPz

Author-educators revealed for #ReFoReMo 2017! C'mon PB #writers #authors #teachers! @carriebrowntx @kirsticall 

Enter #giveaway for @kidlitcollege #webinar & @keiladawson's book! #ReFoReMo @carriebrowntx @kirsticall http://bit.ly/2kgevPz

Presenters @MatthewWinner @SussingOutBooks @KellyDiPuchhio ready to rock #ReFoReMo! #giveaway @carriebrowntx @kirsticall http://bit.ly/2kgevPz

(Feel free to use any of our presenters' twitter handles and follow them, too: 
Matthew Winner @MatthewWinner, Marcie Flinchum Atkins @MarcieFAtkins, Heidi Stemple @heidieys, Susannah Richards @sussingoutbooks, Bridget Heos @bridgetheos, Nancy Churnin @nchurnin, Wendi Silvano @WendiSilvano, Tricia Lawrence @authorblogger, Caron Levis @caronlevis, Kelly DiPucchio @kellydipucchio, Katey Howes @kateywrites, Keila Dawson @keila_dawson, Danielle Smith @the1stDaughter @LupineGrove, Vivian Kirkfield @viviankirkfield, Jessixa Bagley @jessixabagley, Yolanda Scott @yoscottbooks, Janie Reinart @smile73777, Mira Reisberg @MiraReisberg @childrensbookac, Jodell Sadler @kidlitwriting @kidlitcollege, Kirsti Call @kirsticall, Carrie Charley Brown @carriebrowntx)

You've got a willing, passionate team of coordinators & contributors preparing behind the scenes. We'll be available in the Facebook group and comments during the challenge.

Your Co-Coordinators: Carrie Charley Brown and Kirsti Call

 Your Facebook group Administrators and Blog Contributors: Janie Reinart and Keila Dawson

To receive updates and registration details, be sure to follow ReFoReMo by email here: http://www.reforemo.com/ You'll find our sign up in the right hand side bar.

Thank you for your support.  We can't wait to share ReFoReMo with you!

Enter to win a KidLit College Webinar with Editor Emily Feinberg and The King Cake Baby by Keila Dawson:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Fairy Tales, Fables, and Legends Challenge

By Janie Reinart

Fairy tales, fables, and legends. Oh, my. Have you ever tried to put a different spin on a well known story? I've found three different story versions based on the classic The Gingerbread Man.

The earliest known version of The Gingerbread Man in print is found in St. Nicholas Magazine in May 1875.

"I've run away from a little old woman,
A little old man, And I can run away 
from you, I can!"

I love Keila Dawson's take on the gingerbread story in The King Cake Baby.

"No, "mon ami"!" You can't catch me! I'm
the King Cake Baby!"

In Julia Donaldson's charming story The Paper Dolls, the refrain is:

" You can't get us. Oh no, no, no! We're holding hands and we won't let go. We're Ticky and Tacky and Jackie the Backie, and Jim with two noses, and Jo with the bow!" 

In The Horrible, Hungry Gingerbread Boy, Elisa Kleven turns the tables:

"I'm not your little ginger treat, 
and soon I'll be too big to eat!
I'm off to find more lunch, you see.
Run, run, run, but you can't catch me!"

Try your hand at writing fractured fairy tales. Here is a little exercise

Tara Lazar has a wonderful "how to" post. Take the challenge and spin a new tale. Post the title of your favorite fractured fairy tale.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Revealing ReFoRemo with Author Anna Forrester

I love reading children’s books. And in a way, just reading is a form of research. But what I love about the ReFoReMo Challenge is how it makes me sit down, take notes, and be much more rigorous in my selections and my thinking.  And it cultivates habits that extend well beyond the month of the challenge!

I mostly write fiction, but lately I’ve been trying to come to terms with my inner science geek. And so I’ve been reading and researching new science-themed picture books.

It seems that the days of dry, informational science books have passed, and in their wake are books using character-driven plots, strong narrative arcs, quirky voice, and various twists to turn children onto their subjects. Many of these newer science books walk the line between fiction and non-fiction (go here for more on this): each tells its story using more than just facts, and each also tells us something about nature and science as a whole.

GIANT SQUID, Candace Fleming, ill. Eric Rohmann (Roaring Brook Press, 2016)

With lyrical, question-filled text and dark, cropped illustrations, this book sucks us in to the mystery that is the giant squid. Mystery and questions have surrounded this creature throughout history. Each page shows just a fragment of the creature, with the only full view coming from a pair of fold-out pages that reveal a whole animal hiding in a cloud ink. The book’s abrupt ending feels perfectly matched to the elusive squid’s habit of squirt-and-escape.

Nature = mystery & questions.

THE BLOBFISH BOOK, Jessica Olein (Balzer + Bray, 2016)
A traditional, non-fiction photo book about deep sea creatures gets hi-jacked by a spirited blobfish who wants to make sure he gets his due. The informational text and photos are forced to compete with the cartooned-in blobfish’s interjections and dramatic narrative arc, and character wins out over information.

Nature has a mind of it’s own.

PINK IS FOR BLOBFISH, Jess Keating, ill David Degrand (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2016)
In contrast to THE BLOBFISH BOOK, Keating offers lays out more traditional facts and information about an array of pink animals. But her authorial voice is sharp and witty (hear it live at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC31PBmBfs_2ndHPLd9fkjZw); and by linking the book’s animals through their shared color, she reclaims PINK from the soft, frilly and stereotypically “feminine”. 

Nature is everything.

WATER IS WATER, Miranda Paul, ill. Jason Chin (Roaring Brook Press, 2015)
Miranda Paul takes that abstract diagram of the water cycle that we all learned and makes it warm, human and relatable. With evocative language, rhyme, and page-turning ellipsis, she links the water cycle to the seasons, anchoring it in the many ways, scales and forms of water with which children interact.  

Nature is cyclical. 

I USED TO BE A FISH, Tom Sullivan (Balzer + Bray, 2016)
Sullivan develops that famously riffed-on sequential “evolution” cartoon into an entire book, following a character who becomes one creature after another with each page turn. While hardly factual (until the endpapers), the book offers a light, fun introduction to evolution in a play-acting way that young kids can definitely relate to.

We are nature.

BIRTH OF AN ISLAND,Millicent Selsam. ill. Winifred Lubell (Scholastic, 1975)
This is an old one, but Millicent Selsam’s (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millicent_Selsam) beautiful story of a volcanic island and its evolving inhabitation makes me want to move there. Selsam wrote narrative science books for decades and many of her books, like this one, serve as great reminders that what is new was once old, AND that at the end of the day we want from nature books what we want from all books: good story.

Nature is home.

Anna Forrester loves books and loves exploring – in Philadelphia where she lives, in rural Pennsylvania, and everywhere else her adventures take her.  Anna Forrester’s debut picture book, Bat Count , will be released you can preorder it here! It is a ‘ficinformational’ story of bats, citizen science and hope. Visit Anna at her website, check out her blog, Hmmmmm or follow her on Twitter.