Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Are You Ready for ReFoReMo 2017?

By Carrie Charley Brown & Kirsti Call

To share or not to share? It’s ReFoReMo time, so of course that answer is: SHARE! That’s why we’ve come together this month.  It’s all about the reading and research that goes into the craft of writing.  Learning how authors, illustrators, educators, and publishing professionals have successfully used picture books as mentor texts can help us try new things, too. We encourage you to rely on each other.

The following will help you navigate this experience with more success:

1.     A Library Card
As a picture book enthusiasts, we know how tempting it is to buy everything we read. (Of course, you are welcome to buy as many of the recommendations you desire.) But, the library’s online reserve system is super handy and your kids’ library cards can serve as great back-ups when you’ve maxed out yours. Then again, you might break out your pretzel-style legs and plop down to read in the children’s section of your local book store.

2.     Our Reading List
Just like any recommended reading list, it is subjective. You may find that some of the books have nothing to do with your writing style. You may disagree with a recommendation.  You may find some books recommended by multiple authors and even similar learning tips. Ultimately, you must decide what works for you.  You know the projects that you have on your table and we applaud your efforts to find a pile of picture books that will enhance each one.

We’ll be adding titles to our reading list as they come in from our presenters. You will find the list HERE.

3.     An Open Mind 
      This allows you to learn from new perspectives. 

      This is where you'll find education, recommendations, and new perspectives. Challenge posts run daily from February 27- March 31, 2017. After that, we resume our weekly schedule.

5.     A Pencil/Notebook or a Computer
Simply put, you’ll want a place to take notes. Visit our resource section to find additional ways to enhance note taking.

6.     Our Facebook Group
This will allow you to share what you discover as you read or locate hard to find books.

As with any large challenge, there is bound to be a few technical glitches. If you received this post in your email inbox, you did well! If you still don't see your name on the registration post, please give it some time. The system is catching up with itself. We can see a lot of names on the back side of the site, so breathe easy. Thank you for being patient with us. 

Get ready for a great month of learning!  ReFoReMo 2017 starts on February 27. Our schedule can be found here.

We’re happy to have you with us! 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

ReFoReMo 2017- Registration is open!

Registration is open for the 2017 Reading for Research Challenge!  Yipeeee! We can't wait to explore the world of stellar picture books with you! 

Please read this entire post. If you are confused, reread the post one more time before contacting one of us for help. If you have questions, please ask them in our Facebook Group. We have lots of ReFoReMo veterans that can help, as well as your admin team. 

Please follow these steps to get registered:

1.   If you have not already, subscribe to this ReFoReMo blog by entering your email address into the opt-in box on the right hand side. (Note: A Feedburner Email Subscription box will pop up. Copy the code listed at the bottom of the box and submit.  You will receive an email verification link. Click the link to activate your subscription. This will enable you to receive the daily challenge posts as emails.)

2.    At the bottom of this post, find the comment box. Enter your FIRST and LAST NAME in the comment box. Click on the "Publish" button.  

3.   Optional:  Head on over to the private ReFoReMo Facebook group and request to be admitted.  It was designed to build community and host discussions about picture books as mentor texts.  

4.    Standing ovation for our resident illustrator Lori Nawyn!!!  She created the all-new 2017 participation badge for use on your websites and/or social media sites! Please link the badge back to this address:  www.reforemo.com

5.     Prizes will be revealed during the posts. To be eligible, make efforts to consistently read picture books and comment on every post from February 27-March 30. 
Our February 21 post will help you prepare for the challenge. (We may also have a partial book list ready.) When February 27 rolls around, it's go time! Read the posts and book recommendations. Utilize our research tools and start discussions in our Facebook Group
Get ready to rock your writing and illustrating with mentor texts!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

ReFoReMo Registration Opens Tomorrow!

Happy Valentine's Day book lovers everywhere! We can't wait to share our love of reading and writing during the 2017 ReFoReMo (Reading for Research Month) Challenge.  Registration opens tomorrow, February 15! Stay tuned...

P.S. We love you! What are your favorite Valentine's Day or love-themed picture books?

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Mentor Text Author Study: Doreen Cronin

by Keila V. Dawson

Doreen Cronin started writing when she was six years old. She was an extremely shy child and uncomfortable speaking so her first grade teacher encouraged her to write. Cronin's teacher told her she was a writer, and that's exactly what she thought. Cronin majored in journalism in college and after graduation, worked for an educational publisher. She wrote her first story Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type, but it didn't sell to a publisher until after she transitioned to a career in law. One day Click, Clack, Moo came to mind and she asked herself what could possibly make such a sound. A cow that types of course!


The success of that story lead to her decision to give up practicing law and write for children full time. Although the focus of her first story was on the cows and Farmer Brown, kids wanted to know what that duck was going to do next. Duck's antics and expressions by illustrator Betsy Lewin made him an instant celebrity. A character that had a minor role in her first book became the main character in the series sequels.

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In an interview, Cronin said she likes to write in different formats. One day she had an idea to write a book using a journal format. She decided to use an insignificant character who kept a diary. A worm turned out to be the perfect choice! With cartoonist Harry Bliss, Dairy of A Worm was created. Two books followed that featured Worm's friend Spider and Spider's friend Fly.

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Cronin started with some of the art from illustrator Scott Menchin to create their first concept book, Wiggle. Menchin wanted to create a book about wiggling using a dog character but it wasn't coming together for him. They both shared the same agent who got Cronin involved in the project. She created the rhyming text. Their collaboration continued to celebrate the joy of movement with the creation of sequels Bounce and Stretch.

In Bloom, Doreen Cronin created an original fairy tale about a feisty female protagonist that includes a powerful message for girls. When their kingdom began to crumble, the king and queen sent an “ordinary” girl to convince Bloom to save it. Bloom refused. Unsure what to tell the king and queen after the girl learned how to accomplish something this extraordinary, Bloom said, “Tell them there is no such thing as an ordinary girl.” 


Finding ideas

Authors are often asked, "Where do you find your ideas?" Cronin's idea for M.O.M (Mom Operating Manual) was inspired after reading an article on the internet. She was pregnant with her second child and had a sixteen-month-old at home. She found an article about what to do if you ever encounter a grizzly bear. For laughs, she printed the article, literally substituted the word mom for bear, and sent it to her agent who had three kids! They came up with the idea to write a manual about a ''malfunctioning mom".

                                                      Image result for m.o.m. mom operating manual                                                 

Cronin also writes chapter books, a testament to her versatility as an author. Her picture books are fun to read-aloud, score high on the re-readability scale, and are perfect mentor texts to study.

Which book is your favorite Doreen Cronin story?