Tuesday, April 21, 2020

ReFoReMo Mini-Monthly Writing Challenge: Comfort And Joy

By Janie Reinart

"Good books, like good friends, are few and chosen; the more select, the more enjoyable."
~ by Louisa May Alcott 

Books lift our spirits, bring us joy, and comfort us in times of trouble. Favorite stories are like good friends. These book friends are there when we need them. The challenge this month is to find your favorite picture book and use it as a mentor text to write a story that lifts your spirits. 

I would like to share some of my favorite book friends with you. My first selection is a Hoot & Olive Story. 

Brave Enough for Two by Jonathan D. Voss is a story of a loving friendship between a little girl and her beloved stuffie. Olive likes her adventures in books, while Hoot likes the rollicking kind outdoors. Olive isn't sure if she's brave enough for the activities Hoot has picked. But when her dearest friend gets hurt, Olive discovers not only is she brave, she is brave enough for two. 

"One day Hoot said, "I've made something special for you. But it could be a small bit scary and a slightly bigger bit adventurous."

"You know I don't like adventures," said Olive. "I'm not brave like you."

By Jo Empson

My second selection Rabbityness by Jo Empson was nominated for 8 awards. An interview with the author said, "Jo is never happier than when she is swept away in storytelling - in all its aspects - whether it be writing, illustrating or just reading a favorite picture book (which she still does every night!)." 

Rabbit enjoys doing rabbity things, and un-rabbity things! Rabbit suddenly disappears. No one knows where he has gone. His friends are desolate. But, as it turns out, Rabbit has left behind some very special gifts for them, to help them discover their own unrabbity talents! 

"Rabbit also liked doing unrabbity things.He liked painting...and making music.
 It made him so happy, all the other rabbits caught his happiness. He filled the woods with color and music."

By Cynthia Rylant

My last selection is The Dreamer by Cynthia Rylant. This creation story imagines God as a young artist all alone quietly making what he imagines. My favorite lines are:

"He moved among these living creatures and--like all young artists--felt such joy and love for his creation that he thought he might explode with happiness. He wanted to tell someone what he had done, to show someone his beautiful heavens and earth and water and grass and moving creatures, and he looked 
all around him but the world was empty of anyone who might listen and understand. Someone with ears to hear and eyes to see. Someone who was 
an artist as wellSo he worked all night long. And by morning he had made a new artist in his own image...The world began filling up with artists...The first young artist, still a dreamer, has always called them his children."

I invite you to the challenge. Find your favorite picture book and write a story that lifts your spirits. Heed the advice of my book friends:

Be brave enough.

Help others catch your happiness. Fill the woods with color, music, and your words.

Dream. Feel joy and love for your creations. Remember who's child you are.

Monday, April 13, 2020

Reading for Research 2020 Challenge Reflections

Art is the only way to run away without leaving home.   Twyla Tharp

                                                              Photo courtesy of Author Cynthia Harmony

There is no underestimating the many challenges everyone has faced this month. Nor can we, as picture book lovers, underestimate the power of our community or books.  

In today’s post, ReFoReMo challenge participants share how this year’s challenge helped them cope during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Thanks once again to you and your guests for the daily gifts of wisdom and inspiration! With so much off track, the daily focus for reading helped brighten these weeks. I aim to keep this habit going, with some new favorites to re-read until libraries open again.  – Lisa Billa

Honestly, Reforemo saved me in so many ways this month. 1) I had a HUGE stack of books to read with my kids during our new homeschool setup. 2) The stories filled my emotional well with their depth and beauty. 3) It was something to look forward to each day. SO, not only did I learn a lot, but it helped me in other ways as well. Thank you. –Laurie Carmody

I began this month full of enthusiasm but leave it struggling to research or even read some days. Your guest bloggers have made this a much happier month and even though I didn't read consistently, this community always gives hope, friendship, and new ways to think about our work. – Kathy Halsey

Thank you so much to all the writers who shared their favorite mentor texts. I didn't get to read all of them due to the situation we are living in right now, but they are on my TBR list. ReFoReMo gave me something to look forward to each day! ReFoReMo gave me something to look forward to each day! – Linda Kulp Trout 

And we thank you, all the participants and guest posters, for being here for each other now and always.

Stay healthy everyone!

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

ReFoReMo 2020 Prize Winners

Without our generous presenters every year, we would not have access to a ReFoReMo education with varied perspectives. What a treat it was to grow through our presenters’ eyes! So many of them shared even more by donating additional prizes, and we are so grateful. A bit of good news is always welcome in uncertain times like this. Thanks again to our presenters for donating their time, expertise, and energy, as well as these extra prizes!

Announcing the winners of their gifts:  

Marcie F. Atkins’ Book Wait, Rest, Pause: Dormancy in Nature: Deb McGarvey 
15 Min. Video Consult with Kirsti Call/Carrie Charley Brown:  Angie Calabrese 

Skype w Author/Librarian Matthew Winner: Andrea Mack

Heidi E. Y. Stemple’s Book Eek, You Reek! LouAnn Silva

Fifteen min Consultation with Literary Advocate/ Professor Susannah Richards: Sarah Meade

Five Idea Consult with Editor Courtney Fahy: Jodie Finney

TBA Book from Agent Rachel Orr: Cheryl Johnson

Rajani LaRocca’s Seven Golden Rings: Joanna Pastro

Manuscript Critique w Rajani LaRocca: Angie Quantrell

Gina Perry’s Now? Not Yet!: Charlotte Offsay

Word Painting: A Guide to Writing More Descriptively from Janie Reinart: Melissa Stoller

NonRhyming PB critique (or 20 min SKYPE for educators) from Michelle Cusolito: Kelly Carey

ARC of Gaia Cornwall’s The Unicorn Came to Dinner: Tanya Konerman

Gaia Cornwall’s Jabari Salta (Spanish version): Susan Twiggs

Sarah Lynne Reul’s NERP!: Elizabeth Curry

Keila Dawson’s King Cake Baby: Sarah Roggio

Skype visit w Emma Otheguy: Ellen Beier

Jannie Ho’s Tummy Time Animal Parade and The Little Engine’s Easter Egg Hunt: Barbara Rappaport Senenman

Jeanette Bradley’s WHEN THE BABIES CAME TO STAY: Terri Sabol

Anika Aldamuy Denise PLANTING STORIES: Kyle McBride

Marcie Colleen’s The Bear’s Garden: David McMullin

Our ReFoReMo contributors will continue to celebrate the joy of reading in their weekly posts this April. We hope that you’ll continue to benefit from mentor texts with us. We’ll also be back to our routine blog schedule in May, digging deep into author studies, interviews, and mini-ReFoReMo Challenges. Read on!