|By Will Mabbitt|
|By Vivian Kirkfield|
|By Anthony D. Fredericks|
|By Will Mabbitt|
|By Vivian Kirkfield|
|By Anthony D. Fredericks|
As writers, we’re told to read widely. The mission of ReFoReMo is to study mentor texts to improve a writer’s craft. The ReFoReMo blog and the annual challenge in March provide followers with lots of recommended titles to study. In his new blog feature, Perfectly Paired Picture Books, readers will find books representative of the diverse audience who read the books we write. Books will be matched based on similar story elements with those without diverse content and or where that content isn't the focus of the story which remains the overwhelming majority of books published today.
Ready to explore? Let's go!
What is diversity?
Just so we are all on the same page (pun intended!) we’ll use We Need Diverse Books' criteria of diversity. And Ohio State University’s Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop’s concept of Mirrors, Windows and Sliding Glass Doors as a framework to think about the impact of diverse books on young readers.
All books with diverse content need to be evaluated so his article, Guide for Selecting Anti-Bias Children's Books, gives an in-depth look at ways to do that. After reading the titles in these pairs, use the questions below to think about them.
1. Is a book you read diverse? If yes, what story elements make it so?
· Main character
· gender identity
· sexual orientation
· skin color
· racial identity
· ethnic/cultural identity
· religious affiliation
· socioeconomic inequity or inequality
· Story problem
2. How is this book a mirror for readers represented in it?
3. How is this book a window or sliding glass door for readers who are and are not represented?
4. How does the point of view add to the storytelling?
5. What makes the structure of this book a good fit for this story?
6. How do the illustrations and visual storytelling add to the text?
7. Consider the author’s perspective—what are examples of ways the author and or illustrator show how they see the setting, character, problem, or topic?
8. Do you know the relationship of the author to the characters, topic, and or theme of the book? How does that affect the storytelling?
Because it’s spring, I think of farming, and farming makes me think of community gardening. April is also national poetry month. Keeping that in mind, below are perfectly paired picture books recommended for you to read as mentor texts.
The Old Truck by Jerome Pumphrey and Jarrett Pumphrey
Bess the Barn Stands Strong by Elizabeth Gilbert Bedia, and illustrator Katie Hickey
by Phyllis Root
Harlem Grown Harlem Grown: How One Big Idea Transformed a Neighborhood by Tony Hillery and illustrator Jessie Hartland
Eyes That Kiss in the Corners by Joanna Ho and illustrator Dung Ho
Dear Girl,: A Celebration of Wonderful, Smart, Beautiful You! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Paris Rosenthal and illustrator Holly Hatam
Comparing books with common elements can help writers analyze an author's perspective and how they approached a topic in order to tell their story, their way.
Let us know what books you'd add to each pair.
We are so grateful for the eye-opening perspectives and education from our seventh-annual 2021 ReFoReMo challenge. You are all winners for dedicating yourselves to mentor text study and growing your craft through this challenge.Book discussion takes mentor text study to another level and that is why we created the ReFoReMo Facebook group. We decided to give a bonus prize this year to the participant that reflected the most in our Facebook discussion group. This person posted lengthy reflections on every book throughout ReFoReMo, attempting to spark new discussions nearly every day. We see you and thank you…
Eva Fekete de Felder!
You win a 20-minute consultation with us!
(Carrie Charley Brown and Kirsti Call)
We hope you will all stay engaged in our ReFoReMo Facebook group throughout the entire year with picture book discussion, helping others with mentor text recommendations, and sharing picture book resources. Reading for Research blog posts will be featured each Tuesday, including a mini challenge on the third Tuesday of each month.
Thank you, again, to our amazing ReFoReMo presenters and prize donors! If you have not already, please mark their books as “to-read” or “read” on Goodreads, give back by writing reviews, request their books at the library, and follow them on social media. You will find links to each of their websites here.
And now…the winners of our Rafflecopter Drawing…
Kirsti Call’s COW SAYS MEOW: Donna L. Martin
Quick Look Critique with Carrie Charley Brown: Dea Brayden
Marcie Flinchum Atkins’ WAIT REST PAUSE: Celeste A Turner
Miranda Paul’s BEYOND: DISCOVERIES FROM OUTER SPACE: Noelle McBride
Heidi E. Y. Stemple and Jane Yolen’s I AM THE STORM: Kimberly Wilson
15-30 Min Consultation with Susannah Richards: Michelle Kashinsky
Joyce Sweeney’s PLOTTING YOUR NOVEL WITH THE PLOT CLOCK: Patricia Nozell
Joana Pastro’s LILLYBELLE, A DAMSEL NOT IN DISTRESS: Hilary Margitich
Sue Ganz-Schmitt’s THAT MONSTER ON THE BLOCK: Serena Gingold Allen
Sue Ganz-Schmitt’s NOW I’M A BIRD: Kay Tarapolsi
Sue Ganz-Schmitt’s PLANET KINDERGARTEN: Jennifer Hunt
Hayley Barrett’s: WHAT MISS MITCHELL SAW: Jennifer Cole Judd
30-Min Coaching Session with Carole Boston Weatherford: Jenny Buchet
Picture Book Critique with Erin Dionne: Sheri Rad
Picture Book Critique with Agent Kaitlyn Sanchez: Angie Quantrell
Traci Sorell’s CLASSIFIED: THE SECRET CAREER OF MARY GOLDA ROSS: Janet Sheets
45-Minute Zoom or Consultation with Lauren Kerstein: Vasilia Graboski
Swag Package from Lauren Kerstein: Maria Marshall
Todd Tarpley’s 3-book package: Heather Pierce Stigall
Corey Rosen Schwartz donates Kirsti Call’s Cow Says Meow: Susan Papierski Summers
Picture Book Critique from Cindy Schrauben: Lynne Marie
Picture Book Critique or Consultation with Kathy Halsey: Brenda Flower
Janie Reinart donates Lola Schaefer’s TEACHING THE CRAFT OF WRITING: Suzanne Poulter Harris
Picture Book Critique from Editor Jackie Kruzie: Natasha Garnett
Picture Book Critique or Virtual School Visit from Keila Dawson: Gretchen Huesmann
Congratulations again, to all ReFoReMo 2021 participants! We hope your picture book drafts and revisions will be productive in this new year. We encourage you to jump right in and revise together with the #ReVISIONweek Spring challenge tomorrow on Lauren Kerstein’s blog. The springtime focus is page spreads. Who’s ready to revise?
Congratulations on completing our month-long picture book craft study! All good things must come to an end, and our 2021 7th-Annual ReFoReMo Challenge is now a wrap. If you are one of those people who can’t bear to see it to end, you’ll be pleased to know our blog runs year-round with weekly posts on Tuesdays. And our very own Janie Reinart motivates you with a brand new Monthly Mini-ReFoReMo Writing Challenge the 3rd Tuesday of every month!
Now it’s in your hands…
You’ve immersed yourself in study and we’d love to hear what was most valuable for you.
Which bits of knowledge will you take to your works in progress?
Which elements do you need to learn more about?
How did different perspectives open your eyes to new learning?
We’re extremely grateful to be surrounded by publishing professionals who care enough to help this free experience continue every year. Please join us in thanking our wonderful team of 2021 presenters! If they have books, please consider reviewing or purchasing them as a way to reciprocate.
We were definitely ALL recipients of a wonderful education this month!
And yet, there’s still a possibility you could win an additional prize.
As announced in our ReFoReMo Facebook Group, you will also have the opportunity to...
currently looking for STEM picture books for both fiction and non-fiction. Her wish list and other guidelines can be found on her website HERE, and her complete Facebook Live interview is in our group. (You might also enjoy a condensed interview below the Rafflecopter.) You will find the dedicated ReFoReMo submissions link listed in the ReFoReMo files of the Facebook Group. The link will be open from April 1 through April 15. She will be closed to all other submissions at this time, so this really is an amazing opportunity!
If you registered for ReFoReMo 2021 by March 1*, made efforts to read & study this month, and commented on every post, you are welcome to enter the Rafflecopter below. We use one Rafflecopter drawing to keep it simple; you will enter one time only. This will put you into a pool from which all prizes are drawn.
The Rafflecopter drawing will be open until this Friday, April 2 and prize winners announced on Tuesday, April 6. That’s 3 days to enter the drawing, so be sure to enter now if you qualify.
With the upcoming holiday weekend upon us, we’ll need time to draw names and notify winners before they are announced on Tuesday. Good luck!
I believe onomatopoeia is so much more than mere representation of sound.
It helps amplify all sorts of actions and, in doing so, all sorts of emotions. In LILLYBELLE, A DAMSEL NOT IN DISTRESS, I used “Kerplunk!” repeatedly as a way to introduce a character’s intention. Here are some other examples:
CAN U SAVE THE DAY by Shannon Stocker/ Illustrated by Tom Disbury
Here, the vowels go on strike, making communication rather challenging.
“Instead of bark, the dog said ‘brk.’”
Laughter is guaranteed!
THE LITTLE BLUE COTTAGE by Kelly Jordan/ Illustrated by Jessica Courtney-Tickle
Who knew a “honk-honk” and a “beep-beep” could be so heartwarming?
“Then one day a faint beep-beep! echoed in the drive.”
TWO BICYCLES IN BEIJING by Teresa Robeson/ Illustrated by Junyi Wu
Lunzi is looking for her friend Huangche. Every “Brrr-ring-ring” fills us with hope and anticipation for their reunion.
“Brrr-ring-ring. Could it be?”
ROSIE THE DRAGON AND CHARLIE SAY GOOD NIGHT by Lauren H. Kerstein/ Illustrated by Nate Wragg
From the very first page, onomatopoeia sets the tone.
“ZIPEEEEE! WAHOO! Rosie the superdragon saves the world!”
This story is full of frolicking fun and mishaps!
WOOD, WIRE, WINGS by Kirsten W. Larson/ Illustrated by Tracy Subisak
Here, onomatopoeia helps show Lillian’s inquisitive spirit, hard work, frustrations, excitement and accomplishment when she finally succeeds.
“It lifted off, soaring toward the future . . . BBRRRMM BRRMMMM”.
So go ahead: Add those sounds! Let those feelings soar!
Joana is giving away a copy of LILLYBELLE, A DAMSEL NOT IN DISTRESS to one lucky U.S. winner! To be eligible for prizes throughout the challenge, you must be registered by March 1, comment on each post, consistently read mentor texts, and enter the Rafflecopter drawing at the conclusion of ReFoReMo.
Pastro always wanted to be an artist of some sort. So, she became an architect.
But once her first child was born, all the visits to the library, and the
countless story times made Joana start dreaming of becoming a children’s book
author. After a lot of reading, writing and revising, her dream came true. Her
debut picture book, LILLYBELLE, A DAMSEL NOT IN DISTRESS, illustrated by Jhon
Ortiz, was published by Boyds Mills Press in 2020. Her second book, BISA’S
CARNAVAL, illustrated by Carolina Coroa will be published by Scholastic in November,
2021. Originally from Brazil, Joana now lives in Florida with her husband, her
three extremely creative children, a rambunctious Morkie, and a needy Maltipoo.
Visit her on Twitter @jopastro, Instagram @jppastro , or at www.joanapastro.com.
The Caldecott prize criteria states that a picture book “essentially
provides the child with a visual experience.” How can writers leave space for
illustrators? My mentor texts focus on illustration techniques that add to the story
with design layout and composition.
· She broke the action into multiple images for more eye engagement.
· On the spread when the main character says goodbye to the cub, Candace conveys plot while Julie’s setting emphasizes emotion with a rainy day.
· The lack of color on the beginning end papers contrasts with the vibrancy of the island in the back end papers.
· During read alouds, kids usually notice the change that penguin Kirby brings to a polar-only island by “reading” the end papers.--
· In Keila V. Dawson’s Opening the Road: Victor Hugo Green and His Green Book, illustrator Alleanna Harris recasts the timeline into an actual road with period car models to mark the dates.
The road map timeline could become a classroom poster under the direction of the publisher’s publicity department.
· Meant as practical guide for reimagining storytime, it will revolutionize the way you use words.
· Use it for how story is woven together with art. Learn how to “think with your eyes.”
· Peruse the "Glossary of Book and Storytime Terminology" for design terms that illustrators, editors, and other use.
I hope these books help teach how to “think with your eyes” as well as your words by inviting the illustrator into your writing.
Kathy is giving away a picture book critique (F or NF) or an "Ask Me Anything" phone chat via her perspective as a K-12 school librarian. To be eligible for prizes throughout the challenge, you must be registered by March 1, comment on each post, consistently read mentor texts, and enter the Rafflecopter drawing at the conclusion of ReFoReMo.
Writing humorous picture books takes a great deal of practice. Much like with stand-up comedy there are many details to consider -- how to structure the story arc, pacing, balancing laughs with necessary details, and, of course, when to hit with the punchline. The following titles have helped to inform my current work.
Cindy Williams Schrauben is realizing her dream of writing books for kids. Before embarking on this path, she held positions as a preschool administrator, teacher, and assistant director of a children’s museum. With degrees in english, elementary education, and child psychology, Cindy strives to empower children and books are always a crucial part of that picture. When not writing or honing her craft, Cindy might be found dissecting her grandsons’ shenanigans for story ideas, reading on the floor in the bookstore, or eating ice cream… ideally all at once.