Saturday, December 14, 2013

Playing with Words

My Takeaway: When rewriting, try out alternative word choices to enrich the story. 

A Seed is Sleepy by Dianna Hutts Aston, Illustrated by Sylvia Long
A Seed Is Sleepy, published by Chronicle, is used below. You can visit the website of author Dianna Hutts Aston and the website of illustrator Sylvia Long.

Reading Rockets shows how a teacher uses "semantic gradients" to expand vocabulary and enrich the reading and writing of kids. It's an interesting lesson to see how a teacher uses a picture book as a jumping off place.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Trailer Treats--Here I Am

Here I Am is a wordless picture book that has a lovely trailer. Notice how effectively sounds are used in the video. Capstone, a publisher in Minnesota, published the book. Patti Kim is the author and Sonia Sanchez is the illustrator. If you don't see the trailer below, click here.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

7 Things

Apple Cake by Julie Paschkis
On the Writer's Digest website, a regular contributor is Chuck Sambuchino. His column often focuses on information about agents and interviews with them. But he also has "7 Things I've Learned So Far" in which writers tell some of the stand-out lessons they've learned about the craft and the business of writing. Though this doesn't focus on picture books in particular (an example that does is here from writer Audrey Vernick) these are universal to all of us who tell stories and make books. There are some great lessons learned from a wide variety of writers! Perhaps you'll recognize lessons you've learned, too?

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Bad Kitty

What happens when a book takes off and turns into a series? Nick Bruel is the cartoonist who has created the very popular Bad Kitty series. Here's what Macmillan, the publisher, says about the character on their website, "Bad Kitty is bad. Very bad. But she doesn't always mean to be. Whether she is trying to be a good little kitty and eat her vegetables or be a quiet little kitty and behave at a birthday party, it seems that trouble finds a way to her. " That says a lot about a character who has the potential to carry a bunch of books--picture books and chapter books. Nick Bruel's website here. The Bad Kitty site is here. There are teacher resources and games and more, but possibly the most interesting of all is that on the Bad Kitty website there's a link (in case you're having a school, library, or bookstore event) to borrow (shipping cost of $140 not included) the Bad Kitty costume! I always wondered how that worked. Check it out here

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Trailer Treats--Tap the Magic Tree

Tap the Magic Tree by Christie Matheson is an "interactive" book in the simplest way. You read it and do what it says, turning the page to see how the illustration has "reacted" to what you did. (Can the app be far behind?) This lovely trailer is simple, too. It clearly demonstrates what it will be like for a child to read the book. At two minutes it's a bit long, showing the whole book, but it's charming and done with excellent filming and audio. If you don't see the video on your device, click here.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Serious Subjects

How do picture books deal with serious subjects? With respect and hope. Sometimes directly, but sometimes indirectly. Read how this book, Snowflakes Fall, came together here at Publishers Weekly. If you can't see the trailer below on your device, go here.