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Creative Kid Thursday! Meet Daniel Johnston Author and Magazine Publisher!

26 Feb

Welcome to Creative Kid Thursday!

17-year-old Daniel Johnston is the mastermind behind the blog READERS AND WRITERS PARADISE. He is an excellent writer – I’ve featured some of his stories on my blog before. Now he has ventured into new territory. He has designed and published a kid’s magazine. No – it isn’t a magazine just meant for kids, it is a publication written, laid-out and published by kids! All the written content in the magazine is by kids – but anyone will enjoy reading it!

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Daniel has also recently written a children’s book, called “The Wrecking Ball Employee”. Daniel’s description of his novella follows: “It’s a hilarious tale called The Wrecking Ball Employee where a kid attempts to get a job but is more successful in things like getting eaten by a girl who thinks he’s a hot dog and being accused of poisoning by a government agent.”

Here is a BONUS! A preview of the novella!

Chapter 1: The Dare

“I bet you can’t get a job there.”

“I can too!” I protested.

Carol stopped and looked straight at me. “Look, there’s a jobs wanted sign. If you can get a job there I’ll…”

“Let me play with your dog for a day,” I interjected.

“Yes,” she nodded, and then grew an evil grin, “but if you fail to do so within the next three days, you have to go to that scary movie with me. And no putting your hands over your face!”

“No way!” I protested, but she simply shrugged.

“Then do it.”

.

It was a really rotten deal, and in bed that night falling asleep was a hard task amongst all the kicking I was

doing to myself. How could I have been so stupid! I repeated to myself again and again.

Sure, I could’ve still tried to call it off, but then I would’ve been a coward. We’d even done the secret handshake, after she’d called me a wimp if I didn’t take the challenge. That kind of insult from a girl isn’t something you can just take. Worst of all, if I’d have backed off it would’ve been accurate

Oh, you may think that the downside to losing the bet wasn’t really that bad; after all, what kid wouldn’t want to watch a scary movie.

But this wasn’t just any scary movie.

This was the scary movie.

No, I told myself to finally get to sleep, there was no way out, but also nothing to worry about.

I’d just have to get that job.

~

“What’re you guys doing this week?” Mrs. Mecre, our fifth grade teacher, asked us in class the next morning. I don’t know if she always actually wanted an answer to customary questions like that, but she usually got plenty.

“Eddie here’s going to get a job!” Carol announced loudly, prompting everyone to turn and stare at her. Even Mrs. Mecre changed from an exhausted expression to an amused one. I, on the other hand, was not happy. I’d been stupid enough to get suckered into for Carol’s dumb bet, so the least she could do was not blab it to everybody.

But of course that’s exactly what she was doing.

“Uh-huh,” Mrs. Mecre said wryly. “And what job is that?”

“A job at Bordeaux’s,” Carol explained. “They’re hiring.”

There were scattered snickers across the room. Bordeaux’s was the local food market, so most of us had been their plenty of times. But that was a lot different than trying to get gainful employment there.

“Hey,” I defended myself, rising from my seat, “what’s wrong with trying to do a little work? That’s more than I

can say for you losers.” I sat back down, but not before I stared pointedly at Henry, the biggest of those losers. He

predictably returned the favor, sticking his tongue out at me.

“You realize, of course,” our teacher commented, “that Bordeaux’s only hires people eighteen and older,

and only with a high school or even college degree.”

My face flushed, but before I had a chance to respond Carol jumped in. “There are ways around that,” she promised smoothly.

Mrs. Mecre merely chuckled and got on with the lesson, but I took that to heart. For the remainder of the

morning I found it hard to concentrate on The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler or the 2nd Continental

Congress. Already the clock was ticking on the bet, and my brain was stumped.

“What did you mean there are ways of getting around it?” I asked Carol eagerly when lunchtime finally came.

She shrugged. “That’s for you to figure out.”

Watching her walk past me to the food aisle I could only think one thing: Oh, no!

Chapter 2: Hot-Dogging

“Look, Mommy, it’s a hot dog!”

“Where, sweetie?” The mom asked her little girl.

“Right there,” the girl told her, pointing directly at me.

“Oh, my,” the woman said, as a person is apt to do on spotting a walking hot dog.

Seeing through the eyeholes was a little tough, but I managed to maneuver my way over to the meat section, where food in my likeness lined the aisle. I took a deep breath, and began to dance, in full view of all the customers around, which was a couple dozen.

“Get your hot dogs here!” I called, trying to deepen my voice. “Hot dogs!”

Trying to see wasn’t easy given my rapid movements, but I miraculously managed not to hit anything. Anyways, if I fell over maybe people would come over and then I could convince them to purchase a few dogs.

“Come on, get some hot-diggities over here!” I called, starting to get a little hot and tired inside the full body suit.

“Mommy, I want to eat that hot dog!” remarked the little girl.

“Olivia, that’s not a real hot dog,” her mother tried to explain. “It’s just a person dressed up as one.”

Wham! All of a sudden the world turned upside down and I fell to the floor in a heap. Everything went totally out, my vision just a collection of lights. Darn, I knew the hot dog costume would turn out to be a bad idea.

“Thanks, mister,” I said when I felt someone’s hands on me, assuming they were trying to help me up. But a second later I felt myself being attacked!

“Olivia!” the woman cried, and I could feel her footsteps pattering quickly against the hard floor. “Get off that hot dog right now!”

I couldn’t believe it! I was trapped in a hot dog costume, being attacked by a tiny girl. Quickly, I tried to roll over on top of her, but before I had a chance she took a big bite…right on my left arm.

“Ow!” I howled, grabbing my arm in horror. When that girl said she wanted to eat me, she really meant it! Not only that, but she picked a bite!

I stumbled, trying to get away before the girl could try it again, but only succeeded in landing flat on my face. I braced myself, but luckily the unholy terror was already accompanied by her mom once again. “That doesn’t taste like a hot dog,” the girl complained.

“Honey, it’s not!” her mother explained. “Like I said, that’s just a person wearing a costume.”

Painfully, I managed to stand up and get to my feet. I pulled down the top part of my costume and waved to the little girl. “Hi,” I said warily.

“Are you ok?” The mom asked, her voice flooded with concern. “I’m so sorry.”

If being thrown to the floor and bitten like a piece of meat is ok, then I guess so. But out loud I simply said, “Yeah, I’m alright.” Then I looked around and noticed how many people were standing around who had witnessed the incident.

“Maybe y’all should buy some real hot dogs now,” I suggested hopefully.

The attempted cannibal shook her head decisively. “I’m never eating a hot dog again as long as I live.”

There was nothing I could do but breath a long, weary sigh.

Want to read more?

HERE is the awesome news!

Daniel has generously agreed to give 30 copies of the full book away to the first ten people who order a copy of the new Kid Writers Magazine (Go HERE to learn about it and buy a copy!), and to the first 20 people to subscribe to the Magazine!

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Red: A Crayon’s Story

13 Feb

Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday. It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people. I chose this book because it really shows how we need to look inside of a person, and not judge by appearance or expect them to be a certain way.

redRed:A Crayon’s Story

Written and Illustrated by Michael Hall

Hardcover: 40 pages ages 4+
Published by Greenwillow Books on February 3, 2015

Theme/Topic- Being yourself

Genre- Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening – “He was red.

Synopsis (from publisher) – “Red has a bright red label, but he is, in fact, blue. His teacher tries to help him be red (let’s draw strawberries!), his mother tries to help him be red by sending him out on a playdate with a yellow classmate (go draw a nice orange!), and the scissors try to help him be red by snipping his label so that he has room to breathe. But Red is miserable. He just can’t be red, no matter how hard he tries! Finally, a brand-new friend offers a brand-new perspective, and Red discovers what readers have known all along. He’s blue! This funny, heartwarming, colorful picture book about finding the courage to be true to your inner self can be read on multiple levels, and it offers something for everyone!”

Why I liked this book- This seems the ultimate “be yourself” book. It shows that if you just judge by appearance, you can get an entirely different outlook than on what’s inside the “wrapper”. The illustrations are quirky and fun to look at. I like how the white page is really “paper” for the crayons to draw on. That was pretty cool. This is a wonderful book, and I was happy to review it. “Red” is a nice crayon who you care for. There is some humor in the story, because the reader instantly knows that Red is blue. This is a nice book for diversity teaching.

Activities and Resources-

There is a printable activity and teacher’s guise to go along with the books at the publisher’s website. Click HERE to get them.

Get some crayons and make an adventure for them! Or, have the crayons DRAW the adventure for them!

Or how about getting coloring pages and have kids color the pages colors that aren’t the “normal” colors for the picture – like this one – I think the woolly mammoth wants to be pink with a little brown. ;)

color

To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog HERE!

February 2015 UBFP Column – Meet Bucks County Author Kit Grindstaff

5 Feb

I write for the UBFP Newspaper!

I wanted to share the article I wrote for the Upper Bucks Free Press (the newspaper I write for) for the February 2015 issue! The street and online version was published a couple of days ago. To see the online version of the newspaper, click HERE (see page 9).

I hope you like the article!

Meet Bucks County Author Kit Grindstaff!

By Erik Weibel

Kit Grindstaff’s bio says she was born near London, and grew up surrounded by rolling hills, old English villages. After a brush with pop stardom, she moved to New York and became a successful song writer. She now lives with her husband in Bucks County Pennsylvania. Her award-winning debut novel, The Flame In The Mist, is a spooky, magical mystery-adventure for fantasy lovers, ages 9 to 90. It takes place in a fantasy world of Anglavia. Anglavia is ruled by the tyrannical Agromond family. The main character Jemma Agromond, realizes how evil they really are, she runs away only to be confronted with her true destiny. Only she can bring peace to Anglavia, but at what price?

 

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Erik: What steps do you take when writing a book?

Ms. Grindstaff: As soon as I conceive of a story, I have a rough idea of beginning, middle and end. The details fill in as I write. Before I begin writing, though, I explore the main characters, making lists of traits, and creating back stories to dig for conflicts, motivations, and possible plot and character arcs.

Then, I always outline; but I like to write freely within that structure. That way, the characters can take on a life of their own, and often move the story in ways that surprise me – and hopefully the reader as well! I always keep the end in mind, though, and if those characters get too unruly I’ll take back the reins and steer the story where it needs to go. Ultimately you have to remember who’s the author!

Erik: Where did the idea for the Rattusses (Jemma’s telepathc pet rats) come from?

Ms. Grindstaff: Jemma’s life at Agromond Castle being pretty bleak, I wanted to give her some light relief, and more constant companionship than her limited time with Marsh and Digby. So who – or what – could offer her that in a moldering old castle? Rats! (Magical ones, of course.)

As for being telepathic, they just happened that way. From word go, Noodle and Pie knew when Jemma needed help or comfort, and Jemma understood each twitch of whisker and tail. The specifics of their communication, though, developed over several drafts.

Incidentally, they were common-or-castle brown rats until a very late draft. Their golden fur was a “Eureka!” moment—obvious, right? After all, they are emissaries of Light!

Erik: Anagrams play a big part in the story. What was the inspiration behind them? Are you really good at them, like Jemma?

Ms. Grindstaff: At the outset, I wrote down a list of Jemma’s traits: some like me, some not. For example her flame-red hair and sea-green eyes (not like me), and her love of food (like me, though I’m not a fan of entrails). I’ve always loved word play and anagrams, and that popped onto the list too, though I had no idea at first how important they’d become to the plot! I don’t think I’m as good at them as Jemma is. I can only decipher them because I made them up.

Erik: The twists in the book not only kept me on the edge of my seat, but also really surprised me. Your writing style really fits with the plot and setting of The Erik: When did you start writing, and how have your surroundings influenced you?

Ms. Grindstaff: I’ve always loved writing. As a kid: short stories. In my teens: anguished poems, then pop songs – the writing of which is still my long-time profession.

I had a growing hankering, though, to write fiction. Eventually I took a couple of writing courses, and The Flame in the Mist was born. Growing up English, in the land of spooky old churches, graveyards and castles, and misty winters, was hugely influential! I’d include literature as ‘Surroundings’ too: I loved adventures, mysteries, classics like Dickens and The Woman in White (lots of fog and ghosts), and mystery paranormals like The Turn of the Screw. Anything steeped in atmosphere.

Erik: The Agromonds are a treacherous family. What helped in “shaping” them?

Ms. Grindstaff: The Agromonds’ personalities are exaggerated versions of people I’ve known, combined with British archetypes: The snob for Nocturna; the conflicted Lord of the Manor for Nox; the typical spiteful girl for Shade, and Feo…poor Feo! Sprinkle in a dark lust for power (look no further than any empire as a model), et voila! the Agromonds.

I’m also fascinated by the “shadow” side of personality: things people don’t want others to know about them, or even hide from themselves; their secrets and lies (a big theme in the book, as you know). Those hidden things (kept in the dark) are often what twists people and manifest as evil. So I played with that idea in creating the Agromonds. It also influenced the dark-light theme: by becoming aware of those secrets (bringing them to the light) and uncovering the truth, Jemma is able to escape the darkness and find the life she’s always longed for.

Erik: Thank you Ms. Grindstaff!

Ms. Grindstaff: Thanks so much, Erik, for your awesome questions! They were fun to answer.

For more about Kit Grindstaff, please visit Kitgrindstaff.com!

For more on books visit ThisKidReviewsBooks.com!

 

BONUS MATERIAL!

I was fortunate to meet Ms. Grindstaff at the Lititz Teen and Kids Literature Festival last year. That’s how I found out about her great book (and was able to bug get her to agree to an interview). I’d like to tell you a bit more about her debut novel The Flame in the Mist!

 

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The Flame in the Mist

By Kit Grindstaff

464 pages – ages 9+

Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers on April 9, 2013

Summary (from GoodReads) – “Fiery-headed Jemma Agromond is not who she thinks she is, and when the secrets and lies behind her life at mist-shrouded Agromond Castle begin to unravel, she finds herself in a chilling race for her life. Ghosts and misfits, a stone and crystals, a mysterious book, an ancient prophecy—all these reveal the truth about Jemma’s past and a destiny far greater and more dangerous than she could have imagined in her wildest fantasies. With her telepathic golden rats, Noodle and Pie, and her trusted friend, Digby, Jemma navigates increasingly dark forces, as helpers both seen and unseen, gather. But in the end, it is her own powers that she must bring to light, for only she has the key to defeating the evil ones and fulfilling the prophecy that will bring back the sun and restore peace in Anglavia. “

 What I Thought: I loved the setting in this book – a world with no sun ruled by magical tyrants. That is my kind of book. The characters in the story are good. Jemma is a good – approaching great – main character. She is smart and spunky. Her character develops through the story and I found myself being drawn into her story. Her telepathic rat side-kicks (Noodle and Pie) are characters that readers will immediately love.  The evil Agromond Family is VERY evil and they are the perfect bad guys. The book is written so that is totally appropriate for MG readers, but the length and reading level is something an older reader will like also.  I recommend this book to lovers of fantasy!

I give this 5 out of 5 bookworms!fivebooks

Punxsutawney Phyllis’ 10th Anniversary Birthday Bonanza!!! WOOOO!!!!

2 Feb

WHAT BETTER WAY TO CELEBRATE GROUNGHOG’S DAY THAN WITH A CONTEST?!?

(Well – other than having a snow day off of school) ;)

Today is Punxsutawney Phyllis’ tenth Birthday! WOO! Punxsutawney Phyllis is the wonderful character created by the awesome author and hare-brained scheme thinker upper – Susanna Leonard Hill!

phyllis

 

Well, Phyllis is an over-eager a nice young groundhog with a funky spirit, so I decided that she needed something with a nice funky tune.

 

The rules for this contest are (copied from Ms. Hill’s blog):

“Phyllis and I are looking forward with GREAT anticipation to reading YOUR poems for Phyllis [about Phyllis], and hopefully seeing some videos too…!

If you wrote a poem for Phyllis, and/or have photographs, drawings, videos, or other fun feature accompaniments, please add your post-specific blog link to the list below, or post your poem etc in the comments, or Email it to me and I’ll post it for you so that we can all enjoy everyone’s creativity!”

Because I’ve been nagging asking Ms. Hill consistently politely and patiently for a video contest for (at least) a year now, I can’t really not do a video.

So, here it is! The lyrics (written by me) are below the video.

Viva Las Phyllis!

~

Oh Phyllis you are the finest

They should give you a crown and call you her royal highness

As many times as I’ve read your books

People stare and they give me looks

Well – it just isn’t enough – no – it just isn’t enough

Phyllis It’s your special day

And we just want to say

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY

 

Oh Phylllis, you are the best

Weather predictions better than the rest.

I watch the six o’clock news

and they get me all confused

I just need to ask you

You tell it to me straight

Forget that news at eight

Al Roker says it’s gonna snow

And you say “I don’t think so”

 

HA! YOU’RE RIGHT!

 

Happy Birthday Phyllis

Happy tenth birthday!

~

(and yes, my voice is that deep. :) )

HAPPY GROUNDHOG DAY EVERYONE!!!!

Today is my 13th Birthday! I am a TWEEN no more! :D

24 Dec

Today is my 13th birthday! WOO!

Now that I am 5’9″ it’s hard to believe I was this small once –

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Me at 3 days old

The stocking was my baby blanket in the hospital. Now I use it as my Christmas stocking. :)

At 13 years, sadly I am no longer a tween, but am I YA? My birthday party is going on over at Beth Stilborn’s blog. She is asking people to recommend early YA books for me to read now that I am officially not a tween anymore. Click HERE to join  the party

I am excited to read some of the suggestions that are over there already but I think I will always love reading middle grade books… and picture books… and magazine articles… and newspapers… cards at the grocery store…  ingredients on cereal boxes… Okay, I’ll pretty much read anything and I find good things in almost everything I read.

I also did an end of year round-up over at Jennifer Alvarez’s blog of some of the books I read this year that really stuck with me. Click HERE to go THERE!

Now that I am 13, I was wondering, should I be This Teen Reviews Books not This Kid Reviews Books? I think I can still be Kid for a while longer (although my parents did reserve http://www.ThisTeenReviewsBooks.com for me). :) What do you think?

The biggest birthday present anyone can give me is more stories, more blog posts, more plot lines, more adventure, more information, MORE TO READ (actually the best present I could get would be an eighth day to the week that is just for reading, but I don’t think that is going to happen). All the writers and bloggers out there who give me the great opportunity to read what you create is the best present of all.  I am proud to say I am a reading geek and if YOU keep writing, I will keep reading!

THANK YOU FOR READING MY BLOG!

My Entry in the Susanna Leonard Hill 4th Annual Holiday Contest!!!

10 Dec

Hey! Look! It’s snowing on my blog!

WOO HOO! It’s time for the Susanna Leonard Hill 4th Annual Holiday Contest!!!

4thannualHere are the rules (from Ms. Hill’s blog) -

“Write a children’s story (children here defined as approximately age 12 and under) in which wild weather impacts the holidays!  Your story may be poetry or prose, silly or serious or sweet, religious or not, based on Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or whatever you celebrate, but is not to exceed 350 words.  Any kind of weather will do: sun, rain, sleet, heatwave, blizzard, tsunami, monsoon, hurricane, hail, tornado, etc!  No illustration notes please.” – To see the complete rules click HERE.

To check out all of the AWESOME entries in the contest, click HERE!

 

Here is my entry. It is 345 words. I hope you like it!

 Fox’s Party

[By Me]

Once upon a time, there lived a friendly fox. You may say to yourself, “Foxes are not friendly,” but this fox had a change of heart after having an argument with a very angry, somewhat huge bunny three seasons ago over what to have for dinner (the fox wanted to eat the bunny and the bunny disagreed). The bunny, having won the argument, made the fox promise to eat only fish and vegetables from then on, and so he did. Since then, fox’s dinner parties have become legendary in the hollow.

This year Fox planned to have his Christmas feast early, before it got too cold, so that the creatures who hibernate could be at the party.

Fox couldn’t wait for the animals to arrive. Bunny, Deer, Squirrel and Turkey were coming, as well as Bear, Chipmunk, Toad and Raccoon!

The fruit punch was iced, the Jell-O cubes were stacked. The broccoli soup was… cold? The fish tart was… FROZEN!

A wintry wind sent a shiver through Fox. “It shouldn’t be this cold.” Then Fox felt something. SNOW! Something was wrong. “If winter sets in now, my hibernating friends will not come to my party.”

Everything was frosting over- FROST! That was it, JACK FROST!

Fox ran up Mount Shivery to Frost’s Palace.

“Excuse me Mr. Frost,” Fox said. “You don’t seem to realize that it is a bit early for this wintery cold. I was about to have an early Christmas feast and-“

“Yes, but it is winter, Fox,” Frost snapped. “So, toddle back to your hollow, and leave me alone.” The icy Jack wouldn’t budge.

Fox dragged his tail down the mountain. The celebration was ruined. But Fox, even though he was friendly, was still sly. Fox saw Sun behind the clouds and he got an idea.

“Sun!” Fox called out. “Sun, would you like to come to our Christmas feast? It is in the hollow! Please stop by. You will be our guest of honor!”

Sun smiled at the invitation and her glow warmed the hollow just long enough for the feast.

Blog Tour and $100 Give Away! A Year In The Secret Garden by Valarie Budayr

30 Nov

A Year in the Secret Garden - Blog Tour Button

 

About the Book

A Year in the Secret Garden - cover

Title: A Year in the Life of the Secret Garden | Author: Valarie Budayr | Illustrator: Marilyn Scott-Waters | Publication Date: November, 2014 | Publisher: Audrey Press | Pages: 144 | Recommended Ages: 5 to 99

Book Description: Award-winning authors Valarie Budayr and Marilyn Scott-Waters have co-created A Year in the Secret Garden to introduce the beloved children’s classic, The Secret Garden to a new generation of families. This guide uses over two hundred full color illustrations and photos to bring the magical story to life, with fascinating historical information, monthly gardening activities, easy-to-make recipes, and step-by-step crafts, designed to enchant readers of all ages. Each month your family will unlock the mysteries of a Secret Garden character, as well as have fun together creating the original crafts and activities based on the book.Over 140 pages, with 200 original color illustrations and 48 activities for your family and friends to enjoy, learn, discover and play with together. A Year In the Secret Garden is our opportunity to introduce new generations of families to the magic of this classic tale in a modern and innovative way that creates special learning and play times outside in nature. This book encourages families to step away from technology and into the kitchen, garden, reading nook and craft room.

Amazon * Audrey Press * Goodreads

 

A Year In The Secret Garden
By Valarie Budayr
143 pages – ages 5+
Published by Audrey Press (2014)

What I liked about this book- This was a fun and unique activity book! Ms. Budayr has written a wonderful book, full of monthly activities, which is awesome by itself, but she also bases it on a classic book – The Secret Garden! Along with the crafts, recipes, and other fantastic stuff, Ms. Budayr has “Character Studies” which tell a little about the main characters and/or the time period that “The Secret Garden” takes place in. It is a great way of learning a bit more about a book that you really like. I think that I will reread The Secret Garden – with this marvelous book right beside me! I like how the activities and text of the book tie into every month of the year.

My little sister, Josie, was looking at the book, and she decided that she wanted to try an activity. She chose a bird-feeder (a December activity).

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She gathered up all the things on the materials list in the book.

Then she spread peanut butter all over the toilet paper roll.

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Then, she carefully rolled the roll [*hee hee*] through some birdseed, thoroughly coating it.

 

 

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She cut a ribbon at a desired length, slid it through the roll, and tied it.

 

 

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Then she hung it up in a local pine tree that was in our yard!

 

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And there it is!

About the Author: Valarie Budayr

Valarie BudayrValarie Budayr loves reading and bringing books alive. Her popular website, www.jumpintoabook.com, inspires children and adults alike to experience their books through play, discovery, and adventure.

She is founder of Audrey Press, an independent publishing house, as well as an Amazon and iTunes best-selling author. She has written The Fox Diaries: The Year the Foxes Came to our Garden and The Ultimate Guide to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Valarie is passionate about making kid’s books come alive and encouraging families and schools to pull books off the shelves and stories off the pages.

 

Book Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook

Pinterest | Google+ | Goodreads

 

About the Illustrator: Marilyn Scott-Waters

Marilyn Scott-WatersMarilyn Scott-Waters loves making things out of paper. Her popular website, www.thetoymaker.com, receives 2,000 to 7,000 visitors each day, who have downloaded more than six million of her easy-to-make paper toys. Her goal is to help parents and children spend time together making things.

She is the creator of a paper toy craft book series The Toymakers Christmas: Paper Toys You Can Make Yourself (Sterling), and The Toymakers Workshop: Paper Toys You Can Make Yourself (Sterling). She is also the co-creator with J. H. Everett of the middle grade nonfiction series, Haunted Histories, (Christy Ottaviano Books / Henry Holt Books for Young Readers). Ms. Scott-Waters illustrated The Search For Vile Things (Scholastic), and created paper engineering for Pop & Sniff Fruit (Piggy Toes Press).

Website | Facebook | Google+

 

A Year in the Secret Garden Blog Tour Schedule (2014)

EXPLORING SEPTEMBER

November 1

Mother Daughter Book Reviews (Launch)

Coffee Books & Art (Guest Post)

WS Momma Readers Nook (Book Review)

November 2

Cherry Mischievous (Excerpt)

Hope to Read (Excerpt)

November 3

Eloquent Articulation (Book Review)

Enter Here Canada (Excerpt)

EXPLORING OCTOBER

November 4

BeachBoundBooks (Excerpt)

Books, Babies and Bows (Book Review)

November 5

Monique’s Musings (Book Review)

November 6

SOS-Supply (Book Review)

EXPLORING NOVEMBER

November 7

Randomly Reading (Book Review)

November 8

Adalinc to Life (Book Review)

EXPLORING DECEMBER

November 9

100 Pages a Day (Book Review)

November 10

Edventures With Kids (Book Review)

EXPLORING JANUARY

November 11

Icefairy’s Treasure Chest (Book Review)

November 12

Girl of 1000 Wonders (Book Review)

EXPLORING FEBRUARY

November 13

Seraphina Reads (Guest Post)

November 14

Juggling Act Mama (Book Review)

EXPLORING MARCH

November 15

Pragmatic Mom (Author/Illustrator Interview)

Purple Monster Coupons (Excerpt)

November 16

Stacking Books (Book Review)

EXPLORING APRIL

November 17

Oh My Bookness (Book Review)

November 18

Crystal’s Tiny Treasures (Book Review)

EXPLORING MAY

November 19

The Blended Blog (Book Review)

November 20

All Done Monkey (Book Review)

November 21

Geo Librarian (Book Review)

Grandbooking (Author/Illustrator Interview)

EXPLORING JUNE

November 22

My Tangled Skeins Book Reviews (Book Review)

November 23

Christy’s Cozy Corners (Book Review)

My Life, Loves and Passions (Book Review)

November 24

Bookaholic Chick (Excerpt)

Hide-N-(Sensory)-Seeking (Book Review)

EXPLORING JULY

November 25

Ninja Librarian (Guest Post)

November 26

Jane Ritz (Book Review)

Rockin’ Book Reviews (Book Review)

November 27

I’d Rather Be Reading At The Beach (Book Review)

EXPLORING AUGUST

November 28

Deal Sharing Aunt (Book Review)

November 29

Mommynificent (Book Review)

November 30

This Kid Reviews Books (Book Review)

Java John Z’s (Author/Illustrator Interview)

 

* $100 Blog Tour Giveaway *

Amazon 100 gift card

Prize: $100 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal cash (winner’s choice)

Contest ends: December 7, 11:59 pm, 2014

Open: Internationally

How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter link below.

Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the authors Valarie Budayr and Marilyn Scott-Waters and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.

CLICK HERE TO ENTER THE GIVE AWAY!!!

MDBR Book Promotion Services

 

Interview with Author/Illustrator Jeff Mack!

11 Nov
A few Fridays ago I nominated DUCK IN THE FRIDGE by Jeff Mack (Published by Two Lions on September 2, 2014) as a perfect picture book (see the review HERE). Mr. Mack has written and illustrated numerous picture and chapter books (see more at JeffMack.com ), some of which I have reviewed on my site. I am quite a fan of Mr. Mack’s work.  Today I am happy to have him as a guest on my blog! Read on to enjoy learning more about Mr. Mack’s writing and illustrating process!
 
duckinthe
 
 
Erik – When I saw the title of your book – Duck in the Fridge, I knew I had to have the book! How did you come up with such an awesome title?
 
Mr. Mack – I took the title from a line in the book.  When I started writing this story seven years ago, the first sentence I thought of was “I don’t know how the duck got in the fridge, but he made a huge mess.” To me, this sounded like a great way to start a story, a real attention grabber that made me wonder what would happen next. The trouble was, it took me a long time to figure out what happened next. After many revised drafts, I added the parts about the father at the beginning and at the end. And I moved that first sentence about the duck in the fridge closer to the middle. But the title stayed exactly the same.
 
 Erik –  You are right about it being an attention grabber! Why a duck and not a squirrel or a bunny?
 
Mr. Mack – Well, if you think about it in a certain way, it’s not so rare to keep a duck in the fridge. Or at least duck leftovers. I like that it sounds as if I’m talking about two different things: either a roast duck or a quacking duck. If I called it “Turkey in the Fridge” or “Tuna Fish in the Fridge”, the joke might be too obvious. But if it was a bunny or a squirrel in the fridge, at least on one level, it would be too creepy.
duckinfridgefinal
 
 
Erik –  Well I for one am glad it was a quacking duck in the fridge not a roasted one! As an author/illustrator, what’s your favorite part – writing or illustrating or do you enjoy both?
 
Mr. Mack – My favorite part is telling a story. With picture books, I think the writing and illustrating are difficult to separate. Drawing pictures in a sequence is one way to write. Each picture represents a whole bunch of words. And the sequence creates the plot. Then the actual words provide extra info that adds meaning to those pictures. The two parts, writing and illustrating, work together to tell the complete story. So, basically, I like both.
 
Erik – Mr. Mack sent along some sketches from his book DUCK IN THE FRIDGE. It’s cool to see how the sketches get turned into the illustrations in the book and how they change from the original idea.
 
Erik – Did your dad tell you wacky stories like this (I know mine does ;) )?
 
Mr. Mack – Yes, all the time. He still does. I’ve heard them all a million times, but he keeps telling them. And they never get old. Well, almost never.
dadfinal
 
Erik –  Ha ha! I know what you mean about “almost never.” What is your favorite fairytale of all?
 
Mr. Mack – I was always partial to Rumplestiltskin. I love the idea of a character who makes something valuable (gold) out of something worthless (straw). Isn’t that what every artist does? Spin precious metals out of horse food?
 
 Erik –  Do you have any upcoming projects you’d like to share with us?
 
Mr. Mack – Sure, I have a new picture book coming out in April called “Look!”. It’s about a gorilla who competes against a television for a little boy’s attention. It’s also about a battle between low-technology vs. high-technology, books vs. screens. So I used both low and high-tech methods to illustrate it: watercolor and digital collage. It’s a fun and interesting story, and there are only two words in the entire book. One of them is “Look.” Can you guess what the other one is?
 
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Erik – That’s a GREAT premise for a story! I will definitely be on the LOOK OUT for this one! Thank you for joining me today on This Kid Reviews Books Mr. Mack!
To learn more, please visit Jeff Mack’s website by clicking HERE!

Win a New Touch Screen Kindle Loaded with 50 Books!

3 Nov

This is a cool giveaway hosted by a great group of authors – the Emblazon Authors. I have read and reviewed a bunch of their books and I think this is a cool idea – win a Kindle pre-loaded with 50 books! The Emblazon authors write age-appropriate novels for tweens and middle school aged kids. Check out the giveaway below!

emblazontour

Attention teachers, librarians, tweens, and parents of tweens! Announcing a contest just for you…

The Emblazon authors are giving away a brand new touch screen Kindle loaded with over 50 of their books. That’s a $300 value and hours of reading entertainment!

Emblazon is a collection of authors who seek to create lifelong readers by creating top-
notch literature for kids. They have a particular focus on ages 11 to 14. They’re hosting this fabulous giveaway to celebrate their first year and to treat you, the readers.

The Rafflecopter contest runs November 3 through November 17 and is open to anyone who loves tween literature.

A Rafflecopter giveaway can be found here.

Note: Signing up for the catalog is required for entry. Current subscribers are also eligible for entry. Winners must reside in the United States or Canada. (Sorry!)

 

List of Stops on the Blog Tour:

November 3rd:

November 5th:

 

 

November 11th:

 

November 12th:

November 15th:

 

You can help even more by sharing this post with your friends and family. If you know teachers or librarians, let them know about how awesome the Emblazoners are by sharing the link to their website: http://emblazoners.com/

My Entry in the Susanna Leonard Hill 4th Annual Halloweensie Writing Contest!

27 Oct

It’s the 4th Annual HALLOWEENSIE CONTEST!!!!!

Google Images

Google Images

Get ready for some great Halloween stories! You can check out all the entries in the contest at Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog HERE and mine right below!

The rules for the contest are (copied from Ms. Hill’s blog) –

“Write a 100 word Halloween story appropriate for children (title not included in the 100 words), using the words pumpkinbroomstick, and creak.   Your story can be poetry or prose, scary, funny or anything in between, but it will only count for the contest if it includes those 3 words and is 100 words (you can go under, but not over!). Post your story on your blog between right now this very second and Friday October 31st by 11:59 PM EDT”

Now – onto my entry! I hope you like it!

A Halloween Errand (100 words)

© ray8 - Fotolia.com

© ray8 – Fotolia.com

 

The run-down store was deserted, except for the bored check-out clerk.

I searched the shelves for the trick-or-treat candy Mom wanted.

“Pumpkins and broomsticks,” a voice whispered.

Creeeak, groaned the floorboards.

Goosebumps crawled up my back.

Wasn’t the store deserted?

“Pumpkins and broomsticks.”

Creak.

Closer.

I turned.

No one.

“Pumpkins and broomsticks.”

Creak.

My heart pounded.

Forget the candy! I’m out of here!

A hand grabbed my arm.

I spun in terror.

THEN –

PHEW!

“I can’t find the pumpkins and broomsticks,” said an elderly lady holding a shopping list. “I’m going to a party tonight. Can you help me look?”

 

 

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