Perfect Picture Book Friday! Mighty, Mighty Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker

10 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 is a sweet story about teamwork and who doesn’t like construction trucks?!

mightyMighty, Mighty Construction Site
Written by Sherri Duskey Rinker
Illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
40 pages – ages 5+

Will be Published by Chronicle Books on February 14, 2017

Theme/Topic- Teamwork
Genre- Fiction
Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “Down in the big construction site,

five trucks wake to morning light,
It’s time to S-T-R-E-T-C-H, roll out of bed,
and gear up for the day ahead!”

Synopsis from Publisher: “At last—here from the team behind the beloved international bestseller comes a companion to Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site. All of our favorite trucks are back on the construction site—this time with a focus on team-building, friendship, and working together to make a big task seem small! Down in the big construction site, the crew faces their biggest job yet, and will need the help of new construction friends to get it done. Working as a team, there’s nothing they can’t do! The millions of fans of Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site are in for a mighty good time!”

What I Thought- Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site was fabulous and this sequel was no disappointment! Mighty, Mighty Construction Site is told in a rhyme that is gentle and playful. Lichtenheld’s illustrations pair perfectly with the rhyming, reflecting the warmth conveyed. The story shows the importance of working together, because then you get the job done. The story is especially sweet because it doesn’t have the negative aspect, just the original group knows when to ask for help, and they do so. The illustrations are all pleasant, and give you a very warm feeling inside when you look at them.

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Not only that, but Lichtenheld elaborates on the text with his illustrations, and adds in his own personal touch. It is truly a great collaboration.

Activities and Resources- There is a great list of things to build teamwork skills with kids from Online.Brescia.edu HERE.

KidsSoup.Com has a whole slew of construction crafts, games and activities – click HERE!

Check out the book’s trailer!

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

Blog Tour! Mary Bowser and the Civil War Spy Ring by Enigma Alberti #Spyonhistory

10 Feb

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Welcome to my stop on the #Spyonhistory Blog Tour! I hope you enjoy my post – I really enjoyed this book!!

9780761187394Mary Bowser and the Civil War Spy Ring
Written by Enigma Alberti
Illustrated by Tony Cliff
96 pages – ages 9+
Published by Workman Publishing Company on December 13, 2016

Synopsis from the Publisher- Mary Bowser and the Civil War Spy Ring introduces an exciting interactive series for middle grade readers—Spy on History, where the reader gets to experience history in a whole new way.

Meet Mary Bowser, an African American spy who was able to infiltrate the Confederate leadership at the highest level. Enigma Alberti dramatizes Mary Bowser’s suspenseful story—how she pretended to be illiterate, how she masterfully evaded detection, how she used her photographic memory to “copy” critical documents.

Using spycraft materials included in a sealed envelope inside the book, a canny reader will be able to discover and unravel clues embedded in the text and illustrations, and solve the book’s ultimate mystery: Where did Mary hide her secret diary?

What I Thought- This was a really cool book! It tells the story of Mary Bowser, an amazingly brave and super cunning lady who deserves to have her story told. The book is an excellent choice to highlight during Black History month here in the USA. The book has cool black-and-white (with red accents!) illustrations spread throughout it.

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I also really like how the words sometimes jump around the page. There is a folder in the front containing a shift cipher, a red plastic screen, a page from a book, and a piece of paper with holes cut into it – all supplied to help the reader solve the mystery. That’s just plain awesome! I really like how you have to find the clues in the text and illustrations. The story itself is wonderfully satisfying, and I really enjoyed learning about the history behind Ms. Bowser. It is really interesting to hear about the Civil War from the Confederate side (even if it was to help the Union) – it gives you another perspective. Enigma Alberti refers to the pen name of a group of authors who are writing this series. They promise to tell the stories of even more spies from history. I can’t wait for the rest of the books in the series to come out!

marybower

 

Want to learn more?

Author: Enigma Alberti is the nom de plume of a secret cadre of authors who are each writing a book in the Spy on History series.

Illustrator: Tony Cliff is the author and artist behind the New York Times bestselling Delilah Dirk graphic novel series. Find more on Tony at www.tonycliff.com and @TangoCharlie on Twitter.

Schedule:
Wednesday, February 1: Middle Grade Mafia
Thursday, February 2: YAYOMG
Friday, February 3: Mundie Kids
Monday, February 6: Miss Print
Tuesday, February 7: Recreational Scholar
Wednesday, February 8: The Roarbots
Thursday, February 9: Randomly Reading
Friday, February 10: A History of Books & This Kid Reviews Books
Monday, February 13: Teen Library Toolbox
Tuesday, February 14: Ex Libris Kate
Wednesday, February 15: Geo Librarian
Thursday, February 16: Kidliterati
Friday, February 17: Kristi’s Book Nook

Book Available at:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
IndieBound
Workman

Social Media:
Twitter – @workmanpub
Facebook – @workmanpublishing
Instagram – @workmanpub
Pinterest – @workmanpub
Tumblr – @workmanpublishing

Review! Soldier Song by Debbie Levy

7 Feb

image001Soldier Song: A True Story of the Civil War
Written by Debbie Levy
Illustrated by Gilbert Ford
80 pages – ages 8+
Published by Disney-Hyperion on February 7, 2017 (Today!)

Synopsis from the Publisher- Amid the fearsome battles of the Civil War, both Union and Confederate soldiers were urged onward by song.

There were songs to wake them up and songs to call them to bed,
Songs to ready them for battle and to signal their retreat,
Songs to tell them that their side was right, and the other wrong . . .

And there was one song that reminded them all of what they hoped to return to after the war.

Defeated in the battle of Fredericksburg, Virginia, the Union soldiers retreated across the river. There, a new battle emerged as both armies volleyed competing songs back and forth. With the Christmas season upon them, however, Federals and Confederates longed for the same thing. As the notes of “Home, Sweet Home” rose up from both sides, they found common ground for one night.

Interwoven with soldiers’ letters and journal entries, this is a true story of duty and heartbreak, of loyalty and enemies, and of the uniting power of music. Debbie Levy’s moving text and Gilbert Ford’s vibrant, layered illustrations come together to create an unforgettable tale of American history.

What I Thought- I think that this is a fantabulous book! It captures both the feelings of horror in the American Civil War, but also the softer side of it as well. Levy has a great writing style, writing things in a way that younger kids can understand; putting in enough details for a well-rounded story. It is an amazing glimpse into a true story from the American Civil War. Ford’s illustrations are a marvelous pair to the text, including detail, but keeping it whimsical enough to have kids want to keep looking at it. The illustration evoke emotions, tying the reader to the story.

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This book is a perfect parallel between the good and bad in life. The story itself is great, and is about one of those moments that you love to take part in; where everyone is on the same side. The fact that they played together was a marvelous feat, and makes for a great story. I also really like that there is additional information in the back of the book with historical info, the song “Home, Sweet Home”, and other details! I love this book!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Cover Reveal! The Dream Stealers by Devra Robitaille

6 Feb

Today I get to reveal a cover of an upcoming book called The Dream Stealers from The Hologram Library. I thought the book had an interesting premise with intriguing characters.

First let me tell you what the story is about!

The Dream Stealers
By Devra Robitaille
172 pages – ages 8+
Will be published by The Hologram Library on February 19, 2017

Synopsis from the Publisher- Devin’s story of courage in the face of ruthless greed and skulduggery begins on Earth. Devin is a young girl who lives with her scientist father who has invented a laser spaceship, the Traveler, and when he goes for a test run the machine returns without him. She bravely sets off to find him, learns how to fly the Traveler and encounters many odd and magical characters en route. She ends up on a breathtakingly beautiful planet called Vega which is the headquarters of the Dream Council, where she meets her guides, Ryan and Olam and finds her father again. To her amazement she discovers that she is not an earthling, but an alien with incredible talents. She also discovers that the universe is threatened by underhanded and dastardly bandits called the Dream Stealers who lurk in the border regions between dreaming and waking, attacking dreamers and stealing their dreams. They sell the dreams on the black market leaving their victims trapped in an agonizing wasteland, mere shadows of themselves. The Dream Council is organizing a resistance movement to vanquish the Dream Stealers and recapture the dreams and return them to the dreamers. Devin enrolls in the flying academy on Vega to learn to become a fighter pilot in the reconnaissance squadron and begins her journey of defiance and victory.

 

Now for the reveal!

 

Drum roll, please!

 

*bahda bahda bahda bahda – ting!*

 

dream-stealers

 

The cover is a cool modern art/cubism type painting. There are more watercolor illustrations throughout the book that help tie the story together.

Intrigued by the synopsis? You can pre-order the book HERE!
Want to hear what others think about the book? Find the full blog tour list HERE!

Learn more about Hologram Library on –

Want to know more about the author?
devra-robitaille
Find out more about Devra Robitaille at her Amazon author’s page click HERE!

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Plant the Tiny Seed by Christie Matheson

3 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 is a neat interactive story!

seedPlant the Tiny Seed
Written by Christie Matheson
40 pages – ages 4+

Published by Greenwillow Books on January 24, 2017

Theme/Topic- Nature/Interactive

Genre- Non-fiction
Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “There’s magic in this tiny seed.

Press it down
and count to three.”

Synopsis from Publisher: “How do you make a garden grow? In this playful companion to the popular Tap the Magic Tree and Touch the Brightest Star, you will see how tiny seeds bloom into beautiful flowers. And by tapping, clapping, waving, and more, young readers can join in the action! Christie Matheson masterfully combines the wonder of the natural world with the interactivity of reading.”

What I Thought- This is a really cool book, and you could pair reading it with a book like Let’s Play by Hervé Tullet (see my review HERE). The book is written in rhyme, and done in such a way that doesn’t force the rhymes. Kids will love having this book read to them while they follow along, following the instructions. There is a nice reference page at the end of this book, filled with information about planting your own seeds, and with a more information about what was in the story. The illustrations are a neat combination of what looks like paper collage and paint. They give the book a warm feeling to it. I really like how this book takes you through the process of caring for a plant in a fun interactive way! It’s a nice way to start thinking about Spring!

Activities and Resources- The book itself is a good resource, where you can follow the steps in the back of the book to plant your own seeds.

If you want more things to do, Kidsgardening.org has a great list of activities, plus lots of information for teachers HERE!

You can read a sample of the book at the publisher’s website HERE!

 

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

Review! Last Day on Mars by Kevin Emerson

1 Feb

marslastdayLast Day on Mars
Series: Chronicle of the Dark Star
By Kevin Emerson
336 pages – ages 9+
Will be Published by Walden Pond Press on February 14, 2017

Synopsis- What would you feel like if you had to leave your house, your neighborhood, maybe even your country, and move to a new house? What if you didn’t know if you would be able to find that house, after you’ve moved out and can’t go back? What if you had to move to a new solar system? That’s what’s going on here – it’s the year 2213, and our sun is about to go supernova (aka, explode and burn the entire solar system). Earth is already fried; we’ve set up temporary colonies on Mars, but we know they won’t last – we’re trying to get to another solar system to a possibly hospitable planet. For the scientists and other inhabitants of was-Earth, that’s all fine – they’re finding a new-Earth. But for Liam and his friend Phoebe, all they’ve known was Mars – it’s their home. They were understandably upset about leaving, even though they understand why. As the last of the research to be taken on the last ship to the new planet is still being worked on during their last day, it’s awful when the research plant blows up. Phoebe and Liam are devastated, and even more so when they start to realize that maybe the research plant was sabotaged. But who would do such a thing?

What I Thought- This is a really neat premise. I like how it portrayed the future, with advancements, but still realistic ones (they had progressed in basic areas, but were still unable to figure out how to really get out of the solar system on a normal basis). It was also really cool to hear the “history” of how humans got to the point they had got to. The story is really good, and it takes place in the time period of roughly a day and a half or so, with the exception of the pro- and epilogues. Emerson captures the pain that Liam and Phoebe would feel as they are the last humans on their home. The setting is really rather well-described, and makes it feel like it could be truly what it is like.  Emerson’s narrative is a bonus, as it is quite matter-of-fact in an almost humorous way. The characters are realistic, and you really root for them as they try to succeed and obstacles keep popping up. Emerson ends the story with a tantalizing cliffhanger but leaves the reader satisfied with the book’s plot line. There are alien characters (they’re part of the problem!) in the book, but they are mostly only present in the pro- and epilogue, so I hope they will be expanded on in the next book. With America’s planned mission to Mars in full swing, this book is bound to catch some kids’ interest. Sci-fi fans will also seriously enjoy this!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Apples and Robins by Lucie Félix

27 Jan

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 is just plain cool!

applesApples and Robins
Written by Lucie Félix
56 pages – ages 4+

Published by Chronicle Books on March 8, 2016

Theme/Topic- Helping others/Creativity

Genre- Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “All you need for apples are circles and the color red.”

Synopsis from Publisher: “All you need for apples . . . are circles and the color red. In this extraordinary book, one thing transforms into another as each page turns—a circle becomes an apple, an oval becomes a bird, winter becomes spring. Constantly surprising and brilliantly constructed, Lucie Félix’s Apples and Robins is full of the magic of shape, color, and imagination. All you need to do . . . is turn the page.”

What I Thought- This book is genius. Through use of holes and shapes and “white” space (it isn’t always white), Félix creates these objects, and the wonder of flipping the page to see what the object is never truly ceases. The book shows that anyone can draw, by taking simple shapes and making them into objects. The book’s art, of course, is simple, with lots of blankness, drawing focus to the pictures and words. The story is told in sentences, usually along the format of “All you need to make ___ is ___ and ___” [flip page, seeing end product]. See the trailer to get what I mean. The story is nice, but the illustrations are obviously the focus of the book. I really like how picture book’s like this one show the process of making it within the storyline. This is a great book to lead into discussions of art in school.

Activities and Resources- Besides the book itself (try to make objects like Ms. Félix does!), Activityvillage.co.uk has a great resource of teaching kids to draw HERE.

Because the book involves spring coming, HERE are some season-related educational computer games from Sheppardsoftware.com!
Check out the trailer!

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

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017! The Trail of the Dead by Joseph Bruchac #ReadYourWorld

27 Jan

I am super happy to be part of the Multicultural Children’s Book Day Celebration! Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017 (1/27/17) is its fourth year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness on the ongoing need to include kid’s books that celebrate diversity in home and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators.

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Despite census data that shows 37% of the US population consists of people of color, only 10% of children’s books published have diversity content. Using the Multicultural Children’s Book Day holiday, the MCBD Team are on a mission to change all of that.

Current Sponsors:  MCBD 2017 is honored to have some amazing Sponsors on board. Platinum Sponsors include ScholasticBarefoot Books and Broccoli. Other Medallion Level Sponsors include heavy-hitters like Author Carole P. Roman, Audrey Press, Candlewick Press,  Fathers Incorporated, KidLitTVCapstone Young Readers, ChildsPlayUsa,Author Gayle SwiftWisdom Tales PressLee& Low BooksThe Pack-n-Go GirlsLive Oak MediaAuthor Charlotte Riggle, Chronicle Books and Pomelo Books

Author Sponsors include: Karen Leggett Abouraya, Veronica AppletonSusan Bernardo, Kathleen Burkinshaw, Maria DismondyD.G. DriverGeoff Griffin Savannah HendricksStephen HodgesCarmen Bernier-Grand,Vahid Imani, Gwen Jackson,  Hena Kahn, David Kelly, Mariana LlanosNatasha Moulton-LevyTeddy O’Malley, Stacy McAnulty,  Cerece MurphyMiranda Paul, Annette Pimentel, Greg RansomSandra RichardsElsa TakaokaGraciela Tiscareño-Sato,  Sarah Stevenson, Monica Mathis-Stowe SmartChoiceNation, Andrea Y. Wang

We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also work tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.

Here are some resources you can use to help celebrate Multicultural Children’s Book Day!

MCBD site: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/
Free Multicultural Books for Teachers: http://bit.ly/1kGZrta
Free Kindness Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/teachers-classroom-kindness-kit/
Free Diversity Book Lists and Activities for Teachers and Parents: http://bit.ly/1sZ5s8i

trailTrail of the Dead
Joseph Bruchac
400 pages – ages 13+
Published by Tu Books on October 1, 2015

Synopsis from Publisher- In the sequel to the award-winning Killer of Enemies, Apache teen Lozen and her family are looking for a place of refuge from the despotic Ones who once held them captive and forced Lozen to hunt genetically engineered monsters. Lozen and her allies travel in search of a valley where she and her family once found refuge. But life is never easy in this post-apocalyptic world. When they finally reach the valley, they discover an unpleasant surprise awaiting them and a merciless hunter following close behind. Hally, their enigmatic Bigfoot friend, points them to another destination a possible refuge. But can Lozen trust Hally? Relying on her wits and the growing powers that warn her when enemies are near, Lozen fights internal sickness to lead her band of refugees to freedom and safety. Alongside family, new friends, and Hussein, the handsome young man whose life she saved, Lozen forges a path through a barren land where new recombinant monsters lurk and the secrets of this new world will reveal themselves to her . . . whether she wants them to or not.”

I want to thank Lee & Low Books for supplying this book for me to read and review!

What I Thought- This was a really interesting story, taking place in a post-apocalyptic world set in the far future. It is the second book of a trilogy with the first being Killer of Enemies. You do not have to read the first book to be caught up to speed for the second. In Trail of the Dead, I like that it shows that the lines between man and myth are being blurred, after man’s fall from technology. Honestly, that aspect of the plot reminds me of Terry Brooks’ excellent “The Sword of Shannara” series, where man had a great war using their technology, thousands of years pass, and the world has evolved and mostly forgotten the past and been reunited with magic. But this series is wonderfully different – the series takes place right after that horrible ending of life as we knew it. It was interesting seeing how it warns against certain things nowadays. One thing I found interesting was that the overlord-type people from before the book had started putting technology into themselves, rather than risk creating computers that might decide to kill all of humankind. Really neat points. The story itself is rather good, with a slow start, but with the plot picking up remarkably fast. There are characters you root for, characters you sympathize with, and characters you absolutely despise – all necessary for keeping the reader riveted. The book’s multicultural aspect is a subtle part in the story at first and develops with the story. It includes references to several cultures (one of the characters is hinted at as being Muslim, for example, although Lozen is not quite sure because religion was banned years before her birth). Lozen and her family are predominately of Chiricahua descent (a Native American people) among others, and the book reflects that, showing tastes of their customs/culture and legends (of course, because religion was banned, it is slightly fragmented, but it is still very neat), and the book even uses a few words, easy to understand in the context of the story. There was some mild language used and complexity to the plot, so I recommend the book to a 13+ audience. I didn’t care for the formatting in the first chapter with regards to the thought dialogue. In Chapter One, punctuation/formatting isn’t used to show Lozen thinking to herself, although this does change to standard formatting as the book goes on. It was okay, but personally I think it makes reading a bit clumsy. I think that Bruchac has done a good job of explaining book one while not slowing the story down (you get a bigger picture as the book unfolds). The book is well-written, and a good action story that also brings in a mix of cultures. I would definitely recommend this book.

I found a nice website with legends of Native Americans, some of them from the Chiricahua tribe, like the one that Lozen is from. You can see them at Manataka.org HERE.

To join the MCBD link up, go HERE!

Blog Tour! Misfortune Annie and the Locomotive Reaper by “Gusto” Dave Jackson & Janet “The Kid” Fogg

23 Jan

misfortune-annie-and-the-locomotive-reaper-1mf-annie-hi-resMisfortune Annie and the Locomotive Reaper
Co-Written by “Gusto” Dave Jackson & Janet “The Kid” Fogg
154 Pages – ages 8+
Published by FA LLC on October 22, 2016

Synopsis from Publisher- “Annabelle Fortune, the fastest gunslinger in the wild west, inadvertently stops a stranger from attacking a train — and he wears a suit that enables him to fly! — the government believes she’s the only one to have witnessed the Locomotive Reaper and survived to tell the tale.

Promising to find out what he can about her missing father, the Director of the Secret Service persuades Annie to swear in. Too soon, her detested nickname re-stakes its claim.

Partnered with Beau Slokam, whose penchant for gambling leads them straight to the Doom Gang, Misfortune Annie guides the smooth-talking Southerner in a chase through the Rockies, with her Cheyenne friend, Wontoa, rounding out their unlikely trio.

When Annie again meets the Locomotive Reaper, his gadgetry proves far more advanced — and deadly — than even top scientists could have imagined.”

What I Thought- This was a nice story that added a slight steampunk view on the Wild West, with a man who has a suit that lets him fly, and Annie slinging guns and lassoing hooligans. It works in a good way The setting is well-described and makes it feel true. The details in the story makes the entire setting picture come into focus. The characters are well fleshed out, and realistic. The dialogue is spot on for the time period (just about 15 years after the American Civil War), and makes you feel like you are actually there with Annie. The book has a lot of action and kids will like reading about Annie beating up bad guys and going on adventures. It’s a nice story, and I would like to read the second book.

…………………….

Q&A with Janet Fogg & Dave Jackson, Courtesy of the Publisher

Your protagonist was inspired by spitfire Annie Oakley, but what’s the full story behind your exciting middle grade adventure Misfortune Annie and the Locomotive Reaper?

Dave: To properly tell Misfortune Annie’s origin, we must first go back to the spark from a great machine. I make no bones about my awe of George Lucas and the Indiana Jones series. It’s widely known by most Lucas fans that the rugged archaeologist first showed up in spirit in old matinee serials until George tweaked him a little for a new generation of movie lovers. Indy’s trusty whip came from Zorro cliffhangers. So, hoping to scare up just anything that could give Indy a run for his money, I poked around in the same cinema of yesteryear and dug the cowboy genre. Roy Rogers, the Lone Ranger, Gene Autry—they were huge! So like Indy, my new star had to have a catchy name and signature duds. He was going to have a 10-gallon hat and Levi jacket.
I never got to name him though because fate threw in a wildcard that made me so grateful and stoked, I could never go back to the dude. On Christmas vacation one year, nearly sleeping behind the wheel through flat old Kansas, I passed a sign that boasted, “Annie Oakley Museum.” Jolted awake, I had my new hero. It would be a young lady known by a slick nickname.
Janet: We were chatting about his concept for Annie and what he wanted to accomplish with the book/series, and asked if I’d join him on that journey. Annie appealed to me for many reasons. First, because she was a young cowgirl struggling to excel in the man’s world of the wild, Wild West. I really liked that. Second, because I thought we could weave subtle “lessons- learned” into the books, so that young readers, especially teen girls, would have a role model with strength, courage, determination, and strong morals.

What made you decide to co-write as a team on this series – and how is it collaborating on a book?

Dave: We didn’t collaborate. Like spoiled rich kids we fought, I tell ya. Nah, actually, the writer’s journey is very lonely and I highly recommend brewing with another author, especially someone as tenacious, gracious, and creative as Janet.
Janet: Or as funny, talented, and kind as Dave. (Can you say mutual admiration society? It’s been a blast!)

Can you tell us more about the “Fun Facts” readers will find at the very back of the book?

Janet: We decided to incorporate some historic facts in each book, and the “Fun Facts” helps define certain facts versus fiction. One example is the waist overalls made by Levi Strauss that Annie wears. These were the original blue jeans, and in our Fun Facts a reader will learn that when they were first created by German-born businessman Levi Strauss and Latvian-born tailor Jacob Davis, blue jeans were actually called “waist overalls.” The duo received a patent for them on May 20, 1873, with a product that had one back pocket, a watch pocket, a cinch, and brace buttons. When a young reader reads this Fun Fact, we hope it inspires them to pause and consider the origins of other everyday items. Perhaps there are many young inventors out there, in need of inspiration and a nudge!

What is your favorite part of being an author / or the process of writing?

Dave: Hands down, it’s when I daydream of people reading our stories. After which, my imagination blossoms more to fans tossing me the keys to their Ferrari—and not to park it for them—then they offer to buy me and Janet fried chicken dinners.
Janet: What Dave said. Plus, bending my imagination 90 degrees to somewhere. Inspiring a reader. Preserving history.

What does a typical work day of writing look like for you?

Dave: There is no typical. My days are maxed with tutoring my son in algebra, playing music gigs, performing stand up, an auditing occupation, planning a convention, exercise, my lovely girlfriend, and having a good time. I truly write due to my love for it because there’s no time otherwise. Because of odd predicaments, I’ve borrowed other folks’ computers and even typewriters to get something on the page. I’ve scrawled on napkins.
Janet: I’ve never been a good sleeper, so I sneak out of bed when the Great Horned Owls are still conversing. First, I check email. (Who doesn’t?) While I used to work on manuscript drafts during those wee hours, now I work on my 359th FG posts or answer questions about the Fighter Group. After breakfast I write new words. Then I’ll edit (I can edit all day, but my brain begins to protest after writing three or four or pages of new words). That’s another reason I love collaborating on stories!

Have you ever had a mentor, or someone who sparked your passion for writing?

Dave: Yoda, but Janet wound up being better.
Janet: After I stop blushing, I’m going to work on growing long pointy ears. Really though – reading, reading and more reading.

Annie is such a trailblazer and great role model for young readers. What do you hope fans of the book will take away from the story?

Janet: That girls rock!
Dave: Misfortune Annie and the Locomotive Reaper is the really good book you’ve been looking for. Also – I do want everyone to know that I learned to crack a whip just because of the Indiana Jones movies (which influenced Misfortune Annie’s creation).

What do you feel makes your book unique from other middle grade fiction out there?

Dave: The characters are peculiar, funny, and cool.
Janet: Especially Annie.
Dave: Yes, you won’t be able to wait for Book Two.

Ah! So speaking of book two, what’s next for Misfortune Annie?

Throughout the series, we will see more problems that Annie doesn’t get credit for because she’s a girl in a ‘tough guy’ world.

A long cast of colorful crooks (think James Bond’s bullies) is waiting to take on the fastest draw in the west. Book Two leads Annie to New Orleans and face-to-face with a wicked Voodoo priest. In another episode, the Dragon Warrior shall render her six shooters useless. A sinister magician will perform the ultimate trick on her and the Secret Service. Beware pirates! Look out for creatures in the woods, Annie! Not to mention cameos by historical figures like Wyatt Earp, Baby Doe Tabor, and Teddy Roosevelt—perfect walk-ons to spark curiosity about US History.

…………………….

Janet Fogg

Janet Fogg’s focus on writing began when she was CFO and Managing Principal of OZ Architecture, one of Colorado’s largest architectural firms. Fifteen writing awards later, she resigned from the firm to follow the yellow brick road. Ten months after that, she signed a contract with The Wild Rose Press for her historical romance Soliloquy a HOLT Medallion Award of Merit winner.

With husband Richard, Janet co-wrote Fogg in the Cockpit (Casemate), one of five books nominated in 2012 by the Air Force Historical Foundation for best World War II book reviewed in Air Power History.

Keeping her historical knowledge sharp, Janet manages the 359th Fighter Group’s Facebook page, sharing WWII stories and photos about the Fighter Group. She is also a proud member and 2015/16 Vice President of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. She previously served as Published Author Liaison in 2010.

gusto-and-the-kid

The authors sure know how to Kid around with Gusto!

Dave Jackson

Not your typical author, Dave Jackson started writing in his constant pursuit to become a renaissance man, but later fell in love with the art form. He performs stand-up and skits regularly, as Comedy remains one of his many passions and he writes and performs skits, as well as stand-up. Also a songwriter and guitarist, Dave has composed over 300 musical titles.

A country boy, Dave was raised in Oklahoma and taught 6th grade English for two years. He enjoys sharing the tale about when he climbed high into a towering black jack tree and grabbed a dead branch. Snap! He hurtled toward his death, but he held tight to the branch and it slowed his fall, saving his life.

In 2013, Dave enjoyed the release of Tattoo Rampage by Curiosity Quills Press. The novel follows Evangelina Marquez-James, a strong female heroine, who gets her first tattoo as a symbol of courage to carry on after her police officer husband dies in the line of duty.

Author Links below:

Perfect Picture Book Friday! I Am A Story by Dan Yaccarino

22 Jan

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’s a really profound story.

storyI Am A Story
By Dan Yaccarino
40 pages – ages 4+

Published by HarperCollins on Sept. 6 2016

Theme/Topic- The history of storytelling? It’s a bit hard to narrow down.

Genre- Fiction? Nonfiction?

Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “I am a story. I was told along a campfire, then painted on cave walls.

Synopsis from Publisher: “Internationally acclaimed author-illustrator Dan Yaccarino presents a powerful picture book that celebrates storytelling—from the past to the present and beyond.

From cave drawings to the invention of the printing press to our digital age, discover how a story has been told in many different ways from the past to today. It’s always been around, making us happy, sad, excited, or scared and bringing people together. With simple text and delightful illustrations, Dan Yaccarino reminds us of the power of story.”

What I Thought- I really like how this book recaps the history of storytelling in a simplified manner, taking you all the way from oral storytelling, through writing, printing, electronically, and then back to oral storytelling in a nice circular ending. The book has minimal text, making it a nice read-aloud for younger kids. Mr. Yaccarino’s illustrations are both detailed and simple, and kids will like looking at them. I mean, just take a look for your self!:

story2

Isn’t that great? I like how there is a detail that is shared with all of the pictures as they go throughout the timeline. This book is a nice transition into a topic on writing stories, or printing books as well. I really like how Mr. Yaccarino has found a way of writing a great book that takes your breath away as you read it and look at the illustrations.

Activities and Resources- Storyarts.org has a great list of activities for school kids that involve speaking/storytelling HERE.

Mensaforkids.org has tips on storytelling (good for kids and adults!) HERE!

Check out the trailer!

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

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