Welcome, Readers!

The contest Save the Picture Book has ended. Telling people about funny, informative, beautiful, or generally awesome picture books continues. I also share middle grade books, book apps, and educational apps that my kids and I like.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Hitch

Every plan has a hitch. Sitting at my desk this morning, in my cloud jammies, I realized mine:

Day One: A third grade class (I hope) sends in 20 picture book reviews. They win the prize.

Day Two: A second grade class sends in 20 picture book reviews. No prize. Unless you call salt from your tears a prize. Some do. I don't.

Un uh. Not on my watch. Sooo...if any class sends in 20 reviews, they will at least get recognition for saving the world! (and the picture book.) Some sort of official, yet silly, letter. It's not much. But I hope it will show that picture books care. (They do.)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

It's Story Time Somewhere!

Things I love about time zones:

1. Our today is somebody else's tomorrow. And I mean that literally, not in a sappy, quote.com-y way.

2. If you have a bad morning in America, but instead lived in Australia, you wouldn't even be awake yet (and yet it would already be tomorrow.)

3. Antarctica and the North Pole. Uh oh. T...he time zones are converging. What time will it be? It's mind blowing.

4. When It's Six O'Clock in San Francisco: a Trip Through Time Zones, which allows kids to see how time zones work in everyday life, is one of our classroom prizes for Save Everything! (and the Picture Book.) A big thanks to author Cynthia Jaynes Omololu for the donation!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Save Everything! (and the Picture Book)...January Edition

Picture books are imagination factories. And with imagination, anything is possible.

How to Save the World! (and the Picture Book) in 6 Easy Steps

1. Choose One (or More):

Garbage Helps Our Garden Grow: a Compost Story by Linda Glaser, photos by Shelley Rotner

The Curious Garden by Peter Brown

Here Comes the Garbage Barge by Jonah Winter and Red Nose Studio

Redwoods by Jason Chin

One Well: The Story of Water on Earth by Rochelle Strauss, ill. by Rosemary Woods

How I Learned Geography by Uri Shulevitz

Living Sunlight: How Plants Bring the Earth to Life by Molly Bang and Penny Chisholm

One World, One Day by Barbara Kerley

All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon, ill. by Marla Frazee

When It’s Six O’Clock in San Francisco: a Trip Through Time Zones by Cynthia Jaynes Omololu and Randy DuBurke

□ Did you know that larvae were the original recyclers—by digesting waste and enriching the soil? That’s why What to Expect When You’re Expecting Larvae: a Guide for Insect Parents (and Curious Children) by Bridget Heos, ill. by St├ęphane Jorisch, completes our Save the World! List. Watch for it this Spring from Lerner/Millbrook!

2. Check the picture book out from the library, or buy it.

3. Read it to kids (or have them read it.)

4. Have them write a review. Little kids can draw a picture and a smiley face if they like it. Big kids can write a couple paragraphs, complete a book review worksheet, or do something creative. For ideas, see the next post.

5. Send the reviews to authorbheos@gmail.com or 7443 Walnut, K.C., MO 64114. Include the child's first name and age, and the parent's or teacher's email address (which won’t be shared.) If you are a teacher sending in reviews, please send them in together. Watch for select reviews to appear here.

6. Give yourself a gold star. You have saved the world! (and the picture book.) You may also have won a prize.

Teacher Prizes! The first teacher to send in 20 book reviews will win Guinness World Records 2011, a 60-piece sphere world puzzle, and one of our featured picture books: When It’s Six O’Clock in San Francisco: a Trip Through Time Zones by Cynthia Jaynes Omololu and Randy DuBurke.

Kid Prizes! One book reviewer’s name will be drawn to win a U.S.A./Canada map puzzle and a picture book.

Be sure to check back in February for a sweet book list and some sweet prizes!

Book Review Worksheets, Pointers, and Creative Ideas

Teacher Tools: Book Review Worksheets

I would be happy to email you a January Save Everything! (and the Picture Book) printable flyer, which includes the list of books and the six easy steps to participating in Save the World! (and the Picture Book.) I can also send you a printable book review worksheet for very young or older kids. Please email me at authorbheos@gmail.com.

Traditional Book Review Pointers

To write a basic book review, follow these steps:

1. Include the title, author's and illustrator's names, publisher, and publication date.

2. Write a brief summary.

3. Write what, specifically you like about the book. Did it teach you something new? Make you think about something in a new way? Make you feel a certain way?

4. Add what, if anything, you would have liked to be different about the book. Additional information? Something explained more clearly? A different cover?

5. Say who you think would enjoy this book the most.

6. Try to set aside personal biases. For instance, you might prefer serious stories. Funny stories aren't your thing. Or maybe the reverse it true. You think any story worth its salt should make you lolrofl. You are certainly entitled to your likes and dislikes! But try to decide not just whether you like the book, but whether it is a good book. (And whether other kids would like it.)

Creative Book Review Ideas

1. Make a book trailer. This is like a movie preview, only it's about a book.

2. Write your review comic book style, which book reviewer Travis Jonker sometimes does at 100 Scope Notes.

3. Write your review as a letter to the author.

4. Write your review picking up themes from the book. For example, for Here Comes the Garbage Barge, by Jonah Winter and Red Nose Studio, write the review on something recycled, like a cereal box. Or for When It's Six O'Clock in San Francisco: a Trip Through Time Zones, by Cynthia Jaynes Omololu and Randy DuBurke, write the review in a circle, making a clock.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Coming Tomorrow...January's books and prizes

Coming tomorrow: January's list of books and prizes. Find out how you can Save the World! (and the Picture Book.)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wishing You a Picture (Book) Perfect Christmas!

Thank you to all the authors and illustrators who have promised books as prizes. The January reading list will be announced by the end of the month...be sure to spread the word to your parent and teacher friends.

In the meantime, Merry Christmas. I hope Santa brings you lots of picture books!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Nine Books and Counting

After just a few days of announcing the promotion to authors, illustrators, and publishing folk, nine new picture books have been promised as prizes for Save Everything! (and the Picture Book.)

Do you ever read the description of a book, and feel a smile spreading across your face? Well, that's how I felt reading the info an author and a publicist sent me today.

More smile-inducing books are sure to follow after the holiday hubbub. 2011 is going to be the best picture book year ever!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Book Prizes!

We just received the first book prize for Save Everything! (and the Picture Book.)

Thank you to author Ronica Stromberg and book distributor Independent Publishers Group for sending The Time-for-bed Angel. Kids (and lots of grown ups, too!) need things just so before they settle into bed. At times, it seems only angelic intervention will get the child to sleep. Luckily, Sam has a guardian angel to do just that in this sweet bedtime story.

This book follows next December's theme: Save the Snow Angels! (and the Picture Books.)

(Authors, illustrators, and publishers: To see if your book fits a theme, see the Monthly Themes post. Please keep in mind that new children's books on all topics will be given as prizes to children who send in picture book reviews. Donations are always welcome.)

Book Info:

The Time-for-Bed Angel, by Ronica Stromberg, ill. by Kristina Stephenson, published by Lion's Children, Oxford, England. ISBN 9780745960661

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

For Parents, Teachers, Librarians, and Other Very Important People

Thank you for visiting Save Everything! (and the Picture Book.) And thank you for sharing picture books with children.

I recently read a touching story in Publishers Weekly about a dad who worked next door to a bookstore. One day, he bought a picture book for about $14. Because he didn't make a lot of money, he at first felt guilty for the purchase. But after reading it to his daughter every night, and hearing her laugh, he said it was the best $14 he ever spent.

That story brought a tear to my eye. For one thing, it perfectly described what picture books mean to kids--and the people who read to them. It's also a beautiful picture of a father's love for his child.

I'm sure you have a memory (or many memories) of how picture books touched your life, or the life of a child. I'd love to hear about them.

I hope that on this site, you'll find even more ideas for picture books to share with kids, and ideas for ways they can talk about those books through creative reviews. And if your child or classroom wins a book or two in the process, so much the better.

Please note that this promotion encourages people to buy books--or check them out at the library. Or both. (There will always be books on the monthly lists widely available at libraries.) It's all about reading picture books--and the price for that ranges from around $14-to absolutely free!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Eight Ways Picture Books Help Children Read and Learn

A recent New York Times article, "Picture Books Languish as Parents Push 'Big Kid' Books"
said that some parents are rushing children into chapter books, or discouraging them to read "too easy" picture books. The parents hope that this will give their children a competitive edge in reading and learning.

I think these parents have their children's best interests at heart. It's a competitive world, and they understandably want their kids to be able to earn a living when they get older.

But reading experts disagree with the premise. Here are eight ways they say picture books actually help children learn...and learn to read.

1. According to Dr. Deborah Pope, executive director of the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation, picture books help children link images and words, teaching them to visualize stories...an ability that comes in handy when they read chapter books.

2. Picture book master Tomie dePaola describes a picture book as "once a child has a book read to them, they can remember the book just by looking at the pictures."
If you've ever witnessed a child learning to read (or if you remember learning to read,) you know that memorizing stories often comes first.

3. Lisa Von Drasek of Early Word Kids,
made several good points, including that picture books often have more sophisticated vocabulary than early chapter books.

4. She said that picture books literally give kids a picture of other places, historical times, and cultures. I would like to add that any nonfiction book with pictures helps a child learn a subject because the pictures serve as an aid for understanding and remembering.

5. She added that the rhythm, rhyme, and repetition of picture books help kids learn to read.

6. Josie Leavitt, co-owner of The Flying Pig bookstore, said in a blog post "How We Can Save the Picture Book"
that good picture books are something you remember your whole life. I think a lot of you remember sitting with a parent or caregiver listening to a picture book. While that memory may not have helped you make your first million, it's worth something (maybe more important.)

7. Experts have argued against pushing kids to grow up too fast.
While a child might be capable of reading an academically advanced book (and might choose to,) that doesn't mean they should be steered away from picture books. Letting kids enjoy the childish innocence (or even nonsense) of a picture book lets kids be kids. (And keep in mind that they can enjoy chapter books and picture books.)

8. As a parent, I've found that letting my kids read what they want--and even feeding their obsessions (animals! dinosaurs! baseball! The Hardy Boys! Harry Potter! Goosebumps!) has made them enthusiastic readers. It's also made them willing to humor me when I say, "Let's read all the mock Caldecott's!" or "Let's learn about the Dust Bowl!"

Picture books can be fun, funny, off-the-wall, quiet, touching, reassuring, informative, not to mention beautifully illustrated. Just like grownups, kids like to be entertained, educated, and enlightened by books. And if kids read what they like, they'll like reading!

Monthly Themes

January: Save the World (and the Picture Book)
Books with environmental or world themes

February: Save the Sweets (and the Sweet Picture Books)
Books about sweets things like cupcakes and sweet-ish things like fuzzy animals

March: Save the Bookworms (and the Picture Books They Eat)
Books about books…and insects

April: Save the Laughing Children (and the Picture Book)
Funny books

May: Save the Pink Princesses (and the Tomboys)
Books about princesses and other girl power themes

June: Save America’s Favorite Pastime (and America’s Favorite Picture Books)
Baseball books

July: Save the Polar Bears (and the Teddy Bears)
Books featuring bears

August: Save the Summer Vacation (and the Picture Books)
Books about summer and books about school

September: Save the Koalas (and the Marsupial Picture Books)
Books about marsupials

October: Save the Monsters (and the Picture Books)
Books about monsters—scary, funny, or cute

November: Save the Heroes (Real and Pretend)
Books about military, police, firefighters, superheroes, and other heroes

December: Save the Snow Angels (and the Picture books)
Books featuring snow or angels (This includes holiday books if they have snow.)