Coming in February: Midnight Teacher by Janet Halfmann

Halfmann tells the powerful story of Lily Ann Granderson, an enslaved woman who “believed the path to freedom was through education.” Ladd’s rich, naturalistic acrylic-and-pencil images depict Granderson’s upbringing in Kentucky, where she learned to read and write in secret, then shared her knowledge with other children. As an enslaved adult in Mississippi, Granderson risked punishment by holding night classes in an empty cabin: “Landowners feared that if the enslaved could read, they would discover that some northerners wanted slavery abolished.” After the school is discovered, Granderson is shocked to learn that she won’t be punished (Halfmann speculates about why she might have escaped punishment in an afterword) and reopens her school, teaching as a free woman for many more years. The painful but uplifting narrative may spark readers’ curiosity about other enslaved individuals whose stories have not yet been told.

Age Range: 7 – 11 years
Grade Level: 3 – 4
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: Lee & Low Books; Illustrated edition (February 6, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1620141639
ISBN-13: 978-1620141632

Pre-order from Amazon or other online retailers.

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You Know What? By Carol Gordon Ekster

You Know What? by Carol Gordon Ekster is a delightful bedtime story that will be treasured by kids and moms alike.

Oliver knows it’s bedtime, but he’s had a busy day and wants to tell mommy all about it.

This is not the first book by Ekster that I’ve read, and I doubt it will be my last. As a former elementary school teacher, she is in tune with what resonates with young people. Oliver continues to toss out the same question to his mommy as he gets ready for bedtime. His tired, yet patient, mommy keeps on listening and encouraging him along the way. It’s a very sweet concept. I also truly enjoyed the artwork of Nynke Mare Talsma. Vibrant blues, greens, yellows, and reds catch your eye as you move page by page through this charming story. I hope we will see more collaborations between these two talented people.

Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Age Range: 4 – 6 years
Grade Level: Preschool – 3
Lexile Measure: 340
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Clavis (September 15, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1605372781
ISBN-13: 978-1605372785

I received a copy of this book from the publisher. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

STORYSTORM 2018 Update

 

In case you forgot, STORYSTORM, founded by Tara Lazar is taking place this month. In the past, I’ve posted my ideas here. I’m trying something different this year and simply keeping a spreadsheet of my ideas and posting updates at the blog.

Today makes 12 days that we are into this annual event. Believe it or not, I’ve managed to come up with 12 ideas already. I’m struggling, because tired brains don’t think well. Some of the ideas I will probably end up tossing when I get around to reviewing them. The nice thing is that each day a different guest blogger is featured at Tara’s blog to give us a healthy dose of inspiration.

Are you participating in STORYSTORM? Any other events you plan to participate in this year?

This Book is Full of Monsters by Guido van Genechten

This Book is Full of Monsters is a silly and adorable story written and illustrated by Guido van Genechten.

Young readers are warned from the beginning and given a list of things they need if they dare to open the front cover of this book that is filled with small, stinky, loud, gross, sleepy and sometimes scary monsters. This book is a fun interactive experience that kids will enjoy. They might even be in for a surprise or two. With van Genechten’s superb artwork and such a zany story, youngsters will be going back to this one time and again.

Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Age Range: 4 – 6 years
Grade Level: Preschool – 3
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Clavis; Pop edition (August 15, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1605373605
ISBN-13: 978-1605373607

I received a copy of this book from the publisher. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

STORYSTORM 2018 Update

 

In case you forgot, STORYSTORM, founded by Tara Lazar is taking place this month. In the past, I’ve posted my ideas here. I’m trying something different this year and simply keeping a spreadsheet of my ideas and posting updates at the blog.

We are six days into STORYSTORM and I have six ideas on the spreadsheet–all mysteries of one kind or another. I’m excited about this annual event because it has given me countless ideas and led to a published book. one under contract, and one I am going to be querying agents with. I also have several picture books finished or in the editing stage. Here’s hoping I can keep up this pace and stay on track.

Are you participating this year? If so, how’s it going so far?

From Clavis Publishing

 

Dear Santa… That’s how Tess starts her letter. You don’t have to bring me any toys this year. The only thing I want is a real gnome. Full of anticipation, Tess looks forward to the day her new friend arrives: a friend she can take everywhere, and with whom she can share everything. With Grandpa and Grandma’s help, she gets everything ready. Grandpa builds little pieces of furniture, Grandma sews a little blanket, and Tess prepares a welcome meal. And then it’s finally Christmas Eve … Will Santa bring a real gnome? A heartwarming picture book with wonderfully funny illustrations.

Oliver should go to sleep. But there is so much he wants to tell his mother about: what happened that day, the things he read in books, everything he sees around him. A touching and familiar picture book about postponing the ritual of going to sleep.”

Bunny is looking forward to a cozy fall and winter with Hedgehog. But Hedgehog says he will start hibernating when the first leaf falls. Bunny is worried. He cannot go that long without seeing his friend! He comes up with a clever plan: he is simply going to hide the falling leaves, and the arrival of fall…. A merry and moving story about friendship.

With all his might Benji puts some seeds into the earth. Eagerly he follows the progress of growing. He lays in the sun beside his banana squash. He smells it, touches it, and puts sticks in the ground to measure how big it gets. A simple story that opens up children’s eyes to one of nature’s smallest and at the same time biggest wonders.

This is a book full of monsters: small, smelly, yelling, creepy… monsters! So it’s a book for hard core monster lovers, but also for beginners in monsterology. With shock effects!

2018 Writing Goals

 

Happy New Year! Tomorrow it is back to school and work for everyone–actually, I’ve been working off and on since the day after Christmas–and it’s time to set some goals for 2018. A few of these goals will be carry overs from 2017, but that’s okay. I still made some great progress last year.

GOAL 1: Submit Clever Tom to agents

This is my most recent story. It was a Picture Book Idea Month (now STORYSTORM) idea that I was finally able to iron out the details of and write down thanks to my writing group.  Not thrilled with the title (titles have never been my strength) but totally in love with the story. It appears in good shape, so I plan to shop it around and see if I can’t get any bites on it. (Smaller goal is to research at least three children’s agents by February 15, 2018 and see who might be the best fit.)

GOAL 2: Participate in STORYSTORM

Just started today. No more logging ideas on my blog, but I’ll provide a weekly update. I’ve managed this challenge more than once. It has lead to one published book, another due to be released this year, and the story above. I also have several other partially written or waiting to be edited stories in the works thanks to this annual event. Can’t wait to see what this year brings.

GOAL 3: Blog twice a week on all four blogs

In addition to this site, there’s The Book Connection, An Imperfect Christian Mom, and Books Can Be Deadly. This seems manageable and not too overwhelming with my work schedule. I’m doing my best not to make my mommy blog only about books. There is so much more I would like to share there. I blog twice a month at Christian Children’s Authors. (Smaller goal is to set up my calendar a month in advance and log in two days a week for blogging.)

GOAL 4: Guest blog at least once a quarter

I love guest blogging on other people’s sites. I’m going to be reaching out to friends via email and social media to see who will host me. I’m always willing to return the favor. (Smaller goal is to reach out to fellow bloggers within the next two weeks to see about getting on their schedules.)

GOAL 5: Contribute to Guardian Angel Kids this year

I’ve wanted to do this for a while. Guardian Angel Publishing has been so wonderful to me. I must make time to return the favor by supporting their online magazine. This was a goal from last year and I want to make it a reality this year. (Smaller goal is to research all themes by January 31, 2018 and see which issue I would like to contribute toward.)

GOAL 6: Finish Amelia’s Mission and get it ready for submission

I’m seventeen chapters in. This will be my project at all my writing group meetings this year. Amelia is away at school now and has met a good friend. She also has encountered some mean girls who are out to make life miserable. She’s still pondering Aunt Martha’s secret and what she should do about it. (Smaller goal is to attend all monthly meetings.)