The Picture Book Buzz

Susanna Hill's 9th Annual Halloweensie Contest

It's that time of year again. Mummies, skeletons, princesses, unicorns, pirates, goblins, and an IRS man (seriously folks, I had a kid dress as this a few years back - saying "I'm your worst nightmare!" Boy was she was right!) running loose through the town. All stocking up on candy and preparing to indulge in a sugar comma. However, for children's writers, this time of year brings squeals of laughter and the anguished pulling of hair as they try to write a full story for kids 12 and under in 100 words. That's right - 100 words (or less if you're really good). Here are the rules, if you dare to join us: The Contest: write a 100 word Halloween story appropriate for children (children here def

The Picture Book Buzz- Interview with Deborah Underwood

If you're looking for a great way to freak out your parents, tell them you're going to be a street musician when you grow up. ~Deborah Underwood Born in Walla Walla, Washington, Deborah Underwood dreamed of being an astronomer. (even named her stuffed bear Ursa Major), a singer, or a writer. Today, she writes and sings, so she’s done pretty well. She also wanted to work in a piano factory and paste the labels on new pianos. And on tough days, she occasionally dreams of changing careers. Deborah has written over 45 books, both fiction and non-fiction, picture book and chapter book. She is a NY Times best-selling author and “when she's not writing, you might find her singing in a choir, playin

Pippa's Night Parade - Perfect Picture Book Friday #PPBF

Think back to your childhood. What story or movie gave you nightmares? For me it was Bambi, and specifically the mother's death in a fire. Sometimes adults don't realize the monsters that a child's relaxed brains can conjure from stories or movies once they go to sleep. I'd be willing to bet that many (if not most) of us had some nightmare or bad (scary) dream as a child after a particular book or movie. I know I suffered from nightmares of fires for a month or so after I watched Bambi. As did my mother, since I woke her night after night screaming & crying. Our subconscious is a lot less inhibited by wanting to appear brave, pleasing a family member, or having the privilege of staying up. I

The Picture Book Buzz - Interview with Lisa Robinson

What is the creative process and how does it work? This is a question that intrigues me. ~ Lisa Robinson Lisa Robinson was born in Kampala, Uganda. Her parents were Peace Corps volunteers who later became world-traveling diplomats, "so books became my best friends." Now, Lisa is a psychiatrist who works with children, teens, and adults and a children's book author. She has an MFA in Creative Writing for Young People from Lesley University where she now teaches an elective course, Creativity and the Unconscious Mind. She lives in the Boston area with her family and three cats. When she's not working or writing she's flying through the air with her daughters on aerial silks at her local circus

Sloth to the Rescue - Perfect Picture Book Friday #PPBF

Did anyone really enjoy those dreaded "team projects"? Especially, the ones where the teacher picked the members, supposedly to play to each of your strengths. Where inevitably one or more didn't do their portion and someone else (read "you/me") had to pick up the slack. Sometimes though, during a rare 'blue moon' a team gelled. Everyone worked together. No one stayed up till two in the morning alphabetizing the bibliography, making the poster board, or finishing the report. Then the teacher didn't seem quite so crazy or "mean." What if one of the team members was slow? I mean V E R Y slow. And shy. Then you might have a team of rain forest animals on a quest. You could probably name a few c

The Picture Book Buzz - Interview with Leanne Shirtliffe

I’m a big kid myself: I love to laugh and to learn new things. My goal is to never completely grow up. ~Leanne Shirtliffe Leanne Shirtliffe grew up on a large grain farm 20 miles west of Winnipeg, Manitoba; the youngest of three kids. After college, she left Canada and worked in Asia for eight years. “It turned out to be a build-your-own-family adventure.” She met her husband in Bahrain and had twins in Thailand. She now lives in Calgary, Alberta…near the beautiful Rocky Mountains. She’s been a teacher for more than 20 years, and “it’s a job I absolutely love.” She’s the author of I Love Sharks, Too (2017), Saving Thunder the Great: The True Story of a Gerbil's Rescue from the Fort McMurray

Queen of Physics: How Wu Chien Shiung Helped Unlock the Secrets of the Atom - Perfect Picture Book F

I've often wondered how many great minds, inventors, musicians, and artists we've lost because the individual was born into dire poverty or systemic discrimination. Fortunately, many great actors, musicians, scientists, and sports heroes fought harder to fulfill their dreams, after being told to quit and made to feel a failure. This week's #PPBF book features determined woman whose efforts not only changed our understanding of physics but paved a path for women scientists. Queen of Physics: How Wu Chien Shiung Helped Unlock the Secrets of the Atom Author: Teresa Robeson Illustrator: Rebecce Huang Publisher: Sterling Children's Books (2019) Ages: 5-18 Nonfiction Themes: Honesty, hard work, an

The Picture Book Buzz - Interview with Teresa Robeson

Boy are you in for a treat this week. Drum roll, please. The amazing Teresa Robeson is visiting with me today! Teresa was lucky enough to view the first lunar landing and be raised on a healthy dose of Star Trek. This series of fortunate events turned her into a total nerd/geek-girl who loves to write and read science fiction, science, and modern fantasy. She also has a life-long love of children's lit, having never really grown up. Her stories and poems have appeared in publications for children and adults, such as Babybug, Ladybug and Outdoor Indiana magazines. Teresa’s debut picture book, Queen of Physics: How Wu Chien Shiung Helped Unlock the Secrets of the Atom (People Who Shaped Our Wo

Bird Count - Perfect Picture Book Friday #PPBF

Every year, I look forward to The Cornell Lab's Feeder Watch citizen science project. I move my laptop into the kitchen for a bit every day, so I can watch and record the number and species of the birds that come through my yard from November to April. I have records from 1996 and it is amazing what has changed. For instance, we no longer get cedar waxwings or quail. Though, I have been able to document (with photos) that I get both song sparrows and fox sparrows in my yard. It's fun to watch them interact with each other and my yard. To watch birds who typically don't perch, perching on my suet feeders. And to see which birds will overwinter each year. I could go on and on and on . . . but

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