Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Oh, The Places We Want To Go!

Time has gotten away from me once again, Agh! It seems the closer we get to summer the busier things get.  When taking a break from working on my book series, kid activities, library romping, and backyard renovation I’ve perused the blog world.   Found it would be a lot more interesting if I were to start posting while camel trekking the Merzouga Desert, husky sledding in Lapland, or drinking vodka in an ice bar.  Seriously, when do people have the time, and not to mention the money to do this?  I guess if I wasn’t married with four kids, then perhaps.   I do travel to unimaginable places everyday, that’s in between the pages I’m speaking of.  No baggage claim or passports needed, just finding quiet moments in the day to quickly jet set off to some exotic local.   That’s all I need, well that and a finished backyard oasis to get me there. 

Is there that one place you have always dreamt of going?  For me, it's Japan and hope to have the experience of living there for a while someday. Where else where do you find bullet trains, sidewalk vending machines, crazy fashion, Zen gardens, high tech toilets, and don’t forget Sake?   This would make an awesome blog as I post from the pic above @ the Picture Book Library in Iwaki City, Japan.  There's no mention of husband here because he doesn't share my fascination with Asian culture.   This would be along the line of one of those Eat Pray Love adventures!
Back to the here and now.  Couldn’t be more happier that Easter is upon us and so is the end of the school year ;-)  Not to mention my Birthday is Easter Sunday, who has a baby on Easter?  We’ve romped and read all the bunny books out of the library over the last couple years so not reading Bunny books this time around.  I did manage to find a couple older kid Easter books and waiting for Amazon to come knocking.  The praying mantises should be arriving any day as well as our Atlantic Dill Pumpkin & Jack in the Bean Stalk Seeds  Maybe the praying mantis will hatch in route and greet the postal workers?  Okay I’ve been reading too many Judy Blume books this week.  Did you know their called praying mantises because their legs are positioned like they are praying?  And did you know the females often bite the heads off and eat the males after mating?  Ha, there’s a morning thought for you…  Okay, moving on. 

Most excitingly I have two completed children's books, and that makes it an official series :-)  Still hammering out the art work, but I’m just cranking them out.  My writing mind is on overdrive.  Can not wait for you to meet this amazing girl and you guessed it, it’s full of library adventure! 

Our Eric Kimmel Romps
Hear a story
Cactus Soup

This folktale where hungry travelers persuade the locals to share their resources is found throughout the world, but told in different variations. Cactus Soup is a Spanish version which takes place during the Mexican Revolution depicting cooperation and generosity.  Not as good as the other versions we’ve read, probably because were not big on Spanish language intermixed reads. 

I’m one for trying new and interesting foods, but until now never thought about cactus soup.  Our local HEB carries cacti in the produce section and the curiosity has got me.  We are going to make cactus soup!

Little Britches And The Rattlers
By Kimmel, Eric


You’ll find trickery cowgirls, rattlesnakes, Texas, and rodeos in this retelling of Little Black Sambo.  A hilarious tale where Cowgirl Little Britches is stopped by a rattle snake while headed for the rodeo, and is told she’s going to be ‘swallered’ up!  Will she make it to the rodeo and what about getting her clothes back from the rattler? 
In case you were wondering, Little Black Sambo was a popular but controversial book dating back to the 1920s.
The Adventures of Hershel of Ostropol

Witty conversational style read about how a poor man, Hershel uses his cleverness to get by in life.  I’ve read how some dislike the message this sends as Hershel never faces the consequence of his actions.  To me this could be a great conversation starter to approach this, but I  found it to be an adventurous great bedtime story.  I should mention this was not a one evening read but over a course of three days because of its length…
The Great Texas Hamster Drive

Never can we turn down a western themed book, I’m a Texan.  Here’s a funny tall tale about Slue Foot Sal, Pecos Bill's daughter and a herd of hamsters.  What harm can two hamsters do?  Well, when they multiply into the thousands a lot actually, and then it’s time for a hamster drive.  The word count above 1,500 may be too wordy for younger readers, but great for older cowboys and cowgirls.  
A Few Of The New

Extraordinary Jane
By Harrison, Hannah

Jane is an ordinary dog lacking the talent of his circus family.  As her owner tries to teach her new tricks, she soon realizes that Jane is perfectly extraordinary just the way she is.  Great tail, oops I mean tale with beautiful illustrations.  This new picture book author done good...  And yes, we are all special in our own way. 
By Heder, Thyra

Great story about family and how they rally together to help Little T overcome her fear of zoos.  The family tries to figure out what she’s afraid of by dressing up as different animals, which the pictures alphabetically take you through.  “This is an alphabet book for big readers like me!” - Little Reader.  She loved reading the pictures to guess the animals.  Plain and simple fun at its best. 
The Bad Birthday Idea
By Valentine, Madeline
As children we did not always get what we wanted, but did you ever go as far as this brother did?  All Alice ever wanted was for her big brother to play with her and what a better way than to ask for the birthday present that he wants.  But things get pretty bad for big brother Ben when the gift arrives, that is until he discovers what’s most important between brothers and sisters.  Perfect sibling rivalry read.  Watch The Trailer
Book Fair News: Aside from the Mind craft books, my reader found a new book series that’s become a new favorite.  Does anyone else manage to spend 65$ at these fairs?
Kiki: My Stylish Life
By Kyla May
It’s the tweenish cute diary-style that brought this into the purchase pile at the school book fair.    This book is part of the Lotus Lane Series and is all about fashion and BFF fun.  (With a new acronym on each page I’m glad they specified what they meant!)  Kiki lives on Lotus Lane and with her friends started a club, LLGC where they do girly makeovers, doggy pampering, and cupcake baking.  The doodles make it a quick read, but this is a great bridge from picture books to more fluent reader texts. 
Others will be diving into this week. 
I wanted to leave you with this amazing video for Easter.  This amazing love story is what it’s all about!   This 18 minutes could change your life or make a difference in someone else’s life.   Make it a family watch!
If you want to hunt have to go where tigers are.
- Author Unknown
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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Rockin’ Reads & Library Activities

Back to the writing and also tote printing front.  Due to numerous inquiries about our cool Library Romp tote, I’m working on getting some ready by summer.  They’ll be amazing and you'll be able to get them here soon. And for those wondering what else I've been working on lately?  It’s another inspirational pocket read in the making, but the big news is that I’m getting ready to launch my new children's book!  (Hint: What library adventures await Pixie?)  It’s going to be a series and can’t wait for you to meet 'Her'.  I couldn’t just reconfigure an already completed story, so wrote a new one and now excitedly waiting for my artist to bring it to life.   
Celebrate National Library Week April 13-19, 2014 
So how has your library changed you?  It’s no secret here that what started as a quest to define a writer, I found myself. With my Little Reader, we have traveled to places unimaginable and unearthed the stories in my heart.    Having two inspirational pocket reads, another in progress, and now finally a new children’s story.  I'm bringing magic and amazing journeys out of the library, which can only be seen with the eyes of a child. 
I decided to change up this weeks romp and switched from going to find particular books to just hanging out. We've started exploring, asking questions, sharing, and talking with other library patrons.  Here’s a list of fun things to do at your library other than just checking out books. It’s an adventure so just go with it!  If you have any other fun or interesting ideas bring them on!  
Here’s our list & will finish them by National Library Week!
1.  Look for the biggest book in the library and take your picture with it.
2.  Browse the travel section, find a place you want to visit, & make plans to go.   
3.  Go to the cookbook section, find a recipe, and cook it together.
4.  Find a funny poem, read it a loud and then copy it into your journal.
5.  Romp the music section and find a CD to check out.   Listen to it all the way through.
6.  Discover a book of quotes and write one on the sidewalk with chalk.
7.  Bring paper and colored pencils. Draw from the easy I-Can-Draw-Books and have the library hang it on the wall. 
8.  Take a present to the librarians. 
9.   Leave a thoughtful review on a post-it note in a book you really loved.
10.  Hunt for authors with your same last name.
11.  Peruse books about where you live.  Learn something new.
13.  Uncover the weirdest reference book you can find?

14.  Read a biography from the children’s sections. 
15.  Get each kid their own library card & book tote.
16.  Never fuss about late fees.
                                     Rockin' This Weeks Reads
A Dark Tale
By Brown, Ruth

In this tale a cat goes into the dark dark woods, into a dark dark house, where he finds a dark dark box and gets a surprise… Could be a great Halloween read but we’re always up for scary reads!  The repetitive sentences and detailed illustrations will keep you in suspense on each page turn.  Where will the cat take you next? 

Louis, The Adventures of a Chicken
By Di Camillo, Kate

Louise is not your ordinary chicken.  She longs for adventure and decides to fly the coop to search for the unknown.  You’ll get a laugh of her silly antics along the way as she encounters pirates, circus performers and some…  If you are familiar with Kate Di Camillo you know that her books often have a dark side targeting the older readers, but this isn’t the case here.  Perfect amount of silliness makes for a top giggly bedtime read.
Butterflies Under Our Hats
By Sasso, Sandy Eisenberg

I had to check this one out being it was about butterflies and didn’t realize it was a Jewish book until started reading it.  The idea of a town down on their luck comes to learn about hope when a fairy comes along. It seemed forced, a bit contrite in making a point about having hope.  Love the butterflies and hats though, which did captivate the imagination of my little listener. 
Interrupting Chicken
By Stein, David Ezra

This 2011 Caldecott Honor book is adorable for audiences young and old.  As dad tries multiple times to tell little chicken stories, he keeps interrupting and finishing the fairytale.  We’ve all been there, experienced the interrupting child.  Cute story time read that seems to never get old around here. (This is our third checkout at least!) 
Wanna extend the story with a writing activity, Sure Thing Chicken Wing ...

Hide and Seek Fog
By Tresselt, Alvin
When a heavy fog rolls into this quaint coastal town, everyday activity comes to a halt for three days.  The misty pictures show a lobster man that can’t trap lobsters, sailors that can’t sail, but the children can play hide and seek with the fog.  Not an overly exciting tale and those that don’t live at the beach may not be able to relate, but we sure did.  There’s nothing more amazing than watching the sea fog roll in and blanketing your entire town.  Little Reader says, " It's a good book to read on a fuzzy day!"

Jibberwillies At Night
By Vail, Rachel
Do you ever get the hibbe-gibbes or jibberwillies for that matter?  Katie Honors usually doesn’t, but one evening falling asleep doesn’t come so easy.  Thanks to mom’s quick thinking, she captures all the scary jibberwillies and tosses them out the window.  Cute way to show how to get a handle of your fears and the words are amazingly woven into this story.  Well done Mrs. Vail ;-)
What Dad’s Can’t Do
By Wood, Douglas

Here’s a great companion to What Moms Can’t Do, with the same green dinosaur checking off the things dads can’t do.  A fun simple look at how fathers enrich their children’s lives.  We love hide and seek around here and Little Reader especially loved the page where dad gets found playing hide and seek.  She went straight to her writing center and made a picture of her backyard that her dad built. I had fun overlaying their photos into her drawing.  
 This would be a great Father’s Day gift, but she can’t wait till then!
I receive lots of funny stories, book reading quotes, and pictures and choose one to share on each post.  I try to choose the most relevant one, but will eventually try to get to each of them.  But please don’t hesitate to share them on our other social connections.  I recommend going to our Facebook page and adding to our collection there.  If you’d rather go with Twitter or StumbleUpon that’s fine as well.  Either way I’d love to here from you ;-)   
She'd always been a little excitable, a little more passionate about books than your average person, but she was supposed to be –
she was a librarian, after all.”
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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Knock Knock Who’s There?

Wow, lot’s of great door pics!  Congrats to Rustie MacDonald, she's the first place door picture winner and will receive a copy the book Doors.  And because I couldn’t just choose one, Michelle Kents is receiving a copy of The Old Man & His Door.  Also, a mentionable kudos to Aubrey Laney and her son Caleb on their creative pic.   So why doors?  Front doors are often forgotten, ignored, given not the attention they deserve.  A lot of thought should be put into your front door and here’s why.   It’s the mouth of your home, setting its tone and energy.  That’s a lot of responsibility for a just a door!  You may not know this, but color represents different things.  I'll explain momentarily...

Rustie MacDonald
Here is my favorite door....  It is to the door to my new home that I recently purchased. The success here was that I am a full time single parent, ZERO support from the EX and working my tail feathers off, offered me the opportunity to be a home owner. This DOOR is my dream....

Michelle Kents
It’s pink and not by choice.  I sent my husband to pick up purple paint which was going over our white door.  And then he decided to surprise me.  When I came home from work my front door looked like Barbie’s pink Dream House.  He had not checked the color  first, but just slapped what was in the bucket on the door.  Guess what?   I loved it, pink and all!

Aubrey & Caleb Laney
We are fanatic about Legos and this morning I asked my four year old son to construct a Lego door for mommy.  I ended up with a house, barn, and some.  After telling him I was going to send it in for a contest he insisted on taking pictures.  Here's our best door snapshot, but I did spare you the other 37.   <Enjoy>
What’s Your Front Door Color?

Blue is a great Feng Shui color. If you want your home’s curb appeal to suggest a feeling of abundance and prosperity, why not paint your front door a beautiful blue.

Do you like yellow?  A yellow door evokes mental clarity, understanding, wisdom, confidence, curiosity, and happiness. Would you want to bring some sunshine into your home?  I definitely would!

Wanna go green? This color door is said to represent balance, peace, compassion, growth, and brings harmony into the home.

Purple?  Surprisingly this is not unheard of and a lot of people are going with this color.  It's symbolizes energy and is thought to invite many opportunities into your home.


Then there’s red, the color of my last two doors.  This color means welcome, and here’s a piece of early American history for you.  For tired travelers, when they came across homes with red doors they new it was a place to stop and spend the night or rest.

         A Pepto-Bismol & Pink Bubblegum Explosion!

The other big happening around here is Little Reader turned the Big "8"  We originally planned a Totoro party but there wasn’t enough time to get the supplies shipped from Japan.  Why this adorable Japanese icon hasn’t become big in the US is beyond me?  So we went with her second choice, a Pink Fashion theme!
On A Riddle Note:  Last week I was contacted by a funny guy who asked if I would link up his page of laughs to this post. So after checking it out and having a few giggles, I’ve decided to share it.  For the young and old wanting a daily dose of funny in your life-  Here It Is!   
A-Doorable Reads & Some
Door Knockers
By Dahl, Michael

You can’t go wrong with all the giggles packed into this knock-knock joke book.  It’s sure to make you smile, but I have to admit this book goes everywhere with us now.  Maybe we can get through the morning without any more jokes ;-P

Knock At The Door
By Kemp, Moira  

Little Reader pulled this off the shelf romping door books.  Don’t bother, it’s way too with not much of a storyline.  It could better be used as an Easter display with it’s cute bunny on the cover!   If you have a teething baby this could also work.

Those Darn Squirrels And The Cat Next Door
By Rubin, Adam

Love Those Darn Squirrels, so we jumped with excitement on finding this one! The grumpy mister Fookwire may not like the pesky squirrels in his yard picking on the birds, but things are about to change when Muffins the cat moves next door.   You’ll get a kick how the squirrels pull together with the birds and teach the cat who’s boss!   After all, what harm can a bucket of ice, cold water, and string do?
Sneak A Peak
The Old Man & His Door
By Soto, Gary

I’ve never been a big Gary Soto fan, as I find the emphasis of the intermixed English to Spanish distracting from the story.  I know most people adore his books, but I think there are other writers that do this better.  Like in, Katrina The Beautiful Cockroach.  With all this to say, I was surprisingly charmed here.   When a wife tells her husband to bring a puerco to the party, he ends up bringing a puerta instead.  A pig sure would have been a lot easier to carry than lugging a door across town.  I think what I liked most here was it showed how items can be used for other purposes outside of what they are intended for.  Maybe I was too quick to judge, this one was both interactive and outright fun!
The Dinosaur Next Door
By Stimson, Joan

So books about doors are not as popular as you might think.  Surprising, I know ;-P With slim pickins’ we ended up with a Tadpole early reader book.   These AR type books are ones that Little Reader tests on at school, so we generally don’t romp them.  But we did, and it really got me thinking!  What would happen if I was awakened by a dinosaur outside my bedroom window?  Imagine I’d do what Tom did and shrink back under the covers.  That’s until realizing it was just the neighbor inviting me to a costume party.  Sorry, I didn’t mean to spoil it, but this ones a great playful read.
Cottonball Colin
By Willis, Jeanne

This one’s not bout doors, but worth the note!  I never knew about this author until now. I fell in love with Colin, the adorable little mouse and his over protective mom of course.  So before venturing out into the BIG world Collin is wrapped in cotton for protection.  Does this keep him safe?  All I’ll say is, everything that could go wrong does go wrong.  This sadly ends with the demise of this tiny rodent. No just kidding, Colin in the end becomes a whole new mouse and a mother learns to let go.  Great refresher for moms, and a reminder that we have to let our children learn about the world for themselves. 

Happiness often sneaks through a door you didn’t know you left open. 
- John Barrymore
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About Me

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I'm a reading, writing, publishing, blogging, children's book mama.  Our library journey has opened up a door of wonder, excitement, and imagination for not only my children but myself.  Brining inspiration, motivation, and just overall joy for the written word.  
What started as a mission to find out what makes a true writer, has unfolded the realization that we all have a story.  Not to sound cliché here but, Just Do It!  It's the motivation to get out there, connect, share your story, and not wait for the approval or disapproval of others.  For myself it's publishing, and writing about self motivation, getting to your dreams, and facing what's holding you back. 
Who knows what the future holds for any of us?  Give your children the passion for written words while creating thinkers and doers. 
The library is what did this for us.  Who else gives out unlimited free books, movies, and other book media, and doesn't even mind when we eliminate the need for bookends? 
In a nut shell emphasizing the nut, it's all about the Library Romps & Writing Prompts.
Enjoy & God Bless
- CG

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