Adventures of a Debut Author - Website Analysis (Full Disclosure)

Trent Reedy, author extraordinaire, wiser words were never spoken.

Redesigning a website? Ugh, that’s a monster of an ordeal.  Lucky for me, in January my daughter, Taylor, undertook that task of building this one for me. Gratitude for her swells within each time I access mine. I really like my Squarespace website. It’s clean, organized, affordable, and easy to update (when I get around to doing it).  I wonder what the internet thinks about www.debbiegonzales.com.  Let’s find out. Want to?

Here’s what Nibbler has to say about my site.

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They’re giving me an Overall score of 7.6 out of 10. I’ll take it, for now.  I think that fact that I’ve had this site since 2009 helped the 8.4 score in the Amount of Content category. Whew.

Yipes! A 6.2 for marketing!!!! Goose eggs for Google+ and Analytics! And a 2.8 for Popularity? Oh, dear. I have my work cut out for me, don’t I? Boy, oh boy...do I ever.

As part of my debut author prep, I think it's important to wrap my head around this stuff. I'll bet, if I can change my red scores to green and the greens to blue I'll be stepping in high cotton with an Overall score of 8.5 or so! While I'm not going to go crazy over these numbers, I am going to learn about them. Because, face it, debut authors need a solid presence on the internet, one that has been established well before the book is in print. Yes ma'am, we sure do. 

Well, fellow debut author, guess what we're going to doing over the next few weeks.

Yep. Grab that cheese grater. We've got some web work to do.

Adventures of a Debut Author - Befriending Community

Thanks to Andrea Cascardi’s wise words in last week’s post, I’ve been thinking a lot about befriending my community as being an early step to promoting my book. Even though the pub date for Playing Like a Girl isn’t until 2017, I’m heeding her words and starting early!

Andrea said to “go out personally and meet local booksellers and librarians.” This should not be that hard to do. Bookstores and libraries should be my way of life, right? Well, I have to confess that most of my book shopping online.  I can feed my book addiction without shedding my bath robe. Also, I don’t linger when I go to the library. I get what I need – pronto – and I’m out of there. It's clear that I have to make an effort to create a few more face-to-face opportunities with these folks.

Honestly though, when you get right down to it, I’m not entirely comfortable with the notion of talking up my book. Oh, I’m plenty friendly, for sure. Meeting people is one my most favorite things to do. I love finding out what makes people tick. Yet, to turn the conversation around on myself…uh... that’s a toughie for me. I’d best get over it and the sooner, the better.

This week offered two opportunities to befriend influential folk – a book launch on Wednesday and a Thursday morning back matter research session at the library.  While attending the launch at Nicola's Books, I did connect with Lynn, the event coordinator. She was really busy scrambling about stacking chairs. It didn't seem like the time to plug my book. Instead, we shook hands, I introduced myself as an author and that I'd come back sometime to get to know her better. It was a super pleasant exchange.

Engaging with the children's librarian was an equally delightful experience. Once again, I introduced myself as an author doing research on the Silk Road for a publisher, and would she have the time to point me in the right direction. She was helpful, cordial, and as cute as a kitten. There was a storytime session going on in another room. Those little rug rats were having FUN! The library was alive with the kids' electric energy! I decided that I'm going to make a regular practice of spending time in my sweet local library. Befriending those gatekeepers will be a blast!

You know, in a way, this week I think I befriended myself, too. Introducing myself as an author to influential professionals is a HUGE step for me. Doing so didn't feel hokey or fake. Instead, it felt all right. Believable. True.

How about you, fellow debut author? Will you go out and meet the librarians and booksellers, too? Will you introduce yourself as an author and talk about your book in a light, conversational manner? Will you connect with the community in a genuine way? How will you befriend the author in you? Come on. Let’s do this together.

Just for fun, I’ve made some downloadable Contact Cards. I haven't used the cards yet, but I plan on making notes on them and then transferring the information to my phone and, maybe, Evernote. I’ll be glad to share the .pdf with you. Click HERE to download the document. You’ll need to use scissors to trim around the borders.

Maybe keeping these cards nearby will keep us confident! We can do this! Yes, we can!

Adventures of a Debut Author - Where to Begin?

As luck would have it, this week I had the great pleasure of enjoying a phone conversation with one of the most delightful individuals I know – Andrea Cascardi. I first met Andrea when she was working as an agent with Transatlantic Literary Agency. I was serving as Regional Advisor for the Austin SCBWI chapter at the time. She was an esteemed guest during one of our most awesome annual conferences. As an RA, you relate with agents and editors on a personal level all the time. Getting to personally know Andrea was a sheer pleasure, to be sure.

During our phone conversation, Andrea and I chatted about successful marketing strategies for debut authors. Like many others, I wonder . . . what avenues are most effective in spreading the word about our books – blog tours, paid publicists, social media marketing, and speaking engagements? Where does a debut author start?

According to Andrea, one the most effective ways to promote your book is to connect with community – be it on the local level, a professional level such as with SCBWI or library associations, and/or through social media. She said to go out and personally meet local booksellers and librarians. Sure, let them know that soon there will be a book to buy. But let your intention be get to know one another. Become genuine friends.  Not what’s-in-it-for-me type of friends. The real deal.

Andrea said that people want to be invested in a writer’s success. They love being a part of grassroots campaign supporting an individual and a project they believe in. By reaching out and connecting in this way, we’re giving a community the opportunity to do just that.

She also said start early, well before publication. Don’t wait until you’re holding the book in your hand. Let the process of genuinely connecting with others begin right away!

I can do that.

Speaking of connecting, this week author pal and former SCBWI RA Erin Dealy shared a blog thread about debut authors from her website. The thread title is What to Expect When You’re Expecting a Book. In it, she toys with a pregnancy theme. It’s fun, clever, and insightful! Check it out.

So, the debut author tip of the day is to reach out to others in a genuine, friendly, and personal way locally, professionally, and in cyber space. Build authentic relationships. Also, don’t wait until publication. Begin today!

Me? A Debut Author? You Bet!

I’m over-the-top-Christmas-morning excited to announce that I have signed a contract to publish Playing Like a Girl, a non-fiction picture book about courageous female athletes from 1827 to present day and the eventual passing of Title IX, with Charlesbridge Publishing. Thanks to the patient tenacity of my brilliant agent, Melissa Nasson, come Fall 2017, my dream will come true.

Folks, I’m going to be a debut author! I’m going to love being a debut author. LOVE it! (Just typing these words gives me first-day-of-school jitters on steroids.) Yippee!

However, I’ve been around this book business long enough to know that, though the thought of publishing a real, live book is one of the most thrilling things imaginable; I have plenty of work ahead of me.  And, I’m going to have fun doing it.

My blogging plans are to chronicle the debut author tasks-at-hand. Over the months ahead, anything that arises demanding attention, any observations made, or sage advice gathered, I’m going to write about it. Workshop scoop. Launch deets. Editorial ups and downs. Tips and tales. Anything debut author related – I’ll tell it all.

I’m open to topic suggestions, too. Do you have wisdom to share? Do you need help in some area? Do you know of some great resource that we all can benefit from? Feel free to submit a comment. Let me know your thoughts. I want to know what you have to say.

Who knows? Maybe we can be of help to one another.

I’d like that.

WATER RUNS THROUGH THIS BOOK by Nancy Bo Flood

Reading Nancy Bo Flood’s insightful Water Runs Through This Book spun me back to a delightful memory of my classroom teaching experience I enjoyed years ago. We had scheduled an environmental agency in Dallas to present a half-day workshop session. Their mission was to teach water conservation, which sounded like a fine way to spend the better part of the morning. As it turned out, their program was unforgettable!

The group brought a game with them, an interactive one that had the kids hopping all around the room like raindrops on a rooftop. The game was chaotic and engaging and FUN! I had a blast and the kids did, too.

Flood’s book reminded me of the game we played, a game illustrating the agelessness of the water molecule. That day we learned that one molecule of water can transform from being a snowflake, to a dinosaur’s dribble, and then show up shooting itself out of a water hose! How cool is that?

An adaptation of that incredible game, and a few other activities, are included in the Project and Activity Guide created to compliment the fascinating facts featured in Water Runs Through This Book. Ultimately though, what makes this book a must-read is Flood’s blend of factual data with her signature poetic touch – a combination that will keep young readers deliciously engaged in the miraculously wondrous world of water for eternity and beyond.

Buy it. Read it Enjoy it. Fair warning, though. Keep your umbrella close by. You just might need it.

POET: THE REMARKABLE STORY OF GEORGE MOSES HORTON by Don Tate

Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton is the story of a man who was born with words inside of him – words full of life and love and wonder. Poetic words. Musical words. Profound and philosophical words. Thoughts and perceptions that had to be expressed. However, young George Moses Horton was enslaved. There would be no formal education for this brilliant boy. And, yet, he was driven to find a way to express the poetry he had composed in his mind.

At first, he learned the alphabet by listening to the white children’s lessons. Then he taught himself how to read his mother’s hymnal.  Eventually, after a series of remarkable events and opportunities, George Moses Horton grew to become the first southern African-American man to be published.

Written and illustrated by Don Tate, Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton is an inspirational account of man’s determination to become the person he was intended to be, despite the oppression he endured.  To deepen the understanding and appreciation for George Moses Horton’s life and accomplishments, Peachtree Publishers is offering a free, downloadable Teacher’s Guide consisting of discussion questions, an author spotlight, a historical timeline project, and other activities.

The Story of Seeds: From Mendel’s Garden to Your Plate, and How There’s More of Less to Eat Around the World by Nancy Castaldo

Nancy Castaldo’s incredible The Story of Seeds: From Mendel’s Garden to Your Plate, and How There’s More of Less to Eat Around the World (Harcourt Brace and Company) is much more than a mere non-fictional account of cross-pollination and heirloom tomatoes (although she does explain these topics in a logical and comprehensive way). Folks, this book is a call to ACTION and we’d best be heeding that call.

Did you know that, throughout history, people have risked their lives to protect seeds? I mean, like, they died for the cause. And, that seeds are being exploited through biopiracy, and that even Hitler was in on the seed wars, and that there is plenty seedy trouble brewing today? Download the guide to get a sense of rich content covered in The Story of Seeds: From Mendel’s Garden to Your Plate, and How There’s More of Less to Eat Around the World. It’s pretty darned amazing, I tell you.

This is exactly the type of text that my upper-elementary Montessori students would have loved. Our class was comprised of young activists, kids that cared about the environment, animal rights, and non-violence. I imagine that, after reading Castaldo’s fine work, we’d be joining heads to find a way to make a difference.

We’d become seed defenders.

I’m sure of it.

The Guides by deb Library is Now Open!

You are invited to take a tour of a collection of the various types of guides I’ve created over the years. Guides for YA, middle grade, picture and chapter books – you name it, I’ve made it.  Access this link and you’ll find discussion questions, games, puzzles, and projects galore for some of the best books in the business!

The experience of organizing this collection of .pdfs was much like the nostalgic feelings one gets when flipping through a stack of old family photographs. Hard to believe that I began creating guides six years ago. Yet the books and the lessons created to compliment them are still as intriguing as they were back then.

I’m grateful to have the honor of partnering with so many great authors and illustrators on such a wide variety of projects. What a joy it is to explore opportunities for readers to connect with their stories in a creative ways. Access the link and see for yourself! Check out the science experiments and reader’s theater scripts and poetry and crafty, paper folding activities and… and… and... Such fun!

So, my friends, welcome to the Guides by deb Library of Reading Guides. Stop by and browse the lists. Additional titles will be added weekly. I’ll be sure to let you know when they arrive.

In the Canyon by Liz Garton Scanlon

Want to learn how to squeeze the Grand Canyon into a water bottle? Download the Discussion & Activity Guide for Liz Garton Scanlon’s latest picture book, In the Canyon, to find out how.

And they said it couldn’t be done.

You’ll find loads of other fun activities in the guide, too. Plenty of great information, projects, and games inspired by a young girl’s hike and the fascinating discoveries she makes along the way. From petroglyphs to condors, big-horned sheep to the tiny ground squirrel, and so much more!

Buy the book, download the guide and enjoy!

Reading Guides: Align with Academic Standards? Why Bother?

Well, if you’ve got some alignment-worthy activities in the guide, why wouldn’t you? The kicker is to offer skill-based lessons. The real deal. Activities that stretch their minds a little . . . or maybe a whole lot! To inspire kids to reason. To challenge. To grow!

The purpose behind aligning guides with academic standards is to document opportunities to practice demonstrating the understanding of a skill.  Whether learning how to cite dialogue, considering the interrelationships of habitat’s flora and fauna, or developing the confidence to present their personal views on a sticky topic – if you’re offering these types of valuable learning experiences in your guides and presentations, align them!

The goals of  well-crafted reading guides are to compliment stories by capturing the imagination of a reader, enticing them into a bit of painless and productive documented skill practice, and maybe have some fun while doing so! Aligning your projects with the standards simply validate the value you’re already offering. So go for it!

Reading Guides: Where Can They Be Found?

Need a reading guide and don’t know where to turn? While I'd love to be of service to you, there are some other options out there for you. Let's take a look at a few.

If you’re very lucky, your publisher will create a reading guide for your book. Publishers such as Peachtree arrange for the guides to be created and then post them on their website. These types of guides are typically formatted with the publisher’s brand and are comprised of discussion questions; writing prompts, and follow-up projects. Occasionally, the guide creator is acknowledged fine print. If you like what you see in the guide, Google them. Perhaps they can make a one for you, too.

Oftentimes, experienced teachers are contracted to create reading guides. Though these guides generally lack the branding pizzazz a publisher’s marketing team adds to a project, they work very well. The key is to find an educator who is able to present the lessons and activities in a lively way. Discussion questions should be structured in an engaging, rhetorical manner. Yes or no questions just won’t do.

A word of caution, though. If you’re considering asking a teacher-friend to help you, have a look at their work beforehand. Compare their content with guides that you admire. I say this because I have redone more guides made by teacher-friends than you’d care to know.

Avoid the heart-ache. Contact a pro. You’ll be better off in the long run.

Reading Guides: When Do You Need One?

Any time is the right time to have Reading Guide created. Whether you’re a multi-published phenom or birthing your first book baby, if you’re hoping to land a niche in the school and library market, it’s time to think about adding a reading guide to your marketing platform.

Speaking of a multi-published phenom, meet author Lisa Wheeler. She’s published well over 30 books and keeps on keeping on. Because Lisa desired to give her Dino-Sports series a little promotional boost, we created a joint CCSS-aligned activity guide for six of the titles. She was wise to do so, in that these books offer more depth than the covers suggest. The guide proves it. Not only do her Dino-Sports series feature hot and fast game action, Lisa presents elements of history, mathematics, geometry, and athletic nomenclature in each book. The guide should help keep her Dino-Sports series on the winning roster for a long time! Score!

Many debut authors are crafting guides for their new releases well before advanced reader’s copies hit their front porch. Debut author and master teacher Dianne White created a sensational Teaching Guide for her stunning picture book, Blue on Blue.  Her years of experience in the classroom came in handy when it came to developing this well-crafted, CCSS-aligned Teaching Guide. She’s made an instructional tool that meets the needs of kindergarteners through 8th grade in clever and creative ways. Best of all, Dianne’s love for poetry resonates in each lesson. This debut author knows what she is doing and she is doing it well.

As you can see, it’s never too late or too early to add a well-crafted Reading Guide to your marketing platform. Wherever you are in the publishing game, think about adding a quality guide to your publicity tool box. It just might give your book the promotional boost it deserves.

Reading Guides: What's the Big Deal, Anyway?

Quality crafted guides connect readers with the text on an emotional level, instructional levels, and developmentally. The best of them use the story as an enticement guiding kids into a deeper, more satisfying reading experience. They should be packed with so much inspiration that a kid can’t resist but to read more and more and more and more…

Early in my teaching career, I was charged with the daunting duty of guiding a novel study group comprised of a pack of 5th grade boys (and I mean ‘a pack’, as in wolves) through the timeless middle-grade novel, Johnny Tremain. The dispiriting aspects of this challenge were that the leader of the pack was a non-reader and the novel’s small-printed text is about as dense as they come. Not an opportune mix, I assure you. We were in for a long six-week study of Esther Forbes’ Newbery Medal winning masterpiece unless I could come up with something creative – fast!

I did what any desperate teacher might do. I bought a boat-load of teacher guides – some better than others. I plowed through them in search of the most insightful lessons I could find, those that might keep the pack interested and engaged. All the while, their alpha male tried his best to derail my plans at every turn. Ah, the joys of teaching.

I insisted that he sit through our weekly novel study discussions, though he hadn’t read a word of the novel.  He was forced to listen to den mates discuss their enthusiastic interpretations of the readings. And then, an incredible thing happened. Top Dog connected with the story. Johnny Tremain came to my rescue! All the talk of fires and muskets and Paul Revere charging into the night captured his imagination.  He was seduced into reading. Not the entire book, mind you. Just the exciting parts.

So, the big deal about good reading guides is that they can make a great reading experience even more intriguing.  Through well-crafted lessons investigating aspects of the text and elements of craft, kids can connect with the story on a more personal level. And, who knows? In the end, maybe the stack of Johnny Tremain teacher guides I bought may have helped to transform my 5th grade wolf-like tyrant into a life-long reader.

Wouldn’t that be something?

Reading Guides: Who Needs Them?

Teacher Guides. Activity Guides. Academic Guides. Project Guides. Reading Guides. Whatever the reference, offering some sort of supplemental resource like one these has become a standard in book’s promotional package today.

Quality book guides come in all shapes and sizes – from in-depth, historical or scientific studies to light-hearted games and crafting projects. But how can authors, illustrators, and editors begin to know what type of guide best suits their stories and the market? Are reading guides really necessary? Who needs these things, anyway?

Educators need them. Despite curriculum constraints, the fact that a book’s content is rich enough to support a well-crafted guide speaks volumes about the author’s merit. Texas author Cory Putman Oakes tells the story that a principal in California based his decision to book her for a school visit on the Educator Guide created for her middle grade novel. She said the principal set her darling Dinosaur Boy on the desk, began thumbing through the guide, and responded, “When can she come out?” He knew Cory had what it takes to reach his kids. Her guide proved it.

Librarians need book guides. Be it a list of well-crafted discussion questions or a fun packet of useful read-along projects, librarians delight in these tools.  They’re perpetually on the hunt for quality, supplemental reading resources. In fact, the first guide I created was a result of a librarian suggesting that author Jennifer Ziegler have one made for her incredible How Not to be Popular – a 2010 IRA YA Choices and Lone Star Reading List winner. Way to go, Jennie!

Lastly, depending on marketing strategies, you need a guide – a quality, well-crafted one. A thoughtful, entertaining supplemental guide highlighting all of the hard work you’ve put into the project. One that leads readers to deeper connection with your story and you. One that demonstrates your book’s potential for lasting appeal to educators, librarians, and all of the important gatekeepers in between.

All this to be said, if your book is one that you hope will have lasting appeal in the school and library market, take a moment to consider your marketing strategy. You just might need to include a reading guide of some kind to entice educators and librarians to take a longer look at your fine work.

The Guide that Found Its Way to the Land Down Under - The Poppy Lady

 Click on image to access the CCSS-aligned Discussion & Activity guide.

Click on image to access the CCSS-aligned Discussion & Activity guide.

On Memorial Day weekend I received an email from Barbara Elizabeth Walsh, a teacher guide client of the most delightful kind. She wrote to say that, not only was the guide we created for her incredible The Poppy Lady: Moina Belle Michael and Her Tribute to Veterans (Calkins Creek) being received very well, she had some very exciting news to share. Teachers in Australia were using the guide as part of a nation-wide project commemorating the Anzac Centenary! Well, what to do know?

Anzac Day is one of Australia's most important national commemorative occasions. It marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War. The Australian Government has launched the Spirit of Anzac Centenary Experience, a special traveling exhibition which will visit 23 locations across the continent.  Apparently, the guide created for Barbara’s Poppy Lady will be rolling along with them!

The good folks at the 5000 Poppies Project state, “Between 2014 and 2018 Australia will commemorate the Anzac Centenary, marking 100 years since Australia’s involvement in the First World War. And in 2015, there will be a large number of activities commemorating 100 years since the Anzac Gallipoli landing.  The 5000 Poppies project is a grass roots community tribute of respect and remembrance, inviting crafters across Australia to participate in this meaningful and heartfelt project.”  Kids across the nation are participating in the project, too. Educators are well equipped with information and curriculum to keep those grass roots spreading.

The 5000 Poppies Project Teacher Guide can be accessed HERE. On page 4, you’ll find a lovely piece about Moina Bell Michael, the beloved Poppy Lady. Beneath the article is information about Barbara’s book and a link to our Discussion and Activity guide. Take a moment to scroll down the 5000 Poppies Project guide to discover a plethora of stunning poppy patterns. Wow! They’re much more intricate than the simple crepe paper pattern offered in our guide. That’s for sure.

After reading about Anzac Day and the honorable way Australians and New Zealanders celebrate it, I am over-the-top excited that The Poppy Lady: Moina Belle Michael and Her Tribute to Veterans will be a part of the commemoration. It’s terrific to know that the time-line, poetry prompts, and other lessons in the book’s Discussion and Activity will be a part of the celebration!

I wonder if the 5000 Poppies Project accepts poppies made in Michigan...

School Visit Presentation Packet - Survival Strategies for the Almost Brave

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If you’re an author or illustrator seeking to find a niche in the school visit market, having a well-planned, standards-aligned Presentation Packet as part of your media kit is a must. Documents such as this one created for debut author Jen White communicate to educators that you honor their need to offer quality academic content while having a great time doing so! You're letting the gatekeepers know that, not only will you bring your enthusiasm for reading, writing, and hanging out with kids to the school visit, you’re providing a wealth of great, value-packed, follow-up fodder, too.  

 Click on image to download Presentation Packet.

Click on image to download Presentation Packet.

The Presentation Packet created for Jen’s fantastic Survival Strategies of the Almost Brave (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015) is divided into three sections; the inspiration for each is based on this heart-warming, expertly-crafted survival story.  The lessons are designed to pull the child into the story experience through consideration of their own survival strategies in strangely unfamiliar habitats.  Being that Jen features a number of very cool animal habitat videos during her school visit, specifically created graphic organizers and various writing prompts complimenting her presentation are included in the packet – ready for downloading action!

In short, any educator who desires to enrich their students’ classroom experience should consider inviting Jen White to present her program. Not only has she written a memorable story that will remain in the hearts of readers long after they turn the final page, she’s prepared to creatively support the curriculum by demonstrating the use of figurative language, nuances in word meanings, word relationships, a discussion of the notion of natural selection and much more!

Your Mommy Was Just Like You - A Celebration of the Spirit of Mother's Day

I began making guides for folks before the Common Core was cool. Even then, I was creating hands-on, project-based content that is entertaining, yet academically sound - the kind of stuff that both the kids and the folks that care for them would appreciate, and have been enjoying every minute of doing so for a long, long time.

Recently, author Kelly Bennett asked if I would go back and align all of the guides I previously made for her with the Common Core State Standards. I was glad for this opportunity as I would be able to revisit the work I had done almost three years ago in the light of present-day standards. That's kind of exciting, in a nerdy sort of way.

Kelly's Your Mommy was Just like You is just as charming as I remember it being. I love the way it celebrates humanity, in all it's messy forms. In it, tales of a mother's childhood are told to a child. The grown up is presented as an awkward, fantasy-loving, mistake-making kid. This book brings the "nobody's perfect, everybody has an off day" message home, loud and clear.

I encourage you to read this delightful book. Review the guide, too, if you'd like. There are a couple activities in there that will make your Saturday simply delightful, on being creating a Daisy Chain, as demonstrated in the video below.

ANYWHERE BUT PARADISE by Anne Bustard

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Below is a Simple Saturday video describing how to create a gum-wrapper chain. This project was inspired by a particular plot line in ANYWHERE BUT PARADISE.  In the book, the chain serves as a way for protagonist Peggy Sue to link aspects of her life together. You’ll have to read the book to find out how and why. To download a gum-wrapper chain template access author Anne Bustard’s website at www.annebustard.com.

Title: Anywhere but Paradise

Author: Anne Bustard

Publisher: Egmont USA

ISBN:978-1-60684-585-1

Download the CCSS-Aligned Educator's Guide HERE!

From IndieboundMoving from Texas to Hawaii in 1960,12-year-old Peggy Sue faces a difficult transition when she is bulled as one of the few haole (white) students in her school. This lyrical debut novel is perfect for Common Core classroom connections.

It's 1960 and Peggy Sue has just been transplanted from Texas to Hawaii for her father's new job. Her cat, Howdy, is stuck in animal quarantine, and she's baffled by Hawaiian customs and words. Worst of all, eighth grader Kiki Kahana targets Peggy Sue because she is haole--white--warning her that unless she does what Kiki wants, she will be a victim on "kill haole day," the last day of school. Peggy Sue's home ec teacher insists that she help Kiki with her sewing project or risk failing. Life looks bleak until Peggy Sue meets Malina, whose mother gives hula lessons. But when her parents take a trip to Hilo, leaving Peggy Sue at Malina's, life takes an unexpected twist in the form of a tsunami. Peggy Sue is knocked unconscious and wakes to learn that her parents safety and whereabouts are unknown. Peggy Sue has to summon all her courage to have hope that they will return safely.

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Folks, the guide is now available! Download it and enjoy!

SWEET DREAMS, WILD ANIMALS: A STORY OF SLEEP by Eileen Meyers

Below is a video showing how to make a Hibernating Bear Craft which is part of a CCSS-Aligned Discussion & Activity guide created for Eileen Meyer’s SWEET DREAMS, WILD ANIMALS: A STORY OF SLEEP.  The book guide can be downloaded at the author’s website at www.eileenmeyerbooks.com or right here!!!!

Synopsis: Fourteen animals, including the cuddly koala, the hairy anteater, and the wise owl, are featured in this lyrical bedtime story about the unusual ways that animals sleep. Natural history notes explain how each animal sleeps, from the magnificent frigate bird, which naps while flying hundreds of feet above the sea, to the walrus, which sleeps with its tusks anchored in floating ice. Whimsical watercolors of dozing animals will help any weary child fall to sleep with a smile.

Book Title: SWEET DREAMS, WILD ANIMALS: A STORY OF SLEEP

Written by: Eileen Meyer

Website: www.eileenmeyerbooks.com   

Illustrated by: Laurie Caple

Website: www.lauriecaple.com      

Published by: Mountain Press Publishing Company

ISBN: 978-0670012855

 

A Celebration of Color - My Cold Plum Lemon Pie Bluesy Mood (a re-posting)

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This will be my second Michigan autumn. The vivid colors of the changing leaves, brilliant sunsets, and the rosy-red cheeked children continue to make me smile. Everyday is a celebration of change and color. So, this week, I'd like to focus on a guide I made for Tameka Fryer Brown's charming my cold plum lemon pie bluesy mood. The story explores the connection of the change of mood and its corresponding color. This book is a tribute to sibling rival survival and the tenacity it takes to do so.

 Folks, let me say that the story is lively, entertaining, and very clever. However, if you take a close look at the connection of theme and art, there is a whole lot of shaking going on. It's deep. Really deep. That being said, the guide consists of discussion questions, writing prompts, and basic color theory lessons that lead the reader to an intimate awareness of how color affects and/or reflects emotions.

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One of the most rudimentary-yet-satisfactory activities presented in the guide is Color Mixing. In it, the child experiences the joy of transposing primary colors into secondary and tertiary just by the drip of an eye dropper. It's a very simple activity that lends itself to some profound results.

I encourage you, on this blustery autumn weekend, to take a look at this guide. Better yet, check outmy cold plum lemon pie bluesy mood, the book that inspired the lessons within.