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My Long Journey to Becoming a Published Children’s Book Author June 25, 2018

Posted by flashlightblog in Author Notes, Book News, Flashlight Press, Imagination, Individuality, Interviews, Self-Esteem, Too Much Glue, Values.
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Written by Jason Lefebvre for Kids’ BookBuzz

TMG hi res

My first attempt at writing a picture book came in 1998.

I thought the story was amazing. It wasn’t.

Fortunately, I was twenty-two years old, I had just completed my Bachelor’s degree in English, and I knew everything. I spent the next year of my life making all the wrong moves, trying to get my story published. I submitted on my own to large houses that only accept agented materials, wrote stories that I labeled as picture books, but were five thousand words long, and put together ridiculous query letters daring publishing houses to pass on what was sure to be the next great work in children’s literature.

Almost immediately, I had a need for actual employment. I began working in a preschool surrounded by picture books that were actually good and got a part-time job as a Children’s Librarian to make ends meet. Slowly, I began to realize something awful. My stories weren’t good, and my way of getting them published was even worse. The twenty-two-year-old who knew everything had become a twenty-three-year-old who knew nothing. It was the perfect starting point.

The next few years were spent taking the business of writing and publishing seriously. There were groups to join and books to read. I joined SCBWI or the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. It was an amazing resource putting me in touch with people and organizations that understood from experience what it took to get something published. I read any picture book that I came across and borrowed from the limitless imaginations of the kids in my class and the ones that came through the library. If you want to write picture books, find a job working with children. It’s basically cheating.

While writing picture books was starting to make a little sense, the submission process was still frustrating. At a time when most houses still only accepted submissions via snail mail, a writer could wait six months to a year for a form letter response that basically said “thanks, but no thanks.”  I had begun to receive a few personalized rejections. In the world of submissions, a “no” that is personalized is viewed as a positive, so I kept at it. (more…)

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Authors of the Future with Holly Niner May 21, 2017

Posted by flashlightblog in author appearance, Author Signings, Book Launchings, Book News, Individuality, Read Alouds, The Day I Ran Away.
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Authors of the Future
Blog Post by Holly Niner, author of The Day I Ran Away

The release of The Day I Ran Away has given me some wonderful opportunities to connect with students.  While I’m not sure it’s deserved, the students are usually a bit wide-eyed that they are meeting an author.  In turn, I am inspired by their questions and their belief that they too CAN be an author!  While I often receive a thank you after the visit, I don’t get to see the student’s stories.  Until this year, when a unique opportunity was presented to me.

Denise Phillips, owner of Gathering Volumes and mother of 2nd and 4th grade students at Woodland Elementary in Perrysburg OH, was putting together a pilot Young Author program for the school and asked if I would be one of three (two authors and an illustrator) to speak to the 4th and 5th grade excel classes.  In May I would return to hear the student’s stories and do an author signing at her store.

So in February one author spoke about getting ideas, I presented on picture book construction and creating a “page turner” and an illustrator talked with the classes.  The students began writing…

Meanwhile, a second grade teacher was interested in having an author visit via Skype.  When I “appeared” on the big screen in the student’s classroom their faces were priceless.  They quickly positioned themselves on the floor so we could all “see” each other.  In spite of a few frozen screen moments, it was a success with students asking great questions.  The teacher summed it up:

Thank you for meeting with us Holly.  The boys and girls were so excited to Skype!  With all of the technology available to us, that is one thing they do not do.  It was a lot of fun and your conversation with them was perfect!  They heard things from a REAL AUTHOR that their boring, old teacher has said.  🙂

Then on May 6 I returned to Perrysburg where a wonderful day of celebration was planned for the young authors.  Throughout the day 30 of the 40 students read their book to family and friends and then signed copies for their families and a party for all followed in the evening.  It was a wonderful example of partnership between an independent bookstore and its community.

It was a treat to speak with these young authors and their families and to hear them read their stories. I was impressed by unique story lines, wonderful illustrations and soaring imaginations.  While the future is uncertain in many ways, rest assured there will be wonderful stories to transport you, created by the next generation!

Goodreads Reviews of The Busy Life of Ernestine Buckmeister January 29, 2013

Posted by flashlightblog in Book News.
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Written by Linda LoddingIllustrated by Suzanne Beaky

Written by Linda Lodding
Illustrated by Suzanne Beaky

Jan 25, 2013

Jason Lewis rated it 3 of 5 stars false

Shelves: books-i-won
The illustrations were done well with much detail. The story shows a fun way to follow a person through a busy schedule. The author takes the reader through a funny approach to solving the problem at the end.

Nicky rated it 4 of 5 stars false

Shelves: first-read
I had the pleasure of being a first read winner of this book and enjoyed it very much. My son saw it more as a silly story, but this is a good lesson for parents to remember to provide a good balance of work and play for their kids.

Jan 22, 2013

Kelsie Vanwyck rated it 4 of 5 stars false

I was captivated by the illustrations throughout the book. The bright colors and vivid scenes really draw the reader into Ernestine’s crazy life! I loved this book and cannot wait to share it with my preschool class!!

Jan 07, 2013

Rose rated it 4 of 5 stars false

I won this book from the goodreads giveaways. It was a delight to read. My daughter just loved it. This has become one of her favorite books. She carries it everywhere.

Obscure Children’s Books By Celebrated Authors of Adult Fiction January 13, 2013

Posted by flashlightblog in Book News, Winter.
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Written by Simon Van BooyIllustrated by Wendy Edelson

Written by Simon Van Booy
Illustrated by Wendy Edelson

Simon Van Booy – a contemporary, award-winning author of adult literature (The Secret Lives of People in Love, Everything Beautiful Began After) – is also the author of the children’s picture book, Pobble’s Way.

Here are some other little-known children’s books by beloved authors of adult literature.

I Need My Monster Book Parade! October 30, 2012

Posted by flashlightblog in Book News, Imagination, Individuality, Monsters, Teachers.
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Check out this video of Mrs. Bright’s second grade class in Alpharetta, GA. The students chose I Need My Monster (written by Amanda Noll, illustrated by Howard McWilliam) for their Book Parade!

The costumes are amazing! Way to go!

Beware! Pirates-in-Training at the Rose Marie Bryon Center! October 11, 2012

Posted by flashlightblog in Author Signings, Book News, Pirates.
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Carrie Clickard, author of Victricia Malicia: Book-Loving Buccaneer, visited the Rose Marie Byron Center, an after-school program in Daytona, FL, on October 8, 2012.

The little buccaneers made pirate crafts designed by Carrie (available on www.victriciamalicia.com), including pirate hats and paper parrots. The students also indulged in some homemade pirate edibles.

Check out the pictures below!

Co-Reading Survey: Parents and Kids Opt for Print Books September 23, 2012

Posted by flashlightblog in Book News.
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From Shelf-Awareness.com:

Print books are preferred over e-books by parents as well as children when they read together, according to a new study from the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop that found 89.9% of iPad owners read “mostly print books and some e-books” with their children, 7.5% read both formats equally with their children, and 2.7% read “mostly or exclusively” e-books.

Almost 75% of the responding parents said they prefer co-reading print books, with more than 50% of their children agreeing. Fewer than 10% of parents or children prefer co-reading e-books exclusively.

The center noted “these preliminary findings suggest that many parents likely perceive children’s print books and e-books differently, particularly in terms the experience and expectations of co-reading. Moreover, in practice, e-books may be playing a different role in homes than print books are. Print books appear to serve as iPad owners’ preferred co-reading medium even in homes where e-books are available. E-books, on the other hand, may play supporting roles for developing kids’ literacy skills particularly when a parent can’t be around to read to them or when families are outside of the home.”

Arrrr You Ready for Adventure? May 21, 2012

Posted by flashlightblog in Book Launchings, Book News, Pirates.
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Written by Carrie L. Clickard, illustrated by Mark Meyers

Sailing into a store near you: our newest book, Victricia Malicia: Book-Loving Buccaneer, written by Carrie L. Clickard and illustrated by Mark Meyers.

Publishers Weekly says:

Clickard takes rhyme and meter seriously, achieving, at her best, a Gilbert and Sullivan–like patter…. Meyers… provides lots of pirate detail and even an ironic moment or two…. Rollicking, sea-chantey verse and slapstick humor make this a promising readaloud.

Although Victricia Malicia Calamity Barrett was born on her family’s pirate ship, this mild-mannered, book-loving girl is sick of the sea:

“I gag when my lunch is Spaghetti Tentacular,
hate when my sisters speak pirate vernacular,
want a new pet that’s not scaly or spiny,
and wish I could keep my books somewhere less briny!”

To find out more about Victricia’s seafaring adventure, her mishaps on board, and her encounter with a terrifying sea serpent, see the PDF preview of  Victricia Malicia. Check out the newly released Victricia Malicia trailer and sing-along here, and be sure to dig into the treasure trove of free printable activities and games at VictriciaMalicia.com

Ernestine is a Winner! May 17, 2012

Posted by flashlightblog in Awards and Honors, Book News.
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Written by Linda Ravin Lodding, illustrated by Suzanne Beaky

The Busy Life of Ernestine Buckmeister is the winner of the Comstock Read Aloud Book Award for 2012! The award was announced yesterday afternoon at an elementary school in Fargo, ND, and was read aloud to approximately 100 fourth grade students and their teachers.

The Comstock Read Aloud Book Award is sponsored by the Curriculum Materials Center at Minnesota State University Moorhead. The award is granted to the picture book that is best suited to read aloud to children from the ages of nine to twelve. The evaluation criteria of the book includes: rich vocabulary, memorability, whether the text and illustrations stimulate children to respond in a variety of ways, artistry, and more.

Congratulations  Linda Ravin Lodding and Suzanne Beaky!

By the way, last year, That Cat Can’t Stay, (written by Thad Krasnesky, illustrated by David Parkins), was selected by the Minnesota State University Moorhead as their Wanda Gág Read Aloud Honor Book (for toddlers through 8 year olds).

Celebrate National Children’s Book Week! May 8, 2012

Posted by flashlightblog in Author Signings, Book News.
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Children’s Book Week was founded in 1919 by Boy Scouts of America librarian Franklin K. Matthiews, and is the longest running literacy event in the country. Since 1944, Children’s Book Week has been sponsored by the Children’s Book Council, a nonprofit trade association that organizes educational events, author and illustrator appearances, and other book-related events at schools, libraries, bookstores, and museums across the country.

Here are some ways to celebrate:

Visit some of the 120 blogs sponsoring book giveaways and gift card raffles! For a full list of participating blogs click here.

If you are in the New York area, come meet our author Lori Sunshine (I’m Really Not Tired), at 3:30 pm on May 10, at Stoopher and Boots, a boutique located at 385 Amsterdam Ave. between 78th and 79th Streets in New York City.

Grab your child’s favorite book and be sure to schedule some storytime. Full PDF files of all of our award-winning Flashlight Press books, plus activity guides for each book, are available on our website to extend the fun!

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