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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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When A Dragon Moves In – the Graphic Novel? March 22, 2017

Posted by flashlightblog in Author Notes, Dragon, Illustrator Appearances, Imagination, Individuality, Play.
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Originally Published on March 21
Taken from Jodi Moore’s Blog

Today I received a truly splendiferous email. It seems a fifth grade teacher challenged her students to take a favorite story and turn it into a graphic novel.

And guess what?

*drum roll*

One of her students chose When A Dragon Moves In…and her mom not only shared it with me, but gave me permission to share it with all of YOU!

*Tigger dances*

Words can’t describe what an honor and a thrill this is. And so without further ado, it’s my privilege to share the work of this brilliant young artist:

(SPOILER – check out the alternate ending!!!)

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Sarah. Like Howard McWilliam (the illustrator for When A Dragon Moves In and When A Dragon Moves In Again), you’ve brought my characters, my vision – my dream – to life! You’re an inspiration to all of us, and we can’t wait to enjoy more of your talents!

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!

Carla Would Love a Peanut Butter & Pickle Sandwich! October 23, 2012

Posted by flashlightblog in Imagination, Individuality.
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From the New York Times:

Peanut Butter Takes On an Unlikely Best Friend

by Dwight Garner

Like Krazy and Ignatz, Carville and Matalin, Cupid and Psyche or Alison Krauss and Robert Plant, the peanut butter and pickle sandwich is one of those unlikely pairings that shouldn’t work, but does.
That’s how I’ve always felt, anyway. I’ve been happily eating these distinctive little sandwiches for years. The vinegary snap of chilled pickle cuts, like a dash of irony, against the stoic unctuousness of peanut butter. The sandwich is a thrifty and unacknowledged American classic.

My father passed them down to me. Peanut butter and pickle sandwiches got him through law school at West Virginia University. I’ve come to consider them the work-at-home writer’s friend. The ingredients are always there for you, waiting loyally in the pantry when more glamorous lunch options (cold cuts, leftovers) aren’t returning your calls.

The PB&P has been a minority enthusiasm in America for generations, lingering just under the radar. The sandwiches appeared on lunch-counter menus during the Great Depression and in extension-service cookbooks in the 1930s and ’40s in recipes that generally called for a few spoonfuls of pickle relish. A lot of people’s grandmothers used to eat them.

(more…)

Crafts for Grandparents Day! September 19, 2012

Posted by flashlightblog in Grandparents, Holidays, Imagination.
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Even though it isn't Grandparents Day any more, it's never too late to celebrate! Join in the fun with these Silly Frilly Grandma Tillie-inspired activities from the Mommy and Me Book Club blog.

Silly Frilly Grandma Tillie by Laurie Jacobs was the featured selection this week for our book-inspired fun! I wanted to feature a book about Grandparents, in honor of Grandparents' Day this weekend in the US. And I ADORE this book. It was a new find for me this summer.

Gathering Activity: Make Hand Print Pot Holders for Grandparents
I was inspired to make these potholders with our hand prints painted on them from an idea on saw at Second Grade Sparkle.

Materials Needed:
Fabric solid colored pot holders
fabric paint, coordinating ribbon
copies of the poem to attach to the pot holders printed on cardstock
hole punch

We attached a great poem I discovered at Kindergarten Rocks! Make sure you go there to see all of the words! We will mail these (or hand deliver these) to our grandparents since the next Sunday is Grandparents' Day in the US.

Circle Time

*We read Silly Frilly Grandma Tillie by Laurie A. Jacobs.
This is a delightful book about a grandma who comes to babysit for the evening.   (more…)

Storytime for Pets May 16, 2012

Posted by flashlightblog in Cats, Holidays, Imagination.
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Written by Thad Krasnesky, illustrated by David Parkins

Although National Pet Week was last week, it’s never too late to celebrate. And with the five cats from That Cat Can’t Stay, it’s sure to be quite the party!

Judith Viorst, renowned author of  Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, sent us a handwritten postcard:

Thanks for letting me see That Cat Can’t Stay. It’s an absolutely adorable book – and exactly how the Viorsts once wound up with four cats.

From Waking Brain Cells, the blog of  the Menasha library:

Recommended for cat storytimes.  This is a purr-fect readaloud for any family that finds that they too seem to collect animals. I’d even recommend it happily to dog lovers.

Grab your copy and take the stray cats out to play! An online preview of the book is available here.


There’s still a lot more winter to knit Pobble mittens January 4, 2012

Posted by flashlightblog in Imagination, Parents, Winter.
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Thanks to these wonderful people in cyberspace who helped to spread the word about our wintry campaign for knitting mittens like the ones Pobble wears in Pobble’s Way (written by Simon Van Booy, illustrated by Wendy Edelson):

Bev Qualheim – who wrote the original mitten pattern, Michelle Edwards, KRJuchem, Yvonne Jefferson, Basya Karp, Mary Nida Smith, Barb Hatch, and Barbara Gruener.

Dragon visits Kidz ‘N Kastles Sandcastle Competition at US Open July 27, 2011

Posted by flashlightblog in Dragon, Imagination, Summer.
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The Kidz ‘N Kastles Sandcastle Competition, sponsored and organized by the U.S. Open Sandcastle Committee and the Imperial Beach Optimists Club, took place Saturday, July 23, in Imperial Beach, CA.  Khari Johnson reported on the event in the Imperial Beach Patch.

Highlights:

  • About 20 teams competed in 15’x 15′ plots of sand; all team members were 12 years of age or under
  • Decorations were permitted but had to be biodegradable materials or things found at the beach, like seaweed or seashells. Food coloring was also permitted.
  • Each team of five was accompanied by an adult supervisor who was not allowed to assist in the construction of sand castles or sculptures.
  • Top placing teams won a trophy, a $10 savings account from North Island Credit Union, a gift card for the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, a free haircut at the Hair Force Barber Shop, and a copy of the book When a Dragon Moves In, a story about a little boy, his sandcastle and a dragon.
  • Awards were presented by Miss Imperial Beach Meghan Sherman.

Congratulations to the winning teams in each category:

Sand Sculptures

1st Wave Riders
2nd Daialya Cub Pack #306
3rd Simply Awesome

Kastles

1st Sand Eggos Cub Scout Pack #306
2nd Griffins
3rd Sand Warriors

Creatures of the Sea

1st Speed Demons
2nd Sea Dragons 2
3rd Hammer Heads

From When a Dragon Moves In, written by Jodi Moore, illustr. by Howard McWilliam

When a Dragon Moves In to BookFest PA, a first-hand report by author Jodi Moore July 20, 2011

Posted by flashlightblog in Author Signings, Dragon, Imagination, Summer.
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Jodi Moore signing copies of When a Dragon Moves In at BookFest PA

I’m one of these people who just can’t wait to bite into the chocolaty center of a Tootsie Pop, the creamy middle of a sugary doughnut, the gooey core of a caramel bar. So imagine my reaction when I was offered the chance to participate in BookFest PA, a book festival tucked into the heart of The Central PA Festival of the Arts. Sweet!

And what do you get when you combine arts enthusiasts with avid readers? Some quite extraordinary people who, while varying in age, background, and interest, have come together to celebrate the power of the imagination.

Nothing short of a little slice of heaven.

Between 10 am and 5 pm on July 16, thousands of folks browsed the BookFest PA tent to share words and stories, and to meet some very talented writers and illustrators. (Yes, I was admittedly fan-gushy to be in such lovely company.) I’m thrilled to say that Dragon “moved into” many a new, loving home that day! There is nothing more heart-squishy than watching a child hug your book.

In addition, I was honored to present When a Dragon Moves In during a late morning story time inside Schlow Library. Our young audience became artists themselves, drawing pictures of their own “perfect sandcastles” – which I‘m sure are now proudly displayed on refrigerators across the nation! Each child received the highly regarded “Dragon” sticker for his/her work, as well as a bookmark. And of course, the Dragon himself made an appearance!

A standing ovation – and a ton of thanks – to the organizers and volunteers of this amazing event. This was only the second year for BookFest PA, but with the success and smiles it brought to so many, I know I’m not the only one looking forward to many more!

Summer’s In Full Swing, Dragons Are Moving In July 13, 2011

Posted by flashlightblog in Dragon, Imagination, Interviews, Summer.
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Jodi Moore, author of When a Dragon Moves In (Flashlight Press 2011, illustrated by Howard McWilliam), talks about her first picture book in an interview on WHVL TV, State College, PA. It aired April 2011.

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