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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!

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!

Celebrating National Bread Month and the 250th Anniversary of the Sandwich November 7, 2012

Posted by flashlightblog in Food, Individuality, Peer Pressure, Self-Esteem.
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Re-posted with permission from Desiree Glaze of WeeShare:

I love bread.  In fact, my entire family enjoys eating bread.  Did you know that this is National Bread Month?  I am pretty sure this calls for a celebration– let’s all go eat some bread!

The great thing about bread is that it and other grain foods actually provide many essential nutrients our bodies need to stay healthy and help fight diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, some cancers and birth defects.  I try to choose breads and even cereals that use whole grains, as whole grains are a great source of complex carbs and fiber and they are naturally low in fat.  Enriched grains are a great option as well because not only do they contain complex carbs, but they are also one of the major sources for iron and folic acid in our diets.

The key to maximizing your health and your energy is to take a look at everything that is on your plate.  Balance is essential.  The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend eating six one ounce servings of grain foods each day.  This can come in the form of buns, sandwich bread, tortillas, bagels, crackers, and a variety of other grain foods.

One really easy way to incorporate grains into your diet is with a sandwich.  You can add some meat, fresh veggies, and cheese, and suddenly you’ve got an entree that is packed with ingredients from many of the food groups!
2012 actually marks the 250th Anniversary of the Sandwich! America’s love affair with the sandwich dates back to England in 1762 when Sir John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, didn’t want to put his cards down in the midst of a marathon game of poker, so requested his meat be served to him between two slices of bread. A fabulous new “food form” was born – and our passion for sandwiches continues to this day. With Americans consuming over a billion sandwiches a year – for breakfast, lunch and dinner – sandwiches may in fact be our most popular national dish.

Why does it seems that we love sandwiches so much?  Well…

  • Sandwiches are one of the easiest, most versatile and convenient ways to make a healthy meal for individuals or families.
  • Bread is the most important ingredient in making a healthy and delicious sandwich; it is the foundation of a great meal any time of day.
  • The complex carbohydrates in bread and other grain-based foods provide lasting energy the human body needs on a daily basis.

Sandwiches are definitely a part of my family’s life.  Growing up, I remember frequently taking peanut butter sandwiches in my lunch to school.  Now, I highly prefer a BLT.  I know that some people like mayo on their BLT’s, but I stick with lightly toasted bread, crispy bacon, tomato {preferably with a touch of salt}, and some iceberg lettuce.  My little vegetarian daughter prefers her sandwiches with bread and a slice of Muenster cheese.  My husband likes to pile his up with a variety of meats and cheeses as well as tomato, lettuce, and a variety of other toppings.
We eat sandwiches whenever we’re spending the day outdoors hiking, kayaking, or at the park.  Nothing beats a family picnic in the beautiful sunshine.  We’ve also been known to enjoy sandwiches at home for lunch or even as a light dinner.  Sandwiches truly are versatile.

Since it’s National Bread Month and the 250th Anniversary of the Sandwich, the Grain Foods Foundation has teamed up with celebrity chef Bryan Voltaggio to share four exclusive sandwich recipes.

Chef Voltaggio has been around food virtually his entire life.  He grew up in an agricultural community where he tended the garden and baled hay right alongside his family.  After attending the Culinary Institute of America, Chef Voltaggio worked alongside many other famous chefs both here and abroad.  Now, he is getting ready to open his third restaurant, which will be located in Washington DC.
You can view all four recipes that Chef Voltaggio created for the Grain Foods Foundation by visiting their website.  However, I wanted to highlight one of them– the Avocado CLT.  Just looking at this sandwich makes my mouth water.  Perhaps that’s what I get for viewing recipes when I’m hungry!  This sandwich features whole grain bread as well as tasty ingredients like avocado, cucumber and tomato.  There are also directions to whip up a goat cheese mousse and spread to use on the sandwich.

So, this month as we all celebrate National Bread Month and the 250th Anniversary of the Sandwich, I’d love to know… what’s YOUR favorite sandwich to eat?

Disclosure:  I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour for Mom Central Consulting on behalf of the Grain Foods Foundation. I received a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.

image from Carla’s Sandwich – written by Debbie Herman, illustrated by Sheila Bailey

 

 

 

Flashlight Press responds: Carla would make these recipes and eat the results. They’re all favorites!

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…)

Join in the Discussion about Play January 29, 2012

Posted by flashlightblog in Individuality, Play, Reviews.
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Hurray!  It’s Perfect Picture Book Friday!
Today’s choice is as much for parents and teachers as it is for kids!

Image from The Busy Life of Ernestine Buckmeister, written by Linda Lodding, illustrated by Suzanne Beaky

The Busy Life of Ernestine Buckmeister
Flashlight Press, October 2011, Fiction
Suitable For: ages 5 and up
Themes/Topics: the importance of play, over-scheduling
Opening: “Each morning, while Ernestine ate breakfast and Nanny O’Dear prepared lunch, Ernestine’s father zoomed out to work and called, ‘Live life to the fullest, Ern!’  And each morning Ernestine’s mother zipped out to catch the bus and said, ‘Make every moment count, E!‘”

Brief synopsis: Ernestine’s parents want her to have every experience she can, so they pack her days with sculpting and tuba,  yoga and yodeling.  It takes Ernestine to show them that one thing she absolutely shouldn’t miss is having time to just play.

Links to resources:  What I really should say here is, “No resources!  Just go play!”  But here are some resources that are also playing: Coloring Page, and for activities, try making a daisy crown (or any kind of outdoorsy crown), or make clouds out of cotton or shaving cream and see what shapes you see in them, or build a fort out of sticks, or blocks, or an empty cardboard box.  Use your imagination!

Why I Like This Book:  Kids will enjoy Ernestine’s ridiculous schedule, her amusing list of lessons, her teachers’ funny names, the bold bright colors of the pictures, and Ernestine’s inspired solution to her problem.  As a grown-up, I appreciate Ernestine’s message that while organized activities arranged and taught by adults have their place, so too does the unstructured time to be a child and simply play.

Click here for Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog post and comments.

Midwest Book Review on The Busy Life of Ernestine Buckmeister December 14, 2011

Posted by flashlightblog in Individuality, Parents, Play, Reviews.
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written by Linda Ravin Lodding, illustrated by Suzanne Beaky

The Busy Life of Ernestine Buckmeister
Linda Ravin Lodding, author
Suzanne Beaky, illustrator
Flashlight Press/IPG
527 Empire Blvd, Brooklyn, NY 11225
9780979974694, http://www.ipgbook.com

The Busy Life of Ernestine Buckmeister is a paean to play, especially for kids. Well-meaning adults end up pressuring children to fulfill busy schedules of performance expectations without realizing that one of the most precious experiences only children will have is free time to play, experiment, imagine, and just be. Ernestine’s busy life should be fully satisfying, with sculpting, water ballet, knitting, tuba lessons, yodeling, karate lessons, and yoga. But something is missing, even though the Buckmeisters hire Nanny O’Dear to help keep Ernestine on schedule. Ernestine begins to look pale and tired. What Ernestine would really like to do is just spend some time playing ball outdoors with Hugo, her neighbor. Ernestine decides to schedule something new for herself. This alarms her parents, who are unable to find her at any of her exhausting, scheduled activities. Finally they find her on top of a big hill, just looking at clouds and inhaling, enjoying the view, with Nanny O’Dear. All adults gradually see the light, and though Ernestine continues to do some of her scheduled activities, sometimes she just plays! The vibrant, colorful illustrations help lift each page of spunky narration. The Busy Life of Ernestine Buckmeister will appeal to overachieving kids of all ages, or 4-8.

Original review can be found here.

Carla’s Sandwich has culinary company October 18, 2010

Posted by flashlightblog in Individuality.
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Carla’s Sandwich is the story of a little girl whose sandwiches are, well, unique.

But unusual food combos seem to be more and more the rule these days as the New York Times reports on the growing popularity of the Nickelodeon TV inspired spaghetti taco. We could suggest it to Carla, but it might already be a little too popular for her taste. After all, she likes to be different.

For the full article on the spaghetti taco, click here.

And if that sounds tasty, you might want to try some of Carla’s unique sandwiches.  But for that you have to read the book.

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