Blog Post by Lois Brandt, author of Maddi’s Fridge
I have Google and Twitter alerts set to tell me when webpages or internet users are discussing Maddi’s Fridge. Sometimes I get greatsurprises, like when the Seattle School District teachers were striking and, to pass the time, read Maddi’s Fridge out loud on the picket line. I ended up visiting some of those teachers at Queen Anne Elementary, an inspiring Seattle school.
I alsogot analert when a dad complained on twitter that his daughter asked him to read Maddi’s Fridge every night and it was “so depressing.” I tweeted to the dad that Maddi’s Fridge was like that. Parents get all teary-eyed and kids get empowered.
Last week an alert notified me thatChildsplayin Tempe, Arizona, was going to put on a production of Maddi’s Fridge during their 2017 – 2018 season. Look at the company Maddi’s Fridge is keeping!
THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH: September 17th – October 15th, 2017 TOMAS AND THE LIBRARY LADY: October 21st – November 12th, 2017 GO, DOG. GO!NATIONAL TOUR: November 25th – December 23rd, 2017
A CHRISTMAS CAROL WITH KATIE MCFADZEN: December 2nd – December 24th, 2017 THE SNOWY DAY AND OTHER STORIES BY EZRA JACK KEATS: January 21st, 2017 – March 11th, 2018 MADDI’S FRIDGE: March 31st, 2018 – April 8th, 2018 FLORA AND ULYSSES: April 22nd, 2018 – May 20th, 2018
When I checked in withFlashlight Press, they told me that they had just finalized the rights agreement.
Double wow! I am so grateful to Childsplay for discovering Maddi’s Fridge and turning it into a play. Years ago when I opened my best friend, Liz’s, refrigerator I felt that the entire world had failed me. What kind of world do we live in where my best friend and her little brother didn’t have enough to eat? But now, the people at Childsplay havefound the story that my eleven-year-old self wanted to SHOUT OUT TO THE WORLD. Here, in one of the richest countries in the world, our friends and our neighbors are struggling to feed their children.
A big THANK YOU to everyone at Childsplay. I am so excited that you are sharing the story of Maddi’s Fridge.
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?
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!
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!!!)
Isn’t this fantabulous? Isn’t this young artist fantabulous???
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!
On May 14th, Linda Ravin Lodding — author of The Busy Life of Ernestine Buckmeister, (illustrated by Suzanne Beaky) — appeared at the First Annual Book Carnival at the American International School in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Prior to the book signing, the students enjoyed Ernestine-themed activities in the library, including kite making!
“Although I couldn’t attend the 2012 Bologna Book Fair which just closed last week, my first picture book, The Busy Life of Ernestine Buckmeister, was on display. This annual fair is the most important international event in the children’s publishing industry. Publishers and agents from all over the world met to show off their wares and buy & sell foreign rights. While insiders reported that there seemed to be fewer attendees this year than last, business was robust. “Ernestine” proudly took her place at the active SCBWI (Society of Children Book Writers and Illustrators) stand which showcased the work of some of their members.” Linda Ravin Lodding, author, The Busy Life of Ernestine Buckmeister
Author Linda Lodding is a featured interviewee on Julie Hedlund’s April Author-Palooza! Read what she has to say about writing and publishing picture books, and leave a comment on that post to be entered to win a manuscript critique from Linda or one of the other multi-published authors.
Hurray! It’s Perfect Picture Book Friday!
Today’s choice is as much for parents and teachers as it is for kids!
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.
The Busy Life of Ernestine Buckmeister
Linda Ravin Lodding, author
Suzanne Beaky, illustrator
527 Empire Blvd, Brooklyn, NY 11225
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.
Darell Hammond, CEO of KaBOOM!, an organization devoted to saving play for America’s children, wrote the featured HuffPost article below. KaBOOM!’s mission is to create great community playspaces, ideally within walking distance of every child in America. And here’s what Mr. Hammond has to say about our newest book, The Busy Life of Ernestine Buckmeister:
“This book is a joyful and funny reminder to kids and parents alike about the importance and power of play. …Our children will all be happier and healthier if we lessen all those lessons and get out to play.”
Want to know a frightening fact? In neighborhoods without a usable park or playground, the incidence of childhood obesity increases by 29 percent.
As part of our recent Scary Playgrounds! Let’s Find ‘Em and Fix ‘Em contest, my national nonprofit KaBOOM! asked folks across the country to submit photos of rundown, decrepit playgrounds that are in desperate need of fixing up.
By entering, contestants helped further our effort to create a nationwide Map of Play, which charts the location of thousands of playgrounds across the United States. It should be a joyous geography, showing where our children climb and run, laugh and shout, learn and grow.
But alas, scary playgrounds don’t do children much good. Knowing where they are helps us find the Play Deserts — that is, areas where children have no viable outdoor play opportunities within walking distance.
The winners of our Scary Playgrounds! contest are committed to turning these decrepit playgrounds, pictured below, into vibrant community playspaces that encourage healthy, creative, unstructured outdoor play. We at KaBOOM! know it can be done. The slideshow also includes “before” and “after” shots of scary playgrounds that, with the help of community volunteers and funding partners, we have transformed over the course of just one day.
Do you live near a playground that’s overrun by rust, weeds, and disrepair? A playground that seems haunted by the ghosts of the children who once scrambled, screamed, and scurried around there? Add it to our Map of Play by downloading our free mobile app or visiting kaboom.org. We offer construction grants and an online playground project planner so you can get started transforming your own neighborhood playground.
Debut author Linda Ravin Lodding appeared yesterday at Books of Wonder in NYC, alongside Caldecott Award winner Chris Raschka and 8 other fantastic picture book creators, to sign copies of her first picture book, The Busy Life of Ernestine Buckmeister.
Originally from New York, Linda Ravin Lodding has spent the past 15 years in Austria, Sweden, and now The Netherlands, where she lives with her family in a one-windmill town. She is a working mom, shutter-bug, yoga class drop-out, cheesecake lover, hula-hooper, dreamer, and author of the wonderful children’s book, The Busy Life of Ernestine Buckmeister. Here, she reflects on the child- and play-friendly culture she has encountered in her new home:
When my family first moved to the Netherlands, four years ago, it wasn’t just the quaint windmills dotting the landscape that tipped me off that we were living in a foreign land. Nor was it the tractor-wheel-sized rounds of cheese in our village shop. It wasn’t even the picture postcard views of tulips ‘ribboning’ through the fields. No. It was the children – biking, running around, and freely playing outdoors.
Let me explain. When we first arrived in The Netherlands, we decided that we’d “go Dutch” and cycle everywhere. My then nine-year-old daughter was keen. Her school is only a stone’s throw up the street – but it is a busy street with a tricky roundabout . To complicate matters, there are so many cyclists on the bike path that it feels like the Tour de France. So, naturally, I strapped a helmet on her head and off we cycled – together.
It was soon very evident (especially to my daughter) that no other parent was biking with their child like a Mother Goose making way for her gosling. Dutch children were biking by themselves — and not only to and from school. They were biking to the town, to their friends’ houses, to the beach, to their sports activities. I’d see children on bikes and wonder, where was the adult? Granted, kids here are basically born on bikes, but weren’t their parents worried that their little ones would get lost? Side-swiped by a bus? Plucked off the street by a pedophile?
Obviously Dutch parents didn’t have such concerns. Or, if they did, they decided to not let them get in the way of embracing a free-range childhood.
As a friend of mine said, “The dangers have always been here – it’s no more or less dangerous today than it has ever been in Holland, yet parents, on balance, opt to give their kids freedom and independence.” And she, like many Dutch parents, thinks this attitude leads to happier, healthier and more resilient children.
She may very well be right. A 2007 UNICEF study found Dutch children to be the happiest among children in the 21 industrialized countries surveyed.
That well-being seems to be cultivated at a young age through parents, schools and communities. “I want for my child the same kind of playful childhood that I had,” another Dutch friend of mine told me. “I tell my children to go out and play and not come home until their pants are ripped!”
Communities are also on board – especially as childhood obesity is on the rise here in The Netherlands. In an effort to reverse that trend, nearly every Dutch child is engaged in some sort of physical activity. As American schools slash recess and P.E. to make time for more sedentary classroom instruction, Dutch schools provide half-days every Wednesday so kids can pursue sports.
What else explains why Dutch children so happy? Play!
You only have to look at the painting, “Children’s Games” painted by Pieter Bruegel, the Elder over 400 years ago, to see that children in this region have been engaged in independent play for centuries.
And, today, Holland has an abundance of play facilities for children – from construction playgrounds to water playgrounds to natural playgrounds. Just take a look at this Dr. Seuss-inspired playground, featured previously on Play Today, in Hoenderloo, in Netherlands’ Landal Miggelenberg park.
So, I’ve been trying to “go Dutch” in more ways than one. Beyond eating Gouda and tiptoeing through the tulips, I now let my daughter bike to school by herself and ensure that we all make time to lighten up a bit and to play.
Don’t miss Linda’s book! Read about The Busy Life of Ernestine Buckmeister, whose “well-meaning busy parents have packed her after-school hours, turning Ernestine into the over-scheduled poster child of today. But Ernestine is about to opt out and do what no Buckmeister has ever done before: just PLAY.”