Last week, on World Read Aloud Day, I shared my love of Kidlit by reading and acting out scenes with Kindergarteners. Not only did I read Ninja by Arree Chung and Twenty-Six Pirates by David Horowitz, I read my own picture book manuscript to three classes.
Since the topic of my picture book is superheroes, I created a handout where the kids could write their superhero name and power and illustrate their super people. The five and six year-olds then shared their creations with each other. Fun!
Shout out to Wyoming Elementary School’s Kindergarten teachers. When I thanked them for allowing me to visit their classrooms, one teacher sent me this: “Thanks goes to you, Mrs. Gruer, for continuing to be a reading inspiration to the children at Wyoming School!!” Wasn’t that nice?
Super Kids’ Quotes:
To the question, “If you were a superhero, what would your power be?”
A boy answered: “Ocean! I’d save everything that lives in the ocean, even sharks, and all the sea creatures would love me.”
A girl answered: “My superpower is fire and fly!”
Another girl answered:“I am strong and speed!”
To the question, “If you were a superhero, what would your name be?”
One boy asked, “How do you spell “Estaban the Magnificent?'”
Thanks to Laura Sibson, I am participating in a “My Writing Process” Blog Hop. I added the Bunny Hop part as a nod to Easter, Spring, and my own beautiful Tween Bunny who is my first reader.
Laura earned her MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts after discovering a passion for writing novels geared toward teens. Laura’s a fellow runner (she runs much longer distances than me), dog-walker, coffee-drinker, “ingester-of-pop culture,” and mom of teens. She lives in suburban Philadelphia and has impressed me with her knowledge of “Bawlmor” accents.
Laura describes the paranormal young adult novel she’s writing on her blog, Laura Sibson,A journey toward writing dangerously. Her novel sounds spooky and fascinating, and it involves the Black Aggie, a real statue that used to reside a stone’s throw away from my parents’ house, in Druid Ridge Cemetery in Baltimore, Maryland.
Do you think its a coincidence that Laura connected with a Bmore girl? I don’t know, hon. You’ll have to ask her!
My Writing Process Questions and Answers:
What are you working on?
Coco, the main character in my chapter book is based on a true story and a real dog. An article describing how a dog ended up on a NJ Transit train headed to Manhattan appeared in my local paper. We had recently adopted a puppy. A story was born! Coco’s inherent doggie abilities and desire to find bones will, hopefully, lead him on many adventures (meaning more chapter books).
In the picture book series I’m writing, my five year-old main character wanted to become a superhero just like his big brother. In the first book, he did it! Now he’s off to conquer the world (and his fears) as the fastest superhero ever. I’m working on books about the day he thought his mommy was a zombie and about the time he battled deep sea creatures at the town pool.
How does your work differ from others of its genre?
Guess what one of my goals is? Hint: it’s in the name of my blog. ENERGY!
I hope my writing grabs readers from the get-go! My manuscripts are populated by relatable characters, alliteration, funny phrases, and a dash of silliness. The universal theme underlying all of my manuscripts is family. Whether the action revolves around siblings or parents and their children, the action happens between the humor and heart.
In my chapter book, Coco stays true to his doggie characteristics, but his impulsivity takes him to unexpected places. He meets a zany cast of characters along the way and, inadvertently, saves the day while on the search for the perfect bone. This chapter book (and the others I plan to write), will fill the gap for elementary school kids who are one step beyond First Readers but not yet ready for longer chapter books.
Logan, my latest picture book‘s main character, is just like real little boys. How do I know? Because he’s a compilation of my “superhero” nephew, my son, and the boys I teach at pre-school and at the elementary school. My nephew says, “Activate! Pshht! Pow!” So does Logan. My nephew says things are “mega.” So does Logan. Sibling rivalry amongst my triplets plus one more was rampant. My hope is that kids will love Logan and his brother’s vivid imaginations while parents will appreciate the heart of the story.
Why do you write what you do?
I write because ideas pop into my head, words and phrases tumble off my tongue, and characters stand in front of me, tail wagging and arms crossed, begging to be brought to life.
I write because the child inside of me connects to children from toddlers to teenagers. I still love playing in a sandbox, climbing to the top of the swingset, and sledding down a hill at lightning speed.
I write because I believe stories are magical.
How does your writing process work?
An idea or a character or a turn of phrase will start off as a wisp of thought. The ideas, characters and turns of phrases that stay in my head like a song-on-the-radio-you-can’t-stop-singing must be written down. If scenes start appearing in my mind’s eye, while I’m driving, running errands, walking Lucy and, always, when I try to go to sleep, then I have to get my thoughts on paper. The process has begun.
First drafts go to my wonderful critique group. I revise. Second drafts are critiqued. I revise. Etc!
My most important revision tools are a thesaurus, dictionary, rhyming dictionary and critiques from my group (or an editor or agent, if I’m lucky). More importantly, I take my watch off, don’t answer the phone, concentrateon listening to how my characters would speak and inhabit the world I’ve created.
Last November, I signed up for Tara Lazar’s PiBoIdMo challenge to come up with a new picture book idea for a month. Thirty new ideas are now residing in my Idea Box.
Joining the My Writing Process Blog Hop, I’d like to introduce you to (drumroll, please):
Michelle and I connected on Twitter (Michelle on Twitter, me on Twitter). Michelle not only has a blog called Michelle Karéne, Children’s Author, is a member of SCBWI and an aspiring children’s writer, she earned her doctorate in Biomedical Engineering, works for a biotechnology company, and has published fifteen articles in various scientific journals. Michelle’s short story, “Magnolia Fall,” will be published in the 14th Annual Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition Collection. Michelle, who lives in North Carolina with her family, blogs about her chapter book and young adult works-in-progress, funny things her three daughters say, nature photographs and dinner ideas. I hope you’ll check out her blog.
Meet Linda Bozzo. Linda tagged me on her blog, Writerlinda.blogspot.com. She is the author of over 50 non-fiction books for the school and library market. She enjoys writing fiction as well as non-fiction for children. Many of her fiction stories are inspired by her love of dance. Linda is member of the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She enjoys presenting her writing journey to both children and adults. Linda lives in New Jersey with her family where she can visit the Jersey shore and enjoy the culture of New York City. You can find Linda online at http://www.lindabozzo.com.
I’m participating in PiBoIdMo, Picture Book Idea Month, which means every day in November I think of a new picture book idea. My brain is like a window and once I open it, the ideas flow through like fresh air! My newest manuscript is about two brothers, sibling rivalry and superheroes.
How does it differ from other works in the genre?
My story grabs you from the first line! It’s different because it gives boys ages 3-6 a story filled with supereheroes, spaceships, tests of will wrapped around funny and realistic brothers, and comic book action words. Lightening Logan and his big brother Hawk are poised to take on the world. “Pshht! Pow! Activtate!”
Why do you do what you do?
Story ideas, rhyming phrases, settings and characters pop in my head constantly. I write to give them a place to grow. To me, picture books are magical. Picture books have resonance each time they’re read, the words are musical, and adults and children build bonds while reading together. I strive to create that magic when I write.
What is the hardest part about writing?
When I write, I am transported to another world where I exist with my characters. The hardest thing is finding a publisher who sees the potential for them to come alive, and is willing to take a chance on a new author. I continue writing because I truly believe in my characters, stories and the magic that is ready to spring off the page and into the imagination of a child.
Linda Vitale is an award-winning advertising copywriter and creative director who has worked at top New York City agencies. She has created TV and radio spots, ads and promotions for Chase bank, Max Factor, Campbell’s Soups, American Airlines, Volkswagen/Porsche-Audi, to name a few. The only thing she didn’t write is Mad Men. And she should have, because this was and is her world. In addition to advertising, Linda has written articles for New Jersey parenting publications. Currently she writes children’s books and humorous dog stories for her blog, firstname.lastname@example.org. Linda lives in Convent Station, New Jersey, and can be found pounding the keys of her laptop at her local Starbucks.
I’m excited to introduce you to French children’s book author, Nicole Snitselaar. We met through PiBoIdMo. Here’s what Nicole says about her writing journey.
Writing, I’ve always loved writing!
But writing is so more rewarding when it can be shared.
I am lucky to have had many picture-books published these last years.
Most of my books are in French.
But you will never guess how happy I was when Top That published two of my English stories!
Why do I write in English?
In fact, English was my first language as a little girl, and it just rings so familiar to my ear. My parents read to us many picture books who came from Great Britain. I would even say, they only read English books!
It was so much easier for my mother! She is Scottish. She married a Dutch man (my father) and they lived in Belgium, and later in France. And my first language was English… It took time for my mother to learn French !
And I got to speak French once I went to school at the age of 4.
Today I am the mother of five young adults.
I have been wririn songs and nursery rhymes for… as far as I can remember! I have several CD’s released. (one about English nursery rhymes in French and English )
One day, I decided it was time for me to start writing more than just songs.
I really enjoy this activity and hope that you will enjoy discovering my stories!
If you want to learn more about me, my life, my books, you may visit my English blog or French blog.