World Read Aloud Day 2016 {with recommendations}

Mark your calendars for World Read Aloud Day – February 24, 2016

Reading has long been my passion.  When my son was born I began reading to him at bedtime in hopes that it would encourage a love of reading in him as well.  Nine, almost ten, years later – guess what?  It turns out my son is really, really strong in math but reading – not so much.  He’s a reluctant reader and yet, as we keep reading together, we’re getting closer and closer to finding the books that really get him excited about turning the page.

I still read aloud to him every night and we both look forward to this one-on-one time together.  Admittedly, I will probably be a little (ok, a lot!) heartbroken when he decides that he’s too grown up to continue our bedtime routine.  Until then, I will cherish each moment.

We’ve found some books recently that my son has been really excited about.  If you have a reluctant reader as well (fourth grade-ish) you may want to check out these page-turners for your child.

The Pete the Cat series by Peg Kehret (The Stranger Next Door, Spy Cat, Trapped): There is a lot of action and tense moments in these books that kept my son reading ahead long after I was done reading to him for the night.  We are quite sure that our own cat, Luna, is related to Pete with similarities in both appearance and attitude that made the story extra fun for my cat-loving boy.  😉  Read more about the first in the series, The Stranger Next Door, here.

The Imaginary Veterinary series by Suzanne Selfors: I adore this series.  I’ve read a lot of good books with my son over the years but even some of the best books aren’t fun to read aloud.  I wind up stumbling and stuttering over too many ‘he said’/ ‘she said’ dialogue tags.  I become lightheaded trying to puff out a paragraph-length sentence in one breath.  But, thanks to an awesome Book World employee (see, book stores are still important!), I was introduced to the Imaginary Veterinary series.  These books are filled with fantasy adventures, fun illustrations by Dan Santat, and sentences that swimmingly roll off the tongue.  I highly recommend this series!  Start with The Sasquatch Escape.

The Fudge series by Judy Blume: When my son comes home from school excited about a book they’re reading in class I immediately order the entire series.  Such was the case with the Fudge series.  These books are comprised of short, hilarious chapters resulting in ‘keep reading, mom!’ if I attempt to put the book down for the night.  Check out Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, the first in the Fudge series.

IMG_4555And, of course, let’s not forget the little ones this World Read Aloud day.  Bright or Blue by Yours Truly is the perfect snuggle-up, feel good read aloud picture book.  You can nab it at 10% off with code Kimber over at the Splashing Cow Books website.  And if you get a chance to rate and review Bright or Blue over at Goodreads you’ll have seven years good luck.  True story!  😉

What do you plan on reading this World Read Aloud Day?  What are you currently reading with your child?  What books are your kiddos really excited about right now?  I would love to hear in the comments!  I’m always looking for book recommendations for all ages so hit me with ’em!

 

 

 

 

 

Pay It Forward – Kindle Giveaway

Hello and happy holiday season!  Here is a post I shared on my personal Facebook page but am hoping to reach a wider audience:

I have a brand new, still in box, Kindle Paperwhite and am looking for some help paying it forward this holiday season. If you know someone who:   a.) loves reading (this is important!) AND b.) perhaps can’t afford an ereader, or would never buy something like that for themselves because they’re always giving to others – I would like to hear from you.

Tell me who you would nominate to receive the Kindle Paperwhite and why you feel they would be the perfect recipient.

I will accept EMAIL nominations only (address below). Please do not reply to this post with your nomination. Please do not FB message me your nomination. I will accept email nominations at the provided email address until 3:00 p.m. Friday, December 4.  That’s just a few days so don’t hesitate to get your letters in!

You may share this post to reach out to more people (please do!). I do not have to personally know the individual being nominated (or the person nominating).  ANYONE can be nominated, provided they meet the criteria above. 😉 You can even nominate yourself!

I will have at least one other person reading through your nominations and helping me choose the recipient. I have a feeling it will be tough to decide! I may ask for personal information (name, address, phone number) from the recipient to determine how best to deliver the Kindle and I may ask permission to share their story on FB.

So, now that I’ve used some variation of the words ‘nomination’ and ‘recipient’ approximately 623 times, here’s where I need you to send your email:

payitforwardkindle@outlook.com

Again, I will only be accepting nominations, and only via the email address provided, until 3:00 p.m. this Friday, December 4.

Thank you for helping me make this holiday extra bright for someone. I look forward to reading your nominations!

Picture Book Month

November is Picture Book Month and I’m allowing myself to shamelessly plug my children’s picture book with absolutely zip, zero, zilch qualms!

Bright or Blue was released in September by Splashing Cow Books and although I’ve held it in my hands, read it over and over, and admired IMG_4555the gorgeous illustrations by Alexandra Gheorghiu time and again it still feels quite unreal.

The writing and publishing experience has been such an honor and I’m excited to be able to pay it forward by tucking copies of Bright or Blue in Little Free Libraries across my home state.  It warms my heart to think of parents and children reading together and I hope that Bright or Blue warms their  hearts in turn.

LFL1Please check it out.  If you feel so moved – order a copy to share with the children in your life or just to serve as a personal reminder that you have the power to shape your days by controlling your reaction to frustrating or difficult situations.  It’s an empowering realization when we come to understand that in all things we can choose to be bright or we can choose to be blue.

For a peek at the book or to place an order (use Book Farmer Code Kimber for a 10% discount!) click here.

Thank you so much!

On Your Own {Path}

Beauty is in knowing that you deserve all of the wonderful things that life has to offer. It’s knowing that the only person in the entire world that can change who you are is YOU. Let others make their own choices. Relieve yourself of that burden. Encourage others with love – never judgment – while they walk their own path. Go out there and be you today. Just you. That’s beauty.

These words came to me this morning.  I quickly wrote them down with the knowledge that I occasionally see or hear something in exactly the moment that I needed to see/hear it.  Perhaps this will be one of those moments for you.  Namaste.

Bright or Blue – What’s it about?!

The release of Bright or Blue draws near.  I have seen the completed proof and struggle to put words to the whirlwind of feelings that that moment brought with it.  Pride? Excitement? Amazement? Fear? Happiness?  Yes, all of those.

So it’s on its way – but, what’s it even about?!  At the most basic level, Bright or Blue is a story about the power of mindfulness and positive attitude.  We may not have control over everything that happens to us each day but we can control how we react to those things.

“I have the power to shape my days.”

Alright, so I wrote a children’s book about mindfulness and positive attitude.  Easy, right?  Well, I discovered quickly that in order to write about mindfulness and positivity I really needed to surround myself with it.  That meant distancing myself from negative influences in my life.  Anyone or anything with negative energy shacking up in my mind simply had to be kicked out.  Practice what you preach, you know?  What I found, what we all have the opportunity to find, is that when you let go of those negative thoughts, when you really pay attention to your thoughts and rearrange them and respond accordingly, you feel lighter, freer.  At least I did.

We live in a world, or maybe it’s just the time, where we feel we have to do/be/have everything.  That drive is exhausting and we often forget to take care of ourselves.  Or worse, we feel guilty for taking care of ourselves.

I know, I’ve been there.  So believe me when I say – you need to take care of yourself!  Put yourself first.  Put yourself in a position where you are healthy and mindful enough to then be better able to help others.  And teach the children in your life to be mindful of their words and thoughts and how they effect their own mood as well as the people around them.  You can start by reading Bright or Blue to them.  😉

I’ll hop down off my soapbox shortly, but first I ask you to consider something;  If you have ever been on an airplane you should be familiar with the pre-flight emergency information and instructions.  They tell you where the emergency exits are, where to find your personal flotation device, and they inform you that should the oxygen masks deploy at any time to secure your own mask BEFORE assisting others.  Why?  Well, if you pass out because you felt too guilty to take care of yourself first you’re no longer able to help ANYONE.  Apply that to your life.  Affix your own hypothetical oxygen mask first, take your time, breathe deep.  You’ll find that when you’re at your best – your loved ones benefit from the happy, healthy you as well.

<end unsolicited advice>

If you’re interested in taking a look at the completed book cover for Bright or Blue just hop on over to the Splashing Cow website and scroll down.  I’d love to hear what you think.

Creative Writing Prompt – What Happened?

 I would never claim to be a poet and, post teenage-angst years, am generally not drawn to poetry.  So what moved me to write a poem for this creative writing prompt?  I have no idea!  That’s the wonderful thing about being a writer; you never know when, or in what form, creativity will strike.  I have learned to never, ever, ever have either paper and pencil or an electronic device more than arms length away.  Ideas and lines or phrases pop into my head at the most inconvenient times but if I don’t make note of them immediately I will forget them.  Every. Single. Time.

Check out the following writing prompt here, read the stories posted in the comments, and perhaps come up with your own 350 word (or less) story to share!

Photo Prompt Courtesy of writetodone.com

Photo Prompt Courtesy of writetodone.com

Keen at first to learn the inner workings

But never quick enough

Such a wide, wide world

And so the time will pass

A project left here

The beginning of a story left there

To never discover the how

To never hear the ending

In this busy, busy life

Leaves nought but the taste of regret

On the eve of life’s ending light

 

A ‘Bright or Blue’ Update

Just a quick update for those of you wishing to follow the progress of my upcoming children’s picture book, Bright or Blue.

The wonderfully talented Alexandra Gheorghiu is currently working on the illustrations.  I am immensely grateful and honored to have her bringing my words to life.  The words in a picture book are written with the intent to be emphasized by an artist.  I realize that my manuscript cannot stand alone and I give much love and credit to the artist giving it life!

Splashing Cow Books has been beyond amazing through this entire process.  I feel incredibly fortunate to be working with them.  If things continue swimmingly, Bright or Blue should be in print fall 2015.

In the meantime – I am writing my first children’s chapter book and enjoying connecting with authors and others on Twitter.

Thanks so much to all who have reached out to me with kind words and support!4079068_orig