Friday, October 29, 2010

Fish For a Free Book: October 29

It's time to fish for a free book!

If you are hosting a children's book giveaway, or if you found a giveaway somewhere on the net that you just have to share, I'd love to have you share your links with us here on our weekly giveaway linky so that we can all stop by and enter.

If you're looking for more children's book giveaways, be sure to visit
Brimful Curiosities' Full to the Brim,
Winning Readings (listings of adult and children's book giveaways),
and Got Great Giveaways? (linky of adult and children's book giveaways at I Am a Reader, Not a Writer)

Please post your links however you wish. Some like to include their blog name, some just want to leave the prize and the ending date. Post it whatever way you feel like, but make sure that the prize listing and the date the giveaway ends is listed. And make sure you post a link directly to your giveaway - not just to your main blog page.

Here's an example:
Your name: The Bug Book Launch (10/31)
Your URL: http://thebugbooklaunch.blogspot.com/2010/10/your-mission-should-you-choose-to.html

Now it's your turn. Leave your links here...
(If you're reading this in a reader, please click through to the original post)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Interview with children's author/ illustrator Kit Grady

Kit Grady is a full-time children’s illustrator and author living in the mountains of Asheville, North Carolina. Her love for drawing animals, nature and children began very early. She continued her passion studying art at Virginia Commonwealth University and later studied under Caldecott winners Uri Shulevitz and Gale Haley. Kit has produced greeting cards and created a weekly children’s page for the local newspaper. Her first book, by Windswept House Publishers was followed by projects with The United Methodist Publishing House/Cokesbury, an educational publisher, Kaeden Books, Kicks Club Books, and the Collier Creative Group. She has illustrated several books for Guardian Angel Publishing. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Kit, best known for her bright colors and expressive animals, has several new projects due out this year, including her latest, A Necklace For Jiggsy.

I recently had the opportunity to interview Kit and learn more about her illustration process, inspiration and more...

Rainbow NightsTell us about your path to publication.
I have always loved to draw and play with words. I remember creating a fake newspaper and making up the stories and pictures when I was very young. After studying art in college, I moved on to greeting cards, newspaper work (designing a children’s activity page) and many private projects. After many workshops, classes and personal study, I published with Windswept House and Kaeden Books and illustration work for The United Methodist Publishing House/Cokesbury. I am now working on my eighth illustrated book for Guardian Angel Publishing. I have just released one, “A Necklace for Jiggsy,” which I both illustrated and wrote. I’m loving every minute of my writing and drawing life.

The Sister ExchangeTell us a little about your illustration process. (what medium do you use, where do you like to work)
My illustration process starts with a manuscript given to me by an editor. After I get my specs on size and page count, I break up the story, allowing for visual possibilities for each page and good text flow. I then take my sketch pad and work out much of my illustrations. I will scan these into my computer to work on color and cleaning up. I use Photoshop and a wacom tablet. I love working digital. I use a story board and often a dummy to make sure the pace works. I send these illustrations in as jpegs at 300 dpi via email to the editor.

What's been the most difficult book for you to illustrate so far and why?
Not one really stands out. Sometimes in the beginning of the project, I may have one that just doesn’t work and I must keep playing with it until it breaks through. That is such a wonderful feeling.

How long does it usually take you to complete illustrations for a picture book?
It depends. Because of the answer in the above question and other reasons, it varies. Sometimes a short simple one can be 2-3 months. Some can take up to a year.

A Necklace For JiggsyWhat was your inspiration for your new book, A Necklace For Jiggsy?
“A Necklace for Jiggsy “ is a story I played around with for many years. I worked on a simple black/white edition in a small chap type book. I was thrilled to be able to really expand on Jiggsy and have it published with Guardian Angel Publishing. I had a dog named Jiggsy and he did have the same personality. I think Jiggsy has a positive message to tell because you know sometimes it is hard to do the right thing.

You both write and illustrate. Do you find it harder to illustrate another author's words or do you find it more difficult to illustrate your own?
My own stories are much easier for me. When I do a story, I’m doing the art in my head as I write. Sometimes the pictures come before the words and write the story. When I get an author’s manuscript, it is sometimes difficult to know what they had in mind. I think it is important to work with your author and try to bring together the best of both visions.

To learn more about Kit Grady, please visit her official website.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Jiggsy reminds us honesty is the best policy

A Necklace For JiggsyIt's not easy being a junkyard dog. In A Necklace For Jiggsy, poor Jiggsy must get up before the other animals just to get a bite to eat, and the best boxes to sleep in are always taken early. Jiggsy's only possession is his pillow, which he loves dearly.

But when Jiggsy finds a beautiful sparkling necklace in the park one day, his life changes for the better. He becomes "King of the Yard." He sleeps in any box in the junkyard, the butcher gives him bones daily, and he's finally treated with respect. As he's waiting for a bone, he spies the morning paper headline, "Robbers steal rich widow's diamond necklace." Jiggsy runs because he doesn't want anyone to find him and take the necklace. He thinks the widow is rich anyway, so she doesn't need the necklace. Jiggsy refuses to give it up.

But when Jiggsy returns to the junkyard and finds his favorite pillow missing, he realizes how much the widow must miss her necklace. Knowing just what he has to do, Jiggsy discovers that doing the right thing reaps many rewards.

This is a beautiful story by author/ illustrator Kit Grady that reminds us how we all hold things close to our heart, the importance of doing the right thing, and the old adage, honesty is the best policy.

Additional Information:
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Paperback: 20 pages
Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc (August 22, 2010)
ISBN-10: 1616330910
ISBN-13: 978-1616330910
Source of review copy: Author
Disclosure: Some of the books I review are received from publishers , PR agencies, and authors, but it does not sway my opinion of the book. I maintain affiliate accounts with Amazon and Barnes & Noble. If you purchase a book through one of my links, I will receive a small commission (at no cost to you). You can support this site by originating your purchase via these links and I appreciate your support of Lori Calabrese Writes!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A halloween book for emergent readers

Happy Halloween, Mittens (My First I Can Read)Nick is getting ready for Halloween and his cat, Mittens wants to help in Happy Halloween, Mittens (My First I Can Read). However, when Nick paints spooky faces, Mittens gets into the paint. And when Nick puts up cobwebs for decoration, the cobweb falls down on Mittens. Let's not even get into what happens when Nick makes cookies!

The fun continues throughout the book and follows with a repetitive line:

"Oh, Mittens," says Nick.
"You are not helping at all!"

But when Nick hangs a ghost outside, he doesn't think it's spooky enough. Fortunately, Mittens knows just what to do!

This Shared Reading book starts with basic language and word repetition ideal for sharing with your emergent reader. Not only will readers enjoy the whimsical illustrations, they'll want to join in the holiday fun!

Additional Information:
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins; 1 edition (July 27, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0061702218
ISBN-13: 978-0061702211
Source of review copy: Publisher
Disclosure: Some of the books I review are received from publishers , PR agencies, and authors, but it does not sway my opinion of the book. I maintain affiliate accounts with Amazon and Barnes & Noble. If you purchase a book through one of my links, I will receive a small commission (at no cost to you). You can support this site by originating your purchase via these links and I appreciate your support of Lori Calabrese Writes!

Monday, October 25, 2010

A picture book app that transforms right before your eyes

Just in time for Halloween comes a special children's book app by WingedChariot called Scruffy Kitty.

So what's so special about this app? Scruffy Kitty is the first kids' app to get all spooky just for Halloween.

Scruffy Kitty is from American artist Michael Slack, and has a new feature--You buy the app as usual from the iTunes web store, read it, enjoy the animations and make the most of the digital stickers - to the delight of all. Then on a defined and secret date, you open the story on your iPad and the app will unlock a whole new layer of images! In the case of Scruffy Kitty, it's a special version of the story just for Halloween.The exact day is a surprise but you'll see as it's all magically built into this version of the app - no upgrade necessary.

How cool is that? Check out a short video...

Friday, October 22, 2010

Fish For a Free Book: October 22

It's time to fish for a free book!

If you are hosting a children's book giveaway, or if you found a giveaway somewhere on the net that you just have to share, I'd love to have you share your links with us here on our weekly giveaway linky so that we can all stop by and enter.

If you're looking for more children's book giveaways, be sure to visit
Brimful Curiosities' Full to the Brim,
Winning Readings (listings of adult and children's book giveaways),
and Got Great Giveaways? (linky of adult and children's book giveaways at I Am a Reader, Not a Writer)

Please post your links however you wish. Some like to include their blog name, some just want to leave the prize and the ending date. Post it whatever way you feel like, but make sure that the prize listing and the date the giveaway ends is listed. And make sure you post a link directly to your giveaway - not just to your main blog page.

Here's an example:
Your name: The Bug Book Launch (10/31)
Your URL: http://thebugbooklaunch.blogspot.com/2010/10/your-mission-should-you-choose-to.html

Now it's your turn. Leave your links here...
(If you're reading this in a reader, please click through to the original post)

Fish For a Free Book Participants
1. The Bug Book Launch- The Bug Prize Pack- 11/30
2. The Bug Book Launch- Halloween Children's Books- 10/22
3. The Bug Book Launch- Children's Book Prize Pack- 10/22
4. The Bug Book Launch- The Bug Prize Pack- 10/31
5. Livin la vida Latina-- Mexican Enough-- 10/31
6. Rusty My Playful Cat- 10/31

Powered by... Mister Linky's Magical Widgets.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Introduce young readers to a favorite Halloween custom

The Story of the Jack O'LanternHas your little trick-or-treater ever asked why we carve pumpkins and light them up? The Story of the Jack O'Lantern is a wonderful introduction to one of our favorite Halloween customs.

As told in the back of the book, the Story of the Jack O'Lantern comes from many Irish folktales. Most tell about a stingy man named Jack who managed to trick the devil, only to receive his comeuppance when he died. Jack was left to wander the earth, carrying a lantern carved from a turnip!

It's not the easiest story to explain to a child, but  Katherine Tegen does a great job introducing us to greedy Jack and how he meets a strange man. Hopefully it will spark an interest with young readers to question why we do certain things and hold certain holiday traditions.

Brandon Dorman seems to be the man to turn to for Halloween illustrations as he also illustrated Halloween Night and both are sure to delight.

Additional Information:
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins (July 27, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0061430889
ISBN-13: 978-0061430886
Source of review copy: Publisher
Disclosure: Some of the books I review are received from publishers , PR agencies, and authors, but it does not sway my opinion of the book. I maintain affiliate accounts with Amazon and Barnes & Noble. If you purchase a book through one of my links, I will receive a small commission (at no cost to you). You can support this site by originating your purchase via these links and I appreciate your support of Lori Calabrese Writes!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The classic bear family serves up a Halloween treat

The Berenstain Bears and the Haunted HouseYoung readers will enjoy helping Brother and Sister Bear search for their lost kitty, Gracie in the haunted house on top of Spook Hill in The Berenstain Bears and the Haunted House.

The classic bear family is back and this lift the flap book is sure to keep young readers busy as they search behind cabinets, curtains, dumbwaiters, and suits of armor. However, when they finally find Gracie, she's not alone.

Children love lift-the-flap books and The Berenstein Bears serve up a Halloween treat, fresh as pumpkin pie.

Additional Information:
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Paperback: 16 pages
Publisher: HarperFestival (July 27, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0060574267
ISBN-13: 978-0060574260
Source of review copy: Publisher
Disclosure: Some of the books I review are received from publishers , PR agencies, and authors, but it does not sway my opinion of the book. I maintain affiliate accounts with Amazon and Barnes & Noble. If you purchase a book through one of my links, I will receive a small commission (at no cost to you). You can support this site by originating your purchase via these links and I appreciate your support of Lori Calabrese Writes!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Virtual Book Launch Party for The Bug That Plagued the Entire Third Grade

The Bug That Plagued the Entire Third GradeDon't forget to visit The Bug That Plagued the Entire Third Grade Virtual Book Launch Party! It's Day 2 and I'm sharing where I got the idea and I also have some great pictures of how the manuscript took shape over the year it took to write!

Be sure to check out Contest #1 where you can win a The Bug That Plagued the Entire Third Grade prize pack and if you just stop by and leave a comment, you'll be automatically entered into a random drawing for an autographed copy of the book.

I'll also be announcing some more hot giveaways, so come browse the party and don't miss out on all the free stuff!

One of the best Halloween books yet

Halloween NightAre you ready to trick or treat?You're only ready if you've grabbed a copy of Halloween Night.

Although it reads like The Night Before Christmas...

'Twas Halloween night, and all through the house
Every creature was stirring, including the mouse;


It takes on a life of its own with bats, spiders, witches and zombies who are aflutter for a big Halloween bash. The ghoulish creatures make sure everything's just right from music to drinks to the buffet, but it's the trick-or-treaters who they're really waiting for. When the children finally arrive and yell, 'Trick or Treat,' they're eager to see the Halloween treats, but they're in for a real surprise and one the monsters won't forget.

Halloween Night is a beautifully written picture book in rhyme, sure to be one of the best Halloween books yet. The illustrations by Brandon Dorman are simply jaw dropping and will have your little trick-or-treaters ready to jump into their costumes and swoop through the night.

Additional Information:
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: Greenwillow Books (July 27, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0062012932
ISBN-13: 978-0062012937
Source of review copy: Publisher
Disclosure: Some of the books I review are received from publishers , PR agencies, and authors, but it does not sway my opinion of the book. I maintain affiliate accounts with Amazon and Barnes & Noble. If you purchase a book through one of my links, I will receive a small commission (at no cost to you). You can support this site by originating your purchase via these links and I appreciate your support of Lori Calabrese Writes!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

You're invited to a party!


The Bug That Plagued the Entire Third GradeHave I announced that Dragonfly Publishing, Inc. has released my debut picture book, The Bug That Plagued the Entire Third Grade in hardcover, paperback, and e-book?

Well, the release of a book is cause for celebration!! That's why you're invited to a Virtual Book Launch Party.  Please come and help make this a fun event. We will be giving away free autographed copies of The Bug That Plagued the Entire Third Grade as well as bookmarks, postcards, magnets, tote bags, t-shirts and more!

Where:  http://thebugbooklaunch.blogspot.com
When:  Monday, Oct. 18th- Friday, Oct. 22nd

The party's online (you don't have to go anywhere!) and it's taking place all week!! So feel free to pop in all day, every day for an entire week, or just pop in for a minute to let me know you stopped by!

Whatever you do, make sure you stop by because you won't want to miss the party!

Hope to see you all there,

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Bug just keeps Buzzing!

Hey guys,

Lots of stuff going on, so I just wanted to give you a quick update...

I'll be at The 15th Annual Rockland County Storytelling Festival on Saturday, October 16th with award-winning author, Donna McDine!

We have a bunch of free giveaways, autographed books, and it's going to be tons of fun, so if you're in the New York area, please stop by!

Second, my Indie Debut virtual book tour has officially ended and I hope you get a chance to check out my last stop at The White Forest where I reflect on the book tour and my journey so far with the release of my first picture book, The Bug That Plagued the Entire Third Grade.

But don't fret, we have The Bug That Plagued the Entire Third Grade Virtual Book Launch Party happening this MONDAY at http://thebugbooklaunch.blogspot.com and a second virtual book tour kicks off in November!

For my Book Bugz subscribers (my newsletter which you can opt-in to receive at my website), I'm pleased to announce that the winner of the Children's Book Prize Pack is...
Apple Blossom! Congrats and thanks for your support during the book tour!

Fish For a Free Book: October 15

It's time to fish for a free book!

If you are hosting a children's book giveaway, or if you found a giveaway somewhere on the net that you just have to share, I'd love to have you share your links with us here on our weekly giveaway linky so that we can all stop by and enter.

If you're looking for more children's book giveaways, be sure to visit
Brimful Curiosities' Full to the Brim,
Winning Readings (listings of adult and children's book giveaways),
and Got Great Giveaways? (linky of adult and children's book giveaways at I Am a Reader, Not a Writer)

Please post your links however you wish. Some like to include their blog name, some just want to leave the prize and the ending date. Post it whatever way you feel like, but make sure that the prize listing and the date the giveaway ends is listed. And make sure you post a link directly to your giveaway - not just to your main blog page.

Here's an example:
Your name: The Golden Pathway (10/1)
Your URL: http://loricalabrese.blogspot.com/2010/09/donna-m-mcdines-golden-pathway-to.html

Now it's your turn. Leave your links here...
(If you're reading this in a reader, please click through to the original post)


Fish For a Free Book Participants

1. The Bug Book Launch-The Bug Prize Pack 10/31
2. The Bug Book Launch- Children's Book Prize Pack - 10/22
3. The Bug Book Launch- Halloween books- 10/22
4. The Bug Book Launch- The Bug Prize Pack- 11/30

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Putting baby to bed just got better

Baby Baby Baby!
Any fan of Sandra Boynton's fun-filled board books will also enjoy Baby Baby Baby! by Marilyn Janovitz.

This beautiful flowing rhyme is perfect for newborns to 5 year olds and makes putting baby to bed much more entertaining. The baby in the story is a very busy one, just like any baby you probably know. He likes to clap clap clap, dance dance dance, crawl crawl crawl, and more. Hanging out with each member of the family, he participates in various activities...

Bitsy bouncy baby
On a bumpity lap
Mommy's baby likes to
Clap Clap Clap


But when bedtime nears, it's time for hugs and kisses. And little baby likes to sleep sleep sleep. A cute, bouncy story sure to have you hugging and kissing your little one right to sleep.

Additional Information:
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Board book: 24 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky; Brdbk edition (October 1, 2010)
ISBN-10: 1402244142
ISBN-13: 978-1402244148
Source of review copy: Publicist
Disclosure: Some of the books I review are received from publishers , PR agencies, and authors, but it does not sway my opinion of the book. I maintain affiliate accounts with Amazon and Barnes & Noble. If you purchase a book through one of my links, I will receive a small commission (at no cost to you). You can support this site by originating your purchase via these links and I appreciate your support of Lori Calabrese Writes!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Which way to witch school?

Which Way to Witch School?Ever wonder where aspiring witches go to learn the tricks of the trade? Well, wonder no more! In Which Way to Witch School?, Scott Santoro sheds light on Miss Thornapple's school, where aspiring witches are eager to trade gossip and potions, especially the ones that cause endless commotions.

This rhyming picture book follows a bunch of girls as they move into their dorms, experiment in chemistry class, learn the mathematics and physics of how magic broomsticks fly, sing in chorus, act in drama, and don't forget about physical education. But it's not a school like you're used to. In a wink and a flash the school year has passed, but readers can take solace in the fact that they'll gather again next year!

This is such a fun read and the rhyme makes for a spooktacular read-aloud. Santoro works as a story artist in animated feature films, including Flushed Away, the Bee Movie and the upcoming Gnomeo and Juliet, so you'll find the illustrations captivating, making it so you can't wait to turn the page and find out what happens next at this unconventional school.

Additional Information:
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins; 1 edition (July 27, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0060781815
ISBN-13: 978-0060781811
Source of review copy: Publisher
Disclosure: Some of the books I review are received from publishers , PR agencies, and authors, but it does not sway my opinion of the book. I maintain affiliate accounts with Amazon and Barnes & Noble. If you purchase a book through one of my links, I will receive a small commission (at no cost to you). You can support this site by originating your purchase via these links and I appreciate your support of Lori Calabrese Writes!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Check out today's Book Bites for Kids!

In case you missed today's Book Bites for Kids, you can still listen to the recording using the player below.

I'm honored to be the featured author and had a wonderful time talking to Suzanne Lieurance about my new picture book, The Bug That Plagued the Entire Third Grade, my path to publication, writing for children, and much more.

It's amazing how fast a half hour can fly by!

The Bug Buzzes By Book Bites for Kids

A talk show about children's books on BlogTalk Radio! It doesn't get any better than that!

Hope you can listen LIVE TODAY, October 12th, at 3 p.m. Eastern as I'll be a guest on Suzanne Lieurance's Book Bites for Kids.

I'm honored to be the featured author and will talk about my new picture book, The Bug That Plagued the Entire Third Grade.

Hope you can join me!

(If you're unable to listen at 3 p.m., there will be a recording of the show, so you can listen whenever it's convenient for you. I'll be sure to put the link up for everyone who's interested)