Saturday, August 27, 2011

Teaching children about hurricanes

Ready, Set . . . WAIT!: What Animals Do Before a HurricaneHurricane Irene has hit the East Coast and will be ripping it's way north like a buzzsaw. Perhaps, you've heard some of the questions from your kids already...

What's a hurricane?What do we need to do? We'll still have our Playstation, right? Of course, that last one is a little tricky to get through, but there's another chance to explain electricity.

This time though we're talking hurricanes, and if you're looking for a great way to teach children about hurricanes, Sylvan Dell Publishing is offering a free e-book, Ready, Set . . . WAIT!: What Animals Do Before a Hurricane for the next few days. Ready, Set…WAIT! deals with what costal animals do before a storm hits. Of course, it has Sylvan Dell's free educational section in the back and tons of teaching activities, quizzes, and related websites on the book’s homepage.

Check it out at the Sylvan Dell Publishing website.

Additional Information:
Reading level: Ages 5 and up
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Sylvan Dell Publishing (August 10, 2010)
ISBN-10: 1607180723
ISBN-13: 978-1607180722

Friday, August 26, 2011

Fish for a Free Book: August 26

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: Lori Calabrese Writes--Two YA Novels--6/24
Your URL: http://loricalabrese.blogspot.com/2011/06/welcome-to-midsummers-eve-giveaway-hop.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, August 25, 2011

An essential guide for parents

Boomerang Kids: A Revealing Look at Why So Many of Our Children Are Failing on Their Own, and How Parents Can HelpDo you want to know why I love books? Because there's a book for everything. There's so much knowledge out there to be tapped into and when we need to study up on something or find tips that can help us at certain times of our lives, all we have to do is flip the pages of a book.

Take Boomerang Kids: A Revealing Look at Why So Many of Our Children Are Failing on Their Own, and How Parents Can Help by Carl Pickhardt Phd. This book addresses a problem that's not widely discussed, but yet, so many families are experiencing. About 85 percent of college graduates in the United States move back home after graduation--so why is this happening and what can parents do to help?

Many young adults are finding it hard to take on the world alone and frankly, with the way the economy is, it's not a surprise. Carl Pickhardt takes a hard look at how these stories are becoming more and more common and he dubs this stage "trial independence." The book dives into some of the problems your young adult might be experiencing--from missing home and family, flunking out of college, unemployment, roommate problems, broken love relationships, fear of the future and more.

If you're a parent who has found your young adult back home, this book is a great resource to help you understand this period in your child's life and how to guide your child to success.

Additional Information:
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks; Original edition (August 1, 2011)
ISBN-10: 140224858X
ISBN-13: 978-1402248580
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.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Fish for a Free Book: August 19

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: Lori Calabrese Writes--Two YA Novels--6/24
Your URL: http://loricalabrese.blogspot.com/2011/06/welcome-to-midsummers-eve-giveaway-hop.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, August 18, 2011

Sue Fliess' thing for fabulous shoes brings us Shoes for Me!

Shoes for Me! (Pinwheel Books)Sue Fliess is a Sr. Copywriter for eBay, a freelance writer and children's book author of Shoes for Me! (Pinwheel Books), A Dress for Me!, and Tons of Trucks. She's published over 120 articles and has written for 3-person start-ups to large global companies. She lives in northern California with her husband, two sons and their guinea pig, Mocha. Visit her at www.suefliess.com.

I recently reviewed Shoes for Me! and fell in love with the fun rhyme and lovable hippo that's inundated with shoes that zip, shoes that light up, summer shoes that flop and flip, and more! That's why I was excited to have the opportunity to learn more about the book from Sue Fliess herself. . .

Tell us about your path to publication.
The path to publication...well, it was more like a dirt road with some sparse gravel. No, in all seriousness, I feel extremely fortunate to have been published in what I feel like was a short timeframe. When I started out in late 2005, I'd heard of people writing and submitting for 10 years or more before getting published - some longer without a sale. So, to have sold a book only 3 years after I started on this venture, to me, was amazing. I had help from my neighbor/friend and children's librarian (how lucky is that?) who steered me in all the right directions. She gave me links, websites to check out, told me to join SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) and offered to read what I was working on. Though that story didn't sell, she never wavered in her commitment to make it the best it could be. With that knowlege, I was ready to start attending conferences. I went to my first SCBWI conference in 2006 and things started happening for me.

I had my first close-encounter with a very nice editor, Andrea Welch (now of Beach Lane Books), and it was my first contact with "the other side." Thank goodness it was a positive exchange. Also through SCBWI, I found a critique group, which helped me work through and shape my manuscripts - enough that I felt confident submitting them. I applied for the SCBWI Barbara Karlin Grant for picture books in 2007 and received a Letter of Commendation (for my Shoes story). I was ecstatic - and it made me more determined than ever to sell that manuscript. In 2008, I received the same honor for another manuscript (Tons of Trucks). I kept writing and submitting. I made a connection with an author (through an SCBWI event - are you surprised?) who thought my stories would be a good match for her editor, so I sent them in. Five months later, I got my first offer letter for the book available now - Shoes for Me!. I can't say enough good things about SCBWI.

What was your inspiration for SHOES FOR ME?
I wish I had a more glamorous answer to this. This book started out as a story about when it's okay for kids to take off shoes and when it's best to keep them on. My own son liked to take off his shoes (and pants) to go to the bathroom. Needless to say, that doesn't work so well in public restrooms - yuck. I started the story and it was going along okay, but I wasn't loving it. I sought out my neighbor for help, and she encouraged me to write it in shorter rhyme. This forced me to change the story, and it became a story of a little girl shoe-shopping with her mom. It doesn't hurt that I absolutely have a thing for fabulous shoes.

What made you decide on a hippo as your main character?
I didn't! The story is written in first person, and throughout the writing process, I envisioned a little human girl. When my editor sent me the revision letter, she asked for more child/mom interaction, and mentioned that she thought it could be cute with animals. When they looked for an illustrator, they looked for someone who could draw animals well. I'm pretty sure she had her heart set on a hippo, and the illustrator, Mike Laughead, did a great job with hippos...so hippo it was.

What else can we expect from hippo? (any more books?)
Hippo will make another shopping excursion starting next March - for the perfect dress! A Dress for Me! is the companion book to Shoes for Me! and this time Hippo needs new clothes for fall -- for the school year. So she and Mom go dress shopping. It follows the same rhyme and meter as Hippo tries on every dress in the store.

Tell us about one of your most memorable shoe-shopping experiences as a kid or a pair of shoes you'll never forget!
Two pairs of shoes I'll never forget... When I was in second grade (I think), I went shoe-shopping with my mom and was allowed to choose any shoes in the store. I picked out purple, sparkly sneakers called Roos. They had two Velcro straps across the top. (this was a rather new phenomenon) Awesome, right? I remember feeling so groovy in my Roos. The other pair is a pair I currently own. I adore Fluevog shoes, but they are quite pricey, so mostly I covet. I'd had my eye on a pair of their black boots for ages. Within days of getting my book advance, I received an alert that Fluevog was having a sale. Guess which pair was marked down? So, I got my boots without guilt and couldn't think of a better way to celebrate the book.

-----

A big thanks to Sue Fliess for taking the time to tell us more about her work. If you'd like to learn even more, please visit www.suefliess.com, follow her on Twitter @SueFliess and like her on Facebook: facebook.com/Sue.Fliess.Author

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

New school year means new shoes!

Shoes for Me! (Pinwheel Books)School is about to start once again, which means it's time to go shoe shopping! I don't know about you, but I have many memories of shopping for that brand new pair of shoes for the new school year and couldn't wait to walk the halls, holding my breath that nobody would step on them and get them dirty!

In Shoes for Me! (Pinwheel Books) by Sue Fliess, young readers can experience that joy over and over again as Little Hippo goes shopping for new shoes. There are a lot of choices though--jewels, glitter, shoes that zip, shoes that light up, and summer shoes that flop and flip. Hippo realizes that finding shoes can take all week and perhaps it's even hopeless--that is, until Little Hippo spies one last pair she has to try.

Written in rhyme, this story is one fun book! Not only does the rhyme roll off your tongue, young readers will enjoy the playful illustrations and your little fashionista  will be holding her breath for her very own shoe expedition.

Please visit this Thursday when I have the fortunate opportunity to interview Sue Fliess and learn about her inspiration for Shoes for Me! (Pinwheel Books)!

Additional Information:
Hardcover: 24 pages
Publisher: Marshall Cavendish Corp/Ccb (March 1, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0761458255
ISBN-13: 978-0761458258
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.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Fish for a Free Book: August 12

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: Lori Calabrese Writes--Two YA Novels--6/24
Your URL: http://loricalabrese.blogspot.com/2011/06/welcome-to-midsummers-eve-giveaway-hop.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. Ted Saves the World Blog Tour- $25 Amazon Gift Card- 8/15

2. Vanessa Morgan - Spooky Books & Games Giveaway - 8/15

3. Under a Fairy Moon-8/31

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

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Coloring books that show your team spirit

Hawk's Nest Publishing MLB New York Yankees Coloring BookI had the fortunate opportunity to attend Book Expo America this year and was introduced to so many new books and more! One of the booths that caught my eye was that of Hawk's Nest Publishing.

Hawk's Nest Publishing LLC is a publisher of coloring and activity books, but what makes them stand out from others is how they focus on sports. After all, Hawk's Nest Publishing was founded in 2006-- honoring the memory of Francis "Hawk" Connery, a well known coach and advocate for youth sports from Springfield, Massachusetts.

Hawk's Nest Publishing MLB Boston Red Sox Coloring BookThe creation of their first Coloring and Activity book was inspired by a family love of baseball shared by Peg Connery-Boyd and her three sons, Kevin, Ian, and Colin Boyd, who initially admired a sketch of Manny Ramirez that she had drawn.

Young readers/ artists will love these activity books such as the Hawk's Nest Publishing MLB New York Yankees Coloring Book and the Hawk's Nest Publishing MLB Boston Red Sox Coloring Book. Fans can color their favorite players, complete games and puzzles,  and even connect-the-dots. Challenge your knowledge of players' numbers, and even complete a page about yourself that states who you're favorite player is and what your favorite position is.

If you live in a household enamored by sports, these are just what you need to keep your little fans busy, all while showing their team spirit!

Monday, August 8, 2011

3-D popping up in children's books

Puppies in 3-DEverywhere you go, you can spot the popularity of 3-D (and even 4-D)! Whether it be in the movie theaters or even home theater systems, 3-D continues to amaze us. That's why it's no surprise that 3-D is "literally" popping up in books, too!

Two of those books are Puppies in 3-Dand Kittens in 3-D. Each book does an amazing job of causing these animals to spring off the page right into your lap.

Poodles to Pomeranians, French Bulldogs to Yorkshire Terriers, Chihuahuas to Jack Russel Terriers--you name it, Puppies in 3-D features all of our favorite puppy breeds! Young readers will be fascinated to learn about each breed, including its origin, physical appearance and character.

Kittens in 3-DAnd as you can probably figure out, Kittens in 3-D has everything from Persians to Abysinnians and all of your favorite kittens.

But what I love about these books are the pictures. The photos have been taken by Yoneo Morita, a photographer well-known in Japan and in the USA for his adorable dog and cat photography. He uses something called a "hanadeka" (big nose) technique which shrinks the animal's body in relation to its nose, creating very unique pics. The book also comes with a 3-D view-finder that is very easy to use. Just unfold, look through and you'll be amazed as some photos literally pop right off the page. Although not every image is 3-D, young readers will enjoy discovering the ones that are and will want to reach out and play with these beautiful pups and kittens.

With the rise of digital books, 3-D technology and more, children's books continue to take reading to new heights and in this case, depths! Can't wait to see what where they go next!

Additional Information: Puppies in 3-D
Hardcover: 96 pages
Publisher: Harper Design; 1 edition (June 21, 2011)
ISBN-10: 006203958X
ISBN-13: 978-0062039583
Source of review copy: publisher

Additional Information: Kittens in 3-D
Hardcover: 96 pages
Publisher: Harper Design (June 21, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0062039571
ISBN-13: 978-0062039576
Source of review copy: publisher

This post is part of Nonfiction Monday! Nonfiction Monday takes place every Monday as various blogs throughout the kidlitosphere write about nonfiction books for kids and collect them all in one place. This week, check out the Nonfiction Monday roundup at Apples With Many Seeds. To see the entire schedule, please visit the blog of Anastasia Suen.
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.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Fish for a Free Book: August 5

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: Lori Calabrese Writes--Two YA Novels--6/24
Your URL: http://loricalabrese.blogspot.com/2011/06/welcome-to-midsummers-eve-giveaway-hop.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. Audrey Vernick

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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Would the butt please take a bow?

The Butt BookEyes and ears are much respected
but the butt has been neglected.

We hope to change that here and now.

Would the butt please take a bow?

I mean, after reading those first few lines, who could resist this book? The Butt Book by Artie Bennett is a tribute to a body part that's often overlooked--the butt! Just think about it-- no two buttocks are the same;they come in every size; and we have them from the day of birth! They're vital body parts
that provide a built-in chair, let us swing on a swing, ride a brand-new bike, and more!

And don't worry--every kind of butt you can imagine is featured, from humans to animals and even mummies!

This hilarious book will have you looking at butts in a new way! Not only does the rhyming story make for a fun read-aloud, but the illustrations will have your young readers not wanting to leave this book behind!

Additional Information:
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's Books (December 22, 2009)
ISBN-10: 1599903113
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.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Author Mark Jeffrey transforms Max Quick from podiobook to smash hit

Max Quick: The Pocket and the PendantMark Jeffrey is the author of the Max Quick Series and podcast audiobooks. His first podiobook, 'Max Quick 1: The Pocket and the Pendant', has received over 2.4 million downloads to date. He has co-founded four internet companies and written two novels.

When not writing Max Quick books, Mark is CEO & cofounder of ThisWeekIn.com, a new web tv venture with Jason Calacanis and actor/comedian Kevin Pollak.

I had the opportunity to catch up with Mark Jeffrey and learn more about the Max Quick Series and how it has transformed from podiobook to a smash hit. . .

Tell us about your path to publication.
I wrote the first draft of Max Quick: The Pocket and the Pendant in 2004. After I finished, I spoke with a few people familiar with publishing, most notably Michael Crichton's editor. He told me that it would take about a year to land a Literary Agent and then another year -- best case -- to get published. That was two years!! And that sounded like an eternity to me. I wasn't willing to wait. So I self-published the novel on Lulu.com.

But it didn't do very well. I was just another self-published book in a sea of self-published books. Nobody had heard of me. So I started promoting the book any way I could think of. I tried Google Adsense, I tried Amazon's 'paired with' program. Nothing seemed to work. Finally, I attended the World Fantasy Conference with the hopes of finding an agent. That didn't happen, and if you had asked me then whether the trip was a success I would have said no.

But I did meet a guy named Evo Terra who suggested I give the book away for free in mp3 format online, and he would promote it in his very popular scifi podcast. I resisted at first: there was no possible way to get paid. But I quickly realized my problem was not collecting a nickel every time someone read my book; my problem was getting people to read my book, period. So I did it.

And it was a smash hit. Over a few years, I amassed 2.5 million downloads and built a huge audience.

During this time, I actually landed an agent. But not the right one: this person was not connected enough to get me reads. After a few years, we parted ways and I was agent-less again. Then I caught another break: Abigail Breslin (star of 'Little Miss Sunshine') did a nationally syndicated interview where she was asked about her favorite books and she mentioned Max Quick -- she had listened to the mp3 version I'd put out there, and apparently really loved it.

Well, that endorsement combined with the 2.5 million downloads landed me a very good agent, who got me a book deal within two months. The right agent makes ALL the difference.

What was the inspiration for Max Quick?
The character himself? Several sources, I would say. I always loved the idea of a long-lived character who was a witness to history: Highlander's Connor MacLeod, Anne Rice's Vampire Lestat and Heinlein's Lazarus Long were some of my favorites growing up. But nobody's ever done that with a kid -- unless you count Peter Pan :) So I liked the idea of a kid who had a very long and deep past -- but couldn't recall it. If he COULD recall it, he would essentially be an adult and thus unrelatable to young readers -- so the amnesia was actually necessary.

He is kind of wisecracking which I would say comes from Thomas Covenant and Peter Parker / Spiderman. I love a character who delivers snarky lines at key moments.

He also suspects the worst of himself at all times, which probably comes from my own Catholic guilt complex :) But it also makes for some introspective drama that I think adds to the narrative -- it gives Max some layers to explore.

Lastly, he is a pickpocket and vagabond. He is rough around the edges. He does some shady things now and then -- but only to survive. But I like the fact that he's a little gray, that he has a little shadow to him.

What was your reaction when you realized that the original online audiobook received over 2.5 million downloads?
I was fairly stunned. I didn't think the numbers were correct. I re-checked them several times until I was satisfied that it WAS in fact correct.

I have to admit that we -- that is, the two other authors who were the first to do this, and me -- got a bit lucky in that iTunes added podcast support at the exact moment we started putting our free mp3 audiobooks out there, so we all benefited from the timing. Nonetheless, even with this development, the numbers were just way beyond anything we would have anticipated.

What can readers expect from the series?
Well I have the second book entirely written -- it is called MAX QUICK: THE TWO TRAVELERS -- and the third book is half-written (and it is called MAX QUICK: THE BANE OF THE BONDSMAN). The first book is about 60,000 words; the second book is currently 180,000 words (so three times as big) and the third book is about the same. I am not sure a) whether HarperCollins will allow me to publish it all as one book or b) whether they will publish it at all -- they have not yet committed one way or the other.

So the way I see it is like this: 'Pocket' is sort of my 'The Hobbit': it's short and fun and gets things going. But 'Travelers' is where things really kick in -- it's my Fellowship of the Ring in some ways, in other ways it's my Empire Strikes Back because it's a lot darker. The stakes are MUCH higher, and the details are much richer. And 'Bondsman' is where things go very dark, but basically everything is revealed. There will be two more books -- each about 180,000 words -- after that. I am not sure how they will be divided up though. If I get to do it my way, they will all be 180,000 words and there will be a total of 5 books. But we'll see how it works out :)

The Max Quick Series has been experimenting with some fascinating Facebook applications that allows readers to check out free chapters and win free copies. Do you think social media is changing the way authors interact with their readers and what facet do you like best?
I am SO happy that I am an author in the age of social media! Can I tell you how lucky I feel that I have this feedback loop? In the old days, authors hid behind their typewriters and threw their stuff out there, and wondered whether anybody cared. Now, people update their Twitter and Goodreads feeds as they progress through the book! Its amazing! I can watch people as they read my book -- and then talk with them afterwards!! For me, it's incredible to see what works plot-wise -- and what doesn't. It becomes very obvious pretty quickly.

I'm also very interested in WHO is reading the books -- where are they from? Who are they as people? And I've been very gratified to find people who are extremely different from me in terms of beliefs and lifestyles still enjoy the books -- and that actually surprised me at first. But it's been awesome to experience, I have to say.

So yes, we are giving away free chapters and free signed books on our Facebook page (http://facebook.com/maxquickseries) so I invite everyone to come check that out. We will be innovating on book promotion inside Facebook in the coming weeks as well -- Facebook apps are very fun and interesting ways to get the word out.

_____

A big thanks to Mark Jeffrey for sharing his fascinating path to publication with us. To learn more about the series, please check out the official website.