Behind the scenes: a free, virtual visit with illustrator Jing Jing Tsong

Did you know that most authors and illustrators never meet? Yet a good picture book is a beautiful marriage of text and art. Opening my computer to see finished illustrations is always a highlight of the process of bringing a book into the world. 

Thanks to Telling Tales, a wonderful literacy festival, teachers are invited to experience a free virtual visit with me and artist Jing Jing Tsong, illustrator of my newest picture book, First Morning Sun.

This session is a great opportunity to watch Jing Jing demonstrate some techniques and hear about how she approached illustrating the text. 
Teachers, please sign up and share! This session has had a lot of interest already, but because each classroom only counts as one registration, there is plenty of room for you and your colleagues. Parents and grandparents, feel free to pass along the information to educators you know.

Here is the registration link: Imagination Station (Virtual Event) with Jing Jing Tsong and Aimee Reid Registration, Wed, Oct 19, 2022 at 1:00 PM | Eventbrite

Hope you can join us!

Virtual Book Launch + Giveaways (worth total of $900.00)

Since I’m releasing two new books this spring, I’m giving away twice the prizes: two copies of each book, two bookstore gift certificates, and two author visits to teachers. (See details below.)

It’s been wonderful to connect with readers from all kinds of locations and settings—-schools, libraries, faith-based organizations, moms’ groups, preschools, and family gatherings. I wanted to hold a virtual book launch that people can join at their convenience, no matter their time zone.

Welcome Home, with art by Rashin Kheiriyeh, depicts the joyful welcome of a new baby. First Morning Sun, with art by Jing Jing Tsong, follows the milestones a child experiences as she grows. Together, these books invite us to form welcoming communities that celebrate belonging and growth, which is the focus of the launch.

The event is 20 minutes of family-friendly content suitable for classrooms, libraries, preschools, and viewers of all ages. Thanks to Simon & Schuster for permission to read the books aloud during the school year. The video will remain available through June 24th, 2022.

You can view the video here: https://bit.ly/AimeeReidspringLaunch

Giveaway details:

Enter the giveaway here: https://bit.ly/AimeeReidSpringGiveaway

Prizes will be drawn randomly on June 25th. I’ll contact the winners by email and post a notice about the winners on this blog. Registrants from Canada and the United States are eligible to participate.

Books and bookstore certificates giveaway:

I’m giving away two signed copies of each book (approximate value $25 CAD each) and two bookstore gift certificates ($50 each, either USD or CAD depending on the location of the bookstore). If your name is drawn as a winner for a gift certificate, you can select the bookstore, and I’ll make arrangements for you to receive your prize.

Author visit giveaway for teachers:

I’m giving away two online author visits (approximate value $350). The author visits may be booked anytime through December 2022.

Happy spring and summer, everyone!

New Books and Beginnings + Two Giveaways!

Happy Spring!

I’m grateful to be welcoming two new books into the world, both of which celebrate beginnings. Two giveaways seemed appropriate. Read on to find out how you could win a signed book or a certificate for your favorite bookstore.

Welcome Home depicts the joyful celebration surrounding the birth of a new baby.

The welcome begins with the baby’s mom and dad and expands to siblings and grandparents. Then aunties, uncles, cousins, and neighbors join in, and finally the circle widens to include the whole community in embracing this new life. Rashin Kheiriyeh’s exuberant art gives the book the expansive, cheerful feeling of a warm hug. It’s been a joy to sign this book for new babies!

“In this moving picture book in rhyme . . . an idealized and irresistible picture of community is formed, amplifying the book’s message of earnest affection and welcome.” — Publishers Weekly

First Morning Sun begins with a baby’s first day and traces the milestones she experiences as she grows.

We witness her first peekaboo, first word, and first birthday cake, then cheering her on as she moves into brave new experiences such as her first day of school. The story closes with the addition of a brand new sibling with whom the family will experience firsts all over again. Jing Jing Tsong’s illustrations capture the poignancy and wonder of a child’s early years.  

If you share one of my books with someone, I’d love to hear about it! It’s always special to receive an email or see a post. Finding a review online is another wonderful way to know that my books are being discovered.

I think it’s important to celebrate goodness wherever we find it, and that’s what I hope my books will encourage.

As we enter this season of new growth, I’m wishing you everything good.

Aimee

Giveaways:

You’re invited to join in the fun by participating in these giveaways! (Canada and USA only)

First Morning Sun pre-order:

This book releases on May 3rd, which is perfect timing for a Mother’s Day gift. If you pre-order the book, please send me an email at this link. I’ll enter you in a draw to receive a personally inscribed copy of Welcome Home as well as a signed bookplate to place inside of First Morning Sun. The giveaway closes at 11:59 p.m. EST on May 2, 2022.

New Books and Beginnings giveaway:

I’m holding a draw for a $100 gift certificate to your favorite store. There are five ways you can enter, and each of them will give you one entry into the draw (to a maximum of five). The contest closes by 11:59 EST on May 6th, 2022. I’ll draw a name and announce the winner here on May 7th, 2022. Entry options are:

  • Comment on a favorite early childhood memory on this blog post,
  • Sign up for my newsletter by entering your email address through the “subscribe” form at the bottom of this page,
  • Find the New Books and Beginnings post on my Facebook author page, be sure you’re following the page, and leave your comment about a favorite early childhood memory on the post,
  • Make sure you’re following me on Twitter at @aimeereidbooks, find my pinned tweet about this giveaway, and share your comment on a favorite early childhood memory,
  • Share a favorite early childhood memory on the New Books and Beginnings Giveaway Instagram post @aimeereidbooks, and make sure you’re following me on Instagram.

Best wishes!

Giveaway! Gift Certificate for Bookstore

Many of you have reached out to ask when you can purchase Welcome Home. Thanks for your enthusiasm! It means a great deal to me that you are happy to welcome this book into the world.

That’s why I’m especially excited to share news of a giveaway being hosted by Simon & Schuster Canada. Pre-order your copy of Welcome Home from any Canadian retailer and go to Simon & Schuster on release day, January 4th, 2021: spr.ly/6014JosgK. You’ll be able to enter to win a gift certificate of $100 CAD for any Canadian bookstore. I love the idea of someone—maybe you!—picking out some some new books to enjoy.

As well, I’m happy to sign bookplates and send them out for free to the first 200 people who request one. Just let me know to whom I should write my message and where you’d like me to mail the envelope. It’s the next best thing to having me drop by your loved one’s home to sign a copy.

One of my favourite parts of being a children’s author is signing books for families. I still treasure books from my childhood, and it’s an honour to inscribe my books with a message written just for each recipient.

Please know that I am sending my heartfelt wishes for a safe, wonder-filled holiday season. Each one of you is worth celebrating. Together, we share this fragile, beautiful world, and I am grateful.

Kindness in the Classroom Giveaway: Toast Sticks and Teaching

Mama Bell Frampton and Freddie Rogers, as depicted by Matt Phelan

Mama Bell Frampton was a neighbor of the young Fred Rogers. Fred describes with fondness his visits to her home. Time and again, she welcomed him with a cheery greeting and the gift of a simple offering:  buttered toast. What’s more, she showed young Freddie how to make “toast sticks” all by himself. She had no way of knowing how deeply her everyday kindness would affect her young neighbor.

Mama Bell Frampton’s consistent, caring presence helped to form Fred’s vision of a healthy neighborhood—a place where all were welcomed and encouraged to grow. That sense of connection and warmth pervaded the television program that would bring Mr. Rogers into the homes and hearts of countless families over the decades it was on the air.

Fred recognized the transformative power of those who care for children, calling them his heroes. As a former teacher, I honor the vital work of educators. I’m cheering you on as you create communities that recognize the dignity of the students in your care. In honor of World Kindness Day, which is recognized on November 13th, I want to celebrate Kindness in the Classroom.

You Are My Friend cover

I am holding a giveaway for a special prize pack. It will include an online author visit and a signed copy of You Are My Friend: The Story of Mister Rogers and His Neighborhood as well as postcards and temporary tattoos featuring art from the book for every student in the winning teacher’s class.

If you are a teacher, you can enter the draw in four ways:

(1) comment on this blog post,

(2) comment on and share the corresponding World Kindness Day Classroom Giveaway post on my Facebook author page https://www.facebook.com/aimeereidbooks/,

(3) tag me on Twitter (@aimeereidbooks) and use the hashtags #WorldKindnessDay and #teaching, and

(4) tag me on Instagram (@aimeereidbooks), using the hashtags #WorldKindnessDay and #teaching. Each of the four options will give you an entry.  

I’ll hold a draw on Sunday, November 14th and be in touch with the recipient to find out how you’d like your book personalized and where you’d like me to send the book, postcards, and temporary tattoos. We’ll also set up a time for the online visit.  

All teachers who participate will receive a link for a downloadable booklet that expands on the themes in You Are My Friend and invites students to write or draw about their own uniqueness. I’d love to see pictures of the booklets your students create!

Special note: I’m also holding a separate giveaway of two signed books for individuals. Check out my blog post entitled World Kindness Day Giveaway: Neighbors, Helpers, and Everyday Goodness for those details. Teachers are welcome to enter both draws.

World Kindness Day Giveaway: Neighbors, Helpers, and Everyday Goodness

I spent some time standing on my front lawn last night, listening to a neighbor. The stress of the pandemic had taken a toll. I didn’t have answers for the thorny questions that troubled this person, and that was okay. We lingered while my dog played until the growing chill nudged us back indoors.

At the end of the conversation, my neighbor expressed gratitude for an increase in front-lawn visits on our street over the past year or so. “It’s something good,” said my neighbor, who made sure that I knew this observation was not meant to diminish the loss and uncertainty of these months.

I agree.

You may know of Fred Rogers’ advice for children when they encounter frightening situations: “Look for the helpers.” Fred was passing along his mother’s words when, as a child, he had heard scary news on the radio.

One reason I admire Fred Rogers’ work is that he told the truth to children. Fred’s advice was not meant to simply distract them from the fact that the world contains sadness. It was rooted in equally deep and, I believe, more compelling truths: our world is filled with kindness and we have the power to choose our responses.

Good people are everywhere. Thoughtful acts are woven into the fabric of our society, and we can pay attention to them. Cups of tea poured, hands extended, neighbors shoveling walks: these ordinary decisions to care for one another deserve celebration.

You Are My Friend book cover

In honor of World Kindness Day, which is recognized on November 13th, I want to give away two signed copies of You Are My Friend: The Story of Mister Rogers and His Neighborhood. You can enter to receive one of the copies in four ways:

(1) comment on this blog post,

(2) comment on and share the corresponding World Kindness Day post on my Facebook author page https://www.facebook.com/aimeereidbooks/,

(3) tag me on Twitter (@aimeereidbooks) and use the hashtag #WorldKindnessDay, and

(4) tag me on Instagram (@aimeereidbooks), using the hashtag #WorldKindnessDay.

Each of the four options will give you an entry. I’ll hold a random draw for the two prizes on Sunday, November 14th and be in touch with the recipients to find out how you’d like your books personalized and where you’d like me to send them.

Holiday gifts

If you would like to order a personalized copy of You Are My Friend as a gift, let me know. You can reach me through the contact form on my website. I’ll be happy to personalize an inscription and send a copy out in time for the holidays.

Note for teachers and those who appreciate them: I’m also holding a special giveaway for teachers. Check out my blog post entitled Kindness in the Classroom Giveaway: Toast Sticks and Teaching. Teachers can enter both contests.

Dawn Prochovnic on Reading with Abandon + Two Giveaway Options (Including Manuscript Critique)

Dawn Babb Prochovnic is the
author of Where Does a Cowgirl Go Potty?;
Where Does a Pirate Go Potty?; First Day Jitters, featured in the award-winning book, Oregon Reads Aloud; and 16 books in the Story Time with Signs
& Rhymes Series
, including one title that was selected as an Oregon Book Awards finalist. Dawn is a vocal advocate for school and public libraries and was honored as a 2015 Oregon Library Supporter of the Year by the Oregon Library Association. She is a frequent presenter at schools, libraries and
educational conferences, and the founder of SmallTalk Learning, which provides American Sign Language and early literacy education. Dawn loves to travel and has visited thousands of potties across the Pacific Northwest and around the world. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband, two kids, two cats, and
a feisty dog. Learn more at www.dawnprochovnic.com.

Please share about your experience of connecting with books as a child. What positive memories do you have?

What a great question, Aimee. I’m now flooded with positive memories of connecting
with books as a child. I always had a supply of books at home, but my earliest
book-related memories are associated with my Grandma Lynn. She lived in the
upstairs apartment of a commercial building that housed the hair salon she
owned and operated. Her building was on a busy street without a safe outside
play area, so when I visited her (which was often), I listened to music (Sonny
& Cher and Donny & Marie), and I read. I still have copies of a few of
my most treasured picture books from that time. Two of those books, The Best Nest and A Fly Went By were likely rattling around in my brain when I wrote
my book, The Nest Where I Like to Rest.

I also have positive memories of my elementary school teachers’ daily readings of beloved
books such as, Where the Red Fern GrowsOld Yeller, Charlotte’s Web, and Harriet
the Spy
. One summer, I actually became Harriet the Spy … I carried my spy notebook with me everywhere so I could jot down my many observations.

Fifth grade was a particularly momentous year for me in terms of reading engagement. That
was the year I earned the coveted Pleasure Reading Award in Mr. Snook’s 5th
grade class. Mr. Snook ran a pleasure reading contest each year; the student
who read the most books during the school year won the award. That school year,
I started at one end of my school library and snaked my way around the room. I
do not remember how many books I read or how far I got into the library’s
shelves, but I do know that I read the most books of any student that
year. 

 

Dawn’s reading award

Tell us about your experiences of being an adult and reading to a child or children. What are your favorite aspects of sharing good books with kids?

Reading books with kids is sincerely one of my favorite things to do. I first got the
“reading to children bug” when I taught my younger sister how to read. I have a
distinct memory of the evening I patiently worked with her until she “got it.”
I remember the glee on her face and the excitement in her voice when, as if by
magic, she suddenly understood how to sound out the letters and read the words
on the page.

Fast forward to parenthood about two decades later, and some of my happiest memories involve
reading to my own two children. When my daughter, now in college, was an
infant, I held her on my lap and read to her for hours. I taught her how to
communicate using basic American Sign Language (ASL) signs before she could
communicate verbally, and I have clear memories of her vigorously signing MORE!
as soon as each book ended. As she developed a stronger and stronger ASL
vocabulary, she signed along with key words in the story, and she made signs
that matched with the objects I’d point to in the illustrations.

Three years later, my son came along, and the three of us would sit together and read for
hours. He was less gentle on books than my daughter was (I didn’t understand
the purpose of board books until he came along!), but he still enjoyed reading.
I started writing my first picture books when my son was an infant. My book, See the Colors, first came to me as a song. I worked out the rhymes and “verses” during tuck-in time. Each evening I
would sit next to my daughter and scratch her back while I rocked my son and
sang the verses of my story/song. As soon as the kids fell asleep, I would dash
into the kitchen to write down whatever words/verses came to me that evening.

Shifting to group settings, I especially love reading stories that have some element of repetition and/or opportunity for participation. For example, in my story, The Big Blue Bowl, there is a repeating phrase: “Fill it up, fill it up, fill it up, I say. And my friends fill it up with me.” I absolutely love when a room full of kids (and their grown-ups!) join in on that repeating phrase as I read the book.

My college-aged daughter is currently the summer nanny for two 4 1/2 year-old twin
boys. I have a soft spot for preschoolers, and these boys are no exception.
This past week my daughter brought the boys to our house for a couple of hours
for a visit. The last time she brought the boys for a visit was about a month
ago, soon after I had received my Advanced Reader Copies for my forthcoming
books, Where Does a Pirate Go Potty? and Where Does a Cowgirl Go Potty?
During that earlier visit, I read my forthcoming books to the boys. Imagine my
delight when, upon their return to the house, they noticed the cover image for
one of the two books sitting on the counter and called out the title by name,
enthusiastically asking me to read them both books again … and again … Here’s
hoping my test-market of two is a strong indication of how the books will do when
they hit bookstores in the fall!

What are your thoughts on and tips for sharing good books with children?

I have three main tips: 1) Take your child’s lead; 2) Lean into pleasure reading; 3)
Read during non-traditional times.

Children will tell you what they want out of a reading experience. Many kids want to read a story over and over and over again. Indulge them. Some kids like to fast-forward to their favorite parts of the book and skip the rest. That’s A-Ok. Some kids want to stop reading before the story is over. That’s okay, too. Some kids really get into “their part” in the story. Some kids really, really love when the reader uses a variety of voices. Some kids memorize the words on the page and will call you out if you miss a word. Other kids are so enraptured with the illustrations that they don’t care much about the written story and instead want to read the visual story.

If you take your child’s lead in each of these circumstances, you will naturally flow into my second tip: Lean into pleasure reading. Let kids choose the books and genres that they want to read. Let kid re-read the books they love, over and over again. Let kids read books that are “not challenging enough” or “not sophisticated/literary/honorable/etc enough.” Reading is reading is reading is reading is reading. When a child finds the experience of reading pleasurable, they will more likely become readers for life vs. seeing reading as a chore.

Speaking of chores, please resist the temptation to categorize reading as a daily “chore”
or task that a child must accomplish. I understand that reading logs and
assignments come from good intentions, but in my experience these tools hurt young readers more than they help them. When reading is viewed as a required chore (that is coupled with the
added task of writing down what was read), reading becomes less pleasurable.
What if we re-framed reading as a reward: “Yay, you! You’ve earned 15 minutes
of time to yourself to read whatever book you choose!” “Oh, lucky you! How many
chapters (or books) did you get to read this past week?” “Turn to your table
partner and tell him/her something amazing about the book you are currently
reading…” Doesn’t that sound more fun than “You are required to read for at
least 15 minutes each and every day, and you must log the title, author, genre,
and number of pages read for each day …”

My third and last tip is to find ways to incorporate reading into nontraditional times
of the day. We often think of reading with a child as something that we do at bedtime,
but bedtime can be a hard time of the day to allow your child (and yourself)
the pleasure of reading for long stretches of time. What about “bathtime
stories?” Or “books on tape while we’re cooking dinner” stories? Or “Storytime
while we’re waiting for the school bus to come…” Think outside of the box.
Bedtime stories are great, but there are other parts of the day that might be
more suitable for reading with wild abandon.

Thank you, Dawn, for these great suggestions and for sharing your childhood experiences with us. I, too, loved the book The Best Nest when I was young!

Giveaway: Dawn is offering two prize options if you are the winner of the giveaway. You can choose an advanced reading copy of either Where Does a Cowgilrl Go Potty or Where Does a Pirate Go Potty OR you can opt to receive a manuscript critique from Dawn! Just comment on this post by Sunday, August 25 to enter.  

Connect with Dawn: 

Twitter: @DawnProchovnic

Instagram: @DawnProchovnic

Facebook: @DawnProchovnicAuthor

Web: https://www.dawnprochovnic.com/

Sue Todd: Bookworm and Illustrator

Sue Todd is a freelance illustrator whose work encompasses retail design and children’s books. Her images can be seen not only in books but also packaging, posters, tshirts, a tv commercial, and a bus!

Sue enjoys linocarving, which is an ancient printmaking technique. Read on for a glimpse of her process.

Please share about your experience of connecting with books as a child. What memories do you have?

I have memories of being very young and poring over the pages of fairytale collections, paying special attention to the pictures, of course! I always judged a book by its cover, and my favourite gift under the Christmas tree was usually a book. I still remember the feeling of excitement at opening a new one.

My parents encouraged reading, and I spent a lot of time at the library exploring the shelves, looking for just the right picture books. My favourites were The Cat in the Hat and The Little Engine That Could. I remember the suspense of watching Thing One and Thing Two make a mess as Mom’s ankles approached the house, and the Little Engine That Could continues to be a philosophical inspiration. I loved the Narnia series, Alice in Wonderland and any fantasy and mystery stories, including Nancy Drew.

Sue’s studio bookshelf

I volunteered at the school library to get first crack at the new books, so I guess you could call me a book worm. I still remember one incident from Brownies when we had a Christmas gift exchange. I had carefully selected a book that I really wanted to read, and my gift exchange partner gave me a book of Lifesavers. Seriously, it was a selection of different flavours of Lifesaver candies inside a cardboard book! My friend and I were equally dismayed with our gifts and agreed to trade back, so I ended up with the book I wanted after all. 🙂

I wish I had kept the book series I wrote and illustrated around age twelve, The Adventures of Horace the Hippopotamus. It was just a Babar knock-off, but my younger sisters found it entertaining.

Can you tell us a little bit about your process of making art for children’s books?

Every book begins in my sketchbook where I scribble ideas and develop characters. Once I have established the look, I create a small dummy, about half size, to keep a consistency and flow throughout the story. After approval of rough sketches, I begin my final art process.

My technique is linocut, which is a form of relief printmaking similar to woodcut. The medium is linoleum just like the flooring material but without the finish. With relief printing you carve away the bits you don’t want and whatever is left will be the image that is rolled with ink and printed on paper. I have a table-top press for smaller images and use an old fashioned burnisher and lots of muscle for larger pieces. The black and white print is then scanned and coloured in Photoshop.

I like the combination of analog and digital technologies and enjoy each stage of the process for different reasons. The sketching stage is most creative and requires quiet concentration whereas the carving stage is more meditative, like knitting. The colouring stage is sheer fun and takes me back to kindergarten.

Please share your thoughts on and tips for sharing good books with children.

Although I have illustrated many things including educational picture books, my first trade book was released only last year. The Incredible Adventures of Mary Jane Mosquito is a wonderful play by Tomson Highway published by Fifth House/Fitzhenry & Whiteside. My second trade book was released in March. I look forward to sharing An African Alphabet with pre-schoolers. It was written by Eric Walters and published by Orca Books.

Thanks, Sue, for sharing your process with us! I wish I could read The Adventures of Horace the Hippopotamus. 

Have a look at Sue’s new books:

Sue has a new book coming out with Eric Walters in the fall of 2018. It’s called The Wild Beast. Be sure to watch for it! 

How about you? Which illustrations intrigued you as a child?

Post a comment on this blog, and your name will be entered in a draw for a personally inscribed copy of Sue’s newest book, An African Alphabet? This book will be a lovely addition to a toddler’s library. I’ll draw the winning name on September 13, 2017.

Sign up to Aimee’s newsletter below for more giveaways and to receive inside information from children’s book writers and illustrators. 


Connect with Sue: 

Website: www.suetodd.com

Facebook: SueToddIllustration

Twitter: @SueTodd20

 

Rebecca Bender on Getting Lost in Books * Plus a Giveaway!

Rebecca Bender is an art director and designer as well as an author-illustrator. Her books, Giraffe and Bird and Don’t Laugh at Giraffe, have won the Ontario Library Association’s Blue Spruce Award and Blue Spruce Honour, respectively. Rebecca’s newest book, How Do You Feel?, releases in 2017.  Be sure to comment on this post in order to be entered in the draw for a signed copy!

 

Please share about your experience of connecting with books as a child. What positive memories do you have?

We were lucky that my mother read to us a lot. The way I remember it, she always wanted to read the more serious stories, like The Little Match Girl, whereas I always preferred something light that would make me laugh and think at the same time, like Dr. Seuss.

I was a child that loved to draw and get lost in make-believe worlds. Picture books were inspiration for my art, and I was drawn to ones where the illustrations hooked me and took me somewhere. I spent a lot of time with the Serendipity series and still have a few of these books today. They were beautifully illustrated and full of vivid, endearing characters. I can see why I adored them as a child.

From left: me, my mother, my sister
Some books I’ve hung onto since childhood; part of a series called Serendipity by Stephen Cosgrove, illustrated by Robin James

 

 

 

 

 

What are your favorite aspects of sharing good books with kids?

I’m always amazed to see how children internalize a good book and the fruits that come from it; be it my 3 year-old architect meticulously building his own home with Magformers and Lego, after reading If I Built a House by Chris Van Dusen, or my 5-year-old fashion designer creating her own line of clothing after reading Birdie’s Big-Girl Dress by Sujean Rim.

We also have fun adopting terms and phrases from stories into our way of communicating with each other, such as, are you feeling like a Boo Hoo Bird today? Or, remember Hamilton Squidlegger, stay in your own mud tonight. Or, if I’m too clean The Witches will smell me!

Me reading with my two children. (Pulling photos for this post, it struck me how similar this one looks to the earlier one of my mom reading to my sister and I!)
My daughter’s line of fashion clothing, inspired by a picture book we read together

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please share your thoughts on and tips for sharing good books with children.

When I’m sharing my books in a classroom I set up the story first by showing the cover and then asking the children what they learn from the illustrations alone. It’s a good opportunity to show them how illustrations play a big role in telling the story in a picture book. Sometimes I introduce my characters by drawing them on chart paper and talking about who and what inspired them. Before reading we also practice sound effects so they are ready to make the silly noises that happen in the story. While reading I stop to ask questions at key moments in the story. Afterwards I like to hear how they connect the story to their own lives; we discuss, for example, if Giraffe and Bird really like each other or not, and if this is similar to how siblings behave sometimes.

My daughter reading to me from my new book, How Do You Feel?

I take a similar approach at home with my kids. I focus on finding connections in their lives, and even days after we’ve read a book I will refer back to it if something comes up that relates. I try to keep drawing supplies, building supplies, and raw materials available for them to follow their whims and inspirations and suggest crafts and activities relating to the books we read.

Looking back, I’m glad my mother read the more serious books to me. I’m a believer in letting children make their own choices whenever possible, so I do let them pick their own books at story time, but I also adopted the rule that  mommy gets a pick, too!

My studio while working on art for How Do You Feel?

Close up of painting in progress on my desk

 

Thanks, Rebecca! How fun to see your illustrations in progress.

Check out Rebecca’s work:

Exciting news—my first picture book, Giraffe and Bird will be re-released with Pajama Press, in a padded, hardcover edition (April 2017)
These lively and unlikely friends are back.
Enter to win a signed copy! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How about you? Which books captivated you because of their illustrations?

Post a comment on this blog, and your name will be entered in a draw for a personally inscribed copy of Rebecca’s newest book, How Do You Feel? This book will be sure to captivate young readers. I’ll draw the winning name on February 13, 2017. 

Sign up to Aimee’s newsletter below for more giveaways and to receive inside information from children’s book writers and illustrators. 


Connect with Rebecca: 

Website: http://rebeccabender.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LittleStreetStudio

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LittleStRebecca

Tumblr: http://littlestreetstudio.tumblr.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/r_bender/

Jennifer Mook-Sang Shares about Books as Companions—Plus a Giveaway!

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What a pleasure to host Jennifer Mook-Sang on Good Books to Share. Jennifer lives and writes for children in a luxurious garret in Burlington, Ontario. She is the author of multi-award-nominated SPEECHLESS, an enormously popular novel for ages 8 to 12. Her picture book CAPTAIN MONTY (who is terrified of the water. Shhh, don’t tell anyone) will set sail in the fall of 2017. In the meantime, Jennifer is working on a follow-up to SPEECHLESS while trying to ignore the siren call of the bag of Cheezies in the cupboard.

 

 

Please share about your experience of connecting with books as a child. What positive memories do you have?

I grew up mostly left to my own devices. My parents worked in the shop below our living quarters and books were my constant companions. I still have some of my Enid Blyton adventures, and Girls Annuals. There was a set of books called The Bookshelf for Boys and Girls in our home, a compendium of stories ranging from nursery rhymes, to folk tales and stories from history. I devoured the nine volumes (I recently purchased a replacement set), along with hundreds of comics that my dad let my sister and me buy from the bookstore. One of my favourite memories is a rare quiet evening, sitting in bed with my parents while they read their own books. Dad loved westerns, Zane Grey and Max Brand. Mom read grown-up comics about romance. I loved the cosiness of snuggling beside them and feeling warm and peaceful.

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These are The Bookshelf for Boys and Girls. Re-reading these books has been like meeting up with a beloved old friend.

What are your favorite aspects of sharing good books with kids?

From the time they could sit in our laps, my husband and I read to our boys before bedtime. Once, when it was my turn to read, my husband stopped in the doorway to ask me a question. While I answered him, our two-year-old decided that we’d spent too long chatting and hit the book in my hands with a determined fist, demanding, “Wead, wead!” We loved our reading routine. Reading books with my boys gave us lots to talk about, and our best moments were the times we laughed out loud or gasped at the unexpected. We still enjoy sharing books with each other, though I don’t read to them anymore.

Here are a few of our favorite books:

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Please share your thoughts on and tips for sharing good books with children.

I think the best way to share good books with children is to leave books in plain view where they can be found and explored. Young children should have free access to books that they can bang with, chew on, and look at. Older ones should have lots of different books and be allowed to choose what they want to read or to have read to them. And, at least once a day, make them sit and read to them, even when they can read to themselves. Don’t stop till they push you out of the door and bar it from the inside. Talk about the stories. Ask questions. Wonder what would have happened if . . . . Reading builds language, empathy, and satisfies the wonder of curiosity.

Thanks, Jennifer!

What about you? What books did you love to read aloud?

Special offer: Comment on this post, and you could win a personally inscribed copy of Jennifer’s novel Speechless. It would make a wonderful gift for that middle-grader on your holiday list. I’ll draw a name from those who comment, and the book will be shipped to the winner’s door. 

Sign up to Aimee’s newsletter below for more giveaways and to receive inside information about the making of children’s books from the authors and illustrators themselves.   

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Connect with Jennifer:

website: http://jennifermooksang.com/

book trailer: https://vimeo.com/166207543

facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jennifermooksang1

twitter: https://twitter.com/jennymooksang

goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26011058-speechless