Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Would we be a more literate society if...

I took the girls to Applebee's for dinner tonight. The kid's menu had an ad for Lowe's home improvement stores, saying that kids could go to Lowe's to work on various wood crafting projects throughout the summer.

This reminded me of Sonic and their passion for offering what they consider to be educational toys with their kids' meals.

This made me wonder what would happen if books were promoted the same way we promote movies in this country.

Why don't we see book tie-ins in kids' meals and on kids' menus at restaurants? Does it have to be Disney and Pixar movie characters all the time? Now, I know many children's authors hate the idea of selling out. But, I personally think it would help the industry and literacy as a whole if publishers took their marketing to where the kids are.

Why not....tie in with someone like Sonic and offer a short story or activity book that ties in with a new release (with a coupon for a discount on the book or a special incentive with purchase).

Why not... offer McDonald's a picture book series of toys or stuffed dolls based on famous PB characters or even a way for kids to collect points that they can redeem for a new book?

Why not ...promote new releases with the movie trailers at movies that target the same type of audience?

Maybe it all comes down to budget once again. However, kids will want to read if they find a book they love and they think reading is cool. Why can't we make reading become important by giving it the high profile our beloved characters deserve?

Friday, August 25, 2006

The Edge of the Forest

The August The Edge of the Forest is up. This issue has an interview with Linda Sue Park .... and my review of Pinkalicious. (Have you bought that book yet? You know I've talked about it enough!)

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


If you want to know what tweener girls are into, I encourage you to watch Friday night's premiere of CHEETAH GIRLS 2 on Disney Channel. This time, the girls go to Spain for a shot at their big break. Directed by Kenny Ortega (the HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL director), Disney is hoping for another hit with the tween crowd.

You (or your children :-) can go to the Disney Channel website to sample music and get party plans. Being the party family that we are, the girls are having friends over for the premiere. This time, we've limited it to just five friends, so we'll have seven girls total--eight if you count our two year old who will no doubt want to be in on the fun!

We're rolling out the red carpet and asking the girls to wear Cheetahlicious rock star clothes. I couldn't find enough red poster board to make a red carpet (and I swore I wasn't going to spend a fortune on this party after our big blowout in July), so I think I'm going to paint a pink carpet using Crayola paints on the driveway.

A wants to follow the official party plans on the Cheetah Girls site, so she's setting up a concession stand, and we've asked each attendee to bring a snack. We're serving popcorn in paper sacks and we have small boxes of M&Ms and Milk Duds.

Our camera is broken. S accidentally threw it across the kitchen last weekend. SIGH. If I did have a working camera, I'd take a red carpet photo of each girl and send them home with a party photo framed in the cheetah print frame that is part of my Microsoft clip art.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Illustration notes??

My friend Tammi Sauer has just posted some great notes from the Mo Willems talk at the conference.

I asked the following question on her blog. What's your opinion?

One thing I'm getting from all the PB notes from the conference is that the visuals really count (DUH!) and to decrease the word count. Common sense, yes?

I've never put in any illustration notes, and I know illustrators don't care much for overly-explained notes. BUT, wouldn't it help sell the book if you could help the editor "see" what you have in mind? I could definitely write less wordy if I had a way to SHOW what I'm seeing. Sometimes I think author/illustrators have such an advantage! you/would you/should you put in illustration notes (even simple notes) if you are an author-only?

What do you think? Is this the start of an illustration note trend?

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!

I'm really struggling with some of the "rules" of writing right now. In the story I'm trying to get ready for our conference, one reader told me that Lion solves his problem too easily. That's fine. Maybe he does, but it's a creative, somewhat realistic solution to his problem. I did stick with the rule of threes and I had the MC solve his own problem.

What confuses me is that I can think of many books that have made publishers and authors lots of money that have less tension and less plot. Because it's been talked about so much lately, Punk Farm is the one I thought of first. I LOVE this book. I've owned it for over a year and we read it often. Punk Farm is being made into a movie, and the author is a very clever promoter. (Check out the Punk Farm video on his site).

HOWEVER, the book's big plot crisis? The animals might get caught practicing in the barn! How do they overcome the problem? They don't. They hold their concert anyway. The concert is Punk Farm's own version of Old MacDonald. On the final page, the farmer gets up in the morning and finds all the animals aslep in the barn. Yup. That would be the whole book.

I don't think that every picture book has to be some heavily-conflicted book with major drama and crisis. Sometimes, girls (I mean readers) just wanna have fun...even when the book covers a serious topic. What do you think?

(Oh, by the way, have you seen the fabulous video Punk Farm author, Jarrett J. Krosoczka, showed at the SCBWI conference?)

Friday, August 11, 2006

Pink, Pink, Pink

We're still loving Pinkalicious!

I've been trying to record K "reading." I finally caught her today! She was reading one of her favorites, "Pinkalicious." She used to just speak jibberish, pause and turn the page. Now, she squeezes real words in too!

Okay, so she's reading the book backwards and can't tell PINK from green. It's still darn cute and one to save for the baby archives. If you listen, you can hear her say, "No cupcakes, Daddy." and something about the bumblebees getting on Pinkalicious. She actually had most of the story right.

For the record, we just like this book. I do not know the author or the illustrator.