Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Multicultural Children's Book Day 2019~by Christy Mihaly

GROG is jumping in a bit early this year to start the celebration of the sixth annual Multicultural Children’s Book Day -- January 25, 2019.  

Children’s reading and play advocates and bloggers Valarie Budayr from Jump Into a Book and Mia Wenjen from Pragmatic Mom teamed up in 2014 to create this national event and non-profit initiative. MCBD's mission is to raise awareness of the need for kids’ books celebrating diversity in homes and schools and libraries. It also works to get more of these books into the hands of young readers, parents, and educators. 

In 2018, MCBD's total social media share impressions totaled more 3.2 billion (with a "B"). That is spreading the word! MCBD involves a giant blog tour with book reviews by lots of bloggers (including GROG) and tweeters; classroom giveaways and educational materials; and a huge Twitter Party. 

MCBD’s Twitter Party is set for 1/25/19 at 9:00 p.m. EST. They'll be giving away lots of prizes and book bundles. More details here. And check out the official MCBD hashtag, #ReadYourWorld.

For this year's GROG multicultural book review I'm pleased to share an illustrated picture book, Celebrate Holi with Me! 

Part of the Toddler Diaries series, this book is written by Shoumi Sen (a MCBD co-host) and illustrated by Abira Das. This creative team published the "From the Toddler Diaries" series on CreateSpace. These books bring holidays celebrated in India to life for young readers. 

Shoumi, who grew up in Paris, Mumbai, and Dubai, wanted to help Asian Indians living around the world preserve a connection to their culture. As she explains, "Living outside India, it is sometimes challenging for parents to ensure that their children remain connected to their Indian roots, while at the same time, appreciating the culture of the place they are growing up in. Books can certainly help with that challenge and my hope is that the series 'From The Toddler Diaries'  can play a part in helping our children grow into global citizens."

Riya, the book's lively narrator, introduces readers to the Hindu spring festival of Holi. This book retells the ancient story of Prahlad, whose evil father could not sway him from his devotion to Lord Vishnu. Prahlad of course prevailed, and Holi is a celebration of how good triumphs over evil. The colorful illustrations depict celebrants of all ages throwing and spraying colored powders and water, playing music and singing, dancing, and enjoying delicious foods. It's a neighborhood-wide color-and-water fight!

Educators will appreciate the glossary, which defines words from Bollywood to gulal and abeer (colored powders and shiny crystals thrown as part of celebrating Holi) to malpoa (a yummy dessert). Check out the book on Amazon here

And here's more from the good folks at MCBD: 
Free Empathy Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators.
Free Diversity Books for Teachers.

A word about the MCBD sponsors: 

Medallion Level Sponsors

Honorary: Children’s Book CouncilThe Junior Library

Super Platinum: Make A Way Media

GOLD: Bharat BabiesCandlewick PressChickasaw Press, Juan Guerra and The Little Doctor / El doctorcitoKidLitTV,  Lerner Publishing GroupPlum Street Press,

SILVER: Capstone PublishingCarole P. RomanAuthor Charlotte RiggleHuda EssaThe Pack-n-Go Girls,

BRONZE: Charlesbridge PublishingJudy Dodge CummingsAuthor Gwen JacksonKitaab WorldLanguage Lizard – Bilingual & Multicultural Resources in 50+ LanguagesLee & Low BooksMiranda Paul and Baptiste Paul, RedfinAuthor Gayle H. Swift,  T.A. Debonis-Monkey King’s DaughterTimTimTom BooksLin ThomasSleeping Bear Press/Dow PhumirukVivian Kirkfield,

MCBD 2019 is honored to have the following Author Sponsors on board

Honorary: Julie FlettMehrdokht AminiAuthor Janet BallettaAuthor Kathleen BurkinshawAuthor Josh FunkChitra SoundarOne Globe Kids – Friendship StoriesSociosights Press and Almost a MinyanKaren LeggettAuthor Eugenia ChuCultureGroove BooksPhelicia Lang and Me On The PageL.L. WaltersAuthor Sarah StevensonAuthor Kimberly Gordon BiddleHayley BarrettSonia PanigrahAuthor Carolyn Wilhelm, Alva Sachs and Dancing DreidelsAuthor Susan BernardoMilind Makwana and A Day in the Life of a Hindu KidTara WilliamsVeronica AppletonAuthor Crystal BoweDr. Claudia MayAuthor/Illustrator Aram KimAuthor Sandra L. RichardsErin DealeyAuthor Sanya Whittaker GraggAuthor Elsa TakaokaEvelyn Sanchez-ToledoAnita BadhwarAuthor Sylvia LiuFeyi Fay AdventuresAuthor Ann MorrisAuthor Jacqueline JulesCeCe & Roxy BooksSandra Neil Wallace and Rich WallaceLEUYEN PHAMPadma VenkatramanPatricia Newman and Lightswitch LearningShoumi SenValerie Williams-Sanchez and Valorena Publishing, Traci SorellShereen RahmingBlythe StanfelChristina MatulaJulie RubiniPaula ChaseErin TwamleyAfsaneh MoradianLori DeMonia, Claudia Schwam, Terri Birnbaum/ RealGirls RevolutionSoulful SydneyQueen Girls Publications, LLC

We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. 
Co-Hosts and Global Co-Hosts

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Bustin' Out with 2019 - Make It Your Year - by Kathy Halsey

Nothing but blue skies at the rodeo today. The year is still fresh, your intentions are good; you have saddled up your pony for a successful ride up the writing road. Hold your horses, writer gals and guys. I rounded up some help for you while you mosey down the trail.  

Anti- Resolutions Revolution
Back at the ranch house, Julie Foster Hedlund gave us some provisions for the trail. You might call it "food for thought." Back in 2014, I began participating in Julie's 12 Days of Christmas for Writers. (web site here and FB group here) From December 26 -January 6, we come together to review/reflect on our writing year to refresh/renew ourselves for a new year. The Facebook group closes January 10, 2019, but circle Dec. 26, 2019  on your calendar so you can join us at the year's end. Julie believes that most resolutions come from a place of negativity so we began with surprises, successes, move to challenges and disappointments, what we learned from both and then build goals from last year's achievements. This year 503 children's writers joined the fun. 
I'll share my illuminations from the process and the ripples of change that are already coming to fruition for me and others writers.   
“A surprise is an extra gift over and above what you set out to achieve.” -Julie Hedlund 
One of the best surprises that continues this year is that Beth Stilborn and I became accountability buddies. Every Monday we email our weekly accomplishments and our intentions for the coming week. We're not critique partners; we don't even write for the same age group! Beth lives in Canada and I'm in the Midwest, but we were surprised by this great motivator and wonderful friendship. You might try this, too.
Guiding Word/Motto for 2019
Some writers created vision boards; many of us came up with  a word/phrases to guide our writing and goals. Words like "Power," "Treasure" "Fearless" were claimed. One writer said, "I want to treasure what has been given to me, like friends in the writing community, opportunities, ideas, and time to write. I want to treasure the process and let ideas grow organically into the stories they were meant to be." Beth came up with this formula: FOCUS plus FOLLOW-THROUGH leads to FRUITION.
The cover page to my 12 Days features my guiding phrase.

Ripple Effect
Most of my critique group participated in this challenge and we've revised and renewed some of our procedures. During our first online 2019 meeting we came up with these ideas.
  • Post a calendar on Google docs and sign up for a critique. Commit to the date.
  • Commit to writing sprints every first Thursday of the month.
  • Create our own missions statements for the year and share online for greater accountability.
  • Change up our critique style by using Manuscript Magic. Look at big picture items first. Give themes, motifs, goals for the manuscript. 
Another writer friend and member of 12 Days, Beth Gallagher   and I decided we wanted to submit more in 2019. With accountability as a key, we created the Facebook group 100 Rejections Are a Good Thing. Join us and go big in this year's writing rodeo. 

Finally, some folks were inspired to write poetry and share with the group. Derick Wilder reminded us that small steps lead to success with this poem.

The Mighty Teeny Tiny

Teeny Tiny isn’t much— 
shy, timid, brittle.
But Teeny Tiny 
can become,
a Little.
Now Little’s also 
no big deal,
but better
than before.
And if you add 
those Littles up,
you get 
a little More.
More is less
than you would like,
but treasure 
what you’ve got.
Just lay some Mores
and then you’ve got
a Lot.
So dream delightful, 
vibrant dreams— 
make them 
sheeny shiny.
But don’t forget
each begins
with but a
Teeny Tiny
Julie had us end our 12 days with a list of gratitude. The gratitude attitude is one we can all cultivate as we grow into 2019. I am grateful to Julie and all the writers who shared so much over these 12 days. 
"Remember to illuminate your writing life, shine a light on the dark places, but even more, the light places, those where we excel." Julie Hedlund 
As Jane Yolen reminds us in her book Sister Fox's Field Guide to the Writing Life, "The joy is in the process."


Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Kick off the New Year with Story Ideas

by Sue Heavenrich

It's January, which means it's time to... StoryStorm!
What's StoryStorm, you ask? It's a month of brainstorming ideas. Any genre.
Ideas of all sizes welcome.
Big ideas that scribble across pages.
Tiny ideas that take up less than a line on an index card. Ideas sketched in pencil or a rainbow of crayon color.

In the past I've spent the month generating picture book ideas. Partly because that's how it all started - as PiBoIdMo (picture book idea month).

This year I'm trying something new: generating ideas for a novel that's been bumping around in my brain for the past year. Instead of 30 picture book ideas - why not 30 chapter ideas? Maybe take the characters out for a pizza party or pit them against each other in a snowball fight (followed by hot cocoa and graham crackers).

Tara Lazar is the fearless leader and person who came up with this brainchild of StoryStorm. Every year she creates a wonderful space on her blog, Writing for Kids (While Raising Them) for StoryStorm posts - an entire month of inspiration and insight from novelists, picture book writers, nonfiction writers, artists, and experts in creativity. And did I mention there are prizes?

It's great fun! But here's the catch: you've got to register now. Registration is open through Monday, January 7  here, where you'll also find a link to the Facebook discussion group. Then check in on Tara's blog every day for Storystorm posts (or be lazy like me and sign up for email links).

Grab a notebook! Sharpen your pencils! Sign up and ... StoryStorm away!