Tuesday, June 25, 2019

T minus 2 days until Summer Crashes upon us- What's a writer to do when there is no longer time to write?

OK, this is not my first full-on summer with my daughter.  I know certain things.
I will be a daily provider of adventures, lunches, snacks and "mommy school".
I also know that my writing time, if I get any, will be very limited.

So what can I do?

1. Sign up for an online class (Storytellers Acadamy is my choice this year).
By signing up for a class I am more likely to set aside time to do the work. 

2. Make MANY trips to the library and READ.  One, it's fun. Two, my daughter seeing me read and reading alongside me throughout the summer is a wonderful precedent.  Use the summer to focus on research. Find those "Comparison Titles".

3. Go on WALKS!  Get out and explore and remember too...

4. Have an IDEA Book with you at all times. Have with me always a means of writing ideas down so that WHEN I do have time, I can simply dive in.

5. ENJOY the time with my daughter and tap into my own desire to be a kid again.  This time is not wasted. It is just another opportunity to shift perspective.

And that's it, folks.  Enjoy the summer, the making of magical memories.  Cut yourself some slack and be creative, in other ways.  As long as you have your toe in one aspect of the book world it is not time lost.

Ciao!

-Laura (Me from a walk last Autumn, taking a look from a different perspective.)



Tuesday, June 18, 2019

CHESH Review #78 Poetree by Shauna LaVoy Reynolds, illustrated by Shahrzad Maydani

CHESH Review #78 Poetree by Shauna LaVoy Reynolds, illustrated by Shahrzad Maydani


CHESH Rating: 25
Crave: 5
Heart: 5
Eyes: 5
Soul: 5
Head: 5

The enjoyable twists and turns of this PB begin with the title and grow from there.  A quiet, book driven by a quiet reflective and poetic child brings universal themes of wanting friendship and feeling connected into sublime focus. With well-constructed poetry threading this story together it is a read that one can enjoy over and over again.  Beautiful book.

CHESH Review #77 Yak and Dove by Kyo MaClear, illustrated by Esme Shapiro

CHESH Review #77 Yak and Dove by Kyo MaClear, illustrated by Esme Shapiro

CHESH Rating: 19
Crave: 3
Heart: 5
Eyes: 3
Soul: 4
Head: 4

An update on the classic "mismatched friendship" theme. In the vein of Bear and Mouse, Yak and Dove set out on three adventures bringing their unique character (flaws) to each quirky problem-finding a friend who won't eat you- is one of them.  A fun read illustrating how complete opposites can enjoy and appreciate each other's friendship, in any strange situation. 


CHESH Review #76 The Ugly Five by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Scheffler

CHESH Review #76 The Ugly Five by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Scheffler


CHESH Rating: 21
Crave: 3
Heart: 4
Eyes: 4
Soul: 5
Head: 5

Packed full of great information presented in mindbendingly rhyming perfection.  How DOES Julia do it?  A wonderful read to inform young learners about the less than photogenic or appealing population of the animal kingdom. With vibrant illustrations to support the amazing text this book is a great learning tool!

Friday, June 14, 2019

What happens when an idea (a Manuscript) you have been slaving over shows up published by someone else?

You have a cry.  You heave a sigh. Then you get back to work. 

There are only so many "ideas" out in the world.  It's YOUR voice that makes an idea special.  So trust your creative heartbeat, your spirit, your soul and write.

This week, this very thing happened to me.  I noticed a post about a PB just out. It seemed very similar to a manuscript I have been slaving on for years, trying to get the right voice.  Turns out, it wasn't my story to tell.  But it's a good story, so I am thrilled it out there for kids to read.

Am I bummed I couldn't get mine right?
Yes.

Am I bummed I couldn't get mine published?
Yes.

Am I now thrilled that my new manuscript is alive?
Totally.

I feel refreshed with the "concept" told from a different perspective.  I LOVE the new voice.  It is fresh and fun and totally spot on and me.

So, onward people.  Create to create.  Some things will fly, others will float but most will fall, and that's OK.  Create to create and enjoy the process, that is its own reward!




Monday, June 10, 2019

CHESH Review #75 Hands Up! by Breanna J. McDaniel, illustrated by Shane W. Evans

CHESH Review #75 Hands Up! by Breanna J. McDaniel, illustrated by  Shane W. Evans

CHESH Rating: 23
Crave: 4
Heart: 5
Eyes: 4
Soul: 5
Head: 5

A really timely and useful, joyous and powerful book. Simple text belies the depth and power offered to the reader.  A wonderful interactive refrain, "Hands up!" brings life and energy to each page and shows their reader the power in many potentially "powerless" situations. I think this would be a wonderful book for a classroom.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

CHESH Review #74 When A Tiger Comes to Dinner by Jessica Olien

CHESH Review #74 When A Tiger Comes to Dinner by Jessica Olien



CHESH Rating: 18
Crave: 4
Heart: 3
Eyes: 3
Soul: 3
Head: 5

If you are looking for a FUN read-a-loud, this is a good one.  It's also great for questioning authority/preconceptions and admitting mistakes.  Quick page turns, and an interactive quality to each page makes it a fun read.

CHESH Review #73 The Day You Begin by Jaqueline Woodson, illustrated by Rafael Lopez

CHESH Review #73 The Day You Begin by Jaqueline Woodson, illustrated by Rafael Lopez


CHESH Rating: 23
Crave: 4
Heart: 5
Eyes: 5
Soul: 4
Head: 5

I love books that tackle a weighty topic. Inclusion/exclusion are very weighty and tough topics to tackle in a picture book. This beautifully illustrated book accomplishes that task with grace.  I think this would be a perfect book for any classroom ready to have discussions about inclusivity and opening up when it is hard to connect.
          Jacqueline Woodson is the 2018-19 National Ambassador for Young People's Literature and a #1 New York Times Bestseller.

Monday, May 20, 2019

CHESH Review #72 The Second Sky by Patrick Guest, illustrated by Jonathan Bentley

CHESH Review #72 The Second Sky by Patrick Guest, illustrated by Jonathan Bentley 

CHESH Rating: 23
Crave: 4
Heart: 5
Eyes: 5
Soul: 5
Head: 4

This is a BEAUTIFUL book. Bentley's illustrations fill each page with such lusciousness that it is easy to get carried away with Gilbert, the penguin.  A classic tale of wanting something just out of reach, only in this book there is a wonderful twist to the ending that gives you room for your heart to leap.


Thursday, May 9, 2019

CHESH Review #71 Ida, Always by Caron Levis and Charles Santoso

CHESH Review #71  Ida, Always by Caron Levis and Charles Santoso

CHESH Rating: 25
Crave: 5
Heart: 5
Eyes: 5
Soul: 5
Head: 5

This book made me cry, a good cry.  Beautifully illustrated each character warms up with the text and wraps itself around you and holds your heart.  You know from the beginning that the story won't be a "happy" ending, but it is written so well, you are willing to continue the journey, cry and then read it again.  Lovely.

CHESH Review #70 Holes in the Sky by Patricia Polacco

CHESH Review #70 Holes in the Sky by Patricia Polacco

CHESH Rating: 21.5
Crave:
Heart:
Eyes:
Soul:
Head:

A lovely book, full of heart. With great characters and beautiful art. This story illuminated how are are all connected and supported and loved.  Reading this book was like snuggling under a blanket on a cold day with my family something that fills my heart and soul with great joy.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

CHESH Review #69 Sweety by Andrea Zuill

CHESH Review #69 Sweety by Andrea Zuill

CHESH Rating: 23
Crave: 4
Heart: 5 
Eyes: 4
Soul: 5
Head: 5

With the first two lines, "Sweety was awkward. Even for a naked mole rat." it's hard not to land on greatness.  This book is a gem. With Sweety on each page you feel invited into an awkwardness that fills every inch of your heart.  The adorable illustration do not overwhelm from the depth of character, in fact they allow everything to shine.  Fitting in, a universal theme, is addressed in a quirky and loving way and helps one feel, as a reader, included.  When finished reading it's almost if you walk away with a new friend in Sweety.