Saturday, February 29, 2020

Naupaka Meets Mark Hoffman (Via Skype That Is!)

Our World Read Aloud Day SkypeFest continued when Naupaka met Mark Hoffman. They loved that they got to choose which of his books that he was going to read to us and they immediately went for Fruit Bowl. Laughter and smiles filled the room as Mark was animated in his reading of the book and his character vocalizations were super fun. He pointed things out to us as he read, which made the reading even more special.
We learned a lot from Mark during our time together. Here is just some if it.
1) Fruit Bowl came to him while he was having dinner with his wife and son. They were talking about what makes a fruit a fruit and a vegetable a vegetable. As they were talking, they realized that there are somethings that people might know about certain fruits and vegetables. Did you know a banana is a berry? Did you know that the little seeds all around a strawberry will actually sprout?! We were all beyond shocked. You better believe that we looked for pictures of sprouting strawberries when our Skype was over! The kids and I were amazed with what we found. Thank you Mark!
2) Mark likes to think about the person who is going to be reading the book and looks up phrases about the topics he is going to write about. When he finds one he likes, he thinks of ways to write a story incorporating that phrase. For example he wanted to write about money. He found the phrase "Dirt Cheap" and started thinking about that. Boom! His next book Dirt Cheap was born. On April 21, 2020 you can read all about a young girl who wants to earn money to buy a soccer ball. We got a sneak peek of it and let me tell you, it is a must have for your library!
3) Mark likes to write in a comfortable spot, which for him is his couch.  Sometimes his dog will crawl up next him which is good because if he gets stuck he pets him and that helps him think.
4) Mark's illustrations are done in either his studio or between the illustration classes he teaches to college students. His studio is full of brushes, acrylic paints and colored pencils. He loves to combine those two tools to make his illustrations. He has pictures tacked up around his studio that serve as inspiration. We spied some art he was making for an upcoming Little People, Big Dreams book.
5) He illustrated You Can Read all on his iPad using a $5.oo app!
6) Mark loved Dr. Seuss as a child, especially Cat in the Hat and Wacky Wednesday. He also loved Blueberries for Sal.
Mark, we had so much fun with you on World Read Aloud Day! Thank you for helping us celebrate.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Na He'e Nalu and Na Honu Meet Stephanie Campisi (Via Skype That Is!)

Na Heʻe Nalu and Na Honu kept our World Read Aloud Day SkypeFest going by meeting Stephanie Campisi. The kids loved that they got to chose which of her books they got to hear. Very Lulu was the winner. It turns out Very Lulu is based on a real life dog! Not her dog Samson though, who made an appearance at the end of our Skype. There was laughter, comments like, "That's funny!" as she read and "Ahhh's" at the end.
So what did we learn from Stephanie?
1) Her ideas come from everywhere! The Ugly Dumpling came to her while she was eating lunch. Luis and Tabitha came to her as she sat wondering what her cat was looking at as it was staring out the window. Very Lulu came from a newspaper article. Ideas will come to her as she is walking and reading and she likes to see what happens when two ideas are put together. She keeps all her ideas in a journal or on her computer.
2) When she starts a new story she tries to figure out what the message the story will have. Very Lulu is about finding your place. The Ugly Dumpling is about being accepted. Once she has that she can begin writing.
3) Since she has a six month old baby she writes early in the morning. She will sit outside on her back porch looking out to the mountains while it is still semi dark out and write.
4) Her favorite books when she was in kindergarten and first grade were ones we didn't know because she grew up in Australia. She loved  Jam by Margaret Mahy so much that her kindergarten teacher gave her a copy at the end of the year. She also loved Meg and Mog by Helen Nicoll.
Thank you Stephanie for helping us celebrate World Read Aloud Day! We had so much fun reading and learning with you.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Na Hoʻe Waʻa Meets Tracey West (Via Skype That Is!)

To say that Na Hoʻe Waʻa were excited when they found out they were celebrating World Read Aloud Day with Tracey West is an total understatement. There was whooping! There was hollering! There was pure joy! Needless to say, they are fans.  Since they are such fans, they got a sneak peek of the upcoming Dragon Masters book  Future of the Time Dragon. Tracey read a really exciting part to us and left us hanging! 
We learned so much from Tracey, here's just a bit of it.
1) As of right now, there will be twenty Dragon Masters books. There is the potential for more as she feels like she has more stories to tell about Drake and Rory. She is currently working on books 16, 17, and 18 and even shared the titles with us. One of them involves a lava dragon. We offered to help her with her research since we know a thing or two about lava.
2) Dragon Masters came to her after reading myths and legends about dragons. She found the Chinese water dragon fascinating and began to discover all sorts of dragons with amazing powers. She keeps all of her dragon information in a folder on her computer.
3) Wrym has a special place in heart. Not only is he the first dragon that she wrote about, but he isn't a scary fire-breathing dragon. He is sweet and has cool powers. She even has a stuffed animal of Wrym!
4) Once Tracey has her idea, she outlines the entire story before she writes.  She also outlines each of the chapters to make sure she gets all of her ideas in.
5) She will write at home in the room she was Skyping to us from. Her two dogs keep her company while she is writing. There is a huge window she can look out of and watch her 17 chickens and rooster Luciano. She showed us the view and we got to see snow!
6) Go, Dog, Go! was her favorite book on first grade. It opened her mind to reading and she then couldn't wait to discover all the amazing books out in the world.
7) She has written over 300 books! She started off writing books about video games and cartoons and hasn't stopped! Sometimes she writes her books under different names.
Thank you so much Tracey for spending time with us on World Read Aloud Day! You made the kids so happy!

Thursday, February 20, 2020

The Sharks Meet Suzanne Morris (Via Skype That Is!)

The Sharks and I were in for a real treat as we kept our World Read Aloud SkypeFest going with Suzanne Morris. She greeted us with Trapezoid, who by the way does NOT look anything like a dinosaur! She was animated, bubbly, had a bunch of props and we had so much fun spending time with her. 
The Sharks love her book A Trapezoid Is Not A Dinosaur and were excited to hear her read it.  When she got to a specific page, the kids were in awe and started to ask her how she made the artwork on that page. She paused the story, wiped out the watercolor she had created for it and began to explain the process. When she brought up that it was a collage, they had questions about that too.  She grabbed another piece of art that she had made and explained that to them as well.
What else did we learn from Suzanne?
1) She has notebooks full of ideas. She likes to think about a question she has or a problem that she is trying to solve. She will carry around little booklets made out of a single piece of paper that she can quickly jot ideas or stories down on.
2) Sometimes when she creates the words come first and other times it is the pictures. She showed us a paper that she fills out whenever she is working on a story. It has six panels on it and she will spend fifteen minutes exploring the characters emotions or just seeing what she can come up with. 
3) Suzanne writes at a round table in living room that has a window she can stare out of. She will also go hiking and when she gets to the top she will sit and write, draw or paint. We got to see the tiny set of watercolors she carries up with her.
4) When it comes to her art, she works with watercolors, graphite pencils and paper.
5) She loved reading Are You My Mother when she was in kindergarten.
Thank you so much for helping us celebrate World Read Aloud Day Suzanne. We had a blast!

Monday, February 17, 2020

The Fantastic Foxes Meet Sara Levine (Via Skype That Is!)

I have never had a Skype session that started with a femur bone and ended with a velociraptor skull and had giraffe vertebrae thrown in between. It was amazing, it was mind boggling and I now need for every Skype session to be that way! Sara Levine joined our World Read Aloud Day SkypeFest and had us all wanting more! 
Before she read Bone by Bone to us, we had the opportunity to see a human femur which we then compared to a mouse's femur. It's amazing to see how much they look alike but the size difference is mind boggling. 
1) Sara is a veterinarian who spends time teaching kids and college students. She is always thinking of interesting ways to teach them the information. She had us playing guessing games and moving around which really helped us to learn the facts that she shared.
2) Elementary school is where Sara learned how to make books and started to write animal stories. It wasn't until her daughter was grown that she started to create books.
3) Before writing, Sara thinks about what cool and interesting science facts she knows and looks to see if anyone else has covered them. If not, she'll begin to write. The amount of research she does really depends on how much she already knows about the topic.
4) Sara can't even count how many times she rewrites her books. It is worth it though because she is able to get her book exactly how she wants it.
5) Writing in a cafe is one of Sara's favorite places to write, along with her friend's house. She will often go on a walk or ride her bike to think about her ideas.
Thank you Sara for celebrating World Read Aloud Day. We were all blown away by what we saw and learned. Thank you!

Friday, February 14, 2020

The Bruins Meet Jen Calonita (Via Skype That Is!)

The Bruins continued our World Read Aloud SkypeFest by meeting Jen Calonita. We were thrilled to not only be her first Skype for WRAD, but we started off by getting a sneak peek of her soon to be published sixth book in the Fairy Tale Reform School series, Cursed. 
She shared chapter one with us and we can't wait to get our hands on the book!
Here is just some of what we learned from Jen.
1) Jen has been dreaming of being an author since the fourth grade where she wrote a paper about three wishes. The third wish she made was to be an author. She wrote short stories, kept journals and even wrote for the school newspaper.
2) Her ideas are kept in several writer's notebooks. She jots everything down in there even if it is just a sentence or two. Whenever she gets stuck she looks through them to see if one of them will create a spark.
3) Jen has always felt bad for the villains in fairytales and wondered what made them become that way. After she saw Cinderella as a child, she was very upset. She felt bad for the Wicked Stepmother and worried who would take care of the Evil Stepsisters when their mom was in fairytale jail. When she questioned it, her mother told her that this was Cinderella's story and that she, Jen, could tell the Wicked Stepmother's story. The seed was planted and Fairy Tale Reform School was later born!
4) Ben Kenobi, her dog, likes to join her when she writes in a chair in the den. If home is too  distracting, she heads to a loud coffeeshop. Being around all the other people there makes her feel like there is work to do.
5) When she first started writing, getting notes from her editor made her sad. She realized though that those notes were helping her improve as a writer and now she loves getting them. In fact, she loves revising more than writing the first draft.
Book Recommendations: Jen recommended Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, the Whatever After Series,  Last Kids on Earth and anything by Raina Telgemeier
Thank you Jen for helping us celebrate World Read Aloud Day!

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

The Explorers Meet Shauna LaVoy Reynolds (Via FaceTime That Is!)

The Explorers continued the World Read Aloud Day SkypeFest with a first. For the first time ever we got to FaceTime with an author in a car! How cool is that?! We learned quite a bit from Shauna. Here is just some of it.
1) She has a leopard gecko and a poodle!
2) Shauna keeps her ideas in lists. Since she spends so much time in car driving she always has a notebook in her purse where she can jot down her ideas. She will also write them on her phone. 
3) Her ideas come from everywhere! Even when she's volunteering in the cafeteria at her children's school! Kids will come up to her and ask her questions or tell her silly things. She gets ideas from nature, colors and being out in the world. Sometimes she will read something and think, "I wish I knew more about that" and an idea is born!
4) When she starts a new story she makes a list of all the things that she wants to put into the story plus details, questions she wants to answer and character names. In fact, character names are the most important thing to her. She will write a beginning and an end first. The middle comes later as it is the hardest thing to write.
5) Shauna writes at home but there are so many things to do there that it can get tricky. She likes to write outside of her house in a place that isn't too quiet and where there are other people around, like a coffee shop.
6) Her favorite book in kindergarten was Miss Nelson is Missing!
7) Shauna told us about the book she is currently working on. I am not sure what I can divulge. I will just say it involves a little girl who wants a book on the top shelf.
Thank you Shauna for celebrating World Read Aloud Day with us!

Thursday, February 6, 2020

The Shooting Stars Meet Leslie Bulion (Via Skype That Is!)

The Shooting Stars kept the World Read Aloud Day SkypeFest going by meeting with Leslie Bulion. They had been reading some of her science poems in class so this was a great opportunity for them to learn about all that goes into them.
Leslie shared the introductory poem from her upcoming book Amphibian Acrobats. The title for this book came to her first. She loves alliteration and the way these words sounded in her ears. She has turned all the amphibians in the book into circus performers. 
Here are a few other things we learned from Leslie.
1) She did a lot for things before becoming an author, studying science and being a social worker.
2) She has NEVER met her illustrator, Robert Meganck in person! We all thought was crazy since they are currently working on their 4th book together. Sometimes they will email each other 6 times a day and just this week she spoke to him on the phone for the first time! 
3) Writing for Leslie mostly takes place in her office surrounded by books and a huge window that she can stare out of. She will carve out time during her vacations to write. Being in a new space can help jiggle things loose in her brain. She also attends a writer's retreat with six others every year in Maine. 
4) Editing is a something that Leslie is constantly doing. She will edit her poems 20-40 times. She works hard on making the words to sing the way she wants them to.
5)  Ideas for her science poems come from everywhere:  A science article or the newspaper, visiting a museum, conversations with others, thinking of a big question and then trying to answer them in a poem. Pay attention to your ideas, get them down. They don't have to be perfect. 
6) Leslie spends a great deal of time doing research for her books. She starts of very general learning all about the subject (i.e. amphibians) She reads both nonfiction and fiction books about her topic. For Amphibian Acrobats she read Night of the Spadefoot Toads by Bill Harley to get the emotional piece of her research. She does hands on research, talks to scientists, and sees what she can see around her home. She then decides what critters to focus on and begins work on her poems.
Thank you for helping us celebrate World Read Aloud Day! The kids and I learned so much!

The Traveller's Meet Kim Baker (Via FaceTime That Is!)

Sometimes technology doesn't work in your favor, but we didn't let that stop us from connecting with Kim Baker for World Read Aloud Day!
Kim shared with us that for her being an author means getting to read a lot, wearing comfy clothes all day like pajamas or sweatpants, traveling and meeting kids and getting to make stuff up. We loved the sound of that!
The kids were thrilled to get a sneak peek of her upcoming book The Water Bears. She read us part of chapter one and I am only revealing that the book has some wish granting in it. It will be out April 21, 2020 and I can't wait to add it to our library collection.
What did we learn from Kim?
1) She has wanted to be a writer her whole life but didn't know she could be one. She has always had a love of books and stories. When she moved from California, where she had been a 4th grade teacher, to Seattle she decided to give writing a try.
2) Kim hates forgetting ideas so she has notebooks full of them. Some of her ideas are sticky which means they attach to another idea and begin to grow. She has a curiosity about the world and often wonders, "What would happen if...."
3) You can find her writing in her former garden shed which is full of bookshelves and her favorite things. If she needs a refresh, she heads to the coffeeshop and writes there.
4) Pickle did not start off as Pickle, but rather Sunny Town. It was a completely different story about animals escaping from the zoo. After getting feedback on it from her friend, author Grace Lin, she rewrote the entire book. The only she kept were the characters names. Kim is constantly editing and rewriting as she goes through the story.
5) Speaking of Pickle, she doesn't play pranks on people but the ones she thinks would be fun to play are in the book. She does love surprising people with presents and parties. She told us about an adult prank club called Improv Everywhere and some of the funny pranks they have played. They were quite funny.
Book Recommendations: Kim suggested some amazing books to us. First Rule of Punk, The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise, Small Spaces and The Other Half of Happy.

Thank you Kim for celebrating World Read Aloud Day with us!

Monday, February 3, 2020

The Dazzlers Meet Vicky Fang (Via Skype That Is!)

 The Dazzlers kicked off our World Read Aloud Day SkypeFest by meeting author Vicky Fang. They were so excited and could not wait to meet her. With five, yes five, books coming out this year, they wanted to know if she wrote them all at the same time. It turns out, she didn't. Her picture book, Invent A Pet was written two and a half years ago. She shared that it takes a long time for the pictures in a picture book to be made. Her chapter book Layla and the Bots was written a year after that. Even though it has pictures on every page and is 80 pages long, it all came together quickly. 
Vicky read her picture book Invent A Pet to us. The room was filled with laughter. It's a story of a young girl named Katie who wants a unique pet and the machine that  helps her get exactly what she is looking for. Our imaginations started going crazy and we decided we had to do something similar to Katie later in the day. (see below)
Here are some of the things we learned from Vicky:
1) Ideas come to her from everywhere, from her kids, when she is out walking, when she hears something and even in the shower! She makes a long list of them so that she won't forget them. She will look over her idea list and then put two of them together to see where they will take her.
2) When she is writing a new story she gets out a notebook and writes down a couple of lines. She will get really messy with her ideas and often draws a little picture of the character. From there she will move onto her computer.
3) Her writing is done in a coffee shop.  After getting a cup of coffee or tea she can concentrate. If she is at home, she will get distracted.
4) Her favorite book in first grade was Little Leftover Witch, which is about a family who finds a little witch and takes her home with them.  The kids want to find that book!
Thank you Vicky for helping us kick off World Read Aloud Day! We can't wait to add your books to our library collection when they come out!

Side Note: As soon as I got back to the library, I whipped up a simple paper that said ____+___+___=. When the kids arrived to library that afternoon we reviewed what each part of the machine did. Sorry, I can't tell you that as it would ruin the book. They quickly  set to work creating their own very unique pets. 
Here is just a small sample of what they created.