Adventures in Authorville part 2

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Morning all on this terrific Tuesday. Last weekend kicked off the celebrations of the Croydon Heritage Festival with activities to remember Flower Fairies creator Cicely Mary Barker.

There was story telling by yours truly, murals with @Tobyboo (Tina Crawford) and african drums with @LornaLiverpool. Not to mention SuperPam’s @bopandboogie. Great start to the festival, more to be continued this weekend.

Meanwhile back on planet Lizzie, i have gone back to college to study to become an assessor in childcare, in my spare time of course!! How many plates can one mum spin at the same time? I know that its not just me that wears different hats for the different roles as a woman, would love to hear some of yours……

Anyway here is a picture of our lovely dog Sandie who passed away a couple of weeks ago… I’ve written a short story about her entitled The Hairiest Dog in the World!

I am so tired.....

I am so tired…..

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The Heart of WHEREVER YOU GO (plus an art giveaway!)

Writing for Kids (While Raising Them)

Book GiveawaypatzmillerA few years ago, my sister in agent-hood Pat Zietlow Miller asked if I would take a peek at her manuscript. That manuscript turned out to be the newly-released WHEREVER YOU GO. I immediately knew it would be a beloved hit because of its lyrical text and universal theme, but once Eliza Wheeler signed on to illustrate, I became certain her art would exponentially elevate WHEREVER YOU GO into the stratosphere. (Don’t you wish we had flying cars to take on that trip?)

Since this blog loves to talk about how ideas originate, I asked Pat and Eliza a few questions about the path to this book’s publication. (Get it? THE PATH???)

Pat, what was the genesis of WHEREVER YOU GO?

This book started when I was at work and a few lines of random poetry popped into my head:

Over a hill, under a bridge, deep in a dale, high on a ridge …

I…

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How to Create Irresistible Picture Book Characters by Tammi Sauer (plus a giveaway on her book birthday!)

Brilliant and helpful, thanks!

Writing for Kids (While Raising Them)

tammiforsiteby Tammi Sauer

Psst. Hey, you there. Yes, you. Do you want to wow an editor with your next picture book manuscript? Great!

It only takes one thing. Come up with the next Fancy Nancy, Olivia, or Skippyjon Jones. Editors are wading through their slush and/or agented submissions in the hopes of finding an irresistible, can’t-put-down, character-driven manuscript. They want manuscripts that make them feel something and a great character can do just that.

Examples of strong characters in picture books:

OLIVIA by Ian Falconer
Olivia is a feisty little piglet who has too much energy for her own good.

FANCY NANCY by Jane O’Connor
Nancy is very into fanciness whereas her family is not.

SKIPPYJON JONES by Judy Schachner
Skippyjon Jones is a little kitty with a big imagination.

A PET FOR PETUNIA by Paul Schmid
An exuberant Petunia wants, wants, wants a pet she really shouldn’t have.

DINOSAUR VS. BEDTIME by Bob Shea

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Top tips to look for when finding a childcare setting

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I’ve just written an article for our local community paper on what to look for when searching for a fantastic early years setting for your child, and thought you might like to read it too. Would love to know your thoughts. Have a happy day!!…..

………Living and working in Croydon for all my life has given me a wonderful perspective on the uniqueness and diversity that we have within our borough.

Running three preschool settings within Croydon inspires me not only to get to know the wonderful richness of cultures that attend our settings but also to share with our families, the amazing and fascinating activities that can be found in and around the town for very little cost.

As we enter a new school year I would like to share with you some top tips when it comes to finding an Early Years provider for your little ones. Whether you require a full day care nursery or sessional preschool, this is one of the first steps that your child takes on their path to school, and as a parent and practitioner I understand the importance of finding a safe place for your child.

Choosing the right childcare setting

  • Always visit the setting before you register your child to get a feel for the day-to-day routine, and take your child with you to see whether they like it too.
  • Do not be afraid to ask questions – it can be helpful to write them down beforehand. For example; How many staff work with the children on a daily basis? (there should be 1 staff member for every 8 children over 3 and 1 staff member for every 4 children under 3)What are the staff’s qualifications? Are the staff security checked? How much experience do they have?
  • Ask about the routine of the day and ask to see a weekly plan. This will give you a snap shot of the sorts of activities that are planned for the children.
  • Make sure that you have a full tour of the premises, including toilets and outdoor areas, are they clean and safe?
  • Ask about how you will be informed of your child’s progress or any incidents that may happen and also how you can be involved in your child’s learning from nursery to home.
  • Take time to see whether the staff and children are talking and playing together. Do the staff look interested and happy, are the children having fun?
  • Talk to the staff about outings, do the children get any outside experiences as well, what are the safety procedures for this and are parents invited?
  • Enquire about a possible home visit if you think it would help your child to settle in. Discuss the setting’s settling in policy.
  • Look at the setting’s OFSTED inspection online www.ofsted.gov.uk Bear in mind however that this is a snap shot of the setting and as a parent, you will get a feel as to whether this is the right place for your child.
  • Ask about the behaviour policy and share any concerns that you may have about your child’s development.
  • Make sure that you find out about any costs for the setting. If you have a 3 or 4 year you are entitled to 15 hours completely free childcare.
  • Discuss what food is provided. Is there a healthy, balanced diet on offer? Is water available whenever children want it? And are parents able to donate to the food that is offered.
  • Find out about the financial help you can get. Working parents can get up to 80% of their costs back through the childcare element of Working Tax Credit. If you receive certain benefits you can also access 2 year old funding.
  • Ask about parental involvement and what you can expect from your time at the setting.
  • Finally visit a few settings to get a balanced view and remember that if you choose a nursery school/class that is attached to a school, this does not guarantee your child a place in that school. All children from all Early Years settings must apply separately for a reception school place.

Whose Book? Why, it’s Toni Buzzeo’s WHOSE TOOLS?! (plus a giveaway!)

Writing for Kids (While Raising Them)

Toni with toolsOoh, I’m all abuzz because I’ve got Toni Buzzeo on the blog today. Yes, THE NY Times Best-Selling picture book author of ONE COOL FRIEND (which also won a Caldecott Honor for David Small). Toni’s newest book is WHOSE TOOLS?, her first non-fiction title.

I’d like to say, “I sat down with Toni and we chatted over Earl Grey tea and frosted lemon cake,” but I can’t. Because we didn’t. I plopped on the couch nursing a sore knee and Toni wielded tools while emailing. (Quite the talent!) But we still had plenty of fun. And I can now call her my one TOOL friend.

WhoseTools

Toni, WHOSE TOOLS? is your first foray into non-fiction. Where did the idea come from?

I’m an elementary librarian by profession (though my writing career made managing a library in addition to speaking and writing too challenging). As a result, I’m a freelance librarian these days. What that means…

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Author-Illustrator Ryan Sias on Art Education, Dyslexia and His Latest Book, SNIFF! SNIFF! (plus a giveaway!)

absolutely brilliant, and another activity i can point my ten year old to when he says he’s bored!

Writing for Kids (While Raising Them)

I’ve been wanting to do a book with Ryan Sias because his illustrations are so cartoony, bubbly and fun. Ryan’s free weekly Sias Studios emails feature creative worksheets with new characters I always want to call my own. But I can’t. They’re his. But they can be YOURS, too, because anyone can receive his free doodle and story pages by signing up at SiasStudios.com. (A PIZZA SPACESHIP! Why didn’t I think of that??? ANCHOVY ALIENS! PEPPERONI FROM PLUTO!)

pizzaspace

Ryan’s new book SNIFF! SNIFF! just landed on my front porch and I could not resist this cuddly little doggie with the huge honker. How adorable! The bold, sketchy outlines and bright colors will attract the youngest readers with this tale of true friendship and love.

The curious star of the story gets into all kinds of mischief with “SNIFF, SNIFF” being a recurring theme. Repetitive phrases help new readers recognize words…and also practice their onomatopoeia out loud…

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Adventures in Authorville

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Just another average day, you might say! but no, today is a new day in the life of Lizzie Wallace, Children’s Author, who knows what could happen!! i particularly like this quote from John Wooden and shall make it my quote for today.

“Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” – John Wooden

Read more: http://www.keepinspiring.me/positive-inspirational-life-quotes/#ixzz3ZudhVqxe

So here goes –

Step one: stop looking around at the cleaning that needs doing and get on with it…

Step two: Connect up with Josi who is organising the Flower Fairy Children’s literary, science, garden & arts festival at the end of June. Storytellers, local authors and lots of exciting artists to inspire the children of Croydon, Surrey. Loving it, now all we need is some dry weather!!

Step three: Show you lovely people a glimpse of the new funky illustration of Cora.Cora Snow Angel   Isn’t she gorgeous, well if you like cows that is!! Have a look at http://www.laurenscows.com if you do.

Step four: continue working on the next in the series of ‘The Farmies’…… The Farmies on Safari.

Signing off – see you soon xx

Inspiring ideas and a great feature

I love hearing about people’s favourite stories as that is the way of keeping the stories alive. I have very fond memories of sitting on my grandad’s lap being read Rupert the Bear. As i have read to my children over the years i think that ‘Owl Babies’ is one of my favourites.

childtasticbooks

I was browsing on Twitter tonight when I came across a link to a Guardian feature on footballers choosing their favourite books – as a child and an adult. You can read them here.

This is fantastic fodder for young children, especially boys, who might be reluctant at picking up books. What I found especially inspiring was the number of non-fiction titles in there for the adult reads. This really does help to show that it’s not just hefty fictional tomes that count as ‘proper’ reading but biographies, political essays, and travel writing, too. There are novels in there too but there’s a great mixture of subjects which shows just how broad reading is.

The children’s choices were interesting to note. Many were well established classics, such as Dr Seuss, Harry Potter, The Gruffalo, etc, which many children will probably have encountered at school at least, if not at…

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