Friday, November 14, 2014

Some Picture Books I Read

November is National Picture Book Month. Good picture books have inspired and enlightened me from childhood to adulthood. I don't believe anyone is ever too old to be entertained and nurtured by a picture book. Anyhoo, here's a list of some picture books I've read recently,* either to myself or at least one of my children. 


1. BATTLE BUNNY by Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett, Illust. by Matthew Myers (Simon & Schuster- Picture Book/Early Reader)  In a story that spoofs the vintage animal birthday story, the creators convert the doe-eyed Birthday Bunny into a power-hungry Battle Bunny with an "Evil Plan."

2. ME & MOMMA & BIG JOHN  by Mara Rockliff, Illust. by William Low (Candlewick- Picture Book) Inspired by a true story, this story shares the perspective of a young boy who remembers his mother's contribution to the building of the "Big John" Cathedral in New York City. 

3. IMMI'S GIFT by Karen Littlewood (Peachtree-Picture Book) An Eskimo girl who receives gifts from an unknown benefactor decides to offer back a gift of her own.

4. CRANKENSTEIN by Samantha Berger, Illust. By Dan Santat (Scholastic-Picture Book) Crankenstein has many reasons to be moody…until he meets another like him.

5. TEENY TINY TRUCKS by Tim McCanna, Illust. by Keith Frawley
(Little Bahalia- Picture Book) Industrious delivery trucks mingle with nature as they venture to their destination.

6. MY DADIMA WEARS A SARI by Kashmira Sheth and Yoshiko Jaeggi (Peachtree- Picture Book) An Indian grandmother shows her granddaughters about all the uses for her sari.  

7. ALL THE WORLD by Liz Garton Scanlon, Illust. by Marla Frazee (Beach Lane- Picture Book) Told in verse, this book sheds light on the most beautiful things, and yet the most simple things, all around us.

8. HALF A WORLD AWAY by Libby Gleeson, Illust. By Freya Blackwood (Arthur A. Levine- Picture Book) Two friends miss each other terribly when one moves to another country.

9. KNUFFLE BUNNY by Mo Willems (Hyperion-Picture Book) A toddler struggling to convey a message throws a tantrum, much to the irritation of his father and other adults around him.

10.  SLEEPYHEADS by Sandra J. Howatt, Illust. by Joyce Wan (Beach Lane- Picture Book) Animals and a young child cozy up for bedtime.

11. TRAFFIC PUPS by Michelle Meadows, Illust. by Dan Andreasen (Simon & Schuster- Picture Book) Traffic pups catch speeding drivers and red light runners. Check out my interview with the author. 

12. GOLDY LUCK AND THE THREE PANDAS by Natasha Yim, Illust. by Grace Zong (Charlesbridge-Picture Book) Goldy Luck, tasked to bring turnip cakes to a neighor, wanders into an empty house with three bowls of congee.

What picture books have you read recently? 

*I've mentioned this before, but it's worth repeating that when I share "recent reads," I'm not listing everything I've just read, but just some things. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

IWSG: Trick-or-Treaters

Today is IWSG day. Thanks to Alex Cavanaugh for organizing this monthly event where writers share about their writerly insecurities and other things. 

Earlier this year, we moved to a new house in a part of the neighborhood known for its extremely high foot traffic on Halloween. In the weeks leading up to the big night, I got several giant bags of candy from Costco, made a few shopping trips to various stores searching for decorations, and spent an entire evening setting up my window display. All this took time and effort. But I enjoy preparing for Halloween. On Halloween night, while my husband and daughter were out trick-or-treating with friends, I passed out candy to a few hundred trick-or-treaters.  

I was excited to see the fun and creative costumes on those who stopped by, and I was really tickled the overwhelming majority of children who came by (or their parents) were appreciative and friendly.

I was less moved by a few rude trick-or-treaters.

One girl, after taking candy from me and not saying thank you, craned her neck to see into my house and commented in disdain that she thought my house was messy. When I ignored the remark, she repeated herself, raising her voice. Still pretending I didn’t hear her, I shut the door.

Then there were a brother and sister pair, possibly in junior high, who weren’t shy to express they didn’t care for what I handed out to them. Now, I wasn’t giving away lemon-flavored chewables wrapped in quarter-sized wax paper. I'd given the two kids store brand chocolates.

With attitude, they demanded a trade. They wanted to sift through my candy until they found something they liked. Unwilling to offer positive reinforcement for their behavior, I smiled and told the kids that if they didn’t like my candy, they could give it to someone else. Then I shut the door. (Aren’t doors great?)

And yes, the parents were present but sadly inactive during both these incidents.
Sometimes when you’re sharing with others, it doesn’t mean that all the recipients of your offering would respond the way you ideally imagine they would. Sometimes people, young and old, look for reasons to be dissatisfied. This can happen when you’re giving away candy on Halloween.... And this might also happen in various instances during your writing journey. Perhaps one or both things have happened to you?

Don’t let rude trick-or-treaters, real or metaphorical, make you insecure or keep you from doing what you love. 

I’m already planning for next year’s Halloween.

How was your Halloween? Any interesting trick-or-treaters?