Apr 26, 2013

Get Set for Screen-Free Week!

Monday marks the beginning of Screen-Free Week, a time to unplug, experience something new, and take time to be present with friends and family. In anticipation, we’ve put together a list of activities to do with your kids that are inspired by some of our favorite new and classic children’s books.  If you have other ideas, share them with us, and let's make sure our screen-free days are filled with fun and imagination!

 So here we go!

 Monday 4/29
Invent a Hugo Cabret Flip Book

If you haven't seen this beautiful--and quite large--book by Brian Selznick, you're really missing out. Though the size of the book makes it look daunting on the shelf, it pages are filled with mostly illustrations that are both accompaniments to the text, and in parts can stand in place of the text. The resulting hybrid is hard to categorize, and reminds us of a combination picture book, collection of film stills, and flip book. We love the creativity of the story, and so to kick off our Screen-Free Week activities, we thought it would be fun to try making a flip book. It might not be as elaborate or large as Hugo Cabret, but what a great way be crafty and give illustrating a shot.

Tuesday 4/30
Cool Cooking

We're putting out our first kid's cookbook this summer, and it happens to be full of easy, delicious recipes from around the world. You won't be able to make the recipes from the book yet (though we did post a rather yummy dessert recipe from it in a past blog post), but that doesn't mean you can't find other great recipes to experiment with during Screen-Free Week. Look for something new and exciting, go get the ingredients, and spend a day in the kitchen with your kids. At the end of the day, you can all sit down and have a meal together. Family time and delicious food, what could be better?

Apr 17, 2013

Read On: Happy National Bookmobile Day!

It’s National Library Week and today we celebrate that glorious invention, the bookmobile! For over 100 years, mobile libraries have brought books to community members unable to make the trip to brick & mortar libraries.  Bookmobiles have brought together communities over the years—and are still rolling today!

And don't forget that in addition to a good read, your local library is a one-stop location for job advice, classes, readings, all-around hullabaloo—oh, and a sense of community. So renew that dog-eared library card, wander on by or happen across their website (or flag down a bookmobile) and show your local library some love, because it's clear that "Communities Matter @ Your Library!"

Libraries—especially the wheeled variety of course—certainly can take you places!

Apr 10, 2013

10 Things I Didn't Know Until I Published My First Book: Guest Post By Greg Bancroft

Publishing can be a confusing process, and many first-time writers have no idea what to expect. Or they might expect certain things, but it turns out to be completely different. Today, first-time author, and writer of the newly released Betsy's Day at the Game, Greg Bancroft shares some of what he's learned since beginning his publishing journey.

  1. Working with a publishing company, going into the office, dealing with editors and staff is not as mysterious as I thought. Real people work at real desks in an office focused on selecting and publishing children's literature. However, in a way, when I first visited the office, I felt like I was entering some kind of "special place" - off-limits to only a handful of "special people." I wasn't sure I should enter. In reality, it's a pretty normal office (albeit, a very cool space) where people work very hard at their jobs. Not scary, not mysterious.

  2. From submitting a draft to seeing the book on a store's shelf took longer than I had imagined. Add in the time I took researching, writing, field-testing and re-writing, it was a good two years or more.

  3. Seeing someone as talented as Katherine Blackmore (and as well-known!) draw such beautiful illustrations and capture the story and relationships so well, was surprising to me. What a talent. What a gift to me and to this book.

  4. Seeing people's reaction for the first time, upon reading the book, and responding so favorably is what I'd hoped for but didn't really understand fully. The book has had quite an impact on people: remembering times with family at a game, reflecting on relationships with parents, grandparents, and kids. More than just appreciating a sweet story, it evokes a visceral and emotional response from others.

Apr 9, 2013

Tell Me a Story...With Video Games?

Regardless of who was reading, what they were reading, or how they were reading, Story Time was always a standout moment during my childhood. Full of kooky characters and jaw-dropping adventures, there was rarely a dull moment when an adult picked up a picture book and sat at the head of the class. From my best friend’s mom reading Seuss’ The Lorax, to our classroom aide retelling The Giving Tree with wild, elaborate gestures, Story Time had a certain captivating magic. Even now, 15 odd years later, I find reading aloud to be equally entertaining. Sure, the audience has grown up, and the subjects are a little more mature, but there’s an odd sense of wonder that accompanies the act of storytelling that just never gets old.

I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that we, as readers, crave a good story—a great narrative, complex characters, and pinches of conflict just do a soul good.

And if the story is all that matters, why should the medium make such a difference?

Perhaps, it doesn't.

Apr 5, 2013

Play Ball! Betsy's Day at the Game Goes on Tour

It's baseball season, and also time for our second blog tour! This time around, follow Betsy's Day at the Game (pub date: April 9) as it tours its way around the web.

For those of you not familiar with the newest book from Scarletta Kids, Betsy's Day at the Game is the heartwarming story about family traditions and America's favorite pastime. Betsy loves spending time with her grandfather, especially at the ballpark. Today is another game day, and she is ready to show her grandpa all that she has learned about keeping score. Betsy can keep track of it all--foul balls, home runs, and favorite players--but more exciting things are about to happen at today's game than just what's on her scorecard. The book even includes a full scorecard (with more available online). As John Coy, author of Top of the Order and the 4 for 4 series said, "This book celebrates the ways baseball is passed down through generations. Young fans will connect with Betsy and also learn how to keep score." For parents, grandparents, and especially baseball lovers, what could be better?

We have some great stuff planned for the tour, so be sure to check back each day for updated links. And if you follow our social media accounts, we'll also be posting the stops there. Here's a preview of what's to come: