Get Ready for World Read Aloud Day!

World Read Aloud Day 2015

World Read Aloud Day 2015

Wednesday March 4 is World Read Aloud Day! If you haven’t heard about it before, it is a global program designed to get children reading. Many authors help celebrate World Read Aloud Day by volunteering to Skype, and read, with children across the country. Last year the Nerdy Chicks had virtual visits with over fifty schools. In honor of World Read Aloud Day this year we will be available on March 4, 5, and 6 for virtual classroom visits. To find out more about World Read Aloud Day, visit the LitWorld website by clicking HERE.

New this year we have forms to make signing up to have us visit your class easy! If you’re interested in having one or both of us read for your school, just scroll down to find forms for both of us that you can fill out right here on the blog. OR just click on the shareable links above each form. Clicking on our photos just below will lead you to our websites so you can find out more about us and the books we  write. And please share the link to this post with educators you know!

CIMG2157 reading to kids

 

 Fill out this form to schedule a visit with Sudipta or click on this LINK.  Scroll down to schedule a visit with Kami.

 Fill out this form to schedule a visit with Kami or click on this LINK.

Cool New Year, Cool (Downright Cold) New Experiences

If you’re like me, sometime around the end of December, every year, you start thinking about all the things you are going to do in the next year that you never got around to before. I always swear to myself that I will fill the new year with completely new experiences. It was in that spirit (and possibly in a moment of insanity) that I booked a room for me and my family at the Hotel de Glace in Quebec City. The Hotel IMG_0081de Glace is the only hotel in North America to be constructed entirely of ice and snow. (Which totally makes sense as who would pay a hotel to make them sleep in ice and snow? You know, except me.) The beds, luckily, have wooden bases and mattresses made of mattresses, but they are all enclosed in an ice frame and are also inside, well, a room made of snow and ice. But don’t worry! They give you a Mount Everest-style sleeping bag that looks like a mummy’s sarcophagus to sleep in. And, yes, the entire hotel is cold (it’s basically an igloo). But don’t worry! The inside stays a pretty constant temperature of about 23 degrees. That’s Fahrenheit. Do you know what that is in Celsius? Negative 5. I hope you can imagine the panic I found myself in when all these facts sunk in. It was with great trepidation that I packed my parka and my expedition weight base layer and my snow pants and my gloves to head to the Hotel de Glace. But to my surprise, when I arrived, the place was truly….magical. IMG_0085IMG_0061 The artistry of the decorated rooms was…breathtaking. SAMSUNG CSC SAMSUNG CSC wpid-20150116_195640.jpg wpid-20150116_195946.jpgSAMSUNG CSC Sipping a drink out of a glass made of ice was….incredible. SAMSUNG CSC wpid-20150116_230124.jpg Taking a turn on the Grand Slide made of ice that adorns the entry hall was…awesome.

It truly was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and one that I am glad I made myself (and my family) do. And now, I feel empowered to fill 2015 with even more cool new experiences! In the end, there is one word that I would use to describe the Hotel de Glace. Is it magical? Breathtaking? Incredible? No. The one word that best sums it up…

COLD.

IMG_0080

The Sun Sets on 2014 and Rises on 2015!Happy New Year!

2014-12-07 20.36.072014 was an eventful year of blogging for the Nerdy Chicks! Perhaps the most notable blogging event for us was the addition of our sister blog nerdychickswrite.com where we kicked off the first ever Kidlit Summer School. Many of you joined us for those great craft based posts on writing, most by fabulous guest bloggers. Yet over here at Nerdy Chicks Rule, our most popular posts were about family. Sudipta’s post about her tween daughters, Twelve Things to Tell Your Tween Tonight, and my post about my son turning eighteen, Eight Things to Teach by Eighteen that They Can’t Learn from Google, were the two that most people visited.

20141030_180705Thank you all for joining us online! We are looking forward to another great year. In thinking of wrapping up the year, I’ve been collecting pictures of sunsets. I walk my dog almost every day on a trail that crosses the marsh. Each time our walk coincides with a sunset, I have to take a picture. I am always amazed by the extreme beauty of each sunset. I love the way the sky caps off a day with grandeur, while somehow offering a promise of beauty for the following day. Each gorgeous sunset is unique in its own way. In this way, sunsets are like years. Every passing year is 20141021_185732different from the last and each one has its moments of beauty.

20141204_173438As you think about the promise that 2015 brings, we Nerdy Chicks hope you are able to reflect on those sunsets of 2014 finding beauty in the year behind you, while looking forward to the promise of what lies ahead.

Happy New Year!

 

Three Questions with Robyn Hood Black

RHB Head Shot 2012 CREDIT  photo by Sandy FryI first met Robyn Hood Black virtually, when she contacted me via email after looking up my information through SCBWI. A poet, author, and artist, Robyn and her husband were considering moving to Beaufort, and she wanted to ask a fellow kidlit author some questions about the area. Thank goodness Robyn decided to make the move!!! She is a wonderful person, a great writer and she runs a business all writerly types will love: artsyletters.  I’m so excited to have Robyn with us today to answer questions about the businesses of writing and art. Her answers, and a bio detailing her published works follow, so keep on reading! 

1. Robyn, you are an artist, a poet, an author, and an entrepreneur. I recently visited you at your studio (one full of great old books, typewriter keys, and all sorts of things that make authors drool )and wondered how you came up with the idea of combining your love of the written word with the love of art. Can you tell us about that?

???????????????????????????????I’ve done some version of art and writing my entire life, and have never quite been able to choose between the two!  I’m probably a writer first, and I did finally pick an English major over art in college at Furman. (But I took a bunch of art classes as well.) I’d still love to illustrate my own text one of these days – working on that, in fact.  Even as a child, I had an entrepreneurial streak.  My sweet mother carted me around to gift shops, where I sold little pine bark sculptures with rocks painted as birds, with a shiny coating over all.  (I still love gloss!)

???????????????????????????????In 2012, with an empty nest looming on the horizon, I decided to launch my art business, artsyletters.  I’d done art shows and commissioned work in my 20s, but for this adventure I wanted more of a focus, and a trademark, too.  Who were my people in the world?  Writers!  And poets, teachers, librarians, and book lovers.  It seemed a natural venture to create things with a literary bent, and I find I have far more ideas than time to execute them.

red door collage arch macl 2 kami c (1)I like using books and words and letters as subject matter for drawings and prints, and I also relish using actual vintage texts to create mixed media pieces.  Somewhere along the line I went to the dark side and started altering old books and excerpts.   I enjoy bringing these physical, historical elements to life in a new form.  I might be working with a text published in the 1800s or the turn of the last century, and I always swim in questions – what was going on in the world when this was written or published?  Were we at war? Who might have read these words in their parlor or library or school?  Who might have touched this very cover or page through the years?

2. It sounds like every project is a result of your love of words! What has been the best thing about starting a business that caters to literary types?

wren on books with color kami c (1)The best thing has been that I tossed these things out into the universe, first at art shows and through my Etsy shop, and my “target market” caught them!  My first customer at a show was a professor at a small local college; she bought several bookmarks to give to members of that school’s first class of English majors.  At that same show, a young boy picked up my “Twas brillig…” bookmark and recited “Jabberwocky” by heart!

Those were fun exchanges, and several of my Poetry Friday friends have bought items, sometimes as gifts for each other.  They have been so incredibly supportive. (I personally think the Kidlitosphere is home to the most wonderful folks on the planet.)

XO on manual net c kami c (1)I’ve sold just about every altered-text mixed media piece I’ve made, and I look forward to making and offering a lot more of these in the new year.  It’s been humbling when an unexpected connection is made with these; a Rilke quote presented in a way that encouraged someone facing a challenge, for instance.  I’ve come to understand that these pieces, which I make with care and awe for the words that inspire them, will sooner or later resonate with someone because of his or her own story, and I love that.

 3. I know you love poetry, and some of your art even features found poetry. What is it about poetry that inspires you?

The Poet collage RHB kami c (1)How much time do we have? ;0)

I was one of those nerdy kids who loved poetry from – forever!  The older I get, the more I appreciate poetry’s ability to so efficiently and eloquently make connections – that’s really what poems do, isn’t it? Offer an image or phrase that makes you see/feel/think about something in a new way?  I primarily write poems for children, but a few years ago I fell under the spell of haiku, and I regularly submit to contemporary haiku journals.

My first poems published in a book for children were in Georgia Heard’s THE ARROW FINDS ITS MARK (Roaring Brook, 2012).  I will forever be grateful for that open door to the world of found poetry.  It’s completely addictive (and something students enjoy trying).

When I make my “books as doors” collages, I include some kind of short found poem inside along with bits of vintage bling.  Last year, a dear friend bought one of the fairy door (miniature book) sized ones, which had a vintage fairy illustration and these altered words:  “I think your/wings are/strong enough/to carry/you.”  She sent it to a friend out West battling cancer.  That touched me deeply, and I’d like to create more of these kinds of works.

If you can't make it to Robyn's Beaufort studio, you can always visit her Etsy store.

If you can’t make it to Robyn’s Beaufort studio, you can always visit her Etsy store by clicking HERE.

For fun this month, I put together a few tiny ornaments in vintage oval frames with a wee print of my “Writer Mouse” image on one side and some “micro found poetry” (?) – just a few words highlighted in text, on the other.  The texts were from the late 1800s – I think the shortest was, “reindeer travel/upwards”…  Each of these sold on Etsy this past week; I have a couple of those tiny frames left and might conjure up new ones this weekend.  I have time, right?

Robyn in her studio.

Robyn in her studio.

Robyn Hood Black is a children’s author and poet living in coastal South Carolina. Her books include Sir Mike (Scholastic Library, 2005) and Wolves (Intervisual Books, 2008). Her poetry appears in The Poetry Friday Anthology , The Poetry Friday Anthology for Middle School, and The Poetry Anthology for Science (compiled by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong, Pomelo Books, 2012, 2013 & 2014), in Georgia Heard’s anthology of found poems, The Arrow Finds Its Mark (Roaring Brook, 2012), and in leading haiku journals. One of her poems will appear in a board book compiled by Lee Bennett Hopkins to be released from Abrams in 2015. Her fiction has appeared in Highlights and her poetry has been featured in Ladybug and Hopscotch. She enjoys encouraging young readers, writers, and artists through school visits and speaks to audiences of all ages. She’s been active in SCBWI forever. She also creates “art for your literary side” through her business, artsyletters.

You can find Robyn on her website: http://www.robynhoodblack.com

Her blog:- http://www.robynhoodblack.com/blog.htm

Her Etsy store: http://artsyletters.com

Thank you for joining us today Robyn!

The Quotable Nerdy Chick: Holiday Quotes

Sometimes you just have to buy a book for the cover.)

(Sometimes you just have to buy a book for the cover.)

Life has been so busy this year that I haven’t even started preparing for the holidays. But I have started thinking about preparing for them. So I’ve at least coordinated our family calendar, etching out time to spend with parents, grandparents, cousins, and siblings! Because other than celebrating what your family believes, it is the family itself that brings the most joy (and sometimes the most chaos) to the holidays.

When it comes to the holidays, here are some quotes that spoke to me. 

Holiday Quotes

I don’t need a holiday or a feast to feel  grateful for my children, the sun, the moon, the roof over my head, music, and laughter, but I like to take this time to take the path of thanks less traveled.  – Paula Poundstone.

Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love. – Hamilton Wright Mabie

Sharing the holiday with other people and feeling that you’re giving of yourself, gets you past all the commercialism.  – Caroline Kennedy

May your walls know joy, may every room hold laughter, and every window open to great possibility. – Mary Anne Radmacher

It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. it is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace. – Agnes M. Pharo

 Happy Holidays Everyone!

Marcie Colleen: Four Ways to Get Your Book into School Curriculum

20140628_152522A few weeks ago, we had the pleasure of hosting Marcie Colleen here on the blog. (If you missed that post, go read it now!) We now have the double pleasure of welcoming her back to share more thoughts on how authors can get their books into schools (and share some information about a great Webinar Marcie will be doing on November 23!).

Without further ado, heeeeeeeeere’s Marcie!

Four Ways to Get Your Book into School Curriculum

In my last post for Nerdy Chicks Rule, we talked about book selection for the classroom and how teachers are no longer relegated to teach specific dusty texts.  These days, under the Common Core, teachers are free to make their own decisions on classroom literature.  This is good news for authors but, there is a lot of competition out there.  So more than anything, authors need some snazzy ways to make their book stand out.

There are many benefits for teachers in using books from the “book closet.”  These books are classics.  They have been used for decades in the classroom.  There is no need to re-invent the wheel.

superfudgeTake for example SUPERFUDGE by Judy Blume.  Pop “Superfudge by Judy Blume lessons” into Google and you get 1,790 hits.  Find one you like, hit print and BOOM! There’s your plan for the next few weeks.

So how does your book battle SUPERFUDGE and win?

It can happen.

Here’s how:

  1. Familiarize yourself with the language of the Common Core State Standards.  You might not like it or politically agree with it, but it’s the educational language of today.  You wouldn’t go to a foreign country without figuring out how to speak the basics like “where’s the bathroom?” or “is there a doctor in the house?” Right?  Well, it’s the same with getting into the schools.  No one expects you to study and memorize the Common Core State Standards, but you should be familiar with them.  Know what they ask.  Know what they expect out of students.  Read more than the angry headlines you see on Facebook and Twitter.  Only then can you address how your book can fit into the school curriculum.  The Common Core State Standards can be found at (corestandards.org).Common-Core
  2. Know your themes and universal truths. Sure, SUPERFUDGE might be about Peter’s annoying little brother Fudge and another baby on the way.  But look deeper and it’s about “change”.  Peter’s life is about to change in so many ways.  And although students might not be moving or gaining a sibling, everyone can relate to change.  So what is the universal truth or theme of your book?  What is at the heart?  How can your book speak to every child?  Once you put your finger on what your book is truly about, it will be easier to position it within a school curriculum.
  3. Create Discussion Questions and Teacher’s Guides. Remember those 1,790 lesson hits in Google for SUPERFUDGE?    It’s easy and quick for teachers to adapt the book into their own classroom. No one expects you to have 1,790 lessons and activities, but if you can provide something for teachers to utilize easily, you’re playing the game right.  This actually happened to one of my clients.  She had just launched her debut early middle grade novel and she hired me to create the Teacher’s Guide.  When she went on her very first school visit she presented a copy of the Teacher’s Guide.  The teachers were so impressed.  And before she left a teacher said, “you know.  Maybe we should teach your book instead of SUPERFUDGE next year.”  MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!
  4. Be available. The most successful authors when it comes to school visits are visible.  They participate in initiatives like World Read Aloud Day in March and Picture Book Month in November.  They offer Skype talks and assemblies and library visits.  They Tweet to teachers.  These authors succeed because they are approachable.  Chances are a school is not going to be able to afford a school visit from Judy Blume.  However, you can be available for less.  You can be accessible.  This automatically gives you a foot up.

So there you have it!  You can do it!  You can get your book noticed.  You can be the talk of the school.  You can be loved until your books’ covers are falling off.  You can battle Judy Blume…and win!

I do hope you join me on November 23rd as we discuss further in depth the in’s and out’s of school curriculum (including the dreaded Common Core) and provide more details on how to make your book irresistible to teachers and students.

Kidlit Writing SchoolYou will learn:

  • To read and understand the Common Core
  • The jargon of the educational world so you can talk more knowledgeably to teachers and librarians
  • The nuts and bolts necessary to create great Discussion Guides, Teacher’s Guides, and hands on activities

Remember, Early Bird Pricing ends November 10thSign up now by clicking this link!

 

headshotAuthor and Education Consultant Marcie Colleen is an expert on creating highly acclaimed Teacher’s Guides that align picture books and middle grade novels with the Common Core and other state mandated standards.  She is the Education Consultant for Picture Book Month and the the Curriculum Developer for Time Traveler Tours & Tales. Her work with Picture Book Month has been recognized by School Library Journal and the Children’s Book Council. 

Happy Halloween! Book Trail — Off the Beaten Path — plus Giveaway!

The WINNER of the MUSTACHE prize pack offered on this post is KATRINA (@Bookishthings).

Congratulations Katrina!

300x300xHBT14-Off-the-beaten-path-300x300.jpg.pagespeed.ic.Jtg4gjig0xHappy Halloween! If you are here because you’re participating in the Halloween Book Trail, check out my answers to the following questions and continue your journey! Right now, you are Off the Beaten Path! (But note, there is also a giveaway right here on this blog and it is super cool too!) Directions for this giveaway follow. If you’re here because you follow this blog, check out these Halloween themed questions I answered to be part of trail. Answers involve me, or my characters from The Boy Problem! You can enter this blog’s giveaway.

Blog Followers: If you haven’t seen the guidelines for the Halloween Book Trail, click HERE and join the fun. About forty authors are participating and you can win lots of fantastic signed books and more. All participants in the Halloween Book Trail AND all blog followers are eligible for the giveaway on this blog so read the directions below and post your answer.

With Halloween, zombies, and the like in mind, I answered these interview questions:

  1. For any spirited, entrepreneurial teen that’s ever had a crush, this sweet read is sprinkled with lessons on life, love, and business. -- Kirkus Reviews

    For any spirited, entrepreneurial teen that’s ever had a crush, this sweet read is sprinkled with lessons on life, love, and business. — Kirkus Reviews

    If your MC went trick or treating, what would they dress up as and why?   I’m going to answer this for a secondary character from The Boy Problem because I know EXACTLY what she would wear. Pri loves cupcakes and helps Tabbi, the MC, launch a cupcake selling business to raise funds for a hurricane damaged school. There is a super cute cupcake costume online right now and my daughter just had to have it a few years ago when she was in middle school. I have no doubt that Pri would want that cupcake costume too! Tabbi, the main character, would probably be a fortune teller, because she is busy trying to predict the future.

  2. What scares the pants out of you? Things that go bump in the night. Now that I have a big dog with a loud bark, these things are less scary!
  3. What is your most embarrassing Halloween costume malfunction? Once, I was a Q-tip for Halloween. It was hard to keep that large pile of cotton on my head.
  4. What is your favorite Halloween memory? In middle school I went Trick or Treating with a group of friends and we were the characters from The Wizard of Oz. I was Dorothy, and my mom helped me make glittery red shoes. This was before you could just buy things like that so we had to find red shoe polish and dye an old pair. Then add glitter, of course!
  5. Would you rather be covered in slime or covered in blood? Slime! People who live down here near the marsh where I do aren’t too afraid of slime.
  6. If the zombie apocalypse happened (and it will), what would be your weapon of choice? I’m wondering if strobe lights and a disco ball would freak out zombies enough to give me time to escape. If so, I’m in for that!
  7. 20141023_135117Please share a photo of your favorite Halloween costume you’ve worn. This was definitely not my favorite costume, but hey, it is the only one I could find a picture of. Here, I was about eleven and dressed as Raggedy Andy, which probably means I was talked into wearing this because I know my mom made that hat for a party she and my dad went to as Raggedy Ann and Andy. Notice my sister is a princess in a costume also made by my mom. We won’t go into who might have been the favorite kid based on these costumes! Anyway, the year I was a Q-tip (mentioned above) my sister was Cleopatra. She took one look at my costume and said, “Why wouldn’t you pick a costume that makes you look better instead of worse.” Know what? I’d never thought about it that way. But looking back at the Raggedy Andy and princess costumes, I’m thinking she’d been benefiting from that theory for a long long time. (My brother, dressed as Caspar the Friendly Ghost was probably also wearing a hand-me-down costume, since my sister and I both dressed as Caspar for about three years running. This was before her make-me-beautiful Halloween Costume theory came into play.)

So those are my answers for the Halloween Book Trail! Click HERE to head over to J Duddy Gill’s site for the next stop on the trail. But keep reading before you go to enter the giveaway for this blog.

Regardless of where you finish in the Halloween Book Trail, you can enter to win the Mustache Prize Pack pictured here:

Signed copy of The Boy Problem, hairy mustaches, fingerstaches, mustache cell phone holders/magnets, mustache journal, and super-cute burlap mustache tote bag!

Signed copy of The Boy Problem, hairy mustaches, fingerstaches (mustache finger tattoos), mustache cell phone holders/magnets, mustache journal, and super-cute burlap mustache tote bag! (As seen in the background here.)

Why the Mustaches? Well… Tabbi, the main character in THE BOY PROBLEM, uses a fake mustache to get out of a problem. And then a fake mustache kind of gets her into a problem. But fake mustaches also get her out of a problem again later. And then back into one… you’ll have to read the book to see how!

To be entered to win, just…

1) (Required) Fill out the entry form below (Don’t forget to hit ‘Submit’!) so we can contact you if you win.

2) Copy this blurb and post it to Facebook or Twitter:

Mustache prize pack! Fingerstaches. tote bag, journal, and book signed by Check out this !  

For extra entries you can also: 

3) Leave a comment below telling us what your favorite Halloween costume was!

4) Like Kami Kinard’s author page by clicking in the sidebar.

Every post, tweet, or comment will count as one entry (make sure you make your Facebook posts public so we can give you credit! )  

Contest Ends OCTOBER 31 at midnight EST! The winner will be announced on November 2 at the top of this post!

(If you haven’t read the last post about why the common core is good for authors by Marcie Colleen, you can click HERE to check it out! )