Let’s Get Visual…

I love art. I collect it. I pinterestattempt to create it. (I have just enough talent to get really frustrated by what I can’t draw. The thing is, I can always picture exactly what I WANT to draw in my head.) This is one of the reasons I think it’s fair to say I’m a visual learner. And from what I’ve been reading about retention and visual learning, it may be fair to say we all are.

I’m finding that this is the beauty of Pinterest. Wait! Don’t stop reading just because you don’t want to add another social media commitment to your already full day. You don’t HAVE to use Pinterest as a social media tool. You don’t even have to connect with anyone. If you want, you can use it just for yourself, to help you with your writing, your research, your cooking, your party planning… whatever! You already know this? Well, okay, you can stop reading now… but only if you’re sure you already know it. 😉

I started a Pinterest account a while ago just to look at the cool ideas that everyone else had.  But I didn’t REALLY start using it until I realized I should be using it for research. Before, if I found great articles about writing, I’d save the URL in a word document, then never return to it again because often the sequence of numbers, letters, and symbols in a URL doesn’t jog my memory enough for me to recall what the article was about in the first place. Now, when I find good articles about writing, they get pinned to my ALL THINGS AUTHOR board.  Here’s a glimpse of what that looks like. And you can visit the actual board HERE.

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If you aren’t already familiar with Pinterest, you can see in the screen shot above how each article is filed with a picture, and also a short written description. It’s amazing how much this helps me find the right article quickly. Keeping these articles in one public place also allows me to share relevant articles with my writing students and other writers.

A lot of writers are using Pinterest for research. I have joined their ranks. Take a look at the screen shot of another one of my Pinterest boards. Bet you can guess one of the themes in my work in progress now…

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The boards on Pinterest are like bulletin boards. Places to hang (pin) your favorite images and articles… things you like and want to revisit. I’m keeping several boards right now. Some just for fun, some for research, some as places to hold information I might find valuable for my career. You don’t have to be an author, of course, to benefit from Pinterest. I know people who use it as a place to collect recipes, home improvement ideas, and teaching ideas. A search bar makes it easy to find pins on topics you like, but you can also add your own pins by pasting in URLs of sites you want to revisit.

Making the decision not to use Pinterest as a social media tool has been freeing for me. I have fewer than 10 followers, and while anyone is welcome to follow me, I don’t attempt to amass more. (By the way, you can create secret boards that the public can’t see if you want.)

If you decide to start using Pinterest, keep in mind that the links to websites will only work as long as the website is active. If you find an article with absolutely crucial information on it, you may want to save it another way as well.

If you’re a fan of visual connections, you need to spend a few hours exploring Pinterest! Maybe I’ll even see you THERE!

And the WINNER is….

DDM CoverOh, it has been quite a week! So much love flowing from the other reaches of the inter-web to DUCK, DUCK, MOOSE! Here are some of the things you said about the cover:

“I love the title and can’t wait to read it! The expression on the duck in the middle is wonderful. Will you please read it to students at my school?”

“The cover?  Awesome.  Can’t wait for the book!”

“I LOVE that cover!! Can’t wait to see what’s inside! :-)”

“Adorable cover! I’m guessing Moose really, really wants to get noticed, huh? Hilarious!! :)”

(Just so you guys know, you were so free-flowing with your compliments that I might start posting pictures of my hair for you to weigh in on!)

You were so great that I almost didn’t want the contest to end! But, end it must, and last night I put my children to work tallying up all the entries, tweets, likes and comments…our first order of business was to determine how many entries there were, to see if we hit that magic number to give away THREE Virtual Visits.

Drum roll, please.

We did. Wow. I’m so touched.

And, of course, that means we have THREE WINNERS!

The winners have been emailed already, but just so you know I’m not playing you, here they are:

Leah from Bluebonnet Elementary

Sherry from Rossville Consolidated Schools

Jennifer from Campbell/Savona Central School District

Congratulations to these guys, and thank you so much to everyone for participating!

The Quotable Nerdy Chick: Julia Ward Howe

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Since yesterday was Memorial Day, I searched for patriotic women to quote, and I stumbled across Julia Ward Howe, who not only wrote a song familiar to many of us, but fought for women’s rights. Here’s a little more about her.

Julia Ward Howe (1819=1910) was the author of The Battle Hymn of the Republic. She was inspired to write it in 1861 after meeting President Lincoln. A poet and social activist, she became the first woman to be inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She advocated for women’s education, forming the Association of American Women and serving as its president from 1876 to 1897. To find out more about her, you can read her biography HERE.

Julia Ward Howe Quotes:

The strokes of the pen need deliberation as much as the sword needs swiftness.

Ambitious people climb, but faithful people build.

When I see the elaborate study and ingenuity displayed by women in the pursuit of trifles, I feel no doubt of their capacity for the most herculean undertakings.

I think nothing is religion which puts one individual absolutely above others, and surely nothing is religion which puts one sex above another.

Every life has its actual blanks, which the ideal must fill up, or which else remain bare and profitless forever.

 

I have to laugh at that third quote… so true so often. And sadly, so often true of myself. I’m going to try to remember that next time I obsess about something unimportant!

Last Chance to WIN!

Well, folks, we are almost at the finish line, and I am so touched by all the entries for the Virtual Classroom Visit giveaway! You still have time to enter, so if you haven’t yet, why wait?WRAD 3

AND TO SWEETEN THE DEAL…I’m gotten tons of entries. Many more than I was expecting. It’s almost not fair to only hand out ONE Virtual Visit. SO…here’s my idea:

if I get 300 or more total entries, I will give away not ONE Virtual Classroom Visit, but THREE.

That’s right, folks. Get your entries in. Go tell your friends and get them to enter. We don’t have too much further to go to get to 300, so spread the word and harass your colleagues and get them entering, commenting, tweeting, and following.

JUST TO REMIND YOU, HERE ARE THE RULES AGAIN:

I will be giving away a free 45-minute Virtual Classroom Visit, where I would be happy to tell your chosen class all about how my upcoming book DUCK, DUCK, MOOSE! came together, from the initial inspiration to the totally terrific art. (Don’t worry if you’re not a teacher — you can donate the Virtual Visit to any class you choose!)DDM Cover

I will accept entries until MIDNIGHT, TONIGHT May 27, 2013, and I will draw the winner’s name and announce it on May 29.

Here are the rules for this giveaway:

Required. Fill out the entry form below with your name, the school you would like to give the visit to, and your email address (so I can reach you!).

BUT WAIT! You can be entered to win the Virtual Visit multiple times. You will get an extra entry for doing any of the following:

(1) leave me a comment here with your thoughts on the cover.

(2) follow me on Twitter – mention that in a comment below.

(3) tweet this post to your own twitter followers and tag me @sudiptabq in the tweet.

(4) like my author page on Facebook – mention that in a comment below.

(5) follow this blog (right sidebar) — mention that in a comment below.

or (6) like fellow blogger Kami Kinard’s Facebook author page – mention that in a comment below.

That’s SEVEN ways to enter and win, folks! Don’t say I never did nothin’ for ya…

GOOD LUCK!

Raising Nerdy Chicklets (and GIVEAWAY Reminder!)

Most of the time, we devote this blog to Nerdy Chicks. But just for today, I wanted to focus not only on girls, but on kids (or Chicklets, as we like to call them!) in general.

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At Afton Elementary in Pennsylvania

Raising a Nerdy Chicklet is a challenge in many ways. We have to foster his or her intellectual curiosity and be ready with facts, figures, and other resources to help her learn. As parents or educators, we strive to be ready with the answers. But having the answers isn’t the most important part of supporting a Nerdy Chicklet — allowing her to ask questions is the vital thing. Even when we don’t have the answers, the questioning process teaches the Nerdy Chicklet to think. Remember, giving facts is often a linear thinking process. We take the facts down a logical path with very few side stops in order to keep the explanations simple. Asking questions, however, lets a child explore in a non-linear way. Some of the smartest people in the history of the world were non-linear thinkers. If you want to help the Nerdy Chicklets in your life reach their full intellectual potential, let them ask questions — and be honest if you don’t know the answers. When that happens, it’s just an opportunity for the Nerdy Chicklet to learn independently and teach you, or for you two to learn together. Instant bonding!

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At Central Elementary in Maryland

One of the truly awesome things I get to do as a children’s book author is to go around the country to talk to kids about writing and books. Recently, this has taken me to schools in New Jersey, Maryland and Pennsylvania, as well as the Knoxville Children’s Book Festival in Tennessee. I always get lots of questions from the kids and I’m often so impressed by the kinds of things they are curious about. Here are some of the questions I’ve gotten.

“How can you tell the difference between a good idea and a bad idea?”

I get this question a lot. I wish I knew the answer!

SAMSUNG CSC“Do chickens make every story better?”

Not every story, but certainly most.

“Does it ever feel better to write about something that hurts you?”

A lovely boy asked me that question privately after one of my school workshops. I’ll tell you the same thing I told him: yes, it does eventually feel better. Writing is wonderful therapy, especially because in fiction, we have power. In life, we get what we get and it is often unfair. In fiction, we get to give our characters the endings they deserve — which means the good characters get happy endings, and the ones we don’t like get humiliation and defeat.

“Did you really set a mouse on fire?”SAMSUNG CSC

I get that question everywhere, but it was especially funny at the Rumson Country Day School, where one of my presentations was invaded by an actual MOUSE!

(Oh, and, yes, I really did.)

P1030380“How do you relate to kids when you’re so old?”

This was a question to the panel at the Knoxville Children’s Book Festival, where I shared the stage with the wonderful Julie Danielson, Bob Shea, Jarrett Krosoczka, Marc Tyler Nobleman, and Debbie Diesen. Needless to say, the little girl who asked it stole all of our thunder.

REMINDER!

There is still time to enter the GIVEAWAY for a free VIRTUAL CLASSROOM VISIT! Check out the cover reveal for DUCK, DUCK, MOOSE! and enter to win!

DDM Cover

Cover Reveal! (And Giveaway!)

At long last, I am proud to present the cover for my upcoming picture book,

DUCK, DUCK, MOOSE!

DDM Cover

How adorable is that????? Of course, I had very little to do with the cover. The thanks for that goes to the very fabulous Noah Z. Jones, the illustrator of such wonderful books as The Monster in the Backpack, Stuff, Dance with Me, and Not Norman: A Goldfish Story,

and also the creator of the tremendously entertaining television series Fish Hooks and Almost Naked Animals.

IN CELEBRATION OF THIS FABULOUS COVER, I will be giving away a free 45-minute Virtual Classroom Visit, where I would be happy to tell your chosen class all about how this book came together, from the initial inspiration to the totally terrific art. (Don’t worry if you’re not a teacher — you can donate the Virtual Visit to any class you choose!)

I will accept entries until May 27, 2013 and I will draw the winner’s name and announce it on May 29.

Here are the rules for this giveaway:

Required. Fill out the entry form below with your name, the school you would like to give the visit to, and your email address (so I can reach you!).

BUT WAIT! You can be entered to win the Virtual Visit multiple times. You will get an extra entry for doing any of the following:

(1) leave me a comment here with your thoughts on the cover.

(2) follow me on Twitter – mention that in a comment below.

(3) tweet this post to your own twitter followers and tag me @sudiptabq in the tweet.

(4) like my author page on Facebook – mention that in a comment below.

(5) follow this blog (right sidebar) — mention that in a comment below.

or (6) like fellow blogger Kami Kinard’s Facebook author page – mention that in a comment below.

That’s SEVEN ways to enter and win, folks! Don’t say I never did nothin’ for ya…

GOOD LUCK!

Community and Candice

A lot of people claimed to stop watching American Idol this season because they didn’t like the judges. Maybe you didn’t like Nicki Minaj’s acerbic observations. Maybe you’ve heard one too many dogs walk out of Randy’s mouth. Maybe Mariah’s dahlings got on your nerves. Maybe you found Keith Urban irritating. Kidding. Keith Urban is perfect.But for whatever reason, a lot of TVs across the nation weren’t tuned in this season. This was not the case where I live, in Beaufort SC, where it seems every household in the county was tuned in to FOX on Wednesday and Thursday nights to watch our hometown girl, Candice Glover, perform. It has been an exciting few weeks for us here in our little town. If you missed Candice’s performances, take a look now. I  get chills every time I hear this one.

Candice, who tried out three times for AI and was reportedly once told by former judge Simon Cowell that she’d never amount to more than a lounge singer, is an inspiration to girls everywhere. Her journey shows us all the importance of believing in yourself, even in the face of discouragement, and fighting for your dreams. We here in Beaufort County love her for it.

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Our community has thoroughly embraced Candice, who is from nearby St. Helena, which is part of Beaufort County, and located about  7 miles from downtown Beaufort. I’ve been touched by the far-

This month Beaufort was also voted America's Happiest Seaside Town. Who voted? The people who live here. More proof of what can happen when a community works together.

This month Beaufort was also voted America’s Happiest Seaside Town. Who voted? The people who live here. More proof of what can happen when a community works together.

reaching support shown for her. It makes me proud to live here. A local print shop, Murr’s printing, created signs that were free to the public and distributed widely. There are signs up on every storefront downtown. There are messages of hope and support  in front of schools, on bumper stickers, and on t-shirts. A fund was started by Shannon Erickson, a member of  the SC House of Representatives, to help send Candice’s parents to her performances. So much money was donated, that after the fund was started, Mr. and Mrs. Glover were able to fly out to LA  to make every performance to see their daughter sing.  There was even money left over to help fund the Hometown Concert, which cost the city around fifty thousand dollars.

Go CandiceWaste Management, where Candice’s father works, made special uniforms to show support, an effort which spread across their national company. There were many public viewings of Candice’s performances, offering opportunities for us to celebrate her progress together. The Highway 21 drive-in offered free showings, as did USCB, The Preserve, and other places around the county, including Hilton Head. The mayor sent out emails encouraging us to vote for Candice. The Chamber of Commerce encouraged voting through the newspaper. My Facebook feed was alive with Candice support. The list goes on and on.

I think Candice has an amazing voice, and I don’t think I’m biased in saying she was the best contestant! 😉 !  She could have won on talent alone, and she should have. But if community has anything to do with who wins, Beaufort County gave Candice an edge. A lot of people here know her, and she comes from a large tight-knit and wonderful family. The community loves them. My daughter met Candice’s cousin at the hometown concert. When she found out my daughter wanted an autograph, she arranged for my husband to deliver posters to Candice’s parents, who took them to LA, had them signed, and brought them back to us. We didn’t know Candice’s parents, but they were so gracious, and generous. I think this is how community works.

We are so proud of Candice Glover: The girl who never gave up, and who fought to keep believing!