Beyond The Book

Beyond The Book

I’m always excited when I hear that someone likes reading. I mean come on, I am a writer! But what happens after the last word is read, the last page is turned, and the back cover is closed?

How can you continue the love of literacy throughout the day? By taking what you’ve read and looking how you can incorporate it into other learning or activities can lead to another layer of making children excited about reading.

How can you do this?

Activities – Go for a walk, color, gather leaves or stones. Feeling handy, dandy? Try making a craft! Anything you can associate with what you’ve been reading is game.

Games – Turn an already known game into something similar to a book. Or be adventurous and create your own!

Snacks – Time for yummies! Can you make a delicious snack that will go along with your favorite read? It can be anything from healthy to totally indulgent.

Color – Grab your pencils and crayons! draw a picture that goes along with a story. Then color it in.

There are a lot more things you can do to take reading a book to the next level.

Then thing is to keep readers engaged. The more they are interested in reading, the more they will read!

Until next time…

Happy reading!


REBLOG: 10 Books to Beat the Summer Slide


10 Books to Beat the Summer Slide

“The summer is officially here! Now is the time to share a few summer themed books with your favorite young reader. Reading throughout the summer helps children retain what they’ve learned in school and boosts their ability to succeed in the next grade. Here is a list of children’s books that will help kids beat the summer slide. You may know some of these titles and others may be new to you.”


Feature Friday: ReFoReMo hosted by Carrie Charley Brown

Reading for Research Month

We know we love to write. We know we need to learn to write well to be published. So how do we go about to learning? There are classes we can take. Webinars we can watch. Speakers to listen to.

Another great way to learn?  R-E-A-D! Yes, read! By submersing yourself into your genre, you will see what works and what doesn’t. Read the classics to see what has carried them this far. Read the mid-list to see what can make you stay steady. Read the newly published to see what is on the pulse of publishing and how your writing can fit in.

By reading a combination of publishing years you can begin to see the patterns of publishing. Things that are considered ‘classics’ wouldn’t be published now. Stories that are coming out this year might not have been published 10 years ago. Use the current books as mentor text. You will see word count, topics, and trends that are similar and will help direct you to better writing.

Carrie Charley Brown came up with a genius of a plan to help writers collaborate together and learn from each other with mentoring texts. Her and I were talking the other day, and she graciously answered some of my questions:


Q1: Name of writing challenge?

Reading for Research Month, or ReFoReMo

Q2: Do you have a website?

Of course!  You can find more information at:

Q3: Date of sign-ups?

February 15-March 1

Q4: Date writing challenge runs?

March 1-31

Q5: Why did you come up with this challenge?

I’ve grown as a writer by participating in challenges such as PiBoIdMo, the 12 x 12 Picture Book Challenge, and ReviMo. At the same time, I read a lot of picture books as research tools and I wanted to share that inspiration with others.  

Q6: What do you hope people will gain from this challenge?

Guest author-educators will allow us to step into their shoes as they use picture books as tools. My hope is that picture book writers will gain a deeper understanding of how to use mentor texts to grow as writers. I also hope the consistent practice of reading picture books will immerse them into the form they write.

Q7: What else would you like to include?

Sometimes people don’t realize that fiction takes research, too. I write mainly picture book fiction and could not imagine writing without first understanding what is constantly being released in our market. Writers need to stick together and share. ReFoReMo will allow us to be there for one another in both fiction and nonfiction.





Carrie Charley Brown

Carrie Charley Brown juggles ideas every day as a children’s writer, teacher, blogger, and mom. She is the founder of the 2015 ReFoReMo Challenge, or Reading for Research Month. You can learn more about Carrie’s writing journey, her KidLit Services, ReFoReMo, and many other amazing authors and resources, at her blogsite Carrie On… Together!


Thanks Carrie!
I am also honored to be one of the Author-Educators for the challenge.   🙂

Hope you all will join us. Click on the link, banner, or ~ HERE~ to take you over there.

Let me know what you think about this post.
Have you read any great picture books lately?
Do you know of any writing challenges you would like to see featured here?

Until next time…

Happy Writing!

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www.Wednesday… KidLit TV


KidLit TV, which will launch in the fall, will be the online video resource for the greater KidLit Community.

So why am I telling you about this web site now? There has been a FB group created for KidLit TV. This group will be your place to post videos or links to videos! Share your book trailers, news videos, interview videos, school visits, book signings, how-to advice on everything from creating awesome picture books to making animated presentations. You can also share others that you have found helpful, even if you have not created them. This is your video group in the KidLit world. 

I spoke with Julie Gribble, the creative brains behind KidLit TV and here’s what she had to say about it:


Our exciting new venture, KidLit TV, will leverage our experience with other forms of media to help parents, teachers, and librarians learn more about the world of children’s literature. It will feature interviews with children’s book authors and illustrators and will be an online visual resource for the greater KidLit Community.
The KidLit TV website and YouTube channel will be launching in fall 2014!

Remember the FB Group Page I mentioned earlier. There is a ‘soft’ launch going on TONIGHT! Julie and I will be online at 8 pm est to answer your questions and take suggestions.
If you haven’t received an invite to the virtual launch, let me know you would like to be invited. We’ll have to be friends on fb. You can friend me on my page. Also here is the page for the KIDLIT TV FB GROUP PAGE.

Hope to see you all there. Now, get those videos going!




Only three more days to sign-up for


There’s a line up full of great advice, story sparks, and some prizes scattered throughout.

So go to this JUNE 1st POST to SIGN-UP!

***Sign-up is June 1st through June 14th.  You MUST comment on the June 1st post, complete the challenge, and comment on the last post to be eligible for prizes.***

Thinking Thursday: How to Critique

So you written a story and would like a fresh pair of eyes… in exchange for you doing the same.

ideasBUT how do you critique a story?

While there is no Do THIS and DO THAT instructions, I have found people give the same advice and this is what I tend to do when critiquing a picture book manuscript:

  1. Read the story through twice
  2. Put it down for a day
  3. Read story out loud, while making notes
  4. Read again to myself, while making additional notes (if any)

What notes do I make you may ask?

  • flow pattern
  • pov shift
  • grammer
  • spelling
  • suggestions on how to improve
  • comments on what I think (love this line, etc)
  • add or delete word(s) or phrase
  • anything I think will help improve the manuscript

How do I format my critique? I like to think of  it as a sandwich. You get two pieces of bread and then the good stuff in the middle.
The first piece of bread is me giving some basic instructions and an overall feel of the story. *I make a point to stay positive. FIND something you like*
The middle is where I include my notes, suggestions, and comments. *This is the meaty part. Yes, there will be constructive criticism here, but you are wanting it to get better. VERY rarely will you run across something that is absolutely ready with nothing to comment on*
The last piece of bread is where I go into  my overall comments of the story. I may also comment about marketing, submitting possibilities, and other things that may pop into my head.

Critiquing is like writing though. You get better with practice. BUT even someone who is new can see things that others may overlook. The best thing is to take the plunge, jump in feet first, and enjoy the water.

Let me know if you have some other great tips when critiquing.
ALSO… I offer a critique service for non-rhyming pbs. You can click on the tab at the top of this post to read what my fees are and how to contact me.



SUMMER SPARKS Writing Challenge sign-up is still on going. Click HERE to comment on the correct blog post to be eligible to win some great swag!

Happy writing!


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Thinking Thursday… Think About Paying It Forward To Our Authors

Hey everyone.

Today I thought I would write a post as a reader instead of a writer.  How can you show support for an author you like? You know, without having to go all stalker on them? Here are a few things I already do and a few things I plan on doing more of:

  1. Are they multi-published? Buy their other books.
  2. Really liked a book? Buy the same book and give to a friend or family member, or donate a book to your local library, shelter, doctor office, etc.  Books make great presents!
  3. Write a review of the book on Amazon &/or GoodReads.
  4. Share your review on FaceBook, Twitter, etc.
  5. Write a real letter to the author. *They REALLY appreciate fan mail* (you can always mail the letter to the author c/o the publisher)
  6. LIKE their author page on FaceBook and ask your FB friends to do the same.
  7. Follow them on Twitter.
  8. Take a picture of you reading their book. Or your children if  it is  a children’s book. Post it to your FB wall and theirs. Author like to see the ‘in-action shots’ of their books!
  9. Write a post about the author &/or the book on FaceBook.
  10. Tweet about the author &/or book on Twitter.
  11. If they are school aged genre, tell your school about them. Your media specialist is always on the look out for a new book or author they might have not heard of. **ahem, donate a book to your local school**

Leave me a comment to make suggestions. Can’t wait to see what all YOU do to show an author some love.   🙂   Lets make this a year where we let our authors know how much we enjoy their work!

Happy reading!

Tips on a Tuesday: Writing In The New Year!

Hello everyone.

Tips! I love them. I take them to heart. I try to follow them and incorporate them into my writing. How about you? What do you do to help take your writing further? What do you do to expand your knowledge of the craft? Here are a few things I am doing this year:



There are many challenges out there to push you in your writing, keep you accountable, and find a community of writers. Starting off the year, I am participating in 12×12 Challenge, Start the Year Off Write, and ReviMo. (click on the badges to find out more and participate yourself!)  Eventually PiBoWriWee and PiBoIdMo will come. AND ***SNEAK PEEK! SNEAK PEEK!*** I am working behind the scenes with some colleagues to get a challenge to kick the Summer months off. SO STAY TUNED TO THIS BLOG!


The best thing about participating? The people! Let’s face it writing is an isolating profession. Writing challenges bring people together and brain storm, talk about the craft, and somewhere to have a sound board.


There are some great organizations or groups you can join too. The SOCIETY OF CHILDREN’S BOOK WRITERS & ILLUSTRATORS, The CHILDREN’S BOOK INSIDER, and The INSTITUTE OF CHILDREN’S LITERATURE RX are just a few.  These groups share insider information on editors and agents. They also post exciting news such as winners of awards, new sales, and new businesses that are opening in the field. PLUS there are many, many, many groups on FaceBook that you can search for. These groups share support, encourage writing, network about the writing field, and on and on I could go.   😀


The old adage “Write what you know.” is true. So READ what interests you. Read for the entertainment and enjoyment of the piece. THEN read it again… look the format, outline, and white space of the material. Map it out with high and low points. Break it down… even picture books have layers!!! What is the overall theme? What is underneath? Type it out! YES, type it out. You will get a feel on how the manuscript flows, not the end piece, but the actual words. Really dissect the work and get to the bare bones of the material.


  • Read how-to books!!! Yes, MORE reading.
  • Take classes. You don’t have to go to college to do this. There are plenty of courses available online… some are free.
  • Discuss your manuscript with like-minded people. I’m not talking about your spouse (unless they write -and in your genre) or your best friend or your children. Get someone else in your genre to give you an honest critique. Critique groups are a great way to build your craft and make your writing stronger.

So that should give you are great start to begin your writing journey OR to give you a boost on your continued journey. I would love to hear about what you do to give yourself the shot in the arm and get your writing going! Leave me a comment below!!!

Happy Writing,