Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Baby Says “Moo!” Week, Picture Book Lesson #2, & Book Giveaway!

It's Baby Says, “Moo!” Week at Teaching Authors.com! To celebrate the publication of my new rhyming picture book (Today's the day!), we’re giving away an autographed copy. Entry details below!

As my contribution to the picture book topic the other Teaching Authors have already addressed, I’m sharing some lessons I learned by looking back at the writing and publishing process for each of my five picture books. I’ll post one each day this week.

Sing-Along Song, my second picture book, was inspired mostly by our son Jimmy’s habit of singing all day long. But lots of other memories and emotions went into my writing, too. After a difficult winter of loss and heartache, I felt renewed by spring. A Quaker hymn called “How Can I Keep from Singing?” expressed something like what I wanted to say. I also remembered scenes from my childhood, favorite sayings from my sisters, and most of all, the importance of family.

Lesson #2: Use everything. Don’t save an idea, a quote, or even a word to use later. Pour it all in. You will find more.

Now for the book giveaway!

Kirkus says, “Macken carefully structures a seemingly simple picture book about a baby learning animal sounds—or in this case stuck on the popular bovine one—using simple rhyming text, a progressive repetition of previously encountered creatures and the harmonious refrain of, ‘Baby says, “Moo!’”

When I first considered the idea of a baby answering questions about animal sounds, I thought it might be funny if the baby got the answers wrong. One day while I walked the dog, it occurred to me that Baby could give the same answer to every question. I'd wanted to try writing a cumulative story for ages, and the simple concept seemed a good match for that goal. I also knew from the start that Baby had to be right at the end.

To enter the drawing for an autographed copy of Baby Says “Moo!”, follow these steps:

1. Post a comment on any post this week and tell us about a learning game you’ve played with children. Enter only once, please!

2. Include your contact information in your comment. If you are not a blogger or your e-mail address is not accessible from your online profile, provide a valid e-mail address in your comment. Feel free to disguise your address by spelling out portions, such as [at] and [dot].

3. Post your comment by 11 p.m. (CST) Monday, March 7, 2011.

The winner:
• must have a mailing address in the United States.
• will be chosen using the random number generator at Random.org.
• will be announced on Tuesday, March 8.
• automatically grants us permission to post his or her name on our Teaching Authors web site.
• will also be notified by e-mail.
• must respond to the notification e-mail and provide a mailing address within 72 hours, or the prize will be forfeited and an alternate winner will be chosen.

Good luck!
JoAnn Early Macken


Sandy Brehl said...

JoAnn, congratulations on such a fun and appealing book! I know I'll be sharing it (and gifting it) soon.
Just the other day I was thinking about how few families share nursery rhymes anymore, and recalled how my dad would play with the four of us on a quilt on the living room floor. We each stood at a corner, begging a turn to recite with dad in the middle. With no repeats allowed, learning as many poems/rhymes as possible paid off! I'm working right now on developing this story as one of my marathon stories.
Hope I win a copy of your new book!

Megan K. Bickel said...

I'd love to win a copy! Your book sounds fantastic!

I also love the story of how you wrote "Sing-Along Song". I love that hymn and it gets stuck in my head often.

When my oldest son was little the only way I could get him to fall asleep for nap time was to count softly too him. It wasn't really a game, per se, but he loved the rhythm of the numbers. He still loves numbers today!

mkbickel [at] hotmail [dot] com

Jewel Sample said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jewel Sample said...

While my children were growing up we played the game, "I love You this Much." Now my grandchildren enjoy this game. First it starts out loving each other as far as our arms will spread out, then to the ceiling, then the house top, then the sky, the moon and the stars; ending with I love you all the way to Heaven and back. Lastly we would say in unison, Yes, all the way to heaven and back and that's a whole lot!
Our family loved this game so much it was included in my children's book, Flying Hugs and Kisses, (Lifevest, 2006; New Forums Press,2010)
Please add my name to your drawing, I would love to win your book. I'm sure my thirteenth grandbaby would love your book.

JoAnn Early Macken said...

Thanks, everyone, for telling us about your own learning games! Sandy, reciting with a parent sounds like a fun way to learn--I bet you still remember those rhymes! Megan, counting aloud must have helped your son learn numbers as well as sleep! Jewel, combining actions with words is an effective learning technique. Congratulations on your children's book!

Carla said...

Congratulations on an awesome book! I would love to win it! One of our favorite games to play is The Wizard of Oz. We act out the entire show while pointing out colors (the yellow brick road) and counting friends and steps. It's a lot of fun and reinforces many preschool skills.

Carla (cj DOT jansen AT hotmail DOT com)

Margo Dill said...

I think Playdoh or clay is a great way to do a "learning game" with children. My stepson and I made letters with playdoh when he was young and would spell his name and so on. Anyway, to make language arts fun is important for him.

margo (at)wow-womenonwriting.com

April Halprin Wayland said...

"How Can I Keep From Singing" is one of my favorite songs! Here's a 1:38 minute segment of it on YouTube:


April Halprin Wayland said...

Here's more about "How Can I Keep From Singing":