Viking In Love by Doug Cenko

What would you do for love? Would you leave your comfort zone and do something that terrifies you?

The Picture Book of the Week is Viking In Love, written and illustrated by Doug Cenko.

About the Book:

Stig is a Viking who loves hearty stew, fresh air, and adorable kittens. The one thing he doesn’t like is the sea. He is very happy living as a land-locked Viking, that is, until he meets Ingrid and falls in love. Before he can tell her how he feels, she gets swept away by the sea. He has to go after her if he wants her to know he loves her, but the sea is not in his comfort zone. He tries other ways of getting his message to Ingrid, but each one fails. Will he brave the sea and go after his love? Will Ingrid and Stig live happily ever after?

Writing Exercise:

Write a love story. It can be your own or from your imagination. Include how you had to overcome an obstacle to make your love a reality.

Happy Writing!

When The Storm Comes by Linda Ashman and Taeeun Yoo

What do you do when a storm comes? Do you snuggle up with a good book? Or watch the news? Or something entirely different?

The Picture Book of the Week is When The Storm Comes, written by Linda Ashman and illustrated by Taeeun Yoo.

About the Book:

This sweet rhyming book shows the different things people and animals do when a storm come. Foxes listen. Humans count supplies. Rabbits shelter. Whales swim deep, deep, deep. Everyone prepares to protect themselves against the storm. And when the storm is over, life returns. This book affirms so many things that both people and animals share in common: the need for safety, shelter, family, and community.

Writing Exercise:

Write a story or an essay about riding out a storm. Use descriptive language to show what the wind and rain and thunder sound like, what the storm smells like, and how it felt to need protection from the elements.

Happy Writing!

Anita and the Dragons by Hannah Carmona and Anna Cunha

Have you ever faced a major life change — something so scary it seemed like you were facing a dragon?

The Picture Book of the Week is Anita and the Dragons, written by Hannah Carmona and illustrated by Anna Cunha.

About the Book:

Anita and the Dragons in about a young girl who is about to leave everything she loves and enter a new and unfamiliar country. She is no ordinary girl, however. In her imagination, she is a princess and the airplanes are dragons. After promising to send her Abuela lots of pictures, she takes a bold step and enters the belly of the beast. Will she have the courage to embark on new adventures.

Writing Exercise:

Anita is facing a major life change: leaving everything she knows for a new and unfamiliar country. Write about a time you went through a change in your life — a new school, a new city, making new friends.

Happy Writing!

I Talk Like A River by Jordan Scott and Sydney Smith

Happy New Year!

Sorry I have been away, but I wish all of my readers a 2022 filled with dreams coming true.

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Is there something that you struggle with? Something that you feel like you can’t get away from and that makes you want to crawl under the covers and hide? This week’s selection might touch your heart.

The Picture Book of the Week is I Talk Like A River, written by Jordan Scott and illustrated by Sydney Smith.

About the Book:

The book is about a boy who stutters, but it never mentions stuttering. The boy has to give a presentation at school, but can’t seem to get the words out. The other kids laugh and the boy feels frustrated. His dad takes him to a quiet place where he doesn’t have to talk if he doesn’t want to. His dad takes him to a river. What the boy finds at the river gives him the courage to try again the next day.

Writing Exercise:

I Talk Like A River is about a boy who stutters. What is your challenge in life? Write a story about your challenges, but don’t mention the name of the challenge. Use metaphors. Describe, but don’t say what it is.

Happy Writing!

It Fell From The Sky by The Fan Brothers

Have you ever found a wonder of wonders? What did you do with it?

The Picture Book of the Week is It Fell From The Sky, written and illustrated by Terry Fan and Eric Fan.

About the Book:

In the miniature world of bugs, a wonder appears. No one knows what it is and no one is quite sure where it came from. Did it grow from the ground or fall from the sky? All they know is that it is different from anything they have ever seen. Then, spider decides that it belongs to him. He even has a plan. He will hold an exhibition. Bugs from all over come to see the wonder. Spider grows rich. Then the wonder is taken away. What will the spider do? Will the bugs ever see a wonder again?

Writing Exercise:

This book imagines a magical world where bugs form a society. Write a story in which you build a world that is different from yours in some way. Add details like how characters dress, and talk, and what the world looks like.

Happy Writing!

Hello, Jimmy! by Anna Walker

Unconditional love is a rare and beautiful thing. Sometimes it takes something unexpected to reveal it.

The Picture Book of the Week is Hello, Jimmy!, written and illustrated by Anna Walker.

About the Book:

Jack loves going to his dad’s house. They make tacos milkshakes, tell jokes and have quiet time. Jack wonders if his dad feels lonely when he is not around. Then one day, Jack’s dad finds Jimmy on his doorstep. Jimmy is a parrot that calls Jack Jimmy. Jack’s dad loves Jimmy. He thinks Jimmy is fun and clever. Jack feels like his dad finally has some company. Then, Jimmy flies away. Jack doesn’t want his dad to be lonely, so he goes out looking for Jimmy. Will Jack find Jimmy? Will Jack’s dad be lonely? Does Jack’s dad love Jimmy more than Jack?

Writing Exercise:

In this story, Jimmy shows up for a season. That means he shows up for a little while and helps Jimmy and his dad in some way. Write about a time that you or a main character in a fictional story, had someone or something show up in your lives for a short time that helped you in some way.

Happy Writing!

Dude! by Aaron Reynolds and Dan Santat

Can you think of one word that expresses a multitude a emotions?

The Picture Book of the Week is Dude!, word by Aaron Reynolds and illustrations by Dan Santat.

About the Book:

A platypus and a beaver go surfing.

They encounter wonder, fear, and an unexpected friend.

Things go wrong.

They find new ways to do old things.

And express it all with one word: Dude!

Writing Exercise:

Think of a child appropriate word that expresses a multitude of emotions/situations and draw each emotion/situation. It can be like a comic book with frames or just pages in a book.

Happy Writing!

Truman by Jean Reidy and Lucy Ruth Cummins

What would motivate you to leave your comfort zone?

This week’s Picture Book of the Week is Truman, written by Jean Reidy and illustrated by Lucy Ruth Cummins.

About the Book:

Truman the turtle is small in a big world. A big part of that world is his Sarah, a girl who is his constant companion. One day Sarah begins to behave differently. She eats a big breakfast, wears new clothes, and leaves more green beans than usual in Truman’s plate, then she leaves. He waits, but she doesn’t come back. He waits as long as he can stand it, then goes after her. How far will he get? Will he find his Sarah? Will he be brave?

Writing Exercise:

In this story, Truman is forced to leave everything he knows and loves because he loves and misses Sarah so much more. Write a story or an essay about something that would make you leave your comfort zone. It can be a goal, a person, or an animal that you love or that your main character loves.

Happy Writing!

Little Red by Bethan Woollvin

Are you afraid of the big bad wolf?

This week’s Picture Book of the Week is Little Red, written and illustrated by Bethan Woollvin.

About the Book:

Little Red is a fractured fairytale, that is, a fairytale retold with a new or different spin. In this version the Little Red Riding Hood story, the main character is asked to go to grandma’s house to deliver cake, she meets a wolf and tells him where she is going. But in this version, Little Red is not one bit afraid of the big bad wolf. She anticipates his plan and forms a plan of her own. Her plan does not include getting eaten by a wolf and it does include a cozy, warm winter wrapped in a wolf coat.

Writing Exercise:

Write a fractured fairytale of your own by reading your favorite traditional fairytale and rewriting it with your own special twist.

Happy Writing!

Tiny T. Rex and the Very Dark Dark by Jonathan Stutzman and Jay Fleck

Do you know how to find the light when things get dark?

The Picture Book of the Week is Tiny T. Rex and the Very Dark Dark, written by Jonathan Stutzman and illustrated by Jay Fleck.

About the Book:

Tiny T. Rex and friends are on a campout in their backyard. They are ready for adventure. There’s only one catch–there are no night lights outside, none that they are used to, that is. They close their eyes, they build a tent, they hide their snacks, nothing works. They hatch a plan to bring their inside night lights outside, but that fails, too. Will Tiny T. Rex and friends every find a light in the very dark dark?

Writing Exercise:

Tiny T. Rex and friends were searching for a light that was right in front of them, but they didn’t see it until they really looked. Write a story or an essay about not noticing something that was right in front of you.

Happy Writing!