Thursday, July 31, 2008

Since I'm Not Yet Published ...

... and you can't yet get my stories in lovely, polished book form complete with beautiful illustrations (*sigh* ... someday!!), I'd like to share with you one of my favorite children's picture book authors ... who does have books, available for purchase, complete with phenomenal illustrations (by talented illustrator Jane Chapman)! Actually, her books are a favorite of my children as well ... especially her books about Bear and his friends! Her 'Bear' books ("Bear Snores On"; "Bears Stays Up for Christmas"; etc.) pass my picture book test ... that is to say ... my children want to read them over and over and over again, and I'm WILLING to read them over and over and over again. In fact, I sometimes find myself SUGGESTING we read them over and over and over again.
The talented author is Karma Wilson. Her website - - is fantastic, and includes a great blog ("Good Karma" ... love that title!). And, she seems like a genuinely wonderful person. In a recent blog, she writes about her family's sponsoring of children in Third World countries through Compassion International. We sponsor a cutie-patootie through Compassion as well ... his name is Amilcar, and he lives in El Salvador. What a wonderful experience it has been for all of us ... including Braden, who prays for his safety every night without fail ... and what an amazing organization!

Anyway ... check out Karma's books if you're in the market for a picture book ... you and your children/grandchildren/nieces/nephews will find yourself thoroughly entertained!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

My Summer Torture Plan

Colored pencils, paper to draw and jot a few journal notes, a warm and breezy outdoor setting surrounded by flowers and frequently visited by butterflies and hummingbirds (we won't mention the dive-bombing, mating maple flies because that would completely ruin the pleasant image I'm trying to create ...) ... THIS is the setting of my Summer Torture Plan.

It wasn't intended to be torturous ... it was clever! creative! fun! And, the intent was to ensure that Braden didn't conveniently forget everything he'd learned in Kindergarten ... thereby making his entry into First Grade all that much easier. Sounds perfectly reasonable, right?

As part of Braden's Kindergarten graduation gift, his lovely Aunt Heidi and family gave Braden a drawing tablet/journal and colored pencils (for Braden's sake, the gift also included an R/C car!). I had an 'aha' moment when I saw that gift ... it was our ticket to summer learning ... in a fun way, of course. I mean, what child doesn't like to draw? And, I figured, the drawing would make bearable the fact that he would have to write about what he had drawn.

It started out fine ... our first entry was easy enough ... he enjoyed drawing the picture, and I helped him spell out what he wanted to write about the picture. However, this learning experience has progressed into a painful exercise ... for both of us. He's reluctant to be pulled away from his bike/skateboard/trucks/cars/dirt piles; and I'm equally frustrated as I watch him start aggressively rubbing his eyes, which is his signal that he doesn't feel like trying to spell a word, sound out a word, or figure out which way the 'bump' on the 'p' is supposed to go! Please don't misunderstand ... this is a bright kid we're talking about. We are constantly in awe of his observation & reasoning skills, memory, and initiative! But - obviously - if it's a toss-up between playing and learning (even if said learning is accompanied by colored pencils and drawing) ... well ... you know which is probably going to come out ahead!

Nonetheless, we have persevered. And, as a result, we have a lovely collection of 'memories' of our summer thus far. His journal entries aren't as frequent as I'd dreamily envisioned ... but, they exist nonetheless, and I'm happy for that. I'm attaching a few of my favorites ... which, as you can plainly see, describe his true favorite summer activities! Maybe someday ... he'll draw a picture of and write about us sitting in the backyard, surrounded by flowers and butterflies, journaling together ... then again, maybe not!