Thursday, January 27, 2011

Monday, January 24, 2011

Introducing Author/Illustrator J.D. Holiday

I’d like to introduce a talented and versatile author/illustrator, J. D. Holiday, to my readers today.

J.D. is the author and illustrator of two children’s books. “Janoose the Goose,” is a picture book and “THE GREAT SNOWBALL ESCAPADE,” is a chapter book for six to eight year olds. A chapbook of her short stories titled, “Trespasses,” was published in 1994 and she has had short stories and numerous articles published in literary magazines. She is a member of The Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators, (SCBWI) and Small Publishers of North America, (SPAN.)

J.D. Holiday lives in the Delaware Valley of Pennsylvania.

J.D. can an you give us a summary of your chapter book?

Wilhemena Brooks’ cousin, Bud Dunphry came to live with her family. Wil, as she likes to be called, finds her pink pencil sharpener is missing after Christmas. Wil knows Bud has it! Who else would have taken it? Her mother told her to be nice to Bud and to treat him like she would like to be treated. If Wil treats Bud nicely does that change anything for her?

How did you find the plot for The Great Snowball Escape?

As a child, every winter day that snow was on the ground I would spend time on the hill sledding in front of the high school near where I lived. This story was inspired by my love of it.

Do you think kids will understand that bullies like Bud are often reacting to problems in their own lives?
Yes, if their parents or guardians explain it to them, kids can understand how others feel and how behaviors might be a reaction to how they feel.

From my own experience, with my parents and in turn, with my daughter, parents can influence their children somewhat even if at the time, it might appear to the parents they are not having an influence. It could be years later when they witness actions or words from their children that make it clear their children were listening.

In “The Great Snowball Escapade,” Wil’s mother is Bud’s aunt. She knows him and his current problems. She can see how Bud has changed and how he is affected by his circumstances. Wil’s mother tries to help her daughter understand. In fact, she explains that his problems are causing him to act out with bad behavior.

I love yourcover and illustrations J. D. How long have you been drawing?

I started drawing and painting about 44 years ago! In high school, I had a teacher who saw something in my artwork and encouraged me to draw and paint.

What will kids like most about your book?

Kids have told me they like the kids in the story and think they know kids like them. Also they understand why the kids in “The Great Snowball Escapade” react to Bud’s bullying with distain.

What will parents and teachers like most about your books?

They like the subject matter. Today bullying is becoming a national problem, For the age group 6 to 8 year olds, “The Great Snowball Escapade” gives kids a concrete example of bullying to look at, and opens up conversation between the children.

How can teachers use this book in the classroom?

Kids can role play the different scenes and come up with alternate things to say. That way they will discover that choosing your words wisely can change the outcome of a story.

How have you marketed your books?

This book and my picture book, “JANOOSE THE GOOSE,” are listed on many online bookstores. I have done book tours, interviews and readings and plan to do much more in the future.

Do you do school visits?

I do on occasion. I enjoy hearing what children have to say about my stories and love how they can relate to my characters.
Can you tell us a little about "Janoose the Goose?"

JANOOSE THE GOOSE-Janoose the Goose is visiting her cousin, Molly the Duck on the farm. Janoose likes the barnyard very much but she must go home because there are no job openings there. When her flight home arrives, the fox has begun a crime spree, and Janoose is the only one who can stop him.

What’s your next project?

I have two books I’m working on at the moment. One is a picture book I am now doing the drawings for and then I’ll paint them. It is a story about a boy who wants a puppy but gets a dog that is older. It's what they do together that makes them pals. The other book is a young adult novel titled, “Christmas in the City.” This story is about two girls, one with a family and one without. Both are searching for what is important to them.

Where can my readers find out more about your books and purchase them?

JD Holiday’s website:

JD Holiday’s blog:

Find her books on,

Thank you for stopping by and bringing your delightful books J. D.

Thank you so much, Kathy for having me on your Blog today.

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Put Down the Controller: 15 Ideas to Get Your Child to Play Outside

I recently found this post and thought you might be interested!

1. Go for a nature walk. Kids seldom know much about nature, outside of the basics they learn in science class. Take your kids to explore the outdoors by taking them on a nature walk. Don’t worry if there’s no national park nearby, you can go down a trail at your local park or in the neighborhood and spot bits of nature as they turn up. Check out birds and collect neat leaves and flowers along the way. It teaches kids to appreciate and respect nature and gets them in tune with the great outdoors.
2. Share old school games with your kids. Today’s typical six year old may not know what Red Rover is. It’s too bad since the game is a blast! Share old school games with your kids that will make them want to get outside and start Red Rover games with their friends and neighbors. This is a great game to play at a kid’s birthday party too, since there are usually plenty of kids around.
3. Hit the beach. Appreciating nature comes with seeing the many parts of it. Showing your kids the beach will expose them to the sun and sand and you can incorporate a few lessons on erosion if the crowd is interested. Of course, if your kids are swimming the day away in the water, that’s fine too. Collect seashells and walk along the shore spotting crabs along the way.
4. Go to the park. This one seems basic, but once upon a time, the park was where most families spent their weekends. Now we tend to spend the weekends running errands or at the modern day park, the mall (insert shudder here). Take your kids to the park and let them do what they want. This is a great place to let them run wild because it gives them an opportunity to interact with other kids and play on things they may not have a chance to play with otherwise, like the jungle gym or see-saw.
5. Visit a public pool. If your kids don’t regularly get an opportunity to swim, taking them to a public pool one or two weekends a month during the summer will shake up their outdoor routine. Playing in the background can grow tedious, even for the creative bunch who love the outdoors, so get your kids in the pool swimming. Most public pools are free, so pack a lunch and go early and stay late.
6. Go camping. This one is a little tricky because depending on where you live and whether or not you own a vehicle, it becomes more or less accessible. If you can go camping with your kids, take them! You’ll appreciate seeing them in new territory (and vice-versa) and it makes for a great bonding experience. Don’t forget to pack the camera, so you can take photos of the family fishing or swimming in the lake.
7. Play baseball. Gather up a few kids from around the neighborhood (or invite school friends or cousins) and set up a game of baseball at a local diamond. It’s fun, cheap and many kids will want to play again and again. This one isn’t exclusively for kids either. Teams can be comprised of both adults and kids for a fun dynamic.
8. Start a garden. This is one surefire way to get kids outside, day after day. Starting a small garden will teach kids responsibility and how to get friendly with nature. Your kids will watch their plant or fruit or vegetable grow and appreciate the process and hands-on activity that requires time in the sun, almost daily.

To read the rest of these great tips click on the following link:

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Picture Book Review: "Frederico, the Mouse Violinist" Mayra Calvani

"Frederico, the Mouse Violinist"
Author: Mayra Calvani
Illustrator: K.C. Snider
Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing
Hardcover: 978-1-61633-113-9
Paperback: 987-1-61633-114-6
EBook 13: 978-61633-125-2
Copyright 2010
Picture Book: 26 pages

Reviewed by author/educator, Kathy Stemke

Do you know any curious, young, music lovers?  If so, introduce them to "Frederico, the Mouse Violinist."

Mayra Calvani combines the curiosity and playfulness of Frederico the mouse with the history and genius of Antonio Stradivari, the famous violin maker, to tell a delightful story of kindness and friendship. Children will learn music vocabulary and the parts of the violin as they follow Frederico’s nightly escapades.

Curious Frederico peeked into the f-hole and looked inside the violin.
“This is the secret, magical place where sound comes out!” he squeaked.

The realistic, yet whimsical, illustrations by K. C. Snider add to the fun. The surprise ending of “Frederico the Mouse Violinist” will fill your heart with “warm fuzzies.” It may just inspire you to follow your dreams.

As a retired teacher, I would recommend this book as a fantastic way to introduce stringed instruments into the classroom. A biography of Stradivari and his accomplishments are included in the back of the book. The activity pages will reinforce the new vocabulary introduced in the book as well.

To learn more about Mayra Calvani and her books check out her blog:

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Monday, January 10, 2011

Book Review: Horatio Humble Beats the Big "D" by Margot Finke - Books - Blogcritics

Book Review: Horatio Humble Beats the Big "D" by Margot Finke - Books - Blogcritics

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