Thursday, June 30, 2011

New Book Review and Give-Away!


I added a You Tube video of myself reading Sh, Sh, Sh, Let the Baby Sleep by Kathy Stemke to my son. As I said in the video, I have a Masters in Education, but I also have a Reading Specialist Certificate, that is the main focus on my current position. This is an amazing book for children, based on a boy named Zachary who has a new little sister. Zachary isn't always happy about having his new sister Layla, but his mother counts on him to help with her care. He goes to get a diaper and ends up falling asleep and dreaming that he is a super hero. Throughout the book, he defeats many foes to protect his little sister. In the end, he wakes up and realizes how much he really loves his little sister.

The illustrations for the book are very colorful, and I think that Jack Foster (illustrator) did an excellent job depicting Zachary's character. The colorful pictures of all the characters obviously held A.J.'s attention in the video, and I think that shows how much this author/illustrator combination thinks about the young reader. I am very pleased with both the writing and illustrations for the book.

From a storyline perspective, this is a topic to which many students can relate. As a teacher, we often see students struggle with the birth/adoption of a new sibling. What I really like about the storyline is how he learns to care for his little sister, and why she needs her big brother! I think this is something many children can relate to, and it sets up a great plot with a neat conclusion.

In amongst the story line, there are some great phonics skills! There are blends and digraphs throughout the whole book, and there is also a rhyming element. This makes the book fun to read, as most younger students love to make sounds with their mouths, and even movements could be added to this. The blend/digraph focus is great, because it teachers several of them in the story, and they are also sound focused, which would make a great reading lesson.

One of the neatest features in the book are the comprehension questions, and all the activities to go with the story. This is highly unusual, unless you are purchasing a book directly from an educational publisher. I really like the fact that Kathy has taken the time to come up with so many great activities, and even a song. This is one of those types of books that could be timeless, and children could enjoy for many generations.


For the video and the give away go to this link:

Moving Through all Seven Days link:http://www.lulu.com/content/e-book/moving-through-all-seven-days/7386965# http://www.helium.com/users/406242.html http://www.associatedcontent.com/user/237923/Kathy_stemke_dancekam.html
Follow me on twitter: http://twitter.com/kathystemke
Follow me on Facebook:http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=6147172660&topic=4910#!/kathymarescomatthews.stemke?ref=profile
  Follow me on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/pub/kathy-stemke/13/269/285
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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Win Sh Sh Sh Let the Baby Sleep


Stephanie Brandt, a reading specialist, is hosting me this week on her blog. She'll be giving away my book to one lucky winner on June 30th.  There is a link to a video she made of her reading Sh Sh Sh Let the Baby Sleep to her son, AJ on youtube. Check it out and leave a comment for a chance to win a prize from me too!
http://www.debtfreespending.com/2011/06/this-weeks-giveaway-for-6-30.html#comments

Moving Through all Seven Days link:http://www.lulu.com/content/e-book/moving-through-all-seven-days/7386965# http://www.helium.com/users/406242.html http://www.associatedcontent.com/user/237923/Kathy_stemke_dancekam.html Follow me on twitter: http://twitter.com/kathystemke Follow me on Facebook:http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=6147172660&topic=4910#!/kathymarescomatthews.stemke?ref=profile Follow me on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/pub/kathy-stemke/13/269/285 Add to Technorati Favorites

Friday, June 17, 2011

Webtime Stories™ Offer a New Technology Solution to Summer Reading Slump

In recognition of the research identifying a drop in language and reading skills during the summer break, Be There Bedtime Stories is offering a new, parent-approved, multimedia solution which benefits early literacy, keeps kids connected to family members far away and features a high-tech, “cool” factor.
Quote start"We discovered that young readers were motivated to read Webtime Stories because of the video aspect," said Founder, Alison Sansone.Quote end

Research spanning a century shows that kids score lower on standardized tests at the end of the summer break than they do on the very same tests just a few months earlier. “Although school ends for the summer, reading and learning are year-round activities,” said Earl Martin Phalen, CEO of Reach Out and Read.
“Childhood development experts tell us that the most important thing that parents can do to prepare their children to succeed in school is to read aloud to them every day.”

Be There Bedtime Stories adds a new, technological dimension to reading aloud with webcam-recorded storytelling, also known as Webtime Stories. This online platform works in three steps: 1) Choose an e-book from the online bookstore; 2) read the story in front of a webcam as it displays on the computer screen; the video is then embedded onto each page of the e-book; and 3) the Webtime Stories are accessible via link anytime, connecting young readers with family members no matter how far away.

“Storytelling has been unifying families for centuries, and reading aloud naturally fosters literacy,” said Alison Sansone, founder of Be There Bedtime Stories. While she knew far-away relatives and traveling and military parents would appreciate the ability to read bedtime stories to their favorite little ones, she was pleasantly surprised that new readers also enjoyed recording a story to show off their newfound skills.

“We discovered that young readers were motivated to read Webtime Stories because of the video aspect,” said Sansone. “As a result, grandparents, traveling or military parents, or other family away from the household, can participate in summer learning.”

The visual cues of both the storyteller and the words on the page deliver the proven, read-aloud techniques that build literacy, regardless of whether the child is reading or listening to the Webtime Stories. To encourage summertime reading, Be There Bedtime Stories is offering an
unlimited-access plan for $29.99 through Sept. 7, 2011.

About Be There Bedtime Stories
Be There Bedtime Stories is a new, online platform that combines a webcam and bedtime stories to deliver Webtime Stories™. Founded by Alison Sansone, the recorded format of Webtime Stories™ aims to provide a kid-friendly, family-bonding form of multi-media which encourages budding readers and develops early literacy skills. Currently, the company has acquired licensing from eight initial publishers to nearly 250 e-books, including a variety of genres (e.g., educational, character-building, holiday, Spanish language titles, etc.) appropriate for ages 2 through 8 years old. Be There Bedtime Stories is proud to have a recognized alliance with two leading non-profit organizations that share the value of literacy:
Blue Star Families, a leading military family support organization acquiring children's books for U.S. Military Base libraries; and Reach Out and Read, an evidence-based research organization that promotes early literacy and school readiness. For more information visit Be There Bedtime Stories on Facebook.

About Reach Out and Read
Reach Out and Read is an evidence-based, national nonprofit organization that prepares America’s youngest children to succeed in school by partnering with doctors to prescribe books and encourage families to read together. Reach Out and Read currently serves one-third of the most impoverished children in the U.S. The Reach Out and Read model is endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the program has one of the strongest records of research support of any primary-care intervention. This year, Reach Out and Read’s 27,000 volunteer doctors and nurse practitioners will provide 6.4 million new books to 3.9 million children at 4,654 healthcare locations in all 50 states.

Kathy stemke's websites:

Moving Through all Seven Days link:http://www.lulu.com/content/e-book/moving-through-all-seven-days/7386965# http://www.helium.com/users/406242.html http://www.associatedcontent.com/user/237923/Kathy_stemke_dancekam.html 

Follow me on twitter: http://twitter.com/kathystemke 

Follow me on Facebook:http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=6147172660&topic=4910#!/kathymarescomatthews.stemke?ref=profile 

Follow me on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/pub/kathy-stemke/13/269/285

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Monday, June 13, 2011

Day 1 Sh Sh Sh Let the Baby Sleep Virtual Book Tour


Welcome to the first day of our Superhero Zachary’s Book Tour for Sh Sh Sh Let the Baby Sleep.” Our first guest, Jack Foster, is the illustrator of the book.  He has captured the essence of each character and the humorous approach to the story.

Jack also illustrates for the online magazines, Stories for Children and Guardian Angel Kids. He spent many years as a political cartoonist for five Chicago area newspapers but his cute style described as a Muppet-Disney mix, is kid friendly and just right for children’s books.

Jack has consented to an interview.  If you have any questions for him, please ask them in the comment section. 

Q. Where do you live?       I live in Lisle Illinois, about 30 miles west of Chicago.
Q. Do you have any pets?  Do you ever draw your pets?      I have a cat named Jasper. He has been the subject of a lot of my work. We had a very cute dog. His name was Tucker. I loved to draw him. He was so fluffy and always smiling.
Q: What made you decide to become an artist?      I love animals. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a veterinarian. Then I saw a Walt Disney episode that showed the making of Bambi. Walt Disney brought in a live bunny and put it in the center of the table. All the artist’s sat around the table and drew as the bunny hopped around on the table. I said to myself. “That’s what I want to do!” (Draw animals, not hop around on a table :o)

Q: Did you take art lessons?      I got married right out of high school, so I got a good paying job and went to night school at The American Academy of Art in Chicago. I took cartooning and drawing classes. Then 20 years later I went back and took some computer art classes.

Q: What is the hardest part about illustrating a book?       The hardest part is the consistency. Trying to maintain the same “look” of the characters, as well as their clothing, hairstyles and proportions. In one of my books, I didn’t notice that I had changed the color of the main characters shirt in the middle of the story…oooops…. Maybe he ran home and changed when we weren’t looking :o)

Q: Please describe the process you go through to illustrate a book.     When illustrating a book, I fist read through the whole story a couple of times. I visualize the characters mostly at first.Then I sketch out the characters. Then, depending on the number of pages, I break up the story into even segments. I read and reread a segment. I already have the characters, so I start visualizing them in the story, page by page. Then I do up a quick storyboard, which looks like a giant comic strip. The rest is just refining the sketches, scanning them into my computer and painting them.

Q: Why did you decide to illustrate Sh Sh Sh Let the Baby Sleep?       I love the story. I was a big brother and I could identify with Zachary and his adventurous imagination. I like to draw stories with adventure, animals and apple sauce… there wasn’t any apple sauce in the story, but two out of three worked for me ;o)

Q: How long did it take for you to illustrate Sh Sh Sh Let the Baby Sleep?   It took me about two and a half months.  Each illustration takes between eight and twelve hours  … the cover a little longer.

Q: What materials and supplies did you use for the pictures?      All I use is a pencil and a sketchbook. The rest is done digitally on the computer.

Q: How did you decide on the cover?    Actually, I had drawn a baby sleeping on a moon about ten years ago. It was always one of my favorites. I decided to redo it with Layla. Then I added Zachary making the sh sh sh sound. I wanted the reader to get an idea of some of the adventure in the story, so I included the bear and train. I took a while to set it up so it didn’t look crowded and still had enough room for the title.


Q: Which illustration in this book is your favorite and why?    There is a page where Zachary is pushing Layla in the stroller and a big wind kicks up! That was a blast… so much going on. Zachary is startled and struggling to hold onto the stroller. He has one foot in the air. The blanket is blowing away and baby Layla is not vey happy.  It became my favorite because it was the most fun to draw.

Q: Do you model your characters from real people?     I was thinking about myself as a kid when I was drawing Zachary, then I remembered a friend of mine in kindergarten who had this cool wave in his hair. So I gave him the “wave”. Thanks to Bobby Farrell… where ever you are ;o)

Q: Was there part of the story that was difficult to illustrate?     On one page, Zachary flies up to the top of a bookcase to get some diapers. It was difficult to make it look like he was soaring in front of the bookcase and not climbing or standing on a shelf.

Q: You have an incredible talent for showing movement in your illustrations. What are your secrets?       I’m the dad of five kids. There was always something going on at our house. I learned how to harness the energy in the house by capturing it in sketchbooks.  My kids taught me a lot.

Q: Do you have a collection of your own artwork?      I have a portfolio of all my best work… I guess you could call it a collection. Since most of my work is done digitally, I have to print  any work that I want to keep physically.


Q: Do you hang illustrations in your home as artwork?     Sometimes I’ll be working on a project and my wife will tell me that she would like something like that in a frame to hang in our house. I’ve done a few, but honestly, she is such a wonderful woman, I should do a lot more for her.

Q: Do you have any wise words for students who like to draw?      Your sketchbook…Don’t leave home without it! Also, set an illustration goal. There are so many avenues to take. If you like comic art… make your own comic book,  children’s art… make up a “dummy” book. Set a goal, and do one thing every day toward that goal. Even if it only takes you ten minutes, do it. In a year you will amaze yourself at how far you’ve come and how much you’ve grown as an artist. I speak from experience. I let weeks turn into months and into years without pursuing my God given talents. Then I set a goal and did a thing a day.

Q. What is your favorite medium?       I don’t have patience for oils. I like that acrylics dry quickly. …I’ve always loved airbrushing. I try to give my children’s book illustrations a kind of airbrush feel.

Q. What artists/styles have influenced you the most?        Walt Disney has inspired me as an artist and as a person. He was an amazing man who never gave up. His feature length films have some of the most wonderful artwork. Also, my character style has definitely been influenced by Jim Henson of Muppet fame. Most of my characters have large round eyes sitting atop their heads…. ala Elmo, Burt, Ernie…. etc…..:o)

Q. Do you also paint besides what you do for books?      I do airbrushed murals for our church’s kid’s rooms and have done some in homes as well. We are renting now, so I don’t have any murals in my home…. It’s too hard to take them with us when we move. :o)

Q. Do you also write?    Reading all the wonderful stories that I have had the privilege of illustrating has given me the writing bug. I have started several stories… but MAN, writing is hard!  Maybe someday, but for now I’ll stick to the easy stuff. :o)

You can see more of Jack’s work and  the other books he’s illustrated for Guardian Angel Publishing at jacktoon.blogspot.com.

 Author, Kathy Stemke has a passion for writing, the arts and all things creative. She has Bachelor degrees from Southern Connecticut State University and Covenant Life Seminary, as well as graduate coursework from New York Institute of Technology and Columbia University. Hanging her hat in the North Georgia Mountains, she has been a teacher, tutor, and writer for many years.

As a freelance writer and ghostwriter, Kathy has published hundreds of articles in directories, websites and magazines. She is a contributing editor for The National Writing for Children's Center http://writingforchildrencenter.com/ and a reviewer for Sylvan Dell Publishing. As a retired teacher, Kathy has several activities published with Gryphon House Publishing. Kathy is also part of the team at DKV Writing 4 U. http://www.dkvwriting4u.com

 Kathy’s first children’s picture book, Moving Through All Seven Days, was published on Lulu. Her next picture book, Sh, Sh, Sh Let the Baby Sleep, was released in May of 2011. Her third picture book, Trouble on Earth Day is scheduled for release in June of 2011.

 Mrs.Stemke offers great teaching tips and children’s book reviews as well as a monthly newsletter titled, MOVEMENT AND RHYTHM, on her blog. http://educationtipster.blogspot.com

 Sh Sh Sh Let the Baby Sleep can be found:



SUPERHERO TRIVIA QUESTION: DAY 1
What is the secret identity of the Green Lantern?

Come to Robert Medak’s blog June 14th for the answer. http://rjmbookreviews.blogspot.com
Remember; Every answer or comment you make during this book tour puts your name in the hat for a fantastic prize, which includes amazon gift certificates, books, superhero figurines, and much more
CONTEST/DRAWING
There will be drawings at the end of the book tour from those who comment or answer a superhero trivia question. it includes this blog or any other site during the tour from June 13th-July 5th. Please include your email address in the comment in a safe format: dancekam1(at)yahoo(dot) com

The prizes include:
· $10 Amazon gift certificate
· Mozart in the Future by Tania Rodriges-Peters
· “The Wild Soccer Bunch” books 1 & 2 by Joachim Masannek
· “30 Days to a Well-Mannered Dog” by Tamar Geller
· Superhero figurines
· “The Green Bronze Mirror” by Lynne Ellison
· “The Face of Deceit” by Ramona Richards
COLORING CONTEST
Download a coloring page from http://educationtipster.blogspot.com for the book, “Sh Sh Sh Let the Baby Sleep.” Color it, and email a picture to Kathy Stemke at dancekam1 (at) yahoo (dot) com for a chance to win one of the prizes below
· “Small Gifts in God’s Hands” by Max Lucado
· Superhero figurine
· “Making Memories” by Janette Oke

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sh Sh Sh Let the Baby Sleep Virtual Book Tour Schedule


June 13 Interview with illustrator, Jack Foster at http://educationtipster.blogspot.com

June 14 This Is Not Your Mother’s Virtual Book Tour at http://rjmbookreviews.blogspot.com/
June 15 Famous Brother Sister Pairs at Karen Cioffi’s blog http://karencioffiwritingandmarketing.com  

June 16 Brother Sister Poetry at Connie Arnold’s blog http://childrensauthorconniearnold.blogspot.com

June 17 Favorite Consonant Blends at J Aday Kennedy’s blog http://jadaykennedy.blogspot.com

June 18 Sibling Rivalry at Sylvia Ney’s  Bloghttp://writinginwonderland.blogspot.com/

June 20 What Do Superheroes Eat? Tony Stemke’s blog http://gritsandgroceries.blogspot.com

June 21 Prepare siblings for the New Baby at Heather Bee’s blog www.sprittibee.com

June 22 Author Interview at Donna Mc Dine’s blog http://www.donna-mcdine.blogspot.com
June 23 Book review at Donna  Mc Dine’s blog  http://www.donna-mcdine.blogspot.com
June 27 Hillary Moore’s blog http://homeschoolblogger.com/hillarym
June 28 The History of Superheroes at Stephen Tremp’s blog www.stephentremp.blogspot.com
June 30 Book Review at Stephanie Brandt’s blog http://www.debtfreespending.com
July 1 Famous Brother Sister Quotes at Misha Gericke’s blog http://sylmion.blogspot.com
July 2 Book Review at Kristi Bernard’s blog http://kristisbooknook.blogspot.com/
July 3 Language Arts Teachers Guide at Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s blog http://writershotspot.blogspot.com or http://educationtipster.blogspot.com
July 4 Noises that Wake you Up  http://educationtipster.blogspot.com


July 5 Winners announced! http://educationtipster.blogspot.com
July 6 Author and Book Spotlight at Sue Drazic’s blog http://susannedrazic.blogspot.com

Kathy Stemke's websites:
Moving Through all Seven Days link:http://www.lulu.com/content/e-book/moving-through-all-seven-days/7386965# http://www.helium.com/users/406242.html http://www.associatedcontent.com/user/237923/Kathy_stemke_dancekam.html
Follow me on twitter: http://twitter.com/kathystemke
Follow me on Facebook:http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=6147172660&topic=4910#!/kathymarescomatthews.stemke?ref=profile
  Follow me on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/pub/kathy-stemke/13/269/285
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Thursday, June 9, 2011

ANNOUNCING 2 CONTESTS FOR JUNE 13TH-JULY 5TH BOOK TOUR!

CONTEST/DRAWING
There will be drawings at the end of the book tour from those who comment or answer a superhero trivia question. it includes this blog or any other site during the tour from June 13th-July 5th. Please include your email address in the comment in a safe format: dancekam1(at)yahoo(dot) com

The prizes include:

·         $10 Amazon gift certificate

·         Mozart in the Future by Tania Rodriges-Peters

·         “The Wild Soccer Bunch”  books 1 & 2 by Joachim Masannek

·         “30 Days to a Well-Mannered Dog” by Tamar Geller

·         Superhero figurines

·         “The Green Bronze Mirror” by Lynne Ellison

·         “The Face of Deceit” by Ramona Richards

COLORING CONTEST

Download a coloring page from http://educationtipster.blogspot.com for the book, “Sh Sh Sh Let the Baby Sleep.”  Color it, and email a picture to Kathy Stemke at dancekam1 (at) yahoo (dot) com for a chance to win one of the prizes below.

·         “Small Gifts in God’s Hands” by Max Lucado

·         Superhero figurine

·         “Making Memories” by Janette Oke


Moving Through all Seven Days link:http://www.lulu.com/content/e-book/moving-through-all-seven-days/7386965# http://www.helium.com/users/406242.html http://www.associatedcontent.com/user/237923/Kathy_stemke_dancekam.html
Follow me on twitter: http://twitter.com/kathystemke
Follow me on Facebook:http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=6147172660&topic=4910#!/kathymarescomatthews.stemke?ref=profile
Follow me on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/pub/kathy-stemke/13/269/285
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Monday, June 6, 2011

STYLISH AND SWEET BLOG AWARDS!


                                                Thank you to Karen Cioffi for this award!

THE STYLISH BLOGGER AWARD!

PLEASE VISIT HER BLOG! YOU'LL LOVE IT!


Now to pay-it-forward and name 15 Irresistibly Sweet Blogs and pass the award on:

Elysabeth Eldering - http://jgdsseries.blogspot.com
Deb Eckerling - http://www.writeononline.com
Nancy Famolari - http://nancygfamolari.blogspot.com
Margaret Fieland - http://www.margaretfieland.com
Martha Swirzinski - http://wholechildpublishing.blogspot.com
Heidi Thomas - http://heidiwriter.wordpress.com
Kevin McNamee - http://kevinmcnameechildrensauthor.blogspot.com
Marietta Taylor - http://marismorningroom.blogspot.com
Robert Medak - http://rjmbookreviews.blogspot.com
Shelby Patrick - http://writershotspot.blogspot.com
Jennifer Gladen - http://jgladen.blogspot.com
Jennifer Wylie - http://jlwyle.wordpress.com
Joe Dadich - http://emergencyestateplanningin20minutes.blogspot.com
Heather Paye -http://heatherpaye.blogspot.com
Helena Harper - http://helenaharpersblog.blogspot.com

 again to The Writing Mama for adding me to


http://www.karencioffiwritingandmarketing.com/p/karens-books.html








Thank you to Susanne Drazic for this award!

THE IRRESISTIBLY SWEET BLOG AWARD!

PLEASE VISIT HER BLOG! YOU'LL LOVE IT!
                                                   http://susannedrazic.blogspot.com

They both asked for seven new facts about me:
  1. I love photography and used to get paid to take pictures.
  2. I studied television production at New York Institute of Technology.
  3. I used to own a gymnastic and dance studio.
  4. When I coached, my team won the Connecticut girls gymnastic high school state championhips for two years.
  5. I grew up on the famous Long Island Jones Beach.
  6. I was a cheerleader from junior high school through college. Yea, rah, rah!
  7. I had the best dad in the world!
KATHY STEMKE'S WEBSITES:
Moving Through all Seven Days link:http://www.lulu.com/content/e-book/moving-through-all-seven-days/7386965# http://www.helium.com/users/406242.html http://www.associatedcontent.com/user/237923/Kathy_stemke_dancekam.html Follow me on twitter: http://twitter.com/kathystemke Follow me on Facebook:http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=6147172660&topic=4910#!/kathymarescomatthews.stemke?ref=profile Follow me on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/pub/kathy-stemke/13/269/285 Add to Technorati Favorites

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Sh Sh Sh Let the Baby Sleep Book Trailer


Get ready for my
virtual book tour: June 13th -July 1st

We'll have the history of superheroes, what heroes eat, all about sibling rivalry, famous brothers and sisters, superhero trivia, your favorite consonant blends, and brother and sister poetry.

There'll be lots of prizes!! (gift certificates, books, superhero figurines and bookmarks.....) Every time you answer a question or leave a comment your name goes in the hat for a prize.

This is not your mother's virtual book tour!!!

Moving Through all Seven Days link:http://www.lulu.com/content/e-book/moving-through-all-seven-days/7386965# http://www.helium.com/users/406242.html http://www.associatedcontent.com/user/237923/Kathy_stemke_dancekam.html
Follow me on twitter: http://twitter.com/kathystemke
Follow me on Facebook:http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=6147172660&topic=4910#!/kathymarescomatthews.stemke?ref=profile
  Follow me on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/pub/kathy-stemke/13/269/285

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