Monthly Archives: February 2015

New Shoes by Susan Lynn Meyer

New Shoes by Susan Lynn Meyer
It’s Perfect Picture Book Friday! My pick for today is New Shoes. 

 

newshoes

Written by: Susan Lynn Meyer

Illustrated by: Eric Velasquez

Publisher: Holiday House, January 2015

Suitable for ages: 6-9

Themes/Topics: courage, determination, activism, community, cultural  awareness, racial discrimination

Brief Synopsis: Ella Mae is excited about getting new shoes. But she is not allowed to try on shoes at the local shoe store because she lives in the southern United States during a time when Jim Crow state and local laws ensured African-Americans did not have equal rights and were treated unfairly. She and her cousin Charlotte find a way to overcome such humiliating treatment. They work together to create an atmosphere for their community where they feel welcomed and will never experience discrimination.

Opening pages:  “My cousin Charlotte hands me the package as we stand outside Johnson’s Shoes.

“If you could have any shoes in the window,” I ask, “which would you choose?”

Why I like this book: Although a fictional account, this story is based on real life experiences of Americans who suffered from discriminatory laws and practices across the southern United States. Such laws began as early as 1890 with the Supreme Court ruling of Plessy vs. Ferguson legalizing “separate but equal” treatment for black Americans. These discriminatory laws expanded during Reconstruction after the Civil war into state and local laws known as Jim Crow. US President Johnson signed the historic Civil Rights Act of 1964 that ended Jim Crow. This book however is a reminder that these citizens did not sit by idly and accept their situation. In fact, Ella Mae and Charlotte represent the resistance and the resilience of a people in that era.

Resources: Educator’s Guide

For more book reviews, go to author Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Book page.

How to Catch Mardi Gras Throws

How to Catch Mardi Gras Throws

How to catch Mardi Gras throws is a question asked every year. Is it an art? Is it a science? Catching “throws”, the beads, cups, toys, doubloons, and trinkets thrown from Mardi Gras floats is serious business. Can visitors learn to maximize their chances of returning from parades with a huge haul?

Yes, Indeed! As we say in southern Louisiana.

Quick tips:

1. Comfortable clothing. Seems like a no-brainer, but yes, I’ve seen people in open toe shoes and heels. Clothes worn to the gym or yoga are great. Parades are no place for vanity, people! Keep your eye on the prize, catching free stuff!

2. Training & Exercise.  Competing with locals who are obviously born with the ”catch” gene will take some preparation. Work on your vertical jump. Start a stretching routine. Flexibility is key. Improve your reflexes.

3. Anticipation. You have to be able to recognize when a float rider has targeted you for the throw or someone else. If the 3 year-old on his or her father’s or mother’s shoulders is the target you have seconds to decide if you will snag that throw. However, if you do, I suggest you move to a new location.

3. Practice. Get in front of a mirror, raise your arms up high, wave furiously while jumping up and down and scream, “Throw me somethin’ mista’!” Acceptable alternatives include, “Hey, ova here!” or “Me! Me!” or “Here, here! Mista’!” I’ve witnessed many falls. Can you say, EMBARRASSING!  Practice, practice, practice.

4. Visual attention. Never take your eye off a passing float! Let’s face it, some float riders have really poor aim. Use your peripheral vision to avoid elbows, arms, and crashing bodies. Ouch.

5. Competition. It’s important to size up those parade goers around you. Assess the number of parade ladders with seats. How many are nearby? Cute kids in costume. No explanation necessary.You think older people are no threat to a successful haul? See #2. For locals, it’s their natural habitat. Do not be deceived. Missed air born throws that reach the ground are their specialty. Do not try to pick them up, feet are used to accommodate for their lack of upper arm mobility. Crushed fingers are no fun.

4. Science and more. Here’s where that high school physics class you thought you’d never need could be useful. Speed. Distance. Velocity. Mass. Are the beads small or large? Short or long?  Single or in a full pack? With or without medallion attached? Applicable to other trinkets and toys as well. Consider the type of toss.  Underhand or overhand? Adult or child?  Factor in the level of inebriation. How badly does the krewe member sway and lean?  These float riders may throw intact bags of beads. Small muscle motor function is usually impaired. In short, they have difficulty opening the plastic bags.  Be brave. Be ready.

Good luck out there. Should you catch so many beads and trinkets that you have to consider paying the airline overweight charge, or you need to check an additional bag on your flight home, félicitations!

You did it! Be proud. Start planning a return trip. You know you can do better next year.

Happy Mardi Gras!

Throws

 

 


The King Cake Baby – A Query Letter That Worked

The King Cake Baby – A Query Letter That Worked

Sub It Club featured the query letter that lead to the acquisition of my manuscript for The King Cake Baby. To see that post at the SubitClub blog, click here.

Every writer knows the importance of a query letter. A what? That’s what I asked after writing an early draft of my story. Upon learning the purpose of a query and what it entailed, I then set out to learn how to write one. Essentially, it’s a letter that accompanies your manuscript when sending it to an agent or editor and includes the following components: the hook, the book, the cook. Huh?

No worries, at Sub It Club you can learn a lot about how to write a query and more. Writers work hard on perfecting the manuscript they hope to sell. But first you must sell your story idea to an agent or editor through your query. The intent is for the person reading it to want to read your picture book manuscript or pages to your novel that’s attached.

Almost done. There’s more? Yep. To complete the submission process, you must know what agents and or publishing houses are a good fit for your manuscript. Huh?

No worries, hang around the Sub It Club  to learn all about it!

subitclub-badge SAVE