Books by the Banks 2016 had a stellar line-up of authors and presentations.
Bookseller Alia Jones, authors Zetta Elliott, Greg Leitich Smith and Children’s Librarian Sam Bloom discuss the state of diversity in publishing and ideas to close the gap.
These guys! Laughed out loud the entire presentation with author-illustrators Greg Pizolli, Bob Shea, and Loren Long. Fun session where they shared personal experiences as well as a bit about their creative process.
Authors Kerrie Hollihan, Brandon Marie Miller, Michelle Houts, Nancy Poe Pimm, Mary Kay Carson, Carmella Van Vleet, and Jen Swanson talk about science and history – and women in science and history!
Ohio creatives Tim Bowers, Lana Wayne Koehler, Gloria Adams, Will Hillenbrand and Christina Wald.
Today’s pick for Perfect Picture Book Friday is Ada’s Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay
Written by: Susan Hood
Illustrated by: Sally Wern Comport
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (2016)
Suitable for ages: 4-8
Themes/Topics: Resilience, Poverty, Compassion, Courage, Community, Creativity, Paraguay, Music
Brief Synopsis: This is the true story of Ada Ríos and the start of The Recycled Orchestra from the small town of Catuera in Paraguay. Catuera isn’t like most places, it is part of a landfill made of trash. Poverty surrounds the people who live there and so does crime. As one can imagine, Ada and her parents worry about their future. Her grandmother took care of Ada before she was old enough for school while her parents worked. Her abuela loved to sing to Ada. Her whole family loved music. One day Ada’s grandmother saw a sign at the chapel from a music teacher named Favio Chávez offering free music lessons. She signed Ada up. But many children showed up for lessons and there only three guitars and two violins to share. Ada dreamed of playing the violin, but knew she needed an instrument of her own to practice. Her family had no money to spend on such a luxury. Then Señor Chávez had an idea. He knew of a band that made its own instruments so he asked a ganchero, a carpenter named Nicolás Gómez to help. With much experimentation, soon there were enough instruments, made from trash, for anyone who wanted to learn to play! Ada finally got a violin, made from recycled trash, of her very own. Readers follow Ada and her fellow musicians through their plight to learn to play these instruments all the way to their success taking the stage for audiences to hear them perform.
Opening pages: “Ada Ríos grew up in a town made of trash.
Every morning at dawn, Ada heard the first garbage trucks rumble and roll down the road to Cateura. Beep, beep, beep! Backing into the landfill, they tipped their loads up and up and-CRASH! The trash came tumbling down-fifteen hundred tons each day.”
Why I like this book: I spent last week in Paraguay. Music is a very important part of the culture. Although I did not see any musicians from Cateura play, I was fortunate to see a young man play a Paraguayan harp. And young women perform traditional dances. I am thrilled Susan Hood has shared this story of The Recycled Orchestra.
Families live in poverty all over the world. The story, Ada’s Violin, allows readers to empathize with their lives and witness their fight against such undesirable conditions. In this story we are witnesses to the power of courage, community, and creativity to overcome insurmountable odds.
There is an author’s note that tells more about Ada, her family and the orchestra. She also adds url’s for websites and videos.
See the 60 Minute segment The Recyclers: From Trash Comes Triumph here.
For more of today’s reviews, see author Susanna Hill’s blog here.
The most wonderful time of the year for picture book writers is almost here.
PiBoIdMo or Picture Book Idea Month created by author Tara Lazar, is an annual writing challenge scheduled during the full month of November. Beginning on the first day of the month, participants will receive daily inspirational blog posts and writing exercises by picture book authors, illustrators, and editors. The only thing that would make this event more awesome would be the chance to win prizes. Wait. What? Yes, there will be prizes!
The goal is to generate 30 ideas to deposit into a writer’s picture book idea bank. We all know the first step in the process of writing a picture book is coming up with a story idea. And we often hear what Mark Twain said, “There is no such thing as a new idea.” If that is true, how are we supposed to come up with something original that an editor or agent will consider book worthy? One way is to spin and twist old ideas to create new intriguing combinations.
Here are a few great examples:
Fractured Fairy Tales
Little Red is a fairy tale figure skater who needs to win a paired skating competition. She needs a partner. The other characters are taken. But there’s one with big eyes, sharp teeth, and furry paws available. Little Red Gliding Hood by Tara Lazar
Ginny Louise is a new addition to a class of troublemakers who is so cheerful she is unable to find fault in any of her cranky classmates. And that ultimately changes their bullying attitudes. Ginny Louise and the School Showdown by Tammy Sauer
Leftovers Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast engage in a race around other foods in the refrigerator to get to that last drop of maple syrup. Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast by Josh Funk
Little pirate Ned will do anything to avoid bedtime. He convinces Papa Pirate there are things he must do before settling in for the night. Pirate’s Lullaby:Mutiny at Bedtimeby Marcie Wessels
Percy the Pug finds the perfect puddle but the puddle pigs who inhabit it won’t share. Puddle Pug by Kim Norman
Each one of these books started with an idea, perhaps a random thought, or a “what if” question. Reading and listening to interviews about authors often give us the story behind their story idea. And you will be surprised how, when, where, and under what circumstances those ideas came to them. That is what PiBoIdMo is about. Finding out what works for others may just work for you too.
There will be days during the month when ideas just won’t show up. Like they’re playing a game of ”keep away”.
And you’ll feel like this.
Hang in there.
Other days you’ll be thrilled when they come.
Here’s my PiBoIdMo Pledge.
I will register on Sunday October 25, 2015 by entering my name in the registration blog post.
I will assemble all necessary tools to be available 24/7 for 30 days of November.
I will read every post, comment daily when possible, and complete the exercises.
I will record all my ideas, the good, the bad, and the ugly.
I will not beat my head against the computer, but I will do a jig when I think of a story idea.
Hope to see you in November, on Tara’s blog or on the PiBoIdMo Facebook page!
The motivation for this annual event came from the story about a girl from The Dot, a picture book written by Peter H. Reynolds. Vashti is reluctant to participate in art class because she believes she can’t draw. But through her teacher’s encouragement, Vashti learns she can. The idea is to challenge what we may think about ourselves or what others may think about us and express our own creativity.
To date, Dot Day creator T.J. Shay has taken this message of inspiration and the celebration of creativity to 3.6 million participants in 113 countries. Listen to T.J speak with librarians on this ISTE Librarians Network twitter chat .
Check out the amazing Celibri dots made by illustrators. Authors made them too! I made one. But first, like Vashti I thought, “Look at those beautiful dots, I can’t draw!” Then I remembered what Vashti’s teacher said, “Just make a mark and see where it takes you.” I made a mark, learned new skills, and this where it took me. It’s my dot and there’s no other like it.
Now everyone join in and sing the Dot Day Song. Then go out there and make your mark!