Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Five Gold Stars for SHOW ME HOW!



By Vivian Kirkfield, BA, MS

Vivian Kirkfield has poured so much care and love into this wonderful guide that it is palpable on every page.  Any parent would consider it a blessing to be able to leave their little one in Vivian’s loving, caring and thoughtful hands.  Since she’s not available to all of us, this book is the next best thing.

SHOW ME HOW! is the first in the new Positive Parental Participation Series.  It is a book that you can pick up today and start using within minutes.  The format is wonderful as Vivian divides the book into six chapters, each with a different theme such as Mastering Tasks and Skills, Valuing Strengths and Qualities, and Feeling Appreciated, Loved and Accepted. 

A brief anecdote introduces and clearly illustrates the theme of each chapter.  Then, within each chapter, Vivian lists 15 to 18 picture book titles with synopsis and one craft and cooking activity for each book.  A short Positive Parental Participation Note explains ways in which parents, teachers, and caregivers can lead the way in building a child's self-esteem.

Many of the picture books will be on your home, class, or school library shelves.  If they are not, they will surely be available at your public library or inexpensively at your favorite local or on-line bookstore.  The materials required for the craft projects will probably be found in your craft closets, project drawers, or recycling bins.  And, the tools and ingredients required for the cooking activities are items you will have in your utensil drawer, fridge, or pantry.  Of course, it is always a good idea to check the lists and plan ahead so that children won’t be disappointed if items are not readily available.

You don’t have to be an expert to use this book to its fullest potential.  All you need is a love of children and a desire to build their self-esteem.  The rest is all fun and games and yummy, nutritious treats.  Every child will be excited to relate the stories from the picture books, to display their artwork and craft projects, and to share their snacks with their teachers, moms, dads, grandparents, older siblings and babysitters.  With one hundred great ideas at your fingertips, building self-esteem in your child or student has never been so fun!

For more information about SHOW ME HOW! or to purchase a paperback copy or Kindle book edition please visit

DISCLOSURE:  I want to sincerely thank Vivian Kirkfield for sending me a complimentary copy of this book to read and review.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Let's Begin at the End

Isn’t that where good stories usually begin, at the end?  Think about it.  You’re sitting around with your friends and someone says something that triggers a memory.  You want to tell the story that’s in your head.  Why?  Probably because you think the ending is exciting, funny, scary, or in some cases, especially when boys tell stories, gross!  You wouldn’t tell a story about buying a lottery ticket unless you won, right?  Although some people do like to give you all the details about what they’d do with the money if they did win.  What are those odds again?  Does anyone really want to hear about the time you got up in the morning and drove to work in traffic?  I don’t, unless you pulled a man from a burning car on the way.  Now that’s exciting!

It was the same with our little book (I call it little because it’s still so new and delicate in so many ways.  It’s not even two months old for goodness sake!).  Although I had the basic idea for the story I wanted to tell, the story of three young siblings making a movie with an old video camera, it was not ready to be told.  The ending needed to have that special element that would make it worthwhile to take the journey with us.  The ending was actually the driving force. 

Once I knew the ending, the meat of the story and the silly details began to flow.  The fun part was imagining what ideas the kids would come up with for their movie, how they would verbalize the events that were taking place, how they would solve problems they encountered along the way and how they would work together to reach their ultimate goal, the funny, exciting or scary ending. 

Finally, the beginning was the hardest part for me.  What would give the kids the idea to make a movie?  Would there be a leader or would all three children have a say in the events of the day?  How would the beginning relate to the ending? 

It does seem a little awkward, doesn’t it?  But again, remember that it’s the exciting, funny or scary thing that happens at the end of the story that really makes you want to tell it.  Or, maybe that’s just my crazy way of looking at things and the rest of you are wondering what I’m talking about.  Either way, it has been an amazing book journey for me and Joey and we are very excited to bring you our little book, A Reel Cool Summer.  We’re happy to be able to begin at the end, with book in hand.  It may not be as exciting as pulling a man from a burning car or winning the lottery but it’s definitely toward the top of our list!  We hope you and your little ones will enjoy the journey that Joey, Danny and Jacqui take through the book as much as we’ve enjoyed bringing it to you!

Until next time… stay cool!


Monday, August 15, 2011

You Wrote a Book? (Why is everyone so surprised?!)

Me:  Hey, Mary, guess what. 

Mary:  What?

Me:  I wrote a book! 

Mary:  You wrote a book?  Really?  No way!!

Me:  Yes!

Mary:  NO WAY!

Wow, why am I so shocked that people are so surprised?  I guess I can understand it in a way.  Do you know anyone who has written and published a book?  I happen to personally know two people and I think that’s probably a lot.

After the shock comes that weird feeling in the pit of your stomach.  It’s kind of like that awkward silence that rears its ugly head when you’ve been introduced to someone with whom you have absolutely nothing in common.  Do you just start talking about your book?  Do you wait until they ask you about it?  Neither?  Both?  Is “both” even a choice?

I wrote a picture book and I find that it’s relatively easy to get the conversation started.  I mean, who doesn’t like children’s books, right?  They’re easy to read and the pictures are cute.  If it’s not about a topic you like, it will be over soon.  You don’t have to read 300 pages.  The fact that the book’s characters are my three children, and that my oldest son Joey illustrated the book, makes it that much easier.  Moms and Dads like to talk about their kids… but *WARNING* they have to know when to stop.  You have to strike a balance (I’m trying to learn).  The people who know my kids will probably see their personalities shining through in the book and those who don’t know them will immediately understand how wacky they are and wonder what kind of parents we are. 

The funniest part comes when the conversation gets more comfortable and people start to give you advice, some good, some not so good.  At that moment, you thank them for their advice and you just put it all in your memory bank and make something of it later… maybe!  You’re just glad that the person hasn’t walked away yet and that they seem interested.  Maybe they are really good actors.  I don’t know.

So, now I’m actually ready when people are surprised.  The conversation goes a little more like this:

Me:  Hey, Mary, guess what.

Mary:  What?

Me:  I wrote a book!

Mary:  You wrote a book?  Really?  No way!!

Me:  I know.  I’m kind of surprised myself!  (See, now we’re on the same page… pun intended!)

I hope you’ll stop by my website to get a sneak peek at A Reel Cool Summer, watch the book trailer and read reviews.  Oh, and if you want to get on my good side, you may want to buy it… I’m just sayin’!

Until next time… stay cool!


Special note:  I want to thank my wonderful friends Michelle, Sharon, Kelly and Clare.  They may have been surprised but did not show it.  The first thing they did was buy a copy of my book to share with the little ones in their families.  That did not shock me; it melted my heart.  You are four incredibly wonderful friends!

Special note #2:  My friend Sharon, mentioned above, MADE ME add this note from her.  She's a sweetie pie!

OK, you have me in tears now!  Thanks for acknowledging me, but you get all the credit here.  I wasn't the least bit surprised you wrote a book - I somewhat expect things like that from you!  You are very talented and creative …. and it's obvious you're a mom who's really into her kids, which I love about you.  I say "good for you, write another one!"  And if you do, be sure to let me know when it comes out so I can buy it for my grands.  By the way, you're pretty incredible yourself!  (and I'm no actor!)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Everybody's Doing it: Blogging, I Mean - An Intro of Sorts

I’m jumping in!  I know what you’re thinking because I’m thinking it, too.  That mom voice inside my head is asking, “So, if everybody jumps off the George Washington Bridge, are you just going to jump in after them?”  Well, the answer to actually jumping off the George Washington Bridge would be, “NO!”  But I think this is a little different, mom voice inside my head!

I am a brand new self-published picture book author who is doing it all on her own (with amazing support from family and friends).  It seems that all the “how to” articles, books and blogs about writing and publishing encourage authors to blog.  It’s a way for readers to get to know the author and for the author to get to know her audience.  Aside from Twitter  and Facebook, blogging seems to be the thing to do.  Hundreds, if not thousands, of people can’t be wrong.  Can they?

So, here I am.  A newbie to writing, publishing, tweeting, facebooking (is that a word?) and now blogging.  If it all turns out to be a minor disaster I’ll be happy.  Anything better than a minor disaster will be gravy! And that gravy will be beyond delicious because it will have pieces of bacon in it.  Did I mention that I love bacon?  I’ll tell you more about that later.

I will do my best to present interesting and funny subjects that will have you coming back for more and telling your friends about it (that’s your cue to tell your friends about it).  I will blog about my experience as a first-time writer and publisher, about books I enjoy and recommend for children and adults, about literacy, about being a mom, wife, sister, aunt, friend, daughter and about subjects that you suggest.  I look forward to meeting you here.  Please let me know if you have something you want to chat about.

Oh, yes, and buy my book here, please!

Until next time… stay cool!


Interesting fact via Duolit:  There are 120,000 blogs created and over 1.4 million blog posts published every day (1,400,001 now).  Thank you for stopping by mine.  I really appreciate it!