Ralph Tells A Story Blog Tour: Guest Post with Abby Hanlon

Today, Kid Lit Frenzy is participating in a blog tour for Ralph Tells a Story by debut author/illustrator Abby Hanlon.  I am so excited that Abby is sharing ideas for writing with young children.  

As a public school teacher in New York City, I loved teaching writing to my first graders. Like thousands of elementary schools across the country, we used the Writer’s Workshop curriculum developed by Lucy Calkins of Teachers College at Columbia University. With the Writer’s Workshop model, writing time in an elementary school classroom isn’t much different than a college or adult creative writing class. Kids are encouraged to come up with their own ideas, to find their own story, to notice and remember the little details in their life. Nobody tells you what to write anymore!

Illustration copyright © 2012 by Abby Hanlon

For little kids who are just learning to form letters, who are making critical connections between letters and sounds and who are figuring out which direction the letters go on the page, writing time can be scary! But watching my students rise to this enormous challenge always amazed me. In Ralph Tells A Story, the book follows the structure of a Writer’s Workshop; the story starts off with some inspiration from the teacher, then the children go off to work on their own to write true stories about their lives. They come together at the end to share. In the book, I wanted to use this structure because it is familiar to kids. I hope that the book helps children to reflect upon their own experiences and fuels new story ideas.

Writing Tip 
Kids get really excited about very little things. Think about how many times a day your kid says, “Guess what?” “I found a bottle cap on the street!” “I heard about a lollipop with bubble gum inside of it!” “I beat Daddy in Candyland!” These are all great topics for Writer’s Workshop. No story is too small! In fact, small is perfect.

Thank you Abby for stopping by Kid Lit Frenzy and sharing writing tips and ideas about writing with young children.

Thanks to Blue Slip Media for hosting and organizing the blog tour, and to Amazon's Children's Publishing for hosting the giveaway.

Mon, Oct 1 - Momma Drama http://blogginmommadrama.blogspot.com/ 
Tues, Oct 2 - KidLitFrenzy http://www.kidlitfrenzy.com/
Wed, Oct 3 - Susan Heim on Parenting http://susanheim.blogspot.com/
Thurs, Oct 4 - There's a Book http://www.theresabook.com/
Fri, Oct 5 - Lille Punkin' Reviews http://www.lillepunkin.com/
Mon, Oct 8 - A Mom's Take http://www.amomstake.com/
Tues, Oct 9 - Just a Little Creativity http://www.justalittlecreativity.com/
Wed, Oct 10 - The Children's Book Review http://www.thechildrensbookreview.com/
Thurs, Oct 11 - Adventures in Mommydom http://adventuresinmommydom.org/ 
Fri, Oct 12 - Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers http://insatiablereaders.blogspot.com/

For more information about Abby Hanlon:  website
Abby Hanlon has a master’s degree in early childhood education from the City College of New York and bachelor’s from Barnard College, Columbia University. Abby has taught creative writing and first grade in the New York City public school system. Inspired by her students’ storytelling and drawings, Abby began to write her own stories for children. Determined to illustrate her stories, Abby taught herself to draw after not having drawn since childhood. Ralph Tells a Story is her first book. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and their two children.

Please complete the form below to enter to win a copy of Ralph Tells a Story

Giveaway ends on Monday, October 8, 2012 at 11:59 p.m. Pacific.

Book Review - Zoe Gets Ready

Author/Illustrator: Bethanie Deeney Murguia
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine (May 1, 2012)
Audience: Ages 4 to 7
Source: Personal Copy
Fiction * Dress-Up * Imagination

Description from GoodReads:
A story where getting dressed inspires big dreams!

Each day is full of possibilities, and Zoe wants to be ready for everything this one might bring. But that makes getting dressed really, really hard! If it's a twirling day, she'll need to wear the purple skirt. But if it's a cartwheeling day, she'll want the polka-dot tights. Or it might be a hiding day, perfect for the flower crown that will help her blend into the garden . . . or a flying day, which demands butterfly wings! As the clothes pile up and Mama tells her it's time to go, there's only one way Zoe can be sure she's prepared for all the adventures ahead -- a solution that will have parents laughing in recognition and kids nodding in satisfaction. ZOE GETS READY is perfect for all those little girls who wouldn't have things any other way.

My thoughts on the book:
This past Sunday I attended an event hosted by SCIBA (Southern California Independent Booksellers Association) and Mrs. Nelson's Book.  I love the events that they do but I specifically went so that I could actually meet Bethanie Deeney Murguia.  I fell in love with her first book, Buglette, the Messy Sleeper and with each book she releases I am becoming a huge fan.  It is also wonderful when you meet the author and she is just as fantastic as her books.

This title page is great.  It reminds me of both of my nieces as they try to decide what to wear.  More of it ends up on the floor than on them as clothes to wear.

Zoe gets to chose what to wear on the weekends.  How will she ever decide?

Murguia takes the reader through several dilemmas as Zoe tries to figure out what she is in the mood for.  Each two page spread provides readers with a sense of Zoe's creativity and wonder with life.

Obviously, Murguia gets this dilemma on a personal level.  Here is Zoe as she struggles to decide and that other little character with the pants on her head is her younger sister.  I swear I have seen this same image when I have spent the weekend with my nieces.

Throughout the story, the readers experience Zoe's mother's personal frustration as she waits on Zoe.  First the "don't take all day" type response, to the "I hope you aren't making a mess" to "Zoeeeeee! Now!"

Success at last - Zoe finally decides (well sort of) what to wear!

Can't forget the wings!!!!

Murguia's text and illustrations perfectly capture this very familiar experience in the lives of parents and young children.  Zoe Gets Ready will make the perfect gift for a special little girl in your life.  I know that my niece is currently enjoying her signed copy of Zoe Gets Ready. Thanks Bethanie!

Borrow Zoe Gets Ready from your school or public library.  Or check with your local independent bookstore. 

Watch the official book trailer:

For more information on Bethanie Deeney Murguia: website | blog | twitter | facebook