I took this screen grab from Barnes & Noble on Tuesday night. Check out the Bestsellers in the right hand column. (Specifically, the book at number 5.)
Take THAT, Justin Bieber, looking up at me from your lowly number 10 position!
Yeah, I know it changes almost hourly, and usually young Mr. Bieber wins. But it's been nice for the past week, watching my TEN ON THE SLED bounce around.
Jacket Art ©2010 by Amy Wummer
About the Book: There won't be a zoo escapade or a high-flying circus exploit today for Adventure Annie. Instead it is her
FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN ADVENTURE!
Luckily with her zookeeper hat, her high-wire slippers, and her walkie-talkies tucked into her backpack, Adventure Annie is ready for anything--even Kindergarten! Her teacher isn't pleased when Annie tries to turn every activity into an adventure, but when the milk for snack time goes missing, it's
ADVENTURE ANNIE TO THE RESCUE!
This energetic and laugh-out-loud story is sure to get every kid excited about starting their own Kindergarten Adventure.
From the Book
Mommy sings at my door.
I hop to my calendar.
Adventure Annie kindergarten day.
"Will I have a wild animal zoo advenure?"
"Maybe not today," says Mommy.
"Will I have a high-flying circus adventure?"
"Maybe after school," says Mommy.
"What about a daring search-and-find rescue adventure?"
"Maybe on the weekend," says Mommy.
I throw my arms out wide.
"Well then, what adventure will I have at kindergarten?"
"Sometimes," says Mommy, "kindergarten is its own adventure."
I give her the Adventure Annie thumbs-up.
Toni shares "The Story Behind the Story"...
She responded, "Write it!" and so I did.
Now, I was not at all like Annie in Miss Smiley's Kindergarten. I was shy and quiet and afraid of my rather cranky teacher. But as with so many of my characters, I think a high-spirited child lived inside me, the Annie I am able to channel as I write the Adventure Annie stories.
I knew I wanted to use the Pattern ofThree story structure again, as I had in Adventure Annie Goes to Work., and so I began by imagining what three adventures Annie might most like to have. Then I gave her a prop for each one (a zookeeper's hat for her wild animal adventure, high-wire slippers for her high-flying circus adventure, and walkie-talkies for her search-and-rescue adventure) to pack in her backpack. As in the previous story, Annie's exploits get her into a world of trouble, but in the end, it is Annie who saves the day--as I certainly would have, if my inner child had ever been allowed out!
"Toni Buzzeo's jaunty text and Amy Wummer's jovial artwork convey a gentle message while keeping the tone effervescent. Use this bubbly book to introduce your own classroom rules and encourage individual exuberance." ~ Joy Fleishhacker, "School is Cool: Fabulous Books for Reading Aloud", SLJ Curriculum Connections 8-3-10
"With the help of this ever-spunky heroine, readers will discover that, as Annie's mother puts it, "Sometimes . . . kindergarten is its own adventure. " ~Publisher's Weekly 7-26-10
"Washed with bright, cheerful watercolors, the cartoon-style pencil drawings magnify the story’s humor and high spirits. A fine addition to the Adventure Annie series, this picture book offers a dynamic alternative to stories about shy kids with kindergarten jitters." ~ Carolyn Phelan, Booklist 5-1-10
"Buzzeo’s dauntless heroine’s attitude is infectious, and Wummer gives the curly-mopped tyke all the visual verve she deserves." ~ Kirkus 6-1-10
A few more than ten, in fact: a big fat box of my newest book, TEN ON THE SLED, scheduled for release from Sterling only 3 weeks from now, on October 5th. Very proud to have my name on this book, made so fun and colorful by Liza Woodruff's BRRRRilliant illustrations. (Get it? Brrrrrr-rilliant?... in the Arctic? Ar ar!)
Also got some great news about the book last week. Shouldn't really blab what, but it's good. It's really good.
P.S.... Aaaannnd THAT didn't take long, did it? My cat cannot RESIST an open box, even if it's way too small for him to fit his fat feline rump into it.
My editor sent me sample versions of my new Crocodaddy Scholastic paperbacks. Very nice job. They look good. She also sent a handful of read-along CDs that Scholastic had created. They're adorable! The guy doing the reading (an actor named Marc Thompson) does a good job with pacing and rhythm. They added sound effects and music, which really do enhance the story. I am very proud to see my name on these new versions of my book.
What a fun author visit I had yesterday at Courtland Elementary School in Fredericksburg, Virginia! Thank you a thousand times over to Tammy Jones, who coordinated the visit. Also a big thank you to Mrs. Steele, the principal, who was a good sport about manning the cute new Crocodaddy puppet I bought in Florida last month. I was delighted to learn that the students knew every word of "The Storytime Boogie," so another thank you to Mrs. Lipscomb for taking the time to teach it to the students before I arrived. And of course, an extra big thank you to the PTO for making the event possible. God bless them. What would we do without our school PTOs?
And now, most charming of all, a collection of thank you notes from 2nd graders, some of whom got to hold up some of the colored papers I use when we do a read-aloud of I KNOW A WEE PIGGY WHO WALLOWED IN BROWN. (Still 2 years away from publication.)
I wish I'd had time to scan them all, but here is a sampling. I love how accurately some of them drew my "Crocodaddy-colored" green suit... all the way down to my green sandals! Thank YOU, Courtland students, for making me feel so welcome!
I love that this student used artistic license and added a green bow to my hair. Maybe I need to add that to my outfit!
The above is a reference to my "Evil Inner Editors" who say ugly things inside my head when I'm struggling with a first draft. Kids really seem to get the concept, especially since I pair the sayings with funny, distorted images of myself saying things like "What makes you think YOU can write a book?"
Ten on the Sled IN THE HOUSE! Received my first advance copy today. Gorgeous, colorful illustrations by Liza Woodruff; cool, silver foil-stamped title on the cover. Granted, Collin reading here is a little old for the book, dedicated to him and his brother Skylar. Hey, I wrote it as quickly as I could! And Sterling Publishing produced it fast, too. Great people there at Sterling.
It'll be in stores nationwide in October, just in time for the winter holidays!
proud mama and author
I'm trying a new promotion for the coming school year: To each school that schedules me for a FULL DAY visit during the 2010-2011 school year, I'll bring along a free copy of Jack of All Tails for every classroom in that school. (If the visit requires air travel, I'll ship the books for 50 cents apiece. But I usually drive to most visits within a 6 hour radius of my home in southeastern VA, in which case I can simply bring the books in my car.)
Jack of All Tails is a Penguin (Dutton) hardback WITH dust jacket; original manufacturer retail price: $15.99.
Details on my website at KIMNORMANBOOKS.COM
I love free stuff, especially free books. Don't you?
Here's a PowerPoint presentation I created for my "5 Little Crocodiles" (Based on "Five Little Monkeys," obviously.) I tried to go the lazy route, using clipart, but there was no way I was going to find clipart for 5 different crocodiles in matching styles. If there's anything I hate, as a graphic artist, it's a flier that has been thrown together using a dozen pieces of clipart that look like they were drawn by a dozen different artists. (Right up there with my peeve about using too many typefaces or using a fancy font in illegible caps.)
So I went ahead and drew 5 little crocs. My drawing skills are pretty rusty, but it was fun. Super high tech: did the drawings on white printer paper. Scanned into Photoshop for coloring.
The basic rhyme is:
5 Little Crocodiles swimming in the lake.
One got cold and began to shake.
Crocodaddy said, "For goodness sake!
No more crocodiles swimming in the lake!"
Once we get to zero, the last line switches to, "Feed those crocs some nice hot steak!" (which explains the last graphic.)
Anyhow, it was fun to do. Hope the kids like it. I'm going to have to ask someone else to man the projector, since I do hand motions with the kids.
My sister-in-law Nelle helped me write one in Spanish for the Cuban families to whom I'll be presenting later this week. We switched lake to river, since so many Spanish words rhyme nicely with "rio." At the end, they're eating ice cream (helado frio. Nell was brilliant to come up with that!) I'll probably trip over my tongue, fitting in all those quick syllables, but I think it will be fun.
Took my writing outside today -- even farther than my front yard. Tossed my laptop into the car and drove to the Windsor Castle parking lot. (Yes, I KNOW I could have walked the trail to get there, but I was eager to get on with the writing.) Set up my laptop on a table in the brand new picnic area and had the whole place to myself. Used my computer's camera to snap these photos of my surroundings. Lovely lovely day -- if a little bit sneezy!
Where I'm From
by Kim Norman
Inspired by George Ella Lyon's poem "Where I'm from"
I am from
Maine mosquitos and Virginia creeper.
From loon and lobster,
kudzu and Kayro.
I am from pepper flecked corn chowder
and golden fried okra.
And for dessert,
whether the wait is for
steaming Indian pudding
or freezing pecan praline, home-churned.
I am from
Pink Pearl erasers and Luden's cough drops.
From September books,
stiff-spined and ink scented,
grown floppy soft and pinky smudged by June.
I am from summer sundresses and summer reading lists,
from Pooh Corner and E.B. White,
yellow roads and black stallions.
I am from card catalogs
and nickel fines on golden tickets
too precious to release.
I am from boy pranks
salted slugs writhing on sidewalks,
screaming cicadas tethered on strings,
or a tiny Cuban lizard flashing out of sight,
leaving its twitching tail in my surprised fingers.
I am from chess and Chinese checkers,
from battleships and "Do not pass Go."
I'm from Saturday morning cinnamon toast,
with Stooges and cartoons,
and from Sunday night popcorn
with Mickey and Walt.
I'm from Huntley and from Brinkley,
from Cambodia and Camelot,
from Dodge and Virginia City.
I am from the moon, ("One small step for a man,")
and from space, ("Danger, Will Robinson!")
I'm from diaries and Beta tapes,
records, 8-tracks and cassettes.
I am bound in books, boxes and baby clothes.
I am from these things, in these things,
whether remembered, forgotten or forsaken.
I have outgrown the sundresses but not the sun.
Nor the books...
Even if I give them away,
or pay the fines and return them,
I live on
in the stories.
This my the first in a planned trio of poems based on George Ella Lyon's remarkable poem, "Where I'm from." The next two will likely cover young adulthood and motherhood. (Maybe it will become a 4-part series, if I get ambitious in my old age -- not so long from now!) Click HERE to read Ms. Lyon's original poem, which inspired my own.
Oh and, ps -- the above photo is one I took during the winter of 2010 on the new Windsor Castle trail. Okay, I'll admit the "yellow brick" is a little Photoshop trickery!
...on a bulletin board, that is. This is a bulletin board that greeted me at Margaret Beeks Elementary School in Blacksburg, VA last Friday. What a treat. I love the added crocodile balloon! A big thanks to Lindsay Barron and all the fine staff and PTO of Beeks, (not to mention a bright, enthusiastic student body) for making the visit such a success.
Equal thanks goes to Christel Reiber, PTO volunteer extraordinaire of Trimmer and Wallace Elementary Schools in York, Pennsylvania, which I visited the day before, on March 18th. Christel juggled books, toddlers and schedules to pull together a terrific pair of visits to sister schools. I only wish I'd remembered to pull out my camera for a photo.
What a busy week ahead, (after a busy week LAST week!) but I'm excited about it. I'll be in York, Pennsylvania on Thursday, March 18th, visiting Trimmer and Wallace Elementary Schools. Then on Friday, I'll be in Blacksburg, VA, a few hours south, visiting Margaret Beeks Elementary.
Then, for icing on the cake, I'll be in Charlottesville on Saturday, attending the Festival of the Book. I've always meant to get to that and never have yet. So this will be a treat.
The BUSY part of last week was that I had two conferences, AND -- the best part -- got to meet and have dinner with my agent. It was such a great weekend!
Darn these crummy bifocals. Yesterday I thought I read the following headline:
"Cruel winter's latest
insults bears downeast"
Then I read it again:
"Cruel winter's latest insult bears down on East"
Well thank goodness. I'd hate to think some rude "latest" is going around insulting bears in Maine.
It gave me such a grin that I have been inspired to "limerize" the following poem:
IT'S NOT POLITE TO INSULT BEARS
by Kim Norman
The bulletin caused me to frown,
and my brain wondered, "Black bears? or brown?"
Then I found my opaque,
Ursa Major mistake
was confusing a verb for a noun.