20 Days of Picture Books

It’s picture book month, and I couldn’t be any more excited if I won the lottery. Well, maybe winning the lottery is a stretch… what about if it were my birthday. That’s good!

One thing I love as much as my birthday is picture books! Big ones and little ones, about kids and animals, funny ones and not so funny ones.  November gives me the opportunity to celebrate this particular genre.

What is PBM? According to picturebookmonth.com it’s an international literacy initiative that celebrates the print picture book during the month of November. Follow the previous link to find out more, and how you can participate.

What I’m doing for Picture Book Month

During the month of November, I’m sharing 20 Days of picture books from my personal bookshelf. Each day, I’ll add a book here on the blog, as well as my social media accounts, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Follow, and come back to find out what my daily picks are.

From my bookshelf 

5- Despite the Height by Ivory Latta & Charles R. Smith Jr., illustrated by D.J. Coffman. This book is a fun read, one that begs to be read out loud. B-bounce. Young, sports hopefuls who may fall short, will find it inspiring.

6 –That’s Good! That’s Bad! by Margery Cuyler. It’s a fun story with twist and turns. The illustrations by David Catrow are vibrant and just as fun as the story.

7 – Oh No, Gotta Go! by Susan Middleton Elya. This book is written in rhyme and is a fun read-aloud. Although it’s written in English, it’s infused with the perfect blend of Spanish words and phrases. Oh No, Gotta Go! makes a perfect bedtime story. For your child’s learning experience there is a glossary and pronunciation guide in the back of the book.

8 – Little Red and the Very Hungry Lion by Alex T. Smith. This story is reminiscent of Little Red Riding Hood but funner. Yes… funner! Alex is not only the author but the illustrator of this book. How cool is that?!

9 – The Gruffalo. I am truly enjoying choosing books from my library to share during picture book month. It has given me the opportunity to reread some really great books! The Gruffalo is one your children will want to read over, and over again. It’s even on Netflix! Written by Julia Donaldson, and illustrated by Alex Scheffler, this book will become a family favorite.

 

Bayou Stew Sneak Peek & Pre-Sale

 

In July, I announced that I am expecting… another book!  Bayou Stew, An Al-the-Gator Tale. The publication date is January 15, 2019. *Insert bells, whistles, fireworks, and shooting stars.*

Bayou Stew is a full-color children’s picture book about two unlikely friends, Al-the-Gator and Raycoon. After a ve-e-ery long nap, Al-the-Gator is hungrier than ever and sets out to find a snack. Al convinces Ray, a very favorable candidate, to help him make bayou stew like his grand mamaw used to make… And that’s just how all the fun starts.

The pair chop, dice and stir up a large pot of stew. Do they finally figure out what’s missing?

I’m offering a pre-sale of autographed copies.

Here’s a peek of Al-the-Gator.

Purchase your copy today. Books will be mailed out by January 30, 2019.

 

Available On Kindle

With great pleasure and the biggest smile on my face, I share with you… ‘Going On  A Bear Hunt,’ is now available on Kindle!

Released March 1, 2017, ‘Going On A Bear Hunt,’ is a children’s picture book about the adventure of two city boys who find themselves bored in Lockhart, Louisiana.

Uncle Eddie Ray takes Aiden and Austin on a bear hunt they will never forget.

With the purchase of a printed copy of the book, you can download the ebook for .99 cents.

And don’t forget to leave a review!

Announcing…

 

I’m expecting!

Yes. I am expecting another book, ‘Bayou Stew, An Al-the-Gator Tale.’ Above is a preliminary cover design.

Last summer, our grandson Jericho inspired a story about two unlikely friends, Al-the-Gator and Raycoon.

Who do you think is the most clever… an alligator or a raccoon?

In this story, Al convinces Ray to help him make bayou stew like his grand mamaw used to make. And that’s just how all the fun starts.

Coming Soon

The projected publication is January 2019. The exact date will be announced closer to the date.

Matthew Fileds, also the illustrator of ‘Going On a Bear Hunt,‘ and I teamed up to create another book. I can’t wait to share sneak peeks with you. Follow me on social media to get updates… Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

 

521 Books Collected

Since February 19, we’ve collected more than 500 books, 521 to be exact, for our Children’s Book Drive. I counted every book myself!

I’d like to take the time to thank every and anyone that has supported this effort by donating books, sharing social media posts, or a kind word. It has all been greatly appreciated.

We have not had the first pop-up event to give books away, and we’re making plans to make books available very soon! Stay tuned for updates and details.

“You can find magic wherever you look.  Sit back and relax all you need is a book!” – Dr. Seuss

Drop Everything And Read

STOP… In the name of books!

Drop Everything And Read!!!

Today is D.E.A.R. Day (drop everything and read day), “a national month-long celebration of reading designed to remind folks of all ages to make reading a priority activity in their lives.”

You don’t have to join a large group or have a fancy get-together to celebrate. Just take a little time out of your day, find a comfortable spot and read. Read to yourself, out-loud to your children, at a nursing home, or even at a local school. And don’t stop with today, or the month of April, make reading a priority.

D.E.A.R. is also celebrated on Beverly Cleary’s birthday April 12, after writing about it in one of her stories about Ramona Quimby.

My favorite Beverly Cleary books are ‘Ramona the Brave,’ and ‘Beezus and Ramona.” What are your favorite Beverly Cleary Books?

If you need help choosing a book to read visit your local library, they are sure to have a great selection and lots of suggestions!

 

Children’s Book Drive

We’re hosting a children’s book drive February 19, through March 3.

My goal is to raise at least 1,000 gently used, or like new children’s books of all genres. The books will be used to start a free library, with plans to have little free libraries at several locations throughout Pine Bluff.

For convenience, donation boxes will be at the following locations in Pine Bluff for easy drop-offs:

About three years ago, I shared my vision to start a bookmobile with Stephen Bronskill, a co-founder of What’s Next Pine Bluff. I explained that growing up, a bookmobile made frequent visits to our neighborhood school for kids to check out books.

I’ve always liked the bookmobile concept, but instead I would like to give the books away. Bronskill thought it was a great idea, and suggested I look into starting a little free library.

The idea of a free library is “give a book to get a book. I understand that not all children have a book to give. So first things first, I plan to give away books at a pop-up event March 31 hosted by Mt. Harmony MB Church. There will be other events afterward where children can exchange their books for another.

Since Bronskill shared free libraries with me, I’ve researched, collected information and even dreamt about book drives and free libraries. 2018 is the year I will make it happen.

Eventually, little free libraries will be in locations around Pine Bluff where children won’t have to wait for a pop-up event to get a new book.

Research, shared by Children’s Access to Print Material and Education-Related Outcomes, found that children with greater access to books and other print materials express more enjoyment of books, reading, and academics.

I want to share the joy of reading with children of Pine Bluff, while encouraging them to become lifelong readers.

The book drive is a family affair. We’ve also partnered with A-Plus Outreach Scholarship founded by my daughter Ajia and Ashley Gragg, as well as Mt. Harmony M. B. Church.

 

Bear Bait Trail Mix

What’s the perfect snack to munch on while reading ‘Going On a Bear Hunt,’ or actually going, on a bear hunt? Black Bear Bait Trail Mix of course!

It’s as easy as 1-2-3 to make and is an ideal way to get little hands involved.

Black Bear Bait Trail Mix Recipe

  • 1 cup Honey Nut Cheerios
  • 1 cup honey roasted peanuts (optional)
  • 1 cup Gold Fish pretzels (or preferred flavor)
  • 1 cup  mini marshmallows
  • 1 cup jelly beans
  • 1 cup graham cereal (not shown in picture)

Instructions

  1. Allow little helpers to measure out one cup of each item pouring it into a large bowl, and mix well.
  2. Add additional helpings of child’s favorites. Leave out the things they don’t like, or even add other snacks to make it your own.
  3. Separate into snack bags or cute containers for gifting.

What’s your child’s favorite snack to munch while reading?

Follow LaRich Media on Facebook, and Instagram @LaRichMediaGroup and share your Black Bear Bait Trail Mix.

Meet Aiden and Austin

Aiden and Austin are two fun-loving boys, who like to do what other little boys their ages like to do. It just so happens they have inspired a children’s book. And how cool is that???

It was the first Saturday in August, during our annual family reunion in 2016, this duo sparked my imaginative. Their adventure of bear hunting with their uncle intrigued me, but it was Aiden’s declaration that “Boys who hunt bear, don’t need shoes,” that got the wheels churning.

I had not written a children’s story in a while, years to be exact, and had been longing to get back to it. This was just what I needed.

Recently, their mom told me about spirit week at their school. For ‘Dress as your favorite book character day,’ Aiden went as Austin, and Austin as Aiden from ‘Going On a Bear Hunt.’ That really tickled me.

These two even had their very own book signing with their friends and family. That way cool.

More about Aiden & Austin

Favorite Food:
Aiden: Fettuccine
Austin: Tacos

Favorite Color:
Aiden: Green
Austin: Blue

Favorite Thing To Do:
Aiden: Play with airplanes
Austin: Ride his scooter

Now that you’ve met Aiden and Austin, the only thing left to do is click through to Amazon and purchase your copy of ‘Going On a Bear Hunt‘ today. Happy reading.

A Recap and Forecast

In July, ‘Going On a Bear Hunt’ and I hit the road for a Summer Tour. I read at several Girls and Boys Clubs, book stores, libraries, and summer programs.

I had the opportunity to read my book, answer tons of questions, take pictures, sign copies, and laughed a lot! Meeting and sharing with young people was the icing on the cake. One handsome little boy told me I was his favorite author. That lead to everyone else in the group repeating the same sentiment. And I enjoyed every minute.

Check out the pictures from the tour on LaRich Media’s Facebook page.

What’s Next

Now that summer is over, I’m preparing for upcoming school visits.  I’m looking forward to taking ‘Going On a Bear Hunt’ into classrooms and sharing this adventure. A few events and book signings are also in the works. I’ll be sure to share.

This summer I completed the story for my next book. Soon my illustrator and I will get to work! I am looking forward to sharing more about this project in the near future. My grandson sparked the inspiration for this next book.

Here’s to bear hunts and great adventures!