Monday, May 25, 2015

Welcome Summer!

I know summer doesn't officially begin until June 21st, but at the Stewart home, summer started this past weekend. Our celebrations began on Friday which was our Independent Studies Award and Field Day. Emily won a ribbon for a writing contest she entered, but the best part of her day was playing around with her friends in survivor style games like twister, pizza box stacking, and the chicken maze. And she rounded the day out by attending a birthday party at the local YMCA.


 


Saturday found her attending another birthday party, this one at a skating rink. That was followed by an overnight with another friend. While the child was away, the parents did play. Okay, we didn't really play. Bobby spent the day building me upright raspberry gardens and I spent the day weeding the horribly overgrown flower bed.





Sunday afternoon found us grilling for my side of the family. There were plenty of hamburgers, chicken burgers, and hot dogs to go around as well as corn on the cob, watermelon, other assorted fresh fruits, and my mom's potato salad. After lunch, a little t-ball with my three year old nephew made for some entertaining moments.

And wouldn't you know that the two books I chose this week just happened to include hotdogs and baseball.

Home Run by Robert Burleigh and Mike Wimmer is the story of Babe Ruth. Robert told Babe's amazing story in a non rhyming poetic manner as if he were describing a single baseball game. In addition, every other page included facts on vintage style baseball cards. Mike added dimension to the story with some of the most fantastic illustrations I have seen in a while. Illustrations, which I might add, that looked like they were oil paintings.



While this is a picture book, I think it would be best suited to children in third or fourth grade who would be old enough to enjoy the depth of art, baseball stats, and history in this story. And of course, any adult they might like to share with.

Hot Dog - Elenor Roosevelt Throws a Picnic was an equally wonderful book about real people and a real event. It is the story of a picnic thrown by Mrs. Roosevelt in honor of the visiting King and Queen of England. People from all over sent her letters telling how they thought hot dogs were not fit to serve royalty, but Mrs. Roosevelt loved hot dogs and thought there was no better all American picnic food then hot dogs. And I must confess that I thoroughly agree.





Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Join me next week for another exciting episode, same crazy time, same crazy channel. And feel free to drop by my personal website, Fun With Aileen, any day of the week for even more on reading, writing, my very own early grade chapter book, Fern Valley, the sequel, Return To Fern Valley, and the soon to be released Cooking In Fern Valley (fall 2015)! I'm also on twitter @AileenWStewart if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Appreciating The Little Things!

This past weekend was the twentieth anniversary of the company my husband works for, so we sent Emily to her Grandmother's for an overnight and we gussied ourselves up to attend the gala event. Before we left we had Emily take our picture since Bobby and I don't really have many pictures of just the two of us.


It was a lively affair with a wonderful catered lunch, delicious desserts, fun photo booths, door prizes, dancing, and mingling. We were surprised to win one of the larger door prizes, a cannon rebel and all of the extras like a tripod, lens filters, a bag, and so much more. And although we already have a fabulous Nikon and don't really need another camera, we appreciated the gift and the party given in  honor of dedicated employees.



The book I read for this week's review also made me stop and think about how important it is to appreciate the little things, especially when life is difficult. When I Was Eight is based on the true life experiences of Margaret Pokiak-Fenton, a small girl born in the arctic, whose only dream was to learn to read Alice In Wonderland like her older sister.


When she finally talks her father into letting her attend a catholic school in the town where they trade, she finds school daunting. One of the nuns cuts of her hair, changes her name, demands hours of tiring chores from her, and demeans her at every turn, but Margaret is determined to learn to read no matter what. Against the odds, Margaret teaches herself to read and gains an ember of self confidence that even the cruel nun can not douse.

Although a very serious book with some dark moments, I think children are bright enough to take away the same messages I took away. Don't let anyone crush your dreams. Don't let difficult circumstances keep you from achieving. And, stand up for yourself!

Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Join me next week for another exciting episode, same crazy time, same crazy channel. And feel free to drop by my personal website, Fun With Aileen, any day of the week for even more on reading, writing, my very own early grade chapter book, Fern Valley, the sequel, Return To Fern Valley, and the soon to be released Cooking In Fern Valley (fall 2015)! I'm also on twitter @AileenWStewart if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Cover Reveal for Quack and Daisy

This past week was super busy with taking Emily to American Heritage Girls, children's church, home school lessons, trips to the post office, and Friday classes at school, not to mention Sunday was my birthday and Mother's Day. It was busy but good. And one of the best parts was receiving the cover, for my very first picture book, from my publisher.

So a drum roll if you please..........




Quack, the duckling, and Daisy, the kitten, meet in the meadow and become instant best friends. But, members of their families soon have the two wondering if they can be friends at all. Will Daisy survive a dunk in the pond? Will Quack prevail at catching a mouse? And most important of all, will the two stay friends or go their separate ways?

Currently this book is in layout design, but I should have pre-release copies this summer and it should officially release sometime early fall. Therefore, if you find this book even the slightest bit interest grabbing, I have some additional good  news. I recently signed a contract for the second book in this series called, Quack and Daisy - Beyond the Meadow. So look for them both in the very near future.

Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Join me next week for another exciting episode, same crazy time, same crazy channel. And feel free to drop by my personal website, Fun With Aileen, any day of the week for even more on reading, writing, my very own early grade chapter book, Fern Valley, the sequel, Return To Fern Valley, and the soon to be released Cooking In Fern Valley (fall 2015)! I'm also on twitter @AileenWStewart if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days.

Monday, May 4, 2015

The Hudson Children's Book Festival and Some Really Great Books!

This past weekend was the last of my spring trips, and I must say that attending the Hudson Children's Book Festival was a great way to wrap up those travels! I was seated next to one of my besties, Miss Debbie Dadey, who has been writing for many years and has two popular series: The Bailey School Kids and The Mermaid Tales.


My daughter, Emily, began reading the Baily School Kids series just this past month and really likes them, so you know they come highly recommended. And, I was able to get a first hand glance at Debbie's newest Mermaid Tale which won't even be available for a few more weeks.

http://amzn.to/1PgkZVW
 
Debbie Dadey

I participated in an interview with Artie Bennett and Doug Snelson which was most exciting. Artie almost made poop sound fun with his lyrical sharing of his book Poopendous, and Doug's book, Who's Got The Face sound pretty intriguing as well.

 
 
I had fun hanging out with Miss Tara Lazar who was there signing her book, The Monstore, which really is for both boys and girls, I promise!




I could go on and on, but I need to get this article finished up, and I need to get the dishes done. I know, the glamorous life we authors lead.

Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Join me next week for another exciting episode, same crazy time, same crazy channel. And feel free to drop by my personal website, Fun With Aileen, any day of the week for even more on reading, writing, my very own early grade chapter book, Fern Valley, the sequel, Return To Fern Valley, and the soon to be released Cooking In Fern Valley (fall 2015)! I'm also on twitter @AileenWStewart if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Ohioana And Some Really Great Books!

As I mentioned in my last post, April is a busy month. This past Saturday I spent the day in Columbus, Ohio at the OHIOANA Book Fair. One of my favorite pastimes at book fairs is getting to meet social media friends in person, and this time around, I was able to meet fellow Ohio authors Brandon Marie Miller and Tricia Springstubb. My librarian friend, Miss Holly, also stopped by to say hello.

Brandon Marie Miller, Tricia Springstubb, and Me
 
Miss Holly and Me
 
Brandon writes a super informative and interesting series about some of our early Presidents and historical figures like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Ben Franklin. These books would be great for teachers to use in the classrooms or for kids who love history. I am simply awed by the amount of research and work that Brandon has put into these books.






Tricia has several books. Her picture book Phoebe and Digger is adorable, and her brand new middle grade book Cody and the Fountain of Happiness is sure to be a great success with the eight to twelve girls. Tricia even passed out buttons that said HAPPY on them. How can you not love a book about happiness?



Next week I will be attending the Hudson Children's Book Festival in New York, I can hardly wait to see what other great authors and books I will encounter!

Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Join me next week for another exciting episode, same crazy time, same crazy channel. And feel free to drop by my personal website, Fun With Aileen, any day of the week for even more on reading, writing, my very own early grade chapter book, Fern Valley, the sequel, Return To Fern Valley, and the soon to be released Cooking In Fern Valley (fall 2015)! I'm also on twitter @AileenWStewart if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days.

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Southern Kentucky Book Festival And Some Really Great Books!

Spring is proving to be a busy season for me, and every weekend is pretty much booked until May second. On the eleventh I went to my local library for the Drop Everything And Read event. This past weekend I went to the Southern Kentucky Book Festival. Next weekend I will be participating in Ohioana. And the weekend after that, I will be at the Hudson Children's Book Festival in Hudson New York.



 
Marvin Memorial Library Event
 
Since I am so busy, I don't really have time to read and review books like I normally do, so I thought I would share some great books from the events I attend. I made a new friend in tablemate Gail Nall this past weekend. Her debut book is called, Breaking The Ice. It is a book about a girl who wants to be an Olympic Skater. The cover alone is enough to catch my interest, and the back matter makes it sound perfect for girls eight to twelve.


 
Gail Nall and I at SOKY

 
And of course there was Finley Flowers Original Recipe by my friend Jessica Young. And since you all know I love to cook, how could I not recommend this book about a girl entering a cooking contest?

 
Flanked by Kristin Tubb, Jessica Young, and Gail Nall

 
And last but not least, a book illustrated by my friend Susan Eaddy called My Love For You Is The Sun. Her work with sculpting clay is so amazing that you just have to purchase this book and see for yourselves.

 
Susan Eaddy and I 
 
 Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Join me next week for another exciting episode, same crazy time, same crazy channel. And feel free to drop by my personal website, Fun With Aileen, any day of the week for even more on reading, writing, my very own early grade chapter book, Fern Valley, the sequel, Return To Fern Valley, and the soon to be released Cooking In Fern Valley (fall 2015)! I'm also on twitter @AileenWStewart if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days.


Monday, April 13, 2015

Backyard Camping



Spring has finally sprung here in Ohio and my giant crocus and daffodils are in full bloom. Spring also means a trip to the Southern Kentucky Book Festival in Bowling Green. This time, Bobby and Emily will be joining me and will be seeing the sites as I sign books and present to a room full of children.

 
Although there are still a few days before we leave, I have been getting things ready. The snack box is filling up with items like sweet potato chips, Triscuits, apples, my favorite tea, and some Oreos because traveling just wouldn't be as much fun without a special treat. I'm also making my list of what to take so I don't forget anything, and I am making sure all the batteries for our assorted electronics are charged.

All of this packing makes me reminiscent of  my childhood vacations. Every year my father would take our family camping for a week. I mean the old fashioned canvas tent type of camping. The kind of camping where we were able to drink soda every day and roast marshmallows over the camp fire because it only happened once a year. The kind of camping where you had to make sure your coolers were locked up for the night so the raccoons didn't have a midnight feast.



And speaking of midnight feasting and camping, leads me right into the book I happened to review for this week. It is called Billie B. Brown - The Midnight Feast, and it is a story about what I just described___ tent camping and feasting.

Billie B. Brown

Written for the very beginning chapter book readers, it is the story of Billie and her best friend Jack who are going to camp out in Jack's back yard in his brand new tent. Billie brings lots of treats, including marshmallows, so they can have a feast at midnight. But midnight is so far away, that the snacks start getting eaten. As their adventure continued and the darkness of night began to settle in, Billie and Jack heard noises and imagined large scary monsters. They were scared, but didn't want to give up their camping trip. The solution to their problem was a simple change of location.

I loved this book for many reasons. First because it took me back to my own childhood and camping, which also included backyard adventures. strange noises, and location changes, although the location change in my case was due to rain. So if you and your children love camping or even if you have never been camping, I think you will enjoy this adventure with Billie and Jack.

Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Join me next week for another exciting episode, same crazy time, same crazy channel. And feel free to drop by my personal website, Fun With Aileen, any day of the week for even more on reading, writing, my very own early grade chapter book, Fern Valley, the sequel, Return To Fern Valley, and the soon to be released Cooking In Fern Valley (fall 2015)! I'm also on twitter @AileenWStewart if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days.