Happy Dance (with Giveaway)

I recently signed with agent Lara Perkins of Andrea Brown Literary Agency! Woo hoo! Getting an agent is a four-year dream-in-the-making, and I feel grateful to have partnered with such a wonderful manager for my career. If anyone wants to know how fabulous and talented Lara is (and she is fabulous), just check out her bio on the Andrea Brown site.

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This turn of events brings some good news for my writer pals as well. You all have served as my inspirations, cheerleaders, and sounding boards for the past four years (kidlit writers are the best!). Thinking my agent search would take quite some time, I signed up for the “Picture Book and Easy Reader Manuscript Critiques” workshop with agent Sean McCarthy through InkedVoices. Now that I’m getting feedback from my own agent, I asked InkedVoices founder Brooke McIntyre if I could raffle off my spot. She graciously agreed, because Brooke is awesome like that too!

The critique session is wholly online, includes a Webinar with Sean, and starts May 3rd. Because I am not savvy enough to use Rafflecopter, if you would like to enter the raffle for the workshop, please just say so in the comments below. My children will be pressed into service and will draw the winner out of a hat. The deadline to enter is Friday, April 15th, so I can notify the winner and connect him or her with Brooke.

Good luck, and please help me spread the word.

PPBF: One Plastic Bag

Yes, I’m a huge Miranda Paul fan. I’ve read Miranda’s debut book, ONE PLASTIC BAG, many times. This year, I shared it with my kindergarten through 3rd-grade LEGO League team. The FIRST LEGO League Jr. challenge was  “Waste Wise,” and students learned about trash, reusing, and recycling. This book was a perfect fit for one of our research sessions.

TITLE: ONE PLASTIC BAG

AUTHOR: Miranda Paul

ILLUSTRATOR: Elizabeth Zunon

PUBLICATION INFO: Millbrook Press, 2015

ISBN:978-1467716086

SOURCE: personal copy

INTENDED AUDIENCE: grades 1 through 4

GENRE: nonfiction picture book

OPENING and SYNOPSIS:

“Isatou walks with her chin frozen.

Fat raindrops pelt her bare arms. Her face hides in the shadow of a palm-leaf basket, and her neck stings with every step.”

From the publisher: “Plastic bags are cheap and easy to use. But what happens when a bag breaks or is no longer needed? In Njau, Gambia, people simply dropped the bags and went on their way. One plastic bag became two. Then ten. Then a hundred.

The bags accumulated in ugly heaps alongside roads. Water pooled in them, bringing mosquitoes and disease. Some bags were burned, leaving behind a terrible smell. Some were buried, but they strangled gardens. They killed livestock that tried to eat them. Something had to change.

Isatou Ceesay was that change. She found a way to recycle the bags and transform her community. This inspirational true story shows how one person’s actions really can make a difference in our world.”

THEMES/TOPICS: social activism, recycling

WHY I LIKE THIS BOOK: One Plastic Bag has so many hooks. First, Miranda incorporates Gambian culture and language into the text, immersing the reader into Isatou’s world. Second, the book has great read aloud-ability. Miranda uses a repeating refrain: “first one, then two, then ten,” which makes kids want to chant along. Finally, who can resist a story about one person seeing an insurmountable problem and taking a small step that leads to a giant change?

RESOURCES/ACTIVITIES:

  • One Plastic Bag‘s Web site is packed with activities and information, including a PowerPoint about The Gambia and instructions for turning plastic bags into purses.

You’ll find way more cool books at Susanna Leonard Hill’s “Perfect Picture Books.” Every Friday folks review a host of new books. Join us!