#MentorTextMoment, Books, Writing

YouTube/IG TV Book Reviews

IMG_2762
Me, wearing my fancy t-shirt and ready to record a book review!

I read as many new nonfiction/STEM books as I possibly can, thanks to the library. And I miss reviewing them. But I don’t have the time to craft lengthy blog posts or create lots of pretty Instagram graphics. So, I’m trying something new.

Whenever I get a new library stack, I will:

  1. Read the books.
  2. Change out of my gym clothes, fix my hair, and MAYBE put on a little lip gloss.
  3. Record some 2-minute video book reviews in a single take.
  4. I’ll post the videos to YouTube as well as my IGTV channel. I’ll also share the links on my Facebook page.

Want to make sure you don’t miss a post? Subscribe to my YouTube channel or follow me on Instagram. I can’t guarantee I’ll always update the blog with new videos.

So, here’s an initial batch of reviews:

Enjoy! And if you have 2020 NF/STEM book recommendations, let me know.

Books, News, Writing

A WONDER-ful New Book Deal

Wonder Girls Mar 1981Despite my serious look in the above photo, I adored playing Wonder Woman as a little girl with my sister Stephanie (left). I mean, just look at our ultra-hip Underoos plus homemade tiaras, bracelets, and lassos. We meant business.

When I read historian Jill Lepore’s SECRET HISTORY WONDER WOMAN a couple of years ago, I was intrigued to learn the origin story of my favorite childhood superhero. First, Wonder Woman was developed as an antidote to parental and teacher complaints about comic books (something we still hear today). For a time, Joye Hummel, a woman!, co-wrote scripts with Wonder Woman’s creator (and I got to speak with her on the phone).  Plus the character was a powerful influence on Gloria Steinem and appeared on the cover of Ms. Magazine. And there’s so much more!

Though I typically write biographies of people, I knew I could write a biography of a superhero and the evolution of what she’s meant to people over eight decades.

I am so delighted my editor, Jennifer Greene (a true fan!), has paired me with illustrator Katy Wu, who will be illustrating in comic book style. Stay tuned for more early next year.

(And shout out to my mom for this awesome photo circa 1981, which will appear in my author’s note.)

Here’s the book announcement:

Screen Shot 2020-07-16 at 3.02.30 PM

Books, Cultivating curiosity, Homeschool, Science/Math

Happy birthday STEM Book Giveaway

C3B469A9-D549-4EF4-971A-EC9B79215B53

WOOD, WIRE, WINGS has been out in the world for nearly three whole months. In celebration, I’m giving away an autographed copy of WOOD, WIRE, WINGS, along with a copy of Vicky Fang’s HAPPY PAWS. To enter, sign up for my monthly newsletter here. That’s it! Giveaway ends 5/25 at midnight PDT. Sorry, US entries only.

Books, Homeschool, News

Activities for curious kids, where to read books, and more 😷

Taking action in the time of COVID-19

4B0955C7-AA50-4202-995A-7EAFD34C6D57

Hi friends,

Was it just over a month ago that WOOD, WIRE, WINGS finally took flight? It seems like an eternity after four weeks at home. With many of my book events postponed or canceled over the coming months, I’m focused on what I can do right now, both physically and emotionally.

  • Continuing to create – I’m revising a graphic novel and researching a new STEM picture book. For me, creating is an anchor in turbulent times.
  • Reading books for inspiration (and reviewing them) – I was lucky enough to pick up a stack of print books two hours before my library closed its doors. I’ve read and reviewed most of them already, so I’m also reading ebooks/audiobooks via Amazon Prime Reading and Libby/Overdrive linked to my library account. (I love listening to audiobooks on Libby while working jigsaw puzzles or baking). Audible is another source for free children’s audiobooks, and countless creators are offering readings and book clubs online. I review as many books as I can on Amazon, B&N, and Goodreads. Since book creators can no longer host in-person events, book reviews are more important than ever for helping readers discover new books. If you’ve read WOOD, WIRE, WINGS, I would be deeply grateful if you would leave an honest review on the book platform of your choice.
  • Boosting booksellers – Local bookstores are suffering terribly right now, though many remain open for online and phone orders, often with curbside pickup or inexpensive delivery. You can contact your bookseller directly or shop your local indie at Bookshop.org. Don’t need books for yourself? Consider placing an order to stock a local Little Free Library or buying a gift certificate for later use. Audiobook-lovers can support indies by buying through Libro.fm. Finally, if you are an Amazon fan, the good news is physical books have been reclassified as “essential” with faster ship times and deep discounts (WOOD, WIRE, WINGS is currently discounted to $14.34).
  • Connecting with readers online – I’ve created a YouTube version of my engineering design workshop, and have done a few Zoom/Skypes with classes who have read my book. It’s always a delight to connect with young readers, especially when the opportunities are scarce. If you are trying to keep kids busy at home, the number of resources available is overwhelming, but you can find many wonderful ideas from my debut picture book group, The Soaring 20s, on our website.

Here’s hoping you are able to stay safe at home, while your dreams soar in books.



Oh, the places I’ve been (virtually)

It’s been a busy couple of months with lots of podcasts, guest blog posts, and media appearances. Here are a few of the places I’ve been.

Coming soon: appearances on Jedlie’s Reading With Your Kids podcast (4/21), Matthew Winner’s Children’s Book Podcast (week of 4/27), Chris Wood’s STEM Everday Podcast (TBD), and much more. Follow me on Twitter @kirstenwlarson or follow my Facebook page so you don’t miss my upcoming appearances.


Books I’m Over the Moon About












Arts/Crafts, Cultivating curiosity, Education, Homeschool, Parenting, Reading

Tools and Activities for Keeping At-Home Kids Busy

For those who have students home from school due to COVID-19, children’s book creators are putting together a number of resources to keep your students occupied and engaged. Aside from creator content, I am also sharing some of my favorite sites for kid-friendly activities and content. My goal is to keep this site updated as I find out about more.

Uncategorized

✈✈ Thanks for helping WOOD, WIRE, WINGS take off! 💥💥

 

Wood, Wire, Wings

takes off!



Thanks so much to everyone who came to my Barnes and Noble book launch and helped raise money for Valley View Elementary School. It was such a thrill to see so many family, friends, and young readers. It’s not too late to support Valley View’s school library by buying a book of your choice at BN.com and using the school’s bookfair ID at checkout. See the graphic below for where to enter the ID. The fundraiser ends 3/7.






Support books you love without spending a dime

I know that not everyone will be able to buy my book, but please know there are SO MANY other ways you can help authors like me. Here’s a great post from LitReactor about how to support your favorite books without spending a dime.

  • Consider asking your library to buy the book.
  • No matter where you read the book, please review it at the book retailer of your choice. This helps others discover the book.
  • If you see the book in a bookstore or library, turn it face out on the shelf.
  • Take a selfie with the book and share it on social media.

I’ll be honest, I have so many author/illustrator friends, and I can’t buy all of their books. BUT these are some of the things I do to support them.









News

✈✈ Help me celebrate WOOD, WIRE, WINGS as it soars onto bookshelves! 💥💥



I’m thrilled to announce my true picture book, WOOD, WIRE, WINGS: Emma Lilian Todd Invents an Airplane, will take off Monday, March 2nd at Barnes & Noble in Palmdale, CA. Join me at 6 p.m. for a storytime, a STEM activity, and book signing. A percentage of purchases (of any books, plus, music, games, and toys) will support the school library at Valley View Elementary School. Just mention the Valley View Bookfair and/or bring a copy of the flyer above. You also can donate books from teacher wishlists for their classroom libraries.

Not local? You can still help me celebrate by ordering merchandise online (gift cards and ebooks excluded) and using Bookfair ID 12584280 at checkout between March 2 and March 7.  Let’s celebrate literacy together by raising money for our school libraries! Learn more about Bookfairs at B&N.



Books I’m Over the Moon About









Books, Education, Homeschool

Nonfiction PB Pairings: Reading the stories behind children’s classics

Top 10 Must-See Travel Destinations

I just finished two wonderful nonfiction picture books that reveal how two classic children’s books came to be. And that made me think about what fun it would be to pair these picture book biographies with the children’s classics in the classroom.

First up is FINDING NARNIA by Caroline McAlister, illustrated by Jessica Lanan (Roaring Brook, November 2019). In our schools, students read C. S. Lewis’s THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE in fifth grade. A magnificent companion, FINDING NARNIA is the story of (C.S. Lewis) and his brother Warnie, the imaginative world they invented as children, and how those childhood stories grew into the world of Narnia.

Next, MIEP AND THE MOST FAMOUS DIARY by Meeg Pincus, illustrated by Jordi Solano (Sleeping Bear Press, August 2019), explains how Miep Gies rescued Anne Frank’s diary when Anne and her family were taken by the Nazis. This book pairs perfectly with Anne Frank’s DIARY OF A YOUNG GIRL, which our students read in 7th grade.

For younger readers, Melissa Sweet’s SOME WRITER! THE STORY OF E. B. WHITE (HMH, 2016) could be read alongside E. B. White’s CHARLOTTE’S WEB (approximately 3rd grade).

Finally, I’m looking forward to the forthcoming BEATRIX POTTER, SCIENTIST by Lindsay H. Metcalf, illustrated by Junyi Wu forthcoming in September from Albert Whitman. What a great book to read alongside THE TALE OF PETER RABBIT.

The takeaway: if your classroom is reading a classic work of literature with students, check your library to see if a picture book biography is available about the author. PB bios and classic children’s books are always better together.

If you have other great pairings, please share them in the comments. I’ll add them to the Pinterest Board I’ve started.

Books, News, school visits

📣 Now booking — Free Skype Visits for World Read Aloud Day 📚 Feb. 5, 2020

 


Teachers and librarians, I’m now booking free 15-minute Skype visits for World Read Aloud Day on Feb. 5, 2020! My schedule, along with those of 50+ other creators, is available on author Kate Messner’s website.

To book, just send me an email at creatingcuriouskids [at] gmail [dot] com with the following information:

1. What’s your name and where do you teach? Please include your school, city, and time zone.

2. What are ALL the time slots that would work for you, based upon my availability on Kate’s site? I will certainly try to meet your first choice, but the more flexible you are, the more likely it is that I’ll be able to accommodate your request. Please note that once your visit is scheduled, I may not be able to reschedule.

3. How many students will I be Skyping with, and what grade(s) will be included? 

4. What book(s) will the students have read before our Skype visit? This is not required for WRAD (which involves reading my books aloud, of course) but students tend to have a better experience if they are familiar with my books in advance and brainstorm questions. You can find a full list of my books on my website.

5. What is your username on Skype? If you do not have a username yet please go to the Skype website, sign up for an account, and get a username before you email me.

6. Please provide a classroom or cell phone number where you can be reached on the day of our scheduled visit in case of technical difficulties.

If Feb. 5 doesn’t work for you, remember I’m offering free,15-minute Skype visits for classrooms and libraries who have read WOOD, WIRE, WINGS: EMMA LILIAN TODD INVENTS AN AIRPLANE with their students after its release on Feb. 25 (through May 31).

Want to make sure you don’t miss release day? Mark the book “to read” on Goodreads, and you’ll get an email when it releases. Or preorder at your store of choice. Need one more nudge? Below is a picture of a recent Skype I did with fourth-graders in Tulare, California.

ICYMI: Blog Roundup

 

How do authors leave “fingerprints” all over their work? Check out my discussion of author voice and point of view in this #STEMTuesday post.


Books I’m Over the Moon About






News

📣 Announcing free Skype visits for teachers and librarians, my latest book recommendations 📚, and more

Coming soon: Free Skype Visits for

WOOD, WIRE, WINGS



In just four months, WOOD, WIRE, WINGS will be out in the world. I’m celebrating the final countdown by offering four months of free, 15-minute Skype visits to teachers and librarians who read my book with their students.

Here’s the fine print: Once the book releases February 25, 2020, read and discuss the book with your kids. Then reach out to me at creatingcurioukids@gmail.com or through my website to schedule a virtual, 15-minute visit with your classroom or library. I can FaceTime and Google Hangout too. Virtual visits must take place between February and May 2020.

Want to make sure you don’t miss the release day? Mark WOOD, WIRE, WINGS “to read” on Goodreads, and you’ll get an email when it releases. Or preorder at your store of choice.

I’ll have an educator’s guide available in February chock full of ideas for using my book in your classroom or storytime.


ICYMI: Oh, the places I’ve been

  • Looking for more ideas to connect kids with real-life authors and illustrators? Check out my blog post on the Soaring 20’s blog for suggestions.
  • Meanwhile, Kathy Temean graciously hosted a cover reveal for WOOD, WIRE, WINGS on her Writing and Illustrating blog (scroll down), though all you lovelies saw the cover ages ago.

Books I’m Over the Moon About