Around the Web with OAV Authors: May 2017

How about another themed edition of our “Around the Web” feature, this time with a Throwback Thursday flavor. Our Online Author Visits members are always busy creating new works, but their earlier ones are just as fun to discover (or rediscover, as the case may be). The following roundup offers a clickable gem from each OAVer’s storied past!

Erik Brooks wrote and illustrated The Practically Perfect Pajamas, an adorable picture book about being true to yourself. It came out in 2000, and one teacher reviewer noted that it’s a perfect read-aloud for Pajama Day at school!PerfectPajamas

Kirkus called Dia Calhoun’s 1999 YA novel Firegold (her first!), “A heartfelt, emotionally trenchant coming-of-age adventure with a lightly mystical bent.”

Speaking of first novels, Patrick Jennings published Faith and the Electric Dogs in 1996, and Publishers Weekly said he took “a soaring flight into magic realism in this captivating tale narrated with brio by a Mexican street dog.”

For the October 2011 issue of Odyssey magazine, Laurie Thompson wrote the super-fun science article “Wanted for Breaking the Law (of Viscosity).” (It’s about non-Newtonian fluids. Activity included!)

Visit Dori Jones Yang’s website to learn the story of her collaboration with Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz on their popular 1997 business book, Pour Your Heart Into It.

Did you know that Martha Brockenbrough wrote a humorous book chronicling her pregnancy (and more) in 2002? It’s called It Could Happen to You: Diary of a Pregnancy and Beyond.

Here’s where you can find Suzanne Williams’s first-ever book, Mommy Doesn’t Know My Name. It launched in 1996, and according to School Library Journal, “It’s a fun, crazy book that works extremely well.”

Clare Hodgson Meeker’s lovely picture book Who Wakes Rooster? was a 1997 Bank Street College Book of the Year selection.

Talon, published in 2007, was the first novel in Janet Lee Carey’s Wilde Island Chronicles series.

Dori Hillestad Butler is known for her mystery series. Check out her 2003 nonfiction title Whodunit: How the Police Solve Crimes for a glimpse at a real-world process that informs her work.

In 1995, Booklist said, “Readers too young for Stephen King will find satisfaction” in David Patneaude’s eerie book Dark Starry Morning: Stories of This World and Beyond.

Former weather forecaster Trudi Trueit wrote Storm Chasers — one of her many, MANY informational titles — back in 2002.

Deb Lund published the sweet Tell Me My Story, Mama in 2004. Visit her author site for help tracking down a copy for a young one you know who’s about to become a sibling for the first time.

This looks like lots of fun: a 2004 picture book by Joan Holub called Geogra-Fleas! Riddles All Over the Map.

Click over to Lisa L. Owens’s website, then scroll down to see Booklist’s turn-of-the-21st-century comments on American Justice: Seven Famous Trials of the 20th Century.

And here you’ll find info on 2013’s BOB Books: Rhyming Words boxed set featuring Dana Sullivan’s always fetching illustration work.

That covers our whole crew. If you’d like to learn more about our members and consider booking one of us for a virtual or in-person visit, be sure to check out our Author Profiles page.

Happy #TBT, everyone — hope to see you again soon!

 

 

 

A Creativity Tsunami

 

It’s easy to think there’s nothing we can do that will make a difference in the tsunami of suffering and hatred that bombards us, whether the cause of that tsunami is external or internal.

But there are creative ways we can all make a difference.

As children’s book creators, teachers, parents, and as all people (because we’re all creative)…

 

Your acts of creativity, your willingness and passion for sharing your gifts, and your concern for young people is a good place to begin.

 

 

 

 

 

I can hear you now. “But I don’t have any talent!” or maybe you’re the one thinking, “Yes, I create, but it’s just for me.” Or this—

“I’m just a teacher, not an artist.”

 

Creativity is not talent. Creativity is a problem-solving practice.

Everyone is creative.

From dinner plans to business plans, we create on a daily basis. Being creative is an action, not an inborn trait. It’s about keeping your mind open, seeing possibilities, mashing together unlike objects to form something new.

Creativity rarely happens all at once. It’s a process, but it’s one that doesn’t always look or act the same.

Sometimes we get an idea and then either knowingly or unknowingly identify it with previous experiences. At this point, we might not have a clue where the idea will lead us. Often, we don’t quite get to the next step—discovering which qualities from those past experiences will transform the idea into something new.

And when we don’t make that connection, we call it failure.

That’s wrong. Creativity requires risk, perseverance, and a willingness to fail.

That’s where you need to change your story. Not a story you may be writing, but the story you may be telling yourself.

I’ve had lots of those stories. I attribute them to Miss Midge, my inner critic.

 

I was 25 when I first submitted a manuscript. It was rejected. I didn’t send anything in again for 15 years, using the near-universal belief “I don’t have time to write.” But then, as a pregnant 40-year-old, I knew I’d never have time, so I began. My husband would laugh at how I celebrated rejection letters. I gave myself a new belief, which was that each rejection meant I was a step closer to finding a home for the manuscript.

It’s like checking off a list. We just don’t know how many items are on that list until the end arrives. You need to hold out until you reach that unknown quota.

So how does creativity make a difference?

Creativity promotes wellbeing. We gain satisfaction from seeing what we’ve created, which helps to foster and maintain a positive outlook.

Just think what we could do with more of that!

But it’s not just about us. And that’s not all creativity can do.

 

Creativity opens minds and hearts. It increases understanding, confidence, collaboration, and empathy. It creates communities and lays the groundwork for making a difference in the world. And it’s contagious.

Creativity breeds more creativity.

We model art through our creative actions, which can inspire others to do the same. The problems we deal with need creative solutions. Practicing and promoting creativity inspires out-of-the-box problem solvers.

So, where do we start? At the beginning! We need to ensure that creativity is a valued part of our education system. But just how do we help students claim their creative birthright and be the problem solvers we so desperately need?

First of all, we give them basic skills, knowledge, materials, and activities that strengthen creativity. Then we encourage risk-taking and confidence. Oh, and along with that, they’ll need safe places to develop their own ideas and harness their own passions. In other words, we need to actually teach them techniques, tools, and applications of creative expression, and then get out of their way so they can take leaps and reach heights we can’t imagine.

Because it’s their imagination, their creativity, their ideas and expression that will solve our problems.

Along with that, of course, we need to give teachers the tools they’ll need to facilitate teaching creativity. They need workshops, strategies, models, and mentors. They’ve weathered enough and need a little creativity to solve the current educational issues. Let’s get out of their way, too.

The tsunami is real, but we who commit time and energy to nurturing creativity will help change the tide. Ripples can make waves. With enough of us, we could start our own creativity tsunami.

Who’s with me?

Where and when will you start?

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GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment to enter a raffle for your chance to win one of two FREE picture books from Deb Lund! One lucky commenter will receive Dinosailors, and another will receive All Aboard the Dinotrain. The contest will close May 31, 2017.