Posts Tagged ‘children’s books’

Review: “The Boy Who Changed the World”

September 7, 2010 Leave a comment

Norman Borlaug was a farmer’s son living in Iowa. He wonders about hungry people and if his father’s corn could feed them. That question takes him into a life’s work developing the grain to new heights. It also leads him to an employer named Henry Wallace.

The story moves backward through time from student to teacher and back to student. If goes from Norman back to Henry Wallace, back to George Carver who was a student of Henry’s father. From there it moves from George back to his adoptive father, Moses.

Andrews brings the thread of time and lineage to a tentative halt here. Tentative only because there is no real beginning to history.

The sense of history and hint of things not revealed encourages the reader to learn more about these people of the past. It presents the understanding that  six degrees of separation operates in the most unusual places.

This wonderful book, illustrated by Philip Hurst, gives readers, pause for thought at the connectedness of ourselves with the world and how we impact it each day with our choices. I would definitely recommend this book for any reader.

For details on this book, go to:

To see a preview, go to:

**I received this ARC free from the publisher through book reviewers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements in Advertising.”

It’s All In The Name

June 23, 2010 Leave a comment

Children’s writers all know what constitutes a chapter book or chapbook. After all, many writers create those delightful books for the young reader. A few short chapters welcome the child into the expanded world of books for confident readers. Think back to the Frog and Toad books of childhood.

Yet, many children’s writers may have overlooked a relative newcomer to the publishing market. A decade or so ago, an emergence began of a revamped version of the historically relevant Chapbook. So begins the confusion for beginning children’s writers everywhere.

I discovered the genre in an article appearing in Poets & Writers Magazine, Sept./Oct., 2009 issue. I’m sure that somewhere in the back of my brain I must have a faint recollection of such a genre, but I wouldn’t guarantee it.

P&W’s article explores the genre up to and including how to create your own small volume. Tips include; types of bindings, number of usual pages, and particulars on marketing. It’s a fascinating piece. Reviews of Chapbooks can be had for the looking, simply by going to There are also links to and interviews with authors. In fact, according to Amazon, one such book made it all the way to the NY Times Best-Seller List.

The problem lies in the fact that this much older form of writing and publishing also went by the name Chap Book or Chapbook. It began centuries ago so that writers could get their work out to the public. Those writers used the form for poetry, lyrics, essays, folktales, fairy tales, etc. There’s a rumor that the Brothers Grimm began with these tiny handmade books.

These books have begun plugging a large hole in the mainstream publishing industry. Small presses, too, publish these books all over the United States and England. Individual writers self-publish their efforts as well. Much of this writing centers on poetry or personal essays. These usually four by six-inch volumes are beginning to make an impact.

But a question begs asking. What does the children’s writer do about the name confusion? Can he/she do anything? Of course, any of these writers could publish their own chapbook for the child who hasn’t read the story about The Great Blizzard That Buried New York. In truth, such books of children’s poetry are out there in the marketplace already.

Also, when querying a publisher, how does the writer describe his/her manuscript? Perhaps, “Dear Editor, please accept this manuscript of chapter book length.”

I have nothing against the method or purpose of the modern version of history’s Chapbooks for the reading public. On the contrary, I think it’s another practice of the past being revived for the sake of the profession and its market. I just wish those tiny tomes of literary endeavor had a different name.

Perhaps, children’s writers could devise a different name for their own efforts. There’s always Ever-After-Books, the books that change a child’s reading ability forever. Or, Big-Kids-Books. That’s self-explanatory.

Of course, there’s always the possibility that those time-confused interlopers of literary exploitation will disappear from the industry soon. Unfortunately, I’m willing to believe that in today’s time-conscious world, the little gems will make themselves right at home, and we’ll all soon be carrying them with us as true pocketbooks.

Hey, there it is! The real name of those little books – Pocketbooks! I wonder if anyone will notice how that name got borrowed from the past, too?

Well, there you have it. My thought for the day. I’m sure some enterprising publisher somewhere will take these wee books and provide them for the developing world of the e-book enthusiasts, if they haven’t already.

Until next time, a bientot,



























Day 5 of NaPiBoWriWee–It Will Soon Be Over

May 5, 2010 Leave a comment

Yes, this week of writing insanity is drawing closer to the finale on Friday. So many of us writing things we’d never have thought of a mere week ago or a month ago, or even last year.

With each year of experience in this world, our capacity to find subjects for stories and small books increases exponentially. For every small non-fiction piece, a savvy writer can create half a dozen or more different articles just by changing the slant, the audience, the market. Most really good writers could bag more than a dozen.

That’s my goal. I’d like to be able to take the research I’ve done for one small non-fiction piece for children and set fire to that kernel until I have a whole bowl of popcorn made up of dozens of articles suitable for framing.

Does that sound improbable? Perhaps. I do have to get very good at tis thing called writing. But I think, with enough effort and concentration on my part I can come to a point of being able to get at least a dozen pieces our of one days research and have them all accepted. No learning comes without advantages and rewards, after all.

But for now, picture books are the center of the week’s writing universe. I did one today that in rough draft measures almost 1000 words. I will, of course, have to cut that way down, or maybe even cut it into two books and have them for different ages but both be picture books at the end. There’s an idea. I wonder. How hard would that be.

But, I digress. Two more days before all of those participating withdraw to our individual corners to dwell on what we might do with our “DIAMONDS IN THE ROUGH” as Paula Yoo calls them. Any idea that goes past a hundred words is definitely that alright.

And how was your day, reader? Did you get all you hoped accomplished. Don’t worry about it if you didn’t. I’m still two stories behind for another audience all together. I got way-laid by household necessity today and had to cut short writing projects. So don’t feel bad.

I hope tomorrow brings all those accomplishments to fruition. Take a deep breath, exhale. Now, move forward with determination and a smile on your face. Tomorrow will be a good as you make it. At least, for you. For others, it’s entirely up to them, don’t you know?

Take care and God bless.

A bientot,