#Kidlit Imagine That! Biography of Dr. Seuss by Judy Sierra

Okay, I keep saying I’m going to quit reviewing while I write my own children’s books. Whenever I say it, of course I find something like the terrific new picture book biography Imagine That!: How Dr. Seuss Wrote The Cat in the Hat by Judy Sierra and illustrated by Kevin Hawkes and I just can’t stop myself from raving about it.

Writing a picture book biography of famous and highly prolific author Dr. Seuss is a hugely daunting task. Author Judy Sierra could have had problems if she had tried to cover his entire life. Instead she wisely narrows her topic to a limited window of time. She gives the essence of his life in a small capsule. It’s brilliant.

To set the stage, the author describes what kids might have been doing in 1954. Then, using just the right rhythmic tone, she reveals how it came about that Dr. Seuss began writing The Cat in the Hat that year. Next comes the central message:  given the struggles Dr. Seuss had writing the book using a limited vocabulary list, he could have easily given up. Instead he persevered, dug deep into his creative toolbox, and ultimately was successful. It is an important message delivered with a light touch.

The text isn’t the whole package, either. Kevin Hawkes’s illustrations are delightful as well, paying playful homage to Dr. Seuss’s style.

The bottom line is Imagine That!: How Dr. Seuss Wrote The Cat in the Hat is simply a picture perfect picture book biography. Check out a copy today.

Related Activity:

Have this book on hand for NEA’s Read Across America Day which is held every year on Theodore Seuss Geisel’s birthday. This year it will be Friday, March 2, 2018.

Of course, the biography should be accompanied by reading The Cat in the Hat.

The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss

Age Range: 3 – 7 years
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (September 12, 2017)
ISBN-10: 0553510975
ISBN-13: 978-0553510973

Disclosure: This book was from our local library. I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

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Looking for more children’s nonfiction books? Try the Nonfiction Monday blog.

#scbwiaz17 SCBWI Arizona Regional Conference Gold

Conferences are so energizing. I went to our Arizona Regional Chapter of SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) conference yesterday in Phoenix and it was a blast!

The day was filled with many golden opportunities, including:

  • Learning about social media and publishing tips from industry insiders
  • Getting writing advice from professional editors
  • Receiving manuscript critiques by children’s book professionals
  • Meeting amazing local children’s book authors and illustrators

Here Suzie Olsen and I are getting ready for the opening address:

(Photograph by Suzie Olsen, used with permission)

The organizers did a wonderful job of keeping all the lectures on time and moving along. If there was down time, they filled in by giving away great door prizes. The giveaways were also an opportunity because even if you didn’t win, you got to see the awesome books — many from local authors —  that they were giving away.

The highlight of my day was when I turned over my name tag and discovered a golden ticket.

The manuscript I submitted had been chosen for a special face-to-face critique with one of the conference faculty, author Bobi Martin. It was a real honor to be one of the seven selected.

Although the meeting was at the end of the day when everyone was beginning to fade from conference overload, Bobi Marten’s critique was thorough and informative. She gave me many tips for taking my manuscript to the next level and suggested places where I could send it to be published. It was wonderful to get live feedback from an author who specializes in children’s nonfiction, plus that she thought my project had merit.

So, now it’s time to process my pages and pages of notes, and polish up my manuscript for submission. I can’t wait to attend the conference next year.

Are you a SCBWI member? Have you attended a conference?

#Kidlit for #PoetryMonth: Animal Ark

Are you getting ready to share books for kids for National Poetry Month? Animal Ark: Celebrating our Wild World in Poetry and Pictures (National Geographic Kids) by Kwame Alexander, with Mary Rand Hess, Deanna Nikaido, and photographs by Joel Sartore should be at the top of your list.

Animal Ark is an amazing combination of image and text. Full of vibrant verbs, the poems leap off the page:

listen to the rumble
giant stomping feet
calling brothers … sisters

This isn’t old rehashed material, either. Alexander is is referring to the fact elephants communicate through vibrations, which scientists discovered in 1997.

Not only does he reveal interesting facts about animals, but also the importance of conservation.

Listen. We are unique. We share a story. A beginning, a middle, and if we are not careful… an end.

Wow! The sound of the words hang in the air.

The words aren’t all that make this a powerful book. The photographs are incredible, too. Every detail stands out crisp against simple black or white backgrounds. How do you fit over 100 gorgeous photographs into one children’s book? The secret is fold out pages. In the back, a fold shows the name of each animal in the book, as well as its IUCN status.

Animal Ark is so moving, it just might leave you breathless. Perfect to share the main pages for story time with a class, or cuddle up with at bedtime with kids and go through the fold outs. At the very least, expect children to want to go back to it again and again.

You can watch Kwame Alexander talking about the book in this shouldn’t-be-missed book trailer:

Related Activity Suggestions:

  1. Engineering the Perfect Poem by Using the Vocabulary of STEM lesson at ReadWriteThink
  2. How to write STEM haiku at STEM Friday blog
  3. Children’s poetry resources at Poetry Foundation
  4. Check out our growing list of Science Poetry Books at Science Books for Kids.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: National Geographic Children’s Books (February 14, 2017)
ISBN-10: 1426327676
ISBN-13: 978-1426327674

Disclosure: This book was supplied by the publisher for review purposes. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

nonfictionmonday

Looking for more children’s nonfiction books? Try the Nonfiction Monday blog.