Make Story Writing a Family Event

January 14, 2010 at 12:04 pm | Posted in crafts, Education, Grandparents, Kids and reading, Mystery books, Parents, Writing | Leave a comment
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Encourage time together with a homemade storybook! This is something that Jake and Katie would love to do with their parents or their Aunt Jean!

Check out this craft from the great book “101 Great Gifts Kids Can Make” by Stephanie Mueller and Ann Wheeler.


three-hole punch                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           white copier paper                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       three-ring binder                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      markers or crayons                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       black permanent marker

Before beginning the activity: Use the three-hole punch to make holes along the sides of the white paper.

What to Do:

1. Think of a story and draw pictures to make a book using the white paper with the holes in the sides.                                                                       2. Dictate a statement or story about the pictures that were drawn. Write these along the top of the pictures that were drawn using the permanent black marker.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. Place the pages into the three-ring binder, along with 10 (or more) blank pages.                                                                                                               4. Decorate a white piece of paper without holes using the markers. Write “Family Story Notebook.” Many binders have a clear cover pocket in which the cover page can be inserted. If this is not the case, use clear contact paper to adhere this cover page to the front of the notebook (with adult help, as needed).                                                                                                                                                                                                       5. Once you complete one story, keep going until your binder is full. You will have a complete collection of family stories!

Cold Winter Nights Don’t Have to be Boring!

December 24, 2009 at 11:18 am | Posted in Education, Parents | Leave a comment
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Ever since I was kid, I’ve always had an active imagination. Especially during the winter months, being cooped up inside all day led to some pretty crazy adventures. That’s why I cam relate to the Undercover Kids, they used their imagination and traveled. Lucky! Now that children have at least a week or two off from school, you can help them express their imagination by reading a book with them or even playing a game.

Here’s an activity I found in Great Teacher Projects book by Laura Mayne (even though teachers might be too reminding about school, the project is fun trust me!)

How to create your own country:

This activity is a way for kids to act silly, have fun but learn at the same time.

In this project, kids will be able to create their own country. Their imaginary country can be placed anywhere in the world, and must use information about the surrounding real countries to determine features such as latitude/longitude, native animals, climate and so on.

Lead up activities to this project include a review of atlas skills and a whole-class study  of a chosen country that includes details such as:

  • name and meaning
  • geographical location
  • area
  • boundaries and surrounding countries
  • landforms
  • climate
  • native animals and plants
  • languages
  • natural resources
  • flag
  • government
  • currency (money)
  • time zone

When children are done creating their own countries, have them create a map using crayons, markers, or whatever other craft materials they would like to use. They could even use Legos to create their own lands (I used Polly Pockets when I was a little girl). Have you children discuss their countries with you and share any stories they may create with this project. Maybe Katie and Jake could visit their country? Either way, let  imagination flow!

How a Book is Born: Copy doesn’t just jump off the page

November 5, 2009 at 3:46 pm | Posted in Publishing your story, Writing | Leave a comment
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You never know what you don’t know until it hits you in the face. That’s my new motto.

For the past 16 years I have been the publisher of two niche magazines. I have been responsible for getting at least 250 publications to press. On the other side of the coin, I am also an avid reader. So how hard could it be to oversee the publication of one book?  As I look back over the last year and a half, I realize that I didn’t have a clue on how to approach this new project.

I had my author and the rough edit had been completed. What about an illustrator? It was only then that I realized that I couldn’t see an illustrator until I created chapters and completed the layout. Layout? With our magazine we studied which fonts work best for families…that which is most easily readable… and what works for older adults. But what do we use for kids? I know I wanted an easy to read font but fonts are not part of my expertise. So I turn to my two favorite sources…the public library and bookstores. I copy pages from books that I like. For example, I love the font family used in Cornelius Funk’s books. (Actually I love her storytelling techniques. Ever read The Thief Lord?)

So what fonts do I have to look for…body copy, chapter headings, table of contents, illustration captions, cover copy, book title, author and illustrator copy? It’s too much for me so I turn to Philip Ritzenberg, a longtime newspaper designer who has won many awards. He admits this is his first book (Mine too. So we are in good company.) but he feels good design is good design.

He uses some of Gloria’s story copy and completes layouts for my review. Not only do I have to approve the font, but the font size, spacing between lines, page size and margins and more. Decisions don’t come easy but I finally choose Nimrod for the body copy and Clearface for all chapter heads.

Now more than ever I realize that I have to turn to experts to produce a quality children’s book.

HOW A BOOK IS BORN: Illustrations and doing my homework

October 28, 2009 at 5:07 pm | Posted in Publishing your story | Leave a comment
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July 29, 2008

Re:       meeting notes

To:       Gloria and Clay

 Results: Get together in one week.

Gloria will develop three story outlines for three counties

Clay will create sketches of the kids

Terrie will get price quotes and develop marketing strategies for the product.

It is interesting reading my old meeting notes. My husband Clay, who is a wonderful fine artist, said he would develop the illustrations for us. But he realized that it would take time and talent he felt he could not offer. Clay and I started our marketing agency over 25 years ago, so he knows how to work with me, but finding someone else would be an adventure.

 Since Clay would not be part of our team, I now had to do my homework. I reviewed all types of kids’ books in the library and at book stores. I noted the illustrations I really liked and why. I researched the illustrators and their styles. I bought books. And took out more books from the  library. I was overwhelmed

Kids show their excitement for reading at 2009 National Book Festival in Washington, DC

October 1, 2009 at 10:32 am | Posted in Kids and reading, Parents, Writing | Leave a comment
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If you’re a lover of books then you would have loved the 2009 National Book Festival in Washington, DC.  The festival was hosted by the Library of Congress and featured more than 75 famous authors including the always popular John Grisham and Judy Blume!  Watching John Grisham speak to his fans was certainly a thrill as you can see here. It was great to see all the kids who were excited to speak to their favorite authors and take home their favorite books. Mystery and fantasy books seemed to be some of the most popular choices. What are some of your favorite books? Try to plan a trip with your family to next year’s Festival and maybe you can meet your favorite author too! Who knows, maybe Gloria and the Undercover Kids will be at the next one!

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