Any Questions? About How a Children’s Book is Created?

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Cover image courtesy of Groundwood Books

Any Questions?

•    Targeted Audience: Lower & Upper Elementary (Ages 6-9)
•    Genre: Fiction
•    Author/Illustrator: Mary-Louise Gay
•    Publisher: Groundwood Books
•    Publication Date: October 13, 2014
•    Binding: Hardcover
•    Dimensions: 9″ x  12″
•    Printing: Full Color
•    Length: 60 Pages
•    Retail: $19.95
•    ISBN:978-1554983827

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Mulling it Over for Five Years

Five years ago, Mary-Louise Gay tossed around the idea for writing a book about the countless questions children have asked her during the many author visits she has done. During those five years, she did a lot of research, thinking and planning and creating the ideal characters, pulling some from her past books to tell her story. And she didn’t stop until she got the book just right. After reading  Any Questions? I can see why this unique project took her that long to finish! It’s different than any other picture book you’ve ever seen.

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© Copyright -Inside image courtesy of Groundwood Books

A Story Within a Story

When our children are fortunate enough to have authors visit their schools, they sure are eager to ask a lot of questions. Mary-Louise Gay takes that subject and weaves it into her story about an author (herself) going through the process of writing and illustrating a book. Plus an original story she is writing, The Shy Young Giant, is woven into the book too.  That’s how she demonstrates the creative process to the reader. It may sounds a little complicated, but it’s really not. It’s clever and original and really shows children how ideas are developed, altered and ultimately turned into books.

 

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© Copyright -Inside image courtesy of Groundwood Books

Interactive with Great Illustrations

Common questions asked by kids are posed and answered, much like a real conversation the author would be having with a child during an author visit. There are full page illustrations as well as illustrations of story boards. Mary illustrates herself in the story too as an author. She asks the reader questions like, “What do you think happens next?” The text of The Shy Young Giant, appears to be handwritten, just the way an author might do it on a story board.  The creative process is demonstrated here in both words and visually, and the watercolor illustrations are lovely and fun.  In the back of the book is a list of questions (and answers) Mary has been asked over the years by children, about being an author.

 

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© Copyright -Inside image courtesy of Groundwood Books

  “How did you learn to draw?”

“Can your cat fly?”

“How many books do you make in one day?”

 

 What This Book Teaches

Think of Any Questions? as a behind the scenes look at an author’s creative process, something readers always wonder about but aren’t really sure how it’s done. Rather than just answer questions straight out, which would be rather boring, this author developed an interactive and super creative way to tell the story about how an author actually does what she does.  It’s really quite a witty and inspiring book. Leave it to Groundwood Books to publish something as original as this! I thoroughly enjoyed  Any Questions? and you will too.

 

mlgAbout the Author

Marie-Louise Gay is a world-renowned author and illustrator of children’s books and has written more than 70 titles. She has won many prestigious awards, including two Governor General’s Awards, the Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Award, the Vicky Metcalf Award, and the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award. She has also been nominated for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award and the Hans Christian Andersen Award. Her books have been translated into more than 15 languages and are loved by children all over the world. She lives in Montreal.

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Two New Titles in the Cool Series: Cool Art & Cool Astronomy

Cool Art

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Cover image courtesy of Pavilion Books

Cool Art: 50 Fantastic Facts for Kids of All Ages

•    Targeted Audience: Upper Elementary, Middle & High School (Ages 10 and Up)
•    Genre: Non-Fiction Art
•    Author: Simon Armstrong
•    Publisher: Pavilion Books Group
•    Publication Date: November 1, 2014
•    Binding: Hardcover
•    Dimensions: 8″ x  6″
•    Printing: Full Color
•    Length: 112 Pages
•    Retail: $14.99
•    ISBN:978-1909396425

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Note: These titles will be available November 1, 2014, but it’s not too early to reserve copies today of  Cool Art  and Cool Astronomy.

“No matter how original you think you may be, everything you have ever thought of has already been done. But don’t worry – in art that doesn’t matter. It’s how YOU do it that makes a difference.”

 Never too Young to Be an Art Enthusiast

Think of Cool Art as a crash course in everything art related. Don’t let the compact size of this book fool you; it’s loaded with so much great information, it’s impossible to tell you all that’s in here. Using doodles, offset boxes, circles and arrows, illustrations of paintings and artists. Cool Art introduces readers to: different art movements throughout history from the Stone Age to Postmodernism; overviews of well known artists with a bit of history and details about their styles of painting,; how photography can be art; how messages are sent through the brain using art; the best art museums in the world; fashion as art; performance art; the value of art and much more. There’s even an A to Z Art Glossary in the back of the book.

 

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 © Copyright Inside spread courtesy of Pavilion Books

Why You Should Read This Book

Besides being a totally cool book,Cool Art is packed with fascinating facts. It’s fun, easy and interesting to read, and really gives children a lovely introduction to the world of art. Those who read it will have a new appreciation for art and artists and understand the different art movements we so often hear about. Perhaps the best thing about  Cool Art is that when readers visit art museums, they’ll have a whole new and much richer art experience than they did before reading the book. Art is an important part of education, not just creating it ourselves, but comprehending what it means and appreciating its beauty.

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© Copyright Inside spread courtesy of Pavilion Books

Cool Astronomy

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Cover image courtesy of Pavilion Books

Cool Astronomy: 50 Fantastic Facts for Kids of All Ages

•    Targeted Audience: Upper Elementary, Middle & High School (Ages 10 and Up)
•    Genre: Non-Fiction Science
•    Author: Malcom Croft
•    Publisher: Pavilion Books Group
•    Publication Date: November 1, 2014
•    Binding: Hardcover
•    Dimensions: 8″ x  6″
•    Printing: Full Color
•    Length: 112 Pages
•    Retail: $14.99
•    ISBN:978-1909396418

“There may well be 200 billion stars in our galaxy, so there’s plenty for you discover! Can you name the nearest star to earth?Ask a friend and see if they know the answer. Many people will try to guess names of stars they may know, like Alpha Centauri or Betelgeuse, but they’d be wrong. The answer, obviously, is our sun.”

 So Much More Than the Stars

Using the same format as Cool Art, Cool Astronomy takes the reader out of this world – so to speak – and into space.  Cool Astronomy teaches: how to look at the night sky; how telescopes work; what all the fuss is about with the big bang; gravity’s role in the universe,; the solar system basics; about the nearest stars and the strangest planets; about famous astronomers; all about asteroids, satellites, the International Space Station and much more.  There are activities too including an experiment to defy gravity, building a space rocket, creating a solar system and making your own crater. There’s also a glossary in the back of the book.

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© Copyright Inside spread courtesy of Pavilion Books

Why You Should Read This Book

I’ve yet to read another book for kids about the universe that is so compact and yet so informative. There’s a little bit about a lot of subjects under the astronomy umbrella. Despite the fact that rocket science can be an intimidating subject, the reading here is light, informative and fascinating. The author never talks down to the reader, and he uses language that keeps kids wanting to turn the page to learn more. Cool Astronomy shows us that the universe is an important and compelling subject, and kids are not too young to explore it. Taking science and making it fun and fascinating is the best way to create future scientists.Cool Astronomy will open doors and minds  to the knowns and unknowns of the universe, and inspire children to want to soak it all in.

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 © Copyright Inside spread courtesy of Pavilion Books

Buy Cool Art

Buy Cool Astronomy

Be sure to buy the other two titles in the Cool Series:

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The Enchanting Fairy Tale of the Twelve Dancing Unicorns

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Reprinted with permission from Twelve Dancing Unicorns © 2014 by Alissa Heyman, Sterling Children’s Books, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. Illustrations by Justin Gerard.

Twelve Dancing Unicorns

•    Targeted Audience: Preschool, Lower Elementary (Ages 4-7)
•    Genre: Non-Fiction Atlas for Children
•    Author: Alissa Heyman
•    Illustrator: Justin Gerard
•    Publisher: Sterling Publishing
•    Publication Date: September 2, 2014
•    Binding: Hardcover
•    Dimensions: 8.5″ x  11″
•    Printing: Full Color
•    Length: 32 Pages
•    Retail: $14.95
•    ISBN:978-1402787324

Welcome to one of numerous stops on the Twelve Dancing Unicorns blog tour by Sterling Children’s Publishing . . .

The Fairy Tale is Alive and Well

The modern fairy tale is not all that common these days. But every now and then, I come across one that reminds me of my childhood days, cuddling on the couch and reading with my grandparents at bedtime.Twelve Dancing Unicorns was adapted from The Twelve Dancing Princesses, a Grimm’s fairy tale.

This is a story about a king, his twelve prized unicorns and a clever little girl who solves a great mystery. One day, the king is informed that his unicorns somehow break free from their gold chains and escape each night to a mysterious place, only to return the next day just as mysteriously as they departed. This puzzles and worries the king who does not want to lose his prestigious unicorns. So the king announces to the villagers that he will grant a wish to the first person who can discover just where these unicorns go. One of the villagers, a little girl,wants more than anything to free the animals for good from their chains so she sets out to uncover the mystery. At night she wears a cloak that makes her invisible and bravely discovers the magical secret of the .Twelve Dancing Unicorns.

Unicorns Dancing

Reprinted with permission from Twelve Dancing Unicorns © 2014 by Alissa Heyman, Sterling Children’s Books, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. Illustrations by Justin Gerard.

12DancingUnicorns_JustinGerard_1Enchanting Illustrations Depict A Magical Land

The letters on the book’s jacket are printed in gold, and the lettering in the story is just what you’d expect to find in a fairy tale.  Illustrator Justin Gerard uses his love for Golden Age illustrations to influence his dreamy-like images. With deep, rich colors and a magical use of light, the visual story is delightful. The full page illustrations take the reader back in time to a dark kingdom, adding great depth and enchantment to the tale.

Reprinted with permission from Twelve Dancing Unicorns © 2014 by Alissa Heyman, Sterling Children’s Books, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. Illustrations by Justin Gerard.

Why You Should Read This Book

The storyline appeals to the hero/heroine inside every child. Not only are there unicorns, but they have magical powers and must be saved. The courage of the little girl and her will to save these gentle creatures make her a character young readers can relate to. There’s a lot of action throughout the story to keep the reader’s attention and as the mystery of the unicorns unfolds, you’ll recognize just how unique the tale truly is.  The story is somewhat sophisticated, and is longer than most picture books, challenging readers to learn some new vocabulary words.

There’s nothing that can compare to reading a fairy tale at bedtime, and Twelve Dancing Unicorns is an excellent story for kids to read just before settling down for the night for fairy tale dreams of their own.

About the Author

Alissa-Heyman-225x300Alissa Heyman is a freelance writer who edited The Best Poems of the English Language (Mud Puddle Books). Her poems have appeared in the St. Petersburg Review, Lyric, and Quarto, and she has adapted The Big Book of… series for Sterling Publishing, which includes The Big Book of Horror, The Big Book of Fairies, and The Big Book of Pirates. Alissa lives in New York City where she also curates the Perfect Sense poetry reading series at the Cornelia Street Café.

About the Illustratorn696735466_5376147_5639

Justin Gerard has done illustration for DreamWorks, Warner Brothers, Disney, HarperCollins, Penguin, Little, Brown, and others. The Society of Illustrators featured his illustration “Beowulf and Grendel” in the 50th Annual of American Illustration, from his IPPY Award-winning book, Beowulf, Book I: Grendel the Ghastly. Justin lives in Greenville, SC.

Follow the Twelve Dancing Unicorns blog tour on Mother Daughter Book Reviews