Showing posts with label ReFoReMo 2020. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ReFoReMo 2020. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

ReFoReMo 2020 Prize Winners

Without our generous presenters every year, we would not have access to a ReFoReMo education with varied perspectives. What a treat it was to grow through our presenters’ eyes! So many of them shared even more by donating additional prizes, and we are so grateful. A bit of good news is always welcome in uncertain times like this. Thanks again to our presenters for donating their time, expertise, and energy, as well as these extra prizes!

Announcing the winners of their gifts:  

Marcie F. Atkins’ Book Wait, Rest, Pause: Dormancy in Nature: Deb McGarvey 
15 Min. Video Consult with Kirsti Call/Carrie Charley Brown:  Angie Calabrese 

Skype w Author/Librarian Matthew Winner: Andrea Mack

Heidi E. Y. Stemple’s Book Eek, You Reek! LouAnn Silva

Fifteen min Consultation with Literary Advocate/ Professor Susannah Richards: Sarah Meade

Five Idea Consult with Editor Courtney Fahy: Jodie Finney

TBA Book from Agent Rachel Orr: Cheryl Johnson

Rajani LaRocca’s Seven Golden Rings: Joanna Pastro

Manuscript Critique w Rajani LaRocca: Angie Quantrell

Gina Perry’s Now? Not Yet!: Charlotte Offsay

Word Painting: A Guide to Writing More Descriptively from Janie Reinart: Melissa Stoller

NonRhyming PB critique (or 20 min SKYPE for educators) from Michelle Cusolito: Kelly Carey

ARC of Gaia Cornwall’s The Unicorn Came to Dinner: Tanya Konerman

Gaia Cornwall’s Jabari Salta (Spanish version): Susan Twiggs

Sarah Lynne Reul’s NERP!: Elizabeth Curry

Keila Dawson’s King Cake Baby: Sarah Roggio

Skype visit w Emma Otheguy: Ellen Beier

Jannie Ho’s Tummy Time Animal Parade and The Little Engine’s Easter Egg Hunt: Barbara Rappaport Senenman

Jeanette Bradley’s WHEN THE BABIES CAME TO STAY: Terri Sabol

Anika Aldamuy Denise PLANTING STORIES: Kyle McBride

Marcie Colleen’s The Bear’s Garden: David McMullin

Our ReFoReMo contributors will continue to celebrate the joy of reading in their weekly posts this April. We hope that you’ll continue to benefit from mentor texts with us. We’ll also be back to our routine blog schedule in May, digging deep into author studies, interviews, and mini-ReFoReMo Challenges. Read on!

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

ReFoReMo Day 22: ReFoReMo 2020 Rafflecopters

By Carrie Charley Brown and Kirsti Call

Illustration by Lori Nawyn

The beauty of Reading for Research Month is that you can experience it at your own pace and revisit it whenever you want or need to. You can also personalize it to your own writing needs and make it last all year long.  Of course, our ReFoReMo blog goes on all year long, too, studying mentor texts through author studies, mini-ReFoReMo thematic challenges, THINK QUICK interviews, and Mentor Text Talks with focused perspectives from varied authors. Our hope is that our blog keeps you accountable and focused all year.

As our ReFoReMo 2020 comes to a close, we consider ourselves lucky to have learned from so many professional perspectives. Without these giving creatives, ReFoReMo simply would not be the same. We are so thankful!

If you registered for ReFoReMo 2020 by March 2 and you learned from us this year, you are welcome to enter the Rafflecopter below. We use one drawing to keep it simple; you will enter one time only. This will put you into a pool from which all prizes are drawn. The drawing will be open until this Friday, April 3 and prize winners announced on Tuesday, April 7.

We are ALL prize winners, though! We think the education gained from ReFoReMo is a enlightening!

What has helped you most during ReFoReMo 2020? 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, March 27, 2020

ReFoReMo Day 20: Author Marcie Colleen Plants Story Seeds

My newest book, The Bear’s Garden was inspired by the real-life Brooklyn Bear’s Community Garden in my former neighborhood in New York City. The name always puzzled me—I mean, we didn’t have bears wandering around Brooklyn last I checked!

Come to find out, the garden was named for a teddy bear that was found in the weeds when the workers began to create a garden in the abandoned lot. Of course, immediately I started thinking of that little bear. How did he get there? Did he belong to anyone? Was he placed there on purpose?

The Bear’s Garden is my imaginative story about how the teddy bear came to be in those weeds.

While the real-life story was the main inspiration, I turned to many other picture books, as well. I always seek out mentor texts to assist in writing my own. It’s an essential part of my process to see what is already published and explore how my book can stand apart.

 The Curious Garden by Peter Brown is perhaps the most known picture book about an urban community garden. I, of course, started there. My story would be a similar community beautification project, but I had a little stuffed bear to include in the effort.

Maybe Something Beautiful by F. Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell, illustrated by Rafael Lopez is based on a true story from my current city of San Diego, California. It is a fictionalized account like The Bear’s Garden. In it a young girl dreams of color in the drab city and assists a muralist in transforming the walls of her neighborhood into vibrant works of art. Two aspects of this story stood out to me: the young female who led the effort and the way the community worked together.

The Gardener by Sarah Stewart, illustrated by David Small is about a young girl who moves to the gray city and gradually transforms her rooftop into a bursting garden. I loved this idea of transformation, but as a city girl, I was starting to take offense at the stance that the city is ugly and colorless. The girl in my story would find beauty everywhere: in an oil-slicked puddle, the pop of color from a pavement-defying weed, or graffiti-ed walls.

Sidewalk Flowers by JonArno Lawson, illustrated by Sydney Smith is a wordless picture book. I loved it’s very observant young girl who finds beauty in the wildflowers growing through the cracks in the sidewalk. However, I was a bit appalled that she picked the flowers! I knew my protagonist would notice small things that others miss, but that in a true respect for beauty, would help cultivate it into something that could be enjoyed not killed.

Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold is a beautiful love letter to life in the city. Most of the books I found were about beautifying a dull, gray city, I wanted to have my book be a celebration of urban life. It would be a character, maybe in need of help, but wonderful in its own right.

Lastly, I struggled with the ending of The Bear’s Garden. My words were falling short. I felt the best way to show the growth of the garden and the building of community was through visuals. So, inspired by my favorite ending of any picture book ever—Me Jane by Patrick McDonnell—I decided to keep the text super sparse and allow the illustration to complete the beautiful journey. I wanted those last two page turns to be reflective and powerful. Alison Oliver delivered quite nicely.

The Bear’s Garden is sprouting up on bookshelves everywhere this week. I hope maybe its story will plant a seed for your own.

Marcie is giving away a signed copy of The Bear's Garden to one lucky winner! To be eligible for prizes throughout the challenge, you must be registered by March 2, comment on each post, consistently read mentor texts, and enter the Rafflecopter drawing at the conclusion of ReFoReMo.

Marcie is the award-winning picture book author of Penguinaut! (illustrated by Emma Yarlett) and Love, Triangle (illustrated by Bob Shea), as well as the Super Happy Party Bears chapter book series. She teaches Writing Children’s Picture Books for the University of California at San Diego both online and on campus, and runs her own Study Hall conducting a month-long online critique group dedicated to the crafting picture books. Find out more about how you can study with Marcie at and @MarcieColleen1

Thursday, March 26, 2020

ReFoReMo Day 19: Author Anika Denise Chooses Magical Combinations

When style, voice, and tone suit the subject matter—magic happens. These five picture books are proof. 

Birdsong by Julie Flett is about navigating change, facing loneliness, and finding an unlikely friend. Written in the first person and structured around the four seasons, each page feels like a meditation. The language invites you to be still, listen, breathe, observe, and open your heart to the protagonist's journey.

Swan by Laurel Snyder; illustrated by Julie Morstad, is a biography of Russian prima ballerina Anna Pavlova. Snyder’s story unfurls like a swan’s feathers, moving from quiet and spare to sweeping and lyrical. Each word is perfectly en pointe. 

The delightfully droll delivery in Lucy Ruth Cummins’s A Hungry Lion or a Dwindling Assortment of Animals gets readers roaring every time. As the text dwindles along with the animals, humor and tension are heightened to wickedly delicious ends.

Marvelous Cornelius by Phil Bildner; illustrated by John Parra is a master class in word choice and pacing. Using repetition, alliteration, and exaggeration—Bildner draws on folktale traditions to paint a dazzling portrait of modern-day folk hero Cornelius Washington, a beloved trash collector in New Orleans’ French Quarter. 

Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal is a warm conversation between a little girl and her father. The characters’ voices are resonant and true. Martinez-Neal lights a candle with her words and evokes a feeling of going back through time with little Alma. 

Anika is giving away a signed copy of PLANTING STORIES to one lucky winner! To be eligible for prizes throughout the challenge, you must be registered by March 2, comment on each post, consistently read mentor texts, and enter the Rafflecopter drawing at the conclusion of ReFoReMo.   

Anika Aldamuy Denise is the Pura Belpré honor-winning author of many celebrated books for young readers including Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré, Starring Carmen!, and The Love Letter. You can find her at home in Rhode Island thinking up new story ideas and on the web at