Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Kickstarter, Children's Literature, & a Rainbow of Products

My new favorite web site does not instantly offer educational activities. Nor does this site offer crafting instructions. However, this site does offer the fruits of those efforts and the inspiration to do more.
The site to which I am referring is Kickstarter—and I’m hooked!

By now, anyone connected to the internet, social media, or a television has heard of the concept of crowdfunding. Kickstarter is an artist and creation-based crowdfunding web site that helps folks bring their projects to life. The site is a direct connection to the artists, authors, engineers (yes, engineers!), coders, and creators of all-things-wonderful. As each campaign begins, backers have the opportunity to experience the story behind-the-product, the inspiration, and sometimes even the frustrations faced in completing the project. I think of Kickstarter as an art fair with a twist—the venue reaching worldwide, not just a small community.

As one of my passions is children’s literature and the important message tucked inside the pages of any children's book, I have naturally spent hours exploring the many MANY children’s publishing campaigns on Kickstarter. On any given day, I have discovered book projects that focus on education—teaching youngsters anything from the alphabet to computer coding, the environment, the beauty of art—from mosaics to needle felting, and acceptance—of ourselves as well as the differences in others.

And, needless to say, my postman will be busy over the next few months delivering the final results of all of this exploration. Yes—the backers receive these products some time after the campaign ends (if the goal has been met).

So, to avoid losing the message in the words, I will simply provide the links to some of my favorite projects thus far that are still ongoing. I hope you consider checking them out.

 While these campaigns may have ended, the books may be available online.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Baxter's PAW-lor Trick with Uncle Pete

Artwork by Jaime D. Buckley
Children’s books are so much more than just books. Books provide time for togetherness with a read-aloud. Books are a strong avenue for language development. 
Books are also a springboard for educational activities.

The key is to make the activities fun and to make the activities memorable.
The characters, storyline, and theme of Pickled Pumpkin Pie by deb troehler (link) and 
Jaime D. Buckley (link) definitely provide all of the above-listed opportunities.

When I was creating the follow-up activities for the story, I kept going back to the idea of a whole pie. Soon, that morphed into a HOLE in the pie—which lead to an activity that I used to do with my students. The activity below teaches children not only the difference between circumference and area. But it also helps children expand their minds and think outside the box
—Or, more appropriately, to think INSIDE the pie crust.

At first, Baxter kept thinking about the edge of the pie—or the circumference.
However, he soon figured it out.

The images below are useful for teaching children to cut a hole large enough in a circle to climb through it.

This post was shared on Create-with-Joy. Please check them out.

This post was shared on The Squishable Baby. Please check them out.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Kickstarter Kickoff with a New Book Project

Nearly two years have passed. Where, oh where did the time go? I am sorry that this blog has not received any new posts from me for a while. I realize there are no excuses for such a long delay. However, my dear husband has been battling the Big ‘C’ and my time has been spent with him and working extra hours to help him with his much-needed time off from work. He hasn’t beaten it yet, but I’m confident he will. He’s a fighter and my bestest best friend!

I wanted to take this opportunity to share my newest project—a story and activity book for the kiddos with a Thanksgiving theme. I know that we haven’t even reached Valentine’s Day yet. However, this project was put on hold in 2014 and is begging to be released. The project will hopefully be launched by late spring.

So, without further delay, I’d like to introduce Pickled Pumpkin Pie—a story told in rhyme about a quirky uncle and the family that loves him. This story is a tribute to my dear Aunt Kitty. While she was not a lot like Uncle Pete in respect to his peculiar ways, Aunt Kitty always brought laughter and sunshine into our home with every visit. Families are what it’s all about, after all, and I wanted to find a way to thank Aunt Kitty for making my childhood fun.

For this latest book project, I teamed up with a very talented artist—Jaime D. Buckley. His comic book style was perfect for the characters of this story and I am thrilled and honored that he created the illustrations for this book. He is definitely a “Hero” to me~and to this project.

To help defray some of the costs for this book project, I have also ventured into the world of crowdfunding with a Kickstarter campaign. I discovered this great avenue for supporting projects when I backed a campaign in Baltimore, Maryland—the former home town of my father and grandfather.

Below are some sample activity pages from the print version of the book:
Artwork by Jaime D. Buckley
A Needle-felted Pumpkin Available for One of the Pledge Tiers

Below you will find the link to the project. I hope you consider making a pledge. Thank you in advance.