WOW! Writer’s Digest Review of The Denim Jungle

1 Dec

Writers Digest Self Published Book Awards

I am absolutely floored by this review of The Denim Jungle I just received from the 24th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Books Awards.

And it couldn’t come at a better time. Last week was the one-year anniversary of finally having my book (MY book!) in my hands, and tomorrow is the sixth anniversary of losing Sue, who inspired me to make it. To say it’s a bittersweet time of year would be a profound understatement.

I miss you, Sue. Thank you for being you. Thank you for motivating me (and so many others) to imagine and commit and create. Thank you for giving me this connection to you. But most of all, thank you for helping me be the kind of mom who can show her kids that dreams can be made reality with hard work and heart.

24th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards
Entry Title: The Denim Jungle
Category: Children’s Picture books

Books are evaluated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning “needs improvement” and 5 meaning “outstanding.”

  • Structure, Organization, and Pacing: 5
  • Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar: 5
  • Production Quality and Cover Design: 5
  • Plot and Story Appeal: 5
  • Character Appeal and Development: 5
  • Voice and Writing Style: 5

Judge’s Commentary

Visually stunning and engaging, designed for multiple reads that will reveal new details each time. Author has put a lot of excellent thought and work into designing this book with multimedia elements, creating visually pleasing pages to delight the young reader and older reader alike. Author scores with a terrific premise Continue reading

Voting and Legacy

8 Nov

It blows my mind that there are currently women alive who weren’t born with the right to vote. And yet today, women in the U.S. not only have the right to vote, but there’s a woman on the ballot for the top ticket.

No matter where your political affinities lie, that’s rather remarkable, don’t you think? And it’s thanks to a whole host of fierce women who fought and earned it.

Inspiring Women Suffrage History Halloween CostumeAs we (hopefully) close the chapter on much of the anxiety and infighting of the past many months, let’s take a moment to extend some mutual respect for those who committed their legacy to securing a more equal future for all U.S. citizens.

How best to honor them?

Why, voting of course!

Better yet, get your kids excited about voting. Let’s pass the torch of our foremothers to a generation who can continue to make strides in equality. One day, it will be up to their vote.

With respect and gratitude…

Jane Addams (1860–1935) – social activist, president Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom
Nina E. Allender (1873–1957) – speaker, organizer and cartoonist
Naomi Anderson (b. 1863) – black suffragist, temperance advocate
Susan B. Anthony (1820–1906) – co-founder and leader National Women’s Suffrage Association, created the National American Woman’s Suffrage Association
Annie Arniel (1873–1924) – member of the Silent Sentinels, arrested eight times in direct actions
Ida B. Wells-Barnett (1862–1931) – African-American journalist, newspaper editor, suffragist, sociologist, and early leader in the civil rights movement  Continue reading

Creative Generosity

28 Oct poem,poetry,szaba,green lake

poem,poetry,szaba,green lakeThe world could do with a little more creative generosity, don’t you think?

What do I mean by creative generosity? Giving of your imagination and creative talents for no other reason than to be happy and help make other people happy

There’s a writer who frequents our local park, gifting poems to people as writing practice for herself and her own special contribution to the community. She wrote one for my daughter the other day, and it was so on point, I teared up a bit.

I wanted to share it with all of you, as well as its message:

Don’t let anyone hold you back… and that includes yourself.

And, who knows? Maybe this will inspire your own bout of creative generosity. My daughter is already planning a front yard lemonade-type stand… but free, with her homemade stories and art as the treats.

Wishing you all a creative, generous day.

Continue reading

8 Reasons to Self Publish (and 3 Reasons NOT to)

29 Sep

bookstore_couthbuzzard

Many of you have been coming to me with book dreams in hand, wanting to know my tips for how to get published.

I’ve posted quite a few resources here, but if you truly want to create a physical book that you can hold in your hands, here’s the one question you need to answer first:

Do you want to traditionally publish or self publish?

I spent years weighing the pros and cons of both, finally choosing self publishing. Does that mean I recommend self publishing to everyone? Hardly.

Here are my crib notes from years of research and my own experience. If you’ve published your own book and want to weigh in, by all means, add your nuggets of knowledge in the comments below.

Here are my top 8 reasons to self publish (and 3 reasons not to).

Please note that these tips are specific to publishing a children’s picture book. If you’re looking to self publish something else (say a paperback book without pictures, for instance) the financial considerations are considerably less, but some of the other points will still apply.

Continue reading

What I Did on My Summer Vacation

8 Sep

School is back in session, and it’s that time again for everyone’s favorite fall report: What I Did on My Summer Vacation.

It’s been a wild summer for The Denim Jungle. We’ve traveled. We’ve partied. We’ve made friends. And, oh, how we’ve imagined—and crafted!

Imagination Payne Library

Here are a few highlights… with more in the works for the fall, including a crafty storytime at the free Imagine Children’s Museum book carnival on Friday, September 16, from 6-8pm and a fun little book event at Zoka in Seattle’s Tangletown the morning of Friday, October 14, 2016. (School’s out that day, so bring the kids on by and hang out with us.)

Interested in having me come to your library, school, or event? I’d love to know more! Email me at thedenimjungle @ gmail.com.

Publishing your own book? Hopefully this list will provide some ideas to help get your creation out there in the world for readers to enjoy.

Continue reading

Make Your Own Denim Jungle Telescopes

18 Jul

Angela Taylor Hylland Author Storytime Craft Payne OhioI had so much fun hosting a special story time at my hometown library in Ohio last week. We created imagination telescopes, just like Leo’s in The Denim Jungle.

And you can, too—it’s so easy!

If you’re looking for a fun (practically free) craft for your kids, school, or library, this one is great for all ages.

Niece Lienna Imagination Telescope

Better yet, read the book together, make the telescopes, and go on a hunt to see what imaginative discoveries you can find out in the Denim Jungle. You could even draw a picture or write a story about your findings and add it to the blank pages in the back of your book. Continue reading

Favorite Read-Aloud Picture Books

9 Jun

Bedtime Reading The Denim JungleOne of the great joys of parenting (for me) is reading books aloud to my kids. It’s fun for us all and good for them, too.

I remember long drives to Grandma’s house when I was a kid, my mom reading chapter books from the front passenger seat. Little House, Charlotte’s Web, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe

My kids (five and two) are still a bit young for chapter books, but I read picture books to them nightly. Increasingly, my eldest reads books to us, too, which adds its own joy.

I wonder when our read-aloud days will end? I’d like to say hopefully never, but I don’t want to be the creepy mom in the Love You Forever book.

Here are a few of our current favorites. I’ve started a Pinterest board of Great Read-Aloud Picture Books, too, where I’ll continue to add favorites.

Happy reading together! Continue reading