It’s another subzero morning in Minnesota (-16 degrees), and my pen is on strike. The ink won’t to come out–and I don’t blame it. I prefer to stay inside this time of year, too.
Knowing that writers in other states are struggling, too, might make me feel better.
Do Florida iPads ever shut down from too much sand?
Californians–is that pesky sunshine making that laptop too hot to hold on your sunburned legs?
Hawaiians–do you have circular indentations covering the backs of your notebooks, curse jars full of quarters, and trash bins full of dead pens from too much orchid pollen?
For those of you feeling a ting of guilt as you bask on the beach, here are some great good-will ideas for the needy. (I’m talking about us cranky Vitamin D deprived writers and illustrators from up north):
pencils with refillable lead
airline tickets to any southern destination
Okay, I’m warmer, now that I vented.
A gift idea for the KEMs (besides the aforementioned) is to join us February 15 for our Barbara Park tribute post about KEM GEM, MICK HARTE WAS HERE. We’re eager to know your opinion about the middle grade novel and we look forward to seeing you there.
A New York Times Bestseller
2008 Rhode Island Children’s Book Award (Grades 3-6)
2008 William Allen White Children’s Book Award – KS (Grades 3-5)
2007 Boston Globe/Horn Book Honor Winner
2008 Great Lakes Great Books Award Winner
Winner of the 2007 Josette Frank Book Award (Bank Street College Book Committee)
Winner of the 2007 Sid Fleishman Award (SCBWI.org)
A School Library Journal Best Book of 2006
A 2006 Child Magazine Best Book of the Year
New York Public Library 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing
A 2006 Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year
A 2006 National Parenting Publication Gold Award Winner
A Book Sense Winter 2006-2007 Children’s Top Ten Pick
A 2006 Nick Jr. Family Magazine’s Best Book of the Year
A Miami Herald Best Book of the Year 2006
WHY CLEMENTINE IS A KEM GEM
KRISTI’S TAKE Clementine always has “great ideas popping into her head.” She’s like a balloon, exalted up, and then POP, life deflates and she’s back to square one. Sara Pennypacker brilliantly invites the reader to share Clementine’s ups and downs, by showing the reader how the precocious Clementine thinks, through detailed action that is followed by the protagonist’s reflection.
If I had to draw a balloon to depict Clementine, it’d be orange. The balloon would have a happy face drawn with “sparkle glitter paint” on one side and a sad face on the opposite side, drawn in permanent Red marker. Around the entire drawing would be a window for the reader to look through.
I am in awe of Marla Frazee’s ability to capture Clementine’s energy. Her fine-lined sketches convey curiosity with a wrinkle in a shirt, swirl of a lock and lift of a brow. She makes the impossible look easy. ELISE’S TAKE
CLEMENTINE felt like catching up with an old friend. I, too, had an oh-so-perfect neighbor girl, an “easy” younger sibling, an artist mom, and a dad who dealt with pesky animals* and their splat.
Sara Pennypacker’s descriptions give readers a colorful, hilarious view of Clementine’s world, and her daily, eight-year-old antics and frustrations.
Marla Frazee’s pen and ink drawings offer a visual treat on nearly every page. Her clean, graphic line carries Clementine’s energy through the story and, as with all of Frazee’s work, looks like she just whipped it up over breakfast.
This gem, just published in 2008, has the classic charm of a book that has already stood the test of time.
*Ours were cattle, not pigeons.
Favorite line “Then we just sat there together watching the pigeons flock back to our building for the night. We listened to them cooing above us, sounding like a million old ladies with secrets.”
MARRAS’ TAKE Spectacularful!
Writer friend Melissa quoted Clementine at a recent meet-up: “Someone should tell you not to answer the phone in the principal’s office, if that’s a rule.” Admiration spittle (mine) dribbled on my manuscript.
Sara Pennypacker created a believable, delightful protagonist in a universe where “Go for Wok?” leads to a sibling bonding ritual and magic marker heals hair disasters. Clementine’s thoughtful distractions amuse and disarm people of all ages–even her best friend’s older brother–a formidable feat for a third grader.
Marla Frazee’s wit and talent complements Sara’s. Her personality-packed illustrations lift Clementine to a whole new level of cute.
Favorite line “… I carried the kittens into the bathroom and looked around until I found them beautiful names. Flouride and Laxative went to live with people who answered the Free Kittens, Hurry! ad my dad put in the paper …”
Would you like to grow as a children’s book writer in 2014? If so, bestselling children’s book author, Sara Pennypacker, shares three tips for doing so:
Our KEM (Kristi, Elise, and Marlys) writer’s group has taken this advice to heart. We have committed to meshing the three goals by 1. reading more children’s literature and 2. selecting a stand-out children’s book (KEM GEM) to write about and recommend every month, 3. paying attention to what makes our selection a GEM and inviting our friends, like you, to post your comments, so we can learn together.
Our children’s book selections will come from these genres:
If you’d like to accompany us on this learning adventure, our first KEM GEM post will debut January 15, 2014, and continue on the 15th of every month, giving you time to read along and compose your own comments.
Mark your calendars for the 15th of each month to join in on the fun. You can share your book feedback in the pertaining month’s KEM GEM Comment Section (150 words or less). (January 15 there will be a drop down to click on the Clementine‘s page.)
Spread the word. You don’t have to be a writer or illustrator or an adult to participate. You just have to love children’s literature. We’re excited to read, write, and pay attention with you!