Monday, April 30, 2012

Celebrate Día de los niños/Día de los libros, Children's Day/Book Day!

Full Circle is celebrating El Día de los niños/El Día de los libros, Children’s Day/Book Day 2012 with our authors and illustrators! Día, a family literacy initiative, began in 1996. It's a daily commitment to linking all children with books and culminates in annual, national literacy celebrations on April 30th. At homes, schools, libraries, museums, churches, parks, and book stores, etc., communities celebrate children, books, home languages and cultures.

Here are some of the events and celebrations! 

René Colato Laínez

March 24 Noche de cuentos, Pasco Washington
March 29, 30 National Latino Children's Literature Conference, Birmingham
April 19, Martin Luther King Elementary, Handford, California
April 25, Glen Avon Regional Library, Riverside Public Library
April 30 City of Commerce Public Library
May 14 Dia del niño/ Children's Day, Arizona State University, Tempe

Carmen T. Bernier-Grand
April 15 Portland Reading Festival
April 26 Clinton Kelly Elementary Write Morning
April 28 Beaverton Public Library

Mara Price

March 29-30, 2012
April 14  Reading/Signing in celebration of Día de los niños /Día de los libros
El Cajon Public Library
April 25   Reading/Signing in celebration of Día de los niños /Día de los libros
 Ramona Library Public Library
April 25   Reading/Signing in celebration of Día de los niños /Día de los libros
 Fletcher Hills Library

April 26  Reading/Signing in celebration of Día de los niños /Día de los libros
Lemon Grove Public Library

April 27 Reading/Signing in celebration of Día de los niños /Día de los libros
Lincoln Acres Library

Click here to read more about DIA and meet the Día de los niños /Día de los libros Author and Illustrator Ambassadors!

Voice in YA fiction

Hello, Full Circle community!

I had the pleasure of acting as faculty at the Pikes Peak Writers Conference in Colorado Springs, CO this past weekend. What a wonderful conference! This writers group puts on a fabulous event, and are always so warm and welcoming. And the scenery was gorgeous, let's be honest here. If you're looking for a quality conference to attend, I recommend PPWC.

While I was there, I gave a presentation on YA lit -- "Hearing VOICE in YA Fiction." As an agent and reader, I find that voice is one of the absolute most important elements of a manuscript. Voice is always what catches my attention when I'm going through submissions, and it's such an exciting part of a book!

Voice is also, however, an area in which most authors struggle and is very hard to define. In hopes of giving a better understanding of voice and its elements, I'm posting the notes from my presentation as well as some fabulous writing resources that deal with this topic. I hope the information is helpful! Happy writing :).  

-- Taylor

Hearing VOICE in YA Fiction 

What is voice? 

Voice is the combination of personality, tone, and style specific to your novel. It is the way readers are introduced to your narrator and characters on the first pages. It keeps your audience connected to and immersed in your novel through to the last page. Voice is what makes a reader care about your character, which must happen for the plot to carry weight and importance.

Creating voice in your manuscript: 

 * Specificity helps! Generalization won’t create a strong start for your voice. I want to hear what’s important and noticeable to this narrator, not everything that may or may not be connected.
Example: I AM THE MESSENGER, by Markus Zusak

* Make sure you’re using the 5 senses. This keeps your voice rich and vibrant.
Example: A NORTHERN LIGHT, by Jennifer Donnelly

* The narrative voice of your manuscript should be authentic to your character/narrator, and your characters themselves need to be individualized.
Example: MUCHACHO, by LouAnne Johnson

* Use voice to keep your reader immersed in your characters’ experiences and emotions. Don’t let readers detach from the moment – i.e. Don’t let your reader hear ‘your’ thoughts. Make them stay connected to your narrator.
Example: LIKE MANDARIN, by Kirsten Hubbard

* Be sure your voice has authority.

Exercises for developing voice: 

Voice is a make-it or break-it element for most readers. Your voice needs to be natural to your manuscript, and isn’t something that can be taught. We do hope, however, to help you tap into your narrative voice! It may not always click right away, but keep working toward building this very important aspect of your writing. You won’t regret the time you spend on it.

Here are a few exercises and suggestions for how to develop a strong voice that is particular to your book.

1. Write a few chapters from a different point of view, and/or using a new tense.
2. Use a new character as your narrator.
3. Using your main character’s point of view, pick a specific idea or thing of importance, and write a scene focusing on just this item – almost as a journal entry for your main character.
4. Recommended by Renni Browne and Dave King in SELF-EDITING FOR FICTION WRITERS: Reread your book aloud, and highlight sentences or section that you feel “sing.” Pay attention to what makes them special, what makes them stand out. What is the rhythm, the cadence, the phrasing that works so well? Conversely, mark the sentences that you think fall flat and don’t work to make your narrator or character truly individual. Use the comparison to strengthen these weak areas.

* Writing Resources * 

SELF-EDITING FOR FICTION WRITERS: How to Edit Yourself into Print by Renni Browne & Dave King

SECOND SIGHT: An Editor’s Talks on Writing, Revising & Publishing Books for Children and Young Adults by Cheryl Klein

WRITING MAGIC: Creating Stories that Fly by Gail Carson Levine

Monday, April 23, 2012

Happy Earth Day!

Jennifer Ward is celebrating Earth Day with her latest parenting book IT'S A JUNGLE OUT THERE: 52 NATURE ADVENTURES FOR CITY KIDS which is featured in the May issue of PARENTS magazine, just out on newsstands now! Here is a link to the article which features tips on getting kids IN THE BACKYARD to inspire learning!
The stress of back-to-school shopping and making the transition from lazy summer days to early rising is still a few months away, but if your kid is kindergarten-bound, it's normal to be worrying already. While you may wonder if your child is equipped for the new challenges, don't stress. "Children learn at different rates, so resist making comparisons with your child's friends (such as 'Should my child be able to count as high as her playmate can?')," says Robin Macon, preschool director at Ingomar Child Enrichment Center near Pittsburgh. "It's important to remember that the skills she needs will click when your child is ready." However, experts agree that there are certain things you can do now to give your child a head start once she starts school, and everyday activities at home can offer endless teaching moments. Try these tips to send your child off for her first day with confidence.
IN THE BACKYARD Science Skills Exploring the outdoors is the perfect way to instill a love of science. Start with fun nature observations, such as this "Seed Soar" activity from It's a Jungle Out There! 52 Nature Adventures for City Kids, by Jennifer Ward: Find a place with lots of trees, flowers, or shrubs and look for seeds gliding by in the air. Some will spin from trees while others, like fluffy dandelion seeds, will slowly float along. After you catch some, take a magnifying glass and look at the seeds. Explain to your child that plants are spreading their seeds to help more grow. To foster her interest in science, be enthusiastic yourself and model curiosity. "Watch a snail crawl across the sidewalk together and wonder about how it lives in a shell, for example," Ward says.
Go here to read the complete feature in the May issue of PARENTS magazine. Visit Jennifer Ward's website for more news on her books!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

NBC Latino features tips for sharing poetry from Carmen Tafolla

NBC Latino invites San Antonio’s poet laureate Carmen Tafolla to share five tips to teach your children poetry!

Carmen Tafolla – often called one of the country’s madrinas of Chicana literature – has published more than twenty books of poetry and fiction. Among the San Antonio native’s many honors is her recent appointment by Mayor Julián Castro as San Antonio’s very first poet laureate, charged with promoting literacy and arts in Texas’ second largest city. As the mother of three, Tafolla is thrilled to be adding poet laureate to her responsibilities as writer-in-residence and bilingual educator at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

“Poetry speaks to feelings, meaning and culture, so helping children, young people and the community realizes they are creators of poetry and literature is a great honor,” says Tafolla. Passionate about promoting literacy in Latino communities, Tafolla offers parents the following tips for introducing poetry in their children.

Click here to read the tips.

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