Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Lots of snow around here in southeastern Virginia. Deeper than my 17-year-old son has seen in his whole life.
The best sledding hill in this flat little tidewater town is right behind our house (lucky us!) so I went out with the super-sized Scholastic paperback of Ten on the Sled and found a quartet of good-natured models to pose with the book. So thank you to Kathryn, Emily, Marnie and Ev for being such good sports. And thanks to their moms and dads, too!
ps: I think the super-sized Scholastic paperback (as well as regular-sized Scholastic paperback & an audio CD) are only available thru Scholastic Canada right now. I haven't seen it yet on the Scholastic US site -- but I could be wrong about that. The Sterling hardback is available... well... "everywhere books are sold" as the advertisements always say.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Well, isn't that a pretty shape? Kind of like a sideways Christmas tree.
Since we're nearing the end of 2010, I decided to check my website's stats on StatCounter.com, which I've been using to track the site's visitors for over 3 years. (2007 is much lower because I started tracking partway thru the year.) I check it not infrequently for daily totals, but don't think to check yearly stats very often.
I'm pleased that I did. Here's a screen shot. I like the shape of this graph. Up up and away! (I blanked out my actual numbers. Hey, I'm not sharing EVERYTHING on this blog!) But the basic upward march is nice. Probably explains the spike in author school visit inquiries this year, although not entirely, since inquiries have more than doubled.
Merry half Christmas tree to you!
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
I've been crossing my fingers that my new baby would make it to the front page animated "crawl" on Barnes & Noble. We finally made it. Yay! (See screen grab.) And we're sandwiched between some pretty big names, too. Hubby cocked an eyebrow when I when I showed him. The images had reshuffled and my "neighbor" had changed from President Obama to President Bush. LOL!
Sunday, November 14, 2010
I brought my camera to the rehearsal dinner to snap photos of my fah-bulous cream-colored pumpkins & gourds. The fah-bulous arrangements themselves were thanks to the artistic skills of my dear friends Kristin & Lois. Thanks, girls! I owe you big time! Thanks also to my sister-in-law Karen who lent us a set of tea lights & mirror tiles which added lots of sparkle.
The groom's cake, by Kirsten Cook, was delicious. "Chocolate/chocolate" in the shape of an electric guitar with a little red "Camaro" and a Colonial tri-corn hat tucked in at the side.
Friday, October 29, 2010
Home from Hannibal with tired feet! What lovely, friendly, generous folks I've been with for 2 days. No time to elaborate right now, (I'm still prepping for a workshop I'll be teaching today at the Va Educational Media Conference) so HERE'S A LINK TO AN ARTICLE IN THE QUINCY NEWSPAPER.
whose feet are sore from standing all day Wednesday and then walking thru airports yesterday, but who still wants to give props to the sweet man, a new grandfather, who drove me from the Alamo car lot back to the St. Louis airport. Seriously nice folks in Missouri.
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Go to Goodreads.com and enter to win a free copy of my newest, TEN ON THE SLED, (which is STILL enjoying bestseller status among new releases on B&N)... if it hasn't changed by the time you CLICK HERE. Click farther down for the GoodReads giveaway...
Monday, October 11, 2010
Signing hundreds copies of Jack of All Tails for some school visits later this week. Pretty hard to work efficiently with a cat who jumps into every box I open. But he's so cute, I indulge him.
Oh and I didn't properly announce: Ten on the Sled is officially released as of last week -- and launched with a fabulous review from Kirkus:
TEN ON THE SLED
Author: Norman, Kim
Illustrator: Woodruff, Liza
ISBN ( Hardback ): 978-1-4027-7076-0
Category: Picture Books
A caribou, polar bear, moose, wolf, walrus, squirrel, bighorn sheep, fox, hare and seal all pile onto a toboggan, beginning a North Country riff on the familiar chant: “There were TEN on the sled / and the caribou said, / ‘Slip over! Slide over!’ / So they all slid over, / and Seal spilled out.” One by one, the animals tumble off, each with a different active verb (Hare hops out, Sheep shoots out, Walrus whirls out, etc.). The final line of each stanza is printed with lively disorder, swooping, jumping and sliding on the page. Woodruff adds extra humor by collecting all of the fallen animals in an increasingly bigger snowball that rolls down the hill alongside the toboggan. What with animal identification, counting, vocabulary building and print awareness all scaffolded on a can’t-lose rhyme, this one’s a keeper. (Picture book. 3-6)
Liza gave me permission to correct the reviewer's assumption that the snowball sled race is Liza's invention. I can't even take credit for it. That brilliant idea was suggested by a member of my critique group, Joe Kulka. Thanks, Joe!
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
A few more than ten, in fact: a big fat box of my newest book, TEN ON THE SLED, scheduled for release from Sterling only 3 weeks from now, on October 5th. Very proud to have my name on this book, made so fun and colorful by Liza Woodruff's BRRRRilliant illustrations. (Get it? Brrrrrr-rilliant?... in the Arctic? Ar ar!)
Also got some great news about the book last week. Shouldn't really blab what, but it's good. It's really good.
P.S.... Aaaannnd THAT didn't take long, did it? My cat cannot RESIST an open box, even if it's way too small for him to fit his fat feline rump into it.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Found this somewhere, can't remember where. Just found it again, as an unfinished draft on my blog. After reading over the list, I thought it was ridiculously redundant with vaguely snobby "Have you ever gone to Europe" references. So I took out some of those and replaced them with a few of my own.
You're supposed to copy the list onto your blog and bold the items you have done in your life, so I did. Didn't think you could see the bolded text very well, so I started to do it in pale blue.. but it's too much work, so, oh well. Who's really going to read this anyway?
I'm pretty pathetic on the travel questions. I'm such a stick-in-the-mud when it comes to travel. Maybe as school visits build, I'll be doing more of that, too. Already have, in fact.
1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band (well, sang anyway. Still do. Oh yeah, tamberine! That's playing, right?)
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower (under the same stars!)
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland (Well, Disneyland, no, but Disneyworld, yes.)
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis (love those little guys!)
10. Sang a solo (Good heavens yes.)
11. Bungee jumped
12. Traveled to Europe
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child (not me, but grew up with those my parents fostered and adopted)
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Swung out and jumped into a lake from a rope swing
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort (the coolest -- it was an igloo!)
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Visited Haiti
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied (do now; not that much, really)
38. Picked apples and cooked something delicious with them
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo's David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Homeschooled your children
50. Gotten a ticket
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Taught a class
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle (well, maybe 55 or 60 mph)
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book (Wheeee! Yesss!)
81. Written/composed a song
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous (how famous is famous? Famous authors, yes.)
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swum in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone (jeesh. how old is this list? Owning a cell is so exotic?)
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Read an entire book in one day.
The above is kind of heavy on travel, (especially European travel) which I haven't done much. But there are other joys in life that are more homey. How about these I just added? (All things I've done)...
101. Jumped into a haystack from the hayloft
102. Hosted a foreign student
103. Been on a naval ship
104. Slept in a barn
105. Flown in a small plane (2 person)
106. Kept a journal for more than a year
107. Lived in Cuba (So there! I AM a world traveler!)
108. Taught a class
109. Touched the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall
110. Kissed another actor/actress onstage
111. Accidentally fallen in front of an audience
(I stayed in character and managed to make it look like a prat fall. Ah, what grace.)
112. Won a national contest. (Hey, I didn't say I won FIRST prize!)
113. Rescued a wild baby bird
114. Caught a lizard with your bare hands
115. Baited a hook or scaled & gutted a fish
116. Seen a moose in the wild
117. Cared for a foster child
118. Worked with mentally challenged youth and/or adults
119. Found more than $200 (Found it in a 25-cent 2nd-hand book; 20-year-old bills)
120. Painted a theater set
121. Run a printing press
122. Developed film/paper in a darkroom
123. Fainted (couple seconds anyway. An inexperienced tobacco inhaler. So much for looking cool to my high school friends!)
124. Spoken or sung in front of more than, say, 350 people
125. Held a baby raccoon (They have a lovely spicy smell.)
Photo by by Public Domain Photos
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
I'll be signing books (free books!!) at the Sterling Publishing booth at ALA's (American Library Association) conference in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, June 27th, at 10am. If you're going to the conference, stop by to say hi!
Check out the cute poster Sterling created to display the schedule. Crocodaddy is happy to help publicize the event!
JACK OF ALL TAILS, Dutton, 2007
THE CROCODADDY, Sterling, May 2009
(now also available as a Scholastic paperback selection)
TEN ON THE SLED, Sterling, 2010
ALL KINDS OF KITTENS, Sterling, 2010
TIME TRAVELING WITH DINOSAURS, Sterling, 2011
A WORLD OF WHALES, Sterling, 2011
I KNOW A WEE PIGGY WHO WALLOWED IN BROWN, Dutton, 2012
Saturday, June 05, 2010
My editor sent me sample versions of my new Crocodaddy Scholastic paperbacks. Very nice job. They look good. She also sent a handful of read-along CDs that Scholastic had created. They're adorable! The guy doing the reading (an actor named Marc Thompson) does a good job with pacing and rhythm. They added sound effects and music, which really do enhance the story. I am very proud to see my name on these new versions of my book.
Wednesday, June 02, 2010
What a fun author visit I had yesterday at Courtland Elementary School in Fredericksburg, Virginia! Thank you a thousand times over to Tammy Jones, who coordinated the visit. Also a big thank you to Mrs. Steele, the principal, who was a good sport about manning the cute new Crocodaddy puppet I bought in Florida last month. I was delighted to learn that the students knew every word of "The Storytime Boogie," so another thank you to Mrs. Lipscomb for taking the time to teach it to the students before I arrived. And of course, an extra big thank you to the PTO for making the event possible. God bless them. What would we do without our school PTOs?
And now, most charming of all, a collection of thank you notes from 2nd graders, some of whom got to hold up some of the colored papers I use when we do a read-aloud of I KNOW A WEE PIGGY WHO WALLOWED IN BROWN. (Still 2 years away from publication.)
I wish I'd had time to scan them all, but here is a sampling. I love how accurately some of them drew my "Crocodaddy-colored" green suit... all the way down to my green sandals! Thank YOU, Courtland students, for making me feel so welcome!
I love that this student used artistic license and added a green bow to my hair. Maybe I need to add that to my outfit!
The above is a reference to my "Evil Inner Editors" who say ugly things inside my head when I'm struggling with a first draft. Kids really seem to get the concept, especially since I pair the sayings with funny, distorted images of myself saying things like "What makes you think YOU can write a book?"
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Ten on the Sled IN THE HOUSE! Received my first advance copy today. Gorgeous, colorful illustrations by Liza Woodruff; cool, silver foil-stamped title on the cover. Granted, Collin reading here is a little old for the book, dedicated to him and his brother Skylar. Hey, I wrote it as quickly as I could! And Sterling Publishing produced it fast, too. Great people there at Sterling.
It'll be in stores nationwide in October, just in time for the winter holidays!
proud mama and author
Monday, May 17, 2010
I'm trying a new promotion for the coming school year: To each school that schedules me for a FULL DAY visit during the 2010-2011 school year, I'll bring along a free copy of Jack of All Tails for every classroom in that school. (If the visit requires air travel, I'll ship the books for 50 cents apiece. But I usually drive to most visits within a 6 hour radius of my home in southeastern VA, in which case I can simply bring the books in my car.)
Jack of All Tails is a Penguin (Dutton) hardback WITH dust jacket; original manufacturer retail price: $15.99.
Details on my website at KIMNORMANBOOKS.COM
I love free stuff, especially free books. Don't you?
Monday, May 03, 2010
Here's a PowerPoint presentation I created for my "5 Little Crocodiles" (Based on "Five Little Monkeys," obviously.) I tried to go the lazy route, using clipart, but there was no way I was going to find clipart for 5 different crocodiles in matching styles. If there's anything I hate, as a graphic artist, it's a flier that has been thrown together using a dozen pieces of clipart that look like they were drawn by a dozen different artists. (Right up there with my peeve about using too many typefaces or using a fancy font in illegible caps.)
So I went ahead and drew 5 little crocs. My drawing skills are pretty rusty, but it was fun. Super high tech: did the drawings on white printer paper. Scanned into Photoshop for coloring.
The basic rhyme is:
5 Little Crocodiles swimming in the lake.
One got cold and began to shake.
Crocodaddy said, "For goodness sake!
No more crocodiles swimming in the lake!"
Once we get to zero, the last line switches to, "Feed those crocs some nice hot steak!" (which explains the last graphic.)
Anyhow, it was fun to do. Hope the kids like it. I'm going to have to ask someone else to man the projector, since I do hand motions with the kids.
My sister-in-law Nelle helped me write one in Spanish for the Spanish-speaking families to whom I'll be presenting later this week. We switched lake to river, since so many Spanish words rhyme nicely with "rio." At the end, they're eating ice cream (helado frio. Nelle was brilliant to come up with that!) I'll probably trip over my tongue, fitting in all those quick syllables, but I think it will be fun.
Friday, April 16, 2010
Took my writing outside today -- even farther than my front yard. Tossed my laptop into the car and drove to the Windsor Castle parking lot. (Yes, I KNOW I could have walked the trail to get there, but I was eager to get on with the writing.) Set up my laptop on a table in the brand new picnic area and had the whole place to myself. Used my computer's camera to snap these photos of my surroundings. Lovely lovely day -- if a little bit sneezy!
Monday, April 05, 2010
Where I'm From
by Kim Norman
Inspired by George Ella Lyon's poem "Where I'm from"
I am from
Maine mosquitos and Virginia creeper.
From loon and lobster,
kudzu and Karo.
I am from pepper flecked corn chowder
and golden fried okra.
And for dessert,
whether the wait is for
steaming Indian pudding
or freezing pecan praline, home-churned.
I am from
Pink Pearl erasers and Luden's cough drops.
From September books,
stiff-spined and ink scented,
grown floppy soft and pinky smudged by June.
I am from summer sundresses and summer reading lists,
from Pooh Corner and E.B. White,
yellow roads and black stallions.
I am from card catalogs
and nickel fines on golden tickets
too precious to release.
I am from boy pranks
salted slugs writhing on sidewalks,
screaming cicadas tethered on strings,
or a tiny Cuban lizard flashing out of sight,
leaving its twitching tail in my surprised fingers.
I am from chess and Chinese checkers,
from battleships and "Do not pass Go."
I'm from Saturday morning cinnamon toast,
with Stooges and cartoons,
and from Sunday night popcorn
with Mickey and Walt.
I'm from Huntley and from Brinkley,
from Cambodia and Camelot,
from Dodge and Virginia City.
I am from the moon, ("One small step for a man,")
and from space, ("Danger, Will Robinson!")
I'm from diaries and Beta tapes,
records, 8-tracks and cassettes.
I am bound in books, boxes and baby clothes.
I am from these things, in these things,
whether remembered, forgotten or forsaken.
I have outgrown the sundresses but not the sun.
Nor the books...
Even if I give them away,
or pay the fines and return them,
I live on
in the stories.
This my first in a planned trio of poems based on George Ella Lyon's remarkable poem, "Where I'm from." The next two will likely cover young adulthood and motherhood. (Maybe it will become a 4-part series, if I get ambitious in my old age -- not so long from now!) Click HERE to read Ms. Lyon's original poem, which inspired my own.
Oh and, ps -- the above photo is one I took during the winter of 2010 on the new Windsor Castle trail. Okay, I'll admit the "yellow brick" is a little Photoshop trickery!
Sunday, March 21, 2010
...on a bulletin board, that is. This is a bulletin board that greeted me at Margaret Beeks Elementary School in Blacksburg, VA last Friday. What a treat. I love the added crocodile balloon! A big thanks to Lindsay Barron and all the fine staff and PTO of Beeks, (not to mention a bright, enthusiastic student body) for making the visit such a success.
Equal thanks goes to Christel Reiber, PTO volunteer extraordinaire of Trimmer and Wallace Elementary Schools in York, Pennsylvania, which I visited the day before, on March 18th. Christel juggled books, toddlers and schedules to pull together a terrific pair of visits to sister schools. I only wish I'd remembered to pull out my camera for a photo.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
What a busy week ahead, (after a busy week LAST week!) but I'm excited about it. I'll be in York, Pennsylvania on Thursday, March 18th, visiting Trimmer and Wallace Elementary Schools. Then on Friday, I'll be in Blacksburg, VA, a few hours south, visiting Margaret Beeks Elementary.
Then, for icing on the cake, I'll be in Charlottesville on Saturday, attending the Festival of the Book. I've always meant to get to that and never have yet. So this will be a treat.
The BUSY part of last week was that I had two conferences, AND -- the best part -- got to meet and have dinner with my agent. It was such a great weekend!