In the midst of book award season in January, I launched the first BLOGETTES FUNNY PRIZE to honor the books of the past year that tickled our funny bones. Many readers nominated their favorite titles and voting was opened up on this blog, as well as in social media circles. And today I am proud to announce that we have a winner.
The 2014 BLOGETTES FUNNY PRIZE goes to Bridget Heos for her hilarious Mustache Baby!
Bridget Heos is the author of Mustache Baby, illustrated by Joy Ang, and
the forthcoming sequel, Mustache Baby vs. Beard Baby (2015.) She has also
written more than 60 nonfiction children's titles, including Stronger Than
Steel, with photographs by Andy Comins. Bridget lives in Kansas City with her husband and four children. You can visit her on the Web at authorbridgetheos.com, on Facebook @Author Bridget Heos, or on Twitter @BridgetHeos.
And for an extra special treat, I have asked Bridget here today to share a little bit about her inspiration for Mustache Baby. Please give a warm Blogettes welcome to my new friend and recipient of the 2014 BLOGETTES FUNNY PRIZE, Bridget Heos!
Thank you so much for the Blogettes Funny Prize for Mustache Baby. I am seriously honored. A lot of people ask me how I got the idea for Mustache Baby. Some ask if I wrote the book in hopes of cashing in on the mustache trend. I wouldn't put it past me! But no. I got the idea for the book way back when my fifth grade son Richie was in first grade.
What happened is: We were in the school library—Richie, his friends, and me. They saw the cover of Jerry Spinelli's book, Crash, which features a baby with a drawn-on mustache, and fell on the floor laughing. (Literally, they were ROTFL.) I'd written a lot of books, but all of them had been nonfiction. I'd always wanted to write a fiction book, but figured it wasn't in the cards. I never had a single idea. But now I thought "If these children want a story about a baby with a mustache, I'll give them a story about a baby with a mustache. If it's the last thing I do." And that's exactly what I did.
I love that kids think Mustache Baby is funny. But what I love most about the book is the way illustrator Joy Ang makes the love shine through. When I first opened the book to her illustration of the family gathered around Billy in the hospital with looks of concern, my heart melted. To me, things aren’t really funny unless there is a thread of kindness running through them. In Captain Underpants, it’s the wonderful friendship between George and Harold, and the fact that they fight meanness with creativity. In SpongeBob SquarePants, it’s SpongeBob’s and
Patrick’s tenacious attempts at including Squidward in their friendship. I think a good sense of humor is a way of seeing the world from an underdog’s point of view and of seeing each other with a generous heart. In that way, it is a way of loving one another. That’s why I really appreciate that you started this award.
Reading this, you probably think Richie is my only son. I actually have three sons: Johnny, Richie, and J.J., and their toddler years are the inspiration for the heroic and dastardly acts that Mustache Baby does. I now have a baby daughter, too. Perhaps she will inspire future Mustache Baby books. In fact, one sequel, Mustache Baby Meets His Match, will be released next year. Like Captain Underpants and SpongeBob, it is all about friendship, but hopefully people will think it’s funny, too.
Thank you again.
Thank YOU, Bridget. Humor plus heart equals the BLOGETTES FUNNY PRIZE! I look forward to more page-turning, laugh out loud mayhem with the sequel. If you ever think you need a Teacher's Guide...ahem.
In previous chapters Marcie Colleen has been a teacher and theatre educator, but now she splits her days between chasing the Picture Book Writer dream and chasing toddlers on the playground as a nanny. Both are equally glamorous!
Her blog, The Write Routine and her Teacher’s Guides, can be found at www.thisismarciecolleen.com. You can
also follow her on Twitter. Additionally, Marcie is the Education Consultant for Picture Book Month.
She contributes the 4th Friday of the month, as a Blogette, right here, posting on humor in picture books.
Marcie lives with her fiancé and their mischievous sock monkey in Brooklyn, NYC.
So who sees or uses the pictures of my kids? My grandkids? What other information might be transmitted?
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), effective April 21, 2000 addresses online collection of personal information from children under 13. Technology has evolved quite a bit since then.
The FTC 2012 Staff Report, “Mobile Apps for Kids: disclosures Still Not Making the Grade” highlighted the need for transparency in the mobile marketplace.
The COPPA Rule changes taking effect July 1, 2013, addressed updated technology such as “apps” directed to children under 13. Under the 2013 rule changes, the definition of “personal information” expanded to include photo or video of a child’s image, or audio file with a child’s voice.
Parental consent and notice are required for the collection of personal information from a child.
From the COPPA Rule 2013 description, it would appear that permission was required for the in-app photo collection since the app is by design for a child. However, the FTC article “Complying with COPPA: Frequently Asked Questions” states:
Adults are perfectly capable of making decisions to accept terms, turn off features or not purchase a product that doesn’t respect their privacy. Children, however, are in a protected class when it comes to privacy issues.
To find out more about COPPA:
Original COPPA http://www.coppa.org/coppa.htm
COPPA Rule Changes http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-01-17/pdf/2012-31341.pdf
COPPA FAQ http://www.business.ftc.gov/documents/0493-Complying-with-COPPA-Frequently-Asked-Questions
Mary A Livingston is an award winning illustrator, photographer, author and designer. She believes that today is an exciting and challenging time in the children’s book industry as the digital market finds its way alongside traditional printed books. Beginning in Fall 2014 she will be teaching a CBA course Using InDesign for Picture Book Dummies and eBooks that will make this complex but extremely helpful program accessible for creatives.
Born in Hoopa, she grew up in the forested communities of Humboldt and Trinity Counties of Northern California. She attended Shasta College, Humboldt State University, and Loyola University. She has also worked in education, photography, and liturgical design. She and her husband, Tim, have two sons and three grandchildren.
You can find out more about Mary at www.maryalivingston.com
When I learned Jane Yolen and daughter Heidi Stemple were hosting their first ever Picture Book Boot Camp in Jane’s Victorian home in Massachusetts, I said to my husband, “I have to go.” In further explanation: “It would be as if you were an amateur astronomer and found out Carl Sagan or Neil deGrasse Tyson was doing a weekend workshop on the cosmos in their home. You’d have to go.”
My husband, always my supporter, responded, “Of course. You have to go.”
So here I am sitting in Jane Yolen’s attic, writing this blog. The official name of the attic is The Aerie and it’s filled with three writing desks, hundreds of books, scores of awards, and the futon that will be my bed for the next three nights. You probably have to be a children’s writer to understand how magical this is. This is where Jane, called the Hans Christian Andersen of America, wrote many of her over 300 books. It overlooks the woods that inspired her Caldecott Medal book, Owl Moon. I am just going to inhale deeply and hope some of her brilliance seeps into my brain.
Sometimes a writer has to take a break, a little time to breathe. That’s what I’m doing this weekend, along with nine other “campers.” Next month I’ll exhale and share some of my insights about Jane’s camp, but tonight I’ll leave you with three quick ways to help make characters memorable and engaging.
1) Character Names. In my Word program is a folder filled with lists of hundreds of character names. When I hear or read a unique or interesting name, I add it to the list. Recently I met a young boy named Soul. I’m quite sure his name will find its way into a book some day.
Mostly, to find great character names, I simply keep my antenna up, but you can also search through phone books or baby name books. There are name generators on the Internet that can be fun too. Just Google “name generator” and see what pops up.
When you choose a name for your character, fit it to your character’s personality and the style of your story. I’m working on a manuscript (it’s actually one of the two Jane critiqued for me today) that’s a tall tale. My character’s name is Freddie Stufflebean. A name like Archibald Whiting just wouldn’t do.
2) Character Tags
Character tags are a device that helps make your character distinctive. It might be a mannerism, a passion, an obsession, a fear, a hobby, or a way of talking. Rodney Rat, in Hooway for Wodney Wat, pronounces his r’s like w’s, which leads to some serious misunderstandings. His speech endears him to us and helps us to never forget him. In adult literature, an example of a character tag is Zorro’s mask and cape.
A catchphrase is a phrase that’s easy to remember and is commonly used to represent a person, like “Elementary, My Dear Watson” from Sherlock Holmes. In my book Roar of a Snore Jack’s plea to “Stop that snore!” might be considered a catchphrase. It’s repeated over and over in the story. That’s part of what makes a catchphrase, the repeatability. Dr. Seuss’ books are filled with catch phrases. Think “I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like them, Sam-I-Am.”
Well, “That’s all folks!” (Porky Pig’s catchphrase.)
Next month I will share more stories from Jane Yolen’s attic.
If you’ve been reading my posts about Becoming an AuthorArtist over these last 6 months, you’ve been hearing…
Play, play, quantum physics, play...play, play, play, play, play
And rumor has it that some of you have played! So you may already know what I’m about to talk about! You may have learned firsthand, you may even know without knowing you know, the power of play. Play is a profound teacher. She can teach you as deep as a canyon and leave you without a word to explain the experience.
So here are some words about the power of play.
And that this relentless power that wants to unleash and undo and free everything unites us
(in case you need “proof” of how important it is to play…here’s an article for you!)
Maya Gonzalez is largely self-taught. She has illustrated over 20 award-winning multicultural children’s books and written 3 with, not an end in sight! Her latest book, Call Me Tree, set to come out this year with Lee&Low Books, is her most recent labor of love! Her fine art has shown internationally and appears in numerous books about the contemporary Chicano Art Movement including on the cover of Living Chicana Theory and Contemporary Chicana and Chicano Art: Artists, Works, Culture and Education considered to be "the Bible of Chicano/a art." Ridiculously creative, she’s probably making art as you read this or thinking about making art if she’s driving a car or using the stove. And one of her ultimate passions is inspiring others to create books, because she believes that creating children's books has the potential to be one of the most radical things you can do!
Meet the Friday Blogonauts
First Fridays will feature Bryan Patrick Avery, published writer , man of mystery, and professional magician among other things.
Second Fridays will feature awesome multi-award winning author Marsha Diane Arnold who will be writing about character-driven and/or nature-based books and/or anything she likes :)
Third Fridays will feature independent Aladdin/Simon & Shuster editor Emma Sector who has helped bring many books into the world.
Fourth Fridays will feature the great Christine Taylor-Butler who has published over 70 award-winning fiction and non-fiction and nonfiction books including the acclaimed new middle grade series - The Lost Tribes.
Fifth Fridays will feature the fabulous Carl Angel award-winning multi-published Illustrator and graphic designer.
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