,

Racecar Dreams

Racecar Dreams by Sharon Chriscoe is serving as a model text for Alan Jordan's forthcoming book with the working title of either Safari Sam or Turbo Tim.A quick read through of Racecar Dreams by Sharon Chriscoe with illustrations by Dave Mottram reveals an exciting day for a racecar who is intensely focused on his goals.

He’s so focused that he falls asleep dreaming about winning the big race.  If you have children who play any form of sports, that might sound familiar. Most children and kids who are into sports will love this book because it validates their passion.

What’s not so obvious is the absence of a traditional arc in the story.  Most stories resolve children’s problems. Racecar doesn’t have a an issue. That makes it hard to get a publisher. Racecar Dreams is not a “kid solves problem” book like Brave Squish Rabbit or a super-quiet bedtime book like The Quiet Book.  Ms. Chriscoe convinced a major publisher to invest in the book by revealing Racecar’s  vision.

Further, Racecar Dreams works because Sharon Chriscoe employs the skilled use of poetic meter in the story.  Also, many children like the idea of a little noise (e.g. “vroom”) at bedtime.  When Chriscoe’s story, which parallels many of the things that children do as they get ready to go to bed, is combined with the playful and colorful illustrations of Dave Mottram a book that’s a joy to read at bedtime results.  Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble or Amazon.com.

I read Racecar Dreams, and I am Jazz on the same day, and I asked myself, “What can I write that will have the beauty and energy of Racecar Dreams combined with a social statement that helps children who are “different” to feel good about themselves.  The answer came back quickly–a book about wheelchairs that zip and zoom around to help children enjoy life.  I’ve been working on that book for a year now.  I’m not sure if it will wind up with the name of Safari Sam, Turbo Tim, or Wheelchair Fantasies.  

My focus for the last year has been making having a wheelchair that wants to do zoo tours, but I’m thinking of expanding the scope of the story.

Two things that I do know is that I will eventually finish it and that it will help special needs children feel proud of their accomplishments.

I’m not sure if the book will be in rhyme or prose. I keep going back and forth between the two, so I’d appreciate your giving me your opinion.

Please use my contact form to let me know which title you prefer and any opinions you have about rhyme, meter or content. Thanks. 😃

 

,

The Quiet Book

The Quiet Book, written by Deborah Underwood inspired Alan Jordan to write a number of soothing forthcoming books like Many Kinds of Love.The next time that you want to put your children to bed, pull out The Quiet Book by Deborah Underwood and illustrator Renata Liwska and read it with them.

It’s a soothing story that helps a child to relax and think about the world in a slightly different way because it helps them to revisit different times of the day when they naturally want to be or appreciate, quiet.

Wanting to be quiet is important to children. Kids hate to be told to be quiet. It doesn’t seem fair to them, besides they don’t think of themselves as being noisy. There’s no moral in this story that says be quiet. A strange thing happened when my daughter (who is all grown up with a kid of her own) reflected upon the quiet moments that happened during her day–she unwound and was both relaxed and serene

Renata Liwska’s illustrations are as close as you can come to holding a teddy bear when all you have is a book. The artwork tells it’s own story, which usually is the case with well-illustrated books. I can only hope that she will one day illustrate some of my work.

When I read this book, I immediately took out a stack of sticky notes and started writing my own, completely different story, about different types of love.  I thought it would be easy. Guess what? I’m still working on the manuscript for Many Kinds of Love.  The amount of time that has passed, over six months, shows me how challenging the task of writing The Quiet Book probably was for Deborah Underwood.

Well, why not.  The easiest to read books are often the most complex to write.  In children’s picture books, every word counts. You won’t find an extra word in The Quiet Book. And, I did not notice any extraneous strokes in the illustrations. (I want Renata Liwska to illustrate one of my forthcoming books.)

Perhaps the perfect simplicity of The Quiet Book why it’s won so many awards.

By the way, the Kindle edition of The Quiet Book is inexpensive, so you can buy a copy for your phone and always have it handy when you’re traveling, and need something to quiet the kids down after a long day on the road or adventure.

 

 

,

Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast

Josh Funk's Lady Pancake and French Toast has challenged author Alan H. Jordan to write a book where all of the letters of the alphabet race to solve the case of the missing cherries and other books in the forthcoming ABC Detective series.

Excitement abounds from the moment the refrigerator door is open.

In my opinion, Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast by Josh Funk is the most entertaining book ever written about an adventure within a refrigerator. It is also in my top ten most entertaining picture books written in the last five years.

Crafted in rhyme and filled with fantasy-packed action this book will take you on an adventure as Lady Pancake and a slice of French Toast vie to get the last drop of syrup.

The action is hot, heavy, humorous and non-stop, with perhaps the most rapid pacing that I’ve ever read in a picture book. Although all of the action is outrageous, it is totally believable to the child’s mind, as well as to teens and adults who read the story to children.

To be honest, this book is not perfect bedtime reading for some children–its frantic pace may make them hyper. If you feel that your child is easily excitable at bedtime, read it to them when they get up, or in the middle of the afternoon, or anytime.  I guarantee you one thing: You’ve have a great experience.

Brendan Kearney, the illustrator of Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast by Josh Funk has the wild and wolly creativity to illustrate Alan Jordan's forthcoming series of children's books, The ABC Detectives.

Perhaps one day Brendan Kearney, who focuses on children’s books instead of his former career in architecture will illustrate some of my books.

Brendan Kearney’s superb illustrations complete and perfect the wonderfully lyrical text.

As an accomplished writer, I wouldn’t even try to write a competitive book.

But, Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast stimulates and challenges my creativity, so I’ve decided to write a series of books where the letters of the alphabet race to solve crimes.  The first book in this series has the working title of The Case of the Missing Cherries.

In a separate forthcoming post I’ll fill you in on some of the trials and tribulations that I’m conquering while writing a story whose energy was inspired by Josh Funk’s Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast.

Here’s a link to the book at Barnes & Noble. Grab your copy now.

,

My Little Polar Bear

Serenity is well established after reading this beautiful book at bedtime.

My Little Polar Bear by Colombian picture book author/illustrator Claudia Rueda is one of those rare fiction books that’s quiet, calming and filled with interesting facts. As a mama polar bear and her cub journey through the Arctic readers develop an affinity and appreciation for polar bears.

The beautiful, minimal artwork is captivating. Best yet, when story time is over, readers (children and adults alike) are usually serene. Children are ready to go to drift off to sweet dreams.

Twenty percent of the way through reading this book I asked myself, “What unique work can I write to provide this same sort of serenity for children at bedtime? I also visualized my book helping them feel closer to nature.  “Ask, and you shall receive.” I’m currently polishing the text of my forthcoming book. I visualize it helping children worldwide learn more about panda bears

Have you ever heard the expression “Ask and you shall receive?” Inspiration flowed, and six months later I’m polishing the text of my forthcoming book, My Sweet Panda Bear.  

Authors rarely get an opportunity to select their illustrator, but I hope that one day Claudia Rueda will accept an offer to illustrate my book.  Click this link to travel to Amazon.com, and look inside the My Little Polar Bear.

 

 

,

All Through My Town

A delightful book for pre-schoolers.

Joy effervesces as readers discover treasures when touring a fictional small town in All Through My Town by Jean Reidy

A combination of vibrant, dynamic artwork by Leo Timmers and superb writing makes each page jump out.

It’s hard to create a rhyming rhythm that makes a book easy to read and remember. It’s difficult to cram action that children enjoy into each line. All Through My Town makes it look easy. Here’s the book beginning:

 

 

Rising, waking
Bread is baking

School bus honks its horn

This book is available in a variety of different formats, including an affordably priced Kindle edition. ($5.99.)  https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00DM5KF00

I’d recommend buying both a paperback or hardback edition plus the Kindle edition. You can read this on a smartphone.  It’s likely that your children or grandchildren will quickly come to love the story.  Then, while you are out and about town, you can always whip out your phone and relate the place your visiting to a similar place in the book.  Also, if you kids happen to be in a noisy mood, let them read this story.

Alan

Blaze loves playing with balls as much as she loves going for walks.

P.S. This book inspired my forthcoming book Walk, Walk, Walk, I began this book after asking myself, “What could I do that is unique but imparts the zest of Jean Reidy’s All Through My Town?”  The answer came to me when I was taking a walk with my daughter, granddaughter and their Border Collie, Blaze.  My goal was to capture the spirit of Blaze taking a walk as well as Jean Reidy captures the spirit of a walk around a town.

Authors rarely get to select the illustrator for one of their manuscripts, but wouldn’t it be interesting if the publisher commissioned Leo Timmers to do the artwork for Walk, Walk, Walk by Blaze the Border Collie (as told to Alan H. Jordan.)

,

Tap the Magic Tree

When I finished my first reading of Tap the Magic Tree by author-illustrator Christie Matheson, I knew that I wanted to write a book about the cycles of life. But, I didn’t want to duplicate Tap the Magic Tree. It’s perfect. I love the multiple ways that it gets and maintains children’s interest.

Tap the Magic Tree begins to weave its literary spell with the first three sentences:

There’s magic in this bare brown tree.

Tap it once.

Turn the page to see.

Each page draws me more deeply into the story.

It’s more than just a great story. It also helps children build counting skills, and absorb knowledge about nature.

Every page captivates me, including the ending which features a drawing of a barren tree. It presents a challenge with the words “Close your eyes and count to ten.”

Next, we see a drawing of a tree with a nest and egg in it and these words:

Magic!

It begins again.

I also want to convey this message, but in an entirely different way.

For years, I have told my daughter something like, “It takes courage to be the first leaf to open. I wonder if leaves are afraid of a killer frost? I can’t see why they wouldn’t be.”

I decided to create my book called Brave New Leafthen I realized that one book was not enough for me to communicate the concept of, “Magic! It begins again.”  I’ve planned four books, one for each season

  • Spring – Brave New Leaf
  • Summer – Pumping it Out – Explores how Buddy the Leaf feels as he contributes to the well-being of his tree and the forest it is in, by “pumping out” energy.
  • Fall – Feeling Brown – Buddy the Leaf’s is afraid of dying until he realizes a fact of nature.
  • Winter – Full Cycle – Buddy the leaf transcends death as he becomes part of the soil, and shares the secrets that he’s learned with tree buds through haiku.

Tap the Magic Tree is one book that you have to see, to feel, to touch to get the full benefit. There’s no way that I can give you the full sensory experience in this blog post, but I can encourage you to peek inside by providing this link so you can use Amazon’s Look Inside feature to see some of the artwork.  Check it out, and if you like what you see, buy the book. You’ll be delighted that you did.