families

They Only See the Outside: Interview with the Author

In honor of National Poetry Month, we've interviewed Kalli Dakos, author of a new collection of poems, They Only See the Outside. We ask her about the process of making this book and how poetry can help children better understand their feelings and feel less alone. Magination Press: What inspired you to create this poetry collection, They Only See the Outside? Kalli Dakos: I was asked to do a collection of poems that deal with emotional issues and I thought it was a wonderful idea. I’ve been sharing poetry with children for many years now and I know that poems can help them deal with problems at so many levels – both reading and writing poems. Reading poems helps children to feel that they are not alone with their difficulties and writing poems helps to give a voice to their problems and to share their own stories.  Reading poems helps children to feel that they are not alone with their difficulties and writing poems helps to give a voice to their problems and to share their own stories.  MP: You’ve written many books of poetry. What makes this one different? KD: This is my first book that has both previously published poems and new poems as well. I was able to share some of my favorite poems from other books and to add poems on brand new topics.     MP: Are there any poets who have inspired or mentored you?  KD: There are many poets who have inspired me over the years – from William Wordsworth to Shel Silverstein to the wonderful children’s poets today who are my friends. MP: The poems in They Only See the Outside can raise many different emotions and reactions from page to page as you cover incredibly different topics, from serious to ordinary to amusing. Can you explain why this approach benefits readers? KD: Poems help children to develop empathy and compassion for the struggles that their peers face, and covering all different topics helps this exposure. And then there are the poems that strike a chord with individual children because they have experienced the feelings in the poem. I love to include longer free verse poems that can handle topics that require more text, and it is always important to include humorous poetry that gives children a break from the deeper issues, but also helps them to realize they are not alone with embarrassing situations.   MP: In this collection of poems, you explore all kinds of feelings a kid might have in diverse life experiences. In your picture book Why Am I Blue?, you explore feelings, too. How is writing a book of poetry different from crafting a picture book?  KD: I feel that most of my writing is poetry even if it is in a picture book. I always begin a picture book as a poet, with either free verse or rhyme. In the original versions, the stories are written as poetry, and then changed to picture book format, as in Why Am I Blue?

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They Only See the Outside: Interview with the Author 2021-04-06T11:39:22-04:00

Musical March: Stories that Celebrate Music in Our Lives

March is Music in Our Schools Month. Research shows that music can have positive effects on children’s early development. Investing in music education early helps children develop fine motor skills, as well as physical and mental health. In recognition of the important role music can play in families, communities, and for the individual, here are some terrific stories that include voices, ensembles, interesting instruments, and more.  Music is at the heart of these stories: Elephant’s Music by Monika Filipina All of the animals in the forest can play an instrument, except Edward the Elephant. He tries, and he tries, but all he can do is make a terrible noise. So instead he became happy just listening, and so much so, that he became the band’s biggest fan! After walking up late for a performance one day, Edward runs through the jungle…DUM DUM DUM DUM…and discovers that he was musical after all. He turns out to be the beat the band needed! This is a playful yet important story about individual differences and finding ways to belong. “Even a noisemaker can find a place in a band...An agreeable lesson in inclusion.” —Kirkus Reviews Band Together by Chloe Douglass Duck is a solo act. He loves the peace and solitude of his beachside home, strumming his ukulele beneath the stars. After helping stranded band players Bear, Fox, and Seagull fix their broken-down tour van, he has tons of fun playing songs and hanging out with his new friends. Maybe he could ask the Band if they want to play with him again. But why would they want to be friends with Duck? When Seagull gets sick, it looks like the concert will get canceled. Or will Duck drum up the courage and accept Bear’s invitation to join the Band? Will Duck help his new friends out? Music is the universal language “A loner duck comes into his own...Both vulnerability and self-confidence shine.”  —Kirkus Reviews Hear Band Together read aloud by Chloe Douglass. Read an interview with Chloe Douglass.  Accordionly: Abuelo and Opa Make Music by Micheal Genhart, PhD When both grandpas, Abuelo and Opa, visit at the same time, they can’t understand each other’s language and there is a lot of silence. The grandson’s clever thinking helps find a way for everyone to share the day together as two cultures become one family. This unique book includes a bonus fold-out and a note from the author sharing the true story of his own family. “Genhart pulls from his own childhood growing up in a bicultural family in this cheery picture book, which tells of a young boy and how the accordion brought his family together…. Music is the universal language….Great for reading aloud and featuring bright, energetic illustrations, this endearing story supports diversity and multicultural inclusion.” —Booklist Hear Accordionly read aloud by Dr. Genhart. Read an article about multicultural families and the power of music. My Singing Nana by  Pat Mora "Always amigos!" My Singing Nana is a compassionate tribute to

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Musical March: Stories that Celebrate Music in Our Lives 2021-03-09T22:52:33-05:00

Pooka & Bunni: Interview with Jennifer Zivoin

Siblings can have complex relationships. They love each other, but sometimes they irritate each other, too. Pooka & Bunni explores the bond between sisters and how a big sister can still learn something new from her little sister. Here's an interview with the author and illustrator of Pooka & Bunni, Jennifer Zivoin, about how she created this book and other titles for Magination Press. Magination Press: What was the inspiration for Pooka and Bunni? Jennifer Zivoin: Pooka & Bunni was inspired by my daughters, who were ages 4 and 8 when I wrote the book.  I was actually working on a completely different manuscript which was just not coming together.  Then, one day while my older daughter Olivia was at school, my younger daughter Elyse started playing with Olivia’s Lego creation and broke it.  She tried to put it back together, but when Olivia came home, she could definitely tell that all was NOT as she had left it!  This sort of scene would play out in my house almost every day:  Elyse idolizes and loves her big sister, and Olivia is loving and inclusive to her sister, but sometimes the age gap creates conflict. MP: Do you have a sister or brother? JZ: Yes, I have a younger sister AND a younger brother! MP: Pooka & Bunni is the first book you’ve written and illustrated. How was that different from illustrating a book that someone else has written? JZ: When I illustrate a book by another author, the framework for the story is already there.  My job as an illustrator is to add to the storytelling through imagery. However, with Pooka & Bunni, I created this book the exact opposite way of how a book by another author would come together. I think in pictures, so instead of the text coming first, I illustrated the entire book without words. Then, I wrote the text for the pages to fill in any gaps in the storytelling.   MP: What was the hardest part of making Pooka & Bunni? What was the most fun? JZ: The hardest part of creating Pooka & Bunni was coming up with the designs for the characters. Pooka and Bunni are based on my own children, but they also had to be their own unique selves as characters, and their looks and designs had to reflect that. In early sketches, Pooka and Bunni were going to be rabbits, but I just could not get their personalities to shine through, and they kept looking like animal caricatures of my daughters. Then, once I threw all structure out the window and went with monsters, that is when the character designs finally started to take shape. Monsters could move and look however I wanted, and so their designs became all about communicating Pooka and Bunni’s feelings and personalities. You can tell just by looking at them what is going on inside of their heads. That was the most fun—drawing the characters in their many poses and expressions! Every time

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Pooka & Bunni: Interview with Jennifer Zivoin 2021-02-03T14:15:24-05:00