Oliver in Europe with Triplets

Halversons Take Oliver to Portugal, Spain, France and London, England

Big Mouth

One of the nicest things about working on the Oliver K. Woodman books were my editors at Harcourt. They were smart, efficient and experts in making a picture book’s text and images come together.

Deborah Halverson did most of the editing work on Searching for Oliver K. Woodman. Then — well, her life took an interesting turn: she had triplets. Yes, three sons.

Add to that, she sold two YA novels of her own!
Add to that, she decided to stay home with her sons and enjoy them and write.
Add to that, her DH decided to do a year as an exchange teacher in England.

And you get her fascinating blog about the “Thrills, Chills and Spills of Being a Triplet Mom and Writer. . .” The stay in England has been fascinating to watch through her eyes and through the antics of her boys.

Deborah was kind enough to take Oliver on their recent family trip to Portugal, Spain, France and London. They have posted some photos on Deborah’s blog and uploaded the rest to the Oliver K. Woodman Map Project.

By the way, she also does freelance editing – when the triplets are asleep – so check out her website. Read her books. Read her blog!

Honk if you hate me

Picture Book 2

7 Children’s Picture Book Manuscripts in 7 Days

picturebooks2
I’m taking the 7 in 7 picture book challenge.

Report on 7 in 7 for the first week of May, 2009

  1. May 7
  2. May 6
  3. May 5
  4. May 4: Delaware and Miriam. OK. This is getting hard! Picture books are short, yes, but that doesn’t mean they are easy to write. I’ve never written one in less than three days of intensive, obsessive work.

    I did get a draft done last night. It has a beginning, a middle and an end. But it’s no where near fully explored, much less refined. Still, just to get a draft done, I was pleased.

    I think the main problem is characterization. Why would this character do this? My problem is that I tend to write generic characters in my picture books and I’m really struggling to do more in such a short time frame.

  5. May 3: At the End of the Rainbow. I didn’t even start until 7 pm because I went to church, then did accounting. But I managed to finish a full draft of this story and am excited to see how it sounds after a couple days of cooling off. The title will change, but it’s a good working title. 1295 words. Yes, I’m writing long, but I can cut.
  6. May 2: ABC book. OK, so it’s one I had half-way started before and abandoned because I had blanks for about six letters. All I did today was fill in the rest of the letters, add more options to the letters I had and did general research and clean up. But I now have something for each letter. Yes, two or three are shaky. But it’s progress and I’m counting it.
  7. May 1: Violet Ivy’s Button Eyes. 1128 words.

Olivers Travels

You saw it here first! Oliver has a new website and he’s having lots of fun this summer!

Geotagging: A Social App for Geography Fun

Oliver CutOutOur knowledge of geography is becoming more sophisticated: If you own a smart phone, like the Apple iPhone 3G or some Blackberrys, the phone will automatically adds geotags – location information – to every photo snapped. But can Americans locate those places on a map? Not likely.

Echoing every major study of geographic knowledge in the U.S. or Great Britain over the last decade, Americans performed dismally on the 2007 Facebook application, “Traveler IQ Challenge.” Out of 193 nations, US players ranked 117th.

2006 surveys indicate that over 70% of US high school graduates couldn’t answer these simple questions correctly (See answers below):

  1. What is the most commonly spoken native language in the world?
  2. What is the largest Muslim country in the world?
  3. What country is the largest exporter of goods and services?

Can Technology Help Teach Geography?

Children’s book author Darcy Pattison says, “I like writing stories for kids that incorporate maps and geography knowledge. I don’t know why I’m drawn to these stories, since I’m not a good navigator. Maybe it’s because maps are a form of storytelling, too.”

The Journey of Oliver K. Woodman, a story about a wooden man who travels across the country to connect a family. In the sequel, Searching for Oliver K. Woodman, Oliver starts cross-country again, but when he’s lost a wooden woman, Imogene Poplar, P.I. searches for him.

It’s not surprising, then, that the main character of her books, Oliver K. Woodman, is the subject of a new Flickr Map Project (www.oliverkwoodman.com/map-project) designed for elementary students.

The Project encourages anyone interested to take a paper Oliver along on their travels and photograph him at landmarks. The key is to geotag the photos and upload them to a Flickr group site: (www.flickr.com/groups/oliverkwoodman).

Geotagging is simply marking a photo as belonging to a specific spot on a map. While smart phones can geotag photos automatically, you don’t need that much technology to participate. In fact, Flickr’s method of geotagging by allowing users to drag-and-drop a photo onto a map is more educational for kids. To correctly geotag, a student must accurately locate a place on a map.

Interactive: Photos + Maps = Better Learning

There are 35 million + photos already on Flickr and even more on GoogleEarth, the other major online photo-geotagging site. Isn’t it enough just to send students to view those geotagged photos? No.

“Geotagging photos is a great interactive tool for learning geography,” Pattison says. “Like other social applications, it depends on the community to generate content. It encourages interest, participation, and facilitates learning.”

Students will be more engaged:

  • “Aunt Jane took this picture in Athens, Greece.”
  • “I took this photo at the best climbing tree in town.”
  • “Our class uploaded and geo-tagged ten photos. Let me show you the one I geo-tagged.”

High interest character. Linking the activity to a favorite children’s book character like Oliver K. Woodman just adds to the fun. Teachers can use the FREE Lesson Plans (zip) available with the project to teach an integrated unit of language arts, math, social studies, art and more. The Oliver K. Woodman Map Project is a small step towards improved geographic knowledge through social apps and is perfect for the elementary school student.

Download the Pattern Now! (pdf)
projectbutton

Answers to Quiz: 1. Chinese, 2. Indonesia, 3. United States.

Resources:

Picture book 1

7 Children’s Picture Book Manuscripts in 7 Days

I’m taking the 7 in 7 picture book challenge.

Report on 7 in 7 for the first week of May, 2009

  1. May 1: Violet Ivy’s Button Eyes. 1128 words.
  2. May 2: ABC book. OK, so it’s one I had half-way started before and abandoned because I had blanks for about six letters. All I did today was fill in the rest of the letters, add more options to the letters I had and did general research and clean up. But I now have something for each letter. Yes, two or three are shaky. But it’s progress and I’m counting it.
  3. May 3: At the End of the Rainbow. I didn’t even start until 7 pm because I went to church, then did accounting. But I managed to finish a full draft of this story and am excited to see how it sounds after a couple days of cooling off. The title will change, but it’s a good working title. 1295 words. Yes, I’m writing long, but I can cut.
  4. May 4
  5. May 5
  6. May 6
  7. May 7

7 in 7

sign photo by Bisayan Lady
Have you decided to join the National Picture Book Writing Week? It started today and you need to write a picture book (with a beginning, middle and end) each day.

Of course, if you write seven, you’ll need to revise seven! So, come back the next week and read through my series, 30 Days to a Stronger Picture Book. Or read it as the week goes along for inspiration.

Yes, I’m going to try 7 in 7! Life is very hectic, so I may not make it, but I’m going to try.

LATER: I actually went over to try to leave a comment that I’m going to try this. But you have to register with the blog website before you can make comments. That’s not worth it to me, I’ll just do it on my own and credit Paula with a good idea.

Are YOU doing the 7 in 7?