Happy book birthday to my bookish baby, The Little Artists’ Big Book of Activities: 60 Fun and Colorful Projects to Explore Color, Patterns, Shapes, Art History & More.
AKA The book with the world’s longest title. Is it bad that I often can’t remember its name?!
It has been equal parts nerve-wracking and exciting to see my book reaching homes across the world.
To thank you all, I’ve made a book plate for you to download, print out, personalise and then glue onto the inside cover of your copy of my book.
You can order a copy of The Little Artists’ Big Book of Activities: 60 Fun and Colorful Projects to Explore Color, Patterns, Shapes, Art History & More from your preferred bookseller by clicking below.
If you’re not in the US, I recommend Book Depository.
And if you do grab a copy (THANK YOU!!) I’d love it if you left a review at your point of purchase! It truly helps other people find my book. Thankyouthankyouthankyou!
Once a book is read, add the title to the spine of any book on the printable.
Reading isn’t a competitive sport.
In my opinion, a reading log shouldn’t be about how many books you can complete and write down but it should simply be a record of what you’ve read.
I’ll be using this reading log with my kiddos in the New Year so they can reflect on what books they’ve enjoyed and would recommend to a friend (useful for birthday present buying and also helps me determine what books to add to the To Buy list in the school library. Also I have the memory of a sieve so I need things written down that I can refer to. I need visuals, people!)
Being able to have conversations around and about books is such an ace skill for a young reader.
I have a Trace Moroney-related confession. I am a massive fan girl. When I first started out in teaching, I inherited a classroom that had a bare classroom library. So I enthusiastically set out to stock it. I bought whatever good-quality books I could find at second-hand book stalls and op shops. I got my hands on a box set of Trace Moroney ‘s “When I’m Feeling….” collection. At that time, I was teaching first grade and HOLY MOLY, those little books about feelings were so useful. I have loved, and used, her work for a long time.
So the name Trace Moroney takes me back to the start of my teaching career. This is a bit of a full circle, pinch-me moment to have Trace here on my blog! Her latest series, My Emotions, is another valuable set of books for your bookshelves and classroom libraries. Much longer in form than the “When I’m Feeling…” books, this new series explores the layers of emotions that come along with the process of an experience or event. It offers well- researched techniques to help children develop valuable coping skills and build resilience – so that when the experience inevitably happens, your child is better prepared and has more confidence to self-regulate their emotions.
Introducing Trace Moroney!
I am … Trace Moroney, a creator of children’s picture books that translates big feelings for little people™.
My work focuses on enhancing emotional and social literacy for children … and their parents and guardians too.
I am an author; illustrator; designer; publisher; company director; parent (to one son and two naughty pugs); psychology student; chief cook and loo-cleaner; and … am generous; kind; sometimes stubborn; intolerant of a**holes; energetic; authentic; self-deprecating; highly empathetic; and enormously passionate about life, the universe, and everything!
I find inspiration …from everyday life experiences; academic research; reading; listening; chatting with friends; and walking (preferably on bushy mountain tracks) – as this is when I can enter into an (almost) meditative state and find that the squillions of ideas and snippets of information tumbling around in my head — can formulate into an exciting idea for a book. Annoyingly and occasionally, I have forgotten a ‘brilliant’ idea by the time I get home – so, have learned to voice-record the idea on my mobile phone.
I am excited about … my new series entitled My Emotions! This new series explores the layers of emotions that come along with the process of an experience or event. It offers well-researched techniques to help children develop valuable coping skills and build resilience – so that when an experience or event inevitably happens, they are better prepared to navigate their way through it.
When I’m in a creative slump, I … go walking and/or throw myself into some extensive physical exercise! However, I rarely experience creative slumps – nor have time to have them!
I’m really proud of … my resilience! I have experienced several abusive relationships – from a parent, an ex-partner, and a few in between – and while it has been incredibly difficult to manage at times, I am most proud of my tenacity to ‘pick myself back up’ and ‘keep my eyes on the prize’ … in other words – keep focused on the abundance of good things in my life; the exciting goals to achieve … and to enjoy the journey.
I am proud to be the mother of my son. He has taught me so much about myself, and he is the most incredible young man I have ever had the privilege to know.
I only wish I had his capacity for being tolerant!
Someone once told me … never run with scissors!
My advice …
Define ‘forgiveness’ as: giving up the hope that the past can be any different.
‘Let it go’ … OK — so this is one that I am still working on!
I do adore passionate people. Felicity Marshall is the Australian author and illustrator of two children’s books about bees – ‘Hello, Honey Bee’which is a fictional tale about a queen bee meeting the Big Queen, and also a fact-filled non-fiction book, ‘The Very Clever Bee.’ Her passion and respect for bees is contagious. Here, she answers some questions about the inspiration behind her books.
Introducing Felicity Marshall.
What inspired you to write two children’s books about bees?
The truth is, I have been interested in bees from the day we found a swarm in our paddock when I was about 10 years old. The local apiarist who captured the swarm rewarded us with bantam chickens (that bred like crazy) and several jars of honey fresh from his hives (pure bliss!). After that day our family renounced commercial honey and walked up the road to the beekeeper’s property to buy fresh honey. I was fascinated by everything at his apiary – the hives, the bees, the delicious smell, even the apiarist’s quiet wife who had enormous brown eyes, just like a bee and who had a swarm of little, brown-eyed children buzzing around her. We lived in a semi-rural part of Western Australia and the apiarist’s honeys varied from rich dark brown Jarrah honey to light golden Karri honey. We tried his many flavours over the years. That’s when I learned that the colour and flavour of honey depends on the flowers visited by the bees. I also learned that bees sometimes follow the beekeeper to retrieve their honey that he had removed from the hive. He was very relaxed about leaving the door to his honey processing room open, and in they came! I don’t advise this. They were a bit cross…
Fast forward about 40 years. Remembering my childhood fascination with bees and my growing awareness of threats to bees and the natural world, I enrolled in a class on beekeeping. I convinced my partner Marc to come along. He was reluctant – a coastal bloke who needed to at least glimpse the ocean each day to feel calm, but he came along. I watched a light bulb appear over his head as the day progressed, and now he is a totally dedicated , knowledgeable beekeeper with more than 40 hives. And despite a lot of muscle building in the early days of our beekeeping, (a full box of honey weighs about 30kgs) I’m now a mere assistant to him. Interesting how things work out! I have to say here that his superior strength and extreme patience (where bees are concerned) have meant that nowadays he does most of the heavy lifting, while I assist, keep the smoker going and help load and unload the ute. Beekeeping is secondary to my art and writing, but I love the days we spend together working on the beehives and keeping the bees happy, healthy and tirelessly industrious. It is very calming…
Who are your heroes?
I have several heroes in my life, but the most outstanding is Sir David Attenborough whose tireless worldwide exploration of all the natural world has revealed its wonders to us and raised awareness of the astonishing beauty and fragility of life. My second hero is Rachel Carson, a marine biologist and writer, who in her famous book ‘Silent Spring’ published in 1962, predicted a future dire state of the world due to farmers’ use of synthetic fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides without considering the toxic effect to the environment, to all animals, birds, reptiles and insects and eventually humans.
Also among my heroes are the tiny humble creatures that work constantly to uphold the healthy ecology of our soils and plants and are often invisible or overlooked -the earthworm, the dung beetle and many other beneficial insects, butterflies, moths and grubs.
*Rachel Carson’s book is now even more relevant than ever before as industrialised farming grows and so does chemical use. Fortunately, there is a groundswell of people wanting to save our planet from destruction by embracing ethical and natural farming practices to regenerate the soil, eliminate poisons from our environment and restore habitats for all creatures. Our insect pollinators, especially the many species of bees are benefitting from these actions and beekeepers are growing in number.
What is your hope for the future of your book?
As an artist and beekeeper, The Very Clever Bee is my small but heartfelt contribution to the education of future generations about the importance of pollinators, especially bees, to the survival of life and the security of our food supply. Children are our future scientists, policymakers and custodians of planet Earth. They are endlessly curious, and bees are endlessly fascinating! And bees provide humankind with so much more than honey, things we see in everyday life, from beeswax candles and cosmetics to medicinal honey and propolis.
I hope that children will see that we can all make a difference to the health of our beautiful planet and that nature is our greatest source of joy and awe.
Jayneen Sanders is truly a gift to all parents, carers and educators. Jayneen herself is an educator and she is an advocate committed to empowering children around body safety, gender, equality and respectful relationships. She is also a publishing powerhouse with over 100 published stories. Jayneen takes tough and tricky topics and breaks them down into digestible, age-appropriate content. Her books provide fabulous scaffolds for adults to have discussions with children about big, worldly issues. We are HUGE fans of her Little BIG Chats series. Over on the Educate2Empower website, Jayneen shares so many free resources to help adults empower children.
I am… Jayneen Sanders, author, teacher and mother of three amazing and inspiring adult women. I live in the Dandedong Ranges, SE of Melbourne with my wonderful life and work partner, Mark Sanders. We have lived on our 27 acres for over 25 years and we both absolutely love it here. We have two dogs: Wanna and Pademelon (Paddy) and five horses (eeekkk far too many). Even though it’s quiet and peaceful on our farm, the wildlife is abundant. We have magpies, eagles, rosellas, kookaburras, cockatoos, wallabies, wombats, deer and a few too many rabbits.
I find inspiration… Children inspire me. The teacher in me only wants the best for kids. They are born into this world ready to learn and grow, and adults really need to be mindful of their influence, both negative and positive. I love listening to kids’ stories and their perspectives on life. I’ve learned so much from children that is insurmountable. I have always looked at life as a gift. We can choose to look at situations from a negative or positive framework. I always try to choose ‘positive’— as best I can. As the Dalai Lama says, ‘We are visitors on this planet. We are here for 90 or 100 years at the very most. During that period, we must try to do something good, something useful, with our lives.’ I try to live by that quote.
I am excited about … exploring ’wide open spaces’. Mark and I hope to travel across Australia in the not-so-distance future and I’m so excited to go to isolated and beautiful places. I want to visit country towns, long white beaches, old forests. I want to wander and wonder slowly and mindfully. I want to slow down time and soak up what is around me. I see the world through a lens of colour, shape and texture, and I am always imagining and inventing stories.
When I’m in a creative slump, I… walk in the forest in Olinda with Paddy. I watch him play with the other puppies. I sit and stare up at the massive gum trees surrounding me and feel immensely grateful. I might go to Phillip Island and walk along the beach behind San Reno or walk along the coastal path that skirts around the cliff tops. Or I might buy a fish burger at Sam Remo and sit on the pier. Sometimes, on a sunny day, I go to Churchill Island, get a coffee and then walk beside the lavender field that overlooks Port Phillip Bay.
I’m really proud of… ‘gifting’ ’my children’s book ‘My Body! What I Say Goes!’ to World Vision India. They translated it into 10 Indian languages and printed over a million copies to give to kids in poorer areas. They also in-serviced 900 teachers in how to use the book so they could go out into communities to educate kids in Body Safety. I then wrote and ‘gifted’ another book specifically for World Vision India entitled ‘My Body! My Rules!’. This book is a guide for teenagers in Body Safety, consent, self-esteem and respectful relationships. It was also translated into 10 Indian Languages and large numbers printed.
Jayneen Sanders is an Australian award-winning author, educator and advocate. She is committed to empowering children around body safety.
Someone once told me… ‘Everywhere I go there I am.’ This is so true. There is no use distracting yourself with work or travel or love unless you have sorted out your own issues first because they will always pop up again, no matter how hard you try to run away from them.
My advice to you is …
I should never give any advice unless I am asked.