Book Review: “The Story of Diva and Flea”

Are you a Diva or a Flea? I am a Flea. Why? Because Flea is a flâneur.

What, you might ask, is a flâneur? According to the book “The Story of Diva and Flea”, “ A flâneur is someone (or somecat) who wanders the streets and bridges and alleys of the city just to see what there is to see. A great flâneur has seen everything, but still looks for more, because there is always more to discover.”

Sounds about right. And as author Mo Willems points out in the video below, being a flâneur is not unlike being an author or illustrator: you never know where your road is going to take you.

However, even flâneurs have their fears. And Flea fears the inside world, most particularly brooms. Enter Diva. Diva is about to change Flea’s world and help him overcome his fears. However, Diva has fears of her own. Her fears are of the outside world, especially feet. And Flea is able to help Diva overcome her fears.

This book is recommended for ages 6-8. My 8-year-old loved it, especially because the characters helped each other overcome their fears.

Watch the video about how Mo Willems found the story, the collaboration between author and illustrator Tony DiTerlizzi, and how the illustrator added his own touch:

Is there a children’s book that you have read recently that you can recommend? Leave a comment below.

And if you have read this book, let me know if you are a Diva or a Flea.

Happy reading!
***Contest alert***
Susanna Leonard Hill has another great contest in the works! Click here to read more.

Writing Successes of 2015

Happy 2016! I hope that you enjoyed your new year’s celebration.

New Year's Skating

We went skating.

Did you participate in Julie Hedlund’s 12 Days of Christmas for Writers? This is my second year participating.

One of the exercises Julie has us do is write down our writing successes from the year. This is what she says about it:

“Children’s author Julie Hedlund, challenged participants of her 12 Days of Christmas for Writers series to post SUCCESSES (rather than resolutions) on our blogs this year. She believes the way New Year’s resolutions are traditionally made come from a place of negativity – what DIDN’T get done or achieved in the previous year.  Instead, she suggests we set goals for the New Year that BUILD on our achievements from the previous one. I decided to participate in this Anti-Resolution Revolution! Here is my list for 2015.”

Writing Successes of 2015

1. I got asked by an agent at a conference for more manuscripts.
2. I tied for eighth place in Susanna Leonard Hill’s holiday contest. Click here to read the story.
3. I completed 25 picture book drafts.
4. I completed 17 picture book revisions.
5. I wrote my first early reader draft.
6. I attended my first SCBWI conference. To read about my experience, click here.
7. I attended my second CANSCAIP conference. To read about it, click here.
8. I got accepted for a mentorship.
9. During PiBoIdMo, I generated 40 ideas.
10. I submitted to 12 agents.
11. A query letter successfully caught the eye of an editor closed to unsolicited manuscripts.
12. I submitted to 3 editors.
13. I attended the first Picture Book Summit. To read about my experience, click here.
14. I wrote a magazine story.
15. I got a 2 from Rate Your Story.
16. I got a 3 from Rate Your Story.
17. I got a new critique partner, who is local, which means we can meet face to face.
18. I submitted to “Chicken Soup for the Soul”.
19. I entered the Halloweensie contest. Click here to read my entry.
20. I entered the Rate Your Story contest.
21. I entered the Highlights contest.
22. I revised 7 stories during ReviMo.
23. I participated in ReFoReMo.
24. I wrote one nonfiction draft during Nonficpic.
25. I wrote seven drafts during NaPiBoWriWee.
26. I wrote my first wordless picture book draft.
27. I interviewed a subject for a picture book story.
28. I took some classes from Eva Shaw including “Travel Writing” and “How to Make Money from your Writing”.
29. I read some writing books including “Yes! You Can Learn How to Write Beginning Readers and Chapter Books” with members of the Word by Word book club.
30. I joined a goal setting group, 365 bricks.
31. I continued with my writer’s and illustrator’s gratitude group.
32. I got more structured and disciplined with my writing time.
33. I participated in RhyPiBoMo.
34. I participated in many webinars.
35. I partially participated in KidLitSummerSchool.
36. I blogged every two weeks, except for a summer hiatus.
37. I became a member of Rate Your Story.
38. And, of course, I participated in the 12X12 challenge for a second time, this time at the gold level.

I had fun reading over my list from last year too.

If you participated and posted your list on your blog, leave the link below. I would love to go and read about your successes. If not, please leave a comment about your writing successes.

Good luck with your writing in 2016!