My Collaboration with Sammy on Penny Parker Klostermann's Blog!

Kirsti Call and Son, Sammy

From Kirsti: Thanks for allowing me to participate in this. It’s so much fun to collaborate with my kids. Sammy is my youngest (5 years) and this is what he said about his painting:  “I painted these 3 robin eggs because I love them and they remind me of beginning again.”

Three Eggs in a Nest by Sammy

Three Eggs in Nest_K

Kirsti’s Poem

text on background

A photo of the collaborators.
sammy and sun and mommy
Many thanks to Sammy and Kirsti for sharing their talents with us today.

sammy 5 years bow tie
Meet Sammy: Sammy Call is a 5 year-old kindergartener who loves asking questions, singing,  beatboxing and running circles around his parents and siblings.

Sammy and Mommy Thanksgiving
Meet Kirsti: Kirsti Call is a homeschooling mom of five.  Her debut picture book, The Raindrop Who Couldn’t Fall, came out December 2013. Her family band, Calling Out, plays songs written by her children. She contributes to Writer’s Rumpus, and Kids are Writers.  If you visit her house, you’ll likely find her reading or writing. You can find out more about her at or on Facebook or Twitter.

Kids Review Books about Chinese Culture

We celebrated Chinese New Year early by reading two books that open a window into Chinese culture. Naomi, James and Sydney each share some thoughts on these books below. ​

Review by Naomi

Bowls of Happiness
written by Brian Tse, Illustrated by Alice Mak, and translated by Ben Wang.

Bowls of Happiness is published by China Institute, a company dedicated to supporting Chinese culture and Buddhist philosophy. It's about a little girl named Piggy. Her mommy made her a beautiful porcelain bowl. The book explains how Chinese porcelain bowls have a lot to do with the rituals and traditions of Chinese culture. I learned quite a lot, including the fact that yellow porcelain bowls were only for the emperors in the Forbidden City.

Bowls of Happiness was very enlightening and I loved to learn so much about Chinese culture and porcelain bowls.

​One part of this book that I really liked was the illustrations. There were many illustrations and images of traditional porcelain vases and bowl patterns.

This is a vase that shows an imperial kiln. The imperial kiln is where the entire process of porcelain production is documented, from the selection of the materials, to the production of molds, to the application of  glazes and polychrome, the firing process, and court officials approving and collecting the works.

​Overall, I learned a lot from this book and would recommend it to anyone who would like to learn more about Chinese culture and porcelain bowls. 
See more at Children's Book Academy!

Interview of Katarina Bivald, Debut Author of The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend

When I read Katarina Bivald’sThe Reader’s of Broken Wheel Recommend, I had no expectations so I was completely delighted to find it compelling, thought provoking and entirely satisfying. (Go here, for my full goodreads review) I’m thrilled to interview Katarina for Writer’s Rumpus!
Kirstine Call:  I adore your book, The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend.  How did your work in a book shop influence the story?
Katrina Bivald: When I first decided to include a bookshop in the story, I thought it would be mainly about the books. After all, I used to consider customers a rude interruption of my reading. But when I started writing, I realized that what I remembered from my years in a bookshop was just as much about the people that passed through it. They were often strange, sometimes profoundly uninterested in books, and all so very… human. I started thinking about what a bookshop can do for a town and the people in it.
KC:  Your debut book is a book for book lovers.  Is it autobiographical?
KB: Everything I write is somehow autobiographical – I’m not a good enough writer to make up stories and emotions entirely. But the plot isn’t: when I started writing the book I had never even been to Iowa, let alone gone there to visit a person I had never met and eventually starting a bookshop. Sara is much braver than me.
KC: What is your process and how long did it take you to complete the book?
KB: I think it’s fair to say that with this my first book I did not have a process. I had no idea what I was doing. In fact, I still don’t. My process is a mixture of inspiration and dread, hubris and self doubt, sporadic research, sudden ideas and editing. Lots and lots of editing.
KC:  Do you have a writing schedule?
KB: This is an honest account of a typical writing day:
08.00 I wake up, reluctantly.
08.00 – 09.00 Drink first cup of coffee in bed. Send first of many text messages to a friend with a regular office job. Fail to understand why he does not answer immediately.
09.00 – 09.30 Have shower. Drink more coffee (if desperate; combine the two and bring the coffee cup into the shower. Avoid mixing it with soap).
09.30 Begin honest day’s work
09.32 Check email, Facebook and Twitter
09.33 Send second text message to friend with office job. Accept the sad
09.34 Send text message to fellow writer friend. Receive answer immediately.
09.36 Definitely writing now.
09.39 Take stroll around apartment. Pick up watering can so as to have something legitimate to do. Overwater all plants (progressively fewer as the novel moves along, since apparently too much water kills said plants. Or so my sister tells me).
09.45 Coffee
10.00 Bring out large paper, chart the plot and/or the character
10.45 Think about the big questions in life that you have just charted re your plot or character. E.g.: the possibility to find love, how we really know what we dream about, loss of children etc. Send text message about this to friend with office job. Receive a reply, but analyze whether something in the tone feels a bit forced.
11.00 Self-doubt!
11.10 Email writer-friend about self-doubt. Receive reply immediately. None of us can write and should find a day job.
11.15 Puh! False alarm. I’m invincible and amazing and will probably be first writer of feel good-novels to win the Nobel Prize.
11.20 Ooooooh. New email from writer-friend with a link to an article about writing.
11.30 Time to write.
13.00 Lunch.
14.00 Exhausted. Watch television series for “research”.

To read the rest of this. go to Writer's Rumpus.

How to get Your Hands on Books

ReFoReMo will be here before we know it! We'll read and learn from at least 5 picture books a day in March.  And the reading list for the month will be released on February 23rd, so we'll have time to gather them before the challenge begins! 

With tons of picture book recommendations ready to fly off the shelf and into your home, you may find it helpful to be armed and ready with a library card during ReFoReMo. We recommend reserving the picture books at the library, and if you have access to online and inter-library loan features, even better.   When the library doesn't have a new release,  we visit our nearest bookstore and find a quiet spot to read.  You Tube usually has a read-aloud of most picture books if you can't find a specific title at the library or book store. Also, picture book writers are a great resource.  Get together (in-person or online) and share the book experience!

To read more, go to ReFoReMo, here.