Guide Dogs Rock!

Hero dog assured of good home

• NEW YORK» The guide dog that leaped onto subway tracks after his blind owner lost consciousness and fell off a station platform is assured a loving home after his retirement.

Cecil Williams, who has been recovering at a hospital with Orlando by his side, had been slated to get another working dog in January or February to replace the 11-year-old black Lab. He wants to keep Orlando, but if that’s not possible, the family that raised Orlando as a puppy says it will be “absolutely thrilled to have him back,” said Guiding Eyes for the Blind spokeswoman Michelle Brier.

Day 4 of Carol Fraser Hagen’s Virtual Book Tour


 Author Carol Fraser Hagen Offers Writing Tips

Today I’m hosting Day 4 of a 5-day virtual tour for Carol Fraser Hagen’s new book, Helping Children Learn To Read Through Multi-Sensory Reading Activities – A Handbook and Resource for Parents and Teachers.

About the Book
Helping Children Learn To Read Through Multi-Sensory Reading Activities – A Handbook and Resource for Parents and Teachers provides reading activities that reach all the learning pathways within the brain: seeing, hearing, touching and muscle memory. Along with lists of recommended books and other resources that parents and teachers can use to enhance whatever curriculum is being used to teach their children or students how to read. All the activities and resources are grouped for different ages and reading ability levels of children from babyhood through elementary school.

About Carol Fraser Hagen
Carol Fraser Hagen is a former elementary Reading Specialist and Dyslexia Therapist from the Midwest. In addition to a bachelors degree in Secondary Education she holds a Masters in Special Reading and an Educational Specialist in Curriculum and Instruction. In addition to writing about reading education Carol is a freelance writer and a published children’s writer. For more tips and resources on reading education, subscribe to Carol Fraser Hagen’s free newsletter and receive teaching tips and resources on teaching to read.

Writing Tips from Author Carol Fraser Hagen
As I mentioned in an earlier post although this book tour is for my new book – Helping Children Learn To Read Through Multi-Sensory Reading Activities: A Handbook and Resource for Parents and Teachers – I am also a published children’s writer. And I think any successful children’s writer will tell you, if you want to get published you need to stay informed on what publishing houses are looking for in children’s stories. In the January issue of the Children’s Writer Newsletter, Jeannette Larson, who is Senior Executive Editor, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Brace Books for Young Readers, shares with aspiring children’s writers ways to include additional information about the topic of their picture books. She explains, “The back matter of the book can be a useful tool. Tell your main story in as sparse a manner as you can, making sure you observe the storytelling style of a picture book. You can then enhance the information in the endnotes for readers who want to dig deeper.”

To enhance my children’s story Yasmeen’s Turn I included several pages of back matter. Theses pages consisted of additional information on the topic of my book and curricular connections in the form of step-by-step lessons for Language Arts, social studies and art. Naturally, I was delighted when Guardian Angel Books accepted my manuscript. However, and most importantly, I did my homework. I researched this publisher’s needs and read their guidelines prior to submitting; their requirements stated clearly that all submissions must include activities for use in classrooms. So, staying up-to-date on this publisher’s needs and carefully reading submission guidelines are both necessary steps to becoming a successful children’s writer, and why I’m a published children’s author.

Would you like an autographed copy of my book?

If you would like to pre-order an autographed copy, please email me

Also, just click on this link Carol’s New Book to get a sneak peek of some of the pages in my book.

To follow Day 4 of this tour, tomorrow go to

Irene Roth’s Thoughts on Writing

Dear Folks, I am proud to host Day 4 of a 5-day virtual tour for Irene Roth’s new book, Seasons of Empowerment for Adolescent Girls sponsored by the National Writing for Children Center.

Please follow Day 5 of this tour on Friday by going to

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Thursday – Day 4 of the Tour

Theme for the Day: Writing Tips from Irene Roth

Patience is a True Virtue for Beginning Children’s Writers to Develop
Irene S. Roth

Many children’s writers are in a big hurry to get published. I have met such writers in many of my critique groups over the years and also at writer’s conferences. And this can frustrate the writer and make him/her feel very anxious and uncertain.

Learning any skill can take a long time—and this is no different for a children’s writer. Even when a writer has mastered a lot of the skills necessary to write for children, there are many other idiosyncrasies and tricks of the trade to take into consideration. Otherwise, the writer will not be successful.

One of the worse things that writers can do is to try to get published right when they start writing. It is very important to take time and to enjoy the journey of writing first. It usually takes the typical children’s writer a few years to get confident with her skills as a writer and to learn all the tricks of the trade. Once the writer learns the skills and the tricks—and there are quite a few of them to learn for children’s writers—the writer can send his/her manuscripts out to editors.

There are many drawbacks to being impatient at the beginning and sending out manuscripts prematurely before they are ready for professional editors to see and assess.  Here are a few of them.

The manuscript that a writer sends out probably won’t represent what she is truly capable of a few years down the road—it takes time to learn to write well;

The manuscripts will most likely be rejected—further frustrating the beginning writer and causing a lot of uncertainty and a lack of self-confidence as a writer;

The writer will be pushing him/herself to send a manuscript that is not yet ready—it can take a long time for a writer to even know when a manuscript is ready to send out;

Given all of these reasons, it is important for beginning children’s writers to be patient and not jump into the publishing world too quickly. Take the time to experiment with different kinds of children’s writing. Enjoy the process and journey and when you’re ready, send out your first manuscript.

Irene S. Roth

Irene S. Roth is a freelance writer for kids, teens, and tweens. She also teaches workshops at Savvy Authors. When she is not teaching at the college level and writing academically, she is writing creatively for kids and teens. She is also an Editor for a publishing company.


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Dear Folks, I am proud to host Day 4 of a 5-day virtual tour for Mayra Calvani’s new book, A Bad Mad Sad Day for Mama Bear sponsored by the National Writing for Children Center.

Please follow Day 5 of this tour on Friday by going to


“Five Tips for a More Marketable Children’s Picture Book Manuscript,”
by Mayra Calvani

The world of children’s picture book publishing is extremely competitive. If you’re an aspiring children’s author, you need to make sure your manuscript is in excellent shape and has all the elements editors and agents look for before you begin the submission process.

Here are five tips to make your picture book manuscript more marketable:

Start right with the problem.

Many times beginner writers begin a picture book with backstory. It’s okay to have this backstory in the first draft, but be sure to get rid of it when you edit. Backstory is unnecessary 90% of the time and it only serves to slow down the beginning of a story, making it weaker. You want to grab the reader right from the start. So don’t be afraid to begin your story at the heart of the problem. It’s okay to set the stage with a sentence or two—but no more!

Have a protagonist readers can relate to.

Generally, children like to listen to stories about other children or animals with children’s characteristics. They don’t want to hear about a grandma or grandpa looking back to the time when they were young. Create characters kids can identify with. When readers can identify with the protagonist, they are drawn into the story and become emotionally involved with it.

Make sure the problem fits the age group.

Be sure your protagonist is facing a problem young readers can relate to. If they can’t relate to it, they won’t care. Losing a toy, being lost, having a tooth pulled out, going to the hairdresser for the first time, sibling jealousy, planning a first party, being afraid of monsters… these are all situations kids can identify with. Yes, these subjects have already been done a million times, but it’s all about the angle. By creating a new angle about a familiar topic, you can give your story a fresh and original slant.

Add rising action.

Rising action creates tension—the good stuff that keeps readers glued to the story, turning pages. After you have created the first big problem for the protagonist, and as he tries to solve it, toss a couple more obstacles into his path to make readers wonder what’s going to happen next. The more readers care about the character’s predicament, the more compelling they’ll find the story.

Leave them with a punch.

Endings are always important, no matter what the genre. But they’re especially important in picture books. Once the protagonist solves the problem and everything falls into place, you must find a way to make the ending memorable. This can be achieved by adding an unexpected twist or by having the character say or do something witty. At the same time, it must feel natural, a perfect and logical progression that has evolved organically with the story. This can be hard to achieve. Try different possibilities until you get that “Aha!” feeling. Don’t be afraid to come up with crazy, over-the-top ideas while you brainstorm.

Keeping these tips in mind when creating your children’s stories will help you make them more marketable and appealing to editors and agents. Like with any craft, writing for children is a never-ending learning process. I hope you’ll keep at it and enjoy the journey.