The Wash Rag, Fall 2007, Issue 17

Fall is our favorite time of here in the Tub, because it is our anniversary. We launched our website in the Fall of 2003, so it is always fun to stop, take a breath, and see just how many pages we have turned in the last year. I won’t bore you here, but I’ve put some “Tub History” stories on Scrub-a-Dub-Tub, the Reading Tub® blog.

Every time I sit down to write a newsletter, it seems like we have something new, as we work to make it easier for you to bring reading home! As you know, every profile we write has the “Recommended Age” for the audience. Well, we have tweaked that a little bit. From here on out, there will be two recommended ages:

Read Together … for reading the book TO/with a child; and

Read Independently … when a child can read independently.

I’ve started doing it with new books, and will slowly go back to the existing collection of titles. Reading aloud with a child is a very important part of their developing vocabulary and literacy skills. By changing our format, we hope to emphasize that a little more.

Chapter One

We have also recently improved our subscription services. Now, if you tell us what age(s) you are most interested in, we can send you tailored correspondence. From now on, the bi-monthly Book Bags are issued based on your interests. Saves you time … keeps the inbox a little less crowded.

Our Author Showcase this quarter introduces you to some wonderful authors, an illustrator, and a very dedicated independent publisher. With the holidays just around the corner, you’ll meet authors with seasonal stories, as well as those with positive messages and a sense of history.

Sherri Chessen helps kids tackle very tough problems. Sherri’s passion for kids led her to create Gorp, a friendly blue creature that helps kids tackle some of the toughest issues they face. In 1996, Sherri published her first book The Gorp’s Gift to try to address the growing problem of why we were losing so many of our children to gunfire. Her next book, The Gorp’s Dream, took tackled prejudice and bullying, and, in her upcoming book, Sherri will empower kids about sexual abuse. Meet Sherri Chessen by clicking here.

Tim Garrison thinks a good fantasy starts with real life. In March 2007, Tim published the first title in his Collin Chronicles series, Magic, Bones, and Catacombs. The setting draws details from his own experience growing up on a farm; the characters are two brothers (Collin and Ramey) whose exploits and personalities come from his life, as well as from watching his sons; and the plot is the fruit of an imagination that grew up with some of the best pre-Harry adventure fantasies we know and love. Take a magical ride with Tim and learn about what’s next for brothers Collin and Ramey.

For Robyn Gioia a chance opportunity has become a passion to set history straight. You know the adage, “you learn something new everyday.” For most of us, the “something” becomes a new piece of information we store away. Not for Robyn. When she learned something she didn’t know about St. Augustine, Florida, she turned it into a picture book for middle-grade readers: America’s Real First Thanksgiving: St. Augustine, Florida, September 8, 1565. Click here to read about Robyn, Thanksgiving, and a couple of other things you might not know about Florida history.

Florrie Binford Kichler is bringing history back to life. Florrie Kichler is proof that books can transform your life. As an eight-year-old girl battling a serious illness, she was introduced to Childhood of Famous Americans Series™. Those “little orange biographies” became a mainstay for her, as a means of entertainment, a way of learning history, and, ultimately, inspiration. Today, Florrie is bringing those historical fiction novels back to life as The Young Patriot Series. The Young Patriot Series has won nine national awards, including Foreword magazine’s Book of the Year and the Parent’s Choice award. Florrie was also featured recently on C-Span2’s BookTV. Click here to read about Florrie, Patria Press, and the story behind The Young Patriot Series.

Cathy Morrison shares a secret: lots of reading goes into creating art for children’s books. For twenty years, Cathy has pursued a love of illustration. She has brought the images we love (and stare at in awe) to nearly every genre of children’s books. Cathy’s published titles have won a number of awards, including Children’s BookSense 76, Foreword Magazine Book of the Year, Parent’s Choice Outstanding title, Independent Publisher’s Magazine Juvenile Fiction Award, and the I-Parenting Media Award, to name a few! Click here to meet Cathy Morrison.

J.G. Rives loves the idea of sharing great stories. Where are My Christmas Presents? , J.G.’s first picture book, just hit the stores. In talking with him recently, it’s easy to see that he is JUST as excited about some of the other books Sterli Publishing (his company) will launch in 2008 as he is about his newest “baby.” Meet author/publisher J. G. Rives here.

The Winter Preview. The Author Showcase for Winter 2008 is full! We are excited about the opportunity to introduce this slate of talented individuals who are dedicated to introducing young children to literature and stories through picture books.

Frances Gilbert writes all kinds of stories. Her picture books incorporate some element of nature, whether they are tree-frogs in the rain forest, nocturnal animals, or a princess who wants to sail the seas. Ms. Gilbert’s titles include Turtle on a Summer’s Day, Celeste and Regine in the Rain Forest, To Know the Sea, and Goodnight World Outside.

Patrick Mader, author of Opa and Oma Together and Oma Finds a Miracle. Patrick “Packy” Mader draws on his own life growing up in Minnesota for this picture-book series about the lives of two grandparents who live and work on a dairy farm.

Tara Rison, creator of The Itty-Bitty Bookworm. When Tara decided she wanted to spend more time with her children, she decided to draw on her expertise as a curriculum and training specialist to create her own pre-school. In the process of building her curriculum – one that is based in children’s literature – she has created multi-faceted units that others can use in educating children.

NOTICE: We are now accepting nominations for the Spring 2008 edition of the Author Showcase. If you want to be part of the Spring Preview, you must be on board by January 15, 2008. The Winter 2008 edition publishes in late February 2008. The Spring 2008 Wash Rag will be published in April/May 2008.

The Soap Dish... the stuff we're bubbly about!

Through the generosity of Forever Young Books, the Reading Tub® now has 100 new copies of Cheri Hallwood’s award-winning picture book, Winter’s First Snowflake. The books will be part of our One Letter at a Time project, where we partner books and a reading guide together for parents. We can’t say “Thank You” enough to Cheri for her incredibly generous donation.

Speaking of reading … I just recently attended a seminar sponsored by Read Aloud Virginia, and had the opportunity to listen to read-aloud guru Jim Trelease. He had some wonderful ideas for getting kids interested in reading. His enthusiasm is contagious. Look for a short article about what I learned in the next few weeks. We’ll post it on Scrub-a-Dub-Tub, the Reading Tub® blog.

Our partnership with Be the Star You Are!™ dates back almost to the beginning of the Reading Tub®. Over the last three-and-a-half years, the Teen STAR Book Review team has received and read nearly 200 books. Now it is our turn to help promote their work … Be the Star You Are!™ is currently sponsoring its fourth annual writing contest to promote literacy and positive messages. The Entry Fee is $10, tax deductible, and First Prize is $100 and a guest spot on Be the Star You Are’s™ internationally-syndicated radio program (total value: $700). Read more on our blog.

Attention Authors: Starstyle®-Be the Star You Are! is an internationally-syndicated radio program that is an outreach program of the charity, Be the Star You Are!™ They broadcast on the largest radio network in the world and are part of Modavox/Voice America/World Talk Radio. For a donation of $333.00, you will receive a 15-20 minute interview to promote your books. The live interview is broadcast on Thursdays from 3-4 pm PST on World Talk Radio. As part of your donation, you will receive listings on our web sites (,, plus an MP3. We can also have multiple CD’s made for you at a reasonable cost. (Minimum 50-please email us for quotes). To learn more, visit the Be the Star You Are™ Website. Be sure to let Cynthia know you heard about the show in the Tub.

The Final Rinse

Because we are receiving so many books every month, and because the Wash Rag only comes out quarterly, we moved the title preview out. Now, when you go to Scrub-a-Dub-Tub, the Reading Tub® blog, you will see our “Reading Ahead” column. These are the books that based on cover and blurb alone pique our interest as a title kids might like. We know you can’t judge a book by its cover … but it is human nature. In the real estate business they call it curb appeal … here in the Tub we call it “cover appeal.” The format matches our book bags: each target audience gets its own post.

In just a few days we’ll turn the page for Halloween and then start the “holiday” chapter of our year. As we head into this wonderful season of memories and celebration, we hope you enjoy the great, warm comfort of sharing a book with a child. We’ll see you again when winter’s day arrives!

Until then, happy reading.