My First Author Gig

Posted by on Aug 15, 2013 in Uncategorized | 1 comment

Next week I am speaking to a group of elementary teachers about writing and publishing. It’s my first gig speaking as an author to a group of adults. I am 1/3 nervous, 1/3 excited, 1/6 fearful that I will be revealed as an imposter, and the leftover bits feel like I’ve been preparing for this for a long time.

And, according to the ancient documents I found while moving, I have been preparing for my place in the book world since at least second grade. The lesson here is to encourage your students’ passions because it may be the path of a future career. Tell students to save their work so they can look back one day on who they used to be. And most importantly, teach students to write daily affirmations like “I have a nice complexion.” These will come in handy during the tough teen years.


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From Bright Idea to Bookshelf

Posted by on May 2, 2013 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

I had no idea when I started writing children’s books that it would take me more than twelve years to make my dream come true, or that the path to publication is rarely a straight line. So, on my new page “The Groundhog! From Bright Idea to Bookshelf”, I’m  sharing each phase in the life of my picture book To See or Not To See, starting with the “what if…” wonderings and ending with my announcements of the multiple awards it will win. (Writers like to dream…)

If you’ve ever wanted to see your own writing on a bookshelf, if you have students who want to be writers, if you love kids’ books and always wondered about the process, please check out my new page by clicking the tab at the top of the website. And don’t forget to let me know which Groundhog you’d like to see, or not to see!

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My Book!

Posted by on Feb 7, 2013 in Holiday, Michigan Author, Uncategorized | 1 comment

Every week, I write about a terrific picture book to read aloud to students along with a lesson plan or an extension activity. I am jump-up-and-down, wave-my-arms-like-Kermit-the-Frog excited to finally be able to write about my picture book!

The title is To See Or Not To See. It’s the story of Groundhog and his dilemma on February 2nd. Half of his friends want him to see his shadow so that winter will last six more weeks. Half of his friends don’t want him to see his shadow so that spring will come early. What will Groundhog do? You’ll find out in the fall of 2015, when the book will be published by Charlesbridge!

Why such a long time to wait, you ask? I know, I wondered about that myself! But in the publishing world, two years is actually quick to make a picture book. My editor and I (my editor! Squeee!) will need to review my manuscript and decide what descriptions can be taken out because the art will show those details. An illustrator has to be chosen for the book – and I don’t get to do the choosing! In publishing, the author rarely has a say as to who will illustrate the book. It’s up to editors and art directors who know the business to match up the right art style with the words. So, an illustrator has to be picked and given time to work on the illustrations. Most illustrators (like my wonderful husband, Matt Faulkner) take months to make the art for a picture book. After that, the art and the words have to be printed together, ink colors made just right, decisions made about font and layout, marketing and promotional decisions have to be made… it’s quite a process!

I’ll be sharing the details here at kristenremenar.com if you’d like to follow along. I’m hoping to hear within a few weeks who my illustrator will be. I’d love it if my husband is chosen – but can’t imagine how I’d handle knowing that the art for my first book is being made up in my husband’s studio without constantly peeking in!

Thanks to all of you who’ve signed up for my newsletter and read my blog. I love sharing my good news with people who love children’s books as much as I do!

P.S. And, as a bit of glorious synchronicity, I got The Call from my editor about the sale of my first book, my Groundhog story, on my birthday, which is Groundhog’s Day. 🙂

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Looking for the Helpers in a Time of Need

Posted by on Dec 22, 2012 in Uncategorized | 1 comment

I haven’t known what to say since the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School – there are no words for this tragedy. I have held my own children tighter, cried for the grieving families, and given thanks for the amazing teachers in our lives. Once again I find myself turning to Jean Gralley’s beautiful book, The Moon Came Down on Milk Street. I wrote about this book after the shooting in the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. I’m reposting the information, with hopes that Jean’s words of wisdom may help you and your children to focus your attention on the helpers in times of need.

What do we tell our children when these tragedies occur? We shield them as much as we can, but too often our kids overhear more than we’d like. How do we find the words that can make sense of the senseless?

I turned to my wise author/illustrator friend, Jean Gralley, for advice. She wrote what one reviewer called, “perhaps the best ‘crisis’ book ever published” for children: The Moon Came Down on Milk Street.

“Bad things happen in this world,” Jean wrote. “We know it; kids know it, too. When adults side-step a necessary conversation about this, lie about it or pretend it isn’t so, children realize we are being un-truthful and our discomfort only adds to their anxiety. (After Sept. 11) I instantly wanted to write and illustrate a picture book that allows adults and children a point of view and a “way in” to that conversation.

In this simple story an unnatural event gently takes place: the moon slowly, softly falls out of the sky onto a city street. When the narrator asks, “Who will make this right again?” Various voices answer, “I will!” and “We will!” and over the course of the story we watch the many helpers inventively and imaginatively repair the moon and set it back in the night sky.

In a time of natural disasters and emergencies of all kinds, kids worry. They worry about things that have happened and haven’t happened yet. It’s important we take the first steps and let them know we’re ready to listen to their thoughts, questions, and feelings, what makes them afraid. The Moon Came Down on Milk Street provides a way to enter that conversation. It also redirects the focus: yes, bad things sometimes happen. But look at all the good people coming together to make it better.”

Snuggle your children close and share The Moon Came Down on Milk Street. Talk about who came to help in the story: the doctors, nurses, fire chief, fire fighters and volunteers. Talk about who we count on in our own lives when we need help. We can focus on the one who committed an unimaginable crime, or we can be awed by the many who ran to stop the one, who helped those in need, and the brave heroes who put themselves in harm’s way to shield others.

For more information about Jean Gralley, please visit: www.jeangralley.com.


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