Tag Archives: writing

Making Hanukkah Memories

This post is my entry for Susanna Leonard Hill’s Holiday contest. The rules can be found here: Details and fine print

Making Hanukkah Memories (225 words)

Shaina knew the Hanukkah story …

the miracle of one night’s oil lasting for eight …

how this connected her with Jews around the world and throughout history. 

She could recite the candle-lighting prayers in both Hebrew and English. 

 

But for Shaina, family traditions meant just as much. Every year, Bubbe visited from far away. 

Together, they enjoyed the sizzle of the oil … 

the scent of frying dough …

the delicious warmth of sufganiyot …

a holiday treat for all their senses.

But this year Shaina and Mommy planned a surprise.

“Bubbe!” Shaina pulled her grandma inside. Bubbe sniffed the air for the familiar smells of Hanukkah treats. Nothing. Bubbe looked puzzled.

“Tonight we’re going to see the World’s Largest Menorah.” 

Shaina, Mommy, and Bubbe rode the subway to the city. They swayed as it raced around a curve. She squeezed their hands when the train stopped. Shaina’s eyes grew big when they reached the sidewalk. Smiles spread across their faces. A giant menorah loomed above 5th Avenue. 

The scent of oil filled the air. They shared sufganiyot. as a crane climbed to light the Shamash candle and then the first night’s candle. Beneath the glow of the menorah, they discovered boxes with small menorahs for children to take home. Shaina chose one. A menorah of her own!  Making new memories is the best holiday treat of all.

Lighting the menorah

World’s Largest Menorah history and 2019 schedule

Glossary: 

Bubbe – Grandma in Yiddish

sufganiyot – Donut in Hebrew

menorah – a nine-branched candle holder used at Hanukkah

shamash – helper in Hebrew; the shamash candle is the one used to light the other candles in the menorah 

Cooking Up Halloween Decorations

I am pleased to share my entry for Susanna Leonard Hill’s 9th annual writing contest. The full details and rules can be found here: Halloweensie Contest – the fine print

This is a wonderful way to connect with other picture book writers and there are some amazing prizes, too. The basic rules are that the story must be 100 words or less not including the title, no illustrations or illustration notes, and must include the words potion, cobweb, and trick. 

Here’s my story.

Cooking up Halloween Decorations (96 words)

While Mama slept, Casey and I decorated for Halloween. 

Melt sugar, water, and corn syrup into spun sugar. 

Drizzle spirals on parchment paper. Drape from the doorframe. 

Spooky, delicious cobwebs. 

“Don’t eat them yet!” Casey warned.

Black whip licorice and jumbo gumdrops create perfect spiders. 

“Stop eating the licorice, Randy. We need eight legs for each spider.”

Hang them from the cobwebs.

Potion time!

Warm the milk.

Add chocolate. 

Stir. 

Taste. 

More chocolate. 

Stir. 

Taste. 

More chocolate. 

“Ready?”

“Yes, drink up.”

Mama appeared in the doorway framed by spiders.

Trick-or-Treat?”

“Treat!” We all shout.

******************************************************************

If you want to make your own candy web, check this out. spun sugar spider web

Reflections on a School Visit

I’ve been meaning to share this for a week but I’ve been under the weather and had a few deadlines.

I love visiting schools to share ALIANA REACHES FOR THE MOON with children. It’s fun to watch them respond to the story and then talk about it afterwards. I also share a slide show with a bit about me when I was a child, my inspiration for writing the book, and some of my photography. The photo above is the skylight in the space where I did a recent presentation. In the book, Aliana uses a skylight to create the surprise at the end of the story so it was a magical feeling to read the book beneath one.

I was welcomed by a display case with information about me, ALIANA REACHES FOR THE MOON, and phases of the moon which is part of the story.

Connecting with children is the thing I miss most about teaching. I knew every day in the classroom I was changing lives and making a difference. It was both an honor and a responsibility. The feedback was immediate and also something I could see over time. They were also changing my life in the process. With writing, the impact on children is still there, but I may not even know about it except when I’m able to visit a school.

Written with gratitude for librarian Jolene Gutierrez, the teachers, and the children of Denver Academy.

Bookstore Magic

The picture book community is full of supportive people who help each other in a variety of ways. We are an interconnected web of authors and illustrators who may have never met in person, but truly are friends. The photo above, taken last Friday, has two of the most supportive members of this community. Julie Hedlund who is the force behind 12×12, part of Picture Book Summit, and other great resources.

The reason for our gathering, Vivian Kirkfield was in Colorado reading FOUR OTTERS TOBOGGAN at Second Star 🌟 to the Right in Denver, for a wonderful story time.

In the KidLit community, Vivian is one of the shining stars ⭐️ who most people know, not because she had three books released this year with more on the way in 2020. It’s because she never passes up the chance to share her wisdom, support another writer, or act as cheerleader to the many people she meets along the way.

Here she is enjoying a game of peek-a-boo with a little one before reading.

After we left the bookstore, some of us were fortunate enough to extend the time by having lunch with Vivian’s son, daughter, and son-in-law. When everyone else had left to do some shopping or go back to work, Vivian and I enjoyed visiting on a bench before it was time to leave for the airport. While we were there, an adorable little girl with both of her parents stopped to tell us something important, “It’s my birthday!” she announced.

Could she sense that we were the perfect audience to share this news with? How did she know there couldn’t have been two people more excited to hear her news and celebrate with her?🎉 🎂We told her we’re both authors of children’s books and Vivian gave her a coloring sheet.

12Books12winners Giveaway US only

Q & A with author Laura Roettiger plus GIVEAWAY!!

Q & A with author Laura Roettiger plus GIVEAWAY!!

https://lydialukidis.wordpress.com/2019/05/28/q-a-with-author-laura-roettiger-plus-giveaway/
— Read on lydialukidis.wordpress.com/2019/05/28/q-a-with-author-laura-roettiger-plus-giveaway/

An interview and an opportunity to win a signed copy of ALIANA REACHES FOR THE MOON 💜🌙📚

Author-of-the-Month (follow up to Shop Local)

I truly enjoyed the month of April as Author-of-the-Month at all four Timbuk Toys stores in Denver. It was lovely meeting people and sharing Aliana Reaches for the Moon. Toy stores are such a happy place.

I received a warm welcome each time I visited a store from both the employees and shoppers. I enjoyed interesting conversations about books, children, science, encouraging curiosity in children, and the importance of boys reading about strong, intelligent girls. In other words, a book with a female main character is NOT a ‘girl book.’ We have to empower our daughters and also teach our sons that girls are their equals. As a reading specialist, this is an important subject on which I have done considerable research and therefore have some strong opinions regarding how literature impacts the way gender roles are portrayed.

Was it Successful? There are many ways to measure success.

  • Was it fun? Yes!
  • Was the book well received? Yes!
  • Did the employees like my book? Yes, one store set up the display above and sent me this picture. It’s humbling, to say the least.
  • Did we sell a lot of copies? Yes! In fact, I broke the previous record of Author-of-the-month sales by over 60% so for those of us who like quantitive information YES!

The Promise of Spring

Spring photo

Spring in 150 words or less? A contest? Sure, I’ll give it a whirl!

The Promise of Spring

The first warm day brings the promise of hope. Bulbs planted months ago poke through the ground. Colors appear. We bend to admire them, catching the scent of hyacinth. Deep breath, eyes closed. Senses awakened. The warmth of the sun and longer days create a vibrant garden. Spring is our favorite.

Winter laughs, she’s not ready to leave. Snow! Snow covers our beautiful new garden. Sadness fills our hearts. Will our crocus and tulips survive? Are the hyacinth wishing they waited? We cheer for spring to win this battle.

Sun to the rescue. Using gentle persuasion, Sun dismisses all traces of snow. Our battle weary blooms recover, then wither. Their leaves provide nutrients for next year’s flowers.

New growth continues. Ducks waddle in pairs near the pond, trees unfurl fresh leaves, and the return of music from the branches delights us once again.

Spring delivers on her promise. 

For more about the contest Check this out!

Shop Local

There are so many ways and reasons why it’s important to support local businesses. Independent book stores are my favorite places to visit no matter where I travel.

It’s been a while since I shopped for toys, but for the month of April I’ll be spending a lot of time at a Denver toy store, or should I say four wonderful stores? Timbuk Toys has four locations and I am the April Author-of-the-Month at all of them. This is a great example of a local store supporting a local author; something that takes ‘Shop Local’ to another level.

It’s fun to spend time in such a happy place as I’ve been able to share ALIANA REACHES FOR THE MOON with people shopping for birthday gifts, a few teachers, a dad looking for a gift for his daughter, and of course children. Sharing my book with children makes my teacher 💜 so happy! I was even surprised by a friend who came after seeing my event posted on Facebook.

I’ll be visiting all four stores during the month so if you’re in the Denver area, check out TimbukToys and buy a signed copy or two of ALIANA REACHES FOR THE MOON!

 

Why I love Social Media

More from my visit to Chicago

I was a teacher and reading specialist in Chicago for ten years. My final year was full of wonderful memories of children I will never forget.
I had the good fortune to work with two first graders that made every day rewarding. They were both the little sisters of former students so the families are also special. When I went to visit last August, I discovered that one of the two girls who I named ALIANA for was no longer at my former school. 😢 The phone number I had for her mom wasn’t valid any more. My excitement to share my book with her was dashed.
I noticed a parent from my school was following my Facebook author page, but the profile picture didn’t look familiar. I’m active on Twitter and Facebook but rarely used Instagram until my illustrator started an account for the book. Aliana Reaches for the Moon
Suddenly, I had the same parent mentioned above following and liking my Instagram posts, but I still didn’t know who it was.
Then one night, I saw a picture that made me cry happy tears and filled my heart to overflowing! It was the girls I thought I lost. A picture of them celebrating a birthday had me jumping up and down! I woke Charlie who’s always ready to join in the fun.
The following day, I messaged with Maria (the girls’ mom) and told her my plans to visit. We met in the afternoon before school pickup time to get the girls from school together. More happy tears, this time from my little friend who is now a fourth grader. Then, her sister spotted us and more excitement, more hugs, and a very happy reunion.
I love a happy ending, don’t you?

Do you believe in Karma?

I’ve always believed in putting positive energy into the world. I cheer on my friends when something wonderful happens; their joy is my joy. I try to be encouraging when they are facing challenges. Sometimes just letting someone vent or have as much time as they need to talk about what’s bothering them, is a gift.

This is also my habit on social media and with people I don’t know. You never know when your smile, your kindness, your acknowledgment of someone will make a difference.

Last week, after a successful day of two school visits that included seeing children who used to be my students and their families, I was driving in Chicago to meet a friend for dinner. I saw a man spreading out newspaper on the wet street so he could kneel and change a flat tire. I had an empty box that had been full of books that morning. I stopped and offered the box to the man and the woman whose tire he was changing. They were grateful and I was happy to be able to help.

I mentioned that I would appreciate it if they would recycle the box when they were done because it had my name and the title of my book on it. They asked to see the book and each of them bought a copy! When I stopped, selling books wasn’t even on my mind. I just felt like I could spread a little joy after a wonderful day.

photos of the wonderful families who I used to teach who came to see me.