Author: Bernice Seward

I'm an incurable optimist with a particular fondness for stories where the "little duck" wins in the end. I'm an avid reader, writer, photographer and adventurer.

Press Release for This is the Book

For immediate release:

Author’s new book receives a warm literary welcome.

Readers’ Favorite announces the review of the Children – Grade K-3rd book “This is the Book” by Bernice Seward, currently available at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07BW6Q559.

Readers’ Favorite is one of the largest book review and award contest sites on the Internet. They have earned the respect of renowned publishers like Random House, Simon & Schuster, and Harper Collins, and have received the “Best Websites for Authors” and “Honoring Excellence” awards from the Association of Independent Authors. They are also fully accredited by the BBB (A+ rating), which is a rarity among Book Review and Book Award Contest companies.

“Reviewed By Mamta Madhavan for Readers’ Favorite

This is the Book (Bite-Size Books for Beginning Readers 1) by Bernice Seward is about the book that sat in the nook. A crook takes that book and a rook chases the crook, who has taken that book which was in the nook. There is a brook under the rook that chases the crook and the book falls into the brook. A snook sees the book and eats it. A cook comes looking for the snook, and she puts the hook into the brook. The snook sees the hook and gets caught by the cook. The book which was in the nook actually belongs to the cook.

The book is written for beginner readers and helps them with the repetitive sentences and rhyming words. The illustrations give clarity to what the author is trying to convey, and gives a good pace and movement to the already charming story. It is an adorable book for interactive sessions in classrooms and school libraries, and parents can also use it to teach children rhyming words and how to make simple and short sentences. Children will love the crook and the snook and the cook. The author’s creativity is evident in the narration and will encourage readers to make short and simple sentences as in the story. The –ook word is emphasized in this story and readers can be encouraged to write using other rhyming words and build up new sentences. The story is fun, interactive, and educational and this simple tale will help struggling readers to successfully read an entire story.”

You can learn more about Bernice Seward and “This is the Book” at https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/this-is-the-book where you can read reviews and the author’s biography, as well as connect with the author directly or through their website and social media pages.

Readers’ Favorite LLC 
Media Relations
Louisville, KY 40202 
800-RF-REVIEW 
support@readersfavorite.com
https://readersfavorite.com

At the Haiku Zoo

My newest book, entitled At the Haiku Zoo, released today!

The book was inspired by a trip my family took to Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay, Florida. Busch Gardens has a wonderful balance of amusement park rides and animal habitats–which energized the thrill-seekers in our group as well as the animal-lovers. I could have spent days there!

The biggest challenge in writing this book? Narrowing down which wild animals would inhabit the pages! I love involving other people in the writing process, so I conducted two surveys to help with this. I posted the first survey on Facebook, asking people to name the five animals they most liked to see on a trip to the zoo. Here are the results of the Facebook survey: 

 

Using the results of the Facebook survey, I made a list of 18 animals and asked early elementary students to vote for their favorite animal. Here are the results of the student survey:

 

Although none of the students voted for the giraffe, I took the liberty of making sure one made it into the book–after all, they’re one of MY favorite animals to visit:-) Also, if you look, you may notice a correlation between the students’ survey results and the cover of the book.

Haiku is such a beautiful form of expression. It invites us to extricate ourselves from the busy rush around us. To focus on the here and the now of a little slice of life–a slice we might miss out on otherwise. Like a photograph, a haiku poem creates a snapshot–a word snapshot–of a moment in time.

I hope that you enjoy the word snapshots in At the Haiku Zoo.  

You can click here if you’d like to buy the book or find out more about it.

Free Christmas Coloring Page

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This is an illustration I did for a Christmas coloring book. It was fun to read the Christmas story in Luke Chapter 2 and to imagine what transpired around the time Jesus was born. I don’t think I’d ever realized how long the trip was that Mary and Joseph took until I worked on this project–they traveled 80 to 90 miles to get from Nazareth to Bethlehem!

A trip of 80 to 90 miles is nothing for us with our current forms of transportation, but for Mary and Joseph–who may or may not have had a donkey to help with transport–it was quite an undertaking. Especially since baby Jesus was due anytime. Having had four children of my own, I can’t imagine making a trip like that in the last few weeks of pregnancy!

Anyway, I wanted to take a moment to say Merry Christmas, and to give you a little gift. If you click on the image above, you can download a free coloring page for Mary and Joseph’s trip to Bethlehem.

I hope you have a very Merry Christmas!

Very Truly Yours, Bernice

New! Dolch Pre-Primer Sight Word Story Early Readers

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The first three books in a new series, the Dolch Pre-Primer Sight Word Story Series, are now available as Kindle books. These books break reading down into bite-size chunks that a young reader or a struggling reader can handle without feeling overwhelmed.

The Dolch Pre-Primer Sight Word Story Series introduces readers to the 40 “service words” on the Dolch Pre-Primer Sight Word List. There will be a total of 14 stories. Ten stories introduce new words and the other four stories reinforce words the reader has already learned.

Each book in this series introduces four sight words, tells a story that includes each sight word at least three times, and then reinforces the learning through review activities.

In designing these books, care has been taken to help readers by:

  • Limiting the learning focus to four words, well within the bounds of short-term memory retention
  • Introducing the sight words at the beginning to familiarize the reader with these focal words
  • Utilizing a short, simple story that provides the accomplishment of reading a complete story
  • Including review activities to help reinforce the story and the sight words
  • Using limited vocabulary
  • Using repetition
  • Using large text in an easy-to-read font
  • Using consistent placement of text to alleviate confusion for where to continue the story on successive pages

The remaining titles in this series will release in Fall 2016 and Winter 2016/2017. You can find a complete list of the books in the Dolch Pre-Primer Sight Word Story Series, including the Dolch Pre-Primer Sight Words introduced in each, on the Early Reader Page.

To preview and/or purchase any of these books, please click on the images at the top of this screen, or on the icons below:

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How to Tell if YOU are a Flip-Happy Page Turner

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Have YOU ignored Marvin T. Fendersnatch’s warnings to NOT turn the pages in Do NOT Turn This Page?

If so, you will have noticed this little page, page 41, where Marvin declares that he gives up and he calls you–the illustrious reader–a “flip-happy page turner.”

“But what,” you might ask, “IS a flip-happy page turner? And how would a person know whether or not he or she was one?”

These are very good questions. They are such good questions, in fact, that I conducted a preliminary investigation into the matter.

After a good deal of research, I uncovered a number of characteristics common to persons of the “flip-happy page turner” variety. Said characteristics have been assembled into a short, painless quiz called The Official Flip-Happy Page Turner Quiz.

If you are the curious and adventurous sort, or if you dare to turn pages in a book when a purportedly fictional character warns you NOT to, then this quiz is for you.

Ready? Here’s the quiz:

Official Flip Happy Page Turner Quiz

That was super duper easy, right?

And I for one am glad to have that mystery cleared up–and to have a brand new certificate to hang on my wall:-)

 

 

Five Fascinating Facts about the Moon


While working on a new picture book about a boy, a dragon, and a trip to the moon, I’ve been asking a lot of questions about what it would be like to actually be on the surface of the moon.

For example, is there water on the moon? Does the moon have an atmosphere? What do moon rocks look like? What would happen if a boy threw a rock on the moon? How hot and cold does it get there? Does the moon spin on an axis? If a boy weighed 60 pounds on Earth, what would he weigh on the moon? What is the distance between the Earth and the moon, and how far does it take light to travel that distance? (There are lots of other questions scattered through various pages of story planning, some of which are currently top secret, so I can only share the questions listed above at this juncture.)

 

In my quest for answers, I’ve uncovered a lot of interesting tidbits of information.

 

Here are five of the exciting facts I’ve discovered:

  1. According to NASA, there are significant ice deposits at the north and south poles of the moon. (Are you thinking what I’m thinking–that Galactic Santa has an outpost at the moon’s north pole? This is totally NOT applicable to the story I’m writing right now, but I won’t rule out the possibility for a future story!) The lunar soil also contains a minimal amount of water molecules. Why is water important for my story? If there is water, then there is the possibility of breaking up the water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen, thus providing a way for a character to survive on the moon.
  2. The moon has an atmosphere. It is very minimal, and is called a surface boundary exosphere. (If you tell somebody that fact, they may be quite impressed by your knowledge. Just say, “By the way, did you know that the moon has a surface boundary exosphere?”). The atmosphere is not very dense–in fact, it’s considered a vacuum–but that’s still a fun fact to know.
  3. What is the temperature on the moon? Extremely hot or extremely cold! Around the equatorial region, it varies from 224 Degrees Fahrenheit during the day to -298 Degrees Fahrenheit at night. And in the perma shadow region’s craters at the south pole, the temperatures get below -397 Degrees Fahrenheit. Brrrrr!!!!!
  4. What would a boy who weighed 60 pounds on earth weigh on the moon? About 10 pounds, since gravity is about 6 times stronger on Earth than on the moon. You can check out www.Exploratorium.edu if you want to see what YOU would weigh on our moon or on a number of other galactic bodies.
  5. What would it be like to walk on the moon? According to Harrison Schmitt, it “felt like walking on a giant’s trampoline.” If you check out this WhyFiles interview, you can read Mr. Schmitt’s whole, awesome description.

So, those are five of the fascinating facts I discovered about the moon. Plus, I just HAVE to add two other awesome facts because I can’t keep them to myself:

  1. Astronauts wear water-cooled underwear! Harrison Schmitt mentioned it in his WhyFiles interview, and I found more information (and pictures!) at NASA’s website. You learn something new and cool (catch the pun?) every day, eh?
  2. The International Space Station (ISS) is “falling around earth.” Earth’s gravity constantly pulls on it, but because the ISS travels at a whopping 17,500 miles per hour, it doesn’t crash to earth.

So, that’s a bit of the science lesson I’ve been getting this week:-)

The Gift of Reading for $1.00 or less!

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As a welcome to the new year–and because I LOVE to read and to share the gift of reading–all my books are $0.99 or less over at Amazon.com this week!

You can click on the images below to go to each book’s page and get your copies. Please spread the word so that as many people  can enjoy the books as possible 🙂

Happy reading,

Bernice

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The Story Behind HAVE YOU SEEN MY FROG? (and how you can get a free copy)

You may have noticed that I’ve been pretty quiet lately. Whenever that happens, you can be sure that I’m hiding away, working so hard on something that all my time and creativity are funneled toward that task.

And that task is now complete–hurrah!

For the past year and a half or so, I’ve been working on the story for Duck’s second picture book. This story originated from a vivid memory an aunt (I love you,Auntie Jane!) has about a certain “frog incident” that occurred when I was too young to remember (or to know better, hopefully). Said incident involved a cup of coffee and a frog and you can guess who instigated the incident (or find out by watching the video above or by reading this blog post).

I’d worked on the story off and on, but the details didn’t “click” until this fall when I discovered what Duck’s problem REALLY was (I already knew what Auntie Duck’s problem was :-), but she wasn’t the main character). Now that the last details have been completed and the book is available (ask for HAVE YOU SEEN MY FROG? at your favorite bookstore or find it at Amazon.com here), I won’t be QUITE as quiet.

In fact, over the next couple of weeks I’ll be posting some of the behind-the-scenes stories that have been percolating (watch out, Auntie Duck!), some ways to use HAVE YOU SEEN MY FROG? to create teachable moments with children, and other goodies pertaining to the story.

Until December 31st, you can get a FREE copy of the e-book for HAVE YOU SEEN MY FROG? by clicking this link.

And you can download a free activity packet for the book here.

Enjoy!

Writing Backwards–Starting at the End to Find the Beginning

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Have you ever worked your way through a maze? You take your pencil and start at the beginning (or take your whole self in if it’s a corn maze), then search for an unimpeded path to reach the end.

If the maze is especially tricky, you backtrack MANY times along the way. And you peek at the map–or the answer key–if there is one.

Sometimes you have to start at the end to find the beginning.

That’s the way it was with my newest book, Have You Seen My Frog?, which comes out next month. The story originated from a vivid memory one of my aunts, Mary Jane Foss, has from ages back.

When I was young my family camped a lot. On one camping trip, I slipped a frog into Auntie Jane’s coffee cup when she wasn’t looking. She swallowed a big drink of coffee–frog and all! And, of course, that coffee and the frog came right back up!

I don’t remember putting the frog in her coffee cup. I won’t claim that I couldn’t have done it or that I didn’t do it, because I’ve always had a quirky sense of humor, but still. . . .

So, for Duck’s second book I knew I wanted to include Auntie Duck and “the frog incident.” The problem was, I had no clue what the story itself would be about.

Duck would be the main character, of course. But what was the story problem? What did Duck want, and what would hinder her from achieving her goal?

  1. Would Duck go to a pond with Auntie Duck and take her friend/pet Frog? Would Frog get lost and Duck had to find him?
  2. Would Duck go to the park with Auntie Duck, catch a little glimpse of Frog, then try to discover what the flash of green was?

Was this to be a book about something lost and found, or a book of discovery? And what would set it apart from all the other books about lost things or about discovering a new thing?

I had decided that I liked the idea of discovery better, but when I sat down to write the story, it was so hard to write!

“What’s up with this?” I asked myself.

I’d already written an outline and worked out most of the details, so it shouldn’t be this hard to write a 300-word story.

So I went down to a local pond for inspiration. While I was there, I realized why I was having trouble writing the story.

I wasn’t excited about it. It left me feeling flat and uninspired.

I thought about some of the books I do get excited about. Like Jon Klassen’s I Want My Hat Back, Mo Willem’s Pigeon books, Oliver Jeffers’ Stuck, Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s Exclamation Mark and I Wish You More, Herve Tullet’s Press Here, and Molly Idle’s Flora and the Flamingo (just to name a few).

What is it that I love about these books? What piques my interest and makes me want to read them more than once, and to share them with other people?

Some of these books are humorous. Some have surprising, outlandish twists you wouldn’t expect. Some make you smile one moment and make you tear up the next.

And all of them have characters who are relatable.

So I thought: What if Duck’s story isn’t about looking for something? What if her story is about getting pointed in different directions when you’re looking for something?

And that provided the piece of the maze, the “aha moment,” to create the path from the end to the beginning of Have You Seen My Frog?.

Sometimes you have to start at the end to find the beginning.

But as Pete the Cat would say, “It’s all good.”

 

 

A Balancing Act: Beyond the Written Page Video Journal

Like a trapeze artist, a writer must strive to achieve the delicate balance which will carry her safely across the high wire to the other side. Breaks between show times provide an opportunity to assess what techniques and tricks are working well and what parts of the routine may need to be modified.

Join me in this first fall episode of Beyond the Written Page to see what I wrestled with on my first day in the office after a three month writing hiatus.

Welcome back!

–Bernice