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Friday, October 12, 2012

BLOG TOUR: Ralph Tells a Story by Abby Hanlon

Why hello there!
Welcome back to the Friday edition of Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers…the place to be when you feel the need to read strike and only a bookish escape will do; no worries, we’ve got you covered.

One quick note then I promise to move along to today’s post….there are SEVERAL (as in more than three but less than ten) contests running on the site right now, a few of which are drawing closer to their end dates.  Don’t forget to get your entries in before it’s too late!  For the links and details, scope out the right hand side bar under Current Contests.  Now, see?  I promised I’d keep it short.  Let’s get on to today’s post…

Today, we are playing guest to a blog tour via the great folks at Blue Slip Media (Hi, Barbara!) featuring a children’s book that well…if I said it hit a nerve, left its mark, appealed to me greatly, or any other of the many positive phrases I would use to describe this story, I’d be understating its significance QUITE a bit.  Allow me to explain.

It’s happened a time or two where I’ve been given the compliment of being told that I “have a way with words” and should write a book.  While blush worthy and smile inducing, the words always cause one thought to rise to my lips…I’ve no story to tell.  I don’t mean that nothing has happened in my life or that I lack imagination, I simply mean that while I may (or may not…you can be the judge and jury on that) have a knack for sharing my thoughts about the work of others, I don’t feel I have a story in me.  The irony in this situation is that as I was having this conversation, the book featured today was being delivered to my doorstep for this tour and while it may be geared towards children, I feel it’s appropriate for the potential writer in us all.  Without further ado, today’s blog tour guest and book of choice is…


Nothing ever happens to Ralph. So every day when it’s time to write stories, Ralph thinks really hard. He stares at his paper. He stares at the ceiling. But he has no stories! With the help of his classmates, Ralph realizes that a great story can be about something very little . . . and that maybe he really does have some stories to tell.


Sounds great from that alone, no?
I have since read the book and discovered the wonderful message Ralph and his classmates have to share.  It seems simple but it gets the creative juices flowing and really makes you look at your experiences in a while new light….something that is bound too help the budding writer in your midst no matter their age or experience.  Combine all of that with the beautiful illustrations and you have a book that captivates not only the basic essence of the writing process but the imagination of the readers joining the adventure for the sheer pleasure of it all; a win-win for all ages in my book.

Now, for a special treat I am pleased to share with you a few words from the author herself on how a story begins…..please welcome author Abby Hanlon…


The Story Begins with Questions….
Guest post by Abby Hanlon author of Ralph Tells a Story

In Ralph Tells A Story, Ralph finally finds a story to tell because his classmates’ eager questions trigger his memory.  After Ralph anxiously stands in front of his class and says the only line he has in his story, “I was at the park.  I found an inchworm.” His classmates’ hands all go up; “Did you touch it?” “Was it a girl?” “Did you name it?” “Suddenly, I remembered,” says Ralph, “something did happen with that inchworm!” And so begins Ralph’s story. Questioning is an important part of the process for beginner writers and is a skill that children learn explicitly at school, as teachers model for their students how to be active listeners. Of course, this is something you can do at home to help your child develop a story. 

Children like to talk about their lives when it interests them, and usually not when it interests you. When I pick up my five-year-old twins from camp and ask them how it was, they often give me no information . . .pretty typical. But we can be walking down the street on a cold January day, and suddenly, out of nowhere it seems, the camp stories that I’ve never heard before start flowing! This is a great time for questions. Seize upon their moments of excitement, however random! What did it look like? Who was with you? What did it feel like? What were you thinking? What do you think she was feeling? Then what happened? Often my kids’ stories don’t make complete sense because they are trying to piece it together themselves. But these conversations at home are great practice for being able to confidently put it down.

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Writing Tip 

When your child complains, “I have nothing to write!” remind them that “Stories happen to those who tell them.” A lot of the work of being a writer happens outside of actual writing time. Writing is about observation and learning to value your own experiences, however small. Helping your child to create this awareness by being observers alongside them will help your child think like a writer.


About the author….

 Abby Hanlon has a master’s degree in early childhood education from the City College of New York and bachelor’s from Barnard College, Columbia University. Abby has taught creative writing and first grade in the New York City public school system. Inspired by her students’ storytelling and drawings, Abby began to write her own stories for children. Determined to illustrate her stories, Abby taught herself to draw after not having drawn since childhood. Ralph Tells a Story is her first book. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and their two children. To learn more, visit her website.


Review copy courtesy of Barbara at Blue Slip Media.  (THANKS!)  For more information on this tour as well as those upcoming, be sure to visit their official website or like them on Facebook.  This book is available now from Amazon Children's Publishing...and speaking of the publisher...

Thanks to Amazon Children's Publishing I have to opportunity to give YOU a chance to win one copy of this inspirational little book to call your own!  Entries will be accepted starting today, October 12, 2012 through midnight CST October 19, 2012.  Open to U.S. and Canada mailing addresses only, no PO. Boxes please.  To enter....just fill out the Rafflecopter below and're in!

Until next time...good luck...and happy reading!


Felicity Grace Terry said...

Great post, this looks like such a cute read. Oh and thanks for those valuable writing tips.

abby hanlon said...

Thank you so much for featuring Ralph Tells A Story on your fabulous blog! I know you have a story in you!!!

The1stdaughter said...

We loved this book so much! I love her story about her five year olds...reminds me of a five year old I know. LOL Turkeybird hardly ever tells me about his day until the most random, and often inopportune, moments. It's hilarious.

Fabulous post! Great book! :o)

Alexia561 said...

Wonderful post! And you're right, these are great tips for a writer no matter what their age!

Gina said...

Petty Witter: Agreed on both counts!

Abby Hanlon: Thanks for stopping by Ms Hanlon and for encouraging the writer in all of us! ^_^

The1stdaughter: LOL...hence the mind of a child. ^_^

Alexia561: *high five*

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