Celebrating Pencil Day

March 30th is National Pencil Day marking the day that Hymen Lipman received the patent for attaching an eraser to the end of a pencil in 1858.

While other writing instruments seem to dominate the picture book scene – crayons, chalk, even markers – the ubiquitous pencil is finally getting its moment. 

Here is a collection of sharp, pencil-themed picture books to share with young readers on Pencil Day.

When Pencil Met Eraser
Written by Karen Kilpatrick and Luis O. Ramos, Jr.
Illustrated by German Blanco 

Ever wonder why there’s an eraser on every pencil? This picture book tells the story of how Pencil and Eraser became friends. When Pencil draws on the pages of the book, Eraser erases part of Pencil’s work, and the book becomes a canvas for their different takes on creativity–until they discover their artwork is better when they work together. 

Linus the Little Yellow Pencil
Written and illustrated by Scott Magoon

Linus and his eraser, Ernie, don’t always see eye to eye. But with the family art show drawing near, these two will have to sharpen their collaboration to make something neither one could do on their own!

The Pencil
Written by Susan Avingaq and Maren Vsetula
Illustrated by Charlene Chua

Susan and her sister, Rebecca, love watching their mother write letters to people in other camps. Their mother has one precious pencil, and she keeps it safe in her box for special things.

Pencil’s Perfect Picture
Written by Jodi McKay
Illustrated by Juliana Motzko

Pencil is trying to draw the perfect picture for his dad. So, he asks his friends Brush, Pastel, Marker, Crayon, and Chalk what makes their art perfect. But they each have a different answer. How will Pencil be able to create his own perfect picture?

Arabella and the Magic Pencil
Written by Stephanie Ward
Illustrated by Shaney Hyde

Arabella is a beloved only child who has a picture perfect life until her brother, Avery, arrives. While she loves him, it’s sometimes hard to like him. She spends her days creating marvellous things with her magic pencil and ignoring him. But when Avery spoils a proper tea party, Arabella erases him from her life. Oops! How can she get him back? 

Celebrate Pencil Day by reading one of these great picture books and try out this simple pencil-themed activity for kids.

Arabella’s Magic Pencil Craft Download

Happy Pencil Day!

Pencil Day Giveaway

March is the time to celebrate lucky leprechauns, four-leaf clovers 🍀 and…pencils. ✏️

Yes, March 30th is Pencil Day and I’ve been looking forward to it since the release of my picture book, Arabella and the Magic Pencil!

What better way to celebrate than a Giveaway Hop hosted by BookHounds? I’m giving away a $10 Amazon gift certificate and a copy of Arabella and the Magic Pencil in honor of the mighty pencil! 🎉

In addition, I’m excited to share a DIY Pencil Craft that’s perfect for preschoolers and primary students who want their very own magic pencil, just like Arabella.

Download the FREE step-by-step craft activity and celebrate Pencil Day with a custom-made magic pencil.

Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway and visit the dozens of book-related blogs offering prizes in the Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway Hop!

Click here to enter the RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY!

Good luck 🍀 and Happy Pencil Day ✏️ !

1. BookHounds2. BookHounds YA
3. Stuck In Books (US) ~4. Storey Book Reviews
5. Jean Book Nerd6. Mina Burrows
7. All the Ups and Downs (INT)8. Author M. L. Hamilton
9. Lili Lost in a Book10. Kristi’s Book Nook
11. Savings in Seconds12. Angel’s Guilty Pleasures (INT)
13. MYTHICAL BOOKS (INT)14. Heidi Reads. . . (US)
15. Choose Life Choose Words16. Rockin’ Book Reviews
17. icefairy’s Treasure Chest (INTL)18. Sweet Romance & Mystery
19. Literary Rambles (INT)20. Writer with Wanderlust
21. SSLY – Smile Somebody Loves You22. Romance by Beverly (US)
23. The Kids Did It24. Says Me Says Mom
25. Lindy@ A Bookish Escape26. Hearts & Scribbles (Int)
27. Brenda’s Book Blog28. Every Free Chance Books (US/INT)
29. Christy’s Cozy Corners (US) ~30. Author MK McClintock
31. Craves the Angst Book Blog [US]32. Mid-Life Goddess Book Giveaway
33. Author Ana Jolene (INT)34. Long Tail Writing (US)
35. Maureen’s Musings36. Life Within The Pages (INT)
37. Family Friendly Blog

For more information about Arabella and the Magic Pencil, visit the Books tab, the EK Books webiste or see reader reviews on Goodreads. Thanks!

🌟 As seen on Sunday Post and Booknificent! 🌟

2020 NSW Premier’s Booklist

I’m honored to learn that Arabella and the Magic Pencil has been included in the 2020 NSW Premier’s Reading Challenge Booklist. The NSW Premier’s Reading Challenge is an Australian program that aims to “encourage a love of reading for leisure and pleasure in students and enable them to experience quality literature”. The accompanying booklists give children a wide range of quality books to choose from as they attempt to read 20-30 books, depending on age, between March – August 2020.

For more information about the challenge or to see the official booklists by age group, visit the NSW Premier’s Reading Challenge website.

Book Review: Arabella and the Magic Pencil by Stephanie Ward & Shaney Hyde

This is such a lovely picture book and one which I’m sure all children would love! – The Strawberry Post

And that’s just one line from this thoughtful, insightful and wonderful review on The Strawberry Post! The full review can be found via the link below. I highly recommend following reviewer Cat as she does a fabulous job of sharing her thoughts on culture, lifestyle, writing, wellbeing and more. Enjoy!

Book review: Arabella and the Magic Pencil by Stephanie Ward & Shaney Hyde

Taking a Moment

In the midst of book launches, school visits, library readings and marketing, I forgot what it was that brought me here in the first place.

It’s been a whirlwind six months of promoting my picture book Arabella and the Magic Pencil that was released in September 2019. I’ve been thinking about, talking about and obsessing about it for what seems like an eternity. From drafting a marketing plan to visiting bookstores and shipping review copies, I lost touch with how I ended up here in the first place. I actually got a bit sick of seeing my own face and the book I was so proud of splashed across social media. But in the quiet days after the holidays, in a fog of jet lag, I took a moment to sit down with the book I’d been shamelessly promoting to simply read it for myself.

First, I gazed at the cover and end pages. I traced Arabella’s steps as she waltzes in her whimsical world and noticed how Wish, a sweet little bird that was an invention of the illustrator, hops along the inside cover beckoning readers to follow.

Flipping through the pages, I giggled at the hidden details — Stephanie’s Story Tent, Arabella reading her own book and a banner advertising “Magic Happens” that I hadn’t actually noticed until now. And I couldn’t help but laugh at the flashy flamingoes who flamencoed as Word still insists that it’s not a word!

I remembered how feedback from my critique group changed a boring page turn to a dramatic moment with a well-placed ellipsis. Then I quietly observed Arabella as she stands with her back to me drawing with her magic pencil.

I marveled at my physical reaction to the change in color palette when Arabella realizes what she has done. I flipped back to the bright pages that conveyed her happy life and found myself searching for colors on the muted pages that follow.

Finally, I stared wide-eyed at Avery’s dinosaur — not the one that I imagined when I wrote the story, but the one the illustrator painted that just happens to be my favorite.

I find that I’ve been smiling the entire time I’ve been reading. Am I fan-girling myself? No, not really. This isn’t my book. It may be my story, but this thing in my hands has been created by many. People around the world now experience my words together with expressive artwork all wrapped up in a perfect package.

What once was just an foggy idea is now an actual book that will live on bookshelves and archives long after the marketing fervor has died down. It was nice to remember that I still love the story that I originally wrote so many years ago, even after reading it for the gazillionth time. And that seems like a pretty good reason to savor the moment.

New Baby in the House

“I’ve been the oldest child since before you were born” 

— E.L. Konigsburg (From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler)

Arabella and the Magic Pencil is, really, a story about me. I was the “delightful daughter” that my parents doted on….until my siblings arrived. I experienced firsthand how jarring a new baby can be to a young one’s life. I also know how rewarding and special those relationships are. And that’s what the book is all about — recognizing the full range of the feelings that come with giving up the reign of only child and adjusting to new family members — whether through birth, adoption or blended families.

So, I was excited to see this perfectly on point post on Motherhood, The Real Deal, a top UK family blog (#11 if you’re curious), highlighting tips for introducing a child to a new baby. With advice from Dr Sarah Hughes, a clinical psychologist, PhD in child and adolescent anxiety disorders, the founder of Think Clinical Psychologists, AND the author of forthcoming book Parenting Made Simple published by Exisle Books, it’s an absolute MUST READ for families with a new child on the way. Oh, and it may just mention Arabella and the Magic Pencil too!

Click below to read the full blog post.