Anita Amin and RAJA'S PET CAMEL
Nelly, you are the winner of Nancy's songbook and CD! Huge congratulations! I know you and your daughter will love Rhythm of the Rocks! I'll be in touch on Twitter :-)
Interview with Anita Amin, author of RAJA'S PET CAMEL
Watch and learn the inspiration for Anita's book, musical connections, and personal tidbits of Indian culture. Anita is a sweetheart, and this book is delightfully fun! You're in for a treat!
A Little Jam. . .(The Music Kind)
Get your kiddos up and moving to a Bollywood beat. An Indian fusion dance form that is fun and helps your students (or your kids) get lots of energy out. This one is easy enough it will be great for the family to try together! If Bollywood isn't your thing, there are some educational songs about India and camels, lots of Indian musical instruments, and you can't talk about camels without talking about Alice. You can find all those jams and more in the YouTube playlist in the links section!
Teacher Tips, Tricks and Topics
The teaching guide from Anita's website (lots of ELA standards and activities!)
Social studies topics:
India --geography and culture (food, music, etc)
Tips and Topics for Music Teachers
There are so many ideas on the YouTube playlist and the Pinterest board! Be sure to check those out in the links section!
Here are some broad topics:
Writing Prompts from Tonnye
"The Most Unusual Pet"
If I had a pet camel . . .
Persuasive writing "A _________ would make a good pet because" or "I would be a responsible pet owner because. . . "
Research a topic of Indian culture and write a paragraph/essay/poem/etc.
Was Raja's pet camel a good pet? Why or why not?
My favorite Indian instrument is ______ because.
I like/don't like tabla music because . . . .
I like/don't like Bollywood dancing because . . .
Create a travel brochure for India.
Write a report about an animal or a musical instrument from India.
Yoga is ____________ because __________. . . . .
"A Ride on a Camel"
"The Dancing Camel"
Tips for authors from Anita
1. Learn as much as you can. My work and education were all STEM-related. I had no background in creative writing or literature. But I’ve been able to apply my STEM background to many of my books, so don’t let a non-writing background hold you back. Authors come from all walks of life. Reading and just writing have been the best ways for me to learn. I study the kinds of books I want to write. There are stacks of picture books, chapter books, and middle grade books sitting on my dining room table waiting to be dissected. I read through a book first then go back and take notes on story structure, characters, word choices, and word count. When I first started writing as an adult, I took courses at the Institute of Children’s Literature. Joining organizations such as SCBWI, Julie Hedlund’s 12 x 12 Picture Book Challenge, Inked Voices, and the Writing Barn’s Courage to Create helps me learn more about craft and the market, and they connect me with other writers, some of whom are now my writing partners. Following writers on social media helps too – many share writing tips and opportunities.
2. Enjoy the process, and don’t worry about getting published right away. Some writers only submit their book once and their book gets accepted, but this is rare. Many, if not most writers, have a longer road to publication. They spend years learning, writing, revising, and submitting before their first publication. My debut picture book, Raja’s Pet Camel, was a labor of love that sporadically grew over 11 years. Each book starts the whole writing-submitting cycle over again – a cycle that often accumulates a number of rejections before the book is finally published. Rejections are something to be proud of because it means you’re out there trying, but they can still feel discouraging. If you write because you enjoy it, it will help you push through to the time when you can finally sign a contract and celebrate!
3. Don’t be afraid. When I first started writing, I was afraid to even pick up my pen and write. My internal editor is awful, always telling me nothing I write is good enough. Almost 40 books later, I still struggle with this, but I’ve learned to ignore it when I have a deadline, because if I don’t pick up my pen and write, nothing will ever get written. I’m often afraid to show my work to others too. So much of my heart goes into it. But what if they hate it? Or worse, they’re just nonchalant towards it. First drafts are often messy for everyone, so don’t worry what others will think. Just sit down and write your story. Over time, go back and revise it until you feel you can’t go any further with it. Then you might want to consider showing it to a trusted writing partner. Their feedback can be invaluable and one of your best learning experiences. But share only when you feel comfortable. It’s okay to keep it secret until you’re ready.
4. Create a pitch. Before I started taking on work-for-hire projects (some publishing companies hire writers to write children’s books for them), I was a panster. In other words, I never wrote from an outline. My stories wandered all over the place and halfway through the plot I would get stuck. I couldn’t afford this time loss with my work-for-hire projects. Most projects, I only had one month to write the book! Now, I outline my stories. My outlines may change as I write, but at least I have some direction. Before I outline my story though, I write a pitch. A pitch is 1-2 sentences about what the book is about, including what is at stake for the main character. An example of a pitch might be: When y happens, the main character must find a way to solve it or x will happen. The pitch drives my outline and focuses the plot. Later, you can include the pitch in query letters when you submit your work. You might even find it incorporated on the back cover of your first published book!
Links, More Fun, Extensions for Families and Everyone!
Pinterest board with lots of camel activities, Indian culture, music, geography, food and more!
YouTube playlist with Indian music and instruments, songs about camels, Bollywood dance-alongs, and more!
Link to the readers' guide and to purchase books is here.
One idea for teaching with RAJA's PET CAMEL from Twitter
PBJamz Snack -- Peanut butter stuffed dates
Here's the link for this Indian-inspired PBJamz snack, courtesy of Nourish & Tempt. These are a perfect companion to this episode, since dates figure prominently in the story. I haven't tried them yet, but in my head, these are the perfect balance of salty and sweet, smooth and chewy, a touch of bitter. The date serves as the J in this PBJamz snack. I think Raja would approve! If you try them, comment below and let us know how you like them or scoot over to Nourish and Tempt and let them know you loved them! When I try these, I plan to have masala chai alongside. It's a lovely spiced milk tea. You can easily buy ready-made teabags for Chai, but I love making it homemade. If you'd like to try, here's an authentic recipe to start you on your way!
Guest Links and Giveaways
Link to the readers' guide and to purchase books is here.
Anita is giving away a signed copy of RAJA'S PET CAMEL and a classroom Zoom visit! To be eligible, simply leave a comment below, and your name will go into the drawing. There will be 2 prize winners, so leave us a comment! You do NOT want to MISS this!
Please remember to request her book at your local library, school library, etc., write a review if you enjoy the book, share with a friend who might enjoy it, share it out on social media, etc.
9/29/2022 12:01:22 pm
I would love to win a signed copy of RAJA’S PET CAMEL =)
10/12/2022 06:35:46 pm
What a fun interview! Tonnye, your website is PACKED with good stuff. This is wonderful. I love the tips from Anita. Thanks for the chance to win a book!
10/12/2022 06:35:46 pm
Anita! Congratulations on your book. Sounds like so much fun. I would love a sign copy and share it with friends. And thank you for all the author tips you share.
10/13/2022 05:38:02 am
I ordered two copies of this book for my library! I love it! I can't wait to put some of these fabulous activities you've provided to use! Thank you Tonnye and Anita for all of your hard work!
10/13/2022 09:34:49 am
Loved the interview with Anita! This book is a great way to add to the culture diversity in our classrooms. My students love talking about their pets so reading Raja's Pet Camel is sure to delight them. I am also looking forward to making the snack for them, they love peanut butter!!!
10/19/2022 06:07:37 pm
Thank you all for watching the interview and entering the giveaway! I really appreciate the support. And thank you, Tonnye, for spreading the word about Raja and his camel! :) Love all of the tips and activities!
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