Congratulations, Marie Kelly! You are the winner of the first giveaway book for last week's episode: THIS IS MUSIC: HORNS. Please send me a mailing address to tonnyefletcher at gmail dot com. I hope you enjoy the book and please remember to review it if you enjoy it, share it out on social media, give the title to folks who would enjoy it and request it at your library! These are all great ways to thank the authors who come and share!
Stay tuned for the second giveaway!
Interview with Carmen Oliver, author of BUILDING AN ORCHESTRA OF HOPE
In this episode, Carmen Oliver stops by to chat about her latest book, BUILDING AN ORCHESTRA OF HOPE. It's an incredible book full of activism, human kindness, ingenuity, and changing your stars. The power of one person to make a rippling difference in the world is a message of hope and inspiration for all of us. We talk about the ripple effects, the challenges of writing the book, the inspiration and so much more! Carmen is a delight and this is a story (and an interview) that will have you feeling good for a while!Go to https://www.tonnyefletcher.com/PBJamz for teaching tips and lots of additional resources to go along with the book BUILDING AN ORCHESTRA OF HOPE by Carmen Oliver. Do yourself a favor and watch some of the video clips of the recycled orchestra in action, or the documentary as well! This book can literally be used with every single age group!
BUILDING AN ORCHESTRA OF HOPE
BUILDING AN ORCHESTRA OF HOPE tells the story of an ordinary man who does extraordinary things for a village built atop a landfill in Paraguay. He gives a precious gift to this community -- the gift of music. Published by Eerdmans. Books for Young Readers, and illustrated by Luisa Uribe, this book tells the beautiful story of Favio Chavez and his "Recycled Orchestra." It is, indeed a story of hope and music and ingenuity and perseverance and. . . .obviously it is a multi-layered book full of many beautiful thoughts and ideas. Join this man and these young people on the journey of a lifetime -- from the landfill in Paraguay and around the world!
A Little Jam. . .(The Music Kind)
This song is from the documentary Landfill Harmonic. The video shows the creation of some of the instruments, and the lyrics are in Spanish with English subtitles, so it would invite lots of conversation about many layers of the book as well as the larger story.
Teacher Tips, Tricks and Topics
Tips and Topics for Music Teachers
Writing Prompts from Tonnye
Writing Tips from Carmen Oliver
Carmen created a lovely document (which you can download below) with accompanying pictures and book covers. I've uploaded the file below if you'd like to see it as she intended. The bare text version appears here for those of you who may not be able to download the pretty version with visuals. . .
Three Tips to Becoming a Successful Writer
By Carmen Oliver
What makes a successful writer from an unsuccessful writer? Here’s a few tips that I think separates the successful writer from the unsuccessful writer.
Write About What Interests You
Write about what you are interested in. Or something important that happened to you. Or maybe it’s something you care about like family, or a cause, or an injustice. Use your voice to tell the story you want to tell. It develops confidence. It unleashes your imagination. It gives you some control. It makes you more invested in the storytelling.
When I’m visiting schools, students often ask me where I get my book ideas. This is always one of my favorite questions because the answer taps into one of my passions in life and leads me to my second tip about being a successful writer.
Read, Read, and Read Some More!
My grandmother instilled a love of reading in me. She was my favorite reading buddy. She would read to me for hours. She would answer my questions about what we were reading. She would read the same book to me over and over again until I felt confident that I could ahem, “read” it on my own. She and my mother were both avid lovers of wild animals and they opened my eyes to animals from all corners of the world with their magazine subscription to National Geographic. I loved looking at the pictures and they would tell me fun facts about each animal. They purchased subscriptions for me to book clubs and magazines like Highlights for Children (often found in school and public libraries too).
Reading is the cornerstone to becoming a successful writer. Honestly to becoming successful in whatever you want to do. Books have so much to teach us. We learn about pacing, word choice, the five senses, emotion, tension, voice, setting, and problem solving. Sparks fly when we read. Imaginations burst open. We empathize and understand more. And we get ideas for our own stories from what we read.
When I was doing research about spirit bears for the book A Voice for the Spirit Bears: How One Boy Inspired Millions to Save a Rare Animal), my daughter was a fifth grader and was going to be a reading buddy at her school. I thought to myself what if the kindergartner she was assigned to didn’t want to be her buddy? Because she already had her own reading buddy. And what if that reading buddy was a bear? A real bear. What could happen? That was the spark for the idea for Bears Make the Best Reading Buddies. Imagine what would have happened if I’d been reading about camels!
There’s an old saying we writers like to use called “Butt-in-Chair.” It means you have to sit there and do the work. Period. Show up. Stay late. No running to the kitchen for a snack every 5 minutes. Or texting. Or surfing the web. No one is going to do the work for you. I tell writers all the time that everyone has their own unique stories to tell. Each of them has experiences I’ve never experienced before. They all have something important to say but if they don’t sit in a proverbial “chair” and drop or type the words onto the paper/screen – we’ll never hear it. It’s hard work to ignore a chocolate fudge brownie craving or a morning matinee, but sitting in your chair, writing sentence after sentence gets it done. It’s hard work, but it’s worth it!
What makes a successful writer? It’s ordinary people who show up every day and do the work. They don’t talk about being a writer, they write about it. And they don’t give up until they get it right. It’s really that simple; interest+reading+Butt-in-Chair = Writer.
Carmen Oliver is the author of many award-winning picture books for children including A Voice for the Spirit Bears: How One Boy Inspired Millions to Save a Rare Animal, a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard, Building an Orchestra of Hope: How Favio Chavez Taught Children to Make Music From Trash, a Junior Library Gold Standard (Oct 25, 2022), and The Twilight Library (Sept 6, 2022). She’s also the author of the Bears Make the Best Buddies series (Reading, Writing, Math, Science). She also teaches writing at the Writing Barn and The Highlights Foundation and loves speaking at schools, conferences and festivals. She lives with her family outside of Austin, Texas. To connect or learn more about Carmen and her books visit www.carmenoliver.com or Twitter or Facebook.
Links, More Fun, Extensions for Families and Everyone!
Pinterest board with videos, printables, and all sorts of things related to this topic.
YouTube playlist with videos of the orchestra playing, trailers for the documentary and more!
Creating recycled instruments:
These little Protein Bites/Power balls/Energy Balls or whatever you'd like to call them make the perfect snack before or after rehearsal or program! Full of protein and energy -- relatively healthy and nutritious make these an encore performer that really hit a high note, and are sure to be an audience pleaser!
Guest Links and Giveaways
Carmen has offered a DOUBLE giveaway -- 2 copies of BUILDING AN ORCHESTRA OF HOPE are up for grabs, and you have until Wednesday, November 2, 2022 at 11:59 PM EST to comment on this blog below to be entered in a random drawing of all commenters. 2 winners will be chosen and copies of the book will be sent to each of you! Don't miss out! Leave a comment and build your library!
Amazon link to purchase BUILDING AN ORCHESTRA OF HOPE
Publisher's link to purchase BUILDING AN ORCHESTRA OF HOPE
BUILDING AN ORCHESTRA OF HOPE page on Carmen's website (Check back here for the educator guide)
Connect with Carmen on Twitter
Facebook for The Booking Biz
Reminder: If you enjoy these books and authors, please support them by:
1. Purchasing their books
2. Recommending them to friends, coworkers, educators, etc.
3. Requesting their books at your local library
4. Leaving positive reviews (just 50 reviews on Amazon bumps a book up to recommended status.) If you'd rather not support Amazon, review the books on Barnes and Noble or Goodreads.
This page is the official space for PBJamz -- multimedia Jamorama celebrating all things PB (picture books) and Jamz (music), although we'll indulge in the other PBJ snacks where appropriate :-). Join us each Thursday for new content connecting picture books and music!