Huge congratulations to Janet Smith! You have won a copy of HERE WE COME! from last week's episode of PBJamz! It's a lovely book, and we know you will enjoy it very much! Thanks for tuning in for PBJamz and sharing the great things happening here!
Video interview with Tara Trudel
I enjoyed chatting with Tara very much! She is not only a wonderful songwriter who's done work on a variety of music projects, but she's also an author in her own right. And, she taught music as well, so she has a wealth of information to offer! If you're not following her on social media, check out all of her links at the bottom of this post!
PB (Picture Book Tasting)
Walter is a lovely home and enjoys his family. When they move out, Walter's heart is broken and he shuts his doors on family and love and living. When a new family moves in, Walter has to decide if he will allow them to move into his heart or if he will encourage them to move on elsewhere. My husband and I live in an old Victorian farmhouse, built in 1882, and I'm sure our home felt a little forlorn as she was relegated to office space and then slated to be torn down if no one bought her to move. Thankfully, we fell in love with her, moved her out to my dad's farm and have been fixing her quirks for 30 years this November. I'm thankful Walter found someone to love him too! Don't miss this beautiful book by Chelsea Lin Wallace, illustrated by Ginnie Hsu, and published by McMillan Publishers.
A Little Jam. . .(The Music Kind)
And then there was a song. . . named Walter. . .written by Tara Trudel. Such a sweet anthem to go along with a very sweet book. The two together are a perfect pair whether you teach in a regular classroom, a music classroom, a daycare setting, or a homeschool. This book and song are also perfect to share at home to talk about all the things that make your home and family special. Keep reading below for so many tips and ways to use WALTER (the book and the song) to get kids excited and learning about their homes and others.
Teacher Tips/Curriculum Tie-ins
WALTER is full of great topics and tie-ins for teachers. Check these out, and if you have other ways you're using it, please comment below. Share the knowledge and share the love!
Tips and Topics for Music Teachers
There are a couple of options for music teachers wanting to use this book in the music classroom.
Writing Prompts/Author Tips
1. My Dream House
2. If I Built a House. . .
3. What Makes a House a Home
4. A Time When I was ____________ (Choose an emotion)
5. A Time when I moved/had to try something new
6. I think the song named Walter and the house named Walter match or don't match well because. . . .
7.My Favorite Thing to do in my house. . .
8. If I had to leave the place I live now, I would really miss ________ because. . . .
Songwriting Tips from Tara:
A Simple 6 Step Songwriting Method:
1. Find the Hook - I like to start with a title. Song titles can create a strong feeling, express an opinion, establish a time/place/memory, or just be fun to say. A great title immediately gives your song a topic and a short, punchy lyrical phrase to build your chorus around.
2. Brainstorm - Once I choose a title, I create a word bank where I write a list of words or short phrases related to my title. When I have a lot of options, I go back through this list and look for possible rhymes to play with in the lyrics.
3. Write the Chorus - A simple chorus can be really effective. Repetition is a powerful songwriting tool, especially in the chorus. (Just think about how many times you've had "We Don't Talk About Bruno, no no no/We Don't Talk About Bruno" stuck in your head!)
4. Keep the Verses Consistent - If you're new to songwriting, it's best to write verses in groups of four lines. Verses typically have the same rhyme scheme and a similar line length in each repetition.
5. Break It Up With The Bridge - The bridge is a section where you can switch up your rhyme scheme and melody and experiment with something new. This shift in the lyrics and melody helps drive the song home to its final chorus.
6. Collaborate - Songwriting is often a collaborative art form. If you don't have a music background, you can always work with a musician to set your lyrics to music. I've also had a lot of success following the above formula to write group songs with students in the classroom.
Links, More Fun, Extensions for Families and Everyone!
PBJamz Snack (PBJ Waffles!)
Waffles are one of my specialties. Today, I'm sharing with you more of a technique than a recipe. Get your favorite waffle mix -- whatever kind you like. Mix up a batch of waffles per the directions. Now, swirl in a generous amount of peanut butter. Then dollop a few patches of your favorite jam/jelly. With a butter knife or narrow spatula, swirl the peanut butter and jam/jelly throughout your waffle batter. Then cook in your waffle iron according to the directions. Even if you like frozen waffles, you can smear them with peanut butter and spoon on a dollop of jam/jelly. Spread or swirl and enjoy with or without syrup!
If you want to make your PBJ waffles extra special, mix some of the same jam/jelly with pancake syrup in a small pot. Simmer, stirring until the two are blended and serve over hot waffles. For some beautiful plating, add a dollop of peanut butter and a few crushed peanuts on top before pouring the syrup mixture. You could even add a fresh strawberry, blueberry or apple slice, etc. -- to match the flavor of your jam/jelly.
Dig in and enjoy! I did! And they were delicious!
Guest Links and Giveaways
Tara has graciously offered 2 books. The first winner chosen will receive a copy of FIRST NOTES OF SPRING & the second winner will win a copy of A HOME Named Walter . To be entered into the drawing, comment below by 11:59 PM on Wednesday, April 27! All commenters will be entered into a random drawing to receive one of these lovely picture books!
4/21/2022 10:19:21 am
I write songs to accompany my children's books, too.
4/21/2022 08:54:31 pm
Hi, Kimberly, I just responded to your message on Twitter! I look forward to talking with you more about your books and songs!
4/25/2022 08:59:50 am
It's so fun to meet a fellow songwriter, Kimberly! Thanks for connecting.
4/21/2022 10:54:58 am
This is fantastic! How did you manage to fit so much great content into one post, Tonnye?!?!?
4/21/2022 08:58:02 pm
Thanks so much, Gennie! I appreciate you stopping by and I'm so glad you liked it! Please continue sharing the #PBJamz content with others who might find it helpful. And yes, Tara absolutely rocks! We had the greatest conversation and laughed and talked like old friends. She is such a lovely part of the kidlit community! All of her songs are wonderful, and I am so glad she took some time out to chat with me about her process and the fun project she has coming up!
4/25/2022 09:00:47 am
Gennie! Thank you so much. It means so much to have you (and your adorable kiddos) listen!
4/21/2022 02:18:49 pm
I love the writing prompts! I have written plenty of musical parodies in the classroom and at summer camp etc but only tried my hand at a couple of original songs despite writing a good bit of poetry. I will have to try writing a song using this method. Thanks!
4/21/2022 09:05:29 pm
Yay, Hannah! I'm so glad you found them helpful! I hope the songs go great! Tara has had lots of success and these tips came directly from her! Fingers crossed for super-fun songs for you, too! :-)
4/25/2022 09:02:19 am
I hope you have fun writing, Hannah! Please feel free to reach out to me on Twitter if you have any songwriting questions :)
4/21/2022 04:26:49 pm
Thanks for sharing this fabulous book and a wealth of ideas for using it to engage readers!
4/21/2022 09:07:16 pm
Thanks, Lori, for your kind words. It is a fabulous book and there are so many great ways to use it! Thank you for stopping by and please be sure to share PBJamz with anyone who might also find it helpful!
4/22/2022 03:03:43 am
Awww music teachers are the best!!!
4/25/2022 09:03:01 am
4/23/2022 02:21:49 pm
Oh my goodness! What a fabulous interview!! Tara is a powerhouse and a lovely person to boot! :) I really enjoyed this!
4/25/2022 09:03:48 am
Thank you so much, Elizabeth! I really appreciate the kind words :)
4/26/2022 12:23:40 pm
I love the whole concept of WALTER, especially the SEL component. So sweet. Congrats on your books!
4/27/2022 03:13:15 pm
Thanks for stopping by!
4/27/2022 07:05:24 am
What a wonderful, multi-layered post. There's a little bit of everything in here whether you're a songwriter, teacher, parent, or just someone who who loves music al books!! Congrats, Tara, on everything bright and beautiful happening due to your consistent and hard work. Life is coming up "yes day!"
4/27/2022 03:15:33 pm
Hi, Brigid! That comment is music to my ears! That's exactly what I'm hoping to accomplish -- something for everyone! I'm so glad you found it valuable on multiple layers! Please share PBJamz with anyone else who might enjoy it! And I hope you'll stop in again!
4/28/2022 08:42:47 am
Brigid! I'm so glad you got to see PB Jamz, because everything Tonnye is doing is right up your alley! Thank you so much for your constant and continual support. (Can I please have pizza for breakfast now?) <3
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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!