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Raven Howell

Children's Books and Poetry

EVENTS

page from My Community

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Enter for a chance to win My Community. Open to members in the United States. Entry period began on Sep 02, 2018 and ends on Oct 02, 2018.
www.goodreads.com

Book Signings, Celebrations, Festivals and more

photo with Karen Kelsayn
Raven with Karen Kelsay Davies

Albany Book Festival– September 29, 10—4 PM
University Campus Center, Albany NY.
FMI:www.albanybookfestival.com

Picture Book Summit (on-line)
http://picturebooksummit.com/program-2/ October 6, 2018; you must be registered to participate

My Community book release celebration – Sunday October 7 10:15 — 11:00
Split Rock Books; 97 Main Street, Cold Spring, NY
Raven will read her book and Jackie the Magician will bring her bag of tricks and puppets to share
www.splitrockbks.com
http://beebeetheclown.com

The SCBWI Book Stop will feature My Community
October 23 – December 7, 2018
A fun book celebration for 2018 releases and place for holiday book shopping!
www.scbwi.org

Late October book signing and celebration of My Community
The Beacon Bagel in coordination with the Howland Public Library, 466 Main Street, Beacon, NY
www.beaconbagel.com

BOOK REVIEWS

My Community Covers
My Community Covers

My Community

A girl walks readers through her day, introducing the many members of her diverse community in Howell’s (Shimmer, 2017) rhyming picture book with illustrations by Yang (A New Book for Jack, 2017).

A young, pale-skinned girl with red hair awakens in her room, which features a large picture of her mother, who looks just like her, and an African-American father. She listens to the local garbage trucks, then has breakfast: “Mom makes pancakes, / Morning’s cool. / Soon I’m dressed, / Ready for school.” Her brown-skinned younger sister sits in a high chair. During the day, the older girl greets her neighbors: Mailman Juan, bus driver Mr. Lee, Chef Mario at the pizza parlor, Police Chief Cho, teachers, librarians, and a vet and a doctor (both women). Later, the girl reveals that her father is the mayor. The book depicts a busy day with plenty for readers to see, filled with friends and family...Yang’s gentle, pastel-hued illustrations have soft edges, giving the backgrounds a painted look, and offering round-headed, large-eyed, cartoon-style characters. Howell’s steady rhymes make this an easy read-aloud.

A nice reflection of a diverse, multihued world.

— Kirkus Review

Colorfully illustrated and with plenty happening to keep a child amused, this might prove very popular at bedtime. A delightfully bright story with a strong community message of how life should be in a multi-cultural community. Warm and comfy with a sweet ending. Highly recommended!

— The Wishing Well Shelf Book Awards

Shimmer Cover
Shimmer: Songs of Night

Shimmer:Songs of Night

This book delights with every page! I tried to pick a thought, settle on one to share, but it was impossible. Having grown up in a house filled with poetry and song, Howell has managed to capture the essence of life and sprinkle it on every page. Imagination awakens as the day’s eyes grow heavy and night springs to life. There is not enough space allotted to tell you of all the treasured thoughts tucked so brightly illustrated into this book. So I encourage you to find a copy and share the giggles and joys with your children. Let their minds wander and explore all the fancies and wonders of a simple world. They will never outgrow this book, or the creativity it can bring.

— Darleen Wohlfeil, Story Monsters Ink

night train illustration

A prolific children’s poet offers an eclectic collection of nighttime pieces.

Opossums, space creatures, the Sandman, dream catchers, and Halloween trick-or-treaters—this inviting book of poems for ages 6 to 12 celebrates dusk to dawn as a world of possibility where nature and flights of fancy coexist. Using different forms (haiku, free verse, couplets, quatrains, and more), Howell (Gibber, 2016, etc.) shapes her rhythms and rhymes with a keen appreciation for the subjects and wordplay most likely to engage her target audience. They are matched on every page by debut illustrator Povarchik’s fluid watercolor-and-ink images (of wildlife, imaginary beasts, and white siblings), employing a bright, varied palette. The poet’s lyrical universe is a place where back-to-back haiku (“5 P.M.” and “5 A.M.”) contrast whispered secrets as “the wind scrambles by” with the view of “tall and patient” sunflowers anticipating the coming day; where fireflies “skitter” and “flitter” and the Sandman “slippers into the night”; where “Beehives of buildings /...Glow honey-yellow,” where dusk can be “as thick / As chocolate cake”; and where, when bats fly, “The silver of moon / Glistens a bit / On the black on black, / On the flitter and flit.” From a child’s thoughts about the cosmos and fairy rings to campfire ponderings, shooting stars, and pillow fights, Howell’s witty and wise visions of night flow along until “The skillet sky / Warms up / To a pale buttery yellow.”

This verbal and visual treat portrays the evening as a lively and thought-provoking place of wonder.

— Kirkus Review

moon blowing candle illustration
A Star Full of Sky
Illustration © Caryn Schafer

A Star Full of Sky

A Star Full of Sky by Raven Howell is an illustrated collection of twenty-five poems intended for young children and early independent readers. Each poem is relatively short, typically no more than two concise stanzas, and none take up more than half a page. Further, illustrations by Caryn Schafer appear intermittently throughout the collection. Themes found throughout the poems revolve around space and scientific facts. These poems can be used as a teaching tool as well as for straight entertainment.

 

The author utilizes rhythm and rhyme in each poem; in fact, the poems are much more enjoyable when read out loud. The author’s rhyming added significantly to the melodic tone of each poem, and words that were rhymed together never felt forced. Additionally, the author imbues her prose with a magical, almost effervescent feel. This collection is truly written just as much for adults to enjoy as it is for children.

 

I was most impressed with the subject matter of this book. The poems focus on space, planets and the universe, and they include historical and scientific terms that will definitely get children and adults thinking. Galileo, UFOs, the galaxy, comets and what they are made of, Pluto and it’s demotion from planet status, constellations, the horizon, cumulous clouds, and black holes are just some of the topics introduced in this collection of poems. Not only will these subjects spark conversation between children and parents, they will also get children thinking about topics they might have no previous knowledge of. This book provides a fun way for children to begin learning about science and gain excitement about the topic.

 

The illustrations are simple images drawn in black and white. At first, I’d hoped for more from the images since the cover of the book is bright and intricately drawn. However, as I read through the collection of poems, I found the illustrations perfectly complement the author’s words. The simplicity of the drawings ensures they do not distract from the lyrical prose and intriguing content of each poem. Further, the poems are quite short, so the basic drawings are just enough to capture the attention of a young reader without distracting them from the words on the page.

 

As an adult, I found these poems incredibly enjoyable. Although they are short, they pack a lot of information and curiosity into their words. I found myself considering each poem and analyzing them in-depth. I can see how curiously fun each of these poems would be for a young child. However, I do recommend these poems be read with a parent or adult because children will surely have questions about the meaning of some of the terms used throughout the poetry. A Star Full of Sky earns a full 4 out of 4 stars, and I applaud the author for finding a unique and fun way to introduce young children to the joys of scientific exploration!

— Marisa Rose, On Line Book Club

Star Full of Sky Constellations illustration
A Star Full of Sky
Illustration © Caryn Schafer

A Star Full of Sky is a delightful book of 25 short poems that will light up the imaginations of young readers and their adults. The poems mainly focus on topics related to the sky or things in space. This premise helps to tie the poems together in a cosmic theme that will keep readers engaged as they enthusiastically bounce through the pages.

Each poem is penned with a playful rhyme and a clever twist. The freshness is demonstrated in passages such as:
“In 2006 they voted
And Pluto was demoted.”

Rhymes like these can introduce children to poetry in a way that fosters interest and demonstrates the ease with which a writer can craft a meaningful message through the use of just a few well-placed words. The words jump out to ignite wonder among young readers and to amuse adult readers. Each page demonstrates the joy that can be found in poetic imagery and the author’s ability to spark discussion, with topics such as:
“I relish when a strong wind blows
And gladly welcome UFOs!”

This warm and imaginative book of poems would be suitable for children and adults of all ages, and would especially appeal to those with an interest in space, or those with a literary sense of humor. The book would also be ideal for children that love to hear the rhythmic cadences of stories. And last but not least, the book would be wonderful for adults hoping to inspire young readers’ questions, or just instill a love of poetry that will stretch out into the stars.

— The Children’s Book Review

INTERVIEWS

dragonfly award photo
Raven receives the Royal Dragonfly book award in 2017 for A Star Full of Sky

The Storyteller's Scroll interviewed me in November 2017, you can read it here: www.thestorytellersscroll.blogspot

My book, Dozy Poems, Cozy Days, is available through Background Noise Books. You can read an interview I did with them on their website: www.backgroundnoisebooks.com