Posts Tagged ‘dinosaurs’

Meet Author Kelly Santana-Banks

Posted on October 27th, 2016 by Carolyn Hart

Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinrssmail

Kelly Santana-BanksKelly Santana-Banks is a writer of nonfiction and children’s books, and a former early childhood teacher and caregiver. When she was young, she loved to play teacher with her sister, cousins, and neighbors. As a young adult, she never considered teaching as a career, but little did she know that her childhood make-believe would pave the way to what would become her passion. With more than ten years of experience working with children—five of those years were dedicated to research in the area of child development as well as implementing best practices inside and outside of the classroom and a strong background in child development, she is an advocate for education, especially in early childhood. She writes fun stories to entertain and teach children as well as help parents find simple solutions for their little ones’ lives.

You can find more about her or connect on her website

You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter @ksantanabanks, Instagram and Pinterest.

Tell us about your latest published children’s book. Who do you think should read it? What are you most proud of?Dinosaur Adventure a Field Trip to Remember by Kelly Santana Banks

My latest release is called Dinosaur Adventure: A Field Trip to Remember, the second book in the series Let’s Learn while Playing. Different from my first book, which was a short nursery rhyme geared towards two, threes, and fours, Dinosaur Adventure targets more the older group of children (3–7)—given its amount of text and the vocabulary explored. This book is a product of my working experiences with children inside and outside of the classroom, including fun field trips. And I’m happy to bring to life a subject that children love (dinosaurs) in an entertaining and educational way.

Dinosaur Adventure: A Field Trip to Remember at Amazon.com

Dinosaur Adventure: A Field Trip to Remember at Amazon.ca

Thinking back to your own childhood, is there a particular author or illustrator who was a favorite? Why do you suppose that person’s work resonated with you?

Growing up, I loved the stories of Mauricio de Souza, a famous Brazilian cartoonist and creator of the children’s comic series, Turma da Monica. But at that point, writing or even thinking of becoming an author was never on my radar. Throughout my teenage years, I became an avid reader, devouring my mom’s library of books, including Sidney Sheldon’s novel, of whom I became a big fan. And later on, I also added Danielle Steele and Jenifer Weiner to my list. Every one of those authors left an impression on me. Either it is in the way I create the characters in my mind and get them to paper or how I develop the plot. This is only my second children’s book, so I cannot measure precisely their impact on my writing, but I can tell for sure that their work let me see my characters with more of a critical eye.

When did you realize that you would be a writer/illustrator? Is there a particular person who has inspired and/or supported your work along the way?

I have worked with children for more than ten years now. Here in the US, I started as a caregiver, but not too long, I realized my love and enjoyment working with the little ones. I went back to graduate school for early childhood education (I previously received a graduate degree in hospitality) and started working as a teacher. My desire for writing started to naturally blossom. The more engaged with children, their experiences, and teaching I became, the idea of writing children’s books emerged. But at that point, it seemed far fetched to me. Life went on with many surprises and changes of scenario, including professional ones. Three years ago, I saw an opportunity to help authors with their craft, at the same time learning about it myself, and I started writing reviews for Reader’s Favorite. From reviews, I moved to resume writing, content writing, and now, books. I need to add, though, that I’m thankful for the support from my parents, dear sister, and husband, as well as some close friends, who have been strong supporters of my work.

How do you stay connected with your readers? Have you gone on book tours? Do you engage on social media or through a website? Do you visit classrooms, libraries, or bookstores?

I connect with my readers through social media, especially Twitter and Instagram, and my website. I have been planning some book tours, but I haven’t started that yet. As you know, it requires a lot of preparation with book release dates, websites logistics, and the readers’ needs as well. But I’m excited to start with this one. The same goes with libraries, schools, and bookstores. I haven’t explored those venues yet, but I would sure consider a children’s read aloud session.

What are the joys of being an author/illustrator? What do you derive your greatest pleasure from?

There is no better satisfaction than to really bring your character to life. The creating process is one of my favorites. Besides having the pleasure of getting the character onto the paper, I love the back and forth with the illustrator, the discussion of ideas and experimenting with colors, materials, and senses to make the character relatable and loved by children.

What are the biggest challenges of being an author/illustrator?

To me, as an indie author—and I imagine that some fellow indies might relate—the real challenge comes with the marketing. In order for us to reach a broader readership, we need to put a lot of effort into marketing.

I constantly see myself on a tightrope trying to balance out writing with the marketing aspect. And for the most part, this is not easy.

If you could dine with any author/illustrator (alive or dead), who would you choose and why?

This is a no-brainer: Sidney Sheldon. As I mentioned previously, I grew up reading his novels and became a super fan. I would love to learn about the thought process for his plots, his writing habits, and where he gets inspiration for his characters.

Chick-O-Saurus Rex Shines in Anti-bullying Picture Book

Posted on September 30th, 2013 by Carolyn Hart

Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinrssmail

anti bullying picture book Chick O Saurus Rex by Lenore and Daniel JenneweinChick-O-Saurus Rex written by Lenore Appelhans and illustrated by Daniel Jennewein
Anti bullying picture book published by Simon and Schuster



Be sure to check out our page about anti-bullying picture books for children, our page about anti bullying chapter books, graphic novels and novels for children , and our Pinterest anti bullying board

Donkey, Pig and Sheep have formed an elite group and, to the disappointment of the smaller farm animals, they exclude all others from the tree house.

“This is a club for the brave and mighty. First you have to prove you belong.”

Little Chick does his best to gain entrance to the tree house but the bullies refuse to allow him inside. Little Chick asks his father for advice. He learns that his relatives “invented the chicken-dance craze and even… crossed the road.” Being seen as brave and mighty appears hopeless until Little Chick notices a picture of Grandpa Rooster studying a fossil. He is keen to leave the farmyard in search of evidence of his heritage. illustration from Chick O Saurus Rex  an anti bullying picture book

Before long, Little Chick is shocked to discover that Tyrannosaurus Rex is his distant relative and he rushes to share the news with the bullies. When he arrives at the clubhouse, he discovers a wolf is attacking Little Donkey, Little Sheep and Little Pig. Little Chick is quick to dispatch the wolf and, shortly thereafter, all of the farm animals are allowed to climb the ladder and enjoy the treehouse.

An author’s note explains that the chicken is the Tyrannosaurus’ closest living relative and explains how the determination was made by scientists.

Chick-O-Saurus Rex could be used to prompt a discussion about excluding children in social situations and other forms of bullying, it will be enjoyed by children aged four and up.

Chick-o-Saurus Rex at Amazon.com

Chick-o-Saurus Rex at Amazon.ca

Back to School? Picture Books to Help Your Child Start the Year Right

Posted on August 13th, 2013 by Carolyn Hart

Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinrssmail

Storytime Standouts shares Back to School picture books and free printables for kindergarten

Storytime Standouts highlights three special picture books for youngsters headed off to school and back to school in September and has a free printable picture dictionary and writing paper for a back to school theme.






For many adults, books are a great source of information as well as entertainment. Whether searching for a delicious recipe, researching an upcoming family vacation or deciding if a visit to the doctor is necessary, books can be inspiring, entertaining, informative and reassuring.

Just as adults seek information from books, children gain understanding and confidence as they explore new and unfamiliar situations through books. Whether beginning preschool or heading off to school in September, there are many delightful picture books available to help you and your child make the transition with relative ease.

Storytime Standouts shares Special Picture Books for Children Starting School and Going Back to School including Ready Set Preschool
Ready, Set, Preschool! – written by Anna Jane Hays, illustrated by True Kelley
Picture book about preschool published by Knopf Books for Young Readers an Imprint of Random House Children’s Books



Ready, Set, Preschool! features stories, poetry and detailed illustrations that will enable youngsters to explore a typical preschool classroom, experience a field trip, observe playground activities and more. As well, the illustrations and text offer opportunities to practice counting, identifying colors and shapes, recognize rhyming words, the alphabet and letter sounds.

Extensive notes for parents provide helpful suggestions of ways to extend learning and prepare young children for their very first school experience.

Ready, Set, Preschool!: Stories, Poems and Picture Games with an Educational Guide for Parents at Amazon.com

Ready, Set, Preschool!: Stories, Poems and Picture Games with an Educational Guide for Parents at Amazon.ca

Storytime Standouts shares Special Picture Books for Children Starting School and Going Back to School including Off to First Grade
Off to First Grade – written by Lousie Borden, illustrated by Joan Rankin
Picture book about starting first grade published by Margaret K. McElderry Books



I can still recall vividly a recommendation that was made when I attended my eldest son’s kindergarten orientation: make sure your child is not expecting to ride the school bus to school unless he actually is going to climb aboard)! It was great advice. In those days he was captivated by large vehicles. Discovering at the last minute that he would not be riding the bus off school could have been terribly disappointing. The transition from kindergarten to grade one is explored thoroughly and with thoughtfulness in Off to First Grade. The author tells the story from a variety of perspectives. We discover some children will ride the bus and others will walk. Some are eager to begin grade one and a few think they would rather stay in kindergarten. Mrs. Miller is hoping to remember everyone’s name, the school bus driver is excited and the principal wonders which book to read aloud to the new grade one students.

Off to First Grade at Amazon.com

Off to First Grade at Amazon.ca

Storytime Standouts shares Special Picture Books for Children Starting School and Going Back to School including How Do Dinosaurs Go to School How Do Dinosaurs Go to School? – written by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Mark Teague
Picture book about school life published by The Blue Sky Press an imprint of the Scholastic Trade Book Division.



For children heading off to school, the best How Do Dinosaurs title by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague is How Do Dinosaurs Go to School? Here the reader visits a conventional elementary school. The school, its staff and students appear quite unremarkable except for eight or ten extraordinary pupils. Enormous creatures from the Jurassic period demonstrate proper behavior enroute to school, on the stairs, in the classroom, during show-and-tell and at the playground. Lots of funosaurus for dino fans who are heading off to school soon.

How Do Dinosaurs Go To School? at Amazon.com

How Do Dinosaurs Go to School? at Amazon.ca

Our Free Back to School Printables

image of our free printable school picture dictionary for children

image of PDF icon  School Picture Dictionary

Free printable school picture dictionary for readers and writers in kindergarten and grade one.


image of our free printable back to school interlined paper for children

image of PDF icon  Writing paper for kids - Back to School

Back to school theme interlined paper for beginning writers.


My First Day of School Interlined Paper

image of PDF icon  My First Day of School 'Boom'


Getting Ready to Read Plus – Day Four

Posted on July 12th, 2012 by Carolyn Hart

Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinrssmail

In today’s Getting Ready to Read Class, the letter of the day was ‘D’ and our theme was “Dinosaurs.”

The children knew some words that begin with /d/: dog, duck, doghouse, diamond, Dad (and Daddy), dig, doll, dragon and more.

We played “Simon Says.” Most of the children understood that “Simon Says” is a listening game. The key with “Simon Says” is to listen carefully. If the leader says, “Simon says do this,” then you do go ahead and do the same thing. If the leader just says, “Do that,” then you should not copy the leader. You should stand still until the leader again says, “Simon says do this.”

We also played around with opposites. Almost all of the children know that hot is the opposite of cold and up is the opposite of down. In today’s Getting Ready to Read class we tried some trickier opposites: cool (warm), early (late), tall (short), ending (beginning).

Today we also explored rhyming words: fish, wish and dish, fan, man and pan. Learning about rhyming words helps your child to develop “phonemic awareness.” You can find more information about phonemic awareness here.

Today’s Getting Ready to Read story was good fun. We read: Brontorina by James Howe, illustrated by Randy Cecil

This lovely story is about Brontorina Apatasaurus. She is just as large as you might expect but nonetheless dreams of becoming a ballerina. Unfortunately, Brontorina does not fit into Madame Lucille’s dance studio and she does not have ballet slippers. Undeterred, Brontorina attempts to join in the class. She follows all of Madame Lucille’s instructions and even pops her head through the dance studio ceiling. Fortunately, small challenges are not enough to deter our heroine and, with a little bit of problem solving and creativity, Madame Lucille finds a way to accomodate her.

Brontorina at Amazon.com

Brontorina at Amazon.ca


Beginning to Read – Day 5

Posted on August 22nd, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinrssmail

Beginning to Read Day 5 included a delightful, rhyming picture book How Do Dinosaurs Go to School? written by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Mark Teague. The children enjoyed lots of laughs as they watched dinosaurs join a carpool, race through a school hallway, have fun at recess and try to behave properly in a classroom. This is a great book to read at this time of year. It provides gentle reminders about appropriate (and inappropriate) classroom behaviour. Children love to watch enormous dinosaurs struggle to manage their manners – just as some children struggle in a classroom/school setting.

Day 5 also introduced the “Ot” word family – cot, dot, got, hot, lot, not, pot, rot plus three “tricky words” spot, slot and knot. Our Bingo game today reviewed all of the word families we’ve looked at this week.

How Do Dinosaurs Go to School at Amazon.com

How Do Dinosaurs Go to School? at Amazon.ca

Revisiting a Wordless Picture book Classic: Time Flies by Eric Rohmann

Posted on May 30th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinrssmail

I love to let parents and teachers know about wordless and almost wordless picture books. This little-known and under-utilized genre can play an important role in nurturing young readers. Children who spend time with wordless picture books learn to “read” the illustrations and are encouraged to “figure out” the storyline for themselves. Wordless picture books are also great for multilingual families – they can be “read” and discussed in any language.

cover art for wordless picture book Time FliesTime FliesWordless picture book created by Eric Rohmann

Time Flies is a gorgeous Caldecott Honor Book. One evening, in the midst of a thunderous storm, a lone bird enters an empty museum through an open window. The shadowy museum is home to a collection of dinosaur skeletons. The daring bird swoops through the displays and they transition from bare bones dinosaur skeletons to much more realistic renditions. When the saucy bird becomes a tease, two very lethal jaws snap shut.

Wonderful for children four years and older, Time Flies is a wordless picture book that will have special appeal for dinosaur fans.

Time Flies at Amazon.com

Time Flies at Amazon.ca

Our page about Wordless and Almost Wordless Picture Books


Baby birds come from eggs except if…

Posted on January 24th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinrssmail

Storytime Standouts takes a look at picture book except If
except ff written and illustrated by Jim Averbeck
Picture book published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers





except if is a playful, unpredictable picture book that challenges the reader to avoid making assumptions and to use his or her imagination. Bold illustrations provide clues and, just as we think we have solved the mystery, they surprise us with unexpected results. An egg that is just about to hatch must surely hold a young bird – or does it?

An egg is not a baby bird,
but it will become one
except if
it becomes a baby snake
who will slither along the ground on its belly
except if

Very well suited to reading aloud, except if will be enjoyed by youngsters aged three and up.

Follow-up activities could include having children create their own cracked eggs and surprising hatchlings.

except if at Amazon.com

except if at Amazon.ca

More News

Learning the Alphabet

Awake Beautiful Child by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Gracia Lam

Awake Beautiful Child by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Gracia Lam

Awake Beautiful Child written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Gracia ...

Classic Picture Book: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom written by Bill Martin Jr. and ...

Alphabet Recognition Game for Preschool

[caption id="attachment_16404" align="alignleft" width="300"] Diecuts With A View Alphabet Scrapbook ...

Phonemic Awareness

Storytime Standouts Tips for Getting Ready to Read While in the Car

Storytime Standouts Tips for Getting Ready to Read While in the Car

Some of the keys to learning to read are noticing ...

Developing Phonemic Awareness: How’s Your Nose, Rose?

You won't regret using wordplay to support your child's phonemic ...

Phonemic Awareness – Questions for Your Child (2)

The focus of our last few posts has been phonemic ...

Rhymes, Songs & Fingerplays

Songs for a Summertime Storytime

This summer I presented two different early literacy programs for ...

Father’s Day Wordsearch Printable

Here is one of our many free PDF printables for ...

Kindergarten Springtime Fun – Writing prompts, printables and more

Celebrate warmer days with some kindergarten springtime funHere are some ...

Translate »