Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Cracking the Code Wins Mom's Choice Book Award

Cracking the Code: Spreading Rumors has been named among the best n family-friendly media, products, and services by the Mom's Choice Awards®! It's a Choice Awards® Silver Recipient!

Wow - this has been an amazing week for my middle-grade book. I've just received notice that it's won a Silver in Juvenile Level 2 (Ages 9-12) Books: Fiction - General. I'm so thankful to my publisher, Marian Nelson and Ferne Press, for seeing something in this title.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Teachers and Students LOVE Cracking the Code: Spreading Rumors!

I'm so excited! Even though I didn't win the Teachers' Choice Awards for 2014, I did receive some excellent comments from teachers who read Cracking the Code: Spreading Rumors to their students.

Here's what they said on their evaluation forms:

Learning® Magazine
20th Annual
Teachers' Choice Award for Children's Books 2014

How would you recommend using this book in the classroom? (Read aloud? Independent reading?
Whole class teaching unit? Reference material?) Please explain:

This book is so versatile! It is easily integrated into the classroom however you would want to use it. This would be a great read aloud to try and figure out what happens to TK through out the book. I would recommend this as an independent read for high level students or a whole class teaching because there are components that can easily be tied with texts.

I did this book as a read aloud so that way we could discuss everything that was happening in this book and make connections with the students who may have gone though something like this or will in middle school.

I read this book aloud to my students as part of a character education unit of study. This seemed to work well and keep my 5th graders interest.

Did you find this book interesting or motivating for students to read? Yes. No. (For instance is the
topic kid-friendly? Are the chapters short for the reluctant or young reader? Does it contain
realistic conversation?

This book had incredible flow. It was so easy to read in class and the short chapters allowed for great stopping points as a read aloud. This book was read to a group of fourth graders at an elementary campus getting ready to transfer to an intermediate school. This was great for discussion purposes and opened up so many questions from my students.

This book was amazing and easy for students to read due to making real life connections. This book is something that I have been on the look out for for a long time.

The topics are very kid friendly and relate to today's students. The chapter's are of average length, but the topics and figurative language is enough to keep the readers engaged. My students often wanted me to read the next chapter when I was finished with my excerpt for the day. The book is written as if middle school students were talking their "slang" their language. My kids often call each other "Dude", so they perked up to hear the book speaking their language. My boys and girls found the book entertaining and could relate to the events.

What kinds of curriculum skills could you teach using its content? (Language Arts, Social Studies,
Math, Science, Character Education) Please be specific in your suggestions

This would be easily integrated in language arts class or character education. This books lends itself to endless writing opportunities, discussions that make the reader think and predict, tons of problem and solution, all with material the students can relate to. This book ties in the sports, popularity, and making friends category for character building. I did not know what to expect from this book when I was reading it with my kids, but the possibilities are endless. The students truly enjoyed this read and it is something I will integrate in my classroom for many years to come.

Character education-students really struggle with rumors and how to treat other people. It would be wonderful with my 5th grade students and then sharing what to do with rumors by books or by reading parts of the book to younger grades.

I used this book and suggest using it as supplemental material for language arts which just happens to support the character education program. It could simply be used as a read aloud for students modeling expressive language that also impacts students with a character message.

If funds were available, would you recommend this product to a teacher at the appropriate grade /
age level? Please explain why or why not.

Yes. This is a must read for any student getting ready to experience a big change. 4-8 grade age group with a main focus on the 5-6 graders. This book could be used with almost any teaching style and would also be great for school counselors to use as a read aloud to small social groups or guidance lessons for students who are fearful of the change in schools, and making friends. This book really allows room for discussion and is a book that the students are excited to lead the discussions. I look forward to having this book available in my classroom library.

Yes, this book was good and I'm sharing it with other teachers at our school. This also makes connections that students can struggle with as they grow up.

Maybe, for the right student. My students were disappointed that there were no illustrations, especially with some of the really funny scenarios. With younger students, such as in 4-5 grades they need/enjoy that visual connection. With the type of student this seems geared towards, that would be a great addition. Maybe even graphic novel style.


Friday, October 25, 2013

Wow! Another great review for Cracking the Code: Spreading Rumors

I was so excited to find out that Readers' Favorite ( gave Cracking the Code: Spreading Rumors a 5 Star review. Here it is:

Reviewed by Jean Hall for Readers' Favorite

Nice guys may finish last but it's hard to keep a good kid down. Kris Yankee in Cracking the Code: Spreading Rumors tells a delightful story of 11-year-old Toby Karlson who suffers from a bad reputation. Toby or TK lives with his Uncle Jack since his parents were killed in a car accident. Uncle Jack has a life code of conduct to help guide young Toby. One fateful day at the 6th grade orientation, Toby is pushed into the registration table and he makes old Mrs. Hadley fall on her bottom and lose her gray wig. Toby is wrongly blamed for "hip checking" Mrs. Hadley like in a rough and tumble hockey game. Toby is a nice guy and pretty down-to-earth if the truth is told. But malicious gossip and rumors turn Toby into an outcast.

Kris Yankee writes Toby's story in the first-person and she captures the realistic and humorous kid's point of view. There are experiences with the cool kids, nerds, barfing, moldy cheese breath, camping, canoeing, and the ebb and flow of friendships. Sometimes Toby feels as if he is the only kid in the world who has these kinds of problems. Cracking the Code: Spreading Rumors isn't just a life lesson but a fun experience. All in all, this story should be very entertaining for both kids and adults.

They even gave me a cool shiny sticker! It's pretty, isn't it?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Busy start to the school year: 2 book signings!

If you're like me and have kids in school, you're probably breathing a sigh of relief that we're almost to the end of the first month. Our house has been chaotic due to a hockey injury (thankfully he's fully recovered) and the start of pneumonia (thankfully that one's on meds).

Me? I've been busy with my editing job and book signings. My next one is this Thursday and I'll be on a YA panel with a few other local authors.

If you're in the Lansing area, please check this out!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Is Your Manuscript Really Finished? Ask Yourself These Questions

I've been reviewing a lot of manuscripts for the day job lately and I'm saddened as to what some writers believe is a "finished" copy. If you're a writer, please ask yourself these questions before sending to a publisher and/or agent or uploading to Amazon:

  1. Is there a clear story question?
  2. Does each scene contain one point of view?
  3. Does each chapter follow the scene and sequel method?
  4. Are the characters likable, especially the main character?
  5. Is the plot well developed?
  6. Are the characters well developed?
  7. Do the characters change as the plot changes?
  8. Are there enough conflicts throughout the story to warrant the change in the character?
  9. Is there a resolution to the story question? 
  10. Does each scene push the story forward to the ending resolution?
  11. If writing for kids, does it sound like an adult wrote this book, or a kid? 
  12. If writing for kids, does the main character speak like his/her age group?
  13. Is there a good balance of narrative, dialogue, and action?
  14. In the end, does the reader care about the characters?

Some of these questions may seem basic...and they are...but manuscript after manuscript that I've reviewed in the last week (AND even some e-books that I've downloaded over the summer) the author seems to not understand these basic questions.

It's not rocket science, but there is an art form to writing fiction. And, I'm not saying that it's formulated, BUT...authors need to understand these basics before submitting to publishers, agents, AND even uploading their book to Amazon. Hire an honest editor; you won't be sorry.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Summer Starts Off with an Award

I can't believe that we're half-way through July. Where are the days going?

I just found out that Cracking the Code was awarded an Honorable Mention in Children's Books in the 2013 DIY Book Festival!

I've entered a few book contests - by the way, that's an excellent way to get your book out there, too. I highly suggest looking into contests once your book is published.

My boys are busy doing nothing and I'm glad to have the reprieve from our "school" routine. But just because their lollygagging doesn't mean I am! If you're in the Michigan area, I'll be signing books this Thursday at Unique Deals and Gifts 15374 Haggerty Rd, Northville from 6-8pm. I'm excited to meet other local vendors. Stop by and say, "Hi!" if you can. Next month I'll be at a water park (crazy place but filled with a ton of kids!). I doubt I'll be in a swimsuit, but I'll sure be drinking a lot of water. I'll be sure to post pics from the event.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Summertime Reading

As we kick into summer in the next week or so, why not help your elementary & middle school student make a commitment to read on his/her off months? Studies show that readers score better on tests and in general do better in class.

My own kids suffer the "I-don't-want-to-read-over-summertime" rant. But this summer that's going to change, even though my oldest will be starting high school in September. We're making a commitment to read every day.

My books make a great choice, but there are a lot of wonderful stories out there just waiting to be read.

What will your kids be reading?

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Looking for a content editor?

I've been out and about lately and have met several people who are looking for an editor. Even though I work for a small press, I am available for freelance editing. If you're looking for an editor, please consider me. I can be contacted at krismyankee (@) gmail (dot) com.

Here's my info!

Work Experience:
August 2007 – present: Director of Acquisitions/Project Manager at Nelson Publishing & Marketing, Northville, Michigan. Responsibilities include:
·        Review of incoming manuscripts to determine viability
·        Content editing and/or ghostwriting
·        Liaison between author and illustrator
·        Proof and layout contact
·        Projects Managed: Please see page 2

May 2011 – May 2012: Editor in Chief, Living Faith-Fine Arts Apostolate, Farmington Hills, Michigan. Responsibilities include:
·        Website copy,
·        Email copy
·        Script and lyrics edit/proof for Living Stations
·        Communications copy, including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and all materials required for Living Stations

BA in Romance Linguistics/English earned from The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 1990.

·        Tommy Starts Something Big: Giving Cuddles with Kindness, co-written with Chuck Gaidica
·        Saving Redwind: A Wallpaper Adventure
·        Cracking the Code: Spreading Rumors

Awards Earned:
2011 Silver Medal Winner, Moonbeam Book Award for Tommy Starts Something Big
2011 Honorable Mention, 2011 Eric Hoffer Book Award Tommy Starts Something Big

All ghostwriting projects are billed on a per-word basis of 42¢ a word. Industry standard is 250 words per page. For projects that include research, $30 an hour for each hour of research will be billed above the project fee.

All editing projects are billed as follows:

100,000 words - $550.00
90,000 words - $500.00
80,000 words - $450.00
70,000 words - $400.00
60,000 words - $350.00
50,000 words - $300.00
40,000 words - $250.00
30,000 words - $200.00
20,000 words - $150.00
10,000 words - $100.00

Line edits consist of a line-by-line edit, catching any grammar, typos, and sentence structure issues, as well as comments on any content/story/format issues. This edit is done in Track Changes.
The following projects were edited and managed by Kris and have received the following awards:
1.  Oh No, Ah Yes! Winner of Mom’s Choice Silver Award 2010 Developing Social Skills
2.  Dadsongs: Remembering a Loved One’s Melody
  • Winner of 2010 Mom’s Choice Silver Award Growing up/Personal growth
  • 2010 USA Book News Finalist: Death& Dying
3.  Divorced Together for the Sake of the Children
  • Winner of 2010 Mom’s Choice Silver Award, Family Life
  • 2010 USA Book News Finalist: Parenting/Family: Divorce
4.  Running Home: 2009 USA Book News Award Finalist
5.  Production Algebra: Winner of 2009 USA Book News Award Winner
6.  Lost Treasure of Finistere: Winner of Moonbeams Book Awards 2008, Juvenile Fiction/Early Reader/1st chapter books
7.  Managing Thought
  • Axiom Business Book Awards: Bronze Medal
  • USA Book News 2008: Business and Motivational Category
  • 2009 Eric Hoffer Winner Small Press
8.  Managing Thought (audio) USA Book News Awards Finalist in the Audio Book Self-help/Motivational category
9.  Bartholomew’s Gift
  • 2010 Moonbeams Award for best illustrations
  • 2010 USA Book News Finalist Children’s Picture Book: Hardcover with Audio
  • 2010 USA Book News Finalist in Children’s Best Cover Design
  • 2010 Mom’s Choice Award: Gold in Religious and Spirituality
10.  Read to Me Daddy, My First Football Book: 2010 USA Book News Finalist, Children’s Education
11.  The One and Only Bernadette P. McMullen: 2010 USA Book News Finalist, Children’s Fiction
12.  Hank the Tank Engine:
  • 2010 USA Book News Finalist, Children’s Non-Fiction Picture Book
  • 2011 International Book Awards: Winner Children’s Picture Book: Softcover Non-Fiction category
13.  Opening Doors, Opening Lives: 2010 USA Book News Finalist Education PreK-12
14.  Growing Up with a Bucket Full of Happiness
  • Honorable Mention: Young Adult/Teenage category, 2010 New England Book Festival
  • Honorable Mention: Teenage category, 2010 London Book Festival
  • 2010 DIY Book Festival, Honorable Mention: Young Adult
  • 2011 NABE Pinnacle Book Achievement: Best Book in the Category of Children’s Interest (2011)
  • 2011 Mom’s Choice Awards: Gold – Juvenile Level 2 Books
  • 2011 Purple Dragonfly Book Awards: Grand Prize – Children’s Books
  • 2011 Purple Dragonfly Book Awards: First Place in Charity/Making a Difference category
  • 2011 Purple Dragonfly Book Awards: First Place in School Issues category
  • 2010 Los Angeles Book Festival Honorable Mention – Young Adult category
  • 2011 Young Voices Foundation Awards: Gold Award – Juvenile/YA Nonfiction
  • 2011 USA Book News Awards: Finalist – Children’s Mind/Body/Spirit
  • 2012 IPPY: Gold Award for Juvenile/YA Non-Fiction
  • 2012 San Francisco Book Festival: Second Place, Teenage Category
  • 2012 Southern California Book Festival: Runner-up, Young Adult Category
  • 2013 Great Southwest Book Festival: Runner-up, Young Adult books
  • 2013 Great Northwest Book Festival: Runner-up, Young Adult books
  • 2013 Great Southeast Book Festival: Runner-up, Young Adult books
  • 2013 Paris Book Festival: Honorable Mention, Young Adult books
15. Tommy Starts Something Big: Giving Cuddles with Kindness
  • 2011 Eric Hoffer Awards: Honorable Mention – Children’s Category
  • 2011 Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards: Silver Medal – Books with Merchandise
16. Does This Make Me Beautiful?: 2011 Mom’s Choice Award: Gold – Growing Up/Personal Growth
17. I Can Dance, Too !: 2011 Mom’s Choice Award: Gold – Children’s Picture Book
18. What Color is Your Heart?: 2011 Mom’s Choice Awards – Gold – Children’s Picture Book
19. Liam’s Luck and Finnegan’s Fortune: 2011 Mom’s Choice Awards – Silver – Fantasy, Myths, & Legends
20. My Guy in the Sky: 2011 USA Book News Awards Finalist in Children’s Religious category
21. A Heart Torn, A Soul Mended: A Bereaved Parent’s Search for Harmony:
  • 2011 USA Book News Awards Finalist in Health: Addiction & Recovery
  • 2011 USA Book News Awards Finalist in Health: Death & Dying
22. Hero in Me:
·        2012 Mom’s Choice Awards – Gold – Juvenile Level 1
·        2012 Moonbeam Book Awards – Silver – Mind, Body, Spirit/Self-Esteem
·        2012 USA Book News Awards Winner in Children’s Picture Book: Softcover Fiction
23. Halle and Tiger with Their Bucketfilling Family:
  • 2012 International Book Awards, Finalist in Children’s Educational
  • 2012 Purple Dragonfly Book Awards, 2nd Place in Animals/Pets Category
  • 2012 Living Now Book Awards, Silver in Animals/Pets/Livestock
  • 2012 Young Voices Foundation Award, Gold in Children’s Picture Book (all ages)
24. Be a Gem: Let Your Goodness Shine:
·        2012 International Book Awards, Winner in Children’s Picture Book, Softcover Fiction
·        2013 Mom’s Choice Awards, Silver in Children’s Picture Books: Developing Social Skills
25. Timothy’s Glove:
  • 2012 International Book Awards, Finalist in Children’s Religious
  • 2012 Purple Dragonfly Book Awards, Honorable Mention in Spiritual/Religious Category
  • 2012 Young Voices Foundation Award, Gold in Religious Fiction Juvenile
26. Will You Fill My Bucket? Daily Acts of Love Around the World:
  • 2012 New York Book Festival – Honorable Mention, Children’s Books
  • 2012 Mom’s Choice Awards – Gold – Children’s Picture Book/Inspirational/Motivational
  • 2012 NABE Pinnacle Book Achievement Awards: Best Books in Children’s Interest
  • 2012 Southern California Book Festival: Honorable Mention, Wild Card Category
  • 2013: Great Southwest Book Festival: Honorable Mention in Children’s books
  • 2013: Great Northwest Book Festival: Honorable Mention in Children’s books
  • 2013: Great Southeast Book Festival: Honorable Mention in Children’s books
  • 2013: Los Angeles Book Festival: Honorable Mention in Children’s books
  • 2013: Paris Book Festival: Honorable Mention in Children’s books
  • 2013: IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards: Silver Finalist in Children’s Picture books
27. Just Because: Where Another Point of View Makes a Better You:
·        2012 Creative Child Awards Program Book of the Year (Kids Books-Family Values category)
·        2012 Mom’s Choice Awards, Gold in Children’s Picture Books/Philanthropic
·        2012 Young Voices Foundation Awards, Bronze in Children’s Picture Books (7 and Under)
28. I Am Stumped!:
  • 2012 Purple Dragonfly Book Awards, 1st Place in School Issues Category
  • 2012 Purple Dragonfly Book Awards, 2nd Place in Children’s Picture Books, 5 years and younger Category
·        2012 Mom’s Choice Awards – Silver – Children’s Picture Book/Developing Social Skills
·        2012 Young Voices Foundation Award, Silver in Children’s Picture Book (7 and Under)
·        2012 Young Voices Foundation Award, Gold in Regional Children’s/Great Lakes
29. My Bucketfilling Journal: 30 Days to a Happier Life: 2012 Living Now Book Awards, Silver in Journal/Planner/Calendar category.
39. Good for You, Grisha!:
  • 2012 Mom’s Choice Awards,  Silver in Children’s Picture Books: Developing Social Skills
  • 2012 USA Book News Awards, Finalist in Children’s Mind/Body/Spirit
40. The Juice Box Bully: 2012 Mom’s Choice Awards, Gold in Children’s Picture Books (ages 5-8)
41. Keeper of the Compass: 2012 USA Book News Awards, Winner in Best New Children’s Book: Fiction
42. Celia the Great: Tricks for Being a Happy Kid: 2013 Mom’s Choice Awards, Silver in Children’s Picture Books: Developing Social Skills
43. No Fear, No Doubt, No Regret: Investing in Life’s Challenges like a Warrior: 2013 Pinnacle Book Achievement Book Awards, Best Books in Parenting & Family
44. September’s Big Assignment: 2013 Eric Hoffer Award, Montaigne Medal Finalist