It’s Time for Halloweensie and Picture Book Month!

Knock, knock!

Who’s there?


Boo, who?

Don’t cry! It’s time for Susanna Hill’s 5th Annual Halloweensie Contest!

friendly jackolanternCourtesy Google Images

That’s right—the contest runs from today till Friday…so there is still plenty of time to participate. Here are some of the rules from Susanna’s post.

The Contest: write a 100 word Halloween story appropriate for children (title not included in the 100 words), using the words costume, dark, and haunt.   Your story can be scary, funny or anything in between, poetry or prose, but it will only count for the contest if it includes those 3 words and is 100 words (you can go under, but not over!) Get it? Halloweensie – because it’s not very long and it’s for little people. 🙂 (And yes, I know 100 words is short but that’s part of the fun and the challenge! We got over 130 fantastic entries last year so I know you can do it!) Also, you may use the words in any form – e.g. haunt, haunts, haunted, darkness, darkening, costumed, whathaveyou 🙂 No illustration notes please!

For more details, please click here:

I love this contest—all of my previous entries have been rhyming, so I thought I would change it up a bit this year. I hope you enjoy my story. And when you finish reading it, please hop over to Susanna’s website where you will find many more Halloween tales.


Halloween Fever (99 words)


Philpot blew his nose. His eyes watered. His throat tickled. His skin flushed red with fever.

“Oh no!” he moaned. “Whoever heard of a red ghost?”

Never had Philpot missed going a-haunting on Halloween. Opening Wanda Witchner’s spell-book, he flipped to the ‘C’s’. Exploding CAKES. Flying CATS. Disappearing COLDS.

“Hocus Pocus Mucus Phlegm!”

Blink. No more watering.

Swallow. No more tickle.

Sniff. No more dripping snot. But his skin still glowed red.

“If magic won’t do the trick, I can use my imagination!”

And grabbing a white sheet as his costume, Philpot floated out into the dark night.


 I hope you enjoy my little Halloween tale…for many more incredible stories, please visit Susanna’s Halloweensie Contest page:

MORE GOOD STUFF – Please keep reading!

On Friday, I mentioned that November is a great month because of the PiBoIdMo Challenge. Well, there is another awesome picture book event coming up…Picture Book Month. Organized by author and literacy advocate Dianne de las Casas, this event is supported by everyone who loves picture books. Visit her website every day during November and be prepared to be inspired and informed with posts by: Sudipta Bardan-Quallen, David Biedrzycki, Paulette Bogan, Mike Curato, Matthew Gollub, Julie Gribble, Julie Hedlund, Carter Highins, Molly Idle, Joe Kulka, Jennifer Gray Olson, Kathryn Otoshi, Anne Marie Pace, Rukhsana Khan, Robin Newman, Penny Parker Klostermann, Eric Litwin, Loren Long, Deb Lund, LeUyen Pham, Matt Phelan, Stephen Shaskan, Trisha Speed Shaskan, TJ Shay, Whitney Stewart, Holly Stone-Barker, Mo Willems, Natasha Wing, Matthew Winner, and Paula Yoo.


How lucky are we to have these incredible mentors sharing their love of picture books with us!

Thank you for stopping by. Your visit is much appreciated!

PPBF and PiBoIdMo

What’s with all those letters in the headline?

Well, Thanksgiving is only one month  away. I looked out on my front lawn this morning and I do believe these turkeys have gotten the word…they are on the run.

turkeys 2

Finding turkeys in the front yard is one thing…finding a whale in your swimming pool is way more unusual…author/illustrator Joyce Wan was definitely thinking outside the box when she came up with her latest book. So the first bunch of letters in the headline are for Perfect Picture Book Friday. You’ll have to read to the end of this post to discover what the other letters are for.

the whale in my swimming pool

The Whale in My Swimming Pool

Written and illustrated by Joyce Wan

Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux (2015)

Ages: 2-6

Themes: problem solving, creative thinking, whales

Opening Lines:

“Race you to the pool! Whoa…a whale?”


From Amazon
“One sunny day, a little boy heads outside for a swim, but his pool is already taken . . . There’s a big whale in the water and it’s not budging! The boy tries everything to get the whale to leave. Nothing seems to work. Not fetch. Not tag. Not even offering his allowance. What’s a boy to do? Luckily, he comes up with the perfect solution: he decides to chill out on a spray of water over the whale’s spout.”

Why I like this book:

  • Simple sparse text is perfect for young listeners and new readers
  • Bold bright illustrations grab a child’s attention
  • Encourages problem solving and thinking outside the box


here-is-a-whale-paper-plate-craft-project-i-made-21374396Photo courtesy:

You will need: A paper plate, construction paper, markers or crayons, scissors, glue, (optional: googly eye)

  1. If you want a blue or gray whale, you can paint or color In the paper plate. For a simpler project, leave the plate uncolored and make a white whale.
  2. Cut construction paper tail and fin.
  3. Glue on tail and fin.
  4. Add features with marker or crayon.
  5. For more detailed instructions and more wonderful crafts for kids, please visit:

Find out about where whales really live:

And more information and activities here:


As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, Thanksgiving is just a month away…which means that the month of November is just around the corner.

And if you love picture books, you will love PiBoIdMo!

A month-long challenge: Picture Book Idea Month

piboidmo banner

I want to share a bit about Picture Book Idea Month or PiBoIdMo. I discovered the amazing Tara Lazar and her fabulous picture book idea challenge back in 2011…I was just starting to dip my toes into the world of writing for children. I lurked in the shadows that November, reading the guest posts and leaving a couple of comments. When 2012 rolled around, I wasted no time. I signed up, got a new notebook, and actively participated by reading and commenting and jotting down my story ideas.

piboidmo notebooks

And every year since then, I’ve looked forward to November because I know that PiBoIdMo is coming. To be honest, this challenge played a big role in sparking my enthusiasm for writing picture books. So don’t hesitate! It’s free! It’s fun! It’s fabulous! Whether you are a newbie, just thinking about writing for children, or a multi-published author or illustrator, this is the one challenge you don’t want to miss.

What you need to do:

  • Sign up on her blog.
  • Read and comment on each of the inspirational posts written by authors, illustrators, and other lovers of picture books
  • Keep a journal or notebook, jotting down at least ONE story idea for each day of the month

What you get in return:

  • A notebook FULL of great story ideas that will keep you writing
  • 30+ inspirational posts from people who are passionate about picture books
  • A community of generous caring supportive people who are happy to share their knowledge and expertise
  • Oh…and did I mention the prizes? Oh yeah! Books and critiques and all kinds of good stuff!

Registration opens REAL SOON! So hurry over to Tara’s website:

Have a wonderful weekend, dear friends!

2 out of 3 Kids Living in Poverty Don’t Own Books…Say What?

You all know how passionate I am about helping children become lovers of books and reading, right?

But it’s pretty hard for a kid to love books if he has none.

Picture Book Pass It On is a great initiative…let’s all get on board!


Please hop over and find out how you can help:

2 out of 3 Kids Living in Poverty Don’t Own Books…Say What?

Katie Davis: Will Write for Cookies


Plate of Cookies






When I first joined this kid lit community, I admired Katie Davis from afar. She was already a rock star! Her BrainBurps podcasts were legend! She had books out there! But, instead of holding herself apart, up on a pedestal, Katie was down in the trenches, always helping others, always sharing her expertise, always giving. In fact, in her coaching classes, that is her mantra—always be giving.

I’m excited to welcome Katie. She’s got a lot to share with us so let’s get started.

Continue reading

Perfect Picture Book Friday: Kindergarten Rocks!

TGIF! There’s been a lot going on around here the last few days:

  1. Susanna Hill has her annual Halloweensie writing contest. Click on this link to get more details:
  2. There is also a bunch of great picture book reviews with activities on her website:
  3. Tomorrow is Will Write for Cookies featuring…KATIE DAVIS! I know you will want to stop by on Saturday to hear what she has to say.
  4. And I just signed with the incredible Essie White and Storm Literary Agency!!!!

Sign contract 2

As you can imagine, I’ve been happy dancing since before the ink dried on the contract. But I did take a bit of time out to post my Perfect Picture Book Friday – and it just happens to be a picture book by tomorrow’s guest author/illustrator, Katie Davis.

kindergarten rocks


Written and illustrated by Katie Davis Continue reading

Perfect Picture Book Friday: Sit In

I’m so excited about this weekend!

First off, today is Perfect Picture Book Friday. My book choice was inspired by the Picture Book Summit presentation of Andrea Davis Pinkney. Her picture books address sensitive topics like prejudice and discrimination and segregation in a way that even young kids can grasp.

sit in

SIT-IN: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down

Written by Andrea David Pinkney

Illustrated by Brian Pinkney Continue reading

Perfect Picture Book Friday: The Retired Kid

Are you ready for a brisk fall weekend?

That’s right…it’s FRIDAY!

And you know what that means—a Perfect Picture Book to review.

I mentioned last week that I’m writing a book about a boy who wants to play on his tablet more than anything else. He’s had enough of school, soccer, and all the other activities his mom wants him to do.

So when I found this awesome book, I knew it was another one I could use as a mentor text. And the funny thing is, even though I had never read it before, the activities the boy in this book wants to avoid, are pretty much the same ones as my main character. I guess that goes to show what many writing classes have taught me…there are only a couple of stories in the world. And my mission, should I choose to accept it (just saw Mission Impossible 4), is to put a unique spin or twist on it and tell it in my own voice.



Written and illustrated by Jon Agee Continue reading