PPBF: Brave Girl PLUS 50 Precious Words Contest
Are you ready for something fun, my friends?
Today is Perfect Picture Book Friday, so you know we are going to have a review of a great picture book. Plus, because this is Women’s History Month, I’ve chosen a book that celebrates an important Mighty Girl in American history, Clara Lemlich.
But first I want to tell you about a mini-contest. Wednesday was the birthday of the incredible Theodore Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. One of his books actually came about because of a bet he made with Bennett Cerf, one of the publishing giants of Random House. Cerf challenged Seuss to write a children’s book using only 50 words. And the classic Green Eggs and Ham was born. It’s true that the story has over 700 words…but only 50 unique words.
If you are currently writing picure books…or just reading them, you’ll notice that the average word length is getting shorter and shorter. So I thought, wouldn’t that be a great challenge…to write a story for kids with only 50 words. With a beginning, a middle, and an end. I wondered if I could do it. And I decided to open the challenge to everyone. Here are the guidelines:
50 PRECIOUS WORDS WRITING CONTEST
- Write a story appropriate for kids ages 12 or under, using only 50 words…they can all be different words, or you can use some of them over and over…just as long as the total word count for the story is 50 or less.
- It can be prose, rhyme, free verse, silly or serious…whatever works for you.
- Title is not included in the word count.
- No illustration notes please.
- Post the story on your blog if you have one and put the link in the comments OR post the story in the comments.
- Deadline for posting the story or the link in the comments is Friday, March 18th…that gives you two weeks.
- Winners will be announced on Saturday, March 19th, in our Will Write for Cookies post.
- Prizes? Of course! In honor of Women’s History Month, a copy of Miss Moore Thought Otherwise by Jan Pinborough. And we’ll see what else I can figure out.
- This just in!!!! Kristen Fulton is donating a seat in her April Nonfiction Archaeology class. Just to let you all know…I took her class in June 2014..and that was the step that led me down this path of writing nonfiction picture books. I wrote Sweet Dreams, Sarah the month after the class ended. And I’ve been writing nonfiction picture books ever since!
- I’m also going to offer a mini-critique of a picture book manuscript…hopefully, after years of writing, revising, and critiquing, my feedback will be helpful.
- Plus, I have a soft spot for mini-books…you know, those tiny books you can hold in the palm of your hand. It’s time to share a couple from my collection.
- Stop the presses!!!!! Another GREAT PRIZE has just been donated! My fabulous agent, Essie White, is going to give a critique to one of the winners! Thank you so much, Essie! This contest is shaping up to be so much more than I had ever expected. Thank you so everyone who is posting about it and sharing on Facebook and Twitter!
- Hurray…another great prize!!!! Next Saturday, as I mentioned, when I announce the winners, I’ll also be interviewing debut picture book author, Nancy Churnin. So I am adding a shiny new copy of her book, “The William Hoy Story” to the prize pool…woo-hoo!
I’ve been participating in Carrie Charley Brown’s ReFoReMo Challenge. The list of recommended picture books was astounding. Fortunately, my local library is able to get most of the books I request. Plus, they don’t have a limit on the number of books you can take out. One of my favorites so far is the story of the girl who led the fight for better conditions for workers in the garment industry. And I thought it was a stellar book to spotlight during Women’s History Month.
Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909
Written by Michelle Market
Illustrated by Melissa Sweet
Publisher: Balzer & Bray (2013)
Themes: Courage, standing up for what is right, working together, labor unions
“A steamship pulls into the harbor, carrying hundreds of immigrants—and a surprise for New York City.”
From Amazon: This is a true story of Clara Lemlich, a young Ukrainian immigrant who led the largest strike of women workers in U.S. history. This picture book biography includes a bibliography and an author’s note on the garment industry. It follows the plight of immigrants in America in the early 1900s, tackling topics like activism and the U.S. garment industry, with handstitching and fabric incorporated throughout the art.
When Clara arrived in America, she couldn’t speak English. She didn’t know that young women had to go to work, that they traded an education for long hours of labor, that she was expected to grow up fast.
But that didn’t stop Clara. She went to night school, spent hours studying English, and helped support her family by sewing in a shirtwaist factory.
Clara never quit, and she never accepted that girls should be treated poorly and paid little. Fed up with the mistreatment of her fellow laborers, Clara led the largest walkout of women workers the country had seen.
From her short time in America, Clara learned that everyone deserved a fair chance. That you had to stand together and fight for what you wanted. And, most importantly, that you could do anything you put your mind to.
Why I like this book:
- This is a moment in history that comes alive for children and that is what I love about these newer nonfiction picture books. The author paints a picture with her words and the reader and listener are there. Fingers crossed that my Sweet Dreams, Sarah will do this also.
- The wonderful illustrations support the text perfectly…and with text by Michelle Market and illustrations by Melissa Sweet, this is no surprise.
How a parent can use this book and related activites:
- Great read-aloud.
- Springboard for a discussion on how one person can make a difference. What would have happened if Clara hadn’t spoken up?
- Talk about people in your family who may have had similar experiences.
Make a Family Tree and Timeline
Photo courtesy: http://www.alphabetkids.com
A family tree and timeline can be a great way for children to find a way to relate to ‘the good old days’. Find detailed directions at this wonderful website: http://www.alphabetkids.com/?q=parents/craft-activities/family-tree
If your child can speak with a grandparent or great-grandparent, they can find out lots of stuff…did they watch TV when they were a kid? What did they do when they got home from school? What did they learn in school? And, relating it to the story, did they ever go out on strike? If so, what for? Interaction between the generations is a valuable thing!
And for more wonderful picture book reviews, visit Susanna Hill.
So, my friends, I hope some of you will participate in the 50 PRECIOUS WORDS CHALLENGE.
Oh, I knew I forgot something! Here is my little sample example for you…it’s a story I had been working with on and off. It was over 500 words…but obviously, I cut it drastically. I’m excited to read all of your wonderful entries which will absolutely positively be better than mine.
Pilar the Pirate (50 words) by Vivian Kirkfield
Pilar wanted to be a pirate captain. No treasure. No crew.
She enrolled in pirate school. On a scavenger hunt, Pilar and her partners filled the bag. Soon they were lost. Lenny blubbered. Jenny sobbed. Pilar said. “Follow me!”
“Aye, aye,” Lenny and Jenny piped up. “We’re right behind you.”
Have a wonderful weekend! I’m truly looking forward to reading your stories…I hope we have a lot of entries…this is a community of support and encouragement.
Posted on March 4, 2016, in Craft activities for kids, Perfect Pictture Book Friday, Picture Book Review, Uncategorized, Writing Challenge and tagged 50 Precious Words Writing Contest, Brave Girl, Family Tree Craft, Mellissa Sweet, Michelle Market, ReFoReMo Challenge. Bookmark the permalink. 405 Comments.