#50PreciousWords 2022 OFFICIAL CONTEST POST

WELCOME EVERYONE!!! I’M SO VERY HAPPY YOU ARE HERE!!!

Art by Vicky Fang

Writing is a mostly solitary activity. But it takes a village to make a book. We work with mentors, we sign up for classes, we join critique groups, we attend webinars and workshops, we participate in contests and challenges – all along wishing and hoping and praying that the steps we take will lead to success.

Today I’m celebrating the life of a member of our kid lit community who took all of those steps and realized her dream. BIG DREAMS, SMALL FISH, her debut picture book as an author/illustrator, launched on March 1st. But sadly, Paula Cohen Martin passed away a few days before that. Here is the video she posted on Facebook when her box of author copies arrived a couple of weeks ago.

To honor her dedication to her craft, her positivity in the face of challenges, and her kindness and compassion to those she touched, I’ve added a new prize – The Paula Cohen Martin Big Dreams Mentorship. Paula knew all about Making Magic Happen by Making Every Word Count.

If you are currently writing picture books…or just reading them, you’ll notice that the average word length for many is getting shorter and shorter. And that’s why I started this contest. I thought, wouldn’t that be a great challenge…to write a story for kids with only 50 words or less? With a beginning, a middle, and an end. I wondered if I could do it. Here’s the 49-word story I wrote as an example for the 2018 #50PreciousWords Contest.

WHY THE STARS TWINKLE (49 words) by Vivian Kirkfield

It was Sun’s birthday.
Moon gathered paper, paint,
glitter and glue to make a card.
But Wind blew.
Glitter and glue covered the stars.
“Now I have no gift for Sun,” cried Moon.
“Twinkling stars are the best present of all,” said Sun.
And Moon glowed all night long.

I hope you have fun with this…as Jane Yolen tells us, in everything you do, Find Joy. It’s true that some might wonder how we can continue on when the world is in such a sad state. But I truly believe that we need to keep creating positivity – we need to keep sharing kindness – and no matter what, we cannot stop writing books that might educate, entertain, and most importantly, inspire young readers to make the world a better place.

GUIDELINES FOR #50PRECIOUSWORDS

  1. Write a story appropriate for kids ages 12 or under, that has a total word count of 50 words or less.
  2. It can be prose, rhyme, free verse, fiction or nonfiction, silly or serious…whatever works for youbut it needs to be a story, with a beginning, a middle, and an end.
  3. Title is not included in the word count. No illustration notes please.
  4. The contest officially opens today, Friday, March 4th and this is the correct blog post: #50PreciousWords 2022 OFFICIAL CONTEST POST
  5. Between March 4 and March 6, post your story in the comments of this #50PreciousWords 2022 OFFICIAL CONTEST POST. If you have a blog of your own and want to post it there also, that is terrific…please add the link to your comment so we can all go and visit you there. But please make sure you put your entry in the comments of this OFFICIAL CONTEST POST, even if you are posting it on your blog.
  6. Please make sure you put your name in the post so that I know who wrote it.
  7. Only ONE entry per person, please. And if you have a child who wants to write their own story alongside you, please hold their stories for the writing challenge I host in May for kids.
  8. I hope you will support the literacy initiative I’ve created in partnership with my local independent bookstore, The Bookery, in Manchester, New Hampshire. I’m asking each writer who posts an entry to purchase a children’s book.
    All books will be donated to McDonough Elementary, Merrimack Middle, and Memorial High School – whether you purchase a board book, a picture book, a chapter book, middle grade or YA novel, there will be a happy school librarian to accept it. 😊
    The link to the bookstore is here: shopbookerymht.com. Check off ‘pick up in store’ – the store will hold the books until the contest is over and they will deliver to the schools in Manchester and I’ll deliver to the school in Merrimack.
    For those of you don’t like to purchase things online, here is the bookstore’s phone number: 603-836-6600.
    If you aren’t able to purchase a book, I still very much want you to participate and post your story!
  9. Deadline for posting the story in the comments is Sunday, March 6th, at 11:59pm.
  10. Winners will be announced on the first day of Spring, Saturday, March 20.
  11. First place winner will choose first. Second place winner goes next and can choose from the remaining prizes. And so on.  There are critiques and above the slush-pile submissions with EDITORS and AGENTS and critiques and Zoom coaching sessions from PUBLISHED AUTHORS, seats in WRITING CLASSES, SIGNED PICTURE BOOKS, the new Paula Cohen Martin Big Dreams Mentorship…and thanks to the generosity of Highlights director George Brown, a 3-Day Personal Retreat at Highlights Foundation in Pennsylvania…and more. The book prizes are limited to USA addresses, please.

HERE IS THE LIST OF PRIZES – They are arranged somewhat haphazardly – Editors and Agents are mostly in the first group, seats in picture book writing classes in the second group, and author critiques and signed copies of picture books in the third group, but as more prizes come in, I just add them wherever I can. And just because something is Prize A or Prize 1 or 2 doesn’t mean it’s the best prize…if you are one of the 50+ winners, the best prize is the prize that is best for you.

Prize A: A 3-Day personal retreat at the Highlights Foundation. It is a $500 value and includes three nights lodging plus meals (based on availability).

The Highlights Foundation offers personal retreat opportunities for our community at our campus in northeastern Pennsylvania, The Barn at Boyds Mills.

cabins

On your personal retreat, time is yours to focus on your work, be in nature, and spend as you please. No structure. No schedule (unless you make one).  You can come as an individual, or in groups (friends, critique groups, writing partners, interest groups, and more).

PRIZE B: An Above the Slush-pile Submission with Little Press editor Michele McAvoy. (They are currently closed to submission – so this is a fabulous opportunity!)

The Little Press is a traditional publisher bringing new talent and new voices to children’s literature. 
Our books offer windows, mirrors, doors, escape hatches, trampolines & bungee cords because life, even for the young, is full of twists & turns.
For more info and their catalogue: https://littlepresspublishing.com/about-us

PRIZE C: Developmental Editorial Notes on 1st 30 pages of a YA or MG from Storm Literary Associate Agent Michelle Hauck.

Michelle Hauck is an associate literary agent for Storm Literary Agency. Michelle is currently accepting young adult, middle grade, and select adult genres. She has a particular love of science fiction and fantasy as well as cozy mystery, and is not the best fit for romance, though she does love a romance sub-plot. Please check out her full wishlist and submission directions at Storm Literary Agency.

She likes positive, upbeat characters, quirky humor (or really any humor) and is always excited to see stories with diverse underrepresented voices (including and not limited to LGBTQA+, neurodiversity, BPOC, Latinx, Indigenous People, and disability). Other traits she likes in a story are: Characters with lots of backstory that is revealed slowly, villains with complex motivations and layers, and stories set on secondary worlds or settings that are other than American or European.

PRIZE D: An Intensive Rhyme and Meter Self-Study Course from Master Lyrical Lady, Renee LaTulippe.

Renee LaTulippe is an amazing mentor to the kid lit community. I took Renee’s regular Lyrical Language Lab course back in 2014 and it totally helped me become a better writer. This self-study class is perfect for those who like to pace themselves – lyrical writing is necessary in both prose and rhy’re me writing. And if you don’t win this awesome prize, make sure you check out Renee’s many free resources on her wonderful website: https://www.reneelatulippe.com/

PRIZE E: THE PAULA COHEN MARTIN BIG DREAMS MENTORSHIP – A month-long mentorship with Vivian Kirkfield for a writer who is pre-published and not yet agented. Need to bring a beloved manuscript to the next level? Want help with a query/cover letter? Have questions about the path to publication? In celebration of Paula’s life and the success she achieved in this business while holding on to her sense of humility and humor, we are going to follow her path and do the work, together.

Many of you knew Paula, but for those who didn’t, I’m sharing the bio and story behind the story that she shared with me for a blog post in January:

I’ve been an editorial illustrator for years, and writing children’s stories was my “hobby.” About 6 years ago I decided to learn more about writing for children. I took classes and webinars, joined SCBWI and Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 challenge.  During that time, my mother passed away and I regretted that I’d never asked her about her childhood, much of which was spent in her family’s grocery store. When an opportunity to apply for a weeklong workshop at PJ Library Publishing came up, I realized that I had the chance to create the story of little Shirley, who worked in her family’s tiny store in an immigrant neighborhood in upstate NY.

Just a month after “workshopping” my story in June of 2019, I met Christy Ewers from the CAT Agency at an SCBWI conference. She liked my work and we stayed in touch throughout the year.  In the meantime, I did some illustration work, including Honey on the Page (NYU Press), an anthology of translated Yiddish stories written for children.  When I’d completed the dummy of Big Dreams, I sent it to Christy.  I fully expected to have to send it to 50 other agents, but Surprise! She loved it, and offered to send it to Arthur Levine at Levine Querido.  I waited for his polite No, but Surprise! He loved it.  When I sent yet another story to Christy she offered me full representation and, of course, I agreed.   I couldn’t wish for a better Agent or a better first Editor!

PRIZE F: A Fabulous Package of Books and Book Swag from North/South Publishers.

For more than 30 years, NorthSouth Books has published a wide range of high-quality picture books. They began in 1989 as an English-language imprint of the Swiss-based NordSüd Verlag. Since then, NorthSouth Books has released about 30 books a year, with titles that span the globe. From Japan to France, from Germany to the US, we are a truly international publisher. Regardless of their origin, a NorthSouth picture book brings with it a love of detail and originality. Find out more here. And NorthSouth is also donating books and swag to the #50PreciousWords literacy initiative. The #50PreciousWords winner who picks this prize will receive: A copy of EINSTEIN, written and illustrated by the award-winning Torben Kuhlmann along with a signed art print from Torben, a copy of RAINBOW FISH TO THE RESCUE by Marcus Prister along with a Rainbow Fish plushie, and a copy of LITTLE POLAR BEAR AND THE REINDEER by Hans de Beer along with a 100% cotton Little Polar Bear bath towel. And a cool drawstring bag to carry books or other treasures. Since I will have to mail this package, the winner will need a U.S. address.

PRIZE G: A One-Year Membership in The New Hampshire Writers Project

The New Hampshire Writers’ Project (NHWP) supports the development of individual writers and encourages an audience for literature in our state. The membership provides a member’s rate on all webinars, workshops, and the 603 conference.  There is also access to a members-only resources section on the website that offers discounts on software, PR services, editing and publishing services, book cover design, access to our webinars, archives, and the opportunity to participate and win prizes in exclusive events such as the Three-Minute Fiction Slam, the 603 conference Pitch Party, and the new monthly Writing Prompt Challenge. This is open to anyone – you don’t need to live in New Hampshire:
https://nhwritersproject.org/resources/

  1. Picture Book Critique with Penguin Random House UK editor COURTNEY FAHY. Courtney was my editor for MAKING THEIR VOICES HEARD – she was a joy to work with.

Courtney Fahy is an editor at Penguin Random House UK. Some of Courtney’s picture books at her previous company, Little Bee Books, include Saving the Countryside: The Story of Beatrix Potter and Peter Rabbit by Linda Marshall, Making Their Voices Heard: The Inspiring Friendship of Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe by Vivian Kirkfield, Mootilda’s Bad Mood by Corey Rosen Schwartz and Kirsti Call, as well as Moonbeams: A Lullaby of the Phases of the Moon by Ann Bausum. Prior to joining Little Bee Books, Courtney interned at Macmillan at Roaring Brook Press and Farrar, Straus, and Giroux for Young Readers, as well as W.W. Norton. Originally from New Jersey, Courtney graduated from Pace University with a Master in Science in publishing. You can find Courtney on Twitter @courtneyfahy.

2. A PB Critique with my amazing agent, Essie White, Storm Literary partner

There isn’t enough room on this page to detail how amazing my beloved agent, Essie White is. This is an unbelievable opportunity to get your manuscript in front of a stellar agent who is currently closed to submission.

3, A PB Critique with the lovely Helen Wu, editor at YeeHoo Press.

Helen H. Wu is a children’s book author, illustrator, translator and publisher. She is the author of Tofu Takes Time, illustrated by Julie Jarema (Beaming Books, 2022), and Long Goes To Dragon School, illustrated by Mae Besom (Yeehoo Press, 2023). Helen is the associate publisher of Yeehoo Press, an independent children’s book publisher. Being fascinated by the differences and similarities between cultures, Helen loves to share stories that can empower children to understand the world and our connections. Born and raised in Hefei, China, Helen moved to the US in her 20s. Currently, she resides in San Diego, California, with her family and two kids. Learn more about Helen at helenhwu.com and follow her on Twitter at @HelenHWu and on Instagram at @HelenHWu.
Yeehoo Press is dedicated to publishing fun, enchanting, and socially responsible children’s books for audiences around the world. Yeehoo Press has offices in Los Angeles and San Diego, California, and Shanghai in China. Yeehoo books are currently being published and sold in English and Simplified Chinese editions. 

4. 20-minute Zoom Chat with James McGowan, agent at Bookends Literary

James McGowan is a book person. He works with books as an Associate Agent at BookEnds Literary Agency. He reads books for fun. And he writes picture books. Good Night, Oppy! is his debut. While he’s not an astronaut, James wears tons of NASA shirts, and has always been interested in outer space.

5. Picture Book Critique from Thalia Leaf, Associate Editor at Calkins Creek/Astra (Thalia is the editor for my newest book that we just sold!)


Calkins Creek Books
 introduces children to the many people, places, and events that shaped our country’s history. Our picture books, chapter books, and novels—nonfiction and historical fiction for ages seven and up—combine original and extensive research with creative, energetic writing. History is key at Calkins Creek—front and center. Our authors transport their readers back in time to recognizable places with living and breathing people.

6. A PB Manuscript Critique or Above the Slushpile Submission from Kaitlyn Sanchez, Literary Agent at Context Agency


Kaitlyn loves helping authors and illustrators bring their beautiful books into the world. She’s the proud creator and co-host of the Kidlit Fall Writing Frenzy Contest and also co-creator and co-host of the Spring Fling Kidlit Contest and Kidlit Zombie Week.
Kaitlyn’s Manuscript Wish List

7. Critique of PB or CB or 1st 50 pages of MG or YA (with detailed 3 page synopsis and query letter) from Heather Cashman – Associate Agent and Agent Mentor at Storm Literary

Surrounded by books from her earliest memories, Heather reads picture books, biographies and select nonfiction, poetry, and all genres of fiction. While she devours any book that tells a good story and introduces a new world, she especially loves the ones that make her want to be the heroine of her own life. She was a professional editor for Cornerstones Literary Consultancy, helped authors by working as Managing Director of Pitch Wars, and interned for three years at The Bent Agency. She’s now an Associate Literary Agent and Agent Mentor with Storm Literary Agency. You can find her latest deal announcements on her website, but many more have yet to be announced.

Storm Literary Agency​520-850-5043  ​​heather.stormliteraryagency@gmail.comWay-Word Writer | Twitter | LinkedIn | Instagram | Facebook

8. A Picture Book Critique with Lisa Amstutz – Associate Agent with Storm Literary

Lisa Amstutz fell in love with reading at an early age, devouring stacks of books from the library each week. While she never stopped reading, she earned degrees in Biology and Environmental Science and worked as a lab technician, outdoor educator, and small-scale farmer before returning to her first love: books.

With sixteen years of experience as an author and freelance editor, Lisa comes to Storm Literary Agency as an Associate Literary Agent. She has written more than 140 books for the educational and trade markets as well as numerous magazine and newspaper articles. As an editor and mentor, she worked with writers to shape and polish their manuscripts, many of which went on to land agents or book contracts. She also edited materials for several publishing companies.

9. Seat in Making Picture Book Writing Magic course from the founder of Perfect Picture Book Friday, NYTimes Best-selling author Susanna Leonard Hill. https://susannahill.com/for-writers/making-picture-book-magic/

What can I say about Susanna? Her class was the first picture book writing course I took – and it provided an amazing foundation for me. She is a mentor to all, providing challenges and contests to keep us motivated and inspired!

10. Your choice of one single 12×12 webinar from author, mentor, and fearless 12×12 leader Julie Hedlund.

Julie Hedlund is the founder of the 12 x 12 Picture Book Writing Challenge, which boasts more than 1,200 members. She is a co-founder of Picture Book Summit, an annual online conference celebrating its 6th anniversary in 2020, and the co-creator (with Emma Walton Hamilton) of The Complete Picture Book Submissions System.
Julie is a sought-after speaker at writing industry events, schools and libraries, bookstores, and book festivals.
When she is not writing, you can find Julie on the hiking trails in and around Boulder, enjoying a cup of English Breakfast on her patio, or working on her latest jigsaw puzzle, perhaps accompanied by one of her two teenage children and/or her high-maintenance hound dog, Rocky.
Julie is represented by Erzsi Deak of Hen & Ink Literary Studio.

11. A Set of Webinars on the Craft of Writing from Author, Critique Maven and Editor ALAYNE CHRISTIAN.

Alayne Kay Christian is an award-winning children’s book author, and the creator and teacher of a picture book writing course Art of Arc. In addition, she shares her knowledge with writers through free and affordable webinars at Writing for Children Webinars.
https://alaynekaychristianauthor.com/
Art of Arc http://www.alaynekaychristian.com/contact.html
Webinars https://alaynekaychristianauthor.com/webinars

12. Seat in Master Class in Picture Book Writing from author Karla Valenti

Karla was born and grew up in Mexico City. Since then, she has had the great privilege and opportunity to live in a number of places: the U.S., Japan, France, and most recently Germany. She currently lives in the Chicagoland area where she keeps herself busy with lots of words and big ideas (both in her job as a lawyer and author).
Her writerly self focuses on picture books and middle grade novels. She also offers a Master Course on Picture Book Writing and Editing and Picture Book critique services.
She is rep’ed by the inimitable Ammi-Joan Paquette at Erin Murphy Literary Agency.
Find her on Facebook or Twitter

13. A 30-minute phone or video call to ask anything about publishing or editing with Independent YA & Children’s Book Editor Julie Scheina

Julie Scheina is a former senior editor at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers with over fifteen years of experience editing acclaimed and bestselling books for children and young adults. Julia has edited more than 200 titles across a variety of genres, from picture books and poetry collections to middle grade and young adult novels. Please visit www.juliescheina.com to learn more about Julie’s work. Julie also recently launched a free resource for writers, www.youreditorfriend.com, a series of weekly letters filled with writing guidance, revision advice, and encouragement.

14. Promotional opportunity – video interview with Mel Rosenberg, host of the Children’s Literature Channel of the New Books Network and co-creator of OurBoox.

Mel Rosenberg hosts the Children’s Literature Channel of the New Books Network. Following a career in science, Mel currently promotes writing worldwide via www.ourboox.com and www.itsyboox.com, free websites which he co-founded. The three animations which he recently wrote for TED-Ed have been viewed over nine million times (123). His own writing for children focuses on acceptance and the challenges of dealing with the unexpected.

15.  Author Career Consult via Zoom with author Susan Kusel and an autographed copy of THE PASSOVER GUEST, winner of the Sydney Taylor Book Award.

Susan Kusel is an author, synagogue library director, an independent bookstore buyer, and children’s book consultant. She has served on multiple book award committees including the Caldecott Medal and as the chair of the Sydney Taylor Book Award. Her debut picture book, The Passover Guest was illustrated by Sean Rubin, published by Neal Porter Books/Holiday House and won the Sydney Taylor Book Award.

Want to know more about children’s book publishing? This mentor session with children’s book expert, librarian, bookseller, book buyer and consultant Susan Kusel will help guide you on your path to publication and figure out the next steps in your journey. 

16. Rhyming PB Critique from author Lori Degman

Lori Degman is the author of the award-winning picture books, 1 Zany Zoo (illus. by Colin Jack) – 2010 Winner of the Cheerios New Author Contest agbnd 2013 Illinois Reads featured title; Cock-a-Doodle Oops!(illus. by Deborah Zemke) – 2014 International Literacy Association Honor Book, and Just Read (illus. by Victoria Tentler-Krylov) – 2020/21 Illinois Reads featured title. Other titles include Norbert’s Big Dream  (illus. by Marco Bucci)Like a Girl  (illus. by Mara Penny, and Travel Guide For Monsters (illus. by Dave Szalay).  Lori enjoys helping fellow rhymers by doing critiques and mentoring. Visit her at www.Loridegman.com

17. PB Critique or Dummy Critique Plus Signed Copies of The Amazing True Stories of Pepito The Squirrel & More Amazing True Stories of Pepito The Squirrel from author/illustrator Federico Erebia.

Federico Erebia is an author-illustrator, artist and woodworker. His works have been featured in various magazines [including Boston Spirit Magazine, Boston Globe Magazine], newspapers [including The Boston Globe, Boston Home], television [Greater Boston] and radio [NPR-Boston]. The Pepito The Squirrel books have received critical recommendations from Kirkus, Booklife, and other editorial reviewers. His debut YA novel is schedule for publication in Spring 2023 by Levine Querido.Website: https://FJEbooks.comAmazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/entity/author/B08NLCYPM6https://twitter.com/FedericoErebia

18. PB Critique from award-winning author Lindsay Leslie.

A diary keeper, a journalism major, a public relations executive, now a children’s author—Lindsay Leslie has always operated in a world of written words. She likes to bring her unique outlook on life, quirky humor, and play with words to the page in picture books. Lindsay is the award-winning author of THIS BOOK IS SPINELESS, NOVA THE STAR EATER, DUSK EXPLORERS (an SCBWI Crystal Kite Award winner, Bank Street Best Book of 2021 with Outstanding Merit, and Amazon Editors’ Pick), and SO YOU WANT TO BUILD A LIBRARY. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband, two kiddos, two fur-beasts, and a guinea pig.

19. PB Critique from author Keila V. Dawson

Keila V. Dawson worked as a community organizer, teacher, school administrator, educational consultant, and advocate for children with special needs before becoming a children’s book author. She is coeditor of NO VOICE TOO SMALL: FOURTEEN YOUNG AMERICANS MAKING HISTORY (Charlesbridge, 2020), and the forthcoming NO WORLD TOO BIG: YOUNG PEOPLE FIGHTING CLIMATE CHANGE (Charlesbridge, 2023) with Lindsay Metcalf and Jeanette Bradley, illustrated by Bradley. She is the author of THE KING CAKE BABY, illustrated by Vernon Smith (Pelican Pub, 2015), OPENING THE ROAD: VICTOR HUGO GREEN and HIS GREEN BOOK, illustrated by Alleanna Harris (Beaming Books, 2021), and the forthcoming YUMBO GUMBO, illustrated by Katie Crumpton (Charlesbridge, 2023). A New Orleans native, Dawson has also lived and worked in states across the U.S., and in the Philippines, Japan, and Egypt. She lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.

When Dawson isn’t reading, writing, and visiting schools, she’s traveling, playing tennis, or digging in genealogical archives. Find more about her from her website and or follow her on Twitter and Instagram.a

20. Non-Rhyming Picture Book Critique from author Melissa Stoller

Melissa Stoller is the author of the chapter book series The Enchanted Snow Globe Collection – Book One: Return to Coney Island and Book Two: The Liberty Bell Train Ride (Clear Fork Publishing, 2017 and 2020); and the picture books Scarlet’s Magic Paintbrush and Ready, Set, GOrilla! (Clear Fork, 2018). Upcoming picture books include Return of the Magic Paintbrush and Sadie’s Shabbat Stories (Clear Fork, 2020). Melissa is an Assistant and Blogger for the Children’s Book Academy, a Regional Ambassador for The Chapter Book Challenge, a Moderator for The Debut Picture Book Study Group, and a volunteer with the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators/MetroNY. In other chapters of her life, Melissa has worked as a lawyer, legal writing instructor, freelance writer and editor, and early childhood educator. Additionally, she is a member of the Board of Trustees at Temple Shaaray Tefila, and a past trustee at The Hewitt School. Melissa lives in New York City with her husband, three daughters, and one puppy.
www.MelissaSoller.com       http://www.facebook.com/MelissaStoller
http://www.twitter.com/melissastoller   http://www.instagram.com/Melissa_Stoller
https://www.linkedin.com/in/melissastoller/     http://www.pinterest.com/melissa_Stoller

21. A signed copy of ALIANA REACHES FOR THE MOON from author Laura Roettiger

 Laura Roettiger is the author of ALIANA REACHES FOR THE MOON and has enjoyed working with children ever since she was no longer considered a child herself. She was a reading specialist and elementary teacher in Chicago, IL before moving to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado where she worked in Environmental Education, as a mentor for new teachers at a STEM school, and as a tutor in the adult literacy program Boulder Reads. She is a judge for Rate Your Story. Her superpower is encouraging curiosity in children and her students, letting them know she believes in them.
She can be found on Twitter and Instagram @ljrwritenow 
Website LauraRoettigerBooks.com which includes a blog with author interviews, giveaways, and photography.

22. Picture Book Critique from author Maria Marshall (Maria is one of my long time critique partners – her thoughtful feedback has helped me take my manuscripts to the next level)

Maria is a children’s author, blogger, and poet passionate about making nature and reading fun for children. She’s a Cybils Awards judge ( http://www.cybils.com/) and a contributing blogger for STEM Tuesday – From the Mixed-up Files of MG Authors ( https://fromthemixedupfiles.com/stem-tuesday/). She interviews authors & illustrators and reviews books on -The Picture Book Buzz ( www.mariacmarshall.com/blog). Her poems are published in The Best Of Today’s Little Ditty 2017-2018, 2016, & 2014-2015 anthologies. When not writing, critiquing, or reading, she bird watches, travels the world, bakes, and hikes.

23. Picture Book Critique from author Carol Gordon Ekster.

  • Carol Gordon Ekster was a passionate elementary school teacher for thirty-five years. Now retired, Carol is grateful that her writing allows her to continue communicating with children. She is the author of Before I Sleep: I Say Thank You which won 3rd place in the children’s category of the Catholic Press Association Book Awards and was also a finalist for the ACP Excellence in Publishing Awards 2016. Her picture book, You Know What?, came out first in Dutch (Mama, Wist Je Dat?), December 2016 with Clavis Books. The English version released September 2017 and was a CLEL Bell Picture Book Awards Nominee for Talk (2018) and a finalist for the SCBWI Crystal Kite Award in the New England region, 2018. The Korean language edition came out 2019 and Arabic and Chinese editions are in process. A new picture book, Some Daddies, with Beaming Books, comes out May 2022. Trucker Kid, illustrated by Russ Cox comes out spring 2023 with Capstone. When Carol is not in a critique group or at her computer she might be doing yoga or biking. She lives in Andover, Massachusetts with her husband Mark. Find out more at www.carolgordonekster.com
  • 24. Picture Book Critique (up to 500 words) OR 20-minute Zoom chat OR Signed book from author Debbie Zapata

Debbie Zapata is the author of UP AND ADAM, her debut picture book published by Kids Can Press and illustrated by Yong Ling Kang. As a child growing up in Austin, Debbie loved the places that brought people together—public parks, community rec centers and the local libraries. She loved writing letters to her international pen pals. Today she is passionate about writing books for children that have heart and humor. Her favorite stories are about ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

Through her work, Debbie hopes to make children smile, inspire kindness, and to create an inclusive world where all readers can see themselves.

Besides being an author, Debbie is a former international programs specialist. In 2005, she received her Master in Social Work from NYU. Debbie enjoys helping others as a counselor and spending time with her family. She is a member of SCBWI and represented by James McGowan of BookEnds Literary Agency. Visit her at debbiezapata.com.

25. A Copy of A Penny’s Worth from author Kimberly Wilson

  •  As a full-time writer, Kimberly is an active member of the SCBWI, 12×12, and several critique groups. She is a pun-lover and enjoys mixing humor, heart, and educational details into her writing. Her debut picture book, A PENNY’S WORTH, illustrated by Mark Hoffmann (Page Street Kids, April 5, 2022), is the story of a new penny searching for her place in the world while learning the importance of self-worth. The sequel, A DOLLAR’S GRAND DREAM (Spring 2023), follows a dollar bill as he discovers living large may not be as one-derful as it may seem.

When not writing, Kimberly shares her love for books by volunteering with local literacy nonprofits through their Title I outreach programs. She also enjoys yoga, tennis, and family ping pong parties. Kimberly lives in Charlotte, NC, with her husband and two daughters.

  • 26. 30-minute Zoom Chat with author Shannon Stocker

Shannon Stocker is an author and proud word nerd. She lives with her husband, Greg, and her children, Cassidy and Tye, in Louisville, KY, where she molds words into picture books and songs all day. Shannon currently serves as SCBWI social co-director for Louisville, a judge for Rate Your Story, and created the blog series, Pivotal Moments: inHERview, highlighting transitional life stories of female picture book authors. She is also the author of the picture book Can U Save the Day? and the 21st Century Junior Library: Together We Can: Pandemic early reader series.

27. 30-minute Zoom Chat with author Donna Cangelosi.

Donna Cangelosi enjoys writing stories that entertain, enlighten, and inspire kids of all ages. When she is not writing, she works as a child psychologist, helping children deal with feelings that are hard to express with words using play, art, and music. Her debut picture book, MISTER ROGERS’ GIFT OF MUSIC, illustrated by Amanda Moeckel, will be published by Page Street Kids, August, 2022. Donna lives with her family in northern NJ. www.donnacangelosi.com

28. Picture Book Critique with Zoom chat from author Ellen Leventhal. (Ellen is one of my long-time critique buddies – I love her feedback!)

Ellen Leventhal is an educator and writer in Houston, TX. Her writing usually contains universal themes to which children can relate–even if the thoughts occasionally come from talking cows or lambs.  She can’t remember a time when she wasn’t writing in some capacity. Ellen is the co-author of Don’t Eat the Bluebonnets and the author of Lola Can’t Leap. Her newest picture book based on the many flood disasters she and her family endured, launches this year, Flood of Kindness.  She has been published in magazines and newspapers as well as in short story and poetry anthologies. Ellen loves school visits! When visiting schools, she coordinates with and supports literacy programs as well as diversity and anti-bullying programs. Ellen’s best days are when she can interact directly with the students and spread her love of literacy and kindness. To find out more about Ellen’s books and writing projects, please go to www.Ellenleventhal.com

29. Picture Book Critique from award-winning author Tina Cho (Tina is one of my long-time critique partners – her insights are spot on!)

Tina Cho is the author of four picture books– Rice from Heaven: The Secret Mission to Feed North Koreans (Little Bee Books 2018), Korean Celebrations (Tuttle 2019), My Breakfast with Jesus: Worshipping God around the World (Harvest House 2020), and The Ocean Calls: A Haenyeo Mermaid Story (Kokila/Penguin Random House Aug. 2020). Her lyrical middle grade graphic novel, The Other Side of Tomorrow, debuts from Harper Alley in 2023. After living in South Korea for ten years, Tina, her husband, and two teenagers reside in Iowa where Tina also teaches kindergarten. 
Twitter: @TinaMCho
IG: @TinaMCho
website: http://www.tinamcho.com

30. Picture Book Critique or Signed Copies of her newest board books, Wildflowers Grow & Butterflies Soar (which were once entries in #50PreciousWords) from author Amber Hendricks

 Born and raised in the Midwest, Amber Hendricks grew up reading everything she could get her hands on–including the morning cereal boxes. That passion melded into writing, and by the age of eleven, she was writing and binding her own “books.” Amber has worn many hats in her career: army wife, mother, visual merchandiser, certified pharmacy technician, and most recently, childcare professional, but she has always circled back to her first love of telling stories. Amber is the author of Sophie and Little StarExtraordinary Ordinary Ella, Superheroes Don’t Babysit, and the Little Nature Explorers board book series. She lives in Missouri with her husband and two children.

31.A Copy of a Calkins Creek Nonfiction Picture Book from author Beth Anderson

Beth Anderson, a former English as a Second Language teacher, has always marveled at the power of books. With linguistics and reading degrees, a fascination with language, and a penchant for untold tales, she strives for accidental learning in the midst of a great story. Beth lives in Loveland, Colorado where she laughs, ponders, and questions; and hopes to inspire kids to do the same. She’s the award-winning author of TAD LINCOLN’S RESTLESS WRIGGLE (10/2021), “SMELLY” KELLY AND HIS SUPER SENSES, LIZZIE DEMANDS A SEAT, and AN INCONVENIENT ALPHABET. Beth has more historical gems on the way.
@Bandersonwriter (Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram)
https://www.facebook.com/beth.anderson.3367174

32. A Signed Copy of DINO PAJAMA PARTY from award-winning author Laurie Wallmark

Award-winning author Laurie Wallmark writes picture book biographies of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) as well as fiction. Her books have earned five starred trade reviews, been chosen as Junior Library Guild Selections, and received awards such as Outstanding Science Trade Book, Best STEM Book, Cook Prize Honor Book, Crystal Kite Award, Mathical Honor Book, and Parents’ Choice Gold Medal. Her titles include ADA BYRON LOVELACE AND THE THINKING MACHINE, GRACE HOPPER: QUEEN OF COMPUTER CODE, HEDY LAMARR’S DOUBLE LIFE, NUMBERS IN MOTIONCODE BREAKER, SPY HUNTER, and her debut fiction picture book, DINO PAJAMA PARTY. Laurie has an MFA in Writing from VCFA and is a former software engineer and computer science professor.
Website:              https://www.lauriewallmark.com/ 
Facebook:           https://www.facebook.com/lauriewallmarkauthor/ 
Twitter:                @lauriewallmark  
Instagram            https://www.instagram.com/lauriewallmark/ 

33. Picture Book Critique or a signed copy of one of her books from award-winning author Nancy Churnin

A native New Yorker, Nancy is a graduate of Harvard University, with a master’s from Columbia University. She lives in North Texas with her husband, a dog named Dog and two cantankerous cats. Learn more about Nancy at www.nancychurnin.com

34. Picture Book Critique (fiction) from author Lisa Katzenberger.


Lisa Katzenberger is the author of IT WILL BE OK: A STORY OF EMPATHY, KINDNESS, AND FRIENDSHIP (Sourcebooks 2021) and NATIONAL REGULAR AVERAGE ORDINARY DAY (Penguin Workshop 2020). She is an instructor at The Writing Barn, a mom to eleven-year-old twins, and serves on the Board of Trustees of her public library in suburban Chicago. She is represented by Wendi Gu at Sanford J. Greenburger Associates.

35. A Signed Copy of Pigs Dancing Jigs from author Maxine Schur

Maxine Rose Schur is an award-winning children’s book author and travel journalist. She was the Baker-Nord Guest Lecturer on Writing for Children in the Humanities at Case Western Reserve University and teaches children’s book writing at the San Francisco Writing Salon.

Maxine has written children’s fiction and non-fiction for numerous trade publishers and for educational publishers including Houghton-Mifflin, Heinemann, Addison-Wesley, National Geographic Kids. She has also written imaginative children’s content for the BBC television program, Playschool and the Children’s Television Workshop. He upcoming book is Child of the Sea illustrated by Milanka Reardon (Child of the Sea)
Learn more about Maxine and her books at www.maxineroseschur.com.

36. Rhyming Picture Book Critique from author Gayle Krouse.

An SCBWI PAL member and Master Educationalist, Gayle writes PB, MG and YA novels. Her picture book, Rock Star Santa was performed as a play in Australia and presented at Storytime in Montserrat, West Indies with a real “Rock Star Santa” from The Climax Blues Band – Peter Filleul.  (www.gayleckrause.comDaddy, Can You See the Moon? (Clear Fork/SPORK) shares royalties with Our Military Kids, and her YA novel, RATGIRL: Song of the Viper, a retelling of the Pied Piper set in a dystopian future (Noble Young Adult) was nominated for the International Reading Award and the Horn Book/Boston Globe Award. Connect with Gayle on Facebook and Twitter.

37. Picture Book Critique from Rita Lorraine Hubbard

Award-winning author Rita Lorraine Hubbard is a retired special education teacher of 20 years who now writes for children and middle graders full time. Her books, THE OLDEST STUDENT: HOW MARY WALKER LEARNED TO READ; HAMMERING FOR FREEDOM: THE WILLIAM LEWIS STORY; and AFRICAN AMERICANS OF CHATTANOOGA: A HISTORY OF UNSUNG HEROES, have garnered awards that include the New Voices Award, the East Tennessee Historical Preservation Award, the 2021 Floyd’s Pick Honor Book Award, Amazon Editor’s Pick, and the 2021-2022 Texas Bluebonnet Master List Award. You can find Rita online at: www.ritahubbard.com

  • 38. A 20-minute phone consultation for an emerging/unpublished writer to map out a plan of action for their career or to answer writing/publishing business questions from author Rosie J. Pova

Rosie J. Pova is a multi-published, award-winning children’s author and kid lit Writing Coach. Her latest picture book, Sunday Rain, was featured in The New York Times and recommended by Parents magazine. Her upcoming picture book, The School of Failure: A Story About Success will be released in spring 2022 in both China and the USA.
Rosie loves to visit schools and her interactive workshops empower students to unleash their creativity and grow in confidence through reading, writing, and creating. 
She has been featured on TV, radio, podcasts, and print media, and also speaks on women’s and moms topics.

Join Rosie’s Facebook group community for supporting unpublished writers, The Unstoppable Writer, or find out more about her work by visiting her website: RosieJPova.com
Website Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Instagram

39. A Picture Book Critique from author Shirin Shamsi

Shirin was born and raised in the UK. Having lived on three continents, she views herself as a global citizen and now spends her time sharing stories with children of the world. She has raised six children- three human and three feline, and lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband. 
Her books include the middle-grade novel, Laila and the Sands of Time (Clear Fork Publishing, 2019) 
Her upcoming books include:
ZAHRA’S BLESSING (Barefoot Books, Spring 2022) Illustrator, Manal Mirza
https://bit.ly/3sBMXbi
THE MOON FROM DEHRADUN (Atheneum, Fall 2022) Illustrator, Tarun Lak
https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/The-Moon-from-Dehradun/Shirin-Shamsi/9781665906791
www.ShirinShamsi.com
http://www. ShirinsBooks.com
@ShirinsBooks

40. A 30-minute Zoom Chat with author Lynne Marie, owner of Rate Your Story.

Lynne Marie is the author of Hedgehog Goes to Kindergarten – art by Anne Kennedy (Scholastic 2011), Hedgehog’s 100th Day of School – art by Lorna Hussey (Scholastic 2017), The Star of the Christmas Play — art by Lorna Hussey (Beaming Books 2018), Moldilocks and the 3 Scares — art by David Rodriguez Lorenzo (Sterling 2019 and Scholastic 2019), Let’s Eat! Mealtime Around the World — art by Parwinder Singh (Beaming Books 2019), The Three Little Pigs and the Rocket Project — art by Wendy Fedan (Mac and Cheese Press, 2022), American Pie (Dancing Flamingo Press Spring 2022), There Was a Blue Whale Who Tangled with Plastic (Dancing Flamingo Press Spring 2023) and more, forthcoming. She’s also the Owner and Administrator of RateYourStory.org and a Travel Agent. She currently lives on a lake in South Florida with her family, a Schipperke named Anakin, where she can be found daydreaming and fracturing fairy tales. Visit her on her website www.LiterallyLynneMarie.com. Lynne Marie is represented by Marisa Cleveland ofwww.theseymouragency.com Follow her on Facebook here and on twitter here.

41. A 30-minute Zoom Chat with author Lynne Marie, owner of Rate Your Story – attention: THERE IS are not seeing double – Lynne Marie has generously offered this prize to two lucky winners.

Lynne Marie is the author of Hedgehog Goes to Kindergarten – art by Anne Kennedy (Scholastic 2011), Hedgehog’s 100th Day of School – art by Lorna Hussey (Scholastic 2017), The Star of the Christmas Play — art by Lorna Hussey (Beaming Books 2018), Moldilocks and the 3 Scares — art by David Rodriguez Lorenzo (Sterling 2019 and Scholastic 2019), Let’s Eat! Mealtime Around the World — art by Parwinder Singh (Beaming Books 2019), The Three Little Pigs and the Rocket Project — art by Wendy Fedan (Mac and Cheese Press, 2022), American Pie (Dancing Flamingo Press Spring 2022), There Was a Blue Whale Who Tangled with Plastic (Dancing Flamingo Press Spring 2023) and more, forthcoming. She’s also the Owner and Administrator of RateYourStory.org and a Travel Agent. She currently lives on a lake in South Florida with her family, a Schipperke named Anakin, where she can be found daydreaming and fracturing fairy tales. Visit her on her website www.LiterallyLynneMarie.com. Lynne Marie is represented by Marisa Cleveland ofwww.theseymouragency.com Follow her on Facebook here and on twitter here.

42. A PB Critique with award-winning author Carrie Finison (Carrie is one of my long-time critique buddies…her critiques are amazing!)

Carrie Finison writes picture books with humor and heart, including Dozens of Doughnuts (2020), Don’t Hug Doug (2021), and the forthcoming Lulu & Zoey: A Sister Story, and Hurry, Little Tortoise, Time for School! (2022). She lives in the Boston area with her family. For updates and giveaways, subscribe to her newsletter, check out her website, or follow on Twitter or Instagram.

43. A PB Critique from award-winning author Hannah Holt. (Hannah is also one of my long-time critique partners – her feedback helps me make my manuscripts sing)

Hannah Holt is a children’s author with an engineering degree. Her picture books weave together her love of literature and lifelong learning. They include, The Diamond and the Boy (HarperCollins), A Father’s Love (Penguin), and A History of Underwear with Professor Chicken (Macmillan). She lives in Oregon with her husband, four children, and a very patient cat.
Find out more about Hannah and her books here.

44. A Picture Book Critique with 20-minute phone chat with author Zeena Pliska.

Zeena M. Pliska spends her days immersed in the joy of 5-year-olds.  She is a kindergarten teacher by day and a children’s book author by night in Los Angeles, California.  A progressive public school educator, she believes that the most important aspect of teaching is listening to children.  A social justice activist and organizer for over 30 years, she brings race, class, and gender analysis to everything she does.  A lifetime storyteller, she has facilitated stories as a theater director, visual artist, photographer and journalist.   Her debut picture book, Hello Little One:  A Monarch Butterfly Story from Page Street Kids came out May 12, 2020.  Her second picture book Egyptian Lullaby from Roaring Brook Press is due out in 2023.  Find out more about Zeena at Teaching Authors – and connect with her at www.zeenamar.comInstagram @zeenamarTwitter @zeenamar1013Facebook zeenamarFacebook Zeena M. Pliska author

45. A PB Critique OR a 20-minute Zoom Chat OR a signed copy of Counting to Bananas from author Carrie Tillotson

Carrie Tillotson is a biostatistician turned children’s book author. Her creative works orbit the intersection of science, creativity, persistence, and play. Through her work, Carrie aims to inspire others to follow their dreams. Her debut picture book, Counting to Bananas: A Mostly Rhyming Fruit Book, arrives on a shelf near you in April 2022. To find out more about Carrie:  carrietillotson.com

46. A Fiction or Nonfiction Picture Book Manuscript Critique with author Robyn McGrath.

Robyn McGrath has spent her career working with children as a dance and yoga instructor, reading teacher, school counselor, and now…children’s author. Whether she’s writing fiction or nonfiction, Robyn believes that books help us navigate life experiences while fostering an understanding of self and others. When Robyn is not writing she works as a Play Therapist helping children and parents regulate BIG emotions. Robyn lives in Austin, TX with her husband, two children, a Labrador retriever, and a friendly cat they found camping. You can find her here at- https://www.robynmcgrathwrites.com/

47. A PB Critique (Rhyming or Prose) from author Melanie Ellsworth.

Melanie Ellsworth writes picture books, including HIP, HIP…BERET! (HMH, 2021), CLARINET AND TRUMPET (HMH, 2021), and BATTLE OF THE BOOKS (Little Bee, 2022). She and her family live in Maine, where Melanie writes in an old barn with an old dog as her muse. As a former ESOL teacher and literacy specialist with an M.Ed. in Language and Literacy, Melanie loves all parts of the writing process, from gathering ideas to revising to sharing books with readers! Visit Melanie at www.MelanieEllsworth.com, on Twitter @melanieells, and on Instagram @melaniebellsworth.

48. A Picture Book Manuscript (non-rhyming) Critique and a signed copy of Forever Home from author Cathy Stenquist.

Cathy Stenquist won second place in the 2020 Boston Author’s Club Picture Book Discovery Award for her MS “I Wish I Were” and had the chance to work with Peter H. Reynolds, who called her a “Magical wordsmith.”  Herdebut picture book “Forever Home,” a story about two orphaned kittens searching for a place to be loved was recently published. She was delighted to work with her talented daughter @ericaleighart who illustrated it.  Cathy is a longtime member of SCBWI, The Writer’s Loft in Hudson, Mass. and Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 Challenge. You can find her at: www.cathystenquist.com and on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter: @cathystenquist.

49. A Picture Book Manuscript Critique and signed copy of The Penguin Lady from author Carol Cole.

Carol’s father taught her to read when she was only three and she started writing “TV Scripts” at ten.  As an adult, Carol had over 30 short stories for adults published in online e-zines and in four anthologies. A retired Physical Therapist in a Virginia School setting; a Special Education teacher told her – “You work with kids; write a book for kids.” So, after joining SCBWI in 2004 and her critique group in 2009; she did just that. “The Penguin Lady” was published by Arbordale Publishing in 2012. In pre-Covid days, Carol did multiple school visits along with a standing invitation for 5 years in a row at a private school.
You can learn more about her and reach out to Carol at:
Website: www.carolacole.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/carol.cole.397
Twitter: www.twitter.com/CarolCole0413

50. A 20-minute Ask the Author Zoom Chat with author Melissa Coffey

Melissa Coffey is the author of FRIDGE-OPOLIS, her debut picture book published by Little Bee Books and illustrated by Josh Cleland. She grew up in Wisconsin toting around an overstuffed book bag and a dog-eared spiral notebook of poetry and stories. Unsurprisingly, her first job was at the public library. After earning a journalism degree from UW-Madison, she moved to Atlanta and called CNN Center home. Melissa was a freelance writer for Fortune 500 companies, CEOs and magazines before pursuing her passion as a children’s author. She now lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and two sons—who thankfully inherited her book-loving genes. She is a member of SCBWI and represented by Charlotte Wenger at Prospect Agency. 
Fridge-opolis | Book by Melissa Coffey, Josh Cleland | Official Publisher Page | Simon & Schuster (simonandschuster.com) 

WOW! What do you think about these amazing prizes? I’m overwhelmed by the generosity of this kid-lit community. Thank you to all the prize donors. And to all those who are participating, please remember that the best gift you can give an author or illustrator is to buy their books, review their books, tell friends about their books, and ask your local library to purchase the books for their collection.

This year, as I mentioned in the guidelines, I’m partnering with my local independent bookstore, The Bookery in Manchester, NH to create a literacy initiative that will put books in the hands of children who need them. I’m asking each participant to purchase a children’s book when they post their entry. Every book will be donated to three local schools in need – an elementary, a middle, and a high school. That way, you can buy whatever type of book you prefer – a board book, picture book, chapter book, middle grade, or YA. You can buy a book written by a friend. If you are a published author, you can buy a copy of your own book and it will become part of one of the school’s libraries. Here is the link to the bookstore shopbookerymht.com, and here is their phone number: 603-836-6600 for people who don’t like to purchase things online. If you are not able to buy a book or you’d rather not, I still want you to join the contest. But even if only 10% buy a book, and we have a turnout like last year, the schools will receive almost 100 books. If everyone bought one last year, we would have donated almost 800 books! When you buy the book, either online or over the phone, please let them know that this is for #50PreciousWords. That way, the bookstore will be able to put it aside in the #50PreciousWords pile. And guess what? There is already one book in the pile. Yesterday I called the store and ordered a copy of Paula Cohen Martin’s BIG DREAMS, SMALL FISH. This is a win-win-win for the independent bookstore, for the schools, and of course, for the students. And also for the authors and illustrators of the books that are purchased.

Dear friends…please put on your thinking caps and sharpen your pencils. And if you know someone who is always saying they are going to write a story, please let them know about this opportunity.  If anyone has questions or has trouble posting their entry, please email me. I will be happy to help: viviankirkfield@gmail.com.

MY WONDERFUL JUDGES AND I ARE SO EXCITED TO READ YOUR PRECIOUS WORDS!

3,970 thoughts on “#50PreciousWords 2022 OFFICIAL CONTEST POST

  1. UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE
    by Amy Leskowski
    50 words

    Until further notice,
    Mia does NOT eat oatmeal.
    Or drink from green cups.
    Or sit in chairs.

    Until further notice,
    Mia likes dinosaurs.
    Only dinosaurs.
    Actually, only THAT dinosaur.

    Until further notice,
    Mia does NOT touch carpet.
    Or answer questions.
    Or wear clothes.

    Until further notice,
    Mia is having Mia-time.

    Liked by 45 people

  2. BALLOON AND BOY (50 words)
    By Andrew Hacket

    Boy was kind, but Balloon longed to fly.
    So he slipped through Boy’s grasp.
    Didn’t look back.

    He soared and explored.
    Had adventures galore!

    Until…

    Thunder and lightning.
    Freedom was frightening.

    Alone.
    Isolated.
    Balloon sank, deflated.

    Then…

    Footsteps.
    A gasp.
    Boy had come back.

    Both filled with love once more.

    Liked by 36 people

  3. The Giraffes of Longicharo Island
    By Han O’Reilly
    WC 47

    Waters rising.
    Island sinking.
    Nine giraffes
    stranded.
    Quickly,
    rangers bringing
    food delivery.
    Hungry.
    Huddling.
    Land is shrinking.

    Waters rising.
    Rangers building.
    Bigger,
    biggest
    raft for moving.

    Waters rising.
    Raft is floating!

    One by one,
    giraffes are boarding.

    Sailing,

    sailing,

    shore to shore.

    Safe on land.
    Giraffes explore.

    Liked by 28 people

  4. EGGS-HAUSTED (49 words) by Tara Shiroff

    Feeling fried, Eggatha Christie needed a pick-me-up.

    Double shot of eggs-presso?
    Nope. Still eggs-hausted.

    Eggs-ercise?
    Not eggs-actly right.

    New comedy club?
    Eggs-cellent!

    She was so eggs-cited!
    And just couldn’t hide it!

    Inside, the comedi-hen cracked her up. No yoke!

    Eggatha left feeling eggs-quisite and back on the sunny side.

    Liked by 25 people

  5. Vivian and judges, thanks so much for hosting another fabulous #50 Precious Words Contest!

    BONITA BEACH
    By Kari Ann Gonzalez

    Cora arrived,
    ready for sandy feet
    and shell collecting!

    She raced to the shore for…
    Chip bags? Bottle caps?
    What’s that…
    Diaper? Yuck!

    Pinched nose,
    she picked up.

    Cora crafted, glued and spelled
    art from her heart,
    then leaned her piece,
    ‘Stop Trashing!’
    next to the sign
    at Bonita Beach.

    Liked by 19 people

  6. DRUMS TO DUST
    By Ebony Lynn Mudd
    https://www.ebonylynnmudd.com

    Feet drummed down stoop steps like drumsticks on tom-toms.
    Knees became canvases clothed in grass and night-sky-colored bruises.
    Palms connected generations through hand-clapping songs.
    Now…
    Tummies house growling monsters.
    Ears are invaded by… BOOM!
    Childhoods
    reduced
    to
    dust.
    Eyes grieve for families forming fences.
    Drums cease.
    Hearts finish the fight.

    Liked by 19 people

  7. YOU’RE WONDERFULLY MADE, MIA, THE CLAY!
    By: Chantel Murray

    Mia longed to become a vase.
    But after the Potter turned her into a watering can, she became furious.
    “WHY?” Mia demanded.
    “You’re wonderfully made,” he said, tilting her.
    Mia felt uncertain watering the ground.
    But as sprouts became flowers, she was amazed.
    “Wow,” she gleamed. “We’re all wonderfully made.”

    Liked by 27 people