Are you ready for a whole lot of fun?
As many of you know, I’m a BIG fan of writing contests and challenges. I love them because
- they encourage writers to write
- they push us to submit our work
- they engage us in the kid lit community and provide us with positive feedback and inspiration.
March 2nd is the birthday of the incredible Theodore Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. Last year I put together a little contest based on Random House founder Bennet Cerf’s 1960 challenge to 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.
My challenge is a bit different…yout MAX WORD COUNT for the entire story is 50.
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. 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. I opened the challenge to everyone. Much to my surprise and amazement, there were 128 entries! And now it’s time to DO IT AGAIN.
Please put on your thinking caps and get busy writing. You have a couple of weeks until you need to post your story. 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.
- The contest officially opens on Thursday, March 2nd, in a special post on my blog.
- Between March 2nd and March 6th, post your story on your blog if you have one and put the link in the comments of my #50 Precious Words Challenge blog post OR post the entire story in the comments of my #50 Precious Words Challenge blog post. Last year, because the stories were so short, eventually, we had all of them in the comment thread. Please make sure you put your name in the post.
- Deadline for posting the story or the link in the comments is Monday, March 6, at 11:59pm.
- Winners will be announced Thursday, March 9.
- Winners? Of course, there will be winners…and prizes, too! The book prizes are limited to USA addresses, please.
- A critique from my beloved agent, Essie White (some of you may remember that the winner of last year’s contest chose Essie’s critique as her prize…and she subsequently signed with Storm Literary Agency!)
2. A seat in author Susanna Leonard Hill’s amazing Making Picture Book Magic online writing class (the first writing class I ever took and it set me on the path of writing wonderful picture book manuscripts).
3. A seat in author Kristen Fulton’s incredible Nonfiction Archaeology online writing class (that was the class that opened the door for me to discover the joy of writing nonfiction picture books).
4. This next prize can be chosen by two people…there are TWO 50% off coupons for Alayne Kay Christian’s ART OF THE ARC online writing class (this is the next class I would love to take).
5. OR…if you have already taken Alayne’s awesome class, you can choose 50% off an in-depth critique from her (when Alayne says it is an in-depth critique, she isn’t kidding. I had one of those…it is supercalifragilisticexpialidocious).
6. A manuscript or query letter critique from author Rebecca Colby.
7. A picture book critique from author Lori Degman
8. A picture book critique from author Anna Forrester.
9. A fiction picture book critique from author Ariel Bernstein
10. A picture book critique from author Rosie Pova
11. A book on the craft of writing from author Rosie Pova
12. A copy of Bunny’s Book Club from author Annie Silvestro:
13. A book on the craft of writing from author Maria Marshall
14. A copy of Hello, My Name is Tiger from author/illustrator Jennifer P. Goldfinger.
15. A copy of LIZZIE AND LOU SEAL plus an adorable SEAL NECKLACE from author/illustrator Patricia Keeler.
16. A copy of CLAMS ALL YEAR by Maryann Cocca-Leffler.
17. A picture book critique from me and a copy of my parent-teacher book, Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking.
I am exceedingly grateful to all of these kid lit pros who generously donated prizes…to find out more about these wonderful people, please click on each link above to visit their websites…follow them on social media..and buy their books!!!!
Please help spread the word and share this around your social media…the more the merrier… #50PreciousWords.
Are you excited?
And I just can’t wait to read all of your precious words.
P.S. Don’t forget…this is NOT the post you will be using for the contest entries…that post will go live on March 2nd.
It’s Perfect Picture Book Friday…and I’ve got a PERFECT PICTURE BOOK for you!
But we need to make THREE announcements first.
- The lovely Susanna Hill is hosting her Valentiny Contest. For details on how to enter and win one of the fabulous prizes, go here.
- Last week we promised a copy of Andrea J. Loney’s debut picture book, BUNNYBEAR…and the winner is…
Congratulations, Jean! I’ll be contacting you ASAP so I can give your address to Andrea.
- Next month we’ll be honoring Dr. Seuss with the #50PreciousWords Contest…last year we had an unbelievable 128 entries…and prizes galore. I’m putting the challenge together now…more details to follow. If you’d like to donate a picture book, book on the craft of writing, piece of art, critique, or whatever else you think would warm the heart of a kid lit writer, please contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org…I plan to list the prize donors and their bios and photos/book covers on the February 11th contest post.
And now…hurray…I get to tell you how much I LOVE Annie Silvestro’s debut picture book!
BUNNY’S BOOK CLUB
Written by Annie Silvestro
Illustrated by Tatjana Mai-Wyss
Publisher: Doubleday Books for Young Readers (2017)
Ages: Preschool – Grade 3
Reading, libraries, friendship
Join Bunny for a top-secret trip to the library in a story that celebrates the love of reading.
Bunny loves to sit outside the library with the kids and listen to summer story time. But when the weather gets cold and everyone moves inside, his daily dose of joy is gone. Desperate, Bunny refuses to miss out on any more reading time and devises a plan to sneak into the library at night . . . through the library’s book drop!
What follows is an adorable caper that brings an inquisitive, fuzzy bunny and his woodland pals up close and personal with the books they have grown to love. A warm celebration of the power of books, Bunny’s Book Club is sure to bring knowing smiles to any child, parent, teacher, bookseller, and librarian who understands the one-of-a-kind magic of reading.
And the book has received glowing praise from major reviewers:
“A sweet salute to reading.”—Kirkus
“[Annie Silvestro] makes the pleasures of reading abundantly clear.”—Publishers Weekly
“Mai-Wyss’ soft, muted watercolor scenes sprinkled with charming, expressive cuddly animals is the perfect complement to Silvestro’s enchanting story about the love of books.”—Booklist
“Bunny loved books.”
Why I like this book:
- I love books that encourage young children to become lovers of books and reading…and this book definitely does!
- Wonderful read-aloud!
- Encourages parents and children to utilize the library.
- Beautiful illustrations team perfectly with Silvestro’s text.
Photo courtesy: http://www.education.com
Paper bag bunny puppet
Paper bags are one of my favorite craft materials…they are inexpensive, easy to work with, and so versatile.
You will need: 1 paper bag, construction paper, scissors, glue, crayons or markets.
- Cut out eyes, nose, whiskers, and ears from construction paper and glue on.
- Use crayons or markers to add details.
- Kids will enjoy role-playing with the puppet.
- Visit https://www.education.com/activity/article/bunny-paper-bag-puppet/ for more fun activities for kids.
This book provides a unique opportunity to get a library card for your child if he or she doesn’t already have one. And please check out your local library…most libraries have an array of free activities for children and adults.
That’s all for today…but don’t forget to come back tomorrow:
WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES
This post is part of a series for parents and teachers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays hosted by Susannah Leonard Hill. Click on her link and find lots of other picture book suggestions with summaries and activities.
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.