#50PreciousWords 2018 Writing Challenge is OPEN!!

 

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Today is the day, dear friends! Ready! Set! Go! The #50PreciousWords 2018 Writing Challenge is now OPEN!

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For those of you who have not participated before, let me give you a bit of back story. March 2nd is the birthday of the incredible Theodore Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. For the last two years, I’ve hosted a little contest based on Bennet Cerf’s 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.

In 2016, I thought it would be fun to try 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 then I opened the challenge to everyone. Much to my surprise and amazement, there were 128 entries! And last year, there were 253 entries. And I hope we have a great turnout again this year because I am passionate about helping others follow their dream of writing for children.

In 2012 I had a dream. I wanted to write picture books. And I wanted to be traditionally published. And one of the most important things I did was to participate in writing challenges like Susanna Hill’s contests. Why was that important? Because it got me writing. It got me revising. It got me submitting. Hmmm….writing/revising/submitting. I believe that if we do those three things enough times, our writing improves and agents and editors get a chance to see our work. And as much as I am thrilled with my own success, nothing makes me happier than to hear about the success of others in our kidlit community.

So, please sharpen your pencils. Fire up your computers. And share your #50PreciousWords with us. Continue reading

Perfect Picture Book Friday: Don’t Eat the Bluebonnets PLUS Critique Giveaway

Hurray for June…school will be out soon for many children, but that doesn’t mean they stop reading—at least I hope not. My plan is to continue with Perfect Picture Book Friday throughout the summer…I’ve already got every weekend scheduled with some of 2017’s best picture book releases.

Today’s book is special for a couple of reasons. It originally launched in 2009, but there was such a demand for it, it’s been reissued, bigger and better than ever before (after all…it’s about Texas Bluebonnets, right?). I’m thrilled about this because the author, Ellen Leventhal, is one of my dearest critique buddies and she’ll be stopping by to chat with us tomorrow. She’s also agreed to do a giveaway of…A PICTURE BOOK MANUSCRIPT CRITIQUE! Yes! I know how much everyone loves getting feedback from a published author. And having been on the receiving end of MANY wonderful critiques from Ellen, I can promise you that the lucky winner is in for a TREAT!

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DON’T EAT THE BLUEBONNETS

Written by: Ellen Leventhal and Ellen Rothberg

Illustrated by: Joel Cook

Publisher: Spork (2017)

Ages: Preschool – Grade 3

Themes:

Responsibility, decision-making, getting along with others

Synopsis:

From Amazon:

“Don’t Eat the Bluebonnets is the story of Sue Ellen, a cow with a mind of her own, who loves the taste of bluebonnets. When she gives into temptation and eats every yummy bluebonnet, she must figure out a way to get them back. After several humorous attempts to make things right, Sue Ellen learns the importance of responsibility and decision making.”

Why I like this book:

  • The text is filled with heart and humor. This is a truly funny book.
  • Wonderful read-aloud!
  • Great illustrations.

RELATED ACTIVITIES

MAKE A PAPER PLATE COW

Paper-Plate-Cow-5Photo courtesy: http://www.housingaforest.com/paper-plate-cow/

You will need: Paper plate, construction paper, scissors, glue, markers or crayons, googly eyes (optional…you can also use construction paper).

  1. Cut pink circle for muzzle of cow. Glue in place onto plate.
  2. Cut splotches of black construction paper. Glue into place.
  3. If you have googly eyes, glue those on. If not, just use construction paper and glue in place.
  4. Use marker or crayons to add feature details.

For detailed instructions and more crafts: click here 

Please remember to leave a comment to be entered into the giveaway of a critique from Ellen! And come back tomorrow when she shares her journey…and something sweet…on Will Write for Cookies.

I hope you all have a wonderful and safe weekend!

Picture Book Review and Activity PLUS CRITIQUE Giveaway: 7 ATE 9

Is it Friday already?

Good thing, because I’m excited to share another 2017 picture book with you. The author, Tara Lazar, is a dear picture book mentor for this kid lit community. Her Storystorm Challenge (formerly PiBoIdMo) helped more than 1600 writers gather ideas this January. And she was a Will Write for Cookies guest back in 2014.

Since then, she’s had a bunch of picture books launch…and I’m thrilled to bring you her latest for Perfect Picture Book Friday.

AND GUESS WHAT TARA IS OFFERING AS A GIVEAWAY?

A PICTURE BOOK MANUSCRIPT CRITIQUE! OH YES! So please, tell all your friends and even people who aren’t your friends, to come on over and leave a comment. One lucky person is going to get that fabulous prize!

But first, we have a another fabulous prize to give away! Last week, Kristen Fulton offered a copy of her debut picture book, LONG MAY SHE WAVE. And the lucky winner is…

Ali Earle Pichardo

Congratulations, Ali…let’s connect and I will put you in touch with Kristen so she can get a copy of the book out to you!

And now for our Perfect Picture Book Friday review!

7 ate 9

7 ATE 9: The Untold Story

Written by: Tara Lazar

Illustrated by Ross MacDonald

Publisher: Disney/Hyperion (2017)

Ages: 4-7

Themes:

Mystery, numbers, humor

Synopsis:

From Amazon:

6 has a problem.

Everyone knows that 7 is always after him. Word on the street is that 7 ate 9. If that’s true, 6’s days are numbered. Lucky for him, Private I is on the case. But the facts just don’t add up.

It’s odd.

Will Private I put two and two together and solve the problem . . . or is 6 next in line to be subtracted?

Why I like this book:

  • It is funny. More than funny. It is one of the funniest books I’ve read. And kids LOVE funny.
  • Great illustrations…perfect for the text.
  • The story will engage kids from the first page to the last!

RELATED ACTIVITIES

Sensory Art with Numbers

sensory art with numbersPhoto courtesy: http://handsonaswegrow.com/40-number-activities-for-preschoolers/

You will need: Cardboard (you can even use the side of an empty cereal box), glue, marker, your choice of sand, rice, oatmeal, Cheerios, or glitter.

  1. Draw numbers on the cardboard.
  2. Trace over the numbers with a glue stick.
  3. Sprinkle with your choice of topping…sand (might be messy in the house), rice, oatmeal, Cheerios, or glitter (will definitely be messy in the house).
  4. Let dry.
  5. You can do this with letters also.

For many more number activities, click here: http://handsonaswegrow.com/40-number-activities-for-preschoolers/

Thank you all for stopping by today. My generous author friends have connected with the #50PreciousWordsforKids teachers and parents. Maybe we will get some feedback by next month and find out how much fun everyone had, connecting adult authors and kid writers on Skype.

And don’t forget to leave a comment today if you would like a chance to win a MANUSCRIPT CRITIQUE FROM TARA LAZAR. Please share this post on your social media…and if you have read Tara’s book, please leave a review for her on Amazon. 

Happy Memorial Day, dear friends…please be safe if you are traveling…and I will see you again in JUNE! Lots more picture book reviews, giveaways, author/illustrator Q&A’s!