I had a lovely surprise the other day. I received two beautiful picture books in the mail. Written by author Sarah Glenn Marsh, they are bright and bold and so much fun. I knew I had to share them with you today. One is about taking selfies. How awesome is that! And the other is about camping and finding the courage to be a real friend. And because my bookshelves are overflowing, I plan to give both of these away. So please make sure you leave a comment. And don’t hop off until you scroll through the entire post BECAUSE after the picture book review, I’ll be giving everyone a heads up about #50PreciousWordsforKids which is COMING ON MONDAY!!!
Written by Sarah Glenn Marsh
Illustrated by Florence Weister
Published by Sterling Children’s Books (2018)
Themes: Friendship, travel
Synopsis: From Amazon:
You can’t take the perfect selfie if you’re all by yourself.
Sebastian is one handsome fox—and he really, really loves to take selfies. But somehow, no matter how camera-ready he is, his pictures always lack a certain something. And he can’t put his paw on exactly what. So Sebastian sets off on an elaborate quest to take the perfect selfie, dashing from a glamorous red carpet in Hollywood to the vast expanse of the Grand Canyon. He even zooms to the Moon! Still, none of Sebastian’s photos make him happy. Could it be that the secret to his special selfie is right where he started . . . at home, with his friends?
Why I like this book:
- I loved the relevant theme of taking a selfie…even young kids want to do it.
- I enjoyed the travel/geography layer to the story – kids will love to guess where Sebastian is.
- GREAT illustrations – the front and back covers are amazing!
A CAMPFIRE TAIL
Written by Sarah Glenn Marsh
Illustrated by Ana Gomez
Published by Sterling Children’s Books (May 1, 2018)
Ages: 4 and up
Themes: Friendship, courage, camping
Synopsis: From Amazon:
Ever been stuck with a friend who’s totally uncool—and worried that it will rub off on you?
Welcome to Camp Wildwood! It’s Dragon’s first day, and his buddy would LIKE to show him a good time. But Dragon doesn’t seem to fit in with the boys and girls. He overturns the boat, ruins the puppet show, and even sets the tent on fire. Then, just as his buddy is about to give up, Dragon comes through in a pinch. This sweet, funny picture book teaches an important lesson about the true meaning of friendship—and in accepting the strengths and weaknesses of others.
Why I like this book:
- I love friendship stories!
- The illustrations are fantastic…just love the main character!
- Text is full of heart and humor…great combination for a picture book!
Activities for both stories:
- Make a list of how to be a good friend.
- Take selfies with friends and create an album of friendship.
- Role play with your kids…different scenarios where being a good friend might be difficult.
Please don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered into the giveaway. If you’d like to see more picture book reviews, please go to Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture book Friday link up. And remember the best gift we can give the authors of our favorite stories is to buy their book or ask the library to order their book or write a review on Amazon or other book review sites.
And now, dear friends, a few words about #50PreciousWordsforKids! Last year, I hosted an international writing challenge for kid writers in grades K-6. I invited them to create a story for children in 50 words or less. #50PreciousWordsforKids drew participants from 15 states and 4 foreign countries. What amazed me was the incredible creativity that was unleashed by the restrictive word limit. Click here to see the stories from last year’s challenge.
MAGIC HAPPENS WHEN YOU MAKE EVERY WORD COUNT!
As a former kindergarten teacher, I’ve always been on a mission to help kids become lovers of books and reading. What a thrill it was to invite them to become their own storytellers!
This writing challenge is ALL-INCLUSIVE and INTERNATIONAL!
#50PreciousWordsforKids coincides with Children’s Book Week, April 30-May 6. Every child in grades K-6 is invited to participate. Teachers can have each child write a story of 50 words or less…then the teacher and/or class will choose one story to submit. Last year, some classes formed teams and wrote collaborative stories – that is totally fine. Parents who homeschool their children can submit one story per child. The official #50PreciousWordsforKids post will go live on Monday morning!
Here are the guidelines.
- Each child, grade K-6, writes a story of 50 words or less.
- Title not included in word count.
- Story must have a beginning, middle, and end.
- Happy or sad, silly or serious, true or make-believe.
- Teachers/students choose one story to submit per class.
- Homeschooling parents submit one story per child.
- Please email story to: firstname.lastname@example.org by May 7 at 11:59pm.
- Stories post on my blog: viviankirkfield.com on May 11.
- Teacher/parent receives a certificate to copy and present to each child who wrote a story.
- Giveaway of seven mini-Skype author classroom visits.
Questions? Contact me at email@example.com
I’m asking all of you who have connections with elementary schools or homeschooling families in any state and any country to please spread the word. Last year, I contacted the Children’s Book Council and they agree – it’s a perfect activity for Children’s Book Week. Click here to read last year’s stories.
The challenge runs April 30-May 6 and the stories need to be emailed to me: firstname.lastname@example.org by 11:59pm Eastern Standard Time on Monday, May 7th. I’ll post those stories on Friday, May 11th. Teachers and parents will receive a certificate that can be copied and personalized with the name of each child who participated. And there will be mini-Skype author classroom visits randomly awarded—one per grade level if I get enough volunteers.
Let’s help our kids stretch and grow their imaginations.
Which brings me to the next request…I still need volunteers to do mini-Skype author or illustrator visits. If you would like to donate a mini-Skype author or illustrator visit, please contact me ASAP either by email or on FB or Twitter. It’s a wonderful way to connect with our audience of parents, teachers, and kids!
Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!
Today is the day, dear friends! Ready! Set! Go! The #50PreciousWords 2018 Writing Challenge is now OPEN!
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. Read the rest of this entry
THE 2nd ANNUAL #50PRECIOUSWORDS WRITING CHALLENGE IS OFFICIALLY OPEN!!!
I am so very excited to read all of the #50PreciousWords entries. For those of you who are visiting here the first time, please let me give you a sentence or two or three about how this all came about.
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 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.
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! Ayear has past…and it’s time to DO IT AGAIN.
Please put on your thinking caps and get busy writing. You have until March 6th at 11:59pm to post your story. Here are the guidelines:
#50 PRECIOUS WORDS WRITING CHALLENGE GUIDELINES
- 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 of 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.
- Between March 2nd and March 6th, post your story on your blog if you have one and want to and put the link in the comments of this post. Or copy and paste the entire story in the comments of this post. I ask for the link so that people will visit each other and find new friends in the kid lit community. Please make sure you put your name in the post. If you have any trouble at all posting the link or the story, please email me and I will be happy to do it for you: email@example.com.
- Deadline for posting the story or the link in the comments is Monday, March 6, at 11:59pm.
- Winners will be announced in a special blog post on Thursday, March 9.
- Winners? Of course, there will be winners…and prizes, too!
21 winners…21 prizes…1st place takes whichever prize she/he wants, then 2nd place gets to pick, and so on. I will reach out to
- . 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!)
- A seat in author and mentor 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 and nonfiction writing guru 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. Coupon for 50% off author 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 wonderful class, you can choose a coupon for 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 seat in one of the KidLitCollege webinars (I’ve attended a few and they are FABULOUS!) OR $19.99 off a critique, donated by Jodell Sadler, JCLA Editorial Agent and Founder of KidLitCollege. Winner choses one and will get a special code.
7. A manuscript or query letter critique from author Rebecca Colby.
8. A picture book manuscript critique from author Lori Degman.
9. A picture book critique from author Anna Forrester.
10. A fiction picture book critique from author Ariel Bernstein
11. A picture book critique from author Rosie Pova
12. A book on the craft of writing from Rosie Pova.
13. A copy of Bunny’s Book Club from Annie Silvestro.
14. A book on the craft of writing from author Maria Marshall.
15. A copy of Hello, My Name is Tiger from author/illustrator Jennifer P. Goldfinger.
16. A copy of LIZZIE AND LOU SEAL plus an adorable SEAL NECKLACE from author/illustrator Patricia Keeler.
17. A copy of CLAMS ALL YEAR by author/illustrator Maryann Cocca-Leffler.
18. A SUPER HAPPY book prize package from author Marcie Colleen with copies of Super Happy Party Bears Gnawing Around and Super Happy Party Bears Knock Knock on Wood.
19. A copy of Mutt’s Promise, a middle grade dog adventure written by Julie Salomen…donated by author/illustrator Jill Weber.
20. A signed copy of Mr. Fuzzbuster Knows He’s the Favorite from author Stacy McAnulty.
21. A picture book critique from me and a signed copy of my parent-teacher book, Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking.
WOW! That is some list of prizes! What a generous Kid Lit community we have! I’m grateful to the prize donors…I hope you all visit their websites, buy their books, and review them on Amazon. Did you know that when a book gets 50 reviews, Amazon helps promote it?
And now, before I invite you to post your stories, I wanted to share my #50PreciousWords with you. Hopefully, my story is a good enough example…with a beginning, a middle, and an end (and what an end!)…that is kid-friendly (well, remember those Grimm’s Fairy Tales)…that is 50 words or less. I hope it makes you smile.
WHY PIGS LOVE THEIR LITTLE FEET (50 words)
Everyone made fun of Pig’s little feet.
An invitation arrived.
Please come to Coyote’s feast.
Rooster knew the invitation was for him.
They hurried to Coyote’s den.
By the time his little feet got him there, the feast was finished.
And so were Rooster and Cow.
I always loved Aesop’s Fables and folktale type stories when I was a kid…I guess I was inspired by those.
Dear friends, please share this around your social media…the more the merrier… #50PreciousWords.
If you have any questions or need clarification, just email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
.Are you excited? I am!
Remember…THE MAGIC HAPPENS WHEN YOU MAKE EVERY WORD COUNT!
And I just can’t wait to read all of your precious words.