#50PreciousWords 2020 Contest is OFFICIALLY OPEN

WELCOME, WELCOME to the FIFTH ANNUAL #50PreciousWords Contest!!!

I am so very happy you’ve stopped by!

Art by Vicky Fang

When I first got the idea for this contest back in 2016, I thought a few of my friends might take pity on me and submit a story – to my surprise, there were 128 entries! The winner that year went on to sign with my wonderful agent, Essie White, and the story that won is now part of a beautiful board book series. Several other entries over the years have become books…and I’m thrilled with the positive energy that this contest generates.

 

dr-seuss-stampI began this contest to celebrate the birthday of Dr. Seuss and honor this children’s writer who changed the face of kidlit.

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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.

Please put on your thinking caps, sharpen your pencils, and get busy writing. You have till March 5th at 11:59pm to post your story. Here are the guidelines:

GUIDELINES FOR #50PRECIOUSWORDS

  1. Write a story appropriate for kids ages 12 or under, that has a total word count of 50 or less.
  2. It can be prose, rhyme, free verse, silly or serious…whatever works for you.
  3. Title is not included in the word count.
  4. No illustration notes please.
  5. The contest officially opens today, Saturday, February 29, in this special post on my blog.
  6. Between February 29 and March 5, post your story in the comments of this special contest blog 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.  Also, please make sure you put your name in the post.
  7. Only ONE entry per person, please.
  8. Deadline for posting the story in the comments is Thursday, March 5, at 11:59pm.
  9. Winners will be announced Saturday, March 21.
  10. Winners? Of course, there will be winners…and prizes, too! There are critiques with EDITORS, seats in WRITING CLASSES, CRITIQUES by published authors, SIGNED PICTURE BOOKS…and more. The book prizes are limited to USA addresses, please.

HERE IS THE LIST OF PRIZES:

  1. Picture Book Critique with Little Bee editor COURTNEY FAHY.

Courtney Fahy is the Editorial Assistant at Little Bee Books and Yellow Jacket, where she acquires and edits board books, picture books, and middle grade novels. Some of Courtney’s picture 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. Critique from Callie Metler-Smith, publisher of Spork/&mg

Callie Metler-Smith is the CEO and founder of Clear Fork Publishing in Stamford, Texas.
She answers to the following titles: Publisher of Books, Newspaper Chick, Bookstore Owner, Writer, Illustrator, Wife, Mom, and Friend.

3. PB Critique or Seat in Writing Humor for Kids or 1/2 off The Craft and Business of Writing Picture Books course from  Art Director and CBA Founder MIRA REISBERG. https://www.childrensbookacademy.com/

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4, 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/

Susanna Leonard Hill (2)

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5. A set of craft of writing webinars from Blue Whale Editor ALAYNE CHRISTIAN.

Alayne headshot

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Alayne Kay Christian is the acquisitions editor for Blue Whale Press and an award-winning children’s book author. She is 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. She has been a picture book and chapter book critique professional since 2014, and she worked as a 12 X 12 critique ninja for three years. Alayne has spent the last thirteen years studying under some of the top names in children’s literature. Alayne’s focus at Blue Whale Press is content editing, creative direction, and working with authors and illustrators to coordinate the path to quality books.

https://alaynekaychristianauthor.com/

https://www.bluewhalepress.com/

Art of Arc http://www.alaynekaychristian.com/contact.html

Webinars https://alaynekaychristianauthor.com/webinars

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

Karla Valenti

Karla madame curie cover

I was born and grew up in Mexico city. Since then, I have had the great privilege and opportunity to live in a number of places I have come to call home: the U.S., Japan, France, and most recently Germany. I currently live in the Chicagoland area where I keep myself busy with lots of words and big ideas (both in my job as a lawyer and author).

My writerly self focuses on picture books and middle grade novels. I also offer a Master Course on Picture Book Writing and Editing and Picture Book critique services.

I’m rep’ed by the inimitable Ammi-Joan Paquette at Erin Murphy Literary Agency.

Find me on Facebook or Twitter.

7. Rhyming PB Critique from author Lori Degman

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Growing up, Lori Degman struggled with reading, but the more she read, the easier it got! Now she reads all the time. She is the award-winning author of 1 Zany Zoo and Cock-a-Doodle Oops!, Norbert’s Big Dream, and Just Read. Lori was a teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing and is now a full-time author. She is a frequent presenter at schools and conferences.

Lori’s forthcoming books are Like a Girl (2019) and Travel Guide for Monsters (2020). Learn more about Lori at loridegman.com

8. PB Critique plus copies of two fabulous picture books from author/illustrator Patricia Keeler

PKeeler Head Shot

PKeeler_LIZZIE AND LOU

PKeeler_SCOOPPatricia Keeler is the author/illustrator of SCOOP THE ICE CREAM TRUCK and LIZZIE AND LOU SEAL, both of Sky Pony Press. Patricia received the Christopher Medal in 2011 for her illustrations in WOULD YOU STILL LOVE ME IF. Patricia won the children’s book category for the New York Book Festival 2013. Her work has been a selection of the Junior Library Guild and the Children’s Book-of-the-Month Club. Follow her on Instagram @patricia.keeler.books.

9. PB Critique and copy of Nova the Star Eater from author Lindsay Leslie.

Lindsay Leslie Headshot smallNova the Star Eater

Lindsay likes to bring her unique outlook on life, quirky humor, and play with words to the page in picture books. She is the author of THIS BOOK IS SPINELESS and NOVA THE STAR EATER (Page Street Kids). Her third picture book, DUSK EXPLORERS (Page Street Kids), will launch June 2, 2020. Lindsay lives with her husband, two boys, two dogs, a guinea pig, and a tortoise in Austin.

10. PB Critique from author Keila V. Dawson

Before becoming a children’s book author, Keila Dawson worked as a teacher, school administrator, and educational consultant in the U.S., the Philippines, Japan, and Egypt.

A native of New Orleans, her debut picture book THE KING CAKE BABY (Pelican Publishing Co. 2015), celebrates one of the unique cultural traditions in her hometown – eating King Cake during the Mardi Gras season. Her second book, NO VOICE TOO SMALL: Fourteen Young Americans Making History, co-edited with Jeanette Bradley and Lindsay H. Metcalf (Charlesbridge) will release in September 2020. A third nonfiction book is under contract has not been announced yet.

Keila is a member of SCBWI, writes monthly author studies for the Reading for Research Month (ReFoReMo) blog, and reviews books for Multicultural Children’s Book Day. When Keila isn’t reading, writing, and visiting schools, she’s traveling, playing tennis, or digging in genealogical archives.

Twitter: @keila_dawson  Website: http://www.keiladawson.com

Facebook author page: @keilavdawson

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

Melissa Stoller books

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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

12. Picture Book or Query Letter Critique from author Laura Roettiger

LauraRoettiger Headshot 2019Laura 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 and as a new teacher mentor for two years at a STEM school. She is a judge for Rate Your Story, an active member of SCBWI and 12x12PictureBook Challenge. Laura works with third grade classrooms through #KidsNeedMentors, tutors adults in the Boulder Reads Literacy program at the Boulder Public Library, and works with BookstoKids, a Colorado based literacy nonprofit. Her superpower is encouraging curiosity in children and her students, letting them know she believes in them. She has three children of her own whose curiosity and creativity led all of them into STEM related professions. 

13. Picture Book Critique from author Maria Marshall

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.

14. Picture Book Critique from author Katey Howes

katey howes

be a maker katey howesKatey Howes is thrilled to be making books for children. She also makes bad jokes, great apple crisp, and messy mistakes. Katey lives in Upper Makefield, Pennsylvania (really!) with her husband and three adventurous daughters makers. A former physical therapist specializing in brain injury, Katey now divides her time between writing award-winning stories and raising kids with a love of books. She also contributes to parenting, literacy and STEM websites including All the Wonders, The Nerdy Bookclub, STEAM Powered Family and Imagination Soup. Find Katey on Twitter @kateywrites and on Instagram @kidlitlove.

15. Copy of Play Like An Animal from author Maria Gianferrari

Maria Gianferrari’s childhood playground was nature: climbing trees, playing hide and seek in the cornfield and slapping cow patties for fun! Nowadays she tries to keep the spirit of play alive in her writing. She enjoys playing Dominion with her family sans the curse cards. Her late dog, Becca, was always ready for a game of “catch the flying biscuit.” To learn more about Maria check out her websiteInstagram or Facebook pages.

16. Picture Book Manuscript Critique from author Kirsti Call

Kirsti Call loves putting words together. She co-runs Reading for Research month, has judged for the Cybil’s award since 2014, blogs for Writer’s Rumpus, and her second picture book, Mootilda’s Bad Mood (Little Bee) comes out this fall.  Cow Says Meow (HMH) and Cold Turkey (Little Brown) release in 2021!

Instagram @kirsticall   Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kirsti.call

Twitter: @kirsticall Websites: www.kirsticall.comwww.writersrumpus.comwww.reforemo.com

17. Picture Book Critique or signed copy of Lola Can’t Leap from author Ellen Leventhal

Ellen L head shotlola can't leap 2

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.  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

18. Picture Book Critique from author Tina Cho

tina choTina is the author of Rice from Heaven, a picture book from Little Bee Books August 2018, Korean Celebrations, a nonfiction picture book from Tuttle, August 2019, My Breakfast with Jesus, a nonfiction picture book from Harvest House June 2, 2020, The Ocean Calls: A Mermaid Haenyeo Story from Kokila, an imprint of Penguin Random House August 4, 2020, and her first middle grade graphic novel in verse, The Tune Without Words by Harper Alley Fall 2022.

ocean calls tina cho

19. Picture Book Critique or Signed Picture Books from author Amber Hendricks

updated authorSALSCover_Final_RGB_NoBleed_StarsBorn 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 as well, and by the age of 11 she was writing and binding her own “books”. Amber has worn many hats in her career but she has always circled back to her first love of telling stories. Amber currently resides in Missouri with her husband and two children.

 

20. Picture Book Critique from author Beth Anderson

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Lizzie Demand a Seat

Beth Anderson loves digging into history and culture for undiscovered gems, exploring points of view, and playing with words. A former educator who has always marveled at the power of books, she is drawn to stories that open minds, touch hearts, and inspire questions. Born and raised in Illinois, she now lives in Loveland, Colorado. Author of AN INCONVENIENT ALPHABET (S&S 2018) and LIZZIE DEMANDS A SEAT (Boyds Mills & Kane, 2020), Beth has more historical gems on the way.

bethandersonwriter.com
@Bandersonwriter (Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram)
https://www.facebook.com/beth.anderson.33671748

21. Signed copy of Beautiful Shades of Brown from author Nancy Churnin

nancy c this oneA 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

Beautiful Shades of Brown

22. Signed copy of Can U Save the Day? from author Shannon Stocker

Shannon Stocker headshotcover

Shannon Stocker’s debut picture book CAN U SAVE THE DAY (Sleeping Bear Press) released in 2019, LISTEN: HOW ONE DEAF GIRL CHANGED PERCUSSION (NF PB bio about Evelyn Glennie) comes out with Dial/Random House in 2022, and several of Shannon’s nonfiction essays have been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul. Shannon currently serves as SCBWI social co-director for Louisville, a judge for Rate Your Story, a ninja for 12×12, and she created the blog series, Pivotal Moments: inHERview, highlighting transitional life stories of female picture book authors (http://www.shannonstocker.com/blog/). Cool facts: Currently writing her memoir, Shannon is a medical school graduate, a coma survivor, an RSD/CRPS patient and advocate, and a singer/songwriter who once performed two songs, including one original, as part of an opening act for Blake Shelton. She can be found online at www.shannonstocker.com, on Facebook (Shannon Otto Stocker/Shannon Stocker Author), and on Twitter/Instagram @iwriteforkidz. Shannon is represented by Allison Remcheck of Stimola Literary Studio.

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

lisa-head-shot-2017I live in La Grange, IL in a hundred-year-old Victorian house with sloping hardwood floors, glass doorknobs, and the tiniest bathroom you’ve ever seen. I have a great husband and amazing boy-girl twins. I’m an active member of SCBWI, where I volunteer as the Social Media Coordinator for the SCBWI-Illinois region. I work part-time as a technical writing consultant to fund my writing conference habit. I am represented by Wendi Gu of Sanford J. Greenburger Associates.

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24. Picture Book Critique from author Jenna Grodzicki

Jenna's head shotJenna is the author of both fiction and nonfiction picture books, including Finn Finds a Friend (Clear Fork Publishing, 2017), I See Sea Food: Sea Creatures That Look Like Food (Millbrook Press, 2019), Harmony Humbolt: Perfect Pets Queen (Clear Fork Publishing, Fall 2020), and Wild Style: Amazing Animal Adornments (Millbrook Press, September 2020). She lives in Connecticut with her husband and two crazy awesome kids. At all hours of the day (and night) she can be found at her desk, drinking iced coffee and working on her next story. Jenna is represented by Victoria Selvaggio of Storm Literary Agency.

i see seafood

 

What do you think about these amazing prizes? I’m blown away by the generosity of this kid-lit community. Thank you to all the prize donors. If I made any mistakes with the bios or photos, please let me know (I am not very tech savvy when it comes to making photos smaller)…and if anyone else has a prize they’d like to add to the list, please contact me.

Dear friends…you have 6 days to post your story…and I can’t wait to read your precious words – just put your story in the comment section. If you have a blog and are also putting your entry there, please add your link to your comment. But whether or not you put your story on your own blog, please put it here. And also, please add you name. If anyone has questions or has a problem posting, please email me and I will be happy to help: viviankirkfield@gmail.com.

I am going to take a page from Susanna Hill’s last contest and try to list the stories here so you can easily click through and get to the one you want to read – although I hope you will want to read and comment on ALL of them!

1. Paul Kurtz: My Magic Place

2. Donna Kurtz: Green Eggs and Meat

3. Claire Lewis: A Moving Tale

4. Kirsty Rorke: Lights

5. Sue Lancaster: After the Storm

6. Brenda Whitehead: My Important Job

7. Sara Ackerman: Caterpillar Season in Sinshasa

8. Jennifer Linville: I See

9. Kelly Swemba: Playful Puddles

10. Monica Acker: Mirror In The Sidewalk

11. Robin Currie: Wombat Rescue

12. Jill Proctor: Caterpillar Rain Dance

13. Cheri-Ann Wong: Hunter and Prey

14. Joannie Duris: Hug Hunt

15. Jessica Coupe: The Winter Garden

16. David McMullin: Making Something Out of Nothing

17.Mary York: Swinging From the Black Walnut Tree

18.Anita Narayan: Race to First Place

19. Shonna Nance: Time for BED?

20.Jennifer Moore: BORING!

21. Glenda Roberson: The Hug

22. Abbi Lee: The Worst Burglar in the World

23. Lu Pierro: BARK PARK

24. Aimee Satterlee: Red Truck

25. Estelle Tudor: My Mum’s a Superhero

26. Carolyn Bennett Fraiser: SNOW

27.Hannah Lapehn: DYLAN’S HUNT

28. Tara Cerven: GAME OVER

29. Danielle Hammelef: SAM’S SECRET CAVE

30.Bouvier Eulen: TODAY I’LL BE

31. Ashley Wheelock: Mommy’s Hair Salon

32. Polly Renner: TODAY

33.Jolene Ballard Gutierrez: THE LAST WATERMELON

34. Jessica Reiner Harris: Yummy Me

35.Janet Parkinson Bryce: Can Hippos Jump?

36. Debra Daugherty: Rabbit’s Big Day

37.Stacey Miller: Chloe’s Cloud

38.Katherine Rahoy: Teeny Tiny Turtle Tucked

39. Chelsea Tornetto: SNOW

40. Jill Lambert: Bird TV

41. Maryna Doughty: Dance for Daddy

42. Roxanne Troup: ALLIE’S APPLES

43. Sarah Atherton: Mum’s Spaghetti

44. Leah Moser: A COOL TREAT

45. Margaret Aitken: Dino Friends

46. Rachel Funez: Learning to Ski Fun

47.Nicole Loos Miller: Spring Puddles

48.Maureen Morrison: No Tengo Palabras

49. Carole Gerber: Summer Storm

50. Liz Sites: Fuzzy Wuzzy and the Fuzz Buzz

51. Marziah Abbas: Cookie Thief

52.Hanh Bui: Tet is…

53. Carol Cole: Dragons Love Camping

54.Ana Siqueira: An Elefante is a Terrible Horrible Fantastic Pet

55. Alana Washington: Draw with Me

56. Paulette Sharkey: How to Read to a Cat

57. Joan Leotta: Trucks Together

58. Lindsay Hobson: Dragons Have Bedtimes, Too

59. Robin Jordan: Dear Journal, Today…

60. Debbie Sanders: Hummingbird Battle

61. Anne Lipton: Here Be Dragons

62. Sandy Brooks Foster: Mr. Crayfish

63. Marie Prins: Backyard Bunny

64. Leigh Therriault: PANDEMONIUM

65. Nancy Ferguson: GRIMM THE SHELTER DOG

66. Arlene Schenker: Kinkajou

67. Megan Weatherford: Now What?

68. Brittany Pomales: Conduct a Lullaby

69. Amy Renee: Midnight Cake

70. Kelly Mangan: Duck Butts

71. Paula Obering: Smile

72.Carol Coven Grannick: Me in the Mirror

73. Nancy Riley: INCUBATION

74.Jennifer Humphreys: Spring Fun

75. Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez: A Dance in the Night

76.Elizabeth Janczyk: My Baby Brother is a Ninja

77. Katy Rose: Light Changes Everything

78. Rose Cappelli: Scritch! Scritch! Scratch! Scratch!

79. Jane Baskwill: IMAGINE THAT!

80. Phil Dillon: Ugg the Inventor

81. Sue Twiggs: Water Tickles

82. Andrea MacDonald: TWINS

83. Robin Brett Wechsler: SHELLY SOLD SEASHELLS

84. Roo Parkin: MISCHIEF MAKER

85. Allison Rozo: BEARDED PAPA

86. Amy M. Miller: Little Red Riding Hood

87. Carey Ann Welch: The Egg Parable of Matthew Welch, Age 10

88. Susan Summers: Rainbow

89. Liz Kehrli: If a Tree Falls

90. Aundra Tomlins: Rumble, Grumble, Crumble, Tumble

91. Jenny Buchet: TO CATCH THE MOON

92.Ranessa Doucet: KAZOO

93. Jason Perkins: DADDY TIME

94.Kelsey Gross: BATTERIES FOR BOT-BOT

95. Stephanie Higgins: Spores Away

96. Chris Baker: Muddle in a Puddle

97. Susan Drew: Sledding at Oma’s

98. Deborah Holt Williams: Moving Day

99. Marietta Apollonio: MOON MESS

100. Carrie Karnes-Fannin: Photos of Hope: A Small Biography of Margaret Bourke-White

101. Sharon K. Solomon: Frog Pond 2

102. Laurie Smollett Kutscera: FIREFLY

103. Laurie Smith Murphy: COMING ON CHRISTMAS

104. Patricia J. Holloway: I SPY

105.Jennifer Dawson: Siblings

106. Sylvia Chen: TOOTHY JOURNEY

107. Kimberly Laura: Alphabutt – A Lift the Flap Book

108. Camille Lancaster: A PIECE OF PAPER

109. Laurie Carmody: GRANDMA’S HOUSE

110: Christina Vrba: A New Pet

111. Meryl Sachs Cullon: MOMMY! MOMMY!

112. Katie Walsh: LEFTOVER NO S’MORE!

113. Susan Ralls: CUPCAKE FIX

114. Heidi Coryell: THE DARK

115. Gabrielle Cardwell: My Pup

116. Rachael Clarke: BALLERINA GIRLS

117. Kim Hart: BUBBLE BATH FUN

118. Amber Hendricks: Starling Flight

119. Kathleen Reitman: Love My Feet

120. Kaylynn Johnsen: TWO to TANGO

121.Heather Kinser: YET

122. Catherine Friess: PICNIC ON THE MOON

123. Richard Stonebridge: The Scarecrow with a Secret

124.Melissa Mwai: Not A Unicorn

125.Heidi Vance: Mr. Squirrel

126. Pippa Chorley: Walkies

127. Stefanie Razler: Happy Winter, Friend!

128. Liz Rice: All Gone

129. Janie Reinart: BRAVE ENOUGH

130. Deb Sullivan: Recycle Me!

131. Melissa Stoller: SEALS

132. Becky Ross Michael: Miss O’Blair Has No Hair

133. Lisa Zaccaria: The Tree of Courage

134.Rina Singh: Born to Dance

135. Stephanie Gibeault: Baked with Love

136. Jaclyn Crawford: I Can Do Hard Things

137. Delia Black: Are We There Yet?

138. Sarah Meade: Five Flamingos with Flair

139. Judy Cooper: Just Leo

140. Tina Mowrey: THE DAY YOU ARRIVED

141. Erin Kerger Duffett: WOLF

142. Dea Brayden & Lindsay Brayden Ellis: TRUE COLORS

143. Charlotte Dixon: MIGHTY MAGNUS ROOSTERUS

144. Laura Wadsworth Carter: A YAWN, A SIGH

145. Leila Nabih: A Dog, a Frog, and a Log

146. Jen Lawson: SWITCHWICH

147. Dea Lenihan: CAMERA NIGHT

148. Laura Howard: BUBBLE TROUBLE

149. Susan Silver: MOMMY’S BIG DAY

150. Sharon J. Wilson: The Absolutely True Story of Miss Locomotive

151. Aixa Perez-Prado: El Gato Romeo’s Nine Lives

152. Joy Moore: letter from BIG FOOT

153. Leslie Ross-Degnan: WATER PLAY

154. Emily Ann Davison: SOMEBODY ATE MY CAKE

155. Jarmila Kurucova: Blue Monkey Makes a Friend

156. Aimee Larke: Good Morning It’s Time for Bed

157. Kael Tudor: Good Morning

158. Eileen Mayo: THE DAY THE BOOK WASN’T A BOOK

159. Stacey Corrigan: Another Hat in the Ring

160. Lori Sheroan: Googly Eyes

161. Laura Fredrickson: Race and Roll

162. Sarah Hetu-Radny: GARDENS

163. A Kidd: Baby Bounces

164. Kalee Gwarjariski: THE FIRE-SNEEZING DRAGON

165. Nina Nolan: RIGHT NOW

166. Rebecca Thill: BIG DOG – TINY BED

167. Mia Geiger: Just Beachy

168. Kristy Ryan: FIRST DAY FEELINGS

169. Linda Kulp Trout: Snowplow

170. Kathy McClaskey: The Fox and the Cat

171. Jenny Harp: DETERMINED PEA

172. Colleen Murphy: Problem Solved

173. Amanda Davis: One Last Time

174. Sloane Jacobs: Bitty Boo Taco Ninja

175. Andrea Greenwich Heffner: Who Can? Toucan!

176.Joel Chalmers: BEACH BLAST

177. Amy Flynn: Dinner is Ruined

178. Traci Van Wagoner: BE

179. Laura Roettiger: It’s Hard to Pick a Favorite

180. Teresa Traver: Rainy Day

181.  Riya Zachariah: Until Tomorrow

182. Steve Rogers: It had no eyes

183.Eszter Molnar: The Last Biscuit

184. Mary Rudzinski: THE BIG YAWN

185. Tom Lancaster: THE MIDNIGHT VISITOR

186.Tracy Curran: Pea-po

187. Lisa L. Furness: SUN FUN

188. Lynne Marie: PANDEMONIUM: A Morning at the Panda Kindergarten

189.Sarah Anne Carter: Backyard Pirate

190. Anne Weedon: Dinner

191. This is Maisha: Victorious Firefly

192. Kirsten Allen: The Seed Who Believed

193.Sarina Abbasi: $10

194.Jim and Tim: Circles aren’t pointless

195.Deb Bartsch: DANCE LIKE A DINOSAUR

196. Jessica Whipple: Boy and Bulldog

197. Zachary Snyder: What Will You Remember

198. Candace Spizzirri: HAPPY HEART

199. Linda Staszak: TRIBUTE TO DR. SEUSS

200. Kathryn Rammell: THE GRUMPY DAY PARADE

201. Suzie Olsen: THANKFUL FOR PANTS

202. Emma Jenkins: VACUUM CLEANER

203. HT Lynne: Do You Hear What I Hear?

204. Hollie Wolverton: Make a Wish

205. Charlotte Sheer: WHEN SMILES SPEAK

206. Heather Bell: Frisbee

207. Lydia Loeber: The Something

208.Kristy Roser Nuttall: 100 Worms Before Breakfast

209. Kate Thompson: Love Will Always Win

210. Julie Koon: The Love Machine

211. Katherine Rothstein: MY HANDS, MY VOICE

212.Patricia Finnegan: BUBBLE GUM BLOWOUT

213. Stefanie Hohl: MONSTER SCARES

214. Sandra Sutter: LIBRARIES CAN BE ANYWHERE

215. Cathy Ogren: Humpty Grumpty

216. Jim Chaize: The Hole

217. Rebecca Gardyn Levington: BIRTHDAY WISHES *DO* COME TRUE

218. Laura Elizabeth Baukol: SISTERS

219. Jillian MacKenzie: LUCKY RED GUMBALL

220. Val Dormady: Jumble Days

221. Penny McNally: THE NEW GIRL

222. Mary Ann Cortez: SNOWSTORM

223. Rachel Backland: Look! A Bubble

224. Jennifer Raudenbush: MOSQUITO BANDITO

225. Tiffany Dickinson: The Blessing Box

226.Zoe Arena: Spot and the Line

227. Mary Munson: The Relation Ship

228. Rebecca Woodall: Don’t Look for a Kerboomer

229. Martha Simpson: Just Desserts

230. Rebecca Heonig: Monkey in the Middle

231. Jim Merryman: What’s a Word?

232. Kathy Halsey: A TALE SO TRUE

233. Melissa Rutigliano: JUST A PRETTY GIRL

234. Ashlyn Parker: THE UPSIDE

235. Emmie R. Werner: STRAIGHT and TALL

236. Shaunda Wenger: WEARY ROOSTER

237. Cheryl Schuermann: Flamingo Glulch

238. Priscilla Merryman: Heart Beats

239. Donna Burkert: Who’s there

240.Mary Warth: Izzy’s Itch

241. Mandy Yokim: No Returns

242. Patricia Tilton: Thunder Flapjacks

243, Samantha: I SING FOR ME

244. Rebekah Lowell: Fly

245. Kari Gonzalez: PONY NEEDS A HAIRCUT

246. Naana Amissah: A SUPER HOG PALINDRONE SUNDAY

247. Darren Spink: What if

248. Airlie Drozdowski: Toddler Tamer

249. Michelle Losardo: STORM’S PASS

250. Sandra McGraw: Lost and Found

251. Becky Loescher: GOTCHA!

252.Ilona Bray: THE PAINTER OF THE GOLDEN GATE

253. Jenny McClay: Every Day is a Beautiful Day

254. RT Jahns: What Can Grieving Bring?

255. Kimberly Marcus: PUFFIN’S PROBLEM

256. Liz Bickerstaff: An Alien Stole My…

257. Lauri Meyers: Bella with the Big Bun

258.Jessica Murray: Kids’ Day at Super Scissors

259. Susan Claus: TOOK

260. Diana McCarthy: SEEDLINGS

261. Mareen Egan: BIRTHDAY BASH

262. Sharon Nelsen: SLEEP LOVE

263. Dianne Moritz: LET’S MAKE PANCAKES

264. N.R.M. Roshak: The Runaway Present

265. Farrah Riaz: What Love Is

266.Geraldine Jones: MICE NIBBLE

267. Lori Himmel: LET’S TAKE A WALK

268. Costantia Manoli-Rumfitt: MY BEST BUD

269. Josie Gawlowski: GROWING CRYSTAL CARROTS

270.Julianna Helt: Creek Walking

271. Debbie Neuenschwander: WHEN SHOOTING STARS ARE BORN

272. Imogen Marshall: You

273. Adam D. Blackman: GATHER

274. M.M. Baker: Fairy Homes: The Mushroom Houses of Earl Young

275. KC Young: Bubbles

276. RB Frank: BEST IN SHOW

277. Deb Buschman: SNOW BEACH

278. Dedra Davis: What’s in There?

279. Karen Greenwald: WHERE ARE MY GLASSES?!

280. Judy Politzer: THREE PICKLES IN A PICKLE

281. Dina Towbin: Can Katerina the Caterpillar Go to the Dance?

282. Robin Wiesneth: I LOVE socks!

283. Shira Zwiren: DRAGON’S TREASURE 

284.Karen Yin: EYE LOVE: WHAT EYES CAN DO

285. Linda Gammon: Brotherly Love

286. S Schipper: A Fantastic Farm of Color and Charm

287. Gail Handler: My Guide No M

288. Lynn Rogalsky: MISBEHAVING FRUITS & VEGETABLES

289. Anne Stephens: Grandpa’s Hats

290. Denise Seidman: Who Wants to be a Dimenaire

291.Jilanne Hoffman: Search for Life

292. Rinda Beach: Baby Can’t Sleep?

293. Lynn Vieira: TIME FOR BED

294. Natalie Cohn: WHISTLE!

295. Darlene Ivy: Little Brother

296. Dawn Young: SMART

297.Jill Burns: My Cherry Tree

298. Megan Hoyt: Chocolate Chew-Chew: A Totally True Two-Year-Old Tale

299. Christine Nantra: Because of You

300. Carol Bullman: The Meow-Thru Window

301. Michelle Vattula: Boy’s Night

302. Judy Abelove Shemtob: Enemies to Friends

303. Jessica Haster: Everybody Loves Sunglasses

304. Claire W. Bobrow: Dog’s Day

305. Adrienne Yarbor Blacksher: Mommy’s Belly

306.Jane Serpa: Wind Talks

307. Lolly Ward: I SPY SURPRISE

308. Ruth Solitario: Six Lights

309. Gretchen Pitluk: Summer Vacation

310. Alison Horsburgh: Space Travel on a Trampoline

311. Kathryn Hollingworth: Jimmy’s Winter Future

312. Patty Wurster: FOX FINDS A FRIEND

313.Leslia: MY BOY AND I

314. J. Bradley Blankenship: The Crying Book

315. Helen Ishmurzin: MOUNTAIN PEBBLE

316.M. Jane Hawkins: EJ Johnson Isn’t Happy Anymore

317. Karen Dibbens-Wyatt: Rain Race

318. Rhett Trull: HERO: ZERO, BOREDOM: ONE –

319. Tracy Smith Schmidt: NAUGHTY NIGHT NOISES

320. Jodie Parachini: “Bored” Game

321. Kristen Reinsel: The Late Bloomer

322.Cathy Stenquist: Cat and Mouse

323. Anna Maledon: JEALOUS PET VACUUM

324. Bev Baird: Garden Gnome

325. Leslie Liebhardt Goodman: SPRING BEAUTIES

326. Ciara O’Neal: Maggie and the Blank Page

327.Jean James: Quaking Bog

328. Joy Pitcairn: THE BIG RIDE

329. Kathi Morrison: Girl and Dog — Low Tide

330. Dorena McFarland Williamson: Tennessee Strong Again

331. Candice Rauser: LITTLE BEE

332. Linda Curtis: SWEET GUARDIAN ANGEL

334. Mary Arkiszewski: Loggerhead’s Journey

335. Kelly Lenihan: JAKE, THE EAGLE WHO WOULDN’T FLY

336. Kathy Shanahan: My Bike

337. Yvona Fast: WINTER’S COMING — TRANSFORMATION

338. Cheryl MacAller: LITTLE EYES, BIG WORLD

339. Beth James: Unlikely Friends

340. Catie Daly: The Gremlin in our Playroom

341. Mona Pease: Our World of Color

342.Sofia Dibble: BABIES

343. Florbela Nienaber: BLAST OFF!

344.Sarah C: RABBIT

345. Stephen James: I showed up

346. Kristina Schwartz: THE FOUNTAIN OF AGE

347.Jen Bagan: TEACHER’S PET

348.Gail Aherne: SIGN LANGUAGE

349. Patricia Nozell: Fifty Precious Words to Show That You Care

350.Lisa Hollman-Allen: Cuddle Dust

351. Sara Gentry: Again, Lola

352. Ryan Waters: The Zebra with No Stripes

353. Natalie Fischer: Hooray for Spring!

354. Sam Smith: PRESENT

355. Rachel Wilson: If You Were a Bubble

356. Diana Monteiro Toombs: The Wuwus

357.Sarah Crouch: SURPRISE TOAST

358. Rita Russell: MORNING BABY

359. Rachell Abalos: SAY “CHEESE”

360.Heather Gallagher: A seed for peace

361. Liz Ski Healey: BANANAS

362. Linda Hofke: Change of Season

363. Kirsten Pendreigh: COLOR LOVE

364. Angela Song: Me Just Being Me

365.Carol Vieira: Mouse Sets Sail

366. Laurie Sunderman: Last Party of the Year

367. Ellen B: In My Garden

368. Ashley Bates: CHA-CHING!

369. Vashti Verbowski: MY BLUE AND GREEN SHOES

370. Jenifer Lynn McNamara: Michael’s Moth

371. Michelle Howell Miller: The Human Race

372. Michele Ziemke: TAMING BARN KITTENS

373. Joni Hay Patras: Little Gray Cloud

374. Ruthie Kirk: MY TALLEST FRIEND

375. Pamela Courtney: A Case Against the Leafy Sea Dragon

376. Zia Marie: Fluffasaurus Fashion Show

377. Katie Hesterman: Bear Necessities

378.Krys: A Mother’s Promise

379. MontaukDeb: Sammy’s Blocks

380. Lara Elliott: Dance Battle

381. Ashley Congdon: The Carrot Stick

382. Ingrid Boydston: The Anything Game

383. CJ Penko: MAYFLY

384. Laura Bost: TRASH

385. Cheryl Cassaday: THE PROBLEM WITH UNICORNS

386. Katie Williams: Coyote and Badger

387. Darci Nielson: Go Bella!

388. Jacki Kellum: Counting My Garden

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hurray! I can’t wait to read your precious words

#50PreciousWords Writing Challenge WINNERS

 

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CONGRATULATIONS!

The #50PreciousWords 2018 Writing Challenge was a HUGE success! You all made it so with your fabulous participation: 298 awesome stories and a comment thread that contained almost 1900 positive comments!

The guidelines were simple:

  1. 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.
  2. It can be prose, rhyme, free verse, silly or serious…whatever works for you.
  3. Title is not included in the word count.
  4. No illustration notes please.
  5. Please post your story in the comment section below. If you have your own blog and want to post your story there also, please do. And let us know your post link.  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 story, please email me and I will be happy to do it for you: viviankirkfield@gmail.com.
  6. Deadline for posting the story in the comments is Tuesday, March 6, at 11:59pm.
  7. Winners will be announced in a special blog post on Sunday, March 11.

Here are the prizes: Continue reading

#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

#50PreciousWords Writing Challenge WINNERS!!!!!!

#50PRECIOUSWORDS WRITING CHALLENGE BY THE NUMBERS

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#50: Number of words each story can contain.

#251: Number of fabulous stories entered.

#234: Number of courageous writers (some did more than one story).

#2100: Number of comments on this blog post.

#3: Number of hours of sleep I got the last few nights.

#1: Number of stories created about me. WHAT’S THAT YOU SAY? SOMEONE WROTE A STORY ABOUT ME? Yes, indeed. Fellow-writer Debbie Vidovich gives a nod to the wonderful Karma Wilson’s Bear Snores On.

Vivian Reads On by Debbie Vidovich

In a chair in a room,

Of her great big house,

Through a pile of stories,

But without her spouse.

Snuggled in a throw,

With her specs on tight,

She reads through the day,

And she reads through the night.

Stories so cute, so sad, so sweet.

That her heart feels full, she says,

“What a treat!”

Eyes grow weary and her head goes plop, but

Vivian reads on.

On she reads through stories galore,

Til she picks a winner and can snore once more.

 

Elizabeth Barret Browning wrote, “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways?”

Let me count the ways I love all of you.

  • You accepted the challenge.
  • You wrote your story.
  • You put your work out there for the world to see.
  • You generously and kindly commented on the other stories. Many of you lifted up other writers by commenting on dozens and dozens and dozens of stories. And I saw some names over and over again…your fellow-writers are grateful for your support.
  • You taught me so much. I learned about Pangolins from Christina Rowe and Periwinkle snails from Beth Gallagher. Joanne Roberts shone a spotlight on a mule-riding, cigar-smoking, former slave woman. And Cathy Stenquist invented a new language (tip of the hat to Du Iz Tak?).
  • Special thanks to Maria Marshall, my other set of eyes…Maria graciously agreed to join me in reading ALL of the entries so she could help me make difficult decisions. And she commented on just about every story. Your help was much appreciated, Maria! I’m extremely grateful.
  • Many of you commented that this was the FIRST time you had ever submitted your work or entered a writing contest or challenge…I am honored that you felt my platform was a place where you felt safe and comfortable. I hope you always feel that way.
  • EVERY story I read has the potential to be published…to become a book that a child will connect with. I’m really serious! I hope whether your story placed in the top thirty or not, you will PURSUE it…think about if it should be expanded. Or not (some were perfect at just 50 words). Send it to critique buddies. Because your stories are unique…with universal truths that all children can relate to. I was blown away by the quality of the entries. You did NOT make this easy for me. There were heart-wrenching stories about refugees and illness. There were hilarious stories that twisted the tongue and caused me to laugh so hard, my stomach ached.

 

These were the rules:

  1. 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.
  2. It can be prose, rhyme, free verse, silly or serious…whatever works for you.
  3. Title is not included in the word count.
  4. No illustration notes please.

Are you wondering what MY guidelines were in choosing the winners?

  • Child-friendly/appropriate (EVERY ENTRY WAS)
  • 50 words or less (EVERY ENTRY WAS)
  • Had a beginning, a middle, and end…with a story arc or concept that made sense.
  • If it was rhyming, the rhyme had to be pretty spot on…no inverted phrasing or frivolous words just to make the rhyme work.
  • If it was a concept book, like a counting story, it still had to have a thread that pulled it together and some quality that would make it stand out.
  • The beginning needed to hook me and make me want to keep reading.
  • The ending needed to be satisfying whether it was an ah-ha, a haha, or an aww moment. (tip of the hat to the incredible Linda Ashman, author of dozens of books, including a fantastic writing craft book, The Nuts and Bolts Guide to Writing Picture Books).
  • Readability…I had to want to read it over and over again…and being a good read-aloud was important for the stories that were geared for the very young crowd.
  • And of course, since as you all know, this is a very subjective business, in the end, I had to like it, love it, and connect to it.
  • You’d think, with all of these necessary elements, there would have only been a few stories that rose to the top. But no. There were so many, I had to make painful cuts. Which is why I urge EVERYONE to take their story and work on it and make it the best it can be. Vet it with your critique partners. And send it to agents or editors. Because I read a whole bunch of promising children’s books that are lurking in your #50PreciousWords.

 

Thanks to generous kid lit mentors, we have some wonderful prizes. I had planned to award 21 prizes, but I just could not distill the winner’s pool to less than 40. First-place winner gets first pick of whichever prize he/she wants. Email me and I will connect you with the prize donor. And then second place gets to pick. And so on. So please be patient…it may take some time to work our way through the list. As I had mentioned previously, books, unless they are e-books will be mailed to U.S. addresses only.

  1. A critique from my beloved agent, Essie White.

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  1. 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).

mpbm3. 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).

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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).

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5. Or, if you have already taken Alayne’s wonderful class, you can choose a coupon for 50% off an in-depth critique from Alayne Kay Christian (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.

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7. A manuscript or query letter critique from author Rebecca Colby.

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8. A picture book manuscript critique from author Lori Degman.

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9. A picture book critique from author Anna Forrester.

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10. A fiction picture book critique from author Ariel Bernstein

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11. A picture book critique from author Rosie Pova

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12. A picture book critique from Maria Marshall.

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13. A book on the craft of writing from Rosie Pova

 

14. A copy of Bunny’s Book Club from Annie Silvestro.

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15. A book on the craft of writing from author Maria Marshall

Writing with Pictures by Uri Shulevitz

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16. A copy ofHello, My Name is Tiger from author/illustrator Jennifer P. Goldfinger.

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17. A copy of LIZZIE AND LOU SEAL plus an adorable SEAL NECKLACE from author/illustrator Patricia Keeler.

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18. A copy of CLAMS ALL YEAR by Maryann Cocca-Leffler.

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19. 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.

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20. A copy of Mutt’s Promise,  a middle grade dog adventure written by Julie Salomen…donated by author/illustrator Jill Weber.

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21. A signed copy of Fuzzbuster Knows He’s the Favorite by author Stacy McAnulty.

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22.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.

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  1. through 40: A Kindle copy of one of the following books:

Picture Books the Write Way by Laura Purdie Salas

Rhyming Picture Books the Write Way by Laura Purdie Salas

Writing Children’s Books: 1001 Creative Prompts for Stories Kids Will Love by Anthony Fredericks

Writing Children’s Books: How to Generate Thousands of Creative Story Ideas by Anthony Fredericks

 

WOW! What a generous Kid Lit community we have! I’m grateful to all of the generous prize donors…I hope you all visit their websites and buy their books!

And this has been a long post…I’m sure you are ready to get up and stretch…maybe get a snack or go throw out the trash.

Oh wait…it seems I’ve forgotten something.

AND THE WINNERS OF THE 2ND ANNUAL #50PRECIOUSWORDS ARE:

IN ORDER OF THEIR PLACEMENT (which was incredibly hard to do)..WITH THEIR STORY (because with over 2100 comments, it would be pretty annoying to have to go and find them to read them):

 

  1. DIVERSITEA by Cheryl Kim

Fancy hats,

tasty treats-

sandwiches,

trays of sweets.

Sugar cubes,

porcelain cups,

etiquette-

pinky up!

Tea for two-

Mom and me.

Formal bow,

bamboo whisks,

tatami,

matcha mix.

Mini cup

in-between

two warm hands-

powdered green!

Tea for two-

Grandma and me.

Little lady

growing up,

Diversitea

within my cups!

 

2. INSIDE THE TIDE POOL: by Sam Altmann

 

Removed by request of author – going out on submission!!

3. Dog’s Best Friend by Jean James

Snow Dog,

Show Dog

Come on with me Dog.

Sleigh Dog,

Play Dog

Ride along with me Dog.

Run Dog,

Fall Dog

Hey! Bring back my mitten Dog.

Cold Dog,

Tired Dog

Let’s lay by the fire Dog.

Sleepy Dog,

Dreamy Dog

I love you next to me Dog.

 

4. DANDELION DREAMS by Derick Wilder

Dandelion

Drifts past scampering

Squirrel

Drops nuts on friendly

Frog

Hops in pond, KER-SPLASHES

Beaver

Sinks teeth in weeping

Willow

CRASHES, startles snoozing

Hawk

Soars into puffy

Cloud

Saunters under springtime

Sun

Conjures color-filled

Rainbow

Splashes blue on

Butterfly

Softly lands on little

Girl

Makes a wish on

Dandelion

 

5. A Single Rose by Saba Negesh

New School, strange faces.

Different languages. A lonely place.

Bintu watches other children play.

Tap. Tap.

“Na’am?”

A single rose, a sweet smile.

“Hello.” “Salaam.”

“Play?” “Laa-i’b?”

“Swing.” “Arjoohah.”

“Slide!” “Mezlaaqan!”

“Crayon.” “Qalam Shama’. ”

“Book.” “Kitaab!”

“Shhh.” “Shhh.”

“Tap.” “Tap.”

“Yes?”

A single rose, a sweet smile.

“Fuh-rin?”

“Friends!!”

 

6. A Cucumber Kind of Day by Michael Samulak

Today was a cucumber kind of day.

Cool.

Crisp.

Green.

Clean.

A wee bit wet

With a hint of something sweet.

No sharp edges,

Flexible

Yet firm.

A little too long.

Maybe tomorrow will be like…

A big sweet juicy strawberry!

Today was definitely a cucumber day –

Without seeds.

 

7. The Ballad of Mary Fields by Joanne Roberts

Mary Fields comes chug-chuggin’ from the saloon,

A thundering locomotive,

Streaming smoke from her cigar.

Wolves on the trail,

Four-legged or man-sized,

Won’t slow her down.

Slapping the mail sacks across Moses’s saddle,

She rolls out of town.

Her smile wide as Montana skies,

Freest soul ever born a slave

 

8. A Brief for CF by Erin Buhr

Ever think about your breaths?

Air in. Air out.

Put on shoes. Off you go.

Legs fast. Lungs pumping.

Air in. Air out.

Some kids work for every breath.

Legs fast. Lungs fighting.

Every in. Every out.

They hope one day it will just be

Air in. Air out.

 

9. GNU SHOES by David McMullin

Hugh Gnu’s gnu shoes were used, so Hugh pursued new gnu shoes at SUE SHREW’S SHOES.

“Two and two,” said Hugh, “plus two,”

“Plus two?” asked Sue.

“I choose to chew shoes, too.”

“My shoes are not to gnaw, gnu.”

“Who knew,” said Hugh Gnu.

“Not you,” said Sue. “Shoo!”

 

10. Izzy (or A Zebra & Her Hitchhikers) by Katelyn Aronsen

Two birds perch

on Izzy’s back.

Two o’ pinions

white and black.

Feathered ‘friends’

who kindly

TWEET!

-where she should go!

-whom she should meet!

-what she should eat

for her ice cream:

“Choc’late!” “Vanilla!”

‘Til Izzy screams,

“RAINBOW SHERBET!

…Let ME be ME!”

The birds depart.

Izzy is free.

 

11. BADGER’S GIFT by Jen Bagan

Badger reviewed her delivery list:

Slippers for Skunk

Gloves for Grizzly

Hankies for Hedgehog

She locked her store and began walking.

Badger returned at dusk, sat down and rubbed her sore paws.

“Hmmm … what’s that in the corner?”

She gasped at the attached delivery slip.

Bicycle for Badger

 

12. Little Leaf by Mary Rudzinski

Long branch bends low,

soft breeze swirls

little leaf floats slowly to the rocky creek

Through dark woods to the rushing stream

Into the thundering waterfall

Down the sleepy river

Round the wide bend

Out to the calm bay

Past the busy town

to the deepest ocean

Journey’s end.

 

13. ROSE PETAL SOUP by Heather Kinser

Rose bud.

Bloom!

Sweet perfume.

Rose dud.

Gloom.

Sweeping broom.

Petal pile.

Brainstorm…

smile!

Petal style!

Petal necklace. Petal sash.

Petal blush. Petal lash.

Petal pen. Petal ink.

Petal portrait, rosy pink.

Petal pocket smells divine.

“Rose Sachets for Sale” sign.

When our blooming roses droop,

1-2-3…

make petal soup!

 

14. A Periwinkle Paints by Beth Gallagher

A tiny artist,

dragging his delicately spiraled home,

paints his magnum opus

on the glistening salted surface.

Slow to finish his work,

he toils on

as gulls whirl above looking for lunch.

At last his masterpiece is completed,

just as the white foamy sea stretches up to wipe his canvas

clean.

 

15. ISHAAN’S GARDEN by Candace J Andersen

India is far away, Ishaan.

This is home now.

It is safe.

Here; some earth to make your own.

Onions

Tomatoes

Cauliflower

Potatoes.

Rain.

New school; strangers.

Sun.

New places; rules.

Patience.

Finally…

a

little

sprout.

Summer.

New friends; sharing.

Familiar scents, tastes.

This is home now.

It is safe.

 

16. I’M UNIQUE. I’LL BE LOVED. by Carmen Castillo Gilbert, PhD

Mommy is happy.

Daddy is nervous.

Pépère is delighted

Abuela is excited.

My nursery is decorated.

My crib’s a-waiting.

Plenty of visitors

Gifts to be opened

Onesies, bottles, diapers, and books

What about my looks?

Dark or fair?

Not important!

No one cares.

I’M UNIQUE. I’LL BE LOVED.

 

17. GIRAFFE’S BLUE SWEATER by Angela Hawkins

Giraffe has lost his blue sweater.

Monkey hasn’t seen it,

Lion doesn’t know,

Hippo isn’t sure, just where could a sweater go?

He’s wandered all around the park, gone here and there times two,

now back at home he’s surprised to find,

a wild and wooly blue…sweater-wearing zoo!

 

18. Papa Pasta by Amber M. Bouchard

Every night Papa and Stella ate together.

Every night Papa cooked Papa pasta.

Linguini, tortellini, fettuccine, ziti.

“No more pasta,” said Stella.

So every night Stella made Stella salad.

Cesar, chef, garden, greek.

Until Papa said, “Enough!”

The next night Stella and Papa made dinner together and enjoyed…

Pasta Salad.

 

19. My Mom is a Ninja by Megan Haslem Jones

Brave.

Prepared.

Problem solver.

I think Mom is a ninja.

Stealthy.

Ninja.

Accurate throws.

Ninja.

Cuts, chops, dices.

Ninja scream.

She must be a ninja.

“Powerful kicks,” I overhear.

Stretchy clothing.

Afternoon meditation.

She IS a ninja!

“Mom, I know your secret.”

“Excited? Future big brother!”

“Huh?!?”

Not a ninja.

 

20. Letter Home by Tracy Helixon

She blinks the tears away

To watch Grandad

Waving

From the Dublin shore

Until the ocean carries her

Too far to see him

Across the sea

The statue welcomes

“Tis Lady Liberty herself,” says Da.

“Gather your things,” says Mam.

“Dearest Grandad,” she writes, in her best penmanship,

“We’ve arrived.”

 

21. Slash, Delete, Chop by Jim Chaize

“50 word limit!” I complained.

My third-grade teacher nodded.

“But I have a lot to say.”

“I know.”

Words flowed.

I counted.

Two hundred nineteen. “Ahhh!”

I slashed.

One hundred forty. “Grrr!”

I deleted.

Seventy-four. “Waaa!”

I chopped.

Fifty!

The teacher smiled.

“That was fun. Can I write another?”

 

22. BE HOP-PY! by Deborah Weed

Go!

Kangaroo hopped faster than Grasshopper.

Leaves crunched,

dirt flew,

underneath Kangaroo’s hind paws.

Grasshopper leaped up,

landed on a branch,

then rolled up into a ball.

As planned,

friend Hare

held onto the branch,

pulled backwards,

then let go.

Grasshopper catapulted through the air.

Sadly,

right into Kangaroo’s pouch!

 

23. An Epicurean Delight? by Pamela Courtney

Flabbergast Forest,

Cool and green.

Lizard spies a scary scene.

Venus stre-e-e-etches,

Opens, closes.

Snaps up Beetle as he dozes.

“En garde Flytrap, you carnivorous barbarian!”

Venus gasped, “But I’m vegetarian.”

Venus trips her trap.

Beetle’s awake.

“Settle your mettle Lizard. You’ve made a mistake.”

“Beetle?”

“Yes, Lizard.”“Let’s eat.”

 

24. CLAM I AM by Vicky Fang

Everyone says I should be happy.

“Happy as a clam,” they say.

I am NOT HAPPY.

If only I could swim like that fish…

Or that shrimp.

Or that squid.

Or – OH NO A SHARK!!!

Feeling pretty good about being a clam right about now.

 

25. THE LION TAMER by Ellen Levanthal

Kyle creeps into the moonless night.

Dark, scary,

silent.

Then…

ROAR!

Kyle is brave.

He tiptoes closer and closer.

ROAR!

He digs deep into his pack,

flings something into the air.

CHOMP!

Mmm…peanut butter.

The beast sleeps.

Contented.

Kyle smiles.

He puts his pen down.

A new adventure tomorrow.

 

26. The Play by Mary Warth

Pitcher Mikey threw a zinger,

But the hitter was a swinger.

Coach yelled, “Keep on running kid, they haven’t got the ball!”

As the fielder’s catch was fumbled,

Rounding third, the hitter stumbled.

The Ump ran down the third base line in time to make the call.

“You’re out!”

 

27. Nuts! By Julie Abery

Crow found a nut…

“My nut!” he cawed greedily.

Jay squawked loudly as crow flew over his tree.

Crow dropped the nut!

Jay caught the nut.

“My nut!” he squawked cheekily.

Squirrel bounced along the branch.

Jay dropped the nut!

Squirrel caught the nut.

“My nut!” he squeaked gleefully.

Woodpecker hammered!

Squirrel dropped the nut!

The nut

t

uuuu

m

bbbb

l

eeee

d

to the ground.

Pig walked under the tree.

“My nut!” he grunted and gobbled it up!

“NUTS!”

28. SLUGS AREN’T SLOW bY DEBBIE DAY

Frog was smug.

He never lost a race.

Then a slug said, “I can beat your pace!”

“Slugs are slow.”

“Then race me to the shoal!”

Mark, set, GO!

Then slug began to ROLL.

Zzzzzip! Slug won!

“You see, you never know.

Slugs can’t run-

that doesn’t mean they’re slow.”.

 

29.BUTTON MEMORIES by Ann Magee

Annie dumped the buttons onto her bedspread. “Tell me another story.”

Grandma’s gnarled hands spooned through the shiny discs, finding the tiny white one.

“Once upon a time, a beautiful baby girl was born. This was on her christening gown.”

“That’s how my favorite story begins, Grandma.”

“Mine too, Annie.”

 

30. ME HUNGRY by Zainab Khan

“Me hungry.”

“Banana?”

“Yuck.”

“Apple?”

“Blech.”

“Grapes?”

“Eeew! Me hungry- not starving.”

“Then get your own food.”

“Fine.”

Sniff.

Hmmmmm.

Whirrr.

Vroom.

Crunch.

Thump.

“What are you doing?”

“Eating.”

“Dust bunnies???”

“Yum!”

“WHY?”

“They fill me up.”

“But those were mine!”

“Not anymore.”

“Ugh! Little vacuum sisters.”

 

31.Bright Bulbs by Dr. Anne Lipton

See the yellow daffodil,

sunning on the window sill?

If you have a pot and spoon,

you can grow your own bright bloom.

Plant a bulb deep in the dirt.

From its top, green leaves will spurt.

But a lightbulb yields no shoots.

Pick a bulb that will take root

 

32. Meowcus Welby, D.V.M. by Gregory Bray

“Mr. Furrypants, I have the results of your cat scan and it shows hairballs in your tummy.”

“You’ve got to be kitten me, Doc. What can I do?”

“I’ll give you a purrscription for catnip.”

“Will I need to see a purrgeon?”

“No. You’ll be feline.”

“Pawsome!”

 

 

33. Tree Entreaty by Stephanie Salkin

Chickadee,

Sit with me.

You see,

I’m hopelessly

Stuck in your tree.

Poor little me.

Wait! Don’t fly away!

What can I say

To make you delay

Your get-away?

Phoo! You took flight.

Now you’re gone—out of sight.

I’ll be stuck here all night.

What now?

Descend? How?

Meow!

© Stephanie Salkin

 

34. HELLO BABY by Keila Dawson

You’re quiet inside mama’s belly. What are you doing in there?

Listening?

Sleeping?

Dreaming?

You’re moving inside mama’s belly. And I can feel what you’re doing in there.

Kicking.

Stretching.

Twisting.

You’re noisy outside mama’s belly. I can hear and see what you’re doing now!

Screaming!

Squealing!

Smiling!

Hello baby!

 

35.WHAT’S THE POINT? By Jeanne Curtin

“Ho hum. I am so dull.”

“Take a spin with me. I’m all the buzz.”

And so Pencil met Sharpener.

Together they created ideas, art, and became best friends.

When Pencil hit a breaking point, Sharpener was there.

And Pencil shared Sharpener’s daily grind.

Until Pencil’s life ended short.

 

36. POW, BOOM, WHOOSH by Beth Schneider

Cooper pulled his blanket over his eyes.

POW!

Water beat against the car window.

“You’re fine,” Jake said.

BOOM!

Wind shook the car.

WHOOSH!

Cooper’s toes curled up.

Then silence.

Sunlight.

“Open your eyes,” Jake said.

Cooper smiled. “That wasn’t bad.”

“Told you.”

“Car washes are fun.”

 

37.The Race by Linda Hofke

sun falls

night calls

owl hoots

mouse scoots

snake hisses

strikes

misses

mouse flees

owl sees

WHOOOOSH!

faint squeak

mouse in beak

GULP!

 

38. Mommy? What Will I Be? by Ingrid Boydston

“Mommy? What will I be when I grow up?”

“You can be anything!”

“Anything?”

“A doctor,

a chef,

a teacher,

maybe a great leader!”

“Thanks Mommy, I know what I’ll be!”

“What?”

“All those things!”

“I’m afraid you can’t be ALL of them.”

 

“Sure I can. I’ll be a mommy!”

 

39. EDAMAME DELIGHT by Charlotte Dixon

Maisy counted at the table…

“One edamame…

two edamame…

three edamame…

FOUR!”

Six edamame plopped on the floor.

THUMP…

“Uh-oh!”

“Is your plate clean?” asked Mom.

“Almost,” said Maisy.

Crawling, Maisy counted…

“Five, six…

seven, eight…

nine…

TEN!”

Maisy sowed her edamame…

in Mom’s macrame!

“All done,” shouted Maisy.

 

 

40. CURLS by Jennifer Broedel

One day, while Nonna was visiting, she said my curls looked like a lion’s mane.

I smiled and said:

“My curls are where my courage lives,

Where my ‘crazy’ climbs,

Where my warm heart gives.

My curls are where my ‘sillies’ shine.

My curls are ME!

And they’re all mine.”

 

 

CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL!  Sometimes at the bottom of posts, you might see the words: THE END. But not here. Oh no! Because this is not the end for all of the #50PreciousWords everyone wrote. Whether you placed first…or didn’t get a prize…your story is a living thing…play with it, work with it, breath life into it…and send it out to the world.

Thank you so much, dear friends. I hope you will join me here, same time next year!

And please, if you aren’t exhausted from my posts, come back tomorrow for Perfect Picture Book Friday. One of 2017’s picture books, Old Tracks, New Tricks by Jessica Petersen, will be in the spotlight. And on Saturday…hold on to your hats…we’ll be chatting with Jessica on Will Write for Cookies and there will be a book giveaway as well!

Have a wonderful weekend.

 

 

 

#50PreciousWords Writing Challenge is OPEN

TA-DA!

THE 2nd ANNUAL #50PRECIOUSWORDS WRITING CHALLENGE IS OFFICIALLY OPEN!!!

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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.

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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

  1. 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.
  2. It can be prose, rhyme, free verse, silly or serious…whatever works for you.
  3. Title is not included in the word count.
  4. No illustration notes please.
  5. 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: viviankirkfield@gmail.com.
  6. Deadline for posting the story or the link in the comments is Monday, March 6, at 11:59pm.
  7. Winners will be announced in a special blog post on Thursday, March 9.
  8. 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 

  1. . 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!)

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  1. 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).

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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).

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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).

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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.

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7. A manuscript or query letter critique from author Rebecca Colby.

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8. A picture book manuscript critique from author Lori Degman.

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9. A picture book critique from author Anna Forrester.

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10. A fiction picture book critique from author Ariel Bernstein

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11. A picture book critique from author Rosie Pova

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12. A book on the craft of writing from Rosie Pova.

13. A copy of Bunny’s Book Club from Annie Silvestro.

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14. A book on the craft of writing from author Maria Marshall.

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15. A copy of Hello, My Name is Tiger from author/illustrator Jennifer P. Goldfinger.

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16. A copy of LIZZIE AND LOU SEAL plus an adorable SEAL NECKLACE from author/illustrator Patricia Keeler.

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17. A copy of CLAMS ALL YEAR by author/illustrator Maryann Cocca-Leffler.

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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.

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 19. A copy of Mutt’s Promise,  a middle grade dog adventure written by Julie Salomen…donated by author/illustrator Jill Weber.

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20. A signed copy of Mr. Fuzzbuster Knows He’s the Favorite from author Stacy McAnulty.

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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.

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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.

Cow disagreed.

They hurried to Coyote’s den.

 Pig followed.

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: viviankirkfield@gmail.com

.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.

Will Write for Cookies: Lori Degman PLUS Giveaway

 

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

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INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION

FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

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LORI DEGMAN

Many of you know that I’m a lover of rhyme and a fan of rhyming picture books. So when Lori Degman agreed to participate in Will Write for Cookies, I was thrilled.

Lori Degman writes in rhyme, most of the time – but not always.  She is the award winning author of  1 Zany Zoo, illustrated by Colin Jack (Simon & Schuster, 2010 – Winner of the Cheerios New Author Contest, Illinois Reads featured title, and South Carolina Picture Book Award Nominee); Cock-a-Doodle Oops!, illustrated by Deborah Zemke (Creston Books, 2014 – International Literacy Association Honor Book); Norbert’s Big Dream, illustrated by Marco Bucci (Sleeping Bear Press, 2016); and the forthcoming Just Read (Sterling, 2018). Lori lives near Chicago – home of the World Champion Cubs! (She says she is sorry about the plug, but it’s been such a LONG wait!) 

Before we begin with the Q&A, I want to remind everyone that there will be a giveaway of Lori’s newest picture book, Norbert’s Big Dream, so please stick with us throughout the post and then leave a comment at the end. How about telling us what your biggest dream was when you were a kid.

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Lori, I’m thrilled to welcome you to Picture Books Help Kids Soar!

ME: Who were your favorite authors/illustrators when you were a child?

 LORI:

My favorite picture book authors & illustrators were Dr. Seuss, Maurice Sendak, PD Eastman, William Steig, Shel Silverstein & Else Holmelund Minarik. 

ME: What do you know now that you wish you had known when you first started writing for children?

LORI:

I first started writing before the Internet existed (I don’t like to brag, but I’m pretty old) so I’d never heard of SCBWI and I had no idea there was a whole kid-lit community out there.  I think, if I’d known about SCBWI, it wouldn’t have taken so long to get published – or maybe it would have, but I’d have had more fun along the way!

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ME: Where do you like to write/draw – inside, outside, a special area in your home, on the computer, in a notebook?

LORI:

I always write on my laptop – I type faster than I write and I don’t usually have trouble reading it later.  I flip-flopped my living and dining rooms and now my dining room table is by the front window, so I can look outside while I write.  I’ve become a bit of a Gladys Kravitz (the <40’s can look her up), but that’s part of the fun!

ME: When do you write – early morning, late in the day, middle of the night, on schedule, as the muse strikes?

LORI:

I do my best writing in the morning – unless I’m totally inspired, then I can write anytime!  I still teach full-time (this is my last year!), so I do most of my original writing in the summer and on breaks and I mostly revise during the school year.  Sadly, I go for long stretches when I can’t get any writing done – but that’s going to change in June. 

ME: Why do you write for children?

LORI:

The main reason I write for kids is to make them laugh and instill a love of books!  When my sons were young, I read to them all the time and they loved the funny books best.  I really wanted to write books I could read to them that would make them laugh! (unfortunately, they were in their 20s by the time my first book was published).  I love knowing there are kids reading my books and hopefully enjoying them! 

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ME: Lori, if you have any thoughts or advice for aspiring writers, please share. As well as anything else you want to talk about that parents, educators, writers, librarians might want to hear.

LORI:

My advice to aspiring writers is to join SCBWI, get into a critique group with writers whose opinions you value, write – write – write, and don’t give up!

My advice for parents and teachers is to let kids focus more on story-telling and less on the mechanics for their first drafts.  There’s always time to go back and clean things up!

Lori, thank you so very much…it’s been an honor to have you here!

And for all of you who want to find out more Lori and her wonderful books or get in touch with her:

Website – http://loridegman.com/loridegman.com/Home.html

Blog – http://loridegman.blogspot.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/lori.degman

Twitter – https://twitter.com/LoriDegman

Okay friends…you know what they say…it’s not over until the cookie recipe is shared!

LORI:

I’m not a good baker – I think it’s because I’m not precise enough, so the desserts I make are usually no-bake or things that don’t rely on precision.  The closest thing to a cookie that I make is called a Cheese Blintz Roll-up.  I make them every year for Thanksgiving and they’re gone in minutes!  I don’t have any pictures of them and I didn’t want to make a whole batch because I’d eat them all, so I found a picture that looks just like them on the website Amish365.com. 

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Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:

1 8-ounce package of cream cheese, softened

1 egg yolk

¼ cup sugar

¼ tsp lemon juice

1 large loaf of white bread

1-2 sticks of butter

¾ cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

Instructions:

  1. Heat the oven to 350. Cut the crust off the bread and flatten the slices using a rolling pin.
  2. Combine the cream cheese, egg yolks, white sugar and lemon juice.
  3. Spread the mixture over each slice of bread and roll up the bread to enclose the filling.
  4. Combine the brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.
  5. Melt the butter and brush it on all sides of each roll and then roll them in the brown sugar-cinnamon mixture.
  6. Place the rolls on a cookie sheet and freeze for at least three hours. Cut logs into thirds after frozen and bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes. Serve warm.

OH MY GOSH! I’d make these immediately, but I am missing several of the ingredients…white bread, butter, cream cheese…not my usual fare…HOWEVER…I think I need to give this one a try…it sounds somewhat decadent, rich, and…perfect for a long night of revision.

And while I’m enjoying one of these treats with a cup of tea, I’ll be reading your comments and then Random.org will choose the winner of a copy of Norbert’s Big Dream. Don’t forget to share what YOUR biggest dream was when you were a kid.

Dear friends, thank you for spending your time with Lori and me…next week I’ll have another wonderful guest as I turn the spotlight on one of the debut picture book authors of 2017: Andrea Loney. Don’t miss it!

Perfect Picture Book Friday: Norbert’s Big Dream

Welcome to Perfect Picture Book Friday!

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Walking into the library or a bookstore is like opening a treasure chest filled with precious jewels. But it can also be overwhelming.

If you are a parent, which books should you pick to read with your children? If you are a teacher, which books are best for your preschool, kindergarten, or early elementary grade classes? And if you are a kidlit writer, which books will help hone your skills?

I hope the books I feature here this year will help you choose.

Today’s picture book is Lori Degman’s newest one…and guess what? Tomorrow she will be our Will Write for Cookies guest! And there will be a GIVEAWAY of a BRAND NEW COPY OF THIS BOOK!

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NORBERT’S BIG DREAM

Written by Lori Degman

Illustrated by Marco Bucci

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press (2016)

Ages: Preschool – Grade 3

Themes:

Follow your dream, teamwork

Synopsis:

From Amazon:

Norbert is a pig with a dream. It doesn’t matter if the other farm animals snicker behind his back, Norbert has always dreamed of swimming the English Channel. He’s been preparing and training and finally he’s ready for the big swim! But where exactly is the English Channel?! Will Norbert have to give up on his dreams or will his friends come to the rescue after all? A sweet, funny story about dreaming big.

 Opening Lines:

“Most pigs are satisfied just rolling in the mud, or slurping slop, or snoozing in the shade. But not Norbert.”

Why I like this book:

  • The author has a fabulous way with words…the story moves forward at a wonderful pace because she knows just the right ones to use.
  • The illustrations are incredible…Norbert’s expressions clearly show the reader how he is feeling.
  • I love that Norbert follows his dream, no matter what…most of all, I love that his friends rally behind him and enable him to make his dream come true.

RELATED ACTIVITIES

  • Pull out a map with your children and find the English Channel…check out articles about the different ways people have crossed it: http://mentalfloss.com/article/19722/8-ways-cross-english-channel-without-boat
  • Talk with your children about making dreams come true. What are their dreams? What steps can they take to realize those dreams? Maybe you can mention some of the dreams or goals you had as a child…did you reach them? How? I think it is so important for children to see that there are steps one has to take to get where we want to go, whether it is to play ball at a local playground or walk on the moon.

 

This post is part of a series for parents and teachers and writers 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. I’ve been participating in Tara Lazar’s Storystorm and have a notebook filled with new story ideas already. And if you love entering writing contests, keep your eyes out for Susanna’s Valentiny Contest…she’ll be announcing it soon.

Please don’t miss tomorrow’s Will Write for Cookies Q&A with Lori Degman and the GIVEAWAY of a copy of Norbert’s Big Dream…right here!.