The #50PreciousWords Writing Contest is OPEN: March 2-6

Strike up the band! Sharpen your pencils! It’s time to show the world that:

MAGIC HAPPENS WHEN YOU MAKE EVERY WORD COUNT

logo

 

Today is the day, dear friends! Ready! Set! Go!

The #50PreciousWords 2019 Writing Contest is now OPEN!

green-eggs-and-ham

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 three 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. To answer that challenge, Seuss wrote Green Eggs and Ham. 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! The next year, there were 253 entries. And last year, there were 298.

To backtrack a bit, 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.

#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. IMPORTANT: 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. But no matter how many other places you want to post your story, make sure at least one of those places is in the comment section of this blog post…and please make sure you put your name in the post because some of you have very creative emails/avatar names and I won’t know who you are. 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 Wednesday, March 6, at 11:59pm. And if you plan to ask me to post it for you, please send it at least the day before.
  7. As many of you know, I am in New Zealand right at this moment on a round the world trip of a life-time. I am hoping to announce the winners on March 16th, but I ask for your patience and understanding in case something comes up and it doesn’t happen that day. Also, although I will be posting the winners on March 16th,  I won’t start awarding the prizes until after I return home, on April 8th. But believe me, these prizes will be worth the wait! 
  8.  When I do start contacting the winners, 1st place will choose whichever prize he/she wants. Then I will contact 2nd place with the remaining prizes to choose from. And so on down the line. And here, for your dining and dancing pleasure are the wonderful prizes.

vicki selvaggio

callie-metler_2_orig

  • A seat in Susanna Leonard Hill’s MAKING PICTURE BOOK MAGIC: This is the first picture book writing class I took in February 2014..it was a stellar foundation and it has served me well. Susanna is an amazing mentor and a seat in her class can be life-changing!

mpbm

humor

 

  • A complimentary viewing of Alayne Kaye Christan’s latest webinar: Top Ten Reason’s for Rejections.  
    If you want tips on some corrective action that you might take to improve your chances of submission success, and/or if you would like to deepen your understanding of plot and arc, this webinar is for you.

    http://www.alaynekaychristian.com/

alayne-dsc_0296-crop

Alayne Kay Christian is the content and developmental 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. She has been a professional picture book and chapter book critique writer since 2014. And worked as a critique ninja for Julie Hedlund’s 12 X 12 for three years. Alayne is a graduate of the Institute for Children’s Literature and she has spent the last eleven years studying under some of the top names in children’s literature.

 

  • Picture Book manuscript critique from author Lindsay Metcalf

lindsay h. metcalf (credit anna jackson)Photo courtesy: Anna Jackson Photography

Lindsay H. Metcalf is a children’s author, poet, reporter, and former editor for The Kansas City Star. She will debut with two nonfiction picture books in 2020. In the fall of that year, Charlesbridge will release Taking the Mic: Fourteen Young Americans Making History, a poetic anthology co-edited by Lindsay, Jeanette Bradley, and Keila V. Dawson, and illustrated by Bradley. It features fourteen contemporary young activists, each spotlighted by a well-known poet. Subjects include literacy activist Marley Dias, water protector Jasilyn Charger, Scout for Equality founder Zach Wahls, and immigration reformer Viridiana Sanchez Santos. Contributors include Nikki Grimes, Joseph Bruchac, Lesléa Newman, and Guadalupe García McCall. Details about Lindsay’s second nonfiction picture book will be forthcoming. To learn more about her books and paid critique services, please reach out on lindsayhmetcalf.com or on Twitter @lindsayhmetcalf.

 

head shot

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 2019); and the picture books Scarlet’s Magic Paintbrush and Ready, Set, GOrilla! (Clear Fork, 2018). Upcoming releases include Return of the Magic Paintbrush and Sadie’s Shabbat Stories (Clear Fork, 2019). She is also the co-author of The Parent-Child Book Club: Connecting With Your Kids Through Reading (HorizonLine Publishing, 2009). 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. 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 The Hewitt School and at Temple Shaaray Tefila. Melissa lives in New York City with her husband, three daughters, and one puppy.

www.MelissaStoller.com

www.MelissaStoller.com/blog

http://www.facebook.com/MelissaStoller

http://www.twitter.com/melissastoller

http://www.instagram.com/Melissa_Stoller

http://www.pinterest.com/melissa_Stoller

amber-hendricks_1_orig

Born and raised in the Midwest, Amber Hendricks grew up reading everything she could get her hands on- including the morning cereal boxes. That passion melded into writing, and by the age of 11 she was writing and binding her own “books”.  Amber is the author of Sophie and Little Star (Clearfork/Spork 2018) and two yet to be announced picture books.  Amber has worn many hats in her career : Army wife, Mother, Visual Merchandiser, Certified Pharmacy Technician, and most recently, Childcare Professional.  But she has always circled back to her first love of telling stories.  Amber currently resides in Missouri with her husband and two children.
  • Picture Book manuscript critique from author Sherry Howard.

headshot

Sherry Howard lives in Middletown, Kentucky, in a household busy with kids and pets. She worked as an educator, and now has the luxury of writing full time. Her debut picture, Rock and Roll Woods, released in October, 2018. And her middle grade NF, Deep Sea Divers, just released. She has quite a few books in the pipeline for publication soon.

Sherry Howard | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

 Meet Kuda and Rock and Roll Woods here.

Deep Sea Divers

Julie Abery

Mother. Writer. Teacher of the very young. I live in Switzerland with my partner and Tilly, the Springer Spaniel.

I ❤️ my job (it’s not every day you get to be an honorary five year old!)

I ❤️ chocolate  (I live in Switzerland after all!)

I ❤️  walking the dog (well, I did eat all the chocolate!)

I ❤️  picture books!

If you would like to learn more about me, please visit

http://www.stormliteraryagency.com/our-authors-and-artists/

  • Picture book critique from author Tina Cho.

tina cho

Tina Cho is the author of four picture books– Rice from Heaven: The Secret Mission to Feed North Koreans (Little Bee Books/Bonnier Publishing August 2018), Korean Celebrations (forthcoming Tuttle 2019), Breakfast with Jesus (forthcoming Harvest House 2020), and a new sale yet to be announced. Although she grew up and taught in the United States, she currently lives in South Korea with her husband and two children while teaching at an international school.

The Girls Guide to Manners

www.tinamcho.com

 

  • Picture book critique from author Carrie Finison.

carrie finison headshotrexize

Carrie Finison began her literary career at the age of seven with an idea, a box of markers, and her father’s typewriter. She has been writing off and on ever since, though she has (somewhat regretfully) traded in the typewriter for a laptop. Her poems and stories for children have appeared in Babybug, Ladybug, High Five, and Highlights magazines, and her debut picture book,DOZENS OF DOUGHNUTS, illustrated by Brianne Farley, will be published by Putnam in 2020. She lives outside Boston with her husband, son, daughter, and two cats who permit her to write in their cozy attic office. Find her online atwww.carriefinison.com or on Twitter @CarrieFinson.

  • Picture book critique from Maria Marshall

Maria Marshall photos

Maria is a children’s author, blogger, and poet passionate about making nature fun for children. She was a round 2 judge for the 2018 & 2017 Cybils Awards. And a judge for the #50PreciousWords competition since its inception. Two of her poems are published in The Best Of Today’s Little Ditty 2016 and 2014-2015 anthologies. She is the parent of two amazing adults and lives in the Pacific Northwest with two Pixie Bob cats. When not writing, critiquing, or reading, she bird watches, travels the world, bakes, and hikes. The Picture Book Buzz

 

Website  Facebook  Twitter  Instagram

 

  • Signed copy of book by Laura Sassi

laura sassi

Laura Sassi has a passion for telling stories in prose and rhyme.  Her picture books include  GOODNIGHT, MANGER (Zonderkidz, 2015), GOODNIGHT, ARK (Zonderkidz, 2014), DIVA DELORES AND THE OPERA HOUSE MOUSE (Sterling, 2018) and LOVE IS KIND (Zonderkidz, 2018). She lives in New Jersey with her husband, two children, and a black Cockapoo named Sophie. She is represented by Lara Perkins of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency and you can learn more about her and her books at https://laurasassitales.wordpress.com/

  • Signed copy of THE MASTERPIECE by Shelley Kinder

The Masterpiece - cover image

Shelley lives in Indiana with her family and loves writing for little people. Not So Scary Jerry (2017) was her first picture book. The Masterpiece (2018) is her second. Its original version got eleventh place in Vivian’s #50PreciousWords Contest in 2016

www.ShelleyKinder.com

 

A big thank you to all of our amazing prize donors! Much appreciation to illustrator Vicky Fang whose awesome logo graces our challenge! And a grateful thank you to my dear friends and critique buddies, Maria Marshall, Julie Abery, and Diane Tulloch who will be helping me read and comment.

Last year there were almost 2000 comments – ALL OF THEM POSITIVE AND ENCOURAGING!  I am so proud to be a part of this amazing kidlit community. Our news stations and politicians could definitely learn something from us.

And before I leave you to post your stories and comment on those you have a chance to read, I thought it would only be fair if I posted my sample of a 50-word story. I hang my head in shame because I am using the same story I wrote for last year’s post. I hope you will forgive me, preparations for my book launches and trip did not allow me time to write a new one, but I did want to put up an example for those who haven’t participated before. And maybe it will be new to them!

WHY THE STARS TWINKLE (49 words)

It was Sun’s birthday.

Moon gathered paper, paint,

glitter and glue to make a card.

But Wind blew.

Glitter and glue covered the stars.

“Now I have no gift for Sun,” cried Moon.

“Twinkling stars are the best present of all,” said Sun.

And Moon glowed all night long.

##

Remember, if you have any questions or concerns, please email me at: viviankirkfield@gmail

I ask for your patience and understanding if I don’t get back to you right away…but please don’t stress…if you write a story and have trouble posting it, just email me. As long as your email gets to me time stamped before the contest closes, I will make sure your story is entered. Right at this moment, I am in Auckland, New Zealand, participating in library and school story times, reading FOUR OTTERS TOBOGGAN: AN ANIMAL COUNTING BOOK, PIPPA’S PASSOVER PLATE, and SWEET DREAMS, SARAH! How lucky can aa girl get???

And I am so looking forward to reading all of your precious words!

 

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

#50PRECIOUSWORDS WRITING CHALLENGE BY THE NUMBERS

dr-seuss-stamp

#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.

essie

  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).

kristen

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).

art_of_arc_v3

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.

kidlitcollege

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

rebecca-colby

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

headshot

9. A picture book critique from author Anna Forrester.

anna-forrester

10. A fiction picture book critique from author Ariel Bernstein

ariel-bernstein

11. A picture book critique from author Rosie Pova

this-headshot

12. A picture book critique from Maria Marshall.

maria-marshall

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

 

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

book-cover

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

Writing with Pictures by Uri Shulevitz

writing with pictures

 

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

tiger

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

lizzie-and-lou-seal-cover

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

clams-all-year

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.

marcie-and-books-1-and-2

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

mutts-promise-cover

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

fuzzbuster-cover

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.

stackofbooks

  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!!!

dr-seuss-stamp

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.

green-eggs-and-ham

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!)

essie

  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).

mpbm

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).

kristen

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).

art_of_arc_v3

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.

kidlitcollege

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

rebecca-colby

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

headshot

9. A picture book critique from author Anna Forrester.

anna-forrester

10. A fiction picture book critique from author Ariel Bernstein

ariel-bernstein

11. A picture book critique from author Rosie Pova

this-headshot

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

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

headshot

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

maria-marshall

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

tiger

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

lizzie-and-lou-seal-cover

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

clams-all-year

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.

marcie-and-books-1-and-2

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

mutts-promise-cover

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

fuzzbuster-cover

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.

stackofbooks

 

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.

#50 Precious Words Writing Challenge is Almost Here

.

Are you ready for a whole lot of fun?

As many of you know, I’m a BIG fan of writing contests and challenges.  I love them because

  1. they encourage writers to write
  2. they push us to submit our work
  3. they engage us in the kid lit community and provide us with positive feedback and inspiration.

 

dr-seuss-stamp

March 2nd is the birthday of the incredible Theodore Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. Last year I put together a little contest based on Random House founder Bennet Cerf’s 1960 challenge to Seuss to write a children’s book using only 50 words. And the classic Green Eggs and Ham was born. It’s true that the story has over 700 words…but only 50 unique words.

green-eggs-and-ham

My challenge is a bit different…yout MAX WORD COUNT for the entire story is 50.

If you are currently writing picture books…or just reading them, you’ll notice that the average word length for many is getting shorter and shorter. So I thought, wouldn’t that be a great challenge…to write a story for kids with only 50 words? With a beginning, a middle, and an end. I wondered if I could do it. I opened the challenge to everyone. Much to my surprise and amazement, there were 128 entries! And now it’s time to DO IT AGAIN.

Please put on your thinking caps and get busy writing. You have a couple of weeks until you need to post your story. Here are the guidelines:

#50 PRECIOUS WORDS WRITING CONTEST

  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.
  5. The contest officially opens on Thursday, March 2nd, in a special post on my blog.
  6. Between March 2nd and March 6th, post your story on your blog if you have one and put the link in the comments of my #50 Precious Words Challenge blog post OR post the entire story in the comments of my #50 Precious Words Challenge blog post. Last year, because the stories were so short, eventually, we had all of them in the comment thread. Please make sure you put your name in the post.
  7. Deadline for posting the story or the link in the comments is Monday, March 6, at 11:59pm.
  8. Winners will be announced Thursday, March 9.
  9. Winners? Of course, there will be winners…and prizes, too! The book prizes are limited to USA addresses, please.
    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!) essie

2. A seat in author Susanna Leonard Hill’s amazing Making Picture Book Magic online writing class (the first writing class I ever took and it set me on the path of writing wonderful picture book manuscripts).

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).

kristen

4. This next prize can be chosen by two people…there are TWO 50% off coupons for Alayne Kay Christian’s ART OF THE ARC online writing class (this is the next class I would love to take).

art_of_arc_v35. OR…if you have already taken Alayne’s awesome class, you can choose 50% off an in-depth critique from her (when Alayne says it is an in-depth critique, she isn’t kidding. I had one of those…it is supercalifragilisticexpialidocious).

6. A 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.

kidlitcollege

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

rebecca-colby

8. A picture book critique from author Lori Degman

headshot

9. A picture book critique from author Anna Forrester.

anna-forrester

10. A fiction picture book critique from author Ariel Bernstein

ariel-bernstein

11. A picture book critique from author Rosie Pova

this-headshot

 

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

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

book-cover

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

maria-marshall

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

tiger

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

lizzie-and-lou-seal-cover

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

clams-all-year

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.

marcie-and-books-1-and-2

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

mutts-promise-cover

20. 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.

stackofbooks

I am exceedingly grateful to all of these kid lit pros who generously donated prizes…to find out more about these wonderful people, please click on each link above to visit their websites…follow them on social media..and buy their books!!!!

Please help spread the word and share this around your social media…the more the merrier… #50PreciousWords.

Are you excited?

I am!

And I just can’t wait to read all of your precious words.

P.S. Don’t forget…this is NOT the post you will be using for the contest entries…that post will go live on March 2nd.

 

 

Author-Illustrator Writing Process Blog Hop

Monday Writing Magic: The Leap from Reading to Writing

When I first started blogging, I posted every day…YIKES! What was I thinking! Menu Monday (a child-friendly recipe), Timeless Tuesday (several quotations), What’s in Your Child’s Bookcase Wednesday (picture book review), Healthy Habit Thursday (health tip related to children), Follow Me Friday (school or library visits), Saturday Reflections and Cinema Sunday (kid-flick review).

Lately, I’ve been focusing on my writing for children, so I’ve cut down on my blogging…usually only posting once a week. But today is my FOURTH day in a row of posting!!!!

And what a special post this is!

Recently, my dear friend, picture book author Clarike Bowman-Jahn, tagged me in an author-illustrator writing process blog hop and, since I am knee-deep in revisions and up-to-my-neck in story ideas, it seemed like the perfect time to participate.

By the way, Clarike’s NEWEST picture book, Edmund Pickle Chin – A Donkey Rescue Story (co-authored by Susan April Elwood and illustrated by Lynne Bendoly) is HOT OFF THE PRESS. Click here to check out the ebook version. I’ll be reviewing it as part of her book blog tour.

edmund-cover-600x900

Clarike has also undertaken a huge memoir project. Her blog provides all kinds of wonderful resources and links for writers. Why not stop by and say hello.

The hop has four questions…so hold on to your hats…here are my answers!

  1. WHAT AM I WORKING ON?

I almost feel guilty calling this work. I’m having so much fun and I get so much joy from writing – It does not feel like work. I’m part of the 12×12 Picture Book Challenge…this encourages me to stay on task and write at least one picture book draft every month…I’m working on that draft right now. I also participate in two critique groups where I submit a manuscript each month for critique and then I get to critique the stories of my critique buddies…that means NINE critiques I need to do…plus this month, I’m participating in Angie Karcher’s RhyPiBoMo and I’m in a critique group for that…so an additional two critiques each week. I am learning so much from critiquing someone else’s manuscript AND reading the critiques that the others do. I’m currently polishing one picture book manuscript to resubmit to a small niche publisher…polishing another to submit to a small publisher who I met through Tara Lazar’s PiBoIdMo…polishing a rhyming picture book to submit as an entry into the Golden Quill RhyPiBoMo poetry contest. I’ll bet you can see the sparkle from all of that polishing. I’m also planning to try my hand at a picture book about dinosaurs (yes, I know, there are 10,000 of them already) and one about the All-American Girl’s Baseball League of the 40’s and 50’s.

  1. HOW DOES MY WORK DIFFER FROM OTHERS OF ITS GENRE?

Sometimes I don’t feel my work does differ…in fact, sometimes, I pick up a book, turn the pages, and say – OH NO! THAT WAS MY IDEA! Has that ever happened to you? But I do know that all of my writing for children contains a core of positivity – my background in early childhood education and my own positive outlook on life lead me to do that. I am trying to learn to add humor because I know that kids love a funny book…and if they don’t love it, they won’t read it!

  1. WHY DO I WRITE WHAT I DO?

I’ve always loved books. I know how important a book can be…one book CAN make a difference in a child’s life. I hope that my books will bring a smile to a child’s face and help a child approach life with a positive attitude.

  1. HOW DOES MY WRITING PROCESS WORK?

I’m a pantser, not a plotter. I get an idea – hear a phrase – see something interesting – and I want to write about it. So I sit down and write. And then I look it over and cross out a lot and write some more. When I am pretty happy with what I’ve written, I go over it for spelling and grammar and then I submit it to my critique groups. I take their feedback and suggestions and revise. And then begin again. Look over – cross out – write some more. Submit to critique groups. When I feel it is ready, I submit it – but that hasn’t happened as much as I had hoped this year – I plan to improve that for the second half of 2014.

I think this is a perfect time to speak a bit about studying the craft of writing. I know we’ve all met people (some of them writers) who think that writing for children is as easy as 1,2,3. And most believe that writing a picture book is a piece of cake. Well, take it from me…if it is a piece of cake, it is a piece of the most complex layer cake you have ever eaten! The spark or idea is just the tip of the iceberg…there are so many elements (character, plot, structure, strong beginning, satisfying ending, etc.) that go into writing a great story…and once that is written, you are only just starting the process. Many revisions later, it is time to let other eyes look at it. Then, based on the feedback, more revisions.

You can learn a lot about writing for children from books…there are many excellent ones out there…Ann Whitford Paul’s is my favorite. Attending conferences is another layer that can help…the workshops and presentations will teach you so much. But there is something else that can add so much to your understanding of the whole process – taking a class. And with everyone’s busy schedules, the online courses that are offered are perfect!

Grad-Badge-4

In February, I attended Susanna Leonard Hill’s Making Picture Book Magic class. I only wish I had taken it last year when she first offered it.

  • THE LESSONS – 5 weeks of in-depth lessons that addressed every important element in writing picture books
  • THE ONE-ON-ONE ATTENTION – Susanna was an incredible mentor – commenting and giving personal help every day
  • THE SMALL GROUP SETTING – Susanna keeps the group size low – I believe the classes cannot have more than 8
  • THE CAMARADERIE – There was a wonderful feeling of comfort and trust amongst the participants in my class…I know we will be helping each other out with critiques and encouraging words as we continue writing in the future

One of the greatest joys of being part of this writing community is connecting with other like-minded souls. It is now my pleasure to introduce to you FOUR amazing women who are also passionate about their writing. Cathi is a gifted artist and illustrator who wrote an amazing book about kites which I reviewed last year…Ellen is one of my RhyPiBoMo critique buddies…and she introduced me to Monica and Artemis…see how this amazing spider web works.

cathi-bosco-150x150

Originally from Colorado, Cathi currently lives and works in Madison, Connecticut where she owns a Creative Design Services Studio: C & D Studios.  She is a working artist, illustrator, photographer, publisher and designer and, although the projects, subjects and work objectives have changed over time, the passions, artistry and skills have sharpened with new experiences, resources and challenges.

She finds herself drawn towards designing for the web where she likes to empower clients with emerging resources. Cathi is also a member of the SCBWI Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and the NESCBWI New England Connections SCBWI. Her photography and photojournalism work has been recognized by The Connecticut Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists’ annual excellence in journalism awards 2008 for published magazine covers and for photo-journalism stories. She handles web design, identity, branding, logos, photography and illustration for clients internationally and offers training, consultation and all kinds of design services for print and for the web. Cathi works with several Art galleries throughout New England as well. As an illustrator she is best known for her work illustrating College Mascots for the CBC Collection – officially licensed and approved Fine Art Illustration work for institutions and retail product lines. As a children’s writer, she is best known for her picture book, Be The Kite.

Find out more about Cathi here: http://www.bethekite.com/about-the-authorartist/

The Studio – web design graphic design etc;
Link to Be the Kite!  video preview:
Other Illustrations at www.CBCMascots.com

 

new el pr pic  (2)

ELLEN LEVENTHAL

Ellen Leventhal is an educator and writer in the Houston, TX area. Ellen has a BA in Elementary Education and an M.Ed. in Special Education. She began her career as a special education teacher and currently works part time with students in second through eighth grade. Ellen’s writer’s dream came true when her first children’s book, Don’t Eat the Bluebonnets, was published in 2006. Hayfest, A Holiday Quest and Bully in the Barnyard soon followed. Now she is busy working on a middle grade chapter book, another picture book, and a compilation of essays. Ellen’s favorite part of her work is visiting schools and sharing her stories and passion for literacy. She loves working with and learning from other writers and the children she meets along the way.

Find out more about Ellen here: http://spacecityscribes.wordpress.com and http://www.e2books.com/

 

 IMG_6144

MONICA SHAUGHNESSY

Monica Shaughnessy draws on her experience as a lifelong Texan by creating characters larger than the Lone Star State. Her works span multiple genres, including adult mystery/suspense, YA, middle grade, and picture book, but they all carry her signature offbeat style. If you’re looking for something outside the mainstream, you’ll find it in her work. When she’s not slaying adverbs and polishing prose, she’s either hanging out with her rescue dogs or stargazing in her backyard.

website: www.monicashaughnessy.com

blog: monicashaughnessy.wordpress.com

twitter: @bizarrebooks

 

AuthorBioPic

ARTEMIS GREENLEAF

Artemis Greenleaf has always been fascinated by the mysterious, and she devoured fairy tales, folk tales and ghost stories since before she could read. In 1995, she had a near-death experience which turned her perception of the world upside down. She lived to tell the tale (and often does, in one form or another), and went on to marry an alien. She lives in the suburban wilds of Houston, Texas with her husband, two children and assorted pets. She writes novels, short stories, and non-fiction.

For more information, please visit artemisgreenleaf.com.

 

I hope you all enjoyed meeting the four authors I tagged.

I know they all plan to do author/illustrator writing process blog hop posts…I hope you will go and visit them to say hello…and perhaps some of you know them already!

Now I’m off to work on my poetry submission for RhyPiBoMo…or maybe it’s time for some popcorn and a movie with hubby!

#PPBF: Sam, Sebbie and Di-Di-Di at the Night Safari – Teaching Cooperation with Picture Books

Today is Perfect Picture Book Friday, but I have some exciting news to share first…I just completed Susanna Leonard Hill’s Making Picture Book Magic class.

Grad-Badge-4

I can honestly say that I learned more about writing picture books during the one month online course than I did in the last two years. More importantly, it was a hands-on experience ALL THE WAY – personally mentored by the lovely Susanna and filled with amazing comraderie and feedback from the other attendees…thank you to Jeanine, Carrie, Dana, Linda, Heather and Kirsten…for your support, encouragement and inspiration.

Don’t you love getting packages in the mail?

Yesterday the doorbell rang. The mailman had a package for me…I had to sign for it because it was from Singapore. I opened it carefully and took a deep breath, hoping I could bring back the scents of that beautiful city.

I wasn’t able to detect anything in the air, but the contents more than made up for that. TWO PICTURE BOOKS from leading Singapore author, David Seow! Hip hip hooray!

I don’t want to overwhelm you, so I’m reviewing one today and will save the other for another time. I read this one to my grandson last night…he loved it and wanted to hear it again…and we all know that is the sign that Continue reading

#PPBF: My Warp Speed Mind Plus Giveaway

Today is Friday – Not only do I have a children’s book review to add to the Perfect Picture Book resource list that author Susanna Leonard Hill is building on her blog…I also have, thanks to the wonderful author of today’s book, a GIVEAWAY! Just leave a comment on this post. Then, for more wonderful reviews from authors, educators and others who contributed today, please go to Susanna’s post here.

I got to know the author of My Warp Speed Mind when my parenting book was published and I started blogging and connecting with authors, educators and parents. Donalisa Helsley is a family and children’s therapist. She’s written several other books, each addresses a particular problem or concern of parents and kids.

51LEdhyqQ5L._SX258_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_

My Warp Speed Mind

Written by Donalisa Helsley

Illustrated by Kalpart

Publisher: Mirror Publishing (2013)

Ages: 5 and up

Themes:

ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), behavioral modification

Opening Lines:

“My name is Drake. I always used to be in trouble. I didn’t like school because Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: