Marcie Colleen: Will Write for Cookies PLUS Giveaway

 

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

Plate of Cookies

INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION

FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

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MARCIE COLLEEN

Our guest today is a beacon of light for all of kid lit land. I remember seeing her name the first year of the 12×12 Picture Book Challenge. And as time went on, I kept seeing her name. She’d signed with an agent. She’d gotten a book contract. And another. And then another! But what stands out most about this amazing writer is how she shares her passion with the rest of us. She’s the Dick Clark (I’m sure many of you have no clue who Dick Clark is…I am definitely dating myself) of the 12×12 Facebook group…and helps us all celebrate our successes with a rockin’ dance jam every week.

Marcie Colleen has been a teacher, an actress, and a nanny, but now she spends her days writing children’s books. She is the author of the Super Happy Party Bears chapter book series (Macmillan/Imprint). Her debut picture book, Love Triangle, illustrated by Bob Shea (Blazer+Bray/HarperCollins, Fall 2017) sold in a five-house auction. It is about best friends Circle and Square, and Triangle who comes between them. Other upcoming picture books include The Adventure of the Penguinaut (Scholastic, Fall 2018) which will be illustrated by Emma Yarlett. Marcie is a frequent presenter at conferences for SCBWI, as well as a faculty member for Kidlit Writing School offering courses with a focus on plotting and revising picture books. She lives in San Diego, California with her husband and their mischievous sock monkey.

Marcie, I’m thrilled to welcome you to Picture Books Help Kids Soar! Before we begin, I want to remind everyone that there will be a giveaway of Book Three and Book Four of the Super Happy Party Bears series, so please stick with us throughout the post and then leave a comment at the end. 

book 4

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

 MARCIE:

I have always loved the Curious George adventures by husband and wife team, Margret and H.A. Rey. And I could lose myself for hours in the illustrations of Richard Scarry. I loved his city scenes where there was so much going on. It is a life goal of mine to write a story that will lend itself to this kind of illustration.

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

MARCIE:       

I would often feel like I wasn’t a real writer because I didn’t write every day. And I had heard that real writers must do just that. But getting to know myself as a writer and to let my creativity lead the way helped me to trust my own rhythm and my own processes.

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

MARCIE:

I write on a laptop and therefore am quite flexible as to where. Most often I can be found on my couch, sitting crisscross applesauce with my laptop propped up on a pillow. However, on Wednesdays I spend the whole day at the library in downtown San Diego writing. They have a beautiful reading room which has amazing views of the Coronado Bridge, the harbor, and the distant ocean.

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

MARCIE:

I like sleep, so I am not one to rise super early. But once my husband leaves for work at 8 am, I get to work writing. Then, I usually write until about noon or one-ish. After that, I usually feel my creativity dwindling. Although I have been known to get into a groove and write all day and into the night.

ME: Why do you write for children?

MARCIE:

I’m really connected to my inner-child. Honestly, I think deep inside I’m still a six-year-old. Shhh! Don’t tell anyone. I have some people fooled that I am actually an adult.

 cover book 1

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

To find out more about Marcie and her books: http://www.thisismarciecolleen.com or on Twitter @MarcieColleen1.

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

But, since yesterday’s Perfect Picture Book Friday was a review that was not a picture book, our cookie recipe today is a recipe for something that is not a cookie!

 pandj

Huge thanks to Marcie for a wonderful interview! She is an inspiration!

Dear friends, thank you for spending your time with Marcie and me…next week I’ll have another wonderful guest as I turn the spotlight on Catherine Bailey, author of LUCY LOVES SPENCER. Don’t miss it!

Super Happy Party Bears: Book Review and Activity PLUS GIVEAWAY

Is it Friday already?

The days and weeks are flying by. Do you feel the same way?

There are pros and cons to time passing at warp factor speed.

The con: I keep getting a week older!

The pro: It’s PERFECT PICTURE BOOK FRIDAY AGAIN! Oh, and St. Patrick’s Day. Maybe I should be writing with green ink.

We had a wonderful response to the Q&A with author Jessica Petersen and the OLD TRACKS, NEW TRICKS posts…and that means that lots of people were entered into the special prize package giveaway.

AND THE WINNER IS:

GABRIELLE FROM BUTTERFLY KISSES AND SILLY WISHES

Gabrielle…let’s connect so I can get your information to Jessica and she can get the prize package to you.

And more good news! (Isn’t it nice to know there is a place you can go where good news abounds?)

Author Marcie Colleen is providing a giveaway this weekend! Just comment on this post or tomorrow’s Will Write for Cookies and you might win a copy of SUPER HAPPY PARTY BEARS GOING NUTS or SUPER HAPPY PARTY BEARS STAYING A HIVE. Woo-hoo! Two books? That means two winners!

Are you still with me? Good, because as usual, I have a few important things I want to share with you!

  1. The #50PreciousWords Writing Challenge was so well-received (251 entries and over 2100 comments). I’ve decided to host another challenge. This one is for children! #50PreciousWordsforKids will coincide with Children’s Book Week, May 1-7. I’ll be inviting elementary school teachers to have their students write stories of 50 words or less. The teacher and/or class will choose one of the stories to email to me and I will post it on my blog on May 11. Homeschooled kids are also invited to participate as long as  a parent approves and submits the story. This challenge is for grades K-6. And the Children’s Book Council thinks it is a great way to celebrate Children’s Book Week.

Here’s the 50-word story my grandson wrote during the #50PreciousWords Writing Challenge…he was staying with me while he had a week off from school:

Locked Out by Jeremy (age 8)

One evening, when me and my mom got home from school, we tried to unlock our door. We heard a snap. Our house key broke! We went to our neighbors for help. They said, “Get a ladder and climb into a window.” We followed their advice. Unlocked the door. Home!

One of the #50PreciousWords particpants shared a 50-word story her daugher wrote:

DINOSAUR SNOW by Bethany (age 6)

It snowed a lot through the day. Pteranodon and her sister Teethless were bored. Pteranodon said, “I planned to go outside and it’s almost time for lunch. Oh it’s 11:00. Let’s go wake Mom and Dad.” “You’re right,” said Teethless. So they did. And then they ate lunch.

Pretty spectacular, right? I sent a special prize to Bethany. And my grandson got to pick out some books at the local indie bookstore. I think that kids are just bursting to express their imagination in stories…I’d love to provide a platform for them to do just that!

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I’m reaching out to all of you…if you have connections with elementary school principals or teachers or library specialists, please let them know about this…or provide me with their contact info. Flyers will be available by the end of the weekend. I’m hoping that author/illustrator friends will donate signed books or even mini Skype classroom visits as prizes. Or anything else that would be appropriate. And I’ll have journals and books that I can give as prizes also.

 We are all about wanting to encourage kids to become lovers of books and reading…and what better way than to have children write their own stories! Many classrooms are supposed to have activities for Children’s Book Week…this would be an ideal one. Please let me know what you think? Do you have any suggestions that would make the challenge better.

2. The ReFoReMo Challenge (Reading for Research Month) is going strong. I’ve still got a bunch of posts to catch up on…and my own contribution to the challenge will be up on March 21…hope you get to read it! A huge thank you to Carrie Charley Brown and Kirsti Call for the enormous effort they put into making the challenge a success!

3. Did you know that Jodell Sadler’s KidLit College is having a birthday bash! Starting March 27, there will be 30+ days blog posts about the building blocks of writing success. And there will be prizes, too! My post will be about the importance of critique groups.

4. And last, but certainly not least, nonfiction picture book guru, Kristen Fulton, has announced an impending NonFicPicWeek, June 26-30. If you are writing nonfiction picture books or want to, you CANNOT miss this challenge. Seriously.

And now, before I go off on another tangent, however fun and informational it might be, here is our Perfect Picture Book review of what probably isn’t really a picture book…but it’s got a lot of pictures and my 8-year old grandson absolutely LOVES the whole series. So I am reviewing the first four books in the series.

cover book 1

SUPER HAPPY PARTY BEARS GNAWING AROUND

Written by Marcie Colleen

Illustrated by Steve James

Publisher: Imprint – Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group (2016)

Ages: Kindergarten – Grade 3

Themes of this book and all the others in the series:

Friendship, ingenuity, getting along

Synopsis:

From Amazon:

The first book in a funny chapter book series filled with full color illustrations and adorable animals!

To the Super Happy Party Bears, everything is a good thing. Their entire attitude can be summed up in one word: YAY! They love doughnuts, dancing, and above all else—a good party. Not so for the rest of the animals living in the Grumpy Woods. They find the bears terribly annoying.

When a few beavers come to town, the Grumpy Woods are even grumpier than usual. These beavers are drying up their river with their dam . . . the beavers are ruining everything! They must leave—it is decreed!

But the Super Happy Party Bears just love the beavers! As the Grumpy Woods scheme to unwelcome them, the Super Happy Party Bears throw them a housewarming party that will prove dancing can always save the day.

Why I like this book and all the others in the series:

  • The adventures of these little fun-loving bears are kind of like a child’s walk through the world…lots of people saying ‘no’, ‘you can’t do this’, and ‘stop making noise’. I think kids really relate to that.
  • The text has so many funny twists and turns.
  • The illustrations are really colorful and the expressions on the animals’ faces are hilarious.
  • I read this with my 8-year old grandson and he LOVED it. When we finish, he wanted to read the rest of the series.

cover book 2

Knock Knock on Wood

Written by Marcie Colleen

Illustrated by Steve James

Publisher: Imprint – Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group (2016)

Synopsis:

The second book in a funny chapter book series filled with full color illustrations and adorable animals!

 The Grumpy Woods dislike Wallace Woodpecker only slightly less than the Super Happy Party Bears. They find his pecking preposterously loud, but the bears think Wallace is beating a nice rhythm–it’s great for early-morning dancercise! The bears convince Wallace he has great skills to offer the woods, and they give him ideas for unsolicited handy work. Instead of endearing him to the neighbors, it annoys them even more. Can the bears really help this noisy neighbor?

cover book 3

Staying A Hive

Written by Marcie Colleen

Illustrated by Steve James

Publisher: Imprint – Macmillan (2017)

Synopsis:

The third book in a funny chapter book series filled with full color illustrations and adorable animals!

When Queen Beetrice and her beehive opens for business in the Grumpy Woods, the Super Happy Party Bears are excited–they LOVE honey! But the other Grumpy Woods residents are very unhappy with all the noisy buzzing going on, and they boycott the bees!

Too much sugar sends the bears into early hibernation and soon the woods are overflowing with uneaten honey. The townscritters need a fast solution to the sticky situation–and so they decide to throw an Un-Slumber Party to wake those bears up

book 4

Going Nuts

Written by Marcie Colleen

Illustrated by Steve James

Publisher: Imprint – Macmillan (2017)

Synopsis:

The fourth book in a funny chapter book series filled with full color illustrations and adorable animals!

The squirrels of the Grumpy Woods have finally finished gathering their nuts for winter, when the Super Happy Party Bears find their stash…and eat the whole thing. To make it up to them, the bears show the squirrels another hoard they’ve found—one that belongs to the chipmunks!

Suddenly, the bears’ huge appetite has caused an all-out civil war between two rival nut hoarders: the Puffy Cheeks (the chipmunks) and the Twitchy Tails (the squirrels). Can the bears prevent the Grumpy Woods from getting too nutty?

RELATED ACTIVITIES

MAKE A FELT BEAR THAT IS SOFT TO TOUCH

circles-bear-mainpicPhoto courtesy: http://www.firstpalette.com/Craft_themes/Animals/circlesbear/circlesbear.html

You will need: Pieces of felt, scissors, glue, 1 piece of poster board or thicker construction paper.

  1. Cut felt in various size circles as seen in picture.
  2. Glue ears, eyes, nose and muzzle onto head.
  3. Glue onto background.

For more detailed instructions: http://www.firstpalette.com/Craft_themes/Animals/circlesbear/circlesbear.html

Paper bags would also make perfect Super Happy Party Bear puppets…just cut out features from construction paper and glue onto bag. You can turn a few paper bags into a Super Happy Party Bear party!

And now get set for a comment party…if you leave a comment here and/or on tomorrow’s Will Write for Cookies post, you will be entered to win either STAYING A HIVE or GOING NUTS.

Have a wonderful weekend, dear friends, Happy St. Patrick’s Day…and please come back tomorrow for:

Will Write for Cookies

MARCIE COLLEEN

 This post is part of a series for parents and teachers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays hosted by Susannah Leonard Hill. Click on her link and find lots of other picture book suggestions with summaries and activities.

#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.

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).

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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.

lizzie-and-lou-seal-cover

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!!!

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.