It’s a Picture Book Party for 12 x 12’ers AND a Giveaway!

 

There will definitely be CAKE!  I’m sure Jeremy will be happy to share a piece with you.

 

You are welcome to help yourself to an Overnight Cookie!

And make sure you read through to the end, because there is a prize lurking around!

I’m joining in on the six-month celebration of Julie Hedlund’s 12 x 12 Picture Book Challenge.

In January, Julie issued a challenge to picture book writers and illustrators: write a picture book draft each month of 2012.  Hundreds of people hopped aboard the 12 x 12 train and Julie set up an amazing Facebook page to encourage participants to connect with each other.  Her blog posts are a treasure…filled with information and valuable advice…often offered via interviews with editors, authors, illustrators and others in the field of children’s picture books.

I’ve had a life-long passion for picture books…as a child, I loved listening to them…as a teacher and mom, I loved reading them to kids…and for the past forty years, I’ve dabbled in writing them.

Julie’s challenge has spurred me to do more than just dabble…and in the past six months, I’m proud to say that I HAVE written six picture book drafts…and scribbled ideas for quite a few more!

What’s so  special about picture books you may ask?

  • Picture books are usually a child’s first introduction to the written word.
  • Picture books help develop better reading readiness and literacy skills.
  • Picture books introduce children to the world of art.
  • Picture books help parents and children bond with each other.
  • Picture books are a crucial tool for encouraging life-long learning among children.
  • Picture books allow kids to relate their own life experiences to the events in the story.
  • Picture books help build self-esteem in children.
  • Picture books are enjoyable and entertaining.

Here’s an example of one of the classic picture books that I love.

Do those words sound familiar?  This verse comes from one of the most famous picture books every published.  Madeline was written in 1939 by Ludwig Bemelmans, an Austrian author who relocated to New York City.  Madeline is quite the modern day young girl who thinks for herself and has courage and determination.

Maybe one day, my stories will be enjoyed by children all over the world…for now, my grandchildren and the kindergarten classes I visit during the school year are my audience.  In the next few days, I plan to submit one of them to Rate Your Story.

 In January, my picture book draft was a rhyming story about my daughter and her favorite hat: Caroline’s Flower-Sprigged Hat.

 In February, I wrote another rhyming tale about a bunch of unlikely Valentine’s: Whom Do I Love?

 In March, my picture book draft relayed the saga of a little boy who refuses to take off his boots: The Boots of Dylan McGee.

 In April, I entered Susanna Leonard Hill’s Birthday Contest with another rhyme about a little girl who came up with an ingenious idea because she didn’t want her brother to come to her party: No Brother for My Birthday.

 In May, I turned my efforts to prose in a true story about my younger son: The Tomato Turner.

 And this month, I wrote a sequel to the saga: Confessions of the Tomato Turner.

 I can honestly say I’ve never been so happy.  This wonderful kid lit community is filled with picture book authors, illustrators, librarians, teachers and others who love picture books and understand how important they are for children.  I am so fortunate to have connected with them and I look forward to the second half of the year…Thank You to Julie, Susanna, Tracy, Penny, Clar, Joanna, Stacy, Tina, Robyn, Beth, Heather, Catherine, Kirsten, Jennifer Y, Jennifer R, Amy, Jackie, Darshana, Emily, Diane, Renee, Erik…I know I’ve missed a bunch of you…but I’ve enjoyed reading your posts and your comments on mine…and I’ve learned so much!

 

And now for the prize!  This is the 300th post on my blog!  I’m so excited because when I started out almost two years ago, I knew almost nothing about the Internet, blogging and social media like Twitter.  When someone said I could “grab their button” I thought they were talking about the round piece of plastic, metal or wood that you sew onto a coat.  I had no idea how to link a URL to a picture or word…and I also had no idea what a URL was.

In honor of this 300th post, I’d like to give away a lovely copy of The Lap-Time Song and Play Book, edited by Jane Yolen with illustrations by Margot Tomes.  If you’d like a chance to receive this special picture book with favorites like “I’m a Little Teapot” and “The Eensy Weensy Spider”, please leave a comment on this post and let me know you’d like to win it.  When I get back from my trip to Chicago, I’ll use Random.org to pick the winner.