#50PreciousWords 2020 Contest is OFFICIALLY OPEN

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

I am so very happy you’ve stopped by!

Art by Vicky Fang

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


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


If you are currently writing picture books…or just reading them, you’ll notice that the average word length for many is getting shorter and shorter. So I thought, wouldn’t that be a great challenge…to write a story for kids with only 50 words? With a beginning, a middle, and an end. I wondered if I could do it. I opened the challenge to everyone.

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


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


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

Courtney Fahy is the Editorial Assistant at Little Bee Books and Yellow Jacket, where she acquires and edits board books, picture books, and middle grade novels. Some of Courtney’s picture books include Saving the Countryside: The Story of Beatrix Potter and Peter Rabbit by Linda Marshall, Making Their Voices Heard: The Inspiring Friendship of Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe by Vivian Kirkfield, Mootilda’s Bad Mood by Corey Rosen Schwartz and Kirsti Call, as well as Moonbeams: A Lullaby of the Phases of the Moon by Ann Bausum. Prior to joining Little Bee Books, Courtney interned at Macmillan at Roaring Brook Press and Farrar, Straus, and Giroux for Young Readers, as well as W.W. Norton. Originally from New Jersey, Courtney graduated from Pace University with a Master in Science in publishing. You can find Courtney on Twitter @courtneyfahy.

2. Critique from Callie Metler-Smith, publisher of Spork/&mg

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

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


4, Seat in Making Picture Book Writing Magic course from the founder of Perfect Picture Book Friday, NYTimes Best-selling author Susanna Leonard Hill. https://susannahill.com/for-writers/making-picture-book-magic/

Susanna Leonard Hill (2)


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

Alayne headshot


Alayne Kay Christian is the acquisitions editor for Blue Whale Press and an award-winning children’s book author. She is the creator and teacher of a picture book writing course Art of Arc. In addition, she shares her knowledge with writers through free and affordable webinars at Writing for Children Webinars. She has been a picture book and chapter book critique professional since 2014, and she worked as a 12 X 12 critique ninja for three years. Alayne has spent the last thirteen years studying under some of the top names in children’s literature. Alayne’s focus at Blue Whale Press is content editing, creative direction, and working with authors and illustrators to coordinate the path to quality books.



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

Webinars https://alaynekaychristianauthor.com/webinars

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

Karla Valenti

Karla madame curie cover

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

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

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

Find me on Facebook or Twitter.

7. Rhyming PB Critique from author Lori Degman


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

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

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

PKeeler Head Shot


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

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

Lindsay Leslie Headshot smallNova the Star Eater

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

10. PB Critique from author Keila V. Dawson

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

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

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

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

Facebook author page: @keilavdawson

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

Melissa Stoller books

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 2020); and the picture books Scarlet’s Magic Paintbrush and Ready, Set, GOrilla! (Clear Fork, 2018). Upcoming picture books include Return of the Magic Paintbrush and Sadie’s Shabbat Stories (Clear Fork, 2020). Melissa is an Assistant and Blogger for the Children’s Book Academy, a Regional Ambassador for The Chapter Book Challenge, a Moderator for The Debut Picture Book Study Group, and a volunteer with the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators/MetroNY. In other chapters of her life, Melissa has worked as a lawyer, legal writing instructor, freelance writer and editor, and early childhood educator. Additionally, she is a member of the Board of Trustees at Temple Shaaray Tefila, and a past trustee at The Hewitt School. Melissa lives in New York City with her husband, three daughters, and one puppy.

www.MelissaSoller.com       http://www.facebook.com/MelissaStoller

http://www.twitter.com/melissastoller   http://www.instagram.com/Melissa_Stoller

https://www.linkedin.com/in/melissastoller/     http://www.pinterest.com/melissa_Stoller

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

LauraRoettiger Headshot 2019Laura Roettiger is the author of ALIANA REACHES FOR THE MOON and has enjoyed working with children ever since she was no longer considered a child herself. She was a reading specialist and elementary teacher in Chicago, IL before moving to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado where she worked in Environmental Education and as a new teacher mentor for two years at a STEM school. She is a judge for Rate Your Story, an active member of SCBWI and 12x12PictureBook Challenge. Laura works with third grade classrooms through #KidsNeedMentors, tutors adults in the Boulder Reads Literacy program at the Boulder Public Library, and works with BookstoKids, a Colorado based literacy nonprofit. Her superpower is encouraging curiosity in children and her students, letting them know she believes in them. She has three children of her own whose curiosity and creativity led all of them into STEM related professions. 

13. Picture Book Critique from author Maria Marshall

Maria is a children’s author, blogger, and poet passionate about making nature and reading fun for children. She’s a Cybils Awards judge ( http://www.cybils.com/) and a contributing blogger for STEM Tuesday – From the Mixed-up Files of MG Authors ( https://fromthemixedupfiles.com/stem-tuesday/). She interviews authors & illustrators and reviews books on -The Picture Book Buzz ( www.mariacmarshall.com/blog). Her poems are published in The Best Of Today’s Little Ditty 2017-2018, 2016, & 2014-2015 anthologies. When not writing, critiquing, or reading, she bird watches, travels the world, bakes, and hikes.

14. Picture Book Critique from author Katey Howes

katey howes

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

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

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

16. Picture Book Manuscript Critique from author Kirsti Call

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

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

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

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

Ellen L head shotlola can't leap 2

Ellen Leventhal is an educator and writer in Houston, TX. Her writing usually contains universal themes to which children can relate–even if the thoughts occasionally come from talking cows or lambs.  She can’t remember a time when she wasn’t writing in some capacity. Ellen is the co-author of Don’t Eat the Bluebonnets and the author of Lola Can’t Leap.  She has been published in magazines and newspapers as well as in short story and poetry anthologies. Ellen loves school visits! When visiting schools, she coordinates with and supports literacy programs as well as diversity and anti-bullying programs. Ellen’s best days are when she can interact directly with the students and spread her love of literacy and kindness. To find out more about Ellen’s books and writing projects, please go to www.Ellenleventhal.com

18. Picture Book Critique from author Tina Cho

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

ocean calls tina cho

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

updated authorSALSCover_Final_RGB_NoBleed_StarsBorn and raised in the Midwest, Amber Hendricks grew up reading everything she could get her hands on- including the morning cereal boxes. That passion melded into writing as well, and by the age of 11 she was writing and binding her own “books”. Amber has worn many hats in her career but she has always circled back to her first love of telling stories. Amber currently resides in Missouri with her husband and two children.


20. Picture Book Critique from author Beth Anderson

Beth Anderson head shot hi res

Lizzie Demand a Seat

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

@Bandersonwriter (Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram)

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

nancy c this oneA native New Yorker, Nancy is a graduate of Harvard University, with a master’s from Columbia University. She lives in North Texas with her husband, a dog named Dog and two cantankerous cats. Learn more about Nancy at www.nancychurnin.com

Beautiful Shades of Brown

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

Shannon Stocker headshotcover

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

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

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

Lisa K pb

24. Picture Book Critique from author Jenna Grodzicki

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

i see seafood


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

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

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

1. Paul Kurtz: My Magic Place

2. Donna Kurtz: Green Eggs and Meat

3. Claire Lewis: A Moving Tale

4. Kirsty Rorke: Lights

5. Sue Lancaster: After the Storm

6. Brenda Whitehead: My Important Job

7. Sara Ackerman: Caterpillar Season in Sinshasa

8. Jennifer Linville: I See

9. Kelly Swemba: Playful Puddles

10. Monica Acker: Mirror In The Sidewalk

11. Robin Currie: Wombat Rescue

12. Jill Proctor: Caterpillar Rain Dance

13. Cheri-Ann Wong: Hunter and Prey

14. Joannie Duris: Hug Hunt

15. Jessica Coupe: The Winter Garden

16. David McMullin: Making Something Out of Nothing

17.Mary York: Swinging From the Black Walnut Tree

18.Anita Narayan: Race to First Place

19. Shonna Nance: Time for BED?

20.Jennifer Moore: BORING!

21. Glenda Roberson: The Hug

22. Abbi Lee: The Worst Burglar in the World

23. Lu Pierro: BARK PARK

24. Aimee Satterlee: Red Truck

25. Estelle Tudor: My Mum’s a Superhero

26. Carolyn Bennett Fraiser: SNOW

27.Hannah Lapehn: DYLAN’S HUNT

28. Tara Cerven: GAME OVER

29. Danielle Hammelef: SAM’S SECRET CAVE

30.Bouvier Eulen: TODAY I’LL BE

31. Ashley Wheelock: Mommy’s Hair Salon

32. Polly Renner: TODAY

33.Jolene Ballard Gutierrez: THE LAST WATERMELON

34. Jessica Reiner Harris: Yummy Me

35.Janet Parkinson Bryce: Can Hippos Jump?

36. Debra Daugherty: Rabbit’s Big Day

37.Stacey Miller: Chloe’s Cloud

38.Katherine Rahoy: Teeny Tiny Turtle Tucked

39. Chelsea Tornetto: SNOW

40. Jill Lambert: Bird TV

41. Maryna Doughty: Dance for Daddy

42. Roxanne Troup: ALLIE’S APPLES

43. Sarah Atherton: Mum’s Spaghetti

44. Leah Moser: A COOL TREAT

45. Margaret Aitken: Dino Friends

46. Rachel Funez: Learning to Ski Fun

47.Nicole Loos Miller: Spring Puddles

48.Maureen Morrison: No Tengo Palabras

49. Carole Gerber: Summer Storm

50. Liz Sites: Fuzzy Wuzzy and the Fuzz Buzz

51. Marziah Abbas: Cookie Thief

52.Hanh Bui: Tet is…

53. Carol Cole: Dragons Love Camping

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

55. Alana Washington: Draw with Me

56. Paulette Sharkey: How to Read to a Cat

57. Joan Leotta: Trucks Together

58. Lindsay Hobson: Dragons Have Bedtimes, Too

59. Robin Jordan: Dear Journal, Today…

60. Debbie Sanders: Hummingbird Battle

61. Anne Lipton: Here Be Dragons

62. Sandy Brooks Foster: Mr. Crayfish

63. Marie Prins: Backyard Bunny

64. Leigh Therriault: PANDEMONIUM

65. Nancy Ferguson: GRIMM THE SHELTER DOG

66. Arlene Schenker: Kinkajou

67. Megan Weatherford: Now What?

68. Brittany Pomales: Conduct a Lullaby

69. Amy Renee: Midnight Cake

70. Kelly Mangan: Duck Butts

71. Paula Obering: Smile

72.Carol Coven Grannick: Me in the Mirror

73. Nancy Riley: INCUBATION

74.Jennifer Humphreys: Spring Fun

75. Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez: A Dance in the Night

76.Elizabeth Janczyk: My Baby Brother is a Ninja

77. Katy Rose: Light Changes Everything

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

79. Jane Baskwill: IMAGINE THAT!

80. Phil Dillon: Ugg the Inventor

81. Sue Twiggs: Water Tickles

82. Andrea MacDonald: TWINS

83. Robin Brett Wechsler: SHELLY SOLD SEASHELLS

84. Roo Parkin: MISCHIEF MAKER

85. Allison Rozo: BEARDED PAPA

86. Amy M. Miller: Little Red Riding Hood

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

88. Susan Summers: Rainbow

89. Liz Kehrli: If a Tree Falls

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

91. Jenny Buchet: TO CATCH THE MOON

92.Ranessa Doucet: KAZOO

93. Jason Perkins: DADDY TIME


95. Stephanie Higgins: Spores Away

96. Chris Baker: Muddle in a Puddle

97. Susan Drew: Sledding at Oma’s

98. Deborah Holt Williams: Moving Day

99. Marietta Apollonio: MOON MESS

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

101. Sharon K. Solomon: Frog Pond 2

102. Laurie Smollett Kutscera: FIREFLY

103. Laurie Smith Murphy: COMING ON CHRISTMAS

104. Patricia J. Holloway: I SPY

105.Jennifer Dawson: Siblings

106. Sylvia Chen: TOOTHY JOURNEY

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

108. Camille Lancaster: A PIECE OF PAPER

109. Laurie Carmody: GRANDMA’S HOUSE

110: Christina Vrba: A New Pet

111. Meryl Sachs Cullon: MOMMY! MOMMY!

112. Katie Walsh: LEFTOVER NO S’MORE!

113. Susan Ralls: CUPCAKE FIX

114. Heidi Coryell: THE DARK

115. Gabrielle Cardwell: My Pup

116. Rachael Clarke: BALLERINA GIRLS

117. Kim Hart: BUBBLE BATH FUN

118. Amber Hendricks: Starling Flight

119. Kathleen Reitman: Love My Feet

120. Kaylynn Johnsen: TWO to TANGO

121.Heather Kinser: YET

122. Catherine Friess: PICNIC ON THE MOON

123. Richard Stonebridge: The Scarecrow with a Secret

124.Melissa Mwai: Not A Unicorn

125.Heidi Vance: Mr. Squirrel

126. Pippa Chorley: Walkies

127. Stefanie Razler: Happy Winter, Friend!

128. Liz Rice: All Gone

129. Janie Reinart: BRAVE ENOUGH

130. Deb Sullivan: Recycle Me!

131. Melissa Stoller: SEALS

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

133. Lisa Zaccaria: The Tree of Courage

134.Rina Singh: Born to Dance

135. Stephanie Gibeault: Baked with Love

136. Jaclyn Crawford: I Can Do Hard Things

137. Delia Black: Are We There Yet?

138. Sarah Meade: Five Flamingos with Flair

139. Judy Cooper: Just Leo

140. Tina Mowrey: THE DAY YOU ARRIVED

141. Erin Kerger Duffett: WOLF

142. Dea Brayden & Lindsay Brayden Ellis: TRUE COLORS


144. Laura Wadsworth Carter: A YAWN, A SIGH

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

146. Jen Lawson: SWITCHWICH

147. Dea Lenihan: CAMERA NIGHT

148. Laura Howard: BUBBLE TROUBLE

149. Susan Silver: MOMMY’S BIG DAY

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

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

152. Joy Moore: letter from BIG FOOT

153. Leslie Ross-Degnan: WATER PLAY

154. Emily Ann Davison: SOMEBODY ATE MY CAKE

155. Jarmila Kurucova: Blue Monkey Makes a Friend

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

157. Kael Tudor: Good Morning


159. Stacey Corrigan: Another Hat in the Ring

160. Lori Sheroan: Googly Eyes

161. Laura Fredrickson: Race and Roll

162. Sarah Hetu-Radny: GARDENS

163. A Kidd: Baby Bounces

164. Kalee Gwarjariski: THE FIRE-SNEEZING DRAGON

165. Nina Nolan: RIGHT NOW

166. Rebecca Thill: BIG DOG – TINY BED

167. Mia Geiger: Just Beachy

168. Kristy Ryan: FIRST DAY FEELINGS

169. Linda Kulp Trout: Snowplow

170. Kathy McClaskey: The Fox and the Cat

171. Jenny Harp: DETERMINED PEA

172. Colleen Murphy: Problem Solved

173. Amanda Davis: One Last Time

174. Sloane Jacobs: Bitty Boo Taco Ninja

175. Andrea Greenwich Heffner: Who Can? Toucan!

176.Joel Chalmers: BEACH BLAST

177. Amy Flynn: Dinner is Ruined

178. Traci Van Wagoner: BE

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

180. Teresa Traver: Rainy Day

181.  Riya Zachariah: Until Tomorrow

182. Steve Rogers: It had no eyes

183.Eszter Molnar: The Last Biscuit

184. Mary Rudzinski: THE BIG YAWN

185. Tom Lancaster: THE MIDNIGHT VISITOR

186.Tracy Curran: Pea-po

187. Lisa L. Furness: SUN FUN

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

189.Sarah Anne Carter: Backyard Pirate

190. Anne Weedon: Dinner

191. This is Maisha: Victorious Firefly

192. Kirsten Allen: The Seed Who Believed

193.Sarina Abbasi: $10

194.Jim and Tim: Circles aren’t pointless


196. Jessica Whipple: Boy and Bulldog

197. Zachary Snyder: What Will You Remember

198. Candace Spizzirri: HAPPY HEART

199. Linda Staszak: TRIBUTE TO DR. SEUSS

200. Kathryn Rammell: THE GRUMPY DAY PARADE

201. Suzie Olsen: THANKFUL FOR PANTS

202. Emma Jenkins: VACUUM CLEANER

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

204. Hollie Wolverton: Make a Wish

205. Charlotte Sheer: WHEN SMILES SPEAK

206. Heather Bell: Frisbee

207. Lydia Loeber: The Something

208.Kristy Roser Nuttall: 100 Worms Before Breakfast

209. Kate Thompson: Love Will Always Win

210. Julie Koon: The Love Machine

211. Katherine Rothstein: MY HANDS, MY VOICE

212.Patricia Finnegan: BUBBLE GUM BLOWOUT

213. Stefanie Hohl: MONSTER SCARES


215. Cathy Ogren: Humpty Grumpty

216. Jim Chaize: The Hole

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

218. Laura Elizabeth Baukol: SISTERS

219. Jillian MacKenzie: LUCKY RED GUMBALL

220. Val Dormady: Jumble Days

221. Penny McNally: THE NEW GIRL

222. Mary Ann Cortez: SNOWSTORM

223. Rachel Backland: Look! A Bubble

224. Jennifer Raudenbush: MOSQUITO BANDITO

225. Tiffany Dickinson: The Blessing Box

226.Zoe Arena: Spot and the Line

227. Mary Munson: The Relation Ship

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

229. Martha Simpson: Just Desserts

230. Rebecca Heonig: Monkey in the Middle

231. Jim Merryman: What’s a Word?

232. Kathy Halsey: A TALE SO TRUE

233. Melissa Rutigliano: JUST A PRETTY GIRL

234. Ashlyn Parker: THE UPSIDE

235. Emmie R. Werner: STRAIGHT and TALL

236. Shaunda Wenger: WEARY ROOSTER

237. Cheryl Schuermann: Flamingo Glulch

238. Priscilla Merryman: Heart Beats

239. Donna Burkert: Who’s there

240.Mary Warth: Izzy’s Itch

241. Mandy Yokim: No Returns

242. Patricia Tilton: Thunder Flapjacks

243, Samantha: I SING FOR ME

244. Rebekah Lowell: Fly

245. Kari Gonzalez: PONY NEEDS A HAIRCUT


247. Darren Spink: What if

248. Airlie Drozdowski: Toddler Tamer

249. Michelle Losardo: STORM’S PASS

250. Sandra McGraw: Lost and Found

251. Becky Loescher: GOTCHA!


253. Jenny McClay: Every Day is a Beautiful Day

254. RT Jahns: What Can Grieving Bring?

255. Kimberly Marcus: PUFFIN’S PROBLEM

256. Liz Bickerstaff: An Alien Stole My…

257. Lauri Meyers: Bella with the Big Bun

258.Jessica Murray: Kids’ Day at Super Scissors

259. Susan Claus: TOOK

260. Diana McCarthy: SEEDLINGS

261. Mareen Egan: BIRTHDAY BASH

262. Sharon Nelsen: SLEEP LOVE

263. Dianne Moritz: LET’S MAKE PANCAKES

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

265. Farrah Riaz: What Love Is

266.Geraldine Jones: MICE NIBBLE

267. Lori Himmel: LET’S TAKE A WALK

268. Costantia Manoli-Rumfitt: MY BEST BUD


270.Julianna Helt: Creek Walking

271. Debbie Neuenschwander: WHEN SHOOTING STARS ARE BORN

272. Imogen Marshall: You

273. Adam D. Blackman: GATHER

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

275. KC Young: Bubbles

276. RB Frank: BEST IN SHOW

277. Deb Buschman: SNOW BEACH

278. Dedra Davis: What’s in There?

279. Karen Greenwald: WHERE ARE MY GLASSES?!


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

282. Robin Wiesneth: I LOVE socks!

283. Shira Zwiren: DRAGON’S TREASURE 


285. Linda Gammon: Brotherly Love

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

287. Gail Handler: My Guide No M


289. Anne Stephens: Grandpa’s Hats

290. Denise Seidman: Who Wants to be a Dimenaire

291.Jilanne Hoffman: Search for Life

292. Rinda Beach: Baby Can’t Sleep?

293. Lynn Vieira: TIME FOR BED

294. Natalie Cohn: WHISTLE!

295. Darlene Ivy: Little Brother

296. Dawn Young: SMART

297.Jill Burns: My Cherry Tree

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

299. Christine Nantra: Because of You

300. Carol Bullman: The Meow-Thru Window

301. Michelle Vattula: Boy’s Night

302. Judy Abelove Shemtob: Enemies to Friends

303. Jessica Haster: Everybody Loves Sunglasses

304. Claire W. Bobrow: Dog’s Day

305. Adrienne Yarbor Blacksher: Mommy’s Belly

306.Jane Serpa: Wind Talks

307. Lolly Ward: I SPY SURPRISE

308. Ruth Solitario: Six Lights

309. Gretchen Pitluk: Summer Vacation

310. Alison Horsburgh: Space Travel on a Trampoline

311. Kathryn Hollingworth: Jimmy’s Winter Future

312. Patty Wurster: FOX FINDS A FRIEND

313.Leslia: MY BOY AND I

314. J. Bradley Blankenship: The Crying Book

315. Helen Ishmurzin: MOUNTAIN PEBBLE

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

317. Karen Dibbens-Wyatt: Rain Race

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

319. Tracy Smith Schmidt: NAUGHTY NIGHT NOISES

320. Jodie Parachini: “Bored” Game

321. Kristen Reinsel: The Late Bloomer

322.Cathy Stenquist: Cat and Mouse

323. Anna Maledon: JEALOUS PET VACUUM

324. Bev Baird: Garden Gnome

325. Leslie Liebhardt Goodman: SPRING BEAUTIES

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

327.Jean James: Quaking Bog

328. Joy Pitcairn: THE BIG RIDE

329. Kathi Morrison: Girl and Dog — Low Tide

330. Dorena McFarland Williamson: Tennessee Strong Again

331. Candice Rauser: LITTLE BEE


334. Mary Arkiszewski: Loggerhead’s Journey


336. Kathy Shanahan: My Bike


338. Cheryl MacAller: LITTLE EYES, BIG WORLD

339. Beth James: Unlikely Friends

340. Catie Daly: The Gremlin in our Playroom

341. Mona Pease: Our World of Color

342.Sofia Dibble: BABIES

343. Florbela Nienaber: BLAST OFF!

344.Sarah C: RABBIT

345. Stephen James: I showed up

346. Kristina Schwartz: THE FOUNTAIN OF AGE

347.Jen Bagan: TEACHER’S PET

348.Gail Aherne: SIGN LANGUAGE

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

350.Lisa Hollman-Allen: Cuddle Dust

351. Sara Gentry: Again, Lola

352. Ryan Waters: The Zebra with No Stripes

353. Natalie Fischer: Hooray for Spring!

354. Sam Smith: PRESENT

355. Rachel Wilson: If You Were a Bubble

356. Diana Monteiro Toombs: The Wuwus

357.Sarah Crouch: SURPRISE TOAST

358. Rita Russell: MORNING BABY

359. Rachell Abalos: SAY “CHEESE”

360.Heather Gallagher: A seed for peace

361. Liz Ski Healey: BANANAS

362. Linda Hofke: Change of Season

363. Kirsten Pendreigh: COLOR LOVE

364. Angela Song: Me Just Being Me

365.Carol Vieira: Mouse Sets Sail

366. Laurie Sunderman: Last Party of the Year

367. Ellen B: In My Garden

368. Ashley Bates: CHA-CHING!

369. Vashti Verbowski: MY BLUE AND GREEN SHOES

370. Jenifer Lynn McNamara: Michael’s Moth

371. Michelle Howell Miller: The Human Race

372. Michele Ziemke: TAMING BARN KITTENS

373. Joni Hay Patras: Little Gray Cloud

374. Ruthie Kirk: MY TALLEST FRIEND

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

376. Zia Marie: Fluffasaurus Fashion Show

377. Katie Hesterman: Bear Necessities

378.Krys: A Mother’s Promise

379. MontaukDeb: Sammy’s Blocks

380. Lara Elliott: Dance Battle

381. Ashley Congdon: The Carrot Stick

382. Ingrid Boydston: The Anything Game

383. CJ Penko: MAYFLY

384. Laura Bost: TRASH


386. Katie Williams: Coyote and Badger

387. Darci Nielson: Go Bella!

388. Jacki Kellum: Counting My Garden








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

#50PreciousWords Writing Challenge WINNERS




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

The guidelines were simple:

  1. Write a story appropriate for kids ages 12 or under, using only 50 words…they can all be different words, or you can use some of them over and over…just as long as the total word count of the story is 50 or less.
  2. It can be prose, rhyme, free verse, silly or serious…whatever works for you.
  3. Title is not included in the word count.
  4. No illustration notes please.
  5. Please post your story in the comment section below. If you have your own blog and want to post your story there also, please do. And let us know your post link.  I ask for the link so that people will visit each other and find new friends in the kid lit community. Please make sure you put your name in the post. If you have any trouble at all posting the story, please email me and I will be happy to do it for you: viviankirkfield@gmail.com.
  6. Deadline for posting the story in the comments is Tuesday, March 6, at 11:59pm.
  7. Winners will be announced in a special blog post on Sunday, March 11.

Here are the prizes: Continue reading

#50PreciousWords 2018 Writing Challenge is OPEN!!



Today is the day, dear friends! Ready! Set! Go! The #50PreciousWords 2018 Writing Challenge is now OPEN!


For those of you who have not participated before, let me give you a bit of back story. March 2nd is the birthday of the incredible Theodore Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. For the last two years, I’ve hosted a little contest based on Bennet Cerf’s challenge to Seuss to write a children’s book using only 50 words. And the classic Green Eggs and Ham was born. It’s true that the story has over 700 words…but only 50 unique words.

In 2016, I thought it would be fun to try to write a story for kids with ONLY 50 words. With a beginning, a middle, and an end. I wondered if I could do it. And then I opened the challenge to everyone. Much to my surprise and amazement, there were 128 entries! And last year, there were 253 entries. And I hope we have a great turnout again this year because I am passionate about helping others follow their dream of writing for children.

In 2012 I had a dream. I wanted to write picture books. And I wanted to be traditionally published. And one of the most important things I did was to participate in writing challenges like Susanna Hill’s contests. Why was that important? Because it got me writing. It got me revising. It got me submitting. Hmmm….writing/revising/submitting. I believe that if we do those three things enough times, our writing improves and agents and editors get a chance to see our work. And as much as I am thrilled with my own success, nothing makes me happier than to hear about the success of others in our kidlit community.

So, please sharpen your pencils. Fire up your computers. And share your #50PreciousWords with us. Continue reading

Patricia Keeler: Will Write for Cookies PLUS Giveaway


Plate of Cookies






I connected with our Will Write for Cookies guest early this year and fell in love with her beautiful art and wonderful stories. (Plus, she’s an awesome person!) When she said she’d be happy to stop in to chat, I was thrilled!

Welcome, Patricia! We are so happy to have you here.

ME:  What was your favorite book when you were a child? 


My favorite book was THREE LITTLE HORSES. This is a wonderful story written and illustrated by Piet Worm. The little horses liked playing games that they dreamed up wearing their colorful thinking caps. An artist, wearing a tree suit, befriended them and took them to town. He disguised them in elaborate princess costumes and masks.  

 You might think this a strange story, but it made perfect sense to my six-year old brain and heart. My mother was a textile artist. She spun and dyed her own wool. She wove the yarn into sweaters and dresses. She also created beautiful wedding dresses. Her clients, the brides-to-be, would stand in the middle of our living room to try on their new gowns. Imagine the twirling, the billowing, the excited laughter and chatter.

 So of course little horses could go to town wearing princess masks and wearing princess gowns. Better yet, an artist, like my mother, provided them. I still have the book, and will occasionally pull it down and page through it just for the joy of it.

three little horses

 ME: Where do you like to write and illustrate – inside, outside, special room, laptop, pen and paper? 


I mostly write in my studio. First drafts are usually with pencil on paper. I write later versions on my computer. I often take these to my writer’s group, where I get constructive feedback. While it’s still fresh, I’ll often start improving the manuscript on the subway on the way home from Brooklyn.

 I’ll almost exclusively do my illustrating in my studio, although I’ll take walks along the Hudson River to work out content, design, layout and color paletteconcerns. After sketching a dummy of my story, I’ll start painting with watercolors. I’ll scan each page spread, and then combine images in Photoshop. I also incorporate elements of collage and photography. With LIZZIE AND LOU SEAL I created ocean waves and Lou Seal with encaustic wax. If you’d like to see more of this process, look here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evADOs7z068

V AT THE DRAWING TABLEHere I am at my drawing table.

supplies Here are some of the art supplies I work with.

And if you’d like to see even more of my art studio and my illustration approach, look here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=St9cCm4T1V0

This You Tube video shows me at work on my current project, SCOOP the ICE CREAM TRUCK, (Sky Pony Press, Spring 2018).

ME: Why do you create picture books for children? 


One of my greatest joys is creating art for children’s picture books—art that shows the rich emotions of feisty, assertive little girls. I illustrate independent creatures who demand to solve their own problems and expect to enjoy the rewards of doing so.

 I’m especially interested in girls who run up playground slides, win watermelon-spitting contests, and dress in colorful layers. I love little girls whose voices are dainty-delicate but when they shout, trees bend back.

 When visiting parks and playgrounds I discover the unique characteristics of a child by noticing how a baby’s legs hang like noodles from a carrier, how a toddler in a diaper walks like a goose, and a child can bend in positions that are a yogini’s dream.

 My greatest challenge is to have a consistent character while keeping up with her ever-changing moods. Hair and clothes help keep the character looking like the same child, but over 32 pages keeping her 5 years old and not 4 or 6—or her look irritated, but not angry—is on me.

lizzie crash

 I want the world to be a place of true opportunity for girls. In my work I want to show that crying is a badge of courage, because she gave her all. Her hair and clothes are expressions of freedom, because they’re her own flag. And failure is a necessity, because she’ll never move forward without it.

 Little girls intuitively know these things. I want to create books that support them from the get-go.

V BEAHere I am at Book Expo America this May sketching Lizzie wearing everything she needs for her day at the beach on her beach tool belt!

 Now about those cookies, I’ve asked my wonderful husband, Francis McCall, chief cook, bottle washer, editor, my biggest supporter—and baker—to supply the recipe for the best cookies I’ve ever had, cookies I defy anyone to manage to only eat one and not go back for more!

 Grandmother Gera’s Almond Crescent Cookies



 1/2 pound butter

1/2 pound fine ground almonds

1 1/2 cups white flour

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup granulated sugar

Cream the butter and sugar.  Add almonds.  Add 1 cup of the flour.  Add vanilla.  Sprinkle 1/2 cup of flour over this mixture and mix by hand.  Place a handful of dough on a floured board.  Roll out a log of this mixture 1 inch in diameter.  Cut off 1/2-inch slices.  Roll small crescents from the slices with the heels of hands.  Place the crescents on a buttered cookie sheet and bake at 325 degrees for 10 – 12 minutes.  Slightly cool and remove.  Place in container and dust with powdered sugar while still warm.  Yield approximately 10 dozen cookies.




 coverLIZZIE and LOU SEAL book

necklaceLOU SEAL necklace

 HURRAY! I can’t thank you enough, Patricia, for sharing all of these insights with us. And for your generous giveaways! And for the yummy cookie recipe…Almond Crescent Cookies are one of my favorites! Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever met a cookie I didn’t like…but these are melt-in-your-mouth awesomeness!

Dear friends, if you’d like to connect with Patricia or find out more about her many wonderful books:

LIZZIE AND LOU SEAL, Sky Pony Press (why not hop over and write a review?)

SCOOP THE ICE CREAM TRUCK, Sky Pony Press (Spring 2018)


Facebook – PatriciaKeelerBooks

Instagram – @patriciakeeler

Twitter       – @patriciakeelerbooks

WOW…what a post! Patricia has been exceedingly generous in sharing so much of her process…we even have the YouTube videos to learn from. You definitely don’t want to leave without commenting because I know everyone would love to win the book and necklace. And don’t forget, leave a comment on yesterday’s Perfect Picture Book Friday review of LIZZIE AND LOU SEAL, and you’ll be entered in THAT giveaway for a copy of the book AND the earrings.

And guess what??? The goodness just doesn’t stop because we need to announce the winners of author/illustrator Denise Fleming’s giveaway!

A copy of Beetle Bop goes to….LESLIE GOODMAN

And a copy of 5 Little Ducks goes to…MANJU HOWARD


Please contact me so I can connect you and Denise.

Phew! I think I need to grab a big glass of iced tea and a plateful of those Almond Crescent Cookies! Have a wonderful weekend, dear friends.

Perfect Picture Book Friday: LIZZIE AND LOU SEAL Plus GIVEAWAY

Hold onto your beach hats, dear friends! Wednesday was the first day of summer and today we’ve got the perfect book to celebrate that.

Plus, today’s post is extra-special because author/illustrator Patricia Keeler is giving away a signed copy of LIZZIE and LOU SEAL 



a pair of Lizzie’s favorite flip-flop earrings!

flip flop earrings

Make sure you leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway!


 Written and illustrated by Patricia Keeler

 Publisher: Sky Pony Press (2017)

 Ages: 3 – 6


 Independence, friendship, problem solving


From Amazon:

What will Lizzie do when Lou Seal loses his puff?

Lizzie loves her flip-flops. They go shuffle shuffle across the rug, smack smack on the floor tiles, and thwap thwap down the stairs. Lizzie also loves her blow-up toy, Lou Seal. Lizzie and Lou Seal are off to the beach, but beach fun turns to beach disaster when Lizzie loses her flip-flops and Lou Seal starts losing air! It’s a sink or swim scenario. What will Lizzie do?

This is a beautiful book with mixed media art and a lovely retro feel, for fans of Ladybug Girl at the Beach. Children will relate to Lizzie’s independence and creative problem solving and fall in love with Lou Seal themselves. Filled with lots of fun words and sounds, this is a perfect read aloud book for parents and children alike.

Why I like this book:

  • Charming, retro surroundings frame Lizzie’s seaside life.
  • The text marries perfectly with the illustrations and much of the story is briliiantly told in the illustrations…kids will enjoy discovering the leak in Lou Seal way before Lizzie notices it.
  • This story engages all the senses, while reeling out a picture book that is the perfect beach read as well as a great anytime read-aloud.
  • A great launch pad for a discussion about water safety.


FAUX SNOW GLOBE: On The Beach or In The Ocean?

snow globes

We are so lucky. Author/illustrator Patricia Keeler has created a super fun craft for the kids!

You will need: Firm yellow heavy paper, firm blue paper, Krazy Glue, 2 clear lids from 32 oz Stonyfield Yogurt, sand, glitter & LIZZIE and LOU SEAL icon sheet below.

  1. Print out the LIZZIE and LOU SEAL sheet. Cut out Lou Seal and icons.
  2. Choose which items would most likely be found on land. Choose which items would be found in the ocean.
  3. Draw a circle around the yogurt lid on the yellow and blue sheets.
  4. In the center of the yellow circle, place sand, beach items and Lou Seal. In the circle on the blue paper, place blue glitter, ocean items and Lou Seal.
  5. Put Krazy Glue along the circle line. Stick the lid down and let it dry.​
  6. SHAKE, SHAKE, SHAKE and enjoy!

jpeg of icons

Dear friends…have a safe and wonderful weekend, don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway…

make sure you leave a review for LIZZIE AND LOU SEAL on Amazon and…

…please come back tomorrow–Patricia Keeler is stopping by for our Will Write for Cookies Q&A!

Perfect Picture Book Friday Review and Craft Activity: Mrs. McBee Leaves Room 3 PLUS Giveaway

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, dear friends. This is a very special time of year, when two of the world’s major religions celebrate important holidays…I wish everyone who celebrates a Happy Passover and a Happy Easter. If only the people of the world could come together like our incredible kid lit community does.

To add to the celebrations, we have books to give away. THREE OF THEM!

Last week, Linda Whalen offered to give away a copy of her wonderful debut picture book, LITTLE RED ROLLS AWAY.book cover



Congratulations, Sherry! Please contact me so I can get your mailing information to Linda.

We also have a copy of LIZZIE AND LOU SEAL to award thanks to author/illustrator Patricia Keeler. lizzie-and-lou-seal-cover



Splish-splash! What fun. Congrats, Virginia! Let’s connect so Patricia can send you your prize.

And last, but certainly not least, author Rosie Pova is gifting a teddy bear and swag package to celebrate the book birthday of IF I WEREN’T WITH YOU. swag giveaway



Hurray! Zara, we will connect so that Rosie can send your prize.

I also wanted to ask everyone to continue to spread the word about the #50PreciousWordsforKids Writing Challenge. logoHand the flyer to teachers you know – post it on homeschool forums – we want to enable as many children as possible to participate because Magic Happens When You Make Every Word Count.

Today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday also has a giveaway…so don’t forget to leave a comment. And shout outs on social media are always appreciated by the author!

book cover 1


Written by Gretchen Brandenburg McLellan

Illustrated by Grace Zong

Publisher: Peachtree Publishers (2017)

Ages: Preschool – Grade 3


Saying goodbye, dealing with change, working together, diversity


From Amazon:

Join the children of Room 3 and Mrs. McBee as they find their own ways of helping each other get ready to leave and say good-bye. It’s not just the end of the school year at Mayflower Elementary. It’s time to say goodbye to Mrs. McBee, who is leaving the school. Jamaika, William, and the other kids in Room 3 have to figure out a special way to celebrate their beloved teacher. But everyone has a different idea. How can they arrive at an agreement? Gretchen Brandenburg McLellan brings readers an amusing and touching story about transitions and the importance of observing them. With Grace Zong’s charming illustrations, the distinct cast of lively characters comes to life on the page.

Why I like this book:

  • As a former teacher, what’s not to love about a book that tells how kids are trying to do something nice for their teacher?
  • I also love seeing how the diverse characters and personalities find their own ways to say goodbye…and especially how Mrs. McBee helps each of them feel special. The author did a masterful job showing us this.
  • Great illustrations…full of color and emotion…they really help us connect with the characters.

One of the best ways we can help authors, other than buying a copy of their receives a certain number of reviews (30 or perhaps 50), Amazon gives a bit of marketing/promotion help. Click here for the Amazon link to today’s Perfect Picture Book.

I know that Gretchen appreciates every review the book receives.


Make a School or Classroom Craft

cardboard-crafts-for-kidsPhoto courtesy: http://mollymoocrafts.com/back-school-crafts-shoebox-school/

Young kids really love doing crafts. And the time they spend with a parent, cutting, coloring, creating…that is time that is well spent! It’s why I included 100 quick and easy craft activities in the parent-teacher book I wrote years ago. Why not grab an old shoe box or small shipping carton and build a school with your kids?

You will need: 1 box (shoe box, USPS priority box, even a large cereal box), construction paper or gift wrap or any paper that will cover the box OR you can paint it OR you can cover it with brown shipping tape, scissors, markers, glue.

  1. Cover the box as you and your child desire.
  2. Cut windows and doors
  3. Use markers or crayons to add details.

You can also create a classroom using a shoebox turned on its side. Line the ‘walls’ with wrapping paper as wallpaper. Cut pictures of furniture and people from magazines to glue in place.

For more great online crafts: http://mollymoocrafts.com/back-school-crafts-shoebox-school/

Another activity: Teachers work so hard for our children. Why not sit down with your child to write a thank you note to include with the end of year gift. I can guarantee the teacher will treasure that note long after the flowers die or the candy is eaten. I know I still have notes from the children I taught.

Have a wonderful weekend, dear friends…don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway of a copy of MRS. MCBEE LEAVES ROOM 3…and please come back tomorrow for:


Will Write for Cookies

Gretchen Brandenburg McLellan

_Logo final BB2 1 inch 300dpi

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.

Happy Book Birthday Plus Giveaway: LIZZIE AND LOU SEAL







This book is definitely a celebration! Just look at the main character! She’s really something special! What a great role model for little girls! Independent. Creative. Smart. I love the books that Sky Pony Press puts out. Lucky for us, author/illustrator Patricia Keeler stopped by to give us the inside scoop on Lizzie.


Lizzie is created from all the feisty little girls I’ve known. The littlest girls who don’t want to comb their hair. They barely have the patience to climb into a bathing suit, but they can’t wait to go swimming, or to slip on their new flip-flops.

 Lizzie is the “Don’t help me, I want to do this myself.” kind of girl. But Lizzie, like the other feisty girls, has a favorite toy animal she loves, loves, loves and drags everywhere. Sooner or later, the animal gets dirty or torn or lost. This is what’s in store for Lizzie and her blow-up beach pal, Lou Seal.

 Lizzie may be little, but she’s smart and plucky. When she figures out she has a problem with Lou Seal, (can the reader spot the problem before Lizzie?) she sets out to solve it herself. It’s a sink or swim scenario! What’s Lizzie to do?


WOW…thanks, Patricia, for giving us all the low-down on your main character, Lizzie. I think I can already see a series about this feisty little girl!


To find out more about Patricia and her wonderful books, you can connect with her:


Facebook – PatriciaKeelerBooks

Instagram – @patriciakeeler

Twitter       – @patriciakeelerbooks

 And if you’d like to qualify for the copy of LIZZIE AND LOU SEAL that Patricia is giving away, please leave a comment and, if you can, share the post on your social media.

Patricia will be back to celebrate the summer with us when she is my guest on Will Write for Cookies on June 24. There is sure to be lots of splishing and splashing!

 And the 2017 picture book goodness keeps rolling along when LITTLE RED ROLLS AWAY, by Linda Whalen, rolls in for Perfect Picture Book Friday this week. See you all then! Thank you so very much for spending time with us.