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#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.

 

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March 2nd is the birthday of the incredible Theodore Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. Last year I put together a little contest based on 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.

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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).

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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 manuscript or query letter critique from author Rebecca Colby.

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7. A picture book critique from author Lori Degman

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8. A picture book critique from author Anna Forrester.

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9. A fiction picture book critique from author Ariel Bernstein

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10. A picture book critique from author Rosie Pova

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

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

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

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

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

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

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17. 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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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.

 

 

The Twelve Surprises for Santa and a Review of Nooks and Crannies

Hurray…we’ve had our first real snowfall…our little New England village is a fairytale wonderland. I really do enjoy the look of the snow…I just don’t like to drive in it.

Today is Friday. But before our book review, I want to tell you something else VERY IMPORTANT!

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 Yesterday was the first day of Susanna Hill’s Mostly-World-Famous Holiday Writing Contest. Click here for the guidelines…there is still time for you to enter and join in the fun! When you finish reading my book review, you can scroll down and read my entry to the contest.

And now, since Susanna won’t have her Perfect Picture Book Friday link up, I’m reviewing a middle grade mystery I would have LOVED to read when I was a kid. The author is Jessica Lawson. You will meet her tomorrow on Will Write for Cookies. How special is that? I hope you will come back tomorrow…there will be a giveaway of a copy of the book.

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NOOKS & CRANNIES

Written by Jessica Lawson

Illustrated by Natalie Andrewson

Publisher: Simon & Schuster (2016)

Ages: 8-12

Themes:

Courage, teamwork, investigative skills

Synopsis:

From Amazon:

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory meets Clue when six children navigate a mansion full of secrets—and maybe money—in this “delightful gem” (School Library Journal, starred review) with heart.

Sweet, shy Tabitha Crum, the neglected only child of two parents straight out of a Roald Dahl book, doesn’t have a friend in the world—except for her pet mouse, Pemberley, whom she loves dearly. But on the day she receives one of six invitations to the country estate of wealthy Countess Camilla DeMoss, her life changes forever.

Upon the children’s arrival at the sprawling, possibly haunted mansion, it turns out the countess has a very big secret—one that will change their lives forever.

Then the children beginning disappearing, one by one. So Tabitha takes a cue from her favorite detective novels and, with Pemberley by her side, attempts to solve the case and rescue the other children…who just might be her first real friends.

Opening Lines:

 “Just past three o’clock in the afternoon, when schools across London were releasing much-adored children by the bucketful, Tabitha Crum was ushered into the cold as well.”

Why I like this book:

  • As I said earlier, I loved books like this when I was a kid…the girl who no one thinks much of is the one who perseveres and solves the mystery…a modern-day Nancy Drew.
  • Don’t you just love the names: Tabitha Crum, Camilla Lenore DeMoss: Countess of Windermere, Barnaby Trundle, Edward Herringbone.
  • I plan to send a copy of this book to my 10-year old granddaughter for Christmas…I think it is the perfect book for a delicious afternoon of reading.

PLEASE DON’T MISS TOMORROW’S WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

SPOTLIGHTING

JESSICA LAWSON AND A GIVEAWAY

But wait!!!!!! Don’t go yet!!!!!! Please stay and read my entry to Susanna Hill’s Mostly World Famous Holiday Writing Contest. Here’s a quick run-through of the guidelines: Write a children’s holiday story of 300 words or less, based on The Twelve Days of Christmas. To read the other entries, please visit Susanna’s blog.

 

TWELVE DAYS OF SURPRISES FOR SANTA (293 words)

by Vivian Kirkfield

 

On the first day of Christmas, Santa grumbled, groaned, and gritted his teeth. “Last night was too cold,” he told Mrs. Claus. “No more Christmas Eve deliveries for me.”

Just then, a package arrived.

Before Santa could open it, Mrs. Claus snatched it away. “Just some treats for the reindeer.”

On the second day of Christmas, another package arrived. Santa had already peeled off the tape when Mrs. Claus grabbed it. “Just some vitamins for the elves.”

On the third day of Christmas, Santa waited by the front door. He’d be ready this time. But Mrs. Claus had told the mailman to come around to the back.

For nine more days, boxes arrived at the North Pole. Santa always seemed to be doing something else when the package was delivered. Talking on the phone. Feeding the reindeer. Going to the bathroom. Eating a snack. Taking a nap. Reading a book. Ironing his shirt. Trimming his beard. Polishing his boots.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, Santa came down for breakfast. He stopped. He stared. He sputtered. “W-w-what’s all this?” Instead of eggs and oatmeal and juice, the table was filled with presents. Twelve of them.

Mrs. Claus smiled. “You give gifts to all the children,” she said. “These are for you.”

Santa could hardly believe it. It felt like…Christmas. He opened the boxes.

Twelve woolen mittens.

Eleven quilted blankets.

Ten fleecy jackets.

Nine velvet earmuffs.

Eight hats with pompoms.

Seven red suspenders.

Six flannel nightshirts.

Five underpants.

Four knitted scarves.

Three long johns.

Two balaclavas.

And a super-duper heated seat cushion.

Santa tried on all the clothes. He tested the seat-warmer.

He looked at the calendar. “We’d better start making new toys,” he told Mrs. Claus. “I can’t wait for next Christmas Eve.”

                                                  The End

 

HAVE A WONDERFUL WEEKEND, EVERYONE…AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT. AND DON’T FORGET TO BE BACK HERE TOMORROW FOR WWFC AND A GIVEAWAY!

PPBF: Summer in a Bowl

The third week of every month is pretty special around here. On Saturday, we’ll welcome our Will Write for Cookies author, Joan Leotta. And that means that today, we’ll be featuring one of her picture books for Perfect Picture Book Friday. If you’d like to see all of this week’s other wonderful perfect picture book reviews, please hop on over to Susanna Hill’s blog.

With the end of the summer closing in on us, I found the perfect one.

 

 summer-in-a-bowl

SUMMER IN A BOWL

Written by Joan Leotta

Illustrated by Rebecca Michael Zeissler

Published by Theaq Publishing (2016)

Age: 5-9

 Themes:  Gardening, family togetherness

 Synopsis:

From Amazon: “Summer in a Bowl” is a wonderful introduction to the joys of gardening and cooking with children. Rosa spends every Thursday helping Aunt Mary tend her garden. On this last Thursday of the season, they harvest the vegetables and cook them. Rosa finds that vegetables can be delicious and discovers a new way to preserve all of her summer fun.”

 Why I love this book:

  • I love stories that promote family togetherness
  • It reminded me of the fun my children had helping me in our big vegetable garden when they were growing up…my younger son still loves to garden…and enjoys cooking with fresh vegetables all the time

 How parents can use this book:

  • Great opportunity for intergenerational family activities
  • Perfect way to help a fussy eater expand his or her choices
  • Children will gain an appreciation for where food comes from

 Related Activities

 

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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.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, dear friends and readers. If you enjoyed the post, please share it on Facebook or Twitter or whatever social media channels you prefer.

And please do come back tomorrow for:

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

WITH

JOAN LEOTTA

AND ANOTHER BOOK GIVEAWAY!

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