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#50 Precious Words Writing Challenge is Almost Here

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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 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 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 book on the craft of writing from author Rosie Pova

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

 

 

Perfect Picture Book Friday: I DISSENT: Ruth Bader Ginsberg Makes Her Mark

OCTOBER is National Bully Prevention Month. Next week is International Day of the Girl Child. And today is Bald and Free Day. (For a detailed list of EVERY wacky and not-so-wacky special day in October, click here.

 Bald and Free Day might not apply to all of us, but the first two definitely need to be uppermost in our minds, as parents, educators, and writers. And today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday selection is a Mighty Girl book that addresses both. For more wonderful picture book reviews and activities, please visit Susanna Hill’s website.

i-dissent-ruth-bader-ginsberg

I DISSENT: RUTH BADER GINSBURG MAKES HER MARK

Written by Debbie Levy

Illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley

Publisher: Simon and Schuster (2016)

Ages: 4-8

Themes:

Gender discrimination, women’s rights, self-worth

Synopsis:

From Amazon:

Get to know celebrated Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg—in the first picture book about her life—as she proves that disagreeing does not make you disagreeable!

Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has spent a lifetime disagreeing: disagreeing with inequality, arguing against unfair treatment, and standing up for what’s right for people everywhere. This biographical picture book about the Notorious RBG, tells the justice’s story through the lens of her many famous dissents, or disagreements.

Opening Lines:

“You could say that Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s life was one disagreement after another.”

 

Why I like this book:

  • A mighty girl book about a woman who refused to accept the role that society handed her – and she used her dissent and disagreement in a constructive way.
  • I love that the story begins when she is a child…and we see how supportive her mother was and how growing up surrounded by books was such a positive influence on her life.
  • Fabulous text…language is so powerful…and lots of action.
  • Incredible illustrations…and I love how the words of ‘dissention’ are set apart and bolded.

RELATED ACTIVITIES

Most kids love to listen to a story. But we can extend the learning by discussing and asking questions or participating in follow up activities. You and your child can:

  1. Draw a picture of a favorite character or scene from the story. Mount it on cardboard and cut into pieces to make a puzzle.
  2. Make a list of special words from the book. Older children can construct a word find puzzle.
  3. Think of a different ending.

Here are some other ideas: http://www.kumon.com/resources/20-things-to-do-before-and-after-you-read-to-your-children/

 

 

 

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.

Monday is Columbus Day…and my grandson’s 8th birthday…I bought him a pile of…you guessed it…chapter books…went to our local indie bookstore and lost myself there for a couple of hours. I was going to take a photo of all of the books, but I had to leave them there until Monday…they are having a 25% off sale for educators and retired educators. I love our local bookstore…I walked in and the manager said,”Oh, do you have another book coming out?” Indie bookstores support the community and local authors…let’s keep them strong and vibrant.

For Jeremy’s birthday, are going to an indoor skydiving facility…this grandma is just going to watch…I did the actual skydive a few years ago…it was so much fun…but once was definitely enough: Click here if you’d like to see this daredevil jump out of a perfectly good airplane. (if you do go to the link, there should be a space for my email: viviankirkfield@gmail.com and my zip code: 03031…at least that’s what it asks me. http://www.lifepursuitvideo.com/asppublic/Video60520.aspx?VF=46836#.V_gdOOArKCz

Thank you so much for stopping by…I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

PPBF: Separate Is Never Equal

Can you believe this is the LAST DAY OF SEPTEMBER?

A couple of weeks ago, I promised that at the end of the month, I would give away a copy of my parent-teacher book book pic from wordpress blogin celebration of National Library Card Sign Up Month. Thank you to all who commented on that post. And the winner is

JEN BAGAN

Congratulations, Jen…I will be in touch to get your mailing address.

For me, September always meant the start of a new school year…as a kid, I always loved the first day. My sister and I each got a new outfit and a shiny new pair of shoes. And I looked forward to seeing my friends after the long summer.

But even though the main character of today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday pick has a shiny new pair of shoes, her first day of school is not going well.

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SEPARATE IS NEVER EQUAL: Sylvia Mendez & Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation

Written and illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh

Publisher: Abrams Books for Young Readers (2014)

Ages: 6-9

Themes:

Discrimination, desegregation, bullying

Synopsis:

From Amazon:

Almost 10 years before Brown vs. Board of Education, Sylvia Mendez and her parents helped end school segregation in California. An American citizen of Mexican and Puerto Rican heritage who spoke and wrote perfect English, Mendez was denied enrollment to a “Whites only” school. Her parents took action by organizing the Hispanic community and filing a lawsuit in federal district court. Their success brought an end to the era of segregated education in California.

Opening Lines:

“Sylvia had on her black shoes. They were shiny new.”

Why I like this book:

  • One of my favorite nonfiction picture books of 2014, this story is written and illustrated by the amazing Duncan Tonatiuh who is going to be our December Will Write for Cookies guest!!! And I’ll be reviewing his NEWEST book that month, The Princess and the Warrior. PLUS…there will be a giveaway of one of Duncan’s books!
  • Powerful text combines perfectly with bold distinctive illustrations.
  • Wonderful springboard for discussions on discrimination, segregation, and equality…and also bullying.

 

RELATED ACTIVITIES

  1. Interview and read aloud with Duncan Tonituah: https://youtu.be/n7-kzJVcOUw
  2. A teacher’s guide – grades 1-5: https://laii.unm.edu/outreach/common/educators-guides/2015-Americas-Award.pdf
  3. Book trailer: https://youtu.be/KlyGKQdPePQ

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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 here name and find an archived page of over 1000 picture book posts with activities. Click here for this week’s new reviews.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

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