Perfect Picture Book Friday – The Girl Who Heard Colors PLUS A Contest Announcement!

Boy, oh, boy are we going to have tons of fun today!

(Which is good because we’re back in sub-zero temperatures around here and I might get cranky about that if not for all the fun! :))

First of all, it’s Perfect Picture Book Friday, and what’s not to love about that?

Second of all, we have a winner of today’s book from our meet the author post on Monday!  (You can see the post HERE if you missed it.)

Finally, someone around here, who clearly cannot be left unsupervised for a second!, has been hatching a hare-brained scheme, and I suppose it’s about time I let you in on it 🙂  But first – our perfect picture book!

Title: The Girl Who Heard Colors
Written By: Marie Harris
Illustrated By: Vanessa Brantley-Newton
Nancy Paulsen Books, September 2013, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 3-8

Themes/Topics: synesthesia, differences, acceptance, perception, five senses

Opening: “Jillian loved the world with all her five senses.  She loved the tickling touch of her bunny’s whiskers on her cheek.  She loved the taste of warm maple syrup on waffles.”

Brief Synopsis: When Jillian hears a dog barking, she sees red.  When she rings her bike bell, she sees silver.  The wind in the pines is soft gray, and the rain, light purple.  Jillian has synesthesia – a way of perceiving that causes sound to have color.  But when the kids at school tease her, suddenly it doesn’t feel like such a great thing to have.  It takes a special teacher to help them all see it for the gift it is.

Links To Resources: The back of the book has information about synesthesia.  Neuroscience For Kids has information about synesthesia as well as a test you can try.  Science News For Students also has a lot of information.  HERE is a test to see if you might be a synesthete.  Talk about what it would be like to hear colors or taste sounds.  Are there times when experiencing the world like that would be an advantage?  A disadvantage?

Why I Like This Book: I always like books that encourage acceptance and tolerance.  There is too much variety in the world for any one way to be the “right” way to be or believe or perceive.  So I like this book for that reason.  But it’s also a beautifully written story that any child who has ever felt different will relate to.  The language is poetic (not surprising since it was written by a New Hampshire poet laureate :).)  And synesthesia itself is absolutely fascinating.  I finished this book and found myself wishing I could be a synesthete for a day, just to see how cool it would be to experience the world that way!

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

The next item on our agenda of excitement today is to let you know who won the book so generously donated by Marie. has chosen our winner and it is Tracy Campbell!  Woo-hoo, Tracy!  Come on down!  Your prize is a signed copy of THE GIRL WHO HEARD COLORS!  Please email me with your address (which I probably have but can’t find! :)) and I’ll get it right out to you!

And now, one last item before we all head off for the weekend….

It’s been a long winter.

We’ve had a lot of snow, and more is coming Sunday into Monday (according to the local weatherman who seriously needs to be replaced by a new weatherman with better news!)

It’s been bitterly cold, day after day, for weeks on end.

The icicles have icicles!

I think it’s time for some fun!

And it seems to me, we haven’t had a writing contest in nearly 3 months…

SO, boys and girls, hold onto your hats, because we’re taking Hare-Brained Scheme to a whole new level!


The March Madness Writing Contest!

The Contest: Write a children’s story, in poetry or prose, maximum 400 words, that is a fractured fairy tale.  Feel free to add a theme of spring, or mix in one of the spring holidays if you like – St. Patrick’s Day, April Fools Day, Easter or Passover, Arbor Day, Earth Day…  Have fun with it !  The madder* the better! 🙂
*as in wild and wacky, not angry 🙂

You do not have to include spring – that is optional.
The story can be a picture book or a short story – whatever you like.
If it’s a picture book, you may NOT include art notes, because we get into a weird area of whether that’s fair in terms of word count and added description etc.  So if you write a picture book that’s wonderful, but make sure art notes aren’t necessary to understand it.
Post:  Your entry should be posted on your blog between Thursday March 20 at 12:01 AM EST and Monday March 24 at 11:59 PM EST, and your post-specific link should be added to the link list on the official  post which will go up on my blog on Thursday March 20 (no PPBF March 21!) and remain up through Wednesday March 26 (no new post on Monday March 24, no WYRI on March 26).  If you don’t have a blog but would like to enter, please copy and paste your entry into the comments on my March 20th post.  (If anyone has trouble commenting, which unfortunately happens, please email me and I’ll post your entry for you!)

The Judge:  My lovely assistant and I will narrow down the entrants to five (or possibly a couple more :)) finalists which will be posted here on Thursday March 27 for you to vote on for a winner.  The vote will be closed at 5PM EST on March 30 and the winner will be announced on Monday March 31.

The Prizes!:  

 – 1st Prize is a read and critique by Karen Grencik of Red Fox Literary!!! (Unless for some reason you don’t want a read and critique by an agent, in which case you may swap for any of the other prizes)
 – 2nd Prize is a picture book manuscript critique (for rhyming mss only) by Lori Degman, author of 1 ZANY ZOO and the forthcoming COCK-A-DOODLE-OOPS! OR a picture book manuscript critique (for non-rhyming mss only) by Cori Doerrfeld, author/illustrator of LITTLE BUNNY FOO FOO and PENNY LOVES PINK as well as illustrator of many others.
 – 3rd Prize is personalized signed copies of THE THREE NINJA PIGS and GOLDI ROCKS & THE THREE BEARS by Corey Rosen Schwartz PLUS a $25 Amazon Gift Card
 – 4th and 5th Prizes are your choice of any two of the following picture books PLUS a $20 Amazon Gift Card:
     – LITTLE RED WRITING by Joan Holub
     – THE PRINCESS AND THE PEAS by Caryl Hart

Now.  The really hare-brained part of all this is that it will be followed by a related Illustrator Contest in April!!! (to be announced and elaborated on later! :))

I know!!!

That kind of excitement bowls you right over, don’t it? 🙂

And with that, I wish you a lovely time perusing the rest of today’s perfect picture books!  PPBF bloggers, please leave your post-specific links in the list below.

Have a great weekend, everyone!!!  (And fire up those thinking caps!)

77 thoughts on “Perfect Picture Book Friday – The Girl Who Heard Colors PLUS A Contest Announcement!

  1. This_Kid_Reviews_Books_Erik says:

    Didn't even think of SW! Hmm… Skywalker and the Beanstalk has a certain ring to it… Maybe Beauty and the Wookie? Princess Leia and the Imperial's Ultimate Torture Method? 😉 (Princess and the Pea, but because they know Leia is a princess… 😉 )

  2. Kirsten Larson says:

    I still think the idea for this book is brilliant! I love the idea of a book that helps kids see their specialness as strengths.

  3. Jennifer Young says:

    Congrats Tracy!! Susanna, your book share sounds fascinating. Thanks for the great links too! Fun contest theme… I'm trying my hardest to think up a story for it, I hope 🙂

  4. :Donna Marie says:

    You know, Susanna, I never heard of synesthesia before. And books about tolerance are always good, considering it's probably at the root of most problems, right? It really is true you learns something new every day, and usually more than one 😉

    And nice win, Tracy 🙂

  5. Stina Lindenblatt says:

    This book sounds great. I wonder what it would be like the hear or taste colors. And I love the idea for the contest. Unfortunately I have deadlines and a vacation coming up (and I suspect both will be at the same time), so I can't participate. I want to write a fracture fairytale for NA. 🙂

  6. Lauri Meyers says:

    Just got this book from the library; thanks for the reco!
    I had a gigantic icicle hanging outside my kitchen window for so long, I named him. (Icenhower) In my heightened state of cabin fever, I actually cheered for him to reach the ground. Alas, one warm day ended our relationship.
    I do so hope your fractured fairytale contest can fracture the rest of winter!!!

  7. Karen Mae Zoccoli says:

    This book sounds wonderful, I can't wait to read it! I have never heard of synesthesia, but what a great idea for a children's story. And wow, Susanna, what a great contest for March Madness. Hopefully it will help us all plow our way through and out of our weary winter doldrums! ( I'm assuming that along with the March Madness there will be some overindulgent desserts to boot! lol 🙂

  8. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Glad you like the look of the book, Karen, and ooh! I hope you'll join us for the March Madness fractured fairy tales! Since apparently winter is never leaving (it was zero again this morning) I thought maybe some fun would brighten our days as we wait for spring 🙂

  9. Joanne Roberts says:

    Yikes! I just read my reply and it sounds rather insulting. I am so sorry. I just meant you are such a busy lady that I don't know how you fit one more thing, like an illustration contest, on your plate. And I was so excited by the contest, I wondered if it was possible that you had run an art contest before and I had somehow missed it. Many thanks for your kindness and generosity.

  10. Kirsten Peavy Bock says:

    Quick question about the contest – should it be a short story or can it be a picture book? Also, does it need to be about spring? Thanks!

  11. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    It can be a short story or a picture book, but no art notes please because we get into a weird area with word count and whether it's fair to have art notes or not. I can include spring if you want but that is personal preference and inspiration – no requirement 🙂

  12. Shelly Bourland Steig says:

    Congratulations Susanna! I've been fascinated by synesthesia since I first heard about it a few years ago. I'm looking forward to reading your book. I have a question re: the contest–the instructions say to post the fractured fairy tale on my blog. I have a website, but don't currently blog and am always a bit hesitant to post anything that's intellectual property on either. Is there another way to enter? Thanks for providing an opportunity!

  13. Shelly Bourland Steig says:

    Oi! I'm knocking myself in the head right now. I shouldn't be reading and working when I'm tired. I'm so sorry–but congrats to Marie and thanks for sharing her book on your blog:-) I can put a blog tab on my website, so I'll do that. Thanks again for offering a contest!

  14. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    No worries 🙂 I was working while tired and forgot to put the link list on the contest post and had to add it this morning! 🙂 Don't feel like you need to go to any trouble! If adding a blog tab to your website isn't something you were planning on doing, you are welcome to copy and paste your entry in the comment section of the contest post – several people have done so already 🙂

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