Would You Read It Wednesday #239 -George (PB) PLUS The November/December Pitch Pick Winner!


In case you haven’t noticed, it is only one week and one day until the most important day so far this year…


Poor  Phyllis has been laying low.  She took it pretty hard when Holiday House put her out to pasture.  I told her it was nothing personal.  She had a good 10 year run, which is more than a lot of books have.  She sallied forth into the Scholastic Book Clubs and was eagerly snatched up by loads of happy campers.  She was produced in French for Scholastic Canada – Debout, Marmotte! (though for some inexplicable reason they changed her name to Charlotte – maybe they thought it went better with marmotte?) –


and she has been read aloud on cassette and CD.  She even has legions of devoted followers who have helped her celebrate her favorite day year after year.

Still… she has not taken kindly to obscurity.  She’s just not that kind of hog.

Last March, both PUNXSUTAWNEY PHYLLIS and APRIL FOOL PHYLLIS became available on Kindle.  That appeased her a little…

But now, hopefully, paws crossed!!! both of Phyllis’s books will soon be available through Amazon for POD (print-on-demand)!  They’re supposed to be up already (er, they’re not…) but hopefully they’ll appear any day.  And when they do, Phyllis feels strongly that there should be some form of celebration.  Likely it will involve feasting and a book giveaway, so stay tuned 🙂


The first order of business today is to announce the winner of the November/December Pitch Pick.

Drum roll, please….!

And the winner is Nadine with her delightful pitch for Armadillo Pillow Fight!  Congratulations, Nadine!  Your pitch is already in editor Erin Molta’s inbox awaiting her words of wisdom!  I’m sure you’ll hear from her at her earliest convenience.

And to all our other pitchers, hurray for you!  You all did a tremendous job!  You wrote a pitch, bravely put it out in the world for constructive feedback, took that feedback and used it to improve your pitch, and submitted it again for the judgment of your peers – no easy task!  Even though you won’t get thoughts from Erin, I hope the experience was positive and educational, and you’ve come away from it feeling like you have a better handle on this pitch in particular and pitching in general!  And thanks as always to all the wonderful readers who take the time to read and evaluate the pitches each Wednesday and provide their helpful thoughts.  We seriously couldn’t do this without you!

I think all this writerly camaraderie calls for a celebration in the form of Something Chocolate, don’t you?  And boy to I have a treat for you today!  Check THIS out:

Chocolate Cream Pie Bites!!!


Recipe HERE at Sugar Apron

Careful!  You’re drooling on your keyboard!  🙂

But really!  YUM!!!  I feel an honest-to-goodness chocolate swoon!

The great thing about virtual chocolate is that we can all have 14 of them without guilt and we never run out! 🙂

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Costantia.  Costantia has been gathering the knowledge and courage required to enter the world of children’s writing and illustrating after 15 years of teaching, a lifetime in academia and two young children. She is just beginning to tentatively dip a toe, her big toe… Or maybe a whole foot into what appears to be a huge pond of existing talent, and she is petrified! Could there be space out there for a new author/illustrator who wants to help guide children through new experiences and social processes that they don’t yet understand?

Find her on the web at:
Twitter: @Costantia
Facebook: @costantiamanolirumfitt 

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: George

Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 2+)

The Pitch: George has ASD. This means that he has some rather unusual behaviors – but what do the other children make of this? This is a simple story told in rhyming couplets about showing love and understanding for those who work in a different way.

So what do you think?  Would You Read It?  YES, MAYBE or NO?

If your answer is YES, please feel free to tell us what you particularly liked and why the pitch piqued your interest.  If your answer is MAYBE or NO, please feel free to tell us what you think could be better in the spirit of helping Costantia improve her pitch.  Helpful examples of possible alternate wordings are welcome.  (However, I must ask that comments be constructive and respectful.  I reserve the right not to publish comments that are mean because that is not what this is about.)


Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on Would You Read It in the dropdown under For Writers in the bar above.  There are openings in February, so you have a little time to polish your pitch before putting it up for helpful feedback and have a chance to have it read by editor Erin Molta!

Costantia is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to Phyllis’s books being available in paperback once again, and to getting the guidelines for the Valentiny Contest up!  Really, I am!  I’m still contemplating… and still working on prizes (that is a totally unsubtle hint if anyone has a prize to offer or knows where I can get my hot little hands on something of writerly value!) but I know you guys need time to write, so I’ll do my best to get them up ASAP!

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂  And yes, definitely, have another Chocolate Cream Pie Bite! 🙂


44 thoughts on “Would You Read It Wednesday #239 -George (PB) PLUS The November/December Pitch Pick Winner!

  1. Maria Marshall (@MariaMarshall_) says:

    Susanna – POD, wow. Way to go Phyllis! (And yeah you, of course). Thanks for a heavenly treats, they look positively deadly.
    Costantia, I am curious and I might read this book, it has interesting potential. A few things strike me, with the pitch. First, what if the reader doesn’t know what ASD is? How will they know what his odd behaviors are? I would take out the question and show us some of his behaviors and the other kids reactions.

    The Pitch: George has ASD (A S Disorder). So when he [action/behavior/sounds…], the other kids [laugh, tease, or…]. But …

    At this point, we need to know – HOW the kids get from the beginning to the end and develop an understanding of him (and others?)? Just a snippet of what happens. Then a hint of the ending. Be careful not to use a moral or message as the last sentence.

    By the way – Who changes in the story? George, or the kids, or all of them? Good luck with this story. 🙂

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Hahah, Maria! You made me laugh out loud with “they look positively deadly!” 🙂 I’m sure they’re nothing of the kind! 🙂 Phyllis thanks you for your cheerleading, as do I. And thanks so much for your helpful comments for Costantia!

  2. teachnarsd says:

    Susanna and the rest of WYRIW friends, thank you for the pitch win and this amazing opportunity with Erin Molta. Looking forward to her advice!

    Contantia, I might read this book, but I do not know what ASD is. I am assuming it is a disorder of some kind. Children always need well-written picture books to make sense of their world and this sounds like you have that idea in mind. YES! So I would show an example of George’s odd behaviors in the pitch. I have also been told that mentioning that there is rhyme may not be the best use of wording in a pitch. Leave that up to the editor or agent to discover. I would spend those words saying more about the character and his/her growth. Good luck!

  3. elenither says:

    I would read Constantia’s book about George to children to teach them about accepting other children with different behaviours. I think one of the most important lessons children should learn from day one is about acceptance, tolerance and empathy. Great idea – can’t wait to see the photos

  4. ptnozell says:

    Susanna – Phyllis on Demand, woo hoo! Hope you, and she, can see all of the virtual chocolate sprinkles I’m tossing to celebrate (and maybe catch a few, too)!

    Costantia, I’m one of those people who didn’t know the acronym ASD – and I stopped reading to look it up & then returned to the pitch. Although this acronym may be a given in your line of work or personal life, I’d err on the side of presuming that the agents & editors you’re pitching may not recognize the acronym nor even know what differences they imply, but may well be looking for a story about autism. As Maria mentioned, if you could show some of the differences & responses it will surely grab our attention.

    Keep working on this, as I think this is an important story to share.

  5. David McMullin says:

    Ooo, that pie. everything is better in miniature form. You can eat so many more.

    I would love to read a book about a kid with ASD. It’s a population that is rarely represented in PBs. That said, I only have a general sense of what this book is about from the pitch. First, I would expect that it is George’s story, but the final line indicates it’s about the other kids. (of course both can learn and grow) But the pitch should have one point of view. Maybe show some specific behaviors. Write out the words for ASD. I would consider changing the title before sending it in. Last year, there was a very popular MG book called GEORGE that everyone will immediately think about. I hope you have success with this book, It is needed on the shelves.

  6. Sue Morris @ KidLitReviews says:

    “George has ASD” immediately caught my attention because children’s books about disabilities are needed. After that line, you lost me. I already know he has unusual behaviors because he has ASD, but what in particular stick out to the other children, and how do the children react? At this point, I don’t care if you are rhyming or not, I simply want details about your story. (Don’t mean to be harsh.) And I agree with Maria and PTNozell, agents and editors may not know what ASD stands for and probably don’t have the time to google it, which is why specific behaviors are important at this point. I do love where you are going with this. Nice first pitch.

  7. heavenlyhashformoms says:

    As a teacher, I would Want this book! And I’d want this book to be good…really good!! Autism/asbergers is so hard for kids to understand because, unlike a physical disability, the kids with this disorder look the same! I’ve seen kids react in both ways to kids with ASD…both negative and positive. Such an awesome topic for a book!!! I agree with the others to show some more specifics in your pitch to really give us a taste of the book…kind of like getting a sample at the grocery store that makes you want to buy the item, rather than just seeing a sign for it. Best of luck, ..seriously great topic!!!! Can’t wait to get my hands on it some day!!😀

  8. Rene` Diane Aube says:

    Hi Susanna and Constantia,

    I’m sure Phyllis will always remain close to the hearts of her readers. Tell her how unforgettable she is, Susanna, and that our love for her will remain steadfast and true.

    Thanks for sharing some deliciously delightful desserts to start my day, get me through my day, and end my day! YUM!! Sure wish you didn’t see me drooling, though…geesh…so embarrassing! 😉

    I, too, did not know the acronym for Autism/Asperger’s disease. Having had some experiences in caring for these precious souls in church nursery, I can say that I would definitely be in the market to purchase a picture book to help understand it at a deeper level as an adult and for children. That said, I agree with what Maria and Pat said about sharing a bit more about the growth of the characters without taking away the curiosity to read the book would be very helpful. I hope that makes sense.

    I’m looking forward to purchasing this when it comes out! Have a great day!

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Phyllis thanks you from the bottom of her passionate little groundhog heart, Rene, and sends you hogs and kisses (which are only a little bit sticky from the chocolate-covered strawberries she ate for breakfast 🙂 ) Glad you enjoy the “bites” and no worries about the drool… we’re all guilty 🙂 Thanks so much for your very helpful comments for Costantia!

  9. Johnell DeWitt says:

    Yay for Phyllis. Just a new reincarnation. 🙂 I am intrigued by the story. I don’t know what ASD stands for, but I think these topics are important to get out into children’s lit. I do have some suggestion, which I’ll shout out in ALL CAPS :):

    The Pitch: George has ASD–NOT SURE MANY AGENTS WILL KNOW THIS EITHER, MAYBE EXPLAIN THIS HERE A BIT MORE THAN UNUSUAL BEHAVIORS–MORE SPECIFIC. This means that he has some rather unusual behaviors – but what do the other children make of this? QUESTIONS ARE OVERDONE IN QUERIES, I’D FIND A WAY TO MAKE A STATEMENT THAT CLUES US IN TO MORE OF THE STORY This is a simple story told in rhyming couplets about showing love and understanding for those who work in a different way.

    Overall, the query is too vague. We need more about what George does–specific behaviors. Maybe the children don’t know what to do when he ?? or when he ??, so they’re all in a tizzy and maybe saying unkind things. George needs to find a way to help them understand, so what does he do. The rhyming couplets part can be later on, but in this section stick with what’s going on in the story.

    It’s great that you are taking on this topic. We’ll all need more understanding. Good luck.

  10. writersideup says:

    Costantia, I’m doing this in a rush, but wanted to just throw out there (someone may have already said it) that I think it’s an excellent premise, but I want to know what “ASD” stands for and also a few examples of the “unusual behaviors.” Good luck! 🙂

  11. Jilanne Hoffmann says:

    Ahhhhh, Susanna! WP is driving me crazy this morning. Third time trying to post a comment will be the charm, I hope. Chocolate looks yummy! Hope Phyllis is back in the saddle soon.

    Pitch? I agree with Maria Marshall. Use specifics and avoid overt moralizing like the plague. Cheers! Good luck with this!

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Oh, dear, Jilanne! Sorry about WP! Honestly sometimes I feel technology is the bane of my existence! Thanks so much for your persistence in coming to help Costantia! I hope the recipe makes it worth your while 🙂 And Phyllis thanks you for your encouragement!

  12. Wendy Greenley says:

    That chocolate treat got me more excited than I’ve felt in awhile! My, it looks good.

    Costantia, welcome to the pond! Best way in is a cannonball. 🙂 I agree with others about more specifics. Your pitch tells me format, but I’m not sure from the description if this is a story (character, arc, resolution) or a concept book about George’s experiences. Appreciating everyone is an important theme. Good luck with this ms.

  13. jeanjames926 says:

    POD…go Phyllis! Considering the fact that I have married into the chocolate cream pie lovers family, those mini bites are going to make me a star! Congrats to Nadine! To Costantia I think ASD is an important topic. It’s very difficult for a lot of kids to understand kids with ASD. I agree with the other comments above that ASD should be clarified, and the pitch needs some examples of George’s behavior and how that relates to the other children. I think a book like this can help to open up dialouge between parents and children or teachers and students to help understand the complex behavioural challenges that children with ASD have. I have one nephew with ADHD, and one nephew with ASD so I’ve had these conversations with my own children. I think you have a strongly needed book in your hands. Good luck to you!

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Argh! POD Phyllis is further delayed… probably won’t arrive in time for G-hog Day! Oh, well. She can console herself with Chocolate Cream Pie Bites. I am very glad if this recipe will make you a star, Jean! 🙂 Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments for Costantia!

  14. Michelle Vattula (@Mmvattula) says:

    Those cupcakes look amazing!!!! Costantia, Yes, I would read this PB. I must say though, that I don’t know what ASD is from your pitch. I think I need to know more of the pinpointed problem, vs the kids know this kid is different and has different behaviors. I think it i very important for PB to showcase kids with differences so keep up the good work and keep on writing!

  15. Genevieve Petrillo says:

    I’m late to the game today. I agree with the commenters who said to spell out what ASD means. I stopped reading to look it up. I’m assuming the kids have to learn to come to terms with how to include George since he can’t change to fit in better. If that’s the case, maybe you can mention that. Good luck with this one. It sounds like a useful book in this era of inclusion.

  16. viviankirkfield says:

    Phyllis will always be near and dear to our hearts, no matter what form she appears in…even if she gains weight or her hair turns gray or she loses her teeth. 😉
    Seriously, Susanna…that is great news…and the celebratory chocolate delight is much appreciated.

    Congratulations to Costantia…it is a courageous step to put your work out there…and I LOVE the topic of your story. I also love rhyme. I think you’ve gotten some great advice here…I, too, did not know what ASD stood for and had to look it up…so I would use the full name in the pitch…and I agree with Maria that we need to know a bit more about what the kids do and how George reacts. Is it what George does that helps the kids be more accepting?
    Best of luck with this story…we all want to buy it. 🙂

  17. Erini Loucaides says:

    Well done Costantia! As a teacher, I would certainly dive into your book. Your pitch intrigued me so much so, that had it been available in book form, I would certainly have tried to sniff it out. Sounds like a book students could benefit from reading – given that all else falls into place with content and pictures. All the very best!

  18. Costantia Manoli (@Costantia) says:

    What a wonderful ‘pond’ to have dipped into! Such a supportive, warm environment – thank you all for taking the time to leave both detailed and pertinent comments, I REALLY appreciate it and have much to PONDer (ok ok, may be taking the pond thing too far now!). Susanna – thank you muchly! 🙂

  19. Angela Brown says:

    Go Phyllis Go!

    And yeah, about those 20 – erm – multiple bites I devoured. YUM!

    I read through the comments and my concerns regarding the meaning of ASD have been touched upon, so I’ll leave that be. As for if I would read it, I would, and in our world where so many children are unique, this book is probably very needed. Good luck with it 🙂

  20. Hannah Holt says:

    Yay, Phyllis! Glad she’s making herself as available to party as every.

    Wow, great topic Costantia! Yes, I would read it. Here are a few more thoughts to help you brainstorm as you move forward.

    Working Title: George (Names make great picture book titles! Consider adding a few more details to the name to give us a hint for the flavor and topic of the book. How can a reader perusing the shelf know your book is different than say the book Oh no, George.)

    Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 2+) (I would leave off the age. I think 2+ is implied by picture book. Younger than that is usually board book.)

    The Pitch: George has ASD (I’m familiar with autism but not the acronym. Also I wonder if maybe this would be a better reveal at the end of the pitch. It comes off as a bit tell-y at the front. As others have suggested try describing some specific situations/problems he encounters and then the diagnosis at the end of the pitch can be the “ah ha” moment at the end.” This means that he has some rather unusual behaviors (such as?)– but what do the other children make of this? (I think it’d be stronger to have this as a statement rather than a question: The other children don’t know what to make…” This is a simple story told in rhyming couplets about showing love and understanding for those who work in a different way. (I love a good rhyming story. This sounds wonderful! I can’t wait for it to find the perfect publishing home!)

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