Would You Read It Wednesday #372 – Beach Sand Waves (PB)


Here we are in a whole brand new year!

Happy, happy to you all!

Let’s just dive right into Something Chocolate and start things off with a decadently delicious glass of Whipped Hot Chocolate to celebrate!

Whipped Hot Chocolate

Divine, isn’t it?! Slurp, slurp! 😊

I hope you’ll indulge me for one moment to share my new book with you since it had it’s birthday yesterday 😊

written by Susanna Leonard Hill, illustrated by John Joseph, published by Sourcebooks

I enjoyed writing this book to celebrate grandmas of every kind in every place – each one so special to her grandchildren in her own unique way. And John did such an amazing job with the illustrations! I hope you’ll like it if you get a chance to take a look at it.

Here’s a sneak peek at a couple of the pictures 😊

text copyright Susanna Leonard Hill 2021, illustration copyright John Joseph 2021, Sourcebooks Wonderland
text copyright Susanna Leonard Hill 2021, illustration copyright John Joseph 2021, Sourcebooks Wonderland

Can’t everyone appreciate a grandma who helps her defeat dragons? 😊

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Aundra whom you will remember from November with her pitch for Gregory The Garbage Truck. Aundra says, “I am a middle school special education teacher and mother to a 4 year old and 2.5 year old.”

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Beach Sand Waves

Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)

The Pitch: BEACH SAND WAVES is a 600 word picture book about a child who is willing to endure the thing they hate most to get to be with what they love.

Everyone loves the beach, but Morgan. Sand: It’s like glue. It’s everywhere. And there are bugs. Morgan’s day at the beach is nothing like a day at the beach, but to get to what Morgan loves more, first SAND. #wndb #nonfiction #pb

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 Aundra 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 January, so you could get your pitch up pretty soon for helpful feedback and a chance to have it read and commented on by editor Erin Molta!

Aundra is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to actually getting a copy of DEAR GRANDMA to hold in my hot little hands! I think my copies might come today. . . fingers crossed!

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 😊

44 thoughts on “Would You Read It Wednesday #372 – Beach Sand Waves (PB)

  1. Maria Marshall (@MariaMarshall_) says:

    Aundra, I have to say I’m a maybe. I am curious about your story. If I am reading it correct, then Morgan loves the waves & playing in the surf, but has to cross the “dreaded, despised, annoying” sand to get there. That’s an interesting premise. Though, I am confused by the line “Morgan’s day at the beach is nothing like a day at the beach.” I am not sure what this means. Normally, everybody else likes to build sand castles & play/squish in the sand, right? So, not a stereotypical “day at the beach.” I think this makes the reader stop & spend too much time trying to figure out what this means. I’d suggest dropping this phrase.

    As a REALLY rough stab at the pitch –
    Morgan loves the ocean. But before she can splash and swim Morgan must face the SAND. The big, sticky, hot, buggy sand. [ use wording from the story here?] So she …….

    This raises some questions for me:
    – How does she overcome the sand? What does she do to get to the water? Does she just run across it? Does she have to try different coping methods to get across the sand? What finally helps? This is part of the pitch that is missing. If I’m right, her goal is to get to the ocean. Her obstacle is the sand. But I don’t get a sense of how she defeats, sidesteps, or overcomes the sand to get to the ocean. Is part of the problem that her family likes the sand? This is the central point of your story and you need give a little hint of this in the pitch? How does she make it to the ocean? I think that will make it much more intriguing. Best of Luck with the pitch & the story!

  2. seschipper says:

    First of all…congratulations, Susanna! The story as well as illustrations are amazing! Looking forward to reading all about Grandma’s adventures 😀
    Regarding the pitch 🤔. This seems as if it could be a great story. However, I agree with Maria’s comments above. I reread it several times to try to untangle it. I do think it has great potential!

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Thanks, Susan! I’m glad you like the look of it. I had fun writing it. It’s in a kind of off-beat rhyme that I had a good time playing around with as I wrote it. And I LOVE John’s art! Thanks so much for your input for Aundra!

  3. Katie Engen says:

    You’ve combined elements of a query and a pitch. Your first lines are query material. The pitch should be character + problem summary + general solution (without full reveal). The details you sue in conveying these parts help highlight personality and setting.

    it seems you’re addressing sensory issues in addition to dealing with your theme of hated/loved things. If so, consider checking out the mentor texts (and blurbs) for This Beach Is Loud! by Samantha Cotterill and Too Sticky by Jen Malia.

  4. authoraileenstewart says:

    This was a maybe for me and I felt the title might need some work.

    I’m assuming from the description the child is either autistic or has sensory issues if the beach sand is so hated, but I’m left wondering what it is Morgan wants instead. I noticed this is listed as a non fiction book as well, which confused me a bit. Is this a real biographical story and character?

    And although I understood what “Morgan’s day at the beach was no day at the beach” meant, I do agree with Maria that young readers are probably not going to understand or connect with that thought.

    I also agree with Katie that a pitch should be character – problem – solution. Perhaps something like:

    Unlike everyone else in her family, Morgan hates the sandy beach. The stick to your legs sand and the creepy crawly bugs makes her cringe. But Morgan forces herself to remain calm in a realm of ick to get the one true thing she really loves__ (fill in the blank.)

    • Aundra Tomlins says:

      I’m glad that the sensory issues came through. My biggest issue is what the character wants is also the solution so using a typical pitch format has been a challenge. I need to spend some time thinking more creatively about the want.

  5. Colleen Owen Murphy says:

    I am not exactly sure what the book is about, so I would need more from the pitch to let me know. It definitely has potential as the others have said.

    Congratulations on your book Susanna!! As a newly anointed Nana (who is now nannying), I can relate to how special the role can be. I can’t wait to read DEAR GRANDMA!

  6. rindabeach says:

    Maybe – 600 words sounds too long for your market. Also I’d want more than sand and bugs to cause problems. I’m a Beach, literally so I wish you all the best on your beach adventure.

  7. Corey King says:

    Hi there! I first have to say that I LOVE the crazy dragon eyes and hope grandma can tame the mean ol monster! I love the illustrations and look forward to seeing the whole book! Regarding the pitch, I think it’s a maybe for me.

    I feel the “desire” for getting what Morgan loves more isn’t strong enough to face SAND. If SAND is that bad, we need to feel that Morgan can’t live without whatever he/she wants…and I feel that we would root for Morgan more if he/she was a little more desperate for getting what he/she loves more. Though I am a bit curious of what it may be!

    The title may need a little work, but might make more sense after reading the story.

    Here is a suggestion for tweaking:

    Sand: It’s like glue. It sticks to EVERYTHING. Not to mention, bugs are everywhere. YUCK!! Morgan’s day at the beach is nothing like a day at the beach, but to finally get what he/she came for, fighting SAND is a must. It’s TOTALLY worth it! #wndb #nonfiction #pb

    Good luck! I hope to see it someday!!

    • Aundra Tomlins says:

      I have changed the title> ONE HUNDRED TRILLION GRAINS OF SAND
      my other challenge is Morgan is non-binary so I am trying to avoid pronouns.

  8. dodiebird says:

    I read this several times and knew the target but wish it was concise enough for me to get it the first time. Maybe try saying it several different ways. I know where it is going and yes the sand can be a giant wall from the boardwalk to the water.
    DEAR GRANDMA will definitely find a place on my bookshelf.

  9. Jessica Hinrichs says:

    Hmm. Maybe. Like others have said, I had to reread it a few times to untangle the pitch. I think it could be reworded to be more clear. Also, as someone who lives in FL and frequents the beach, I’m not I sure I agree about the bugs. With the wind coming off the ocean, bugs don’t seem to be a big issue there (to me anyway).

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Thanks so much for sharing your reaction with Aundra, Jessica! Sometimes things make sense to us because we made up the idea, and it’s really important to hear how it hits someone who is unfamiliar with the story. It will help Aundra clarify for future pitch readers!

      • Aundra Tomlins says:

        Very true. I actually greatly appreciate that I wrote this pitch a few months ago and it’s done nothing since so the time away has shown me how right so many of your comments are! yes, it’s a bit… convoluted.

  10. Jay says:

    It’s a maybe from me. I didn’t get the true flavor of the book from the pitch and not enough of a hook to satisfy my curiosity. Also, the first sentence was query related and not a pitch. So, with a few tweaks I think Aundra could create a fine pitch for this story.

  11. Carrie Boone (@PageDoor) says:

    A strong maybe.
    I do like the teaser of a sensory-challenge story, but like others here, I think your pitch could be streamlined.
    How is the sand like glue? (the dreaded show not tell)
    And if you decide to keep the middle idea – how about “A day at the beach is no day at the beach for Morgan” or something similar?
    It sounds promising – I hope you keep going with this one!

  12. matthewlasley says:

    I like the play on phrases, but for me this is a no. I know nothing about the story other than Morgan doesn’t like the beach sand and she/he wants something that is there.
    In a pitch, we need to know the character, what they want, the stakes and the plan (not necessarily the solution or the ending).
    What I know about Morgan: doesn’t like the beach…sand? Boy/girl? Human/animal/robot?
    What does Morgan want: Something better than the beach, but if hate it your emotion (since “love more” is your comparison) that could be just about anything. For example: I hate onion, I love tomatoes more, but I still don’t like them.
    What’s at stake: ?? What happens if Morgan doesn’t go to the beach? Why should I care?
    Plan: ?? How does Morgan plan to overcome the sand and the bugs to get to the goal?

    Might I suggest that you write your pitch as a summary first.

    • Aundra Tomlins says:

      My challenge is the want is the solution. Morgan wants the Ocean but that’s also the suspense of the story. I’m having to think more creatively about WHY Morgan wants the ocean. I think I am going to go with wanting the sensory deprivation… morgan wants quiet or Morgan wants to float.
      Work work work!

      • matthewlasley says:

        Whatever Morgan’s want there has to be a reason and a why can Morgan only get it here. The solution does not (and should not) be successful the first time.
        So, if Morgan wants to go swimming in the ocean, start off with that…
        People say Morgan is half fish because he/she loves swimming in the ocean. But one thing Morgan can’t stand about going to the beach is the beach! Sand, yuck!
        Mom says you have to get a little sand between your toes if you want to swim in the ocean, but Morgan disagrees. There has to be a better way to avoid the hot sand and all those creepy bugs!

  13. jeanjames926 says:

    Congratulations on Dear Grandma. It looks like a beautiful book. As for the pitch, who doesn’t have issues with sand! However, I’m a little confused reading the pitch. I think with some tweaking it could be an interesting story.

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      I’m glad you like the look of it, Lauri! I love the cover, and I think John did such a fantastic job with the art! And… I confess… we are a family of puddle jumpers – me, my kids, my granddaughters 😊😊😊

  14. Jamie Donahoe says:

    Based on the pitch as currently written, I would pass. However, some of the pitches proposed in the comments certainly piqued my interest. So keep on working to get to pitch perfect!

    And congrats on Grandmas! Can’t wait to find a copy.

  15. yangmommy says:

    I related to this pitch because the first time I introduced my (now teen) kiddo to the beach, she didn’t dare put her feet on the sand! Things quickly changed, fortunately 🙂
    In regards to your pitch, I’d say a “strong maybe.” What’s throwing me a bit is the “sand being like glue.” I immediately pictured kinetic sand, which sticks to itself thru the magic of magnets, unlike beach sand. And beach sand won’t stick unless one has sunscreen on, or is wet. Also, I want to know what he loves so much (waves?) that he’s willing to endure what he hates. And of course, how, does he get there–a teaser, perhaps?
    Massaging & streamlining your pitch will shine a brighter spotlight on what promises to be a fantastic tale! Best!

    • Aundra Tomlins says:

      It is talked about in the MS that sand is like glue in the fact that it glues itself to moisture like sunscreen and water. But that’s a lot to convey in the pitch. I’m working on that love. Morgan has sensory needs so the ocean is a place where they can float and be in silence and not have anything touching them (if you’ve seen My Octopus Teacher he talks about this and the fact he doesn’t wear a wetsuit a bit). I need to work that in a bit.

      • yangmommy says:

        I think that bringing up his sensory needs & challenges within the pitch/cover letter will be crucial & perhaps that extra nudge for editors to read on. Good luck!!

  16. Aundra Tomlins says:

    A revamp: 🙂
    It’s rough but I feel like it might touch on the point above.

    It’s another sizzling summer Saturday. Beach day. Ocean day! Morgan needs to getaway. Away from the sounds, the pokes, the scratches of life. But this is not found surrounded by ONE HUNDRED TRILLION GRAINS OF SAND. They scratch, they stick, they have crabs and bugs inside. To get away from it all, Morgan will have to first get over the sand. #LGBTQ #AutismAwareness #DVPit #PB

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