Perfect Picture Book Friday – Dragon Night

Welcome to Perfect Picture Book Friday, Everyone!

Wait ’til you see the gorgeous book I have to share with you today!  I dare you not to love it! 🙂

dragon night

Title: Dragon Night

Written & Illustrated By: J. R. Krause

G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books For Young Readers, January 22 2019, fiction

Suitable For Ages: 3-7

Themes/Topics: friendship, kindness, childhood fears (nighttime), word play

Opening: “Georgie is afraid of the night.
It’s too dark with the lights off.
Too quiet with everyone asleep.
And being alone makes everything worse.”

screen shot 2019-01-24 at 4.23.29 pm
text and illustration copyright J.R.Krause 2019

Brief Synopsis: Georgie is afraid of the night.  The dragon is afraid of the knight.  The dragon knows just how to help Georgie overcome his fear, and the two set off on a unforgettable adventure. But when the morning comes, Georgie feels better about the night, but the dragon is still afraid of the knight. How can Georgie help his friend?

Links To Resources: Make Your Own Night Light; write your own story for the dragon the way Georgie does – what items would you include? what setting? Make Dragon Egg Sugar Cookies! 😊

Why I Like This Book: Lots of kids are afraid of the dark and the night, so this charming story is sure to be relatable and I think any child will find it comforting.  It’s a lovely story for bedtime.

screen shot 2019-01-24 at 4.24.16 pm
text and illustration copyright J.R.Krause 2019

The combination of text and illustration hits the exact magical note that makes a picture book truly perfect. Both Georgie and the Dragon are appealing characters (I hope no one misses that his name is Georgie 😊 ), and the story is one of kindness, empathy, and understanding.

screen shot 2019-01-24 at 4.24.43 pm
How endearing is this? 🙂                                                                                                                              (text and illustration copyright J.R.Krause 2019)

My favorite part, aside from the lovely relationship that develops between the two, and getting to see the knight from the dragon’s point of view, is the fact that Georgie’s solution involves creative writing – what a great model for young readers! 😊

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do 😊

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

PPBF folks, please add your titles and post-specific links (and any other info you feel like filling out 😊 ) to the form below so we can all come see what fabulous picture books you’ve chosen to share this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!! 😊

Would You Read It Wednesday #389 – Friends ‘Round The Bend (PB)

Howdy, friends! I hope you’re all having a great week so far!

If you’re looking for a little writing inspiration or something to read – to yourself or to any kiddos you spend time with – check out the Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Writing Challenge Week 1! There are a whole bunch of fun stories up already for your reading pleasure – short and entertaining – and if you’re inspired to write, I encourage you to join in. There are some great prizes on offer for writers who complete the challenge!

Since nothing goes better with reading and writing than a little Something Chocolate, please help yourself to some of this delicious Old Fashioned Chocolate Maraschino Cherry Cake!

Old Fashioned Chocolate Maraschino Cherry Cake

YUM! Mouth-wateringly chocolate-y, and so cheerful and springy with that pretty pink cherry filling! (Plus cherries = fruit = healthy choice 😊)

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Katie who says, “I am a children’s book writer (non-published as of now), pursuing this now that my three boys are grown and gone. My hubby and I live in Colorado with one little rescue pup who has the honor of being my best hiking buddy. And sometimes we run around in circles! Well, he is an Agility dog  .    .    .  “

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Friends ‘Round The Bend

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

The Pitch: Pip’s journey to fix his no-good nose takes a detour as he hikes deep into the forest meeting forlorn critters who need his help. But when it’s time for him to head for home, the solitary journey leaves him lost – again – and he fears his trailblazing days may be over.

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 Katie 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 May, 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!

Katie is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to reading lots more fun stories as the Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Writing Challenge continues!

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 😊

Tuesday Debut – Presenting Ann Magee!

Hurray!

After a little hiatus in which we didn’t have any Tuesday Debut-ers, we’re back today with a beautiful, inspiring book by the lovely and talented Ann Magee! Her book actually comes out next week, so you’re getting a sneak preview and you can pre-order your copy from one of the links below 😊

BRANCHES OF HOPE: THE 9/11 SURVIVOR TREE
by Ann Magee
illustrated by Nicole Wong
Charlesbridge Publishing
May 18, 2021
Text is nonfiction, illustrations are of fictional family, ages 4-8.

Intertwined stories—one in words and one in pictures—show how the Survivor Tree’s strength echoed the hope of a nation after harrowing events in New York City in 2001.

SUSANNA: Welcome, Ann! We are so thrilled to have you here with us today to tell us about your journey to publication with this very special book! Where did the idea for this book come from?

ANN: My children and I visited the 9/11 Memorial Museum in 2016 where I read a booklet about the story of the Survivor Tree in the gift shop. I immediately thought it would make a lovely picture book—a hopeful story born from a tragic event in history. It’s a story I wish I had known when my children were young and learning about the events of 9/11.

SUSANNA: How long did it take you to write this book?

ANN: It took about six months to write the book after several months of research. (I was working part-time then). A lot of my “writing” happens in my head first. I’m very visual, which is definitely helpful in writing picture books.

SUSANNA: Did you go through many revisions?

ANN: When I draft a picture book manuscript, I write the beginning and the end first, like bookends, so I know the shape of the story. I outlined the story and wrote about 15 drafts. I was writing the true story of the tree’s journey, and in my mind, I visualized the story of a little girl growing up alongside the tree’s recovery, much like my own little girl was doing at the time.

Ann’s writing buddies, Gretchen and Ripley 😊

SUSANNA: When did you know your manuscript was ready for submission?

ANN: I shared this manuscript with several critique partners along the way as well as getting a paid critique from an editor at a SCBWI event. I was confident in my vision for this story, so I took the advice that matched that vision and discarded others’ (like the editor who advised I should add a fictional character to the text).

SUSANNA: When and how did you submit?

ANN: I am unagented. I submitted this manuscript to Yolanda Scott at Charlesbridge on the last possible day for submissions (end of December 2017) after an online-type of conference over the summer 2017.

SUSANNA: When did you get “the call”?  (Best moment ever! 😊)

ANN: In June 2018, I got an email from Karen Boss at Charlesbridge asking if the manuscript was still available. I screamed, then responded, “Yes, yes it is.” She offered for it in July. At this time, Carole Boston Weatherford was exploring a role as literary agent and had offered to represent another of my manuscripts earlier that year. I asked if she would represent this one for me as well as I had no experience negotiating contracts, etc. and she said she would.

SUSANNA: How did you celebrate signing your contract?

ANN: My husband and I went out to a nice dinner to celebrate my signing my first book contract!

SUSANNA: Was the contract what you expected in terms of advance, royalty percentage, publication timeline, author copies etc.?

ANN: This is my first book deal and Charlesbridge is a smaller house, so I expected the advance would be on the lower end of 2K-3K. Royalty—5% on hardcover, 3% on paperback, 20 author copies, and Newbery/Caldecott stipulations were also included in the contract.

SUSANNA: Can you tell us a little about the editorial process?

ANN: I felt very comfortable from the beginning of our book-making journey that this important story was in caring, loving hands at Charlesbridge.

We went through three rounds of revisions with a specific focus each time. The first round focused on ‘big picture’ ideas—clarifying the text storyline and the wordless storyline (in the illustrations), looking at the pagination or pacing of the story, and creating a strong ending that tied with the 20th anniversary.

The second round of revisions included more work on the ending and changing the title since another book had just been announced with the title Survivor Tree, which had been my title, too. (I was a bit upset about this at first, but I’m glad now because the new title Branches of Hope encompasses the book’s message so much better.)
There were a few minor tweaks for the last round. We also discussed choices for illustrators and what style goes with our vision for the ‘feel’ of the story.

SUSANNA: What was your experience of the illustration process like?

ANN: The illustration process went very smoothly. Luckily, the team at Charlesbridge, the illustrator Nicole Wong, and I had similar visions for this project. I was informed at each step along the way—I saw the sketches, received digital files throughout the process. When I had questions or concerns about the art, they were valued and discussed. I received color proof pages in the mail for me to check for errors before it went to print.

text copyright Ann Magee 2021, illustration copyright Nicole Wong 2021, Charlesbridge

In terms of art notes, I included just a few with my manuscript upon submission to inform the illustrator of a specific setting for some scenes since the story is a true story. For example, at the end Tears rained down, down, down, the Illos. Note reads: reflection pools.

text copyright Ann Magee 2021, illustration copyright Nicole Wong 2021, Charlesbridge
(this one is Ann’s favorite – isn’t it wonderful?!)

As we developed the wordless parallel story for the illustrations, more Illustration notes were needed so Nicole could know what the storyline was, but she had the space to make each scene her own. For example, Nicole knew that the family should be shown having a picnic near the Twin Towers in the front pages of the book before the story begins but illustrating the pears on the picnic blanket was all her—and I love it!

text copyright Ann Magee 2021, illustration copyright Nicole Wong 2021, Charlesbridge

SUSANNA: Did you get to see advance reviews from Kirkus, SLJ, etc? What was that like?

ANN: I did not see the advance review from PW, but my editor and marketing director did give me the good news of our Kirkus Star a week or two before it went public. I was able to read the review when they emailed me the good news. Karen emailed me the SJL review at the end of April. We are very happy with the book’s reviews so far!

SUSANNA: How long did it take from offer to having the first copy in your hand?

ANN: It took 2 ½ years to finally hold the first copy in my hands, but not much was done for the first year as Charlesbridge wasn’t ready to work on the project yet.  The initial print run is 6,000 copies.

SUSANNA: What kind of marketing and promotion has your publisher done for this book?

ANN: At my request, my two-person marketing team at Charlesbridge (and the design department) created a postcard and bookmark for me to print. They have also arranged several bookstore readings and other possible events that will take place nearer to September. They plan to include the book in Charlesbridge’s virtual exhibits, book buzzes and chats. They will reach out to newspapers who are bound to do stories nearer to the anniversary date.

SUSANNA: Describe any marketing/promotion you did for this book.

ANN: I’ve reached out to several local bookstores and will be doing a book launch at Words Matter Bookstore in Pitman NJ on the weekend after my release date. I’ll do a reading and a craft related to the book.

Also, Tamara Girardi has included BRANCHES OF HOPE in her 12 Months of Books Challenge.

In the upcoming months, I’ll be featured on Kathy Teaman’s blog and Kidlit 411’s blog.

SUSANNA: How long was it between the time you started writing seriously and the time you sold your first picture book?

ANN: I started writing seriously in January 2013 when I joined Julie Hedlund’s 12 x 12 Writing Challenge. I spent that first year just immersing myself in learning, taking classes, going to conferences, etc. I sold my first book 5 ½ years later.

SUSANNA: I remember having you in my class in early 2014 😊 What is the most important/helpful thing you learned on your way to publication? (Or what is your most helpful piece of advice for up and coming writers?)

ANN: I can’t stress enough how important it is to surround yourself with likeminded people, people who are also traveling the same path. Sharing advice or traversing bumps in the road together is so important in an endeavor that feels very solitary most of the time. I’m so grateful for my critique partners!

Also, I think as a writer, you need to care about the story you’re telling—it has to REALLY matter to you in order for that passion to shine through in the manuscript.

Author Ann Magee

Website: annmagee.net
Twitter: @ann_ammwrite
Instagram: ammwrite

SUSANNA: Thank you so much, Ann, for taking the time to participate in this series and paying it forward to other writers! We all so appreciate you sharing your experience and wish you the best of luck with this and future titles!

ANN: Thank you so much, Susanna, for having me on your blog and for sharing my journey with my debut book. It means so much!

Readers, if you have questions for Ann, please post them in the comments below and if she has time I’m sure she’ll respond!

You may purchase Ann’s book at:
(all links below are book-specific)

Indiebound
Amazon
Barnes&Noble

We can help our debut authors successfully launch their careers by:

– purchasing their books

– recommending their books to friends and family

– recommending their books to our children’s teachers and librarians

– recommending their books to our local libraries and bookstores

– suggesting them as visiting authors at our children’s schools and our local libraries

– sharing their books on social media

– reviewing their books on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and other sites where people go to learn about books.

Thank you all for stopping by to read today!  Have a lovely, inspiration-filled Tuesday!  Maybe today is the day you’ll write your debut picture book 😊

Missed any previous Tuesday Debuts?  Check them out!

Christy Mihaly – Hey! Hey! Hay! A Tale of Bales And The Machines That Make Them

Jessie Oliveros – The Remember Balloons

Beth Anderson – An Inconvenient Alphabet: Ben Franklin And Noah Webster’s Spelling Revolution

Hannah Holt – The Diamond And The Boy

Laura Renauld – Porcupine’s Pie

Annie Romano – Before You Sleep: A Bedtime Book Of Gratitude

Melissa Stoller – Scarlet’s Magic Paintbrush

Sherry Howard – Rock And Roll Woods

Kate Narita – 100 Bugs! A Counting Book

Vivian Kirkfield – Pippa’s Passover Plate

Laura Roettiger – Aliana Reaches For The Moon

Matthew Lasley – Pedro’s Pan: A Gold Rush Story

Natalee Creech – When Day Is Done

Margaret Chiu Greanias – Maximillian Villainous

Wendy Greenley – Lola Shapes The Sky

Danielle Dufayet – You Are Your Strong

B.J. Lee – There Was An Old Gator Who Swallowed A Moth

Cathy Ballou Mealey – When A Tree Grows

Pippa Chorley – Counting Sheep

Sandra Sutter – The Real Farmer In The Dell

June Smalls – Odd Animals ABC

Jill Mangel Weisfeld – Riley The Retriever Wants A New Job (self pub)

Kathleen Cornell Berman – The Birth Of Cool: How Jazz Great Miles Davis Found His Sound

Eleanor Ann Peterson – Jurassic Rat

Sarah Hoppe – Who Will? Will You?

Marla LeSage – Pirate Year Round

Stacey Corrigan – The Pencil Eater

Shannon Stocker – Can U Save The Day?

Nadine Poper – Randall And Randall

Christine Evans – Evelyn The Adventurous Entomologist

Karen Kiefer – Drawing God (religious market)

Susan Richmond – Bird Count

Dawn Young – The Night Baafore Christmas

Heather Gale – Ho’onani: Hula Warrior

Ciara O’Neal – Flamingo Hugs Aren’t For Everyone (self pub)

Theresa Kiser – A Little Catholic’s Book Of Liturgical Colors (religious market)

Lindsey Hobson – Blossom’s Wish (self pub)

Kirsten Larson – Wood, Wire, Wings: Emma Lilian Todd Invents An Airplane

Valerie Bolling – Let’s Dance!

Janet Johnson – Help Wanted: Must Love Books

Susi Schaefer – Cat Ladies

Heather Kinser – Small Matters: The Hidden Power of the Unseen

Kelly Carey – How Long Is Forever?

Mary Wagley Copp – Wherever I Go

Nell Cross Beckerman – Down Under The Pier

Claire Noland – Evie’s Field Day: More Than One Way To Win

Sharon Giltrow – Bedtime, Daddy!

Gabi Snyder – Two Dogs On A Trike

Sarah Kurpiel – Lone Wolf

Vicky Fang – Invent-a-Pet

Lisa Katzenberger – National Regular Average Ordinary Day

Pam Webb – Someday We Will

Abi Cushman – Soaked!

Teresa Krager – Before Your Birth Day

Lindsay H. Metcalf – Beatrix Potter, Scientist

Nancy Roe Pimm – Fly, Girl, Fly! Shaesta Waiz Soars Around The World

Jolene Gutiérrez – Mac And Cheese And The Personal Space Invader

Julie Rowan-Zoch – Louis (picture book illustration debut!)

Janie Emaus – Latkes For Santa

Amy Mucha – A Girl’s Bill Of Rights

Hope Lim – I Am A Bird

Melanie Ellsworth – Hip,Hip…Beret!

Rebecca Kraft Rector – Squish Squash Squished

Gnome Road Publishing (publishing house debut)

Sue Heavenrich – 13 Ways To Eat A Fly

Julie Rowan-Zoch – I’m A Hare So There (author/illustrator debut)

Nancy Derey Riley – Curiosity’s Discovery (author/illustrator self-published debut)

Moni Ritchie Hadley – The Star Festival

Sita Singh – Birds Of A Feather

Here We Go Again! Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Writing Challenge Take 2!

Good morning, my little chickens!

Are things feeling a wee bit humdrum?

Is daily routine getting you down?

Does this look familiar?

Just as I suspected!

It seems we’ve all got a case of the I Haven’t Gone Anywhere Done Anything Seen Anyone For A Year So What The Heck Can I Write About Blues!

But don’t worry.

I can fix that! 😊

All that’s required is a little tomfoolery! A few high jinx and shenanigans to knock the K off of FUNK and get us back to good old F-U-N!

Who’s with me?

Give me a woo!

WOO!

Give me a hoo!

HOO!

What does that spell?

Well. . . technically it doesn’t actually spell anything, since neither woo nor hoo is a letter, but one way or another it comes out

WOOHOO!

Now! Let’s have some fun!

And fun in this instance is. . .

another round of the ever-popular, practically world famous

(Not a contest exactly… no room in the blog calendar, no time for judging, no gigantic prizes on offer…but still (hopefully!) tons of fun!)

Here’s how it works:

Starting today, each Monday until June 21st (which makes 7 Mondays total and will get us to the end of the school term) I will post a Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Writing Prompt for a 100 word story.  Post your story in the comment section for that week’s challenge (or if you have trouble posting it, email it to me and I’ll post it for you.)  At the end of the 7 weeks, everyone who has posted one story for each week’s prompt will

A) have 7 brand new stories to play with!  (Who knows? Your next picture book or even chapter book or longer might be sparked by something you write for the Challenge!)

B) be able to take credit for entertaining lots of fellow writers and their kids (not to mention you’ll entertain yourself and your own kids!)

and

C) qualify to win a prize from the Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Mystery Bag of Marvelous Prizes for Writers! (Last year we managed to scare up enough prizes that all of the approximately 40 people who completed the challenge got something, but we’ll have to see how the available prizes stack up this year – if there aren’t enough for everyone who completes the challenge we’ll have to randomly draw winners until we run out of prizes, but you will still win A and B above!)

You can compete with yourself to see if you can write all 7 stories!  You can compete with your writing friends to see if you can write more than they do! And if you want to get really competitive, you can all read the stories that are posted and “like” the ones you think are best and see who gets the most “likes” 😊 (If you do that there might be some special prizes…who can tell??? 😊)

When the going get’s humdrum, children’s writers beat the blues by playing writing games and creating new stories to keep themselves and everyone around them entertained!

So here we go!

Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Writing Prompt #1 for Week of May 10:

Choose a character from Column A and something the character needs from Column B and write a 100 word story for children entitled _____Column A_____ Needs A _____Column B_____ If you wish, you may also select a random item from Column C to include in your story.

For example: Hermit Crab Needs A Home. (And perhaps you’d include a harmonica somewhere in the story.)

Or, if something in Column C strikes your fancy you can use that as the thing your character needs, e.g. Hummingbird Needs Help.

Get the idea?

Here are the options:

Column A – CharacterColumn B – Something NeededColumn C – random item
HedgehogHomeHockey Stick (or Hockey Puck)
HammerheadHugHorse (or Sea Horse)
Hermit CrabHintHarmonica
HummingbirdHobbyHero
HareHolidayHelp
Henry or HilaryHatHelicopter

If a central idea would be helpful to you in your writing, you can focus your story on Mother’s Day, since that is fresh in all our minds this morning 😊, but that is NOT required.

In an attempt to answer possible questions I will say:

  • you can write as many stories as you want each week
  • you can post them at any time during the week (just make sure they’re on the Monday Mix ‘n’ Match Mini post for the week you’re entering – e.g. below for Week #1))
  • you can play catch up (so if you miss a week you can go back and add to an earlier week if you’re trying to complete the challenge and qualify for prizes as long as all entries are posted on the correct week and are posted no later than Saturday June 26th at midnight Eastern time.)
  • no illustration notes
  • You may go over the word count if you’re on a roll and you wish to (because there is no judging 😊)
  • You may write in poetry or prose

(This is where the sample I intended to write belongs, but since I haven’t had time to write it yet I’ll have to add it in!)

And here’s a little sampling of the prizes up for grabs to whet your competitive spirit 😊 MORE TO COME!

When it comes time for prizes, names of all those who completed the challenge will be drawn randomly and matched with prizes drawn randomly until we run out! 😊

⭐️ Picture Book Critique from Penny Parker Klostermann, the lovely and talented author of THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHT (Random House 2015) and A COOKED-UP FAIRY TALE (Random House 2017)

⭐️ 30 Minute Q&A with Penny Klostermann

⭐️ Picture Book MS Critique OR Query Letter Critique (Winner’s Choice) from Jennifer Buchet, debut author of LITTLE MEDUSA’S HAIR DO-LEMMA (Clear Fork/Spork May 11, 2021)

⭐️ Picture Book MS Critique from Jen Raudenbush, agented writer of picture books, middle grade, and poetry. (Represented by Natascha Morris of The Tobias Literary Agency)

⭐️ 30 minute Zoom chat about anything industry related (manuscript, query letter, best practices for querying) with Becky Scharnhorst, amazing author of MY SCHOOL STINKS (Philomel Books, July 6, 2021)

⭐️ Webinar: How To Write Powerful First Pages Like A Pro by author and editor Alayne Kay Christian

⭐️ A copy of Mary Kole’s Writing Irresistible Kidlit: The Ultimate Guide to Crafting Fiction for Young Adult and Middle Grade Writers, donated by Nicole Loos Miller

⭐️ A personalized signed copy of SASSAFRAS AND HER TEENY TINY TAIL (MacLaren-Cochrane Publishing 2021) by Candice Marley Conner

⭐️ Making Picture Book Magic Self Study Class (any month)

⭐️ Magnetic Poetry – Little Box of Happiness

Magnetic Poetry - Little Box of Happiness Kit - Words for Refrigerator - Write Poems and Letters on The Fridge - Made in The USA

Check out the Week 1 Stories!

Henry Needs A Holiday – Joyce Uglow

Hank Needs A Hug – Jen Subra

Hare Needs (To Take) A Hint – Candice Marley Conner

Hummingbird Needs A Holiday – Laura Bower

Hummingbird Needs A Hug – Ann Gray

Humphrey Hummingbird Needs A (New) Hobby – Clearywriter

Hedgehog Needs A Hobby – Erika

Hare Needs A Hug – Brenda Whitehead

Henry Hare Needs A Hat – Marty Bellis

Henry Needs A Hug – Isabel Cruz Rodriguez

Hermit Crab Needs A Home – Grinny Butler

Henry Hedgehog – Michelle S. Kennedy

Henrietta’s New Home – Rose Cappelli

Hilary Needs A Hug – Sarah Meade

Hermy The Hermit Crab’s New Home – Susan E. Schipper

Helicopter Hummingbird – Linda Schueler

Untitled – Marta Magellan

Hilary The Hummingbird – Julie Kurtz

A Holiday For Mrs. Hare – Judy Sobanski

Alphonso’s Real Estate: Fashionable Homes For Hermit Crabs – Nicole Loos Miller

Hyena’s Hiccups – Marla Yablon

Hermit Crab Needs A Holiday – Carrines Clifton

Henry Hummingbird Needs A Home – Jennifer Reichow

Henry’s Discovery – Dawn Young

Henry Needs Some Luck – Allison Strick

Henry Needs A Holiday Hero – Ashley Sierra

Hoglet Hurry Home – Sally Yorke-Viney

A Hat For Hammerhead – Ashley B. Pedigo

Hallie Hummingbird Needs A Holiday – Christine Alemshah

Hudson Hammerhead Needs A Hug – Jeannette Suhr

Henry Needs A Hobby – Sue Lancaster

Hare And His Harmonica – Lyn Jekowsky

Horst Needs A Hug – Elizabeth Meyer Zu Heringdorf

Hummingbird Needs A Holiday – Sara Kruger

Hammerhead Needs A Hockey Stick – Les Degnan

Henry Needs A Hint – Deb Sullivan

Hare Needs A Hobby – Marta Cutler

Hare Needs A Holiday – Aly Kenna

Hilary Needs A Hint – Mia Geiger

Perfect Picture Book Friday – A Flood Of Kindness

Hurray! It’s Perfect Picture Book Friday again!

I don’t know about you, but there are so many great books out lately that it’s hard to pick just one each week!

But I had no trouble picking this one. Such a beautiful story, and so well written!

Have a look!

Title: A Flood of Kindness

Written By: Ellen Leventhal

Illustrated By: Blythe Russo

Publisher: WorthyKids, April 13, 2021, fiction

Suitable For Ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: hardship, kindness, resilience

Opening: “The night the river jumped its banks, everything changed.”

text copyright Ellen Leventhal 2021, illustration copyright Blythe Russo 2021, WorthyKids

Brief Synopsis: When Charlotte’s home is made uninhabitable by flood waters, she must go to a shelter and rely on the kindness of others for food, clothing, and shelter. It is uncomfortable, scary, and unfamiliar, and Charlotte is assailed by a flood of emotions – fear, anger, sadness, and loss. Eventually, the kindness shown to her by others allows Charlotte to pass kindness on.

text copyright Ellen Leventhal 2021, illustration copyright Blythe Russo 2021, WorthyKids

Links To Resources: Kindness Lessons and Activities; 28 Kindness Activities for Preschoolers;

text copyright Ellen Leventhal 2021, illustration copyright Blythe Russo 2021, WorthyKids

Why I Like This Book: As writers, we all believe that every child should have the opportunity to see him/herself in a book, to know that whatever they may be experiencing, others have experienced it too and they’re not alone. Although this story specifically relates to a flood, it’s a story that any child who has ever experienced displacement or loss will feel understood and seen by. The text is powerful in its spareness, using just the right words to tell the story so the reader can experience the emotions along with Charlotte. And the ending is poignant, sweet and hopeful, and shows that kindness multiplies. A wonderful book to show kids the importance of paying it forward.

text copyright Ellen Leventhal 2021, illustration copyright Blythe Russo 2021, WorthyKids

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do 😊

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

PPBF folks, please add your titles and post-specific blog links (and any other info you feel like filling out 😊) to the form below so we can all come see what fabulous picture books you’ve chosen to share this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! 😊

Would You Read It Wednesday #388 – Ty’s Treasures (PB)

Howdy, friends! Welcome to another exciting episode of Would You Read It Wednesday!

Since everyone here lives in the land of picture books (and therefore surely has at least a bit of the young-at-heart about them ) I think you will all understand the importance of the following brief dissertation on Swings I Have Known 😊 Let’s call it research, because you never know when you might need to write a swing into a book! 😊

I have always loved to swing.

I began my swinging career fairly tamely in the playground in Central Park, across the street from my apartment.

OK. Not as tamely as in this still photo! I promise, I did actually swing! 😊

Later on, we had a metal swing set – the kind with the A-shaped ends and flat plastic seats hanging from stiff chains. It creaked a lot and you couldn’t swing very high, but it served the purpose. And you could stand on the flat seats and swing for an added element of excitement! (I will confess that I also did a lot of very loud singing while on that swing 😊)

The best swing of my childhood was at grandma and grandpa’s house in California. They had a swing that my siblings and cousins and I all loved, hung from a huge black oak at the top of a little hill, so you could pull the rope back to the top of the hill, take a running start, leap onto the circular wooden seat, and sail out into the air like you were flying! If you were really lucky, you could get grandpa to push you and fly even higher 😊 . . . and spin!!! 😊😊 Now THAT was a swing!!! 😊😊😊 The only bad part was we had to take turns. . . and there were a lot of us!

I wish I could find a picture of it. It was a great swing!

But I am not picky when it comes to swings. I’m happy with anything 😊

When my kids were little, I swung on their swing set – a really nice wooden one with a covered play deck and monkey bars and those rubber belt seats – usually with one of them in my lap, but lots of times on my own.

It was pretty new when this photo was taken – it looks a LOT more weathered now! And my daughter is now 28 (years not months 😊)

That one is still in the back yard.

You know that Robert Louis Stevenson poem?

Oh, how I love to go up in a swing,
Up in the air so blue!
I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do. . .

My mom used to say that poem to me when we swung (really, shouldn’t it be swang?), and I used to say it to my kids (all three verses 😊)

So the cause of all this swing nostalgia it that this year for my birthday, I got a different kind of swing – a lovely porch swing with comfortable cushions and a nice adjustable canopy to provide shade on my very sunny back porch. In just a couple weeks it has become my favorite place to hang out. Who knew a porch swing could be so awesome?! Great for sitting and chatting, talking on the phone, working on your laptop, sipping your morning coffee, or just sitting and gently swinging listening to the birds say goodnight while the sun goes down.

I’ll post a better photo when it’s sunny and I have my flowers planted! 😊

It’s a little less daredevil than grandma and grandpa’s swing 😊, but I highly recommend acquiring one if you can!

Next thing to try on the swing? A little chocolate chip cookie snack! 😊

Because I just happened to be baking Chocolate Chip Cookies yesterday for a friend, let’s go with that tried and true classic today for our Something Chocolate. I think you’ll love this recipe with tips on how to make your cookies thin and crispy, soft and chewy, or light and cakey – whatever you like best! – as well as tips on how to keep cookies fresh, whether to freeze, how to make them all the same size, and how to add a sweet and salty twist in case you want to give that a try! Best cookies ever!

Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Patricia who says, “I’m an aspiring picture book writer who has fallen in love with the craft of picture book writing. The best part is the kindness and generosity of the writing community.  I raised two boys, three dogs, and have the appliance repair bills as best  evidence  that children need hiding places for their treasures!  You can find me at  www.patriciajfranz.com or @patriciajfranz1 (Twitter).”

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Ty’s Treasures

Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-7)

The Pitch: A lucky penny.  A feather .  A thimble.  Another rock.  No one else appreciates the treasures Ty finsd.  Now Ty needs a hiding place to safeguard them; someplace close where he can touch and inspect them and wonder…

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 Patricia 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 May, 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!

Patricia is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to enjoying a chocolate chip cookie snack on my porch swing! 😊 And hearing any swing stories any of YOU would like to share! 😊

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 😊

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Sloth And Squirrel In A Pickle

Woo hoo! It’s Perfect Picture Book Friday!

And what could be more perfect on a Perfect Picture Book Friday than the announcement that, although the voting time isn’t quite up yet, it appears the prevailing opinion is that we SHOULD run the Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Writing Challenge again this year! Who knows what Perfect Picture Books that might lead to?!

So I guess I’d better get my thinking cap on and start cogitating on possible challenge prompts! And in the spirit of teamwork, embodied in today’s Perfect Picture Book, anyone who has a great idea for prizes and/or wants to donate one should feel free to email me (you can use the handy-dandy website contact form) and earn my everlasting gratitude 😊 as well of that of the participants who will end up benefiting!

Now, let’s have a look at this delightful book!

Title: Sloth And Squirrel In A Pickle

Written By: Cathy Ballou Mealey

Illustrated By: Kelly Collier

Publisher: Kids Can Press, May 4, 2021, fiction

Suitable For Ages: 3-7

Themes/Topics: teamwork, perseverance, initiative, friendship

text copyright Cathy Ballou Mealey 2021, illustration copyright Kelly Collier 2021, Kids Can Press

Opening: “‘Sloth, I want a bike,” said Squirrel. “I want a bike just like that. We could go FAST!’
Sloth nodded s-l-o-w-l-y.
‘Let’s go to the store!’ said Squirrel.”

Brief Synopsis: Squirrel wants a bike, but it turns out they cost more than he thought. To earn money, he and Sloth get a job at a pickle packing factory. But that turns out not to be as easy as he thought. When they end their first (and only) day of work at the factory, Sloth uses his money to buy them treats. But that doesn’t work out as well as he thought. Until Squirrel recognizes Sloth’s accidental genius and they finally get their bike. Which turns into something neither of them thought… 😊

text copyright Cathy Ballou Mealey 2021, illustration copyright Kelly Collier 2021, Kids Can Press

Links To Resources: think of something you want – how might you and a friend work together to earn money to buy it? draw a picture or write a story of the item you want and what you’d do to earn it; some games require teamwork – try having a three-legged race or building a marshmallow tower; work together to complete a scavenger hunt – here are 8 Scavenger Hunt Ideas for Kids

Why I Like This Book: The friendship between this unlikely pair of buddies shines out from the first lines of the story. They are a team! They see each others’ good qualities. When they make mistakes, there is no blame – they help each other out. When Sloth, in an act of kindness, unknowingly comes up with an idea that will solve their problem, Squirrel recognizes the possibilities and unselfishly gives him the credit. And when they get what they set out to get, Sloth surprises everyone by by showing he and Squirrel have more in common than it might have at first appeared. This hilarious story will have young readers laughing at Sloth and Squirrel’s antics, and discovering with delight all the little details in the fun and lively (and pickle-juice hued 😊) illustrations. An all-around entertaining story that celebrates friendship, teamwork, and taking the initiative to make things happen!

text copyright Cathy Ballou Mealey 2021, illustration copyright Kelly Collier 2021, Kids Can Press

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do 😊

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

PPBF folks, please add your titles and post-specific blog links (and any other info you feel like filling out 😊) to the form below so we can all come see what fabulous picture books you’ve chosen to share this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! 😊

Would You Read It Wednesday #387 – Stop! Stop! (PB)

Good Wednesday to you all!

This morning we have something very important to discuss. So important that it has to come even before chocolate!

I know!

It boggles the mind!

But here it is:

Last year we did a 7 week Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Writing Challenge. I had tons of fun. I hope you did too! So the question is, assuming I can think up some prompts and scare up some prizes, would you all like to do it again? I know we’re all (hopefully!) coming out of complete covid isolation and maybe not feeling so much like we need something extra to occupy our time in a fun way and keep us in contact, but I thought I’d put it out there. . .

I think I might run it on Mondays starting May 10th (which is pretty soon, so maybe we’d have to start on the 17th…) and run it for 6 or 7 weeks.

Please share your thoughts and opinions in the comment section!

Or, ooh! I could do a little mini poll! Please vote by Friday April 30th at midnight Eastern so if we decide to go ahead with this crazy little plan I have as much time as possible to pull it together! 😊

After all that excitement and the hemming and hawing of having to make a choice, I’m sure we could all use Something Chocolate! (I mean really, when could we NOT use Something Chocolate? 😊) How about some Cookie Dough Brownies? That sounds like a healthy way to start the day, doesn’t it? 😊

If you’re drooling on your keyboard, please feel free to go get a napkin 🤣

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Diane who says, “I love all writing but I particularly enjoy creating stories for children. I write picture books and chapter books and use inspiration from my teaching, my interests in nature, travelling, diving and theatre, plus my sense of humour in creating my stories.”

Find her on the twitter at @Diane02789257

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Stop! Stop!

Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-7)

The Pitch: Three sea creature friends boring day suddenly turns into an adventure as they attempt to free themselves from some ocean waste and try to find a solution to their ocean home problem.

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 Diane 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 May, 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!

Diane is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to seeing what everyone thinks about whether or not to run the Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Writing Challenge again!

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 😊

Perfect Picture Book Friday – The Mess That We Made

Welcome to the Day-After-Earth-Day edition of Perfect Picture Book Friday!

To celebrate Earth Day, I have an absolutely wonderful book to share – one I think you’ll all enjoy and appreciate! (It is one of those wish-I’d-written-this! books 😊)

Title: The Mess That We Made

Written By: Michelle Lord

Illustrated By: Julia Blattman

Publisher: Flashlight Press, January 2020, nonfiction

Suitable For Ages: 5-7

Themes/Topics: environmental issues – importance of awareness and change

Opening: “THIS is the mess that we made.

These are the fish that swim in the mess that we made.

This is the seal
that eats the fish
that swim in the mess that we made.”

text copyright Michelle Lord 2020, illustration copyright Julia Blattman 2020, Flashlight Press

Brief Synopsis: [From the publisher] “The Mess That We Made explores the environmental impact of trash and plastic on the ocean and marine life, and it inspires kids to do their part to combat pollution.”

Links To Resources: The Mess That We Made Word Search; book back matter Includes facts about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, ocean pollution, and Calls to Action for kids and grown‑ups to share.

Why I Like This Book: In the cumulative tale tradition of This Is The House That Jack Built, this rhythmic, sometimes rhyming story shows kids in an age-appropriate way how human behavior is affecting the ocean ecosystem. The vibrant art shows what is happening to the ocean water and the creatures who live there without being so explicit that it would be upsetting. As the story progresses, the illustrations show more and more garbage in the water, building to a full page spread with the very simple text: “Look at the mess that we made.”

text copyright Michelle Lord 2020, illustration copyright Julia Blattman 2020, Flashlight Press

This spread invites readers to pause and really look at and think about what we, as humans, are doing to the world. But the story does not end on that distressing note. Instead, it turns a corner and begins to show all the things we can do to make things better, until it ends on a positive note:

text copyright Michelle Lord 2020, illustration copyright Julia Blattman 2020, Flashlight Press

The book has an important message, handled deftly, so that young readers understand the necessity of change and feel empowered to make it. The back matter includes additional interesting and educational material. A wonderful choice for every library!

In case you’d like to see more, here is the book trailer:

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do 😊

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

PPBF folks, please add your titles and post-specific blog links (and any other info you feel like filling out 😊) to the form below so we can all come see what fabulous picture books you’ve chosen to share this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! 😊

Would You Read It Wednesday #386 – Buddy And The Blue Crew (PB)

Hey, Everyone! Today is the perfect day for us!

Do you know why?

Because April 21st is Kindergarten Day!

And I think pretty everyone here reads and/or writes for 5 year olds 😊

I think we should all challenge ourselves to write a story today – suitable for reading in kindergarten!

Need a topic?

Let me rummage around and randomly pick something. . .

Tomorrow is Earth Day, so maybe let’s write stories that celebrate our earth, or show how important it is to take care of it! Play with POV! Maybe write from the perspective of an apple tree, a crocus, or an inch worm…!😊

First we shall fuel our creativity with Something Chocolate. Never let it be said that I don’t provide breakfast! It’s the most important meal of the day, especially when it includes chocolate 😊

Chocolate Croissant Breakfast Bake

Mmm mmm good! Buttery, flaky croissant and chocolate – what’s not to love? 😊

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Angela who says, “I’m an aspiring children’s writer and mum to four, living in London.  Up to now, I’ve written 4 complete Picture Book Manuscripts and I’m currently querying Literary Agents for representation.  I’ve had a handful of my short stories published by Keys For Kids Ministries, a US quarterly devotional.  

I’m on Facebook (Angela Jelf) and my twitter handle is @angietange.”

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Buddy And The Blue Crew

Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 3-8)

The Pitch: On Buddy’s first day at school, all he really wants to do is blend in.  But the problem is, he’s the only kid in school with bright, blue feet!  When Buddy meets Bill, a friend with an even crazier feature, will Buddy finally come up with a way to convince the other children, and ultimately himself, that there’s so much more to him than first meets the eye?

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 Angela 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 is an opening next week! as well as openings in May, so you could get your pitch up very soon for helpful feedback and a chance to have it read and commented on by editor Erin Molta!

Angela is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to my dad’s birthday tomorrow! I still have to decide what kind of cake to bake!

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 😊