Tuesday Debut – Presenting Susan Richmond!!!

Welcome to Tuesday Debut, everyone!

You are reading this from all over the world today, and I’m so glad you’re here!  For some of you spring is just around the corner, and for others autumn approaches without any appreciable change in the weather, but here in the northeastern US, the trees have bedecked themselves in all their colored finery and the birds are on the move – some south to warmer climes, some settling in for the duration, checking out all the local bird feeders in order to select the best place to spend the winter 🙂

It’s a great time to enjoy today’s debut picture book!

Bird Count by Susan Edwards Richmond
illustrated by Stephanie Fizer Coleman
Peachtree Publishing Company, Inc.
October 1, 2019
Fiction PB
Ages 4 to 8

Bird Count_cover

Ava is excited when Big Al, the leader of their Christmas Bird Count team, asks her to record the tally this year. Using her most important tools—her eyes and ears—she eagerly identifies and counts the birds they observe on their assigned route around town.

 

SUSANNA:  Welcome, Susan!  Thank you so much for joining us today!  We’re so looking forward to all you have to share about your publication journey!  Where did the idea for this book come from?

SUSAN: Bird Count is based on the National Audubon Society’s annual bird census called the Christmas Bird Count (CBC). After being part of my town’s CBC for years, it occurred to me what a wonderful citizen science topic it would be for children, since there’s no age limit for participation. My original idea for the book was as a kind of seek-and-find, with more emphasis on counting than on birdwatching concepts.

 

Susan Edwards Richmond_birding with scope

 

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

SUSAN: I brought several drafts to my critique group over the course of a few months before feeling it was ready to send out. One of my early versions included parts of a poem I’d written about the count well before sitting down to write it as a picture book. So if you count those notes, the initial writing process took a couple of years.

 

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

SUSAN: As my critique group suggested, I paginated the final draft and crafted it until I was happy with the content of each spread. Then I polished the text, a couplet on each spread.  When my critique group didn’t have any more suggestions I felt I could use, I was ready!

 

SUSANNA: When and how did you submit?

SUSAN: I didn’t have an agent, so I selected two editors from houses I knew did great picture books on science topics, Charlesbridge and Peachtree Publishing Company. I had met the Charlesbridge editor at a conference, but an author in my critique group, Melissa Stewart, suggested I try her editor, Vicky Holified, at Peachtree. Because it was a picture book, I mailed off the complete manuscript.

 

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

SUSAN: Vicky, the editor at Peachtree, initially liked the book idea but rejected the manuscript. Still, she wanted to work with me. After three complete rewrites over the course of a year without an offer, I wasn’t sure I could keep going. My critique group saved me!  I brought in the email with my editors’ latest round of extensive comments, and they walked me through each point, helping me see how I could address her concerns.

I was waiting to hear the results of Bird Count’s second round of acquisition meetings, when Vicky wrote that she’d like to address a few more questions over the phone. After that call, I waited again. Finally, days later, I heard from the vice president that a contract was in the works. I was so grateful I’d persevered I was in tears. I have my critique group to thank, and my editor, who believed in the book so much that she spent a whole year working with me without knowing if it would ever be published.

 

SUSANNA: How did you celebrate signing your contract?

SUSAN: Bottle of champagne—toasts all around!

 

talkin birds

Talkin’ Birds

 

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

SUSAN: Since this was my first book, and I didn’t have an agent, I didn’t know what to expect and felt pretty much on my own. I was so happy to be published, and I didn’t know what was normal!  I had a friend who was a lawyer look it over, and then signed. Later I found out that the advance, author copies, and rights were typical for a picture book for this house. I received 15 author copies and had my advance paid in three installments—at signing, at the point the book was sent to production, and on publication date.

 

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

SUSAN: As I mentioned earlier, there were heavy rounds of revision before the contract. My editor had a strong vision for the book, and I’m now grateful for all the hard work we did together. I had envisioned it as a much simpler counting book, featuring birds in a variety of habitats. But Vicky was intrigued by the mechanics of the count itself and wanted to highlight all my birding knowledge. It seemed like a lot of information to put into one picture book. But we did it—and it works!

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

SUSAN: My original manuscript included just a few art notes—only where I thought the spread wouldn’t make sense without it. I’ve learned that you can almost always get rid of an art note. The illustrator has so many original ideas to contribute and usually does “get” the irony or subtlety in your text, and will probably come up with something way more interesting than you imagined!

I was lucky that my editor included me in the process from the beginning, asking me for ideas about illustrator and illustration style, and later providing time for me to review sketches as well as full color illustrations. Because the book had a lot of science content, she wanted to be sure I felt the birds and habitats were portrayed accurately. Fortunately, my illustrator Stephanie Fizer Coleman, is also passionate and knowledgeable about birds!

BirdCountArtTease1

illustration copyright Stephanie Fizer Coleman 2019

 

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

SUSAN: I have a publicist at Peachtree, Elyse Vincenty, and she’s wonderful. Peachtree mails out dozens of advance copies to reviewers, bloggers, and influencers. She forwarded the Kirkus Review to me as soon as it came out. I’ve also seen advance reviews on Goodreads and on a few blog sites. It felt amazing to read so many positive reviews!

 

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

SUSAN: It was accepted for publication in fall of 2015, and I received my first advance copy in April of this year. So three and a half years! Four between offer and release date.

 

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

SUSAN: I’m lucky that Peachtree does a lot of promotion for its books—which doesn’t mean you don’t have to do a lot of your own as well. But my publicist, Elyse, sends out review copies, communicates with the sales force about unique markets (for example, nature centers and bird stores), facilitates book placement at conferences, and helps authors carry out their marketing ideas.  Peachtree chose Bird Count’s cover as the cover image for their Fall catalog, which was incredible, and it has a two-page spread inside. They also do a great job presenting books on their website, including publishing a Teacher’s Guide for which I wrote the text, posting author bios, and linking to author websites.

 

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

SUSAN: No matter who your publisher is, expect to do a lot of marketing! The first thing I did was join Twitter; the second was join an author debut group—since this was my first children’s book—called On the Scene in 2019. The larger your community, the larger your promotional voice will carry.

In addition, my husband produced a book trailer for Bird Count, which Elyse arranged to have released by the Nerdy Book Club. You can see it there at https://nerdybookclub.wordpress.com/2019/08/31/book-trailer-premiere-bird-count-by-susan-edwards-richmond/ or on my website. I had two sets of bookmarks, and a postcard designed and printed. I also developed a list of markets which I thought might sell my book, and got creative about expanding it. It’s not my job to sell to stores, but when a manager expresses interest, I give the information to my publicist, and she has a sales rep contact them. I also set up most of my own author appearances, including the launch, signings, story times, etc., although Peachtree arranged for me to sign at the NEIBA Discovery Show in Providence, RI, during my book release week, which was very exciting.

 

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

SUSAN: Honestly, it was more than 15 years. Although I became even more focused in the past 6 or 7.

 

SUSANNA: Anything else you’d like to share about your book’s journey from inspiration to publication?

SUSAN: My path to children’s book publication was longer than most, I think. Could I have gotten there faster? Maybe, but you also have to embrace your own journey. I raised a family and developed a local poetry following in the interim, as well as found my dream job—teaching at a Mass Audubon preschool.

All of my experiences led me to where I am today, with my first children’s book out from a fantastic house, represented by an amazing agent, Stephen Fraser at Jennifer de Chiara Literary Agency, and surrounded by a wonderful, generous writing community.  Doesn’t get any better than that.

Thank you so much, Susanna, for interviewing me about my publication story!  It’s been wonderful speaking with you.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Author Susan Richmond

Website: www.susanedwardsrichmond.com
Twitter:  @SusanEdRichmond
Facebook:  Susan Edwards Richmond
Link at Peachtree online: https://peachtree-online.com/portfolio-items/bird-count/

SUSANNA: Thank YOU so much for taking the time to visit with us today, share your experience, and participate in this series and paying it forward to other writers!  I know I speak for everyone when I say how much we appreciate it and that we all wish you the very best of success with this and future books!

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

You may purchase Susan’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

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

 

Perfect Picture Book Friday – The Spooky Wheels On The Bus

It’s Friday!  It’s Friday!  The weekend awaits! 🙂

So what are y’all doing this weekend?

Apple picking? Visiting Granny? Washing the dog? Baking pumpkin-related items? Agonizing over costumes as Halloween approaches way too quickly for your busy schedule?  Making sure every flavor in the bag of fun-size candy is as delicious as the manufacturers purports them to be before you decide what to hand out to trick-or-treaters in a couple weeks?

That was a test!

The correct answer is “writing my Halloweensie Contest entry!” (Because in case any of you didn’t happen to notice, the rules for this year’s contest went up yesterday!!!)

Anyone who answered correctly may have one of these 🙂  You have earned it!  (And you’ll need it to give yourself time to write 🙂 )

get

The other acceptable answer to the question of what you are doing this weekend is, “Going to the Warwick Children’s Book Festival to see Susanna and many other writing friends!” And you can have a get-out-of-housework free card for that too 🙂

Now!  Since we’re warming up for Halloween, onto today’s Perfect Picture Book! 🙂

spooky-wheels

Title: The Spooky Wheels On The Bus

Written By: J. Elizabeth Mills

Illustrated By: Ben Mantle

Cartwheel Books, July 2010, fiction

Suitable For Ages: 3-5

Themes/Topics: holidays (halloween), concepts (counting)

Opening: “One spooky bus goes RATTLE and SHAKE,
RATTLE and SHAKE, RATTLE and SHAKE.
One spooky bus goes RATTLE and SHAKE
All through the town.

Brief Synopsis: (From Amazon) “Count from One Spooky Bus up to Ten Goofy Ghosts as this Halloween ride races through town picking up a few unsuspecting passengers along the way.”

Links To Resources: Kids’ Halloween Crafts of all kinds!; Kid-friendly Halloween recipes; make up your own Wheels On The Bus song about Halloween, your birthday, or any other holiday!

Why I Like This Book: You can’t really go wrong with a fun Halloween-themed version of this popular song.  Kids can enjoy it as a story, or sing along with it.  In addition to being a story/song with an entertaining cast of Halloween characters, it is a counting book – great for youngest picture book enthusiasts.  The art is bright and warm, colorful and inviting, showing witches and ghosts and spiders in a way that is friendly and engaging and not at all scary.  The town looks like a cozy place to go trick-or-treating.  All-around Halloween fun!

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text copyright J. Elizabeth Mills 2010, illustration copyright Ben Mantle 2010

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!!! 🙂

 

. . . BOO!!! Announcing the 9th Annual Halloweensie Writing Contest!!!

It was a dark and stormy night!

Ghostly shadows lurked among the grave stones…

…and from the mist-shrouded forest a ghastly voice shrieked, “BOO!!!!”

Please ignore the fact that it’s morning and the kitchen smells comfortingly of fresh coffee and toast with strawberry jam and the only sound is your preschooler singing the alphabet song.  We’re setting a mood here! 🙂

And I bet you can guess why!

Because it’s time to announce the rules for. . .

The 9TH Annual HALLOWEENSIE CONTEST!!!

halloweensie-pumpkin

~ for children’s writers ~

 

The Contest: write a 100 word Halloween story appropriate for children (children here defined as 12 and under) (title not included in the 100 words), using the words potion, cobweb, and trick.  Your story can be scary, funny, sweet, or anything in between, poetry or prose, but it will only count for the contest if it includes those 3 words and is 100 words (you can go under, but not over!)  Get it?  Halloweensie – because it’s not very long and it’s for little people 🙂  (And yes, I know 100 words is short, but that’s part of the fun and the challenge!  We got over 235 fantastic entries last year, so I know you can do it!)  Also, you may use the words in any form – e.g. potions, cobwebbed, trickery, whathaveyou 🙂  NO ILLUSTRATION NOTES PLEASE! (And yes, you may submit more than one entry if you’re so inclined 🙂 )

Post: your story on your blog between 12:00 AM EDT Monday October 28th and Thursday October 31st by 11:59 PM EDT and add your post-specific link to the list that will accompany my special October 28th post.  There will be no Tuesday Debut, Perfect Picture Book or Would You Read It posts for the duration of the contest so the links will stay up for everyone to visit and enjoy.  If you don’t have a blog and would like to enter, you can simply copy and paste your entry in the comments section of my October 28th post once it’s up (please include your byline if your posting handle is something like MamaWritesByNightlight so I can identify you.)  If you have difficulty posting in the comments, which unfortunately sometimes happens, you may email your entry to me at susanna[at]susannahill[dot]com and I’ll post it for you.  Please place your entry in the body of the email including your title and byline at the top – NO ATTACHMENTS!  And please do not submit entries before the start of the contest!

The Judging: in a grueling marathon over the following days, my devoted assistants and I will narrow down the entrants to 3 top choices (hee hee hee – you know how much trouble I have with only 3, so we’ll see) which will be posted here and voted on for a winner on Monday November 5th (if the judging takes longer than we expect if could be later…but we will do our best!)  The winner will be announced on Tuesday November 5th (good lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise 🙂 ) If we get more than 25 entries, I will post 6 finalists and give prizes for 1st – 3rd.  If by some chance we get the kind of turnout we’ve had the past couple years, I may post as many as 10-12 finalists and I’ll probably end up giving everyone a prize 🙂  But we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it!

Judging criteria will be as follows:

  • 1. Kid-appeal! – These stories are intended for a young audience (ages 12 and under), so we’re looking for stories that children will enjoy and relate to.
  • 2.  Halloweeniness – the rules state a Halloween story, so it must be crystal clear that the story is about Halloween, not just some random spooky night.
  • 3. Quality of story – entries must tell a story, including a main character of some kind and a true story arc even if it’s tiny 🙂  Entries must not be merely descriptions or mood pieces.
  • 4. Quality of Writing: check your spelling, grammar, punctuation etc.  If you’re going to rhyme, give us your best 🙂  Overall writing quality and use of language are also important.
  • 5. Originality and creativity – because that is often what sets one story above another.

The Prizes:  SO AMAZING! What a generous community we have to donate so much awesomeness!!! 🙂

Go Directly To Go! Skip The Slushpile at Blue Whale Press and Get Your PB Manuscript Directly On The Editor’s Desk!!!

Submit your picture book manuscript directly to editor Alayne Christian for her consideration and critique. Helpful feedback is a certainty, publication could be a possibility!

blue whale logo

Who Will Will You Cover Reveal Official  thumbnail_randall-randall-cover-ISBN9780981493879-highres

Blue Whale Press is an SCBWI PAL publisher of children’s books that focuses on stories involving themes of friendship and/or personal challenge. Most often, stories are selected for publishing due to their inherent educational or moral value. But as a general rule, a good dose of humor or a tug at the heart doesn’t hurt their chances of being published either. While a few chapter books and a middle grade are on their list, their focus is picture books. As a boutique publisher who doesn’t mind taking risks, Blue Whale Press considers itself to be a launch pad for authors and illustrators hoping to establish themselves.

For more info: https://www.bluewhalepress.com/

Hone Your Skills with the Lyrical Language Lab Rhyme & Meter Self Study Crash Course (11 Lessons) from accomplished writer and poet Renee LaTulippe

INTENSIVE RHYME AND METER CRASH COURSE

This option contains all the same lessons as Module 1 of Renee’s fully guided course, including all supplemental materials, downloads, and audio/video components. This is the option to choose if you need to build a strong foundation in the mechanics of rhyming picture books and poetry. The major focus is on the four main types of meter and how to use mixed and varied meter. Other topics include rhythm, cadence, breath, scansion, rhyme, sound devices, figurative language, imagery, and diction.
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You also have the opportunity to submit two of your assignments to Renee for feedback, and have email access to ask questions about the lessons as you complete them. Although lessons will arrive every other day, you are free to complete them at your own pace.
See the course description above for more information.

For more info: https://www.reneelatulippe.com/writing-courses/ (scroll down)

Picture Book Manuscript Critique (Rhyming, Non-Rhyming, Fiction, or Nonfiction – Vivian is open to any type of picture book critique) from Vivian Kirkfield author of SWEET DREAMS, SARAH (Creston Books, 2019), PIPPA’S PASSOVER PLATE (Holiday House, 2019), FOUR OTTERS TOBOGGAN (Pomegranate 2019), MAKING THEIR VOICES HEARD (Little Bee, January 14, 2020), and more…

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Nonfiction Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Christine Evans, author of EVELYN THE ADVENTUROUS ENTOMOLOGIST (Innovation Press, September 2019)

Evelyn cover Christine Evans

Rhyming Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Carrie Finison, author of DOZENS OF DOUGHNUTS and DON’T HUG DOUG, forthcoming from Putnam in August 2020 and Spring 2021.

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Picture Book Manuscript Critique (non-rhyming please) from Janet Johnson author of HELP WANTED, MUST LOVE BOOKS (Capstone, March 2020) as well as the MG novel THE LAST GREAT ADVENTURE OF THE PB & J SOCIETY (Capstone 2016)

must love books JanetJohnson.AuthorPic

Fiction OR Nonfiction Picture Book Manuscript Critique (non-rhyming please) from Darshana Khiani, author of HOW TO WEAR A SARI forthcoming from HMH/Versify, Spring 2021

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Picture Book Manuscript Critique (non-rhyming please) from Gabi Snyder, author of TWO DOGS ON A TRIKE, forthcoming from Abrams Appleseed, May 2020 and LISTEN, forthcoming from S&S/Wiseman, Spring 2021

twodogsonatrike_cov gabi-snyder-profile-pic

Query Letter Critique from Dee Romito, author of PIES FROM NOWHERE: HOW GEORGIA GILMORE SUSTAINED THE MONTGOMERY BUS BOYCOTT (Little Bee Books, 2018) as well as several middle grade books.

pies from nowhere dee romito

Book Bundle #1 – Nonfiction
Signed Copies of WAITING FOR PUMPSIE (Charlesbridge, 2017) and THE BOO-BOOS THAT CHANGED THE WORLD (Charlesbridge, 2018) by Barry Wittenstein

waiting-for-pumpsie boo boos barry-wittenstein-photo

Book Bundle #2  – Board Books
Personalized Signed Copies of LITTLE TIGER and LITTLE PANDA (both Amicus Ink, 2019) by Julie Abery

Little Tiger Cover Little Panda Cover julie abery

Book Bundle #3  – Holiday Books
Personalized signed copy of NOT SO SCARY, JERRY (Spork, 2017) by Shelley Kinder

Personalized signed copy of THE QUEEN AND THE FIRST CHRISTMAS TREE (Albert Whitman, 2018) by Nancy Churnin

Jerry  The Queen and the First Christmas Tree

shelley-kinder_orig .         nancy churnin

Please join me in thanking these very generous authors and other writing professionals for contributing their books and writing expertise as prizes by visiting their websites and blogs, considering their books and services for holiday or other gift purchases, rating and/or reviewing their books on GoodReads, Amazon, B&N or anywhere else if you like them, recommending them for school visits, or supporting them in any other way you can dream up 🙂

Now!  Lay in a good chocolate supply (no better time than right before Halloween for THAT!)! Butt In Chair! Pencils, pens, or keyboards ready! Fire up the old idea generator!  And write those prize-winning stories!!!

I can’t wait to read them!!! 🙂

Would You Read It Wednesday #338 – Furrysaurus Rex (PB)

Can you believe it?

It’s Would You Read It Wednesday again!

Where did the week go?

I’ve been thinking about it and I feel pretty certain that Would You Read It Wednesday needs a theme song!  Wouldn’t that be fun?

(Beverly Hillbillies tune)
Let me tell you all a story ’bout a perfect pitch

One for which an editor will find a niche…

Okay, so it needs a little work! 🙂

Feel free to submit theme songs in the comments! 🙂

Let’s have Something Chocolate, shall we?  It might help us write better pitches.  And theme songs!   I think this morning we’ll have fudge – the breakfast of champions!  (Well, one of the breakfasts of champions, the most well-known being Little Chocolate Donuts! 🙂 )

3 Ingredient Creamy Homemade Fudge

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Recipe HERE (including helpful video!) at iheartnaptime

Mmmmm!  Isn’t that delicious?  Creamy, chocolatey fudge and ooey-gooey salted caramel on top?  With a nice cup of coffee?

I admit it.  I’m swooning 🙂

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Greg who says, “I’m a chocolate loving, hockey playing  happily married, father of an energetic seven year old who keeps me young and inspires me to write silly stories.”

Find him on the web at:

Twitter: @GEBray19
Instagram: @gregoryebray

 

Here is his pitch:

Working Title: Furrysaurus Rex

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

The Pitch: Having seen a live furry dinosaur roaming around in his neighborhood, Edwin grabs his friend Jennifer to investigate. After several false dinosaur sightings, his amateur paleontologist title is on the line.

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 Greg improve his 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.  At this point, we’re pretty much looking at the new year (there might be one spot left in December) so you have time to polish your pitch before putting it up for helpful feedback and a chance to have it read and commented on by editor Erin Molta!  But there’s no time like the present to secure your date! 🙂

Greg is looking forward to your thoughts on his pitch!  I am looking forward to Warwick Children’s Book Festival this weekend!  Always a well run, super fun event!  I hope I’ll get to see some of you there!!!

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂

Oh!  And P.S.! Hopefully a special post tomorrow on something we’ve all been anticipating…! 🙂

 

Tuesday Debut – Presenting Karen Kiefer!

Hello, Everyone!

Welcome to Tuesday Debut!

One of the things I love about Tuesday Debut is what a wide variety of picture books we get to see – fiction and nonfiction, poetry and prose, subjects that range from hay-making machines, to reaching for the moon, friendship, loneliness, lullaby bedtime books, clouds, and bugs.

Today we have a debut topic – a gentle, thoughtful book about a little girl who attempts to draw God.

Drawing God
written by Karen Kiefer
illustrated by Kathy De Wit
Paraclete Press
religious fiction, ages 5 and up
October 8, 2019

Karen1

Picasso’s artistic inspiration takes hold of young Emma’s faith imagination in this beautifully illustrated debut picture book about how we all see God differently.

 

SUSANNA: Thank you so much for joining us today, Karen!  We’re thrilled to have you!  Where did the idea for this book come from?

KAREN: It was an ordinary run to the grocery store, or so I thought. There I was, standing next to a mound of stacked peppers in the produce section when I overheard two little kids, a whisper away, talking to each other. “My mother said you shouldn’t talk about God at school, because it makes people feel uncomfortable,” said the young voice to the other. I stood still, shaking my head, as I uttered, “Oh— no,” under my breath. Needless to say, I felt uncomfortable.

For the next several weeks, that conversation would not leave my mind or heart. In a world propelled by wonder, invention and advanced communication, could “God talk” eventually become extinct?  It seemed to be an astonishing possibility. All I could do was pray about it, asking God to intervene. Then on a quiet Sunday morning, out of the blue, I began to write the children’s story, “Drawing God.”

 

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

KAREN: The process was pretty fluid, one sitting, about 2 hours THAT HAS NEVER HAPPENED TO ME. Writing is usually such a challenging and complicated process.

I sat in my bed with my laptop and started typing away.

I began to write a story about a little girl named Emma, who visits an art museum and is so inspired by the works of Pablo Picasso that she decides that she is going to draw something “beyond spectacular.” Emma decides to draw God.

I remember tapping on my keyboard, just waiting to see what might happen next. I began typing…

Emma escapes to the comfort of her bedroom and draws a brilliant sun. “It was so dazzling and radiant my cheeks throbbed. Its rays were so long they poked at my heart.” Emma knew she had drawn God. The next day, Emma takes her drawing to school to show her best friend Peter. But Peter looked at Emma and said, “ Emma, that’ s not God, that’s the sun.”

Emma tries again and again to draw God, but her classmates can’t see God in any of her drawings. They actually find her attempts laughable.

Emma finally realizes, through a prayer answered, that she doesn’t need their approval.  “I knew I had drawn God. God knew I had drawn God, and maybe Picasso knew, too. That finally felt like enough.”

The story stopped there. But I remember feeling that urge to keep writing, because this wasn’t the end of the story.

Emma eventually returns to school on the following Monday, and something beyond spectacular happens. I won’t spoil the ending of the book, but when I finished writing, it was clear that if this story were ever published it might get more children and adults talking about and drawing God.

 

SUSANNA: Did you go through many revisions?

KAREN: I polished it up here and there over the course of the next couple of weeks. I had heard that there are successful authors that actually review manuscripts for a modest fee. I Googled around and came across Susanna Hill. It took a lot of courage to write the email to her and press send. Susanna was amazing, not only did she get back to me quickly, she offered me some minor edits and was so encouraging. She thought I had a book but now just had to find a publisher. My interaction with Susanna gave me the confidence I needed at a time when you are always second guessing the value of the work.

 

SUSANNA: It was a privilege to read your story, Karen, and I’m glad if I was able to help you find the courage to submit! 🙂  When did you know your manuscript was ready for submission?

KAREN: I felt comfortable that the manuscript was ready for submission shortly after my interactions with Susanna. I was literally Googling how to write a submission letter.

I knew nothing.

 

SUSANNA: When and how did you submit?

KAREN: Professionally, I’m the director of the Church in the 21st Century Center at Boston College. My job offers me many opportunities to form relationships with other professionals in the faith marketplace. I knew the editor of Paraclete Press and so I decided to start there. I sent him an email asking if he might be interested in looking at my manuscript. He responded, pretty quickly I might add, asking me to send it along.

I submitted it right away. I heard back within a few hours and he was very positive. He mentioned that he wanted to share it with a few other people to see what they thought.

About a week later, he mentioned that they were planning an emergency editorial meeting in the next week to review a few new manuscripts and mine was one. I was both excited and scared. That’s when self-doubt settles in. I wondered if it was good enough?

 

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

KAREN: A week later I got the call, it was unanimous, they wanted to publish the manuscript.

I was so excited. They didn’t want to make any changes to the story and wanted to keep the title, “Drawing God.”  However, they did want me to write a teaching guide, 1000 words or so, that they would add to the back of the book.

 

SUSANNA: How did you celebrate signing your contract?

KAREN: It was all so surreal. I didn’t really celebrate because it still didn’t feel real.

 

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

KAREN: Had no idea what to expect. The contract seemed very fair. I wasn’t going to be making a lot of money and I would be paid in 3 installments. I was fine with that.

 

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

KAREN: The editorial process was smooth. The editor shared my vision for the book right from the start. I was so lucky.

 

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

KAREN: Again, I was very fortunate during this process too. I didn’t want to overstep, but I asked if I could recommend an illustrator. The editor assured me that they already had a group of great illustrators. I respectfully asked if I could send some samples from the illustrator who illustrated my first self-published children book, “The Misfit Sock” back in 2010.

I mentioned that we work well together. I also had to let him know that she lives in Belgium. He was very open, knowing that he believed we could TOGETHER make the book better. He reached out to Kathy De Wit and negotiated the partnership and sent her a contract. Kathy and I worked together throughout the process.

Regarding illustration notes, I did submit them in detail to the editor and he reviewed them, made a few changes and sent them to Kathy. The three of us worked together closely throughout the process. The editor kept things on track.

Here’s a sample of a sketch and a finished illustration.

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

KAREN: Seeing the reviews and features has been so exciting. The publishers has been wonderful about sharing every milestone with me along the way. Was reviewed by Kirkus and featured in Publisher’s Weekly. That’s hard to do for a children’s picture book.

 

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

KAREN: The process was about a year and a half. When I first saw the book, I couldn’t get over how beautiful it was. That was another surreal moment.

 

SUSANNA: If your book has been out for at least one statement cycle, has it earned out yet?

KAREN: The book just came out today, but I’m happy to say it is the #1 release in its category on Amazon.

 

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

KAREN: Paraclete Press has been WONDERFUL. They have put the entire sales team behind this book. They have done a lot of social media, produce a beautiful book trailer, helped with flyers.

 

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

KAREN: We had journals printed up, bookmarks, lots of different flyers, events, fun promotional giveaways. Had a big book launch.

 

 

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

KAREN: NOT SURE??

 

SUSANNA: Anything else you’d like to share about your book’s journey from inspiration to publication?

KAREN: TODAY, Tuesday, October 8, 2019, the children’s picture book, “Drawing God” will be released into the world. May it be a catalyst for more God talk and inspire children and adults of all faiths to connect their very own faith imagination, to realize the contagious faith that lives powerfully within and to embrace the truth that we all see God differently.

The release of the book will be followed by the celebration of the first World Drawing God Day, on November 7th.  This day will be a chance for our world to “draw” God, whatever that might look like, using the hashtag: #drawinggod.

Today I am reminded of the words of a friend who said that books can’t necessarily change the world, but the people who read them can. To future readers of “Drawing God,” my hope is that this book will make you a little more comfortable, knowing that there will be a little more God talk in our world because of you.

For more information, visit: www.drawing-god.com

Karen4

Karen Kiefer is the director the Church in the 21st Century Center at Boston College and has worked at the university in various roles collectively for over two decades. A mother of four daughters, Kiefer has taught religious education at the parish level for 25 years. She is the co-founder of the grassroots bread-giving organization, Spread the Bread, and the anti-bullying initiative, the Million Misfit Sock March. Kiefer wrote “The Misfit Sock” children’s book in 2010 and is the author of the new children’s book, “Drawing God,” published by Paraclete Press. This latest book has inspired World Drawing God Day on November 7, 2019.

(www.drawing-god.com)
Drawing God on Facebook
Drawing God on Instagram – @drawingg0d (the “o” in God is the number zero)

SUSANNA: Such an exciting day, Karen!  There’s nothing like seeing your first book in print, especially if it’s #1 in its category on Amazon!  Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us today and share your experience so that we can all benefit from it!  I know I speak for everyone when I wish you the very best with this and future books!

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

You may purchase Karen’s book at:
(all links below are book-specific)
Amazon
Paraclete Press

 

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

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

 

Perfect Picture Book Friday – 1-2-3 My Feelings And Me

It’s Perfect Picture Book Friday, and now that we’re about a month into school, today seems like a good time to talk about feelings.

While many kids will have adjusted smoothly to their new classrooms, classmates, teachers, and daily routines, others will not have had such an easy time.  And all children – those who take most things in stride and those who struggle a bit more – have a wide range of emotions they need to learn to manage.

The book I’ve chosen today should be helpful in that process!

1 2 3 My Feelings And Me

Title: 1-2-3 My Feelings And Me

Written By: Goldie Millar and Lisa A. Berger

Illustrated By: Priscilla Burris

Free Spirit Publishing, November 12 2019, nonfiction

Suitable For Ages: 3-8

Themes/Topics: identifying and coping with emotions

Opening: “Everyone everywhere has all kinds of feelings – just like me.
And me!
What about you?
There are many different feelings and many things to know about them.
Let’s count our way through the 1-2-3’s of feelings together!

Brief Synopsis: This nonfiction look at feelings helps children learn to identify and cope with a wide range of emotions while reassuring them that while some feelings are more pleasant than others, all feelings are okay, and everyone has them.

Links To Resources: the whole book is a resource, from the explanations provided within the text to the “Letter To Caring Adults” at the beginning to the extensive back matter which includes a lengthy guide to Talking About Feelings And What To Do With Them with discussion topics and activities.

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text copyright Goldie Millar & Lisa A. Berger 2019, illustration copyright Priscilla Burris 2019  Free Spirit Publishing

Why I Like This Book: Emotions can be difficult for children.  (Let’s be honest – they can be difficult for adults! 🙂 )  This straightforward approach to describing feelings both in terms of how they make our minds feel as well as the affect they can have on the body (making you feel hot or shaky etc.) along with the reassurance that everything a child feels is normal and experienced by everyone will be very useful in helping children learn to understand and manage their emotions.  With it’s warm, friendly art and cast of diverse characters, every child will find it relatable.  Although it’s not a story, it’s a book that will come in very handy for lots and lots of children, especially those who may struggle with emotional equilibrium.

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 – hopefully a HAPPY one!!! 🙂

Would You Read It Wednesday #337 – Mighty Little Nikita (ER/PB)

Happy Wednesday, Everyone!

I don’t know about you guys, but now that autumn is officially here I’m wondering what’s up in the animal kingdom.

The only wooly bear caterpillar I’ve seen suggested a mild winter (mostly brown, only a little black at nose and tail.)

But the acorns are falling like nobody’s business – pattering down on the garage roof and the driveway and all through the woods almost constantly –

IMG_8575

and the bears are out and about more noticeably than usual.

Last week I saw one little bear in the woods while out horseback riding (luckily my fearless steed was unperturbed by the experience.  And by “unperturbed” I mean she happened to be looking the other way and was thusly oblivious 🙂 ) Then, not two days later, another little bear trundled across the Clove Valley Road in front of my car – not so close that we were in any danger of bumping into each other, but close enough for a good view! (This video is actually from last summer, not last week, but I was unable to video whilst driving 🙂 )

What does this mean?

In the old days, I’d think it was a sign of a hard winter.  But these days, what with global warming, that doesn’t seem possible.  So I think Mother Nature is just having fun at our expense 🙂

In any case, it definitely calls for Something Chocolate because, well, really , around here, doesn’t everything? 🙂  Today I think we should feast on Pecan Pie Bars Dipped In Chocolate, partly because they sound delicious (and everyone knows pecans are good for you! 🙂 ) and partly because they come from a website called Hugs And Cookies and what could be better than that?!

Pecan Pie Bars Dipped In Chocolate

YUM…

…YUM!!!

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Sri who says, “A little bit about me: I love writing stories and reading them to my little kids who turn out to be some of my strongest critiques. I have self published some of my stories but I am looking forward to that day when I can call myself a published author in the more traditional sense!”

Sri gained her inspiration to write stories because of her two young kids who love to read books. Her kids love her stories and are in fact her best critics! Sri presently lives and works as a research administrator in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.  Sri is also the author of Tales of Rishi and Neela which was published in April 2019. When she is not working or driving her kids around for classes and play dates, Sri likes to spend her leftover time creating jewelry or listening to podcasts.

Here is her pitch:

Working Title:

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

The Pitch: Nikita has a problem, rather a huge problem. The problem is that she is small – smaller than all of her friends.  Everyone in her kindergarten class call her little Nikita. Her friends think it is cute to call her that way but Nikita does not like it a wee bit.  Nikita complains to her mom who is also hmm…short but her Mom dusts her off saying that’s just in our geneticsGenetics .. whatever that means, Nikita thinks. Nikita’s fate withLittle Nikita continues until one day a huge insect comes into the class and scares the peanut butter out of everyone; well, everyone except Nikita, who is small but really brave. The rest of this funny story revolves around how Nikita works bravely to trap the huge insect to release it outside. She thus rewrites her name from Little Nikita to Mighty Nikita – a name that she is absolutely proud of.

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 Sri 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 about 2 openings left for this year, so if you want one, let me know!  You can polish your pitch and put it up for helpful feedback and a chance to have it read and commented on by editor Erin Molta!

Sri is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to writing something new today.  Who knows what? Maybe something fun! 🙂

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂

A Holiday Tuesday Debut!

Okay.  So there was teensy mix-up with email…

As a result I don’t have a true Tuesday Debut today.

But it occurred to me at the last minute (this morning!)  (as you can tell by the lateness of this post!) that I just so happen to have a new book coming out today, which is technically a Tuesday Debut for the book 🙂

So I’ll share that instead.  No time like the present (no pun intended) to get to work on your letter to Santa!  It will give you time to write and revise!  Make your list and check it twice 🙂

Dear Santa
written by Susanna Leonard Hill
illustrated by John Joseph
published by Sourcebooks Wonderland
October 1, 2019

Dear Santa Amazon cover

Santa Claus gets thousands of letters every year. But this year, Santa’s going to get a letter he’ll never forget…
This enchanting Christmas story about one boy’s honest letter to Santa is sure to become a cherished part of your holiday traditions for years to come.

Here’s a little sneak peek inside…

Screen Shot 2019-10-01 at 7.05.48 AM

text copyright Susanna Leonard Hill 2019, illustration copyright John Joseph 2019      Sourcebooks Wonderland

 

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text copyright Susanna Leonard Hill 2019, illustration copyright John Joseph 2019      Sourcebooks Wonderland

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text copyright Susanna Leonard Hill 2019, illustration copyright John Joseph 2019      Sourcebooks Wonderland

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text copyright Susanna Leonard Hill 2019, illustration copyright John Joseph 2019      Sourcebooks Wonderland

Isn’t John’s art amazing?!

Also, he made a coloring page…

dear santa coloring sheet

illustration copyright John Joseph 2019

and a word search!

word search dear santa

illustration copyright John Joseph 2019

which will be available to download from my site (from the For Teachers And Parents Coloring & Activities Pages in the menu bar above) very soon!

The book contains special holiday stationary at the back that kids can write their letters on, and the letters can be mailed (instructions supplied in the book) so that they will receive a personalized reply!

There are 4 choices, but here’s a sample:

I hope you all know someone who can have fun with it!

Happy Writing Tuesday, Everyone!

 

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

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

 

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Goodbye, Friend! Hello, Friend!

It’s Perfect Picture Book Friday, once again, and I have such a lovely book to share today.

It comes from Cori Doerrfeld, the talented author/illustrator who brought us The Rabbit Listened (which you all know I totally loved and raved over in a PPBF post a while back!)  It’s perfect for the beginning of a new school year as well as for many other occasions.

goodbye hello

Title: Goodbye, Friend! Hello, Friend!

Written & Illustrated By: Cori Doerrfeld

Dial Books For Young Readers, July 2019, fiction

Suitable For Ages: 3-7

Themes/Topics: friendship, balance of life, coping with change

Opening: “Bye, Mom.
Every goodbye…
…leads to a hello.
Hi, I’m Charlie!
Goodbye to sitting alone…
…is hello to sitting together.

goodbye hello 1

text and illustration copyright Cori Doerrfeld 2019 Dial Books For Young Readers

goodbye hello 2

text and illustration copyright Cori Doerrfeld 2019 Dial Books For Young Readers

goodbye hello 3

text and illustration copyright Cori Doerrfeld 2019 Dial Books For Young Readers

Brief Synopsis:  Transitions are hard, but two best friends help each other through changes big and small.  When one experience ends, it opens the door for another to begin.

Links To Resources: draw a picture of someone or something that was hard to say goodbye to; write a letter to someone you love; tell a story about a time it was hard when something ended or a time when you were excited about something beginning; grow butterflies at home or in the classroom so children can see how saying goodbye to a caterpillar allows you to say hello to a butterfly; butterfly life cycle coloring page; bake cookies so you can say goodbye to dough and hello to cookies 🙂

Why I Like This Book: this is a sweet story about coping with change which helps young readers to see that letting go of one thing, though it may be difficult, can give us the opportunity for something new and also wonderful. It covers the ground from the matter-of-fact (the snowmen of winter giving way to the puddles of spring, the sun giving way to the stars) to the harder changes of having to say goodbye to someone we love.  The book will help children to view change with positivity and optimism.  The text is gentle, sweet, and poignant.  Cori is a master of getting to the heart of things with exquisite simplicity.  And the art is warm, engaging, and appealing.  A great choice for every child.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do 🙂

goodbye hello 4

text and illustration copyright Cori Doerrfeld 2019 Dial Books For Young Readers

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 #336 – Isaac’s Apple Tree (PB) PLUS Straight From The Editor for June and July!!!

It’s Would You Read It Wednesday!  Woo hoo!

And you’ll all be thrilled to know that we get to start today’s proceedings with a triple Straight From The Editor!

You’ll recall that back in June we had a tie between Deborah and Ana.

Deborah’s pitch was for Farmer Jo and the Chicken Coop Calamity (PB) –

Henrietta, Goldie, and Pearl are three chickens with grand ideas. After convincing Farmer Jo to build improvements on their hen house, word spreads and many new chickens come to the farm to roost. But the weight of the situation proves to much to bear and the results are shattering as the hen house splinters apart.

 

Erin said:

This pitch has potential and could be very funny but it’s not telling the story. Are the three chickens with grand ideas the protagonists or is Farmer Jo? Is the conflict that the hen house collapsed  or that too many hens came to roost? If the three hens are the reason for the problem—too many hens in the hen house—how do they resolve it? That’s what you need to get across. Who are the protagonists? What is the conflict and what’s the resolution? Right now you have the first two, but not the solution.

 

Ana’s pitch was for Bella The Best Quits Again (PB) –

Bella, a Latina girl as sassy as Junie B. Jones, quits everything she (barely) tries because she’s not the best at it: her backflips look like giraffes rolling downhill & her dulce de leche frosting: crocodile skin. Bella must learn it’s ok to try again or she won’t be good @ anything. For kids who enjoy  The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes. Back Matter Famous Div. People who struggled. #PB #Humor

 

Erin’s said:

Bella seems like a great girl and the story could be sweet but the comparisons you make—like Junie B Jones and  The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes are taking away from YOUR story. You can say those things outside of the pitch but it would be better to let your story shine through on its own merits. What if you said something like, “Bella, a sassy seven year-old Latina, won’t do backflips because she looks like a giraffe rolling downhill and her dulce de leche frosting tasted like crocodile skin (which are great images BTW), so she refuses to make anymore…”  And then you need a sentence that tells the reader how she comes to accept that practice makes perfect…

 

The July pitch winner was Nancy with her pitch for Cupid’s Tango (PB)

Cupid, the prairie chicken, has his feathers all in a twist over his flock’s step dance contest. If he fails, no hen will pick him to go to the All Species Ball. The problem – he is horrible at step dancing and when he’s nervous, he’s worse. When the contest ends in disaster, Cupid is determined to find a dance he loves and win a hen’s heart to go to the ball.

Erin said:

This looks intriguing. I’d tweak the bit about if he fails no hen will pick him to go to the All Species Dance (which is adorable, BTW) because somebody’s got to lose so only one prairie chicken will go to the All Species Ball from all the contestants? That’s what it sounds like. Even if you phrase it more like “no hen will want to go to the All Species Ball with a chicken with two left feet” it will make a big difference.

So much fantastic pitch feedback straight from our talented and generous neighborhood editor!  I hope you all find Erin’s thoughts as instructive as I do!

I’m sure we will all absorb that helpful information much better with Something Chocolate to stimulate our brains!  How about some Chocolate Mini Cheesecakes With Oreo Crust?

Chocolate Mini Cheesecake With Oreo Crust

Sounds like brain food to me! 🙂

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Marcia who says, “Aspiring writer, not yet published…I have lived in every New England State but one. I am slowly restoring an 1858 cape and love to explore historic houses. On a mission to visit as many presidential homes as I can, in between responding to the demands of my Siberian princess of a cat. Member NESCBWI and 12×12.”

Find her on the web at:

Twitter: @MZ_Parks

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Isaac’s Apple Tree

Age/Genre: Narrative Nonfiction Picture Book (ages 4-8) – includes Author Note

The Pitch: The tree that facilitated the discovery of gravity (leading to the principles on which all space missions depend) now has “space offspring.” In Isaac’s Apple Tree, the tree under which Isaac Newton sat that fateful day tells its own astounding and far-reaching story.

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 Marcia 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 2 or 3 openings left for this year at the end of November/beginning of December, so you could still get your pitch up before 2020 for helpful feedback and a chance to have it read and commented on by editor Erin Molta!

Marcia is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to seeing my new book!  Did I say that last week? I think I might have!  But I’m still waiting for the books to arrive (because I live on a blueberry-covered mountain in the apparent Middle Of Nowhere! 🙂 )

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂