Would You Read It Wednesday #381 – Broccol-Trees And Mac And Cheese (PB/Toddler Board Book)

Happy Would You Read It Wednesday St. Patrick’s Day!

It is not looking particularly green around here since it snowed again last night, but Spring is still coming in 3 days!

Here is a fun fact to cheer you while we wait: the shamrock is the national flower/emblem of Ireland, and its leaves are said to represent faith, hope, and love. If you find a four-leaf clover, the fourth leaf represents luck, which is why four-leaf clovers are said to be lucky!

I think there is probably a picture book in that somewhere 😊 Let’s all put on our creativity caps and think one up!

And since it is a known fact that chocolate fuels creativity and brain power, how about a little Something Chocolate? I think we should embrace the holiday and go with St. Paddy’s Day Oreo Bark!

St. Paddy’s Day Oreo Bark

Not only is that chocolate-y and scrumptious, it is also crunchy, and science tells us that crunchy things like apples and carrots (and therefore Oreo Bark!) help keep us awake and alert. (Do not ask me what science. That is classified and on a need-to-know basis. 😊)

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Sally who says, “I am a young soul in an old body, whose many lifetimes have led me to this moment. From elementary teacher, to folk/lounge band singer, to children’s theatre actress, to cruise ship entertainer, back to teacher, choir director, reading specialist, literacy coach, college professor, Ph.D., educational consultant, now back to my creative roots in writing and art.
My life has been as unpredictable as it is joyful. I live in the snowy Poconos and have retired to make time for my creative endeavors. In this new path, I have been embraced by this network of teachers, colleagues, writers and illustrators. I am a total newbie in this profession and consider myself a student. I am learning as much as possible
My joy is playing with words, juggling them and making them turn somersaults. To that end I welcome all your feedback.”

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Broccol-Trees And Mac And Cheese

Age/Genre: Picture Book/Toddler Board Book (ages 3-6)

The Pitch: Broccol-Trees and Mac and Cheese is a collection of tasty tidbits for toddlers and their parents. This rhythmic romp of playful poetry has sixteen silly scenes where eating food may just be the last thing that happens!
Similar to the wonderfully inventive and irreverent style of Jack Prelutsky’s poems, these foodie offerings are sure to please parent palettes and tickle toddler funny bones and bellies!

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 Sally 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 April, 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!

Sally is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to Spring! Three days, my friends! Three day! 😊 🦋 💐 🌷 🌹 🌺 🌸 🌼 🌻

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 😊

Tuesday Debut – Presenting Julie Rowan-Zoch (author/illustrator debut)!!!

Welcome, Everyone!

So what if it’s snowing again! It’s time for Tuesday Debut, and it always makes the day wonderful to celebrate one of our own achieving publication – that pinnacle of success we all strive for whether it’s our first book or (I presume) our 50th – I’ll let you know if I get there! 😊

I am so thrilled to introduce today’s debutess, Julie Rowan-Zoch! You had the opportunity to meet her last fall when she made her illustration debut, but this time she is debuting her writing and art together!

And today is her book’s actual birthday, so feel free to have some cake 😊

Nice and Spring-y to help us ignore the snow! 😊

I’M A HARE, SO THERE!
story and pictures: Julie Rowan-Zoch
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers (HMHKids)
rel. date: March 16, 2021
(Informational) Fiction
Pre-K – 3 (4-7yrs)

Exasperated hare puts a plucky squirrel in his place as they stroll through the desert comparing similar-not-same animals – while oblivious to predators! This hare may call the squirrel Chippie, or a tortoise a turtle, but Jack is NOT a rabbit!

SUSANNA: Thank you so much for coming to visit with us today, Julie! We are all so thrilled to have you here (again!)! I may be wrong, but I think you’re the first author/illustrator debutess we’ve had, and I know you’re the first person we’ve had who had an illustrator debut and then also an author/illustrator debut! We can’t wait to hear your unique perspective! Where did the idea for this book come from?

JULIE: I have your illustration contest to thank for the character, Susanna! That was the first drawing I made, but a few more followed and my agent soon asked, “What is his story?” Having a character with a bit of attitude helped “walk” the story, at least especially after researching where one would even find jackrabbits! It has gone through a number of revisions, including rhyme, but I recall the process as being easy (or Corona really has done a number on my brain!)


SUSANNA: Haha 😊 I think Corona has done a number on all our brains! But I have to say, I have loved that jackrabbit from the first moment I saw him, and I’m glad you were encouraged to tell his story! How long did it take you to write this book?

JULIE: According to the files I could find, about 3-4 weeks – NOT my norm!

SUSANNA: Did you go through many revisions?

JULIE: I (used to) re-number every draft, no matter how small the revision, and I believe it was about 15. I don’t have a real process for revision. I’m a pantser through and through!

Julie’s work space -contents: book ARCs, tiny bits of paper to help with beats while writing in rhyme, junkmail, dish of spicy -lime cashews, bills, critique notes, more beat charts for rhyme, prune juice, filthy old mouse, colored pencil leftover from my kids in elementary school! 

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

JULIE: It felt good after running it by my critique groups numerous times. Then I showed it to my agent and we made one major change to the ending (let the main character live!). But we didn’t submit it for some time. I had some personal issues which brought life to a long halt! We finally offered it as an exclusive to the editor I worked with illustrating Tom Lichtenheld’s book, LOUIS.


SUSANNA: When and how did you submit?

JULIE: We submitted exclusively shortly after work on LOUIS had begun in 2018. After a week the editor asked for another week (!) then asked if I would be willing to add back matter. I agreed, though I was completely unsure about it – I had not expected that request!

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

JULIE: My agent informed me  via phone call after a deal was made, and yes, it felt great to sell my own writing!

SUSANNA: How did you celebrate signing your contract? 

JULIE: I was lucky to celebrate with my dear friend and fellow writer, Julie Hedlund at our favorite hangout, about halfway between our homes in Colorado. There was champagne!

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

JULIE: I was very pleased with the offer, which my agent managed to bump up from the original a bit! It’s embarrassing, but I have no head for contract details – but I did get 20 author copies!

SUSANNA: What can you tell us about the editorial process?

JULIE: The editor and art director asked if I would be open to including a few more similar-but-not-the-same animals in the illustrations, which really made the book better! There was one revision request in the text but it was minor. There were a lot more requests after the initial sketches, lots of revision work on continuity and composition, even after the final artwork was submitted and color proofs came through! My experience was completely positive. I have to say, coming from graphic design, I find the collaboration in publishing with people who want to support you and produce really good books out of passion, well, you can guess – it’s much more satisfying!

Text & Illustration copyright Julie Rowan-Zoch 2021, HMH

SUSANNA: Did you get to see advance reviews from Kirkus, SLJ, etc?

JULIE: Actually, I found the (very nice!) reviews myself and shared them with my agent and the team. Maybe because we were knee deep in Corona-time? I was also the one to notice when HARE was chosen as an Editor’s Pick for best books in March for the 3-5yr age bracket. I feel very lucky to receive that kind of exposure for the book!

SUSANNA: I think it is very well deserved! 😊 How long did it take from offer to having the first copy in your hand?

JULIE: About 2yrs. Print run is 30K.

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

JULIE: My publicist helped me with adding images to the book’s Amazon page, and facilitated an interview with Mr. Schu, but the rest has been up to me.

created by Julie and her publicist

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

JULIE: I am very fortunate to belong to the Soaring20’s promotional group, as well as Picture Book Playground. Even if I were not debuting (twice!) in a pandemic, I would highly recommend finding such a group for the camaraderie and emotional support. And for the help with marketing, but honestly, that feels like less of a priority considering COVID. As you well know, it is the community which makes our little world go ‘round!

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

JULIE: For writing: 8.5yrs. I mentioned personal struggles along the way earlier, which slowed me down, but somehow I still feel lucky to be debuting right now. More likely I am just so happy to have this particular joy during these trying times!

SUSANNA: It certainly is a welcome bright spot – for you as creator and for us who get to enjoy your book! What is your most helpful piece of advice for up and coming writers?

JULIE: Everyone knows how important it is to engage with newer books on the market. But the current market shows you the current market, not necessarily great books. Yes, it’s very important to know what is selling, but I have found so many gems beyond the familiar classics over the last few years which feel as fresh today as when they were written in the 70’s, 80’s 90’s. For a book to have that kind of longevity they HAVE to have the rock-hard quality to stand the test of time. It may not be everyone’s goal, but I want to be reading my own books to kids for many, many years – and still enjoy it! Read the gems, write them out, read them again! Oh, and once you feel like you’ve got the basics down, don’t be afraid to break some rules! (For anyone interested in some of those old gems I heartily invite you to scroll around on my blog!)

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

JULIE: Maybe it’s the pandemic, and maybe it’s the kind of books released over the last few years (and I read A LOT as a bookseller), but I am starving for more humor in picture books and value a good find now more than ever before!

*Also, I have become extremely choosy in books for adults and I attribute it all to the concise writing and reading of picture books! 

SUSANNA: Thank you so much for taking the time to participate in this series and paying it forward to other writers, Julie! We are so grateful to have gotten the opportunity to learn from you today, and wish you all the best with LOUIS, I’M A HARE, and all future titles!!!

JULIE: Thank YOU, Susanna!

Author/Illustrator Julie Rowan-Zoch

jrzoch@gmail.com
http://julierowanzoch.wordpress.com
http://www.facebook.com/pages/ArtistJulieRowanZochbooks

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

You may purchase Julie’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

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Little Ewe: The Story of One Lost Sheep

Welcome to Perfect Picture Book Friday!

I have a such a sweet and lovely book to share today – one that feels just right for the coming of Spring! AND a special treat – an activity from the author herself!

One look at this cover, and you’ll be hard-pressed not to pick this book right up for a peek inside! And you won’t be disappointed! 😊

Title: Little Ewe: The Story of One Lost Sheep

Written By: Laura Sassi

Illustrated By: Tommy Doyle

Publisher: Beaming Books, February 2021, fiction

Suitable For Ages: 3-5

Themes/Topics: getting lost/found, counting, curiosity, kindness

Opening: “One shepherd opens up the gate.
“It’s time to eat.”
The sheep can’t wait!”

Brief Synopsis: When Shepherd calls his sheep in for dinner, Little Ewe is too busy to listen. Before long, she finds herself lost! What’s a little lamb to do?

text copyright Laura Sassi 2021, illustration copyright Tommy Doyle 2021, Beaming Books

Links To Resources: Today we have a special resource from author Laura Sassi!

A LITTLE EWE BOOK-THEMED GAME: “Where are you, Little Ewe?” “I am here, Shepherd, dear.”

Did you know that sheep recognize the sound of their shepherd’s voice? Likewise, shepherds know their flocks well and recognize their sheep’s “baa-ahs”? In fact, that’s how Little Ewe and Shepherd find each other at the end of the story!
Inspired by this caring connection, here’s a fun variation of the traditional “hot potato” game you can play as part of a LITTLE EWE storytime.  
To play, you will need music that you can turn on and off, a little toy lamb that can be passed around a circle (like the hot potato) and at least six children.

  1. Select one child to be Shepherd. The rest will be the sheep. Have the sheep sit in a circle around the Shepherd, who will sit in the middle.
  1. Show them the little sheep toy. Explain that when the music plays, the Shepherd will close his/her eyes and the sheep will quietly pass “Little Ewe” around the circle.
  1. When the music stops, the Shepherd (eyes still closed) will see if he/she recognizes the the voice of Little Ewe by asking:  “Where are you, Little Ewe?”
  1. The child holding Little Ewe will answer: “I am here, Shepherd, dear.” 
  1. Allow the Shepherd a few guesses, if needed, to identify the sheep’s voice. Then celebrate as a flock with a chorus of baahs.

6. Rotate who gets to be Shepherd until every one has a chance.  
7. At the end of the game marvel together just how wonderful it is that just as sheep have loving shepherds who care for them, we too have shepherds (brainstorm who those might be) who care for us. 

Author Laura Sassi

Laura SassiChildren’s book author and poet
GOODNIGHT, ARK (Zonderkidz, August ’14)
GOODNIGHT, MANGER (Zonderkidz, October ’15)
DIVA DELORES AND THE OPERA HOUSE MOUSE (Sterling, Spring ’18)
LOVE IS KIND (Zonderkidz, Fall  ’18)
EL AMOR ES BONDADOSO (Vida Zondervan, Fall ’19)
LITTLE EWE: THE STORY OF ONE LOST SHEEP (Beaming Books,  Spring ’21)
BUNNY FINDS EASTER (Zonderkidz, Spring’22)
https://www.facebook.com/LauraSassiTales
http://laurasassitales.wordpress.com/
twitter.com/laurasassitales
https://www.instagram.com/laurasassitales/

Why I Like This Book: Written in trademark perfect rhyme, this sweet story with its charming illustrations shows a busy youngster caught up in the wonder of the world. Exploring one interesting thing after another, chasing three lizards and watching four spiders, bouncing on five floating logs and splashing with six frogs (note there is also a delightful counting element to this book!) it’s no surprise Little Ewe is too distracted to heed the shepherd’s call. What preschooler hasn’t found her/himself in that predicament!? 😊 When the sky begins to darken, Little Ewe suddenly realizes she’s lost, and oh! what a scary feeling that is! But the shepherd, kind and caring, has of course noticed one of his flock is missing. He goes right back out into the gathering shadows and finds his little lost lamb. Such a comforting resolution that will make every child feel safe and snug. Another gem from Laura 😊

text copyright Laura Sassi 2021, illustration copyright Tommy Doyle 2021, Beaming Books

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 #380 – But When She Opens The Door… (PB)

How great is today? It’s Would You Read It Wednesday AND the weather people say it’s going to be sunny and 52 degrees! Can you imagine? A little taste of spring after all these weeks of snow and ice and cold. Here on Blueberry Hill we are ready! Scout and Violet and I are putting on our sunglasses, getting out the lotion, and preparing to work on our tans! 😊

And the only thing that can make this warm, sunny, spring-like day better?

You guessed it!

Something Chocolate!

Since we’re feeling springy and it’s nearly St. Patrick’s Day, we will be serving Pistachio And Chocolate Leprechaun Cookies!!

Pistachio And Chocolate Leprechaun Cookies

Now then, onto today’s pitch – a good one for March, with changeable weather and St. Patrick’s Day around the corner! It comes to us from Robin. Award winning author Robin Currie learned story sharing by sitting on the floor. At libraries and churches in the Chicago area she has engaged children and their parents with stories full of noise, action, and energy. A professional librarian and editor, Robin writes stories to read and read again!

Find her on the web at
www.robincurrie.net
https://www.facebook.com/Pastorrobinsnest

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: But When She Opens The Door…

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

The Pitch: On a March day in Ireland, the fickle weather shifts from sun to wind to rain to snow. In rollicking read aloud rhyme, Katie O’Shea (watched by her cat Shamrock) changes clothes until a look at the calendar reveals the perfect outfit!

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 Robin 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 April, 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!

Robin is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I’d like to say I am looking forward to lying on the back porch in the sun doing nothing, but as I have editorial deadlines I had gosh darn well better be writing! 😊

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 😊

Tuesday Debut – Presenting Sue Heavenrich!

Welcome to this week’s scintillating edition of Tuesday Debut!

Sue Heavenrich has been a long-time follower of this blog, and a devoted participant in Perfect Picture Book Fridays for years, and today I’m thrilled to be welcoming her as the author of her own perfect picture book! What could be more perfect than 13 Ways To Eat A Fly? 😊

13 Ways to Eat a Fly
By Sue Heavenrich
Illustrated by David Clark
Charlesbridge, February 2021
Nonfiction picture book, ages 4-8

Math meets science as a swarm of flies meet their demise. Whether they are zapped, wrapped, liquefied, or zombified, the science is real – and hilariously gross. Includes a (non-human) guide to fine dining, complete with nutritional information for a single serving of flies.

SUSANNA: Welcome, Sue! Thank you so much for joining us today! I don’t think any of us can wait to hear about where the idea for this book came from! Please tell us!

SUE: I was reading something and jotted down “how to eat a fly.” I figured a book about animals and their fly food might be fun… and a good way to highlight the diversity of the order Diptera. Most people think flies are just pests, but they are amazing. Some pollinate the flowers in my garden, and some even eat crop pests!

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

SUE: Counting the research and revisions – five or more years. I started with the basic idea: pair up predators with specific flies they eat. That took more time than I expected, and I even emailed a few experts. I created a spreadsheet of predators and flies, then looked for 13 different fly families to highlight.        

SUSANNA: Did you go through many revisions?

SUE: Oh yes! In its first version it was pretty “listy”. I imagined each spread presenting a fly and its consumer. I think it went through about a dozen revisions. It needed more context, so I added an introduction, and some back matter. I sent it out, got a bit of interest, though the comments were usually along the lines of “this is interesting but…” it needed a hook. I put it aside for a few months and then one day while smacking cluster flies with a swatter I found myself saying “one down, twelve to go”. I’m pretty sure a lightbulb went off over my head and I restructured the entire manuscript. It became a reverse counting book. At the same time, I was working on a middle grade book about eating insects with Chris Mihaly, and I began thinking – from a predator’s point of view – what would make flies a good food source? I goofed around, creating a nutrition label (flies are full of protein) and a dining guide for insect-eaters concerned about whether the flies they order in a restaurant are “locally sourced”. After another handful of revisions, and feedback from critique partners, I felt this new, improved manuscript was ready for submission.

SUSANNA: When and how did you submit?

SUE: I took my original story to the 2012 Falling Leaves nonfiction retreat where I met my editor, Alyssa Pusey (Charlesbridge). I got great feedback and submitted it to her. But, in fly terms, my book was still a larva and needed to mature – and Alyssa suggested that I revise and resubmit. After a couple years of agent rejections and feedback, I realized that I needed to let go of what I had and find a completely different structure. So appropriate – this is exactly what happens when a fly larva undergoes metamorphosis: it totally dissolves and rebuilds something completely different. So four years later I finally resubmitted the (17th? 29th?) revision.

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

SUE: I didn’t so much get “the call” as an email from Alyssa saying – hey, this has potential, and are you willing to revise? After a couple of months of back and forth with revisions, she emailed that she was taking it to acquisitions, and could I answer two quick questions. Then a couple weeks later it was “good news, we’d like to make an offer”.

SUSANNA: How did you celebrate signing your contract?

SUE: I thought I would be jumping up and down and popping the cork from a champagne bottle, but the truth is… I just jumped up and down a few times. I’m pretty sure chocolate was involved.

SUSANNA: Ah! A kindred spirit! 😊 Was the contract what you expected in terms of advance, royalty percentage, publication timeline, author copies etc.?

SUE: I knew, when I submitted to Charlesbridge, that the advance would be smaller than other houses, but the quality of their books is so high that I wanted them to publish my book. I did negotiate for more author copies.

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

SUE: Given the revisions I’d made prior to signing the contract, I thought everything was pretty much finished. But over the next two years we continued with occasional revisions. Overall, though, Alyssa enthusiastically supported my initial vision for the story and I felt like we were working as a team.

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

SUE: I was included to some extent in the whole process. It started with an email from Alyssa: what style of illustration did I see for my book? Did I have any suggestions for illustrators? I sent her a short list. Some weeks later, she asked what I thought about David Clark. I am a big fan of his work and was so thrilled that he would be part of the team – even though it meant waiting longer for publication.

Because 13 Ways to Eat a Fly is, at its core, nonfiction, I created a file of reference photos of fly-eaters and their flies. I had also included art notes in the manuscript (listing the specific flies). Through the process I got to see sketches, and was asked for comments. And I got a package of proofs in the mail. It was so cool to see how David had interpreted the story! He’s a genius.

text copyright Sue Heavenrich 2021, illustration copyright David Clark 2021, Charlesbridge

SUSANNA: Did you get to see advance reviews from Kirkus, SLJ, etc?

SUE: The publicists sent me a preview of BookList review – it got a starred review! And I found the Kirkus review online.

SUSANNA: Starred review first time out – that is amazing! Congratulations! How long was it between the time you started writing seriously and the time you sold your first picture book?

SUE: At least ten years.

SUSANNA: What is the most important/helpful thing you learned on your way to publication?

SUE: It is easy to be discouraged. I had faith in this book, and I kept telling myself that it was worthy of a book jacket. But I also set projects aside when I need a break. And truthfully, this business is so subjective that you can’t let rejection mean anything more than “it’s not right for me at this time in the universe.”

Author Sue Heavenrich

Agency Website: https://www.stormliteraryagency.com/sueheavenrich
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SueHeavenrichWriter
Website: www.sueheavenrich.com
Blog: https://archimedesnotebook.blogspot.com/

SUSANNA: Sue, thank you so much for joining us today and sharing your journey to publication! I know I speak for everyone when I wish you the best with this and future titles!

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

You may purchase Sue’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

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Small Walt Spots Dot

Welcome to the first Perfect Picture Book Friday in March!

Here on Blueberry Hill, no one seems to have gotten the memo that it IS March and therefore enough with the snow! It still seems to be snowing every day, at least for a while, even if only flurries. Pretty much not a day goes by when some amount of snow shoveling isn’t required!

So this Picture Book seems Perfect for today – an adorable story of a little snow plow doing his job!

Title: Small Walt Spots Dot

Written By: Elizabeth Verdick

Illustrated By: Marc Rosenthal

Publisher: Paula Wiseman Books, September 2020, fiction

Suitable For Ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: jobs (plowing, keeping public spaces clear), teamwork, animal rescue, kindness

text copyright Elizabeth Verdick 2020, illustration copyright Marc Rosenthal 2020, Paula Wiseman Books

Opening: “Whoosh! Wind’s howling.
Swoosh! Snow’s flying.
Small Walt and Gus are on the road – and on the job.
They’ve got lots of parking lots to plow.”

text copyright Elizabeth Verdick 2020, illustration copyright Marc Rosenthal 2020, Paula Wiseman Books

Brief Synopsis: Walt and his driver Gus are plowing a parking lot when a blur of fur catches Walt’s eye. It’s cold and snowy. Will Walt and Gus be able to help the stray?

text copyright Elizabeth Verdick 2020, illustration copyright Marc Rosenthal 2020, Paula Wiseman Books

Links To Resources: Small Walt Activity Pages; 3-D Snowplow Craft (my apologies that it says “for boys”!); Snow Printouts, Activities, and Ideas;

text copyright Elizabeth Verdick 2020, illustration copyright Marc Rosenthal 2020, Paula Wiseman Books

Why I Like This Book: I love this book because it instantly reminds me of Katy And The Big Snow by Virginia Lee Burton, one of the classics from my childhood, I think because of the style of the art as much as the fact that it’s about a snow plow. 😊 Small Walt is such an earnest, careful, and responsible little plow, able to get into those smaller spaces where the big plows can’t. He and his driver, Gus, take their job seriously. It is important and they do it well. But Walt also has his eye out for the community, and when he spots a stray dog, he knows he has to help. Together with the policewoman, Walt and Gus manage to catch the shivering stray and take her to the animal shelter. I like that the police person is a woman, and that she is not white (as well as that there is diversity in several of the illustrations.) And (spoiler alert!) I always like books that show animals being adopted from shelters. With its sweet story and engaging illustrations, this book will please the truck lovers and the dog lovers in your house or classroom!

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 #379 – The Story of Citronella (Please Hold Your Nose) (PB)

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

But that’s not all!

Yesterday was Dr. Seuss’s birthday, Read Across America Day, and opening day of Vivian Kirkfield’s #50preciouswords contest!

If you enjoy my writing contests and may somehow have managed to miss this, quick! Rush over!

There are 50 truly amazing prizes on offer with everything from critiques by editors, agents, and picture book authors, to seats in classes, to bundles of books – definitely worth writing an entry for! So don’t miss it!

If you’re not up to writing an entry on such short notice, you can still go over and read all the wonderful entries that are posted!

So enjoy!

And to fuel your writing and/or help you enjoy your reading and/or energize you for helping today’s pitcher polish her pitch, how about a little Something Chocolate? I’m thinking Chocolate Cream Puffs because, YUM!

Chocolate Cream Puffs

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Bru who says, “I’m a respiratory therapist of 33+ years, now retired, who over the past covid months, revisited my files of story ideas and manuscripts to revise for today’s audience. Since the libraries were mostly closed during the past year, I built and set up a Little Free Library #91063 so children could continue to read books.  When I first started writing stories for my children in 1985, I wrote articles for trade journals but never published any of my children’s PB stories in book form. As the saying goes, you are never too old to learn new tricks, so I rejoined SCBWI and my hometown RACWI (Rochester Area Children’s Writers and Illustrators) groups. I have placed in The Writer’s Digest Children’s Writers annual contest as an Honorable Mention for many years. I hope to give everyone some smiles this year.”

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: The Story of Citronella (Please Hold Your Nose)

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

The Pitch:

In the Stinkbug Kingdom, everything changes in a single moment for Citronella. She realizes she smells different from everyone else which starts trouble.
When an announcement for the prince’s ball arrives Citronella isn’t invited. Is it the work of the stepsisters who smelled like burnt bacon and rotten eggs or the stepmother who’s odor was like a dirty diaper. Or Both. Citronella has choices; go incognito to the ball to try to marry the prince, seek out who she really is, or stay with the smelly stepsisters and their mother forever; um, wait, no way for the last one.
With the help of a wisecracking fairy godfather, Citronella has her one chance to attend the ball. After seeing the prince in his undergarments, she has more in common with him than she realized. Citronella’s bright yellow with black stripes outer skin is not solid brown like the stinkbugs and either is the prince’s. She really does fit into both the Stinkbug and the Bee Kingdom after all. Both the prince and Citronella lived happily, in a hive downwind from everybody else that smelled not just pleasant but Bee-utiful. This smelly insect kingdom re-creation of a favorite fairy tale comes with instructional (Bees & Stinkbugs) backmatter for classroom use.

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 Bru 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 April, 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!

Bru is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to heading on over to Vivian’s and reading some of the wonderful entries posted there!

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 😊

Tuesday Debut – Presenting Gnome Road Publishing!

It’s Tuesday, and you know what that means!

Time for another exciting installment of Tuesday Debut!

Today’s debut is a very special one! Not an author. Not an illustrator. But a brand new publishing company!

You have a unique opportunity here to learn about this new resource in children’s literature and get in on the ground floor. Publishers need manuscripts to turn into books, and you are the talented people who write them!

So without further ado, I’d like to introduce Sandra Sutter, Owner-Publisher, and the creative force behind debut Gnome Road Publishing!

Gnome Road Publishing – Logo Design by Wendy Leach

SUSANNA: Hello, Sandra! We had you here on Tuesday Debut with your delightful picture book, THE REAL FARMER IN THE DELL, back in April of 2019, but we are delighted to welcome you again as Owner-Publisher and creative mind behind a brand new publishing company – Gnome Road Publishing! You are a published picture book author.  What inspired you to start a publishing house of your own?

SANDRA: Gnome Road Publishing has been on the horizon for quite a while. I knew in my heart that becoming a publisher was my ultimate goal when I first began writing for children in 2017. I am a behind-the-scenes kind of person, and I love bringing ideas and people together. Once upon a time (in former lives), I was a counselor and a mediator, and those same skills and enjoyment found in collaborating with others seem to be at play. Now, with my experience in the publishing industry, I have the tools and information I need to finally move forward.

SUSANNA: How did you choose the name “Gnome Road Publishing” and what does it represent?

SANDRA: Little did I know when I chose the name (way back in 2019!) that gnomes would be as popular as they have been lately. I’m taking that as a sign of good things ahead. The name comes from a real place (an actual road) in the mountains of Northern Colorado, near where I grew up. It would be much more interesting if I had a story to tell about gnomes and how that relates to a publishing house, but the truth is I simply like the earthy, mythical, and somewhat mischievous nature of gnomes. And, the name reminds me of a childhood place associated with happiness and the outdoors. I think illustrator Wendy Leach, who I hired to design the logo and artwork for the website, was able to capture that feeling and history for me. I really love how it all turned out.

SUSANNA: What do you hope to accomplish/what are your goals/what is your mission as a publisher? (What do you want from authors and illustrators, and what do you hope to provide for readers?)

SANDRA: If you look on the GRP website, you will see two mission statements. One is for the (future) readers of our books, and the other for creatives that come to work with us. I feel a responsibility to not only produce books that children love and want to read time and again, but to also shine a light on the talented people who create these stories. My job as a publisher is to be a bridge that connects authors and illustrators together with children that love good storytelling and reading.

SUSANNA: Can you tell us about your staff members and staff structure? Associate editors, art director, art editors, etc?

SANDRA: Well, there is me at the very top. And then there is me at the very bottom. This is a small, start-up press so I am responsible for almost all aspects of the publishing process. However, that does not mean I work alone. I have a team of helpers, from members of my Acquisitions and Editorial Advisory Board to consultants on design and marketing strategies. And, this is a family-owned business, so I have hands-on support at home, too. As the company grows, I look forward to building a staff dedicated to furthering the GRP mission. 

SUSANNA: What will you publish? Board books? Novelty books? Picture Books? Early Readers? Chapter Books? Graphic Novels? Middle Grade? YA? Fiction and/or Nonfiction? Please be as specific and detailed as you care to be – the more information the better 😊

SANDRA: Can I pick “D. All of the above?” I certainly wish I could publish them all! But starting out, my focus will be on picture books through early middle-grade and a select number of upper middle-grade and young adult novels. As much as I like board books, I am not actively seeking them. Long-term, I am interested in producing novelty books and items under the Gnome Wild! imprint. But all in good time.

Logos and Art by Wendy Leach

SUSANNA: As owner/managing editor, what is your wish list for each category?

SANDRA: The GRP website has a wish list for each of the imprints which I hope provides guidance on what we are looking for (and what I particularly like as a publisher). But no matter the specific topic or style of writing, one thing a story must have is the “R” factor. Re-readability! I want to publish the story a child will pick out at bedtime three times a week, the one with the tattered corners and curled pages from being checked out and loved so much at the library, or the one a classroom of children beg the teacher to read at story-time. Please – send that story to me!  

Another way to answer this question might be to share a few of our household favorites (picture books, in no particular order):

  • Tyrannosaurus Rex v. Edna, the Very First Chicken by Douglas Rees (Illus. Jed Henry)
  • They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel
  • The Tree Lady by H. Joseph Hopkins (Illus. Jill McElmurry)
  • The Legend of Rock, Paper, Scissors by Drew Daywalt (Illus. Adam Rex)
  • The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read by Rita Lorraine Hubbard (Illus. Oge Mora)
  • A Gift for Amma by Meera Sriram (Illus. Mariona Cabassa)
  • Holy Squawkamole! by Susan Wood (Illus. Laura González)
  • Caring for Your Lion by Tammi Sauer (Illus. Troy Cummings)
  • The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires
  • Mummy Cat by Marcus Ewert (Illus. Lisa Brown)
  • Read the Book Lemmings by Ame Dyckman (Illus. Zachariah O’Hora)
  • Just a Minute: A Trickster Tale and Counting Book by Yuyi Morales
  • The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig (Illus. Patrice Barton)
  • There are no Bears in This Bakery by Julia Sarcone-Roach
  • Teach Your Giraffe to Ski by Viviane Elbee (Illus. Danni Gowdy)
  • Sophie’s Squash by Pat Zietlow Miller (Illus. Anne Wilsdorf)
  • When Grandma Gives You a Lemon Tree by Jamie L.B. Deenihan (Illus. Lorraine Rocha)
  • The William Hoy Story by Nancy Churnin (Illus. Jez Tuya)
  • In the Sea by David Elliott (Illus. by Holly Meade)
  • Predator and Prey by Susannah Buhrman-Deever (Illus. by Bert Kitchen)
  • Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal

There are so many more! A few of my older favorites are The Upstairs Cat, The Riddle Monster, and Calvin and Hobbes comic strips. And if you really want to get my attention, get your hands on a copy of This Room is Mine by Betty Ren Wright (Illus. Judy Stang) and send me something like it for today’s market.

SUSANNA: How many titles do you expect to start with and in what genres?

SANDRA: The plan is to start with 4 to 5 picture books, an early reader or chapter book (with series potential) and one or two MG or YA novels each year, with the first releases coming out at the end of 2022 or beginning of 2023. I would like to double that soon thereafter, but again, one step at a time.

SUSANNA: Will authors and illustrators receive an advance?  What will the royalty structure be like?

SANDRA: Yes, authors and illustrators will be paid on an advance against royalties structure in a traditional publishing format. It should be no surprise that advances will not be as competitive as in a large publishing house, but I believe strongly in providing something upfront for work acquired at GRP.

SUSANNA: What kind of experience can an author or illustrator expect to have with Gnome Road?

SANDRA: I am glad you asked this, and I think it goes nicely with the last question on advances. We know we cannot fulfill our mission to readers without a list of talented creatives! Authors and illustrators can expect timely and straightforward communication from the earliest point in working together, through production, publication, and beyond. As an author myself, I know that feeling valued and appreciated is important to having a good experience in this industry.

Authors and illustrators will be working with me and the GRP team closely to make a book the best it can be, starting with an initial discussion about the overall story vision, what happens behind-the-scenes to turn a manuscript into a physical book, and how we plan to market and distribute the title. We expect authors and illustrators to work collaboratively to the best of their capabilities. I know what I am able to do as the publisher, but I also want to know what each of their strengths are and how that fits with our overall goal to get the book into the hands (and hearts) of young readers. We want to identify those strengths and help creatives to successfully continue down their publishing paths. And perhaps this is a good time to answer the next question . . .

SUSANNA: Will authors and illustrators be expected to have existing social media platforms and presence? How much will they be responsible for marketing and publicity?

SANDRA: Yes. No. Maybe. Is that a good answer? It’s 2021. There is steep competition for space on the shelf, whether that be in a store, a library, school, or someone’s home. Every bit of marketing and positive publicity helps. Although we will be working with a distributor and part of the budget for each title will include an allocation for marketing (and reviews), an author or illustrator should have (or plan to develop) a social media platform to assist in these efforts. Authors and illustrators will not have ultimate responsibility for marketing their book(s), but we encourage active involvement in this process. This can come in many forms – not just a social media platform. But having one is almost essential at this point.

SUSANNA: As a new publisher, how do you plan to tackle marketing and distribution?

SANDRA: “Tackle” is an appropriate word for this topic. Although I love the creative aspects of being a publisher, the fact is much of my time is devoted to making quality products (in a physical sense as much as in the stories told) and getting them into the hands of as many readers as possible. I made the decision early on that GRP would use offset printing rather than print-on-demand services. This provides a wider range of options for distribution and marketing, but it also requires more time and money upfront and greater financial risk. This is one reason advances are less attractive than those found at a large, traditional publishing house. It means I must be very selective about choosing manuscripts and take on a limited number of projects so that resources can be put towards finding book buyers and building the brand as a whole. It is a balancing act of trying to attract talent, making quality products, selling them, and also keeping workload manageable and finding help when needed. Interview me again in five years and ask if all of my hair has turned gray. Chances are it will, and largely because of this.  

SUSANNA:  Will you submit your titles for review by top reviewers (Kirkus, SLJ, Booklist, etc) and for awards?

SANDRA: Yes. I feel this is a core component of a marketing and publicity strategy. But I do not want to discount the importance of less formal reviews and publicity found through connections within the greater Kidlit Community. We will work with our creatives on identifying and creating opportunities for personal growth and publicity through avenues like blog tours, podcasts, online promotional groups, book fairs, school and library visits, honor and awards submissions, and bookstore and influencer relationships.

SUSANNA: Do you have any advice for authors and illustrators who are planning to submit to GRP?

SANDRA: Let’s call it “Words of Wisdom”. First, learn your craft, get critiques, and write a good query letter. If you submit no query at all with the manuscript, send a 900-word story for pre-school age children, or fail to use any type of standard formatting, it is almost certain that submission will end up in the “no” pile. Almost. I could be wrong, but why take that chance with your work? Make your submission the best it can be. My Acquisitions Team will always appreciate the effort!

Little Gnome – Logo Design by Wendy Leach

Please come visit, get to know, and follow Gnome Road!

website: https://www.gnomeroadpublishing.com
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/GnomeRoadPub
Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/gnomeroadpublishing/

Submissions Info HERE

SUSANNA: Sandra, thank you so much for stopping by today to tell us about your wonderful new publishing company! It’s so exciting – for you and for us! I think I speak for everyone when I say we can’t wait to see what you will publish!

And thanks to everyone 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

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Bindu’s Bindis

It’s another Perfect Picture Book Friday, and not only do I have a wonderful book to share, I also have a giveaway thanks to Sterling Children’s Books!

Leave a comment on this post to be entered in the random drawing and you could be the lucky winner of a hot-off-the-presses copy of Bindu’s Bindis when it releases March 16!

Let’s have a look at this wonderful book! 😊

Title: Bindu’s Bindis

Written By: Supriya Kelkar

Illustrated By: Parvati Pillai

Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books, March 16, 2021

Suitable For Ages: 3-7

Themes/Topics: family, tradition, culture, courage

Opening: “Every month Bindu’s nani sent her a new set of bindis from India.
Bindu adored her bindis.
She wore them to the temple.
She wore them on holidays.
She wore them at home
.”

text copyright Supriya Kelkar 2021, illustration copyright Parvati Pillai 2021, Sterling Children’s Books

Brief Synopsis: Bindu loves her family, especially her nani, and she loves the bindis that nani sends her. But sometimes, she feels different in a way that doesn’t feel good. But with her nani beside her and a lightning bolt bindi for courage, she finds she’s able to embrace who she is even if others sometimes find her differences strange.

text copyright Supriya Kelkar 2021, illustration copyright Parvati Pillai 2021, Sterling Children’s Books

Links To Resources: an author’s note at the end offers wonderful information and details about bindis; we are all unique – what are some things about you that others might find different, strange, or hard to understand about you even though they seem completely normal in your family?; we all have things in common – what are some things you share with people who seem different in some ways?; Bindu chooses certain bindis to match her mood/emotional state – a lightning bolt for feeling brave, an oval for pride, squiggly lines for feeling unique. Would you choose as Bindi does? What shapes would you choose to match feeling shy? Fierce? Uncertain?

text copyright Supriya Kelkar 2021, illustration copyright Parvati Pillai 2021, Sterling Children’s Books

Why I Like This Book: Bindu is a delightful and charming main character who bounces believably between exuberant self-confidence and sudden worrying uncertainty, but no matter what she faces she feels surrounded by and grounded in the love of her family, especially her beloved nani. I love the warm feeling of family, Bindu’s deep connection to nani, and the way culture and tradition come through as a natural part of the story without feeling forced or contrived. The bright, colorful art is a perfect complement to the brighter moments of the story, dimming to more subdued colors on the pages where Bindu’s confidence and security are challenged, and rising to a swirl of bright pink dress in the purple background of the stage when Bindu finds the courage to join nani. A lovely book that will introduce young readers to the meaning and importance of bindis.

text copyright Supriya Kelkar 2021, illustration copyright Parvati Pillai 2021, Sterling Children’s Books

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!

Don’t forget to leave a comment to get entered in the random drawing to win a copy of this lovely book!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! 😊

Would You Read It Wednesday #378 – The Bitter Tastebud (PB) PLUS Straight From The Editor X 4!!!

Woo hoo!

What a Would You Read It Straight From The Editor line up we have today!

Fun times for all!

It’s always such a great learning experience to hear what editor Erin Molta has to say!

Let’s jump right in, shall we?!

First off, we have such a treat! Straight From The Editor for FOUR (count them! 4!) pitches: April 2020, May/September 2020, October 2020, and November/December 2020!

You will recall Sierra’s winning pitch from April:

Title: The Bug Battle Circus
Audience: Children ages 3-8
Genre: Narrative Nonfiction/Humor

Pitch: When household pests go head to head in the Bug Battle Circus, which crawly critters will be victorious? You guess! A wild, interactive story comparable to Bob Shea’s Crash, Splash, or Moo! and the Who Would Win? series. Nonfiction backmatter included.

Here’s what Erin had to say:

I can see the potential for this and understand why you’re comparing it to already published books but that shouldn’t be in the pitch. That’s in the query letter. The pitch is your sell line. What makes your book special—apart from Crash Splash Moo or Who Would Win? It would be great to get at least one example of a competition in the pitch. Even a wild interactive story is telling us, not showing us and an example from the story would have more impact on an editor. Perhaps something more like: Household pests go head to head in the Bug Battle Circus—ants and mice compete to see who can hoist the most crumbs. Which crawly critters will be victorious in this interactive story? Nonfiction backmatter included.

Lindsey’s winning pitch from May/September was:

The Wind Keeper
PB ages 4-8

On Jenny’s eighth birthday, Papa tells her that she comes from a long line of Wind Keepers. Together they harness the power of the wind to change the seasons and send kites flying high. But when Papa suddenly passes away, her world becomes still. Jenny must find the strength to overcome her grief and bring the wind back to the valley.

And Erin said:

This seems almost perfect. I would suggest one tweak—just to have slightly more impact. Rather than “her world becomes still” because it’s everybody’s world and no wind affects everybody, I’d say “the world becomes still.”

Nicole’s winning pitch from October was:

Dear Duchess
(PB 4-8)
When her octopus stuffie, Duchess, moves to the ocean to pursue a lifelong dream of becoming a mermaid, Charley isn’t sure she’s brave enough to face the first day of school alone. Duchess and Charley comfort and cheer each other through letters until Duchess realizes that some things are even more precious than her magnifique new tail.

And Erin said:

This sounds adorable—so much going on between a pretend animal moving away to become a fantasy creature of a whole different type in a whole different place and then to write letters to her friend/owner. So much suspension of belief needs to be unpacked here. Not saying that can’t be done but maybe Duchess goes back to the sea because of her lifelong dream to become a real octopus but realizes life in the ocean is dangerous and scary and lonely without her friend Charley. Just a thought. At the very least, I think you need to add “beloved” before octopus stuffie (as shown below)—just to make it clear that Duchess is a well-loved longtime companion of Charley’s.

When her beloved octopus stuffie, Duchess, moves to the ocean to pursue a lifelong dream of becoming a mermaid, Charley isn’t sure she’s brave enough to face the first day of school alone. Duchess and Charley comfort and cheer each other through letters until Duchess realizes that some things are even more precious than her magnifique new tail.

Last but not least, Patricia’s winning post from November/December was:

Working Title: Back to the Sea (PB 4-8)

The Pitch: At sunrise on a lush, tropical island, an inquisitive child accompanies a huge cast of terrestrial hermit crabs as they scritchedy-scratch and clickety-clack on their annual journey to spawn in the sea. They face rocky terrain, hungry gulls, and larger animals that could crush them, but the crabs remain focused on their instinctive goal. This lyrical STEM manuscript is Hawk Rising set in the Caribbean.

Erin had this to say:

This seems very interesting. However, I would encourage you to get more of your lyrical language into the pitch—show an editor, don’t tell an editor that your text is lyrical. The scritchedy-scratch clickety-clack are great and I think that you’d be better off using another line to mention the dangers a hermit crab faces on its trek from the trees to the ocean. No need to mention another book (Hawk Rising) in the pitch. That goes in the query letter.

I am always so interested to hear Erin’s thoughts, and she is so helpful and generous to share them with us! I hope you all found this as educational as I did!

After all that learning, I think we need Something Chocolate, don’t you? Packed with vegetables (from the cocoa BEAN) and protein (from the peaNUT butter) and calcium (because I just dare you to eat these without a glass of milk!), let’s start the day off right with this healthy breakfast!

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Filled Cupcakes

Arrrnthosejusssdulischosss?

I told you you’d need some milk 😊

Now that you (surely!) feel totally energized (from all the nutrients of course, not the sugar surge 😊) I think we’re ready to direct our full attention to today’s pitch which comes to us from Deborah. Deborah Foster is a home designer, mother, and a fantastic cook. Her CRAV-O-METER tends to have a “sweet” outcome and her all-time favorite food is cherry pie. She is a master at writing while cooking supper and, thankfully, her husband doesn’t mind eating burnt casseroles every now and then. Deborah is a member of 12×12, Inked Voices, and SavvyAuthors. She is always looking for more writing friends on Twitter. Follow her @DeborahClaytonF. A

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: The Bitter Tastebud

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

The Pitch: Amargo is a bitter tastebud who can’t stand to take another sweet, salty, or lip-puckering bite. But he is outnumbered and so is his vote on the CRAV-O-METER. Amargo must figure out how to change the vote or continue eating the food he detests.

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 Deborah 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 April, 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!

Deborah is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I usually say something I’m looking forward to here, but today I have something for YOU to look forward to! I know I’m a little bit Mars-crazy, having written a book about Mars and the rovers, but if you haven’t seen this official video from NASA of Perseverance landing on Mars you’re in for a treat. It is, to put it plainly, absolutely incredible! Watch the video, share it with your kids and/or students, maybe read MARS’ FIRST FRIENDS along with it… 😊 but don’t miss the video!

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 😊