Would You Read It Wednesday #317 – Will Bear Come Through? (PB)

Good Morning, Everyone!

I hope you’re all feeling bright-eyed and bushy-tailed today!

I don’t know how many of you are aware of this, but on Friday March 29 – in just 2 days! – the first all-female spacewalk ever is set to take place!

How cool is that?

(And how is it possible that there hasn’t been one before?!)

I confess, I’ve been paying a little more attention than usual to news from space because I have a book coming out June 4 in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, and another space-oriented book in the works for next year, and I am fascinated by how amazing all space/NASA-related endeavors are.

Of course, now that she’s heard about an all-female spacewalk, my friend and yours, Punxsutawney Phyllis, wants to try an all-female groundhog spacewalk.  I’m not sure she’s going to be able to pull that off, but she says she at least wants a book in which she gets launched somewhere in a rocket!

That’s Phyllis 🙂

I guess I’ll have to put my thinking cap on!

The perfect thing for thinking is Something Chocolate, and the perfect choice for today, given Phyllis’s nutty plan, is clearly  Chocolate Peanut Butter Crazy Cake!!! 🙂

If you happen not to be a peanut butter fan, it would be as easy as pie (er, I guess easy as cake? 🙂 ) to make the frosting with almond or cashew butter instead of peanut butter.  Either of those would go well with chocolate cake.  What doesn’t?! 🙂

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Joyce.  After decades as an educator and principal, Joyce Uglow has a passion for literacy that lives in stories about acceptance, friendship, and family. A graduate of Children’s Book Academy, she spends time honing her craft via SCBWI, the 12×12 Challenge, the Complete Picture Book Submission System, reading books for children. Find her at the keyboard, in her vineyard or flower gardens, or @jpuglow on Twitter.

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Will Bear Come Through?

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

The Pitch: It’s time to enter this year’s Amazing Baking Contest. But, last year Bear devoured their entry. Can the Bakersville animals pull together and bring the trophy back – without Bear? Will Bear Come Through? is a 447-word alphabet picture book complete with recipes for children 4-8 to bake with their family.

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 Joyce improve her pitch.  Helpful examples of possible alternate wordings are welcome.  (However I must ask that comments be constructive and respectful.  I reserve the right not to publish comments that are mean because that is not what this is about.)

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

Joyce is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to this weekend when the local weatherfolk and Phyllis are predicting temperatures near 60 degrees!!! 🙂  If that doesn’t make you smile… have some more cake! 🙂

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂

 

Tuesday Debut – Presenting BJ Lee!

Hello, Everyone!

It’s the first Tuesday Debut of Spring, and we’re headed for alligator territory down in Florida! 🙂

Today’s debut author is an accomplished poet whose work I have long enjoyed whenever I see it online or in my writing contests.  Not surprisingly, BJ Lee’s first published picture book is in rhyme.

Let’s have a look at Old Gator! 🙂

There Was an Old Gator Who Swallowed a Moth
Written By: B. J. Lee
Illustrated By: David Opie
Pelican Publishing
January 28, 2019
Fiction
Ages 2 – 8

Gator cover

Down in the southern swamps a hungry gator swallows a moth. Of course, he swallows a crab to get the moth! The gator predictably continues swallowing bigger and bigger creatures until the unexpected happens―all over the page!

 

SUSANNA: Welcome, BJ!  I am so thrilled to have you here today, at last celebrating the release of your first picture book!  Where did the idea for this book come from?

BJ: I had been working on several There Was an Old… parodies, when my husband and I saw a juvenile alligator riding waves in a local lake. He was completely cute and it struck me that the Gator would make a great MC. I went home and put the other parodies on the back burner.

 

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

BJ: It took about a year and a half to write this book. It took a while to figure out the right animals to use that had the best rhymes. Plus, it went through my critique group a few times.

B.J.'s Study Workspace

A glimpse of BJ’s work space…

 

 

SUSANNA: Did you go through many revisions?

BJ: I went through many, many revisions. Initially this book was called, There Was an Old Gator Who Swallowed a Skeeter. I really wanted it to have this title; however, I was less than pleased with the rhyme for Skeeter, which was “sweeter.” There was an old Gator who swallowed a Skeeter. What could be sweeter than a silly old Skeeter. I didn’t like this rhyme for two reasons:

  • It implied that the Gator ate the Skeeter. I didn’t want the connotation of eating, just swallowing.
  • It didn’t suggest any action. With “moth”, I had the slant rhyme “cough”, which would come in handy at the climax of the story.

 

 

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

 

BJ: I knew it was ready when I had the feeling that I always got when my college papers were ready – that feeling of I can’t work on this anymore. It’s as good as it can be and I believe I will get an “A.”This feeling that I had in college usually resulted in an “A.”

 

BJ and Bijoux

…and a glimpse of her work buddy, Bijoux 🙂

 

SUSANNA: When and how did you submit?

BJ: I submitted this directly to one publisher, Pelican Publishing, because I felt that it had the best chance of getting published with Pelican.

 

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

BJ: I sent this manuscript to Pelican Publishing on March 3, 2016 via snail mail. Fairly quickly, I heard back from them asking me if there were any other Florida versions of the story that I knew of. After researching this, I told them that I did not know of any other Florida versions. But no acceptance came.

On July 28, 2016 I heard back from them asking me about school visits that I had done. I replied to this but still no acceptance.

They kept coming back to me with questions about my platform, why my blog was “quiet” (it was quiet because I was taking a hiatus and doing a lot of guest blogging). After each one of these questions was answered, it had to go back into the owners’ meeting for discussion. It was taking a long time. They were checking me out!

On November 1, 2016, Pelican told me that they wanted three months exclusivity. I agreed to this because I could see they were very interested, and because this book had such a regional flavor, I thought I had the best chance for getting it published with Pelican.

I status queried on February 1, 2017 and received an acceptance on April 15, 2017.

I received the acceptance by email and opened the email just as my husband was coming in the door from work. I was trying to scream out, “Gator, gator!” but the only thing coming out of my mouth was a croak. My husband rushed in because he thought something was wrong with me. There was! My debut picture book had at last been accepted. What a moment!

SUSANNA: Wow!  That is very interesting. I think you’re the first author I’ve run into who has been quite so thoroughly checked out as to your school visit potential and social media presence before a manuscript acceptance.  Now I’m curious as to how regular this is, and/or whether it’s specific to regional publishers!

 

SUSANNA: How did you celebrate signing your contract?

BJ: My husband and I went out to a local restaurant that serves alligator – Café on the Bayou –  but I couldn’t bring myself to *swallow* any alligator as I am mostly vegetarian, or at least I was at the time.

 

SUSANNA: I think I’m glad you didn’t swallow any gator 🙂  Was the contract what you expected in terms of advance, royalty percentage, publication timeline, author copies etc.?

BJ: Yes, the contract is what I expected as a debut author. I’m not comfortable discussing my advance or royalty structure but I can tell you I received five author copies plus Pelican will send out five or more copies as giveaways.

 

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

BJ: There were no changes to the story, except punctuation. Yes, I felt that the editor had a great vision for the story.

 

SUSANNA: How was your experience of the illustration process?

BJ: Because Pelican had taken a year to accept this book, they offered to let me suggest an illustrator. I gave them two suggestions but neither one of them worked out because the illustrators were not available due to contractual obligations. As this process was going on, Pelican told me they thought they had found the perfect illustrator. When they sent me David Opie’s name and I looked at his website and saw all the alligators he had drawn, I was glad that the illustrators I suggested had not been available because David Opie was perfect for this project.

I got to see the character sketch first, which was very valuable to me because I could see that Pelican’s vision and the illustrator’s vision aligned with my own for the book. After that, I got to see all the sketches, which pretty much blew me away. I also got to see proofs and the final e-galley.

I appreciate that David Opie got my humor and nailed the character of Old Gator. He’s an extraordinary visual storyteller. I couldn’t be happier and there is nothing I would change.

I did not have any art notes in the manuscript.

There Was An Old Gator (1)_Page_26

No wonder BJ loves her illustrator! 🙂

 

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

BJ: I did not get to see any advance reviews.

 

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

BJ: It took approximately one year and 10 months from offer to first copy in hand, although it took over a year to get the acceptance.

 

 

SUSANNA: What kind of marketing and promotion has your publisher done for this book?
BJ: I know that they are sending out books for reviews and contacting bookstore reps. Honestly, I don’t know all of what they are doing. Thank you for reminding me to touch base with my publicists about it.

 

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

BJ: I have done a ton of marketing for my book. I have made bookmarks, postcards, coloring books, individual coloring pages, an alligator craft, mini-posters, mini-notebooks, and business cards with the book cover on them which I hand out liberally to people I meet. I have done and am still on my blog tour. I stretched it out rather than do it all in one week or two weeks. I have done giveaways. But perhaps most importantly, I arranged a wonderful book launch at Boyd Hill nature preserve with the help of my local bookstore, Tombolo Books. It was a lot of work but it was definitely worth it and the illustrator, David Opie, was here for the event, which happened on March 10, 2019. I have also had two radio interviews.

 

 

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

BJ: It’s taken me 10 years to get a picture book accepted for publication since I started writing seriously for children. However, I have had poetry published/forthcoming in 17 poetry anthologies from such publishers as Bloomsbury, Little, Brown, National Geographic and Wordsong, to name a few and eight adult poetry anthologies.

 

 

SUSANNA: BJ, thank you so much for joining us today and taking the time to share your experience with all of us!  I know I speak for everyone when I wish you the very best with Old Gator!

Lee_B.J.-235x321

Author BJ Lee

Here is my website and also my social media links:

childrensauthorbjlee.com

facebook.bjaylee.com

twitter @bjlee_writer

 

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

You may purchase BJ’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 to our children’s schools

– 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

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Holy Squawkamole!

Woo hoo!  It’s Perfect Picture Book Friday (and therefore nearly the weekend! 🙂 )

I saw the cover and the premise of the book I’m sharing today and thought I would like it, so I opened it eagerly.  Sometimes in that situation I am disappointed by the outcome, my initial expectation not quite met.  But this one more than lived up to it’s promise!  It turned out to be really fun and well done and I love it, and I hope you guys will all get a chance to read it!

Holy Squawkamole

Title: Holy Squawkamole!

Written By: Susan Wood

Illustrated By: Laura Gonzalez

Sterling Children’s Books, March 5, 2019, fiction

Suitable For Ages: 3 and up

Themes/Topics: fractured folktale, hard work, self-reliance, persistence

Opening: “One day, Little Red Hen was hungry for guacamole.  She looked around her cozy cocina.  She had masa and cumin.  She had beans and queso. But she didn’t have any avocados.  And there’s no guacamole without avocados!

71p8RHtO-BL

Brief Synopsis: In a new twist on an old favorite, the Little Red Hen (gallinita roja) is craving guacamole.  She asks her friends Armadillo, Iguana, Coati, and Snake to help her, but none of them are so inclined…though they are all willing to help eat it once it’s made!  Little Red Hen goes quietly about her business, and when the guacamole is ready, she kindly shares it.  But there’s a bit of a surprise for her friends!

Links To Resources: the back of the book includes “The Story of Guacamole”, a recipe so you can try out making your own Holy Sqauwkamole, and a glossary that tells about the animals, the Spanish words used, and any other terms that may be unfamiliar to young readers.

Why I Like This Book: I love that within the familiar framework of The Little Red Hen we get a brand new story.  Spanish words are sprinkled throughout the text in such a way as to make them understandable in context (though there is also a glossary in the back just in case.) Just as the original story teaches the reader a little something about what goes into baking bread, this version tells us in a fun way about the ingredients and the process of making guacamole.  While the original story uses farmyard animals, this one introduces us to Armadillo, Iguana, Coati, and Snake.  The art is warm, bright, and inviting – perfect for the story – and gallinita roja’s little surprise at the end (a chili pepper! 🙂 ) will have young readers giggling at the expressions on the friends’ faces as they exclaim, “Holy Squawkamole!” 🙂

HS 1

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do 🙂

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

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

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!! 🙂

Would You Read It Wednesday #316 – Trapped In Trash (PB)

Yippee!

spring banner

Spring has officially sprung, and that calls for Something Chocolate immediately!  What better to way to celebrate than with Whoopie Pies?!

Whoopie Pies

There may not be any grass to walk barefoot in quite yet (at least not in my neck of the woods! 🙂 ) but a little Whoopie Pie indulgence on the back porch in the sunshine works just fine!

Have two! 🙂

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Sarah, whom you will remember from several previous pitches (but not the same Sarah as last week!) Sarah says, “I am an Optometrist, mother, and lover of the outdoors. I live in NH with my husband and two children. I love to paint in my free time, when I’m not writing.”

Find her on the web at www.sarahheturadny.com

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Trapped In Trash

Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 3-7)

The Pitch: Matt, Bratt, and Scit-Scat are three rat friends who leave the rat pack and find their own feast.  They become trapped in a trash receptacle.  Nudging not a budge, that can just won’t take a shake.  The whole pack is summoned, and the friends re-think their initial plan.

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 Sarah improve her pitch.  Helpful examples of possible alternate wordings are welcome.  (However I must ask that comments be constructive and respectful.  I reserve the right not to publish comments that are mean because that is not what this is about.)

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on Would You Read it in the dropdown under For Writers in the bar above.  There is one opening left in May, and more in June, so you have a little 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!

Sarah is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to seeing a PDF of my long-awaited ALPHABEDTIME!  It’s been promised, and hasn’t arrived yet, but it could at any minute!  You never know! Keep your fingers crossed! 🙂

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂

 

Tuesday Debut – Presenting Danielle Dufayet!

Hello again, Picture Book-Loving Friends!

I’m so happy to announce today’s Tuesday Debut: Danielle Dufayet and her beautiful and important book, You Are Your Strong!

I always say that picture books are about big emotion for little people (a quote I heard somewhere and can never remember who to attribute it to! but it’s so true.)  Danielle’s book takes that quite literally.  It is all about showing children how to manage some of their more negative emotions – fear, sadness, worry, anger –  when they threaten to become overwhelming.  I think all of us – even adults – can benefit from a little help in that department.  We all struggle sometimes.

And as writers and artists who, some might argue, face more than the average amount of rejection… 🙂 we can all benefit from finding and embracing our strong!

You Are Your Strong
Written by Danielle Dufayet
Illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin
Magination Press
March 19, 2019
ages 4-8

YouAreYourStrong-Cover-RGB-72dpi

YAYS: Finding your inner strength to manage big emotions.
You Are Your Strong reassures kids that they can handle big emotions and highlights the benefit of developing inner strength and confidence in oneself.

 

Susanna: Where did your idea come from for You Are Your Strong? 

DanielleThe idea came from: three things: Leaving an unhealthy marriage, being asked what keeps me so strong and, watching the movie Room, where 5 year old Jack (held hostage with his mom in a room) said that he didn’t want his mom to cut his long hair because his hair was his strong. It gave him strength and courage. I thought that was beautiful. It made me want to know what my strong is and other people’s strong. I knew I had a book!

 

Susanna: How long did it take you to write?

DanielleThis manuscript was written fairly quickly. I’d say maybe 6 months from start to final ms. – which is not typical!

 

Susanna:  Did this manuscript require many revisions?

DanielleMaybe around 15 or so – not my usual 30 or more.

 

Susanna: When did you know it was ready for submission?

DanielleI knew it was ready when I had reduced it to the simplest expression I could, and when I had included as many literary devices as necessary for the flow and rhythm. It’s also an internal knowing, an intuition.

 

Susanna: How did you celebrate getting the contract?

DanielleI couldn’t stop smiling for a week. I celebrated with a nice dinner!

 

Susanna: What was the editorial process like?

Danielle: The editing process went so smoothly. My publisher didn’t want to change hardly anything, so that made it easy. We went a little back and forth on the illustrations, however. Magination Press is a dream publisher in my opinion!

 

Susanna: Is there anything else you’d like to share about your journey to publication?

Danielle: I believe in order to be a published author, you have to be disciplined. I knew I had to keep revising, keep submitting, and knowing I would probably get rejected. You have to want it more than anything. You have to push through the doubt and fear and keep moving forward through honing your craft, building relationships, critiquing, reading, etc. etc.

To improve your writing you have to have a thick skin. You have to read your critiques (assuming you’re in a good critique group!) with an open mind. There’s usually always a nugget of truth to ponder –even if you don’t agree with the comment. But, if the feedback doesn’t resonate at all with you, brush it off. Remember, only you can write the story – don’t let the critique derail you from finding it! Stay true to your vision.

The one thing everyone can expect is rejection and that’s the hardest part of the process. Your story may be rejected even if it’s really good –it just may not be the right fit for that publication. You have to discipline your mind to stay on course and remain positive and hopeful that one day your time will come.

I think the one lesson I can impart is this: don’t compare yourself and your journey with anyone else. I used to get mad when I saw a published picture book that I thought was poorly written. I would think to myself, How did this get published and not my book?  Or I’d get discouraged when I’d read a really good picture book. I’d think, I’ll never be that good. All these thoughts are irrelevant, distracting and emotionally draining. I finally learned that all I can do is be the best writer I can be and focus only on that! (That’s not to say mentor texts aren’t the bomb!)

 

Susanna:  Thank you so much for joining us today, Danielle!  We all so appreciate you sharing your knowledge and expertise with us!

Danielle: Thank you so much for the interview, Susanna!!

D.Dufayet Author

Author Danielle Dufayet

Website: https://www.danielledufayetbooks.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/danielledufayet\
Twitter: https://twitter.com/danielledufayet
Art Website: https://www.danielledufayet.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ddaniwriter/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/danielledufayet

 

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

You may purchase Danielle’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

– 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

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Little Tiger AND Little Panda!!!

It’s an extra special Perfect Picture Book Friday today, my friends!

Today we’re celebrating a writer who, like so many of us, shows up and does the work, writing stories, practicing and perfecting her craft day after day, month after month, year after year in whatever time she can find between her work as a preschool teacher, her family, and life in general.  And in the kind of happy outcome that inspires us all, her hard work and perseverance are paying off!

I first got to know Julie Abery (bio and links at end of post) when she began entering my writing contests 5 or 6 years ago with one delightful story after another, several of them featuring the Teensy-Weensy Witch 🙂  In March 2015, she took my class and I had the privilege of working with her for a month while she wrote a wonderful story about a Paper Owl.  She started a blog called Little Red Story Shed (doesn’t that just make you want to go there?!) and then in September of 2017 I was thrilled to see the announcement in PW that she had sold her first two books!!!

I am so happy to share them with you today, just three days after their book birthday!

Although board books and not technically picture books, sometimes it’s fun to share books and activities for youngest readers – the early preschool crowd 🙂 So let’s dive in and have a look at these delightful little books! 🙂

Little Tiger Cover Little Panda Cover

Title: Little Tiger / Little Panda

Written By: Julie Abery

Illustrated By: Suzie Mason

Amicus Ink, March 12 2019, fiction

Suitable For Ages: 3-5

Themes/Topics: Little Tiger: baby jungle adventure, mother/child love, language fun (rhyme); Little Panda: baby snow adventure, mother/child love, language fun (rhyme)

Opening:

Little Tiger:
Little Tiger
waking,
shaking,
in the morning sun.”

Little Panda:
Little Panda
winking,
blinking,
spies a snowy day.”

Brief Synopsis: Both stories are “day-in-the-life” adventures in which the little one romps and plays and experiments… but mama is always close by to watch over and keep them safe.

Links To Resources: Special Resources straight from the author!!!

Hi Susanna.

Thank you so much for inviting Little Tiger and Little Panda to Blueberry Hill. We have been looking forward to visiting you on Perfect Picture Book Friday for sucha long time!

We are so happy that you and your granddaughters loved our books sooo much! How about a little painting fun to go with the books.

Little Tiger and Little Panda handprints…

Pandahand         tigerhand

They are TIGER-ific!

Fun and easy to make, just don’t forget to have a bowl of soapy water to wash those paint-covered hands.

Or, how about making bookmark corners? We discovered these origami corners on the RedTedArt website, here is the link on how to make the panda version (https://www.redtedart.com/panda-bookmark-corner/?cn-reloaded=1)

This is me learning how to fold the origami bookmark corner.

And this is what the finished article looks like.

pandacorner

How stu-PANDAS is that!

We hope that you enjoyed the Little Tiger and Little Panda craft time. And we are happy to announce that there will be two more books in the Little Animal Friends series publishing with Amicus Ink same time next year!

Thank you so much for taking time to stop by and share these wonderful activities with us, Julie!!!

Why I Like These Books: the stories are sweet, engaging, and accessible to youngest readers/listeners.  The rhyme is fun to read aloud, with perfect rhythm and fun internal rhyme as well as end-of-line-rhyme (e.g. “Little Panda winking, blinking spies a snowy day.  Little Panda stumbling, tumbling, bumbles out to play.”) Both stories let us play and explore along with baby animals, always feeling the safety of mama’s watchful eye and the warmth of her love. Lovely, gentle reads, perfect for bedtime or any time!!!

I hope you enjoy them 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!!! 🙂

julieabery-2

Julie Abery is a children’s author and Pre-K teacher. Originally from England, she has spent half of her life living in Europe, bringing up her three (now grown up) children and experiencing new languages and cultures. She now calls Switzerland home.

Julie is looking forward to welcoming; her debut board books Little Tiger and Little Panda publishing in Spring 2019 with Amicus Ink with a further two in the Amicus Little Animal Friends series publishing in Spring 2020 ; a nonfiction picture book biography entitled Yusra Swims from Creative Editions (TBA); a true story Mr. Joao and Dindim the Penguin, Kids Can Press (Fall 2020) and nonfiction picture book Sakamoto and the Sugar-Ditch Kids from Kids Can Press (Spring 2021).

She is represented by Essie White of Storm Literary Agency.

 Website: https://littleredstoryshed.wordpress.com/

Twitter: @juliedawnabery

Facebook: @julieabery

Would You Read It Wednesday #315 – Charley Finds Her Family (PB)

Mornin’ Folks!

I am counting the minutes until Spring! (10,080!  Or if that sounds like too big a number we can count by hours – 168! or by days – 7! or by weeks – 1!!!)

I realize of course that up here on Blueberry Hill the Spring Equinox does not blossoms and bunnies and green grass make.

But Spring is a state of mind – a state we have official permission to be in in one week!

And I am READY!

So ready  that I’ve got the picnic packed with Something Chocolate!  How do you feel about Italian Chocolate Cake?

I confess, I feel quite good about it 🙂

Italian Chocolate Cake

Doesn’t that look scrumptious?  It’s part of a complete breakfast along with toast, juice, eggs, milk, fruit, and breakfast cereal! 🙂

Now that we are suitably fortified, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Sarah who says, “After spending most of the past decade living in various parts of Europe with my husband, I’ve recently returned to the US. I currently run a freelance business providing editing and book design services to independent authors while continuing to work toward my own publishing dreams, which began with the paid publication of a short story online. I am an active member of SCBWI.”

Find her on the web at:

FB: https://www.facebook.com/SEHolroyd/
Website: https://sarah-holroyd.com

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Charley Finds Her Family

Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 3-7)

The Pitch: Charley Sock-kitty finds a sock with stripes like hers, and then another one. Her wise friend Patrick the Pony tells Charley socks always come in pairs—they’re twins. Charley wonders if she has a twin like the sock does. Her friends—Bubbles the Yarn-Kitty, Teddy the Bear, & Patrick—help her try to find her family. But Charley discovers she’s had one all along.

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 Sarah improve her pitch.  Helpful examples of possible alternate wordings are welcome.  (However I must ask that comments be constructive and respectful.  I reserve the right not to publish comments that are mean because that is not what this is about.)

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on Would You Read it in the dropdown under For Writers in the bar above.  There are openings in May, so you 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!

Sarah is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to 🌼🌸🌹 SPRING!!! 🌷🌺🌼(although it is marginally possible I may have already mentioned that! 🙂 )

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂

 

Tuesday Debut – Presenting Wendy Greenley!

It’s time for another thrilling installment of Tuesday Debuts!

Are you ready to meet today’s talented debut-ess?

Please join me in welcoming the wonderful Wendy Greenley as we celebrate her inauguration into the Published Picture Book Author’s Club and get a glimpse of her beautiful book!

Title: Lola Shapes the Sky
Author: Wendy Greenley (!)
Illustrator: Paolo Domeniconi
Publisher: Creative Editions
Date of Publication: March 12, 2019
Fiction with Nonfiction backmatter
Age range: For ages 3-8  (Amazon says 4-8)

Wendy1

Synopsis:There’s a new playful, artistic cloud in the sky. Unfortunately, one loud bossy cloud wants Lola to focus on making weather.  LOLA SHAPES THE SKY embraces every child’s magical experience of imagining whimsical shapes in the clouds with humor and a timeless theme of supporting what makes us each unique.

 

SUSANNA: Where did the idea for this book come from?

WENDY: I came up with the initial idea for this book during Tara Lazar’s PiBoIdMo (now known as Storystorm). I was brainstorming with my husband and son when Lola’s character was born. Talking out loud and bouncing ideas off other people helps me see ideas more clearly. However, while the character stayed with me, the initial plot bears no resemblance to the final product!

 

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

WENDY: This manuscript was a labor of love—with heavy emphasis on the labor. Initially, I wanted to turn cloud-watching on its head, with clouds people-watching and it took a workshop with multiple Caldecott-winning artists to convince me otherwise. Your picture book manuscript has to be illustratable after all! After working on it for two years, I put the manuscript in a drawer and didn’t work on it for another full year. During that time, I was able to see how to keep what was important in the manuscript, AND make it illustratable.

 

SUSANNA: Did you go through many revisions?

WENDY: Oh, so many revisions! My final revision was a complete re-envisioning. I completely changed the plot and tone and let go of a slew of sky/cloud jokes that made me laugh (Lola precipitating from embarrassment was a favorite!). Maybe someday some of the material will belong to another story.

 

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

WENDY: The best way I know if my manuscript is submission ready is to get fresh eyes on it. Honest critique partners who will tell you when something is good, and when something is awful, are essential!! I work on a manuscript as long as I can, letting it sit for a week or two after I think it’s done if I can control my impatience. Because it usually isn’t done, and time gives me the necessary distance to evaluate it more dispassionately. As a new writer I didn’t know anything about SCBWI, critique partners, or online classes and webinars. I was about a year into the process when I discovered these valuable resources. The kidlit community is generous!

 

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

WENDY: I submitted my initial manuscript to Karen Grencik at Red Fox Literary, LLC. And it was rejected. Two years later, I resubmitted the manuscript, acknowledging the earlier submission and the virtually complete rewrite, and this time it was a yes. That’s correct—I resubmitted the same manuscript to an agent that had rejected it. It was essentially a new manuscript, and I thought Karen might be a good fit so I took the leap of faith and it worked out. Karen submitted my manuscript to five publishers, one of which was Creative Editions. It was several months before we received the reply expressing interest, and then another six months before we received a contract, then another four months before I received the final countersigned contract. Publishing is a lesson in patience.

 

SUSANNA: How did you celebrate signing your contract?

WENDY: Telling my critique partners the good news was the best moment. They’ve supported me and my work and it felt like the sale was theirs too! I seriously can’t think of anything that has helped me along my journey more than the great writing friends I’ve made.

Wendy2

quilling courtesy of Stacy Stenberg Jensen!

 

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

WENDY: Creative Editions is a small independent publisher located in Mankato, MN. The house originally focused on books for the school market, and had just begun their trade imprint a year or two before we submitted to them. I received a traditional royalty paying contract and advance in line with the numbers reported in Hannah Holt’s extensive survey. (if you’re writing for kiddos and haven’t seen Hannah’s research—go here! https://hannahholt.com/blog/2017/9/25/writing-picture-books-a-look-at-the-number-part-2) I also received fifteen author copies. Two things I didn’t expect was that this publisher doesn’t allow book dedications, and how long it would be from the time the contract was signed (June 2016) until publication—almost three years!

 

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

WENDY: My editor is the talented Amy Novesky, who is also the author of the gorgeous picture book, Cloth Lullaby. Amy and I went back and forth on several changes, but none of them significantly changed the story. Amy’s vision was in line with mine! The sales and marketing team asked for a list of possible titles—and ended up choosing my original.

 

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

WENDY: I didn’t see any of the illustrations until the proof stage. I had seen Paolo’s dreamy style on his website (www.domeniconi.it), but still wasn’t sure what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised to see how Paolo’s art interpreted my words. I didn’t include an art note, so the biggest surprise was the spread where Lola shapes “a pillowy billowy masterpiece.” Because Paolo lives in Bologna, Italy, he illustrated my words with a cloud Mona Lisa! So fun!

Wendy3

 

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

WENDY: Kirkus reviewed Lola Shapes the Sky at the end of January. It was thrilling! Until then, it hadn’t felt real in the sense that other people I didn’t know and might never meet could read my book. And I was relieved that the Kirkus reviewer liked it!

 

SUSANNA: What kind of marketing and promotion have you and/or your publisher done for this book?

WENDY: My publisher told me that they’re sending our book to book reviewers and bloggers, but I didn’t get a specific list so it’s a wee bit confusing. I know I’m late to the party—it’s already February as I’m writing this and I haven’t set up an extensive blog tour (thank you, Susanna for being my kickoff!!). Look for me on my Red Fox agency mate Lynne Marie’s blog The Word Playground sometime soon. The balance between family, writing and marketing time is a tricky one. I shared LOLA in my first school SKYPE read alouds in February for WRAD.

My official book launch will be March 23 from 11-2 at the Barnes and Noble in Montgomeryville, PA (stop by and say hi if you’re in the area!). The launch starts with a reading for the children’s story hour and finishes with time for book signings/meet & greet. I’m also scheduled for the NJ nErD Camp in May and the Chesapeake Children’s Book Festival in June. Let me know if there’s somewhere you’d like me to visit! I’ve guest lectured to the creative writing classes at my local community college too, so I enjoy all ages.

 

 

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

WENDY: I started writing stories for Chicken Soup for the Soul in the early 2000’s. After I sold six stories, I realized that I didn’t want to just write nonfiction (which is what Chicken Soup stories are). The computer that I was using 2004-2012 crashed, and nothing was recovered. So I know I started writing picture books sometime in that period, but no idea of an actual date! My online picture book critique buddies and I found each other five years ago.

 

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

WENDY: Keep writing!! This business is a combination of craft, marketing savvy, perseverance and luck. You can work on your craft, marketing savvy and persevere, but you can’t control the luck. Sometimes you work on a manuscript for two years and then just as you’re ready to submit a “big” name announces a project that could be the twin of yours. Remember that the heart of your story is yours alone. Get warm fuzzies from your writing friends then rewrite. Repeat.

You don’t need loads of space or fancy equipment. I’m including a shot of my sad little 34 inches of office space. There is a two drawer file cabinet tucked into another corner across the room. This is probably why there are papers strewn willy-nilly around our house . . .

Wendy5

Nothing fancy needed!  Wendy creates her wonderful stories in 34 inches of office space!

 

 

SUSANNA: Wendy, thank you so much for taking the time to participate in this series and paying it forward to other writers! I know I speak for all of us when I say how grateful we are for the wisdom and experience you shared today, and we wish you the very best success with your lovely book!

 

Wendy4

Author Wendy Greenley

 

Blog: https://www.wendygreenley.com
Find me on FB: https://www.facebook.com/wendy.greenley.3
Twitter @wendygreenley

 

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

You may purchase Wendy’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

– 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

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Rosie And Rasmus

Golly!  It seems like forever since we did Perfect Picture Book Friday, what with all the Valentiny Contest excitement!

But here we are, back again today and I have such a sweet, beautiful book to share with you!  I can’t wait for you to see it!

Just a quick note – for anyone who has been faithfully posting PPBF every week, please feel free to add all your recent book review links to today’s list if you like!

And now, prepare for a truly Perfect Picture Book! 🙂

Rosie

Title: Rosie And Rasmus

Written & Illustrated By: Serena Geddes

Aladdin, April 2 2019, fiction

Suitable For Ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: friendship

Opening: “This is Rosie.
She lives in a little village with cobblestone streets, a water fountain, and an ice cream stand.
Every day Rosie watches and wishes.
She watches as the others play.
She wishes someone would see her.

Rosie 1

Rosie 2

Brief Synopsis: Rosie, a lonely little girl, meets Rasmus, a lonely little dragon, and they discover the extraordinary magic and power of friendship.  When Rasmus has to leave, Rosie finds she has learned more than she realized about making friends.

Links To Resources: Easy Friendship Bracelets; Preschool Bead Friendship Bracelet; Slightly Harder Friendship Bracelet; draw a picture of yourself and a friend doing something together; talk about what friendship means.

Rosie 3

how cute is this dragon?! 🙂

 

Why I Like This Book: To me, this book is just the definition of a perfect picture book! Sweet, simple text that conveys a moving and lovely message about friendship, and enormously appealing art in soft colors with beautiful expression.  Any of us who have ever known (or been) a shy and lonely preschooler can relate to Rosie’s longing for a friend.  You just have to see the page where she and Rasmus meet.  He’s hidden up in a tree, and she’s sitting forlornly on the ground below, and out of the tree comes his tail – only his tail – offering her a flower 🌸   So incredibly sweet!  Rasmus has his own problems.  He can’t fly.  So Rosie does everything in her power to help him.  When his wings finally grow and he has has to fly off and do dragon things, they say a tearful goodbye.  Rosie goes back to her village, once again watching the other children and wishing for a friend.  But this time, she knows what to do.  And I’m not going to tell you, because you just have to read this book and see for yourself!

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do 🙂

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

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

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!! 🙂

 

Would You Read It Wednesday #314 – Mommy, Where’s Daddy? (PB) PLUS The January Pitch Winner!!!

Hiya folks!

If you’re feeling especially artistic today, it’s probably because it’s Michelangelo’s 544th birthday.  I know this because he and I go way back.  “Best buds” is not a stretch.  As you may or may not know, we are both known for our terrible fashion sense 🙂 And he was a poet who wrote over 300 poems, and a sculptor of great renown, and I am not a poet and my sculpting ability is taxed by making snowmen 🙂  Kindred spirits, obviously.

🙂

Anyway… while we are not talking about ballet… (and in a stunning example of a non sequitur) I’m pleased to announce that the winner of the January Pitch Pick is Dedra with her PB pitch for Mawbellina Ballerina!  Congratulations, Dedra!  Your pitch has been sent to editor Erin Molta for her thoughts!

Congratulations to all our other brave pitchers as well!  You all wrote fabulous pitches and improved them beautifully based on the feedback you received.  It is always a tough pick!  I hope everyone feels that they have solidly improved pitches to send out into the world as a result of their courage in asking for input.

You may not all have gotten to have Erin read your pitches but you have DEFINITELY earned Something Chocolate!!! 🙂 How about some Fudge which is total health food because it’s Paleo-friendly, dairy-free, and gluten-free!  (I think we can just add to that “calorie free” and “guilt free”! 🙂 )

5 Minute Coconut Oil Fudge

I mean, health food doesn’t get much more delicious-looking than that, does it?! 🙂

And it’s so good for you there’s no reason not to indulge in seconds and thirds! 🙂

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Shell who says, “My name is Shell LeDrew, I live in beautiful Newfoundland, Canada and I am a grateful Mom to my reader Sam 10 and my tornado Buddha Charlie 7.  After a career wearing many hats including that of flight attendant, I married a pilot and wrote a story about it!
Here is a pitch for my silly and sweet 443 word Picture Book (ages 3-7) entitled “Mommy, Where’s Daddy?!””

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Mommy, Where’s Daddy?

Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 3-7)

The Pitch: After Dylan’s day dream of flying fabulous airplanes with his pilot Daddy is interrupted by his Moms insistence of bedtime, he comes up with countless tricks to delay going to bed until he realizes his sleep dream is the way back to being the wingman of his dreams!

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 Shell improve her pitch.  Helpful examples of possible alternate wordings are welcome.  (However I must ask that comments be constructive and respectful.  I reserve the right not to publish comments that are mean because that is not what this is about.)

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on Would You Read it in the dropdown under For Writers in the bar above.  There are openings in May, so you 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!

Shell is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to improving my  sculpting skills in the medium of cookie dough! 🙂

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂