Tuesday Off

Today’s scheduled Tuesday Debut must have gotten cold feet 😦

The interview materials did not arrive, so, sorry to disappoint but we don’t have a post today.

Think of it as a day off, though.  An unexpected few extra minutes for you to write something new!

Here’s a prompt if you need one:

Geraldine could not remember whose idea it had been to cross the road, but she was beginning to wish she’d stayed home!

chicken-3727097_1920

Have a terrific Tuesday, everyone!

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Nature’s Friend: The Gwen Frostic Story PLUS The Love Is Kind Giveaway Winner!!!

Woo hoo!  It’s Perfect Picture Book Friday!

And you know what that means . . .

The weekend is (for all intents and purposes) HERE!!!

Autumn weekends are the best, aren’t they?

Apple picking…cider donuts…fall foliage…cider donuts…pumpkin picking…cider donuts… hiking…cider donuts…I’m sure you get the point…cider donuts 🙂 )

Today, I’m sharing a book about nature – well, really about a person who truly loved and appreciated it – even though not specifically about autumn.  (And not at all about cider donuts – although I’m sure the book would be even more enjoyable with a plate of them to munch on 🙂 ) Have a look!

Gwen Frostic

Title: Nature’s Friend: The Gwen Frostic Story

Written By: Lindsey McDivitt

Illustrated By: Eileen Ryan Ewen

Sleeping Bear Press, July 2018, nonfiction

Suitable For Ages: 6-9

Themes/Topics: nature/environment, overcoming disabilities, girl power, artists

Opening: “Gwen followed her brothers and sisters everywhere, like a small fawn follows its herd.  They roamed the woods and fields near Croswell – their tiny town tucked into the thumb of Michigan.  Gwen played and picked wildflowers.  But her hands were weakened from an illness as a baby.  Her speech was slurred, one small foot dragged, and she fell down often.  
     She bumped her shins.
          She bruised her knees.
               She banged her elbows.
“Gwen doesn’t need your help, Helen,” Mama called from the porch.  Mama knew Gwen could do whatever she put her mind to.

Brief Synopsis: A picture book biography of lesser-known environmental pioneer, artist, and businesswoman, Gwen Frostic, who rose above the challenges caused by a debilitating childhood illness to create nature-based artwork, help build WWII bombers, create her own printmaking business, and encourage people to appreciate, protect and cherish nature.

Links To Resources: the book itself is a resource, including back matter with additional biographical information on Gwen Frostic and a print-making art/nature activity; make your own leaf rubbings

Why I Like This Book: Most picture books are for kids up to age 8.  I love when the occasional one comes along that is intended for slightly older kids because, let’s face it – they love picture books too!  Educational and/or biographical information is so much more palatable in picture book format! :). This book is beautifully written, placing the emphasis on Gwen’s intelligence and determination to succeed in art, environmental protection and business, in spite of dire warnings in her youth that she’d never be able to write (never mind draw or carve) because her hands weren’t strong enough to hold a pencil and the fact that her physical disabilities made getting around difficult.  The repeated phrase that Gwen knew she could do whatever she set her mind to is inspirational and motivational for young readers.  I also love that Gwen was ahead of her time, doing things that women didn’t typically do.  Very empowering for young readers.  All around a very interesting book about a person I hadn’t heard of before!

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!!! 🙂

Oh, and if you missed the Halloweensie Contest announcement and want to work on your story this weekend, click HERE for the guidelines!!!

OH!  And I almost forgot to announce the winner of last week’s giveaway!  Laura Sassi and her generous publisher, Zonderkidz, offered a copy of LOVE IS KIND to one lucky commenter.  And the winner is . . .

DUHN DUHN DUHN . . .

Becky Scharnhorst!!!

So, Becky, give me a holler and I’ll put you and Laura in touch with each other so you can get your book!!!

Many thanks, Laura and Zonderkidz!

Would You Read It Wednesday #301 – Drop The Dragon (PB) PLUS The July Pitch Pick PLUS The June Pitch Pick Winner!

Golly it’s been a busy week so far!

Somehow I’ve posted three days in a row!  Sorry about that!

But Tuesday and Wednesday are regular, and I had to get the Halloweensie Contest guidelines up on Monday to give you all some time to write… and at least you get a day off before PPBF… So next week we’ll be back to normal!

Today, however, I’m delighted to announce that the winner of the June Pitch Pick is Patricia with her PB pitch for Amy’s Birdsong Aires/American Composer Amy Cheney Beach!  Congratulations on a fabulous pitch for an interesting-sounding book, Patricia!  Your pitch is on its way to editor Erin Molta for her comments.

Congratulations also to all our other pitchers who worked hard on writing and revising their pitches and were brave enough to share them with us.  All your stories sound wonderful, and I hope the WYRI experience has helped you strengthen your pitches for future use with agents and editors!

Onward now to the July Pitch Pick – the last of the catch-ups, finally!  I so appreciate all of you being willing to read and vote for weeks in a row!

You all know the ropes by now! 🙂  but please read through the pitches and vote for your favorite in the poll below by Sunday October 14 at 9PM Eastern.

#1 – Katie – A BRUSH WITH DISASTER (PB ages 5-9) (previously titled The Boys Who Brushed Teeth Too Much)

Excited about a new toothbrush gaming app, Advik challenges neighbors then nations to compete. Brother Barun doesn’t bite. Instead, he boosts traditional brushing across communities and continents. When overbrushing overruns the world, the boys just stick to their ‘gums.’ Until tooth care supplies run out. United by need, they face (and fix) the painful impacts of their extreme habits. This modernized Panchatantra fable offers layers appealing to ages 5-9.

#2 – Gabrielle – MAGGIE’S NEW BIKE

Maggie wants shiny new wheels, not Dad’s old rust bucket. When Dad hints she could get one after she learns how to ride, Maggie gives the junker a second look. With determination and her barnyard cheering section of hens and roosters, Maggie soon discovers not every treasure comes from a store. This is a delightful story of one girls’ never-give-up attitude.

#3 – Sherry – Firestarter (MG Action/Adventure)

12 year old Cody’s mother left on the last day of school, and the care of his sisters and the small farm became his responsibility while his father works from dawn to dusk. Anxious to get away from his sisters demands and his father’s constant belittling, he makes plans to run away. But when smoke appears on the ridge above their home, he has to make a choice—fight the fire or leave his family to fend on their own. And to make matters worse, he has a secret that could cause him to lose his family for good and land him in jail.

#4 – Greg – The Remindeer (PB ages 4-10)

Wally has a very important job, to make sure everything goes smoothly for Santa on Christmas Eve. After going through his checklist and seeing Santa off, he discovers a present for Laurie has been left behind.

Unlike the other reindeer, Wally can’t fly. He calls a delivery service and finds out they are too busy to deliver the present. He’ll have to find another way to deliver the present and save Christmas for Laurie.

It’s a tough choice, I know!  But please vote if you can!

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for Something Chocolate!  (Although I’m pretty much always ready for Something Chocolate, so that’s not news 🙂 ). How about some  Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Cookies?

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Cookies

 

Scrumptious!  Luckily I made tons so everyone can have two or five or twenty or however many they want 🙂

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Ciara who says, “I am a former teacher, mother of five, and corgi lover. I love puns. I might make them on an hourly basis. And I definitely think that there should be a job where one can be a personal shopper of picture books. That’s a thing, right?”

Find her on the web at ciaraoneal.weebly.com

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Drop The Dragon

Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-12)

The Pitch: A little girl’s best frenemy, the family dog, keeps stealing her toy dragon. Using her resourcefulness and imagination, she tries to thwart the theft. When the toy is held captive by the dreaded clothes line, these two will have to work together to save their beloved dragon.

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

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on Would You Read it in the dropdown under For Writers in the bar above.  There is an opening next week! – October 17! – so someone send me a pitch! 🙂 Additional openings in November, 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!

Ciara is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to getting all the prizes organized for the Halloweensie Contest!  I’m still searching for an agent or editor who would be willing to give a read and critique of a PB manuscript, so if any of you know anyone, please have your people get in touch with my people! 🙂

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂

 

Tuesday Debut – Presenting Laura Renauld!

 

Welcome to another thrilling edition of Tuesday Debut!

I hope you’re enjoying these interviews as much as I am!  I love getting to see our authors’ unique stories as well as getting to see the areas where their experiences overlap.  Fiction and nonfiction. Large publishing houses and small.  Art notes or back matter for some, none for others.  A terrific array of different marketing and promotion ideas they’ve come up with.  But everyone draws strength and inspiration from their work, lives, and families.  Everyone discovers that even published authors have to vacuum and do the dishes 🙂 And no one seems quite sure exactly how they know when a manuscript is ready to submit, or to have gone into signing a contract with much idea of what the norm is.  Thankfully, by sharing their experiences here, these generous authors are helping all of us to be better prepared for what lies ahead, as well as showing us some tools that worked for them that may help us get there!

So without further ado, I’m delighted to introduce today’s debut author, Laura Renauld, and her book, PORCUPINE’S PIE!

PORCUPINE’S PIE
by Laura Renauld
illustrated by Jennie Poh
Beaming Books
October 9, 2018
Fiction
4-8

thumbnail_PorcupinesPie_COV copy

Synopsis:

Porcupine can’t wait to share Fall Feast with her woodland friends, so when everyone she greets is unable to bake their specialty due to a missing ingredient, Porcupine generously offers staples from her pantry. When Porcupine discovers that she, too, is missing a key ingredient, the friends all work together to create a new Fall Feast tradition.

 

SUSANNA: Thank you so much for joining us today, Laura!  I know I speak for everyone when I say we can’t wait to hear about your journey to publication!  Where did the idea for this book come from?

LAURA: I have been an enthusiastic participant in Tara Lazar’s Picture Book Idea Month (now Storystorm) since 2011. I highly recommend this to writers at any point in their career. During the month of January, Tara offers daily guest posts that are intended to stimulate new ideas, with the goal of collecting 30 ideas in 30 days. Check it out here!

I was inspired by Tammi Sauer’s post during PiBoIdMo 2014, which challenged writers to frame a story as a How-To Book. My brainstorming that day included this jot in my notebook: “How to make porcupine pie (or a pie for a porcupine)”. Even though it did not evolve into a How-To Book, that was the humble beginning of PORCUPINE’S PIE!

 

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

LAURA: This story took shape rather quickly. Four days after my initial idea, I brainstormed plots using a basic template that helped me think through the main character’s problem, obstacles, and solution. I came up with two possible angles and I drafted one of them that same day.

 

SUSANNA: Did you go through many revisions?

LAURA: As I look back at my timeline, I can’t believe that I did this, but I revised it twice and then sent it off to Rate Your Story only three days later! (I do not move that quickly with my manuscripts anymore! I write them, I let them sit, I revise them, I bring them to my critique groups, I revise some more. Repeat, repeat, repeat!) I got a good rating, though. 3: Good story! Get a critique or two and polish before submitting. This gave me confidence that I was on the right track, so I kept revising. Something in the judge’s comments caused me to shift the plot in a significant way. And that is the version that clicked.

 

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

LAURA: I still have a really hard time knowing when a manuscript is ready to submit! Sometimes, if I’ve gotten positive feedback from writing partners and I feel it’s the best it can be, I just go for it.

 

 

SUSANNA: When and how did you submit?

LAURA: At the time, I was unagented so I was open to a variety of submission opportunities. I submitted PORCUPINE’S PIE for the first time in February 2015 to an editor who spoke at the Fall 2014 SCBWI conference I attended. And then… crickets. I never did receive a response.

I set the manuscript aside for several months before sharing it with my critique group. I revised a couple more times in 2015 and then I didn’t touch it again until submitting it to the first annual Sparkhouse Family (now Beaming Books) Picture Book Contest in November 2016. And I won! I’d like to give a shout-out to Sub It Club, which posts an awesome contest calendar. That is where I heard about this opportunity.

Fun Fact: I tweaked my fall-themed story so that I could enter a pared-down version of it in Susanna’s 2016 Valentine-y contest!

 

SUSANNA: And all this time I thought the picture book came from the Valentiny Contest entry!  I guess it was the other way around!

 

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

LAURA: Just over a month after I submitted my story to the contest, I received the email from Sparkhouse Family that I had won and they would like to publish my book!

 

SUSANNA: That must have been so amazing!  How did you celebrate signing your contract?  (If you care to share 🙂 )

LAURA: With lots of hugs and phone calls. 🙂

thumbnail_IMG_9578 2

A family trip to the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art this summer. Laura’s boys (on the edges) and her niece and nephew are her inspirations!

 

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

 
LAURA: I didn’t know what to expect with the contract. I relied heavily on SCBWI’s THE BOOK to negotiate a few contractual changes.

 

 

SUSANNA: Are you able to share any of the contract details?  It is clear from all our Tuesday Debut Authors’ answers to this question that most of us had no idea what to expect, so any light you can shed on specifics will be welcome so that when our readers get to their first contracts they will have some idea what to expect!

 

LAURA: Beaming Books is a small publisher. They hold an annual writing contest to generate interest and excitement for their house and brand. This is a clever way to encourage submissions during a certain period of time and to entice writers with prize money. Porcupine’s Pie won the first annual contest which offered a $5000 prize. It turned out that the prize money was actually my advance. And really, the biggest prize I was hoping for was to have my story published. The royalty ranges from 5%-7% as the number of copies sold increases. One thing that I did not know going into a book contract was that the listed royalty is split between author and illustrator. So if you are an author/illustrator, you’ll get the full 10% standard royalty. But if you are just an author, like me, you’ll receive 5% and your illustrator will receive 5%.

SUSANNA: Did you receive author copies?

LAURA: Yes, I received 10.

SUSANNA: Do you know what your initial hard cover print run is?

LAURA: The initial print run is 3,000 copies.

 

SUSANNA: Thank you so much for being willing to provide such detail, Laura!  I know readers will be grateful for it!

 

SUSANNA: Tell us about the editorial process…

 
LAURA: Only minor revisions were made during the editorial process, mainly to align the text and the illustrations. For example, I originally had Porcupine wearing a shawl, but the illustration of a shawl full of quills looked awkward, so boots were suggested instead. And Porcupine looks good in her little blue boots!

 

SUSANNA: Tell us about your experience of the illustration process…

 

LAURA: I was pleasantly surprised when my editor asked me for styles of art that I like. I just happen to keep a Pinterest board of Illustrators I Admire, so I was able to share my tastes easily. When my editor informed me that Jennie Poh would be doing the illustrations, I was thrilled. I saw sketches of the woodland characters and was given a chance to comment. Then the cover was revealed, along with an internal spread in Fall 2017. Finally, I got to see a digital proof in May of this year. After a few more back-and-forths, the final digital proof arrived.

Jennie’s art is warm and whimsical. I love the color palette Jennie chose and Porcupine’s cozy den feels so inviting. The characters were friends in my text, but Jennie’s illustrations made those relationships believable.

thumbnail_PorcupinesPie_INT

interior spread from PORCUPINE’S PIE

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

LAURA: Foreword Reviews published a review of Porcupine’s Pie in their Sept./Oct. issue. It was a bit surreal!

 

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

LAURA: 21 months. Fun fact: That’s about how long an elephant mama carries her baby before it is born!

 

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

LAURA: My publisher purchased ad space in Foreword Reviews in the form of an author interview to complement the review in the same issue. They also plan to promote my book on the Beaming Books blog.

 

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

LAURA: Before my book launched, I promoted it with a ‘Preorder Campaign’ where those who preordered would get a signed bookplate and be entered to win a pie-making kit. I also planned a launch party with children’s activities and a blog tour, stopping at various kidlit and mommy blogs. I decided not to invest in a book trailer, but I did have bookmarks and stickers printed. I also canvassed the neighborhood with launch party invitations!

 

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

 
LAURA: I started writing a bit and taking some kidlit workshops about ten years before PORCUPINE’S PIE won the Beaming Books Picture Book Contest. But it wasn’t until I joined SCBWI in 2011 and made writing a priority during the few hours my kids were in preschool that I really began to improve my craft. It was energizing to see my own progress and humbling to realize I should never have submitted to agents when I did! From my conversations with other writers, five to ten years to land a book contract is not unusual.

 

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

 
LAURA: If you have an idea for back matter that was not submitted with the original manuscript, pitch it to the editor! PORCUPINE’S PIE is a story with food at its core so it made sense to add a recipe at the end. I made a lot of trial pies, had friends and family taste test them, then created my recipe. And my editor ate it up! 🙂

 

Laura Renauld

 

Find Laura on the web at laurarenauld.comand on social media:

Twitter – @laura_renauld

Facebook – @kidlitlaura

Instagram – @laurarenauld

 

Thank you so much for a wonderful and very informative interview, Laura!  On behalf of all our readers, I appreciate you including Storystorm and Sub It Club, the specific details of your contract, author copies and print run, and your excellent advice about back matter.  So helpful!

Readers, you may purchase Laura’s book at:

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

The Nina, The Pinta, and the Guidelines for the 8th Annual Halloweensie Contest!!!

Happy Columbus Day, Everyone!

As usual on this day, it’s time for a special message from our sponsors.

Remember how on a dark and stormy night in 1492 (I think it was Thursday) our good ole buddy Chris, involved in a heated discussion with his crew about what the 5 Little Pumpkins were doing on a gate in the first place instead of being home in bed where they belonged, accidentally sailed the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria into an island in the Bahamas for which he was credited with discovering America even though he missed the entire coast from Maine to the Florida Keys?  (And incidentally never figured out why the 5 Little Pumpkins were on that gate.  I don’t think Thursdays are his day.)

Anyway, the point is, thanks to his navigational shortcomings, we all have the day off!

And what better way to celebrate poor navigation skills and a day off than by warming up our writing utensils and setting forth to win a contest?

That’s right! (Or should I say, that’s write?!)

(Yeah.  Okay.  Sorry 🙂 )

ANYway…

In case you haven’t guessed…

It’s time to announce the guidelines for…

The 8TH Annual HALLOWEENSIE CONTEST!!!

halloweensie-pumpkin

~ for children’s writers ~

 

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

Post: your story on your blog between 12:00 AM EDT Saturday October 27th and Wednesday October 31st by 11:59 PM EDT and add your post-specific link to the list that will accompany my special October 27th post.  There will be no Perfect Picture Book or Would You Read It posts for the duration of the contest so the links will stay up for everyone to visit and enjoy.  If you don’t have a blog and would like to enter, you can simply copy and paste your entry in the comments section of my October 27th post once it’s up (please include your byline if your posting handle is something like AwesomeWriter92 so I can identify you.)  If you have difficulty posting in the comments, which unfortunately sometimes happens, you may email your entry to me at susanna[at]susannahill[dot]com and I’ll post it for you.  Please place your entry in the body of the email including your title and byline at the top – NO ATTACHMENTS!  And please do not submit entries before the start of the contest!

The Judging: in a grueling marathon over the following days, my devoted assistants and I will narrow down the entrants to 3 top choices (hee hee hee – you know how much trouble I have with only 3, so we’ll see) which will be posted here and voted on for a winner on Monday November 5th (if the judging takes longer than we expect if could be later…but we will do our best!)  The winner will be announced on Thursday November 8th (good lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise 🙂 ) If we get more than 25 entries, I will post 6 finalists and give prizes for 1st – 3rd.  If by some chance we get the kind of turnout we’ve had the past couple years, I may post as many as 10-12 finalists and I’ll probably end up giving everyone a prize 🙂  But we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it!

Judging criteria will be as follows:

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

The Prizes:  as usual, I’m still working on the prizes 🙂  Feel free to chime in in the comments if there’s something you’d particularly like to win! 🙂  Or if you have something awesome to offer!  I’d be very grateful if anyone could put me in touch with an agent or editor who would be willing to be the big prize because I’m not having good luck with that so far!!!  But for starters, prizes will include:

– several picture book manuscript critiques from amazing critiquers (details to come – I need to spread my generous volunteers out over 3 contests, so, planning…)

 – 2-Pack of Personalized Signed Picture Books by the lovely and talented Tania Guarino, author of MEET THE QUACKERS (Spork, 2017) and GARDEN PARTY: A COUNTING ADVENTURE (Spork, 2018)
tania-guarino_1_orig Quackers Garden Party

– a personalized signed copy of NOT SO SCARY JERRY by the wonderful and gifted Shelley Kinder

shelley-kinder_orig   Jerry

– Bundle Of Books – assorted PBs, MGs, YAs (details to come) – generously donated by KidLit411

– an e-pub or PDF copy (winner’s choice) of Linda Ashman‘s Nuts And Bolts Guide To Writing Picture Books. OR paperback of Ann Whitford Paul’s Writing Picture Books: A Hands-On Guide from Story Creation to Publication.

 

Plus stay tuned because other great stuff is coming! 🙂

I hope those fantabulous prizes will at least whet your appetite for the contest!

Many, many thanks to Tania, KidLit411, and the PB MS critiquers for their very generous prize offerings!

So sharpen your pencils!

Get your butt in that chair!

See what amazing, knock-your-socks-off story you can dream up!

It’s a chance to hone your writing skills, practice your craft, write to specifications and a deadline, win amazing prizes, AND get to read and enjoy the wonderful stories written by all your fellows 🙂

I am SO looking forward to seeing what you all come up with!!!

Have a Marvelous Monday everyone! 🙂

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Love Is Kind with a GIVEAWAY!

Today is a special day!

Not only is it Perfect Picture Book Friday, it’s the day author Laura Sassi is stopping at my little blog on her blog tour!  (Thanks so much for joining us, Laura, and including us in the launch of this wonderful book!)

As a result, we have a great book to share as well as FANTASTIC activities from the author herself!

Let’s get right to it, shall we? 🙂

thumbnail_loveiskindcover

Title: Love Is Kind

WrittenBy: Laura Sassi

Illustrated By: Lison Chaperon

Zonderkidz, August 2018, fiction

Suitable For Ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: love, kindness, doing the right thing

Opening: “Little Owl jingled the coins in his pocket.  It was Grammy’s birthday.  And, finally, he had enough money to buy her something special – a heart-shaped box of chocolates.
He took out the coins – so shiny and new – and ready to spend.  But then. . .

Brief Synopsis: Little Owl has planned a special gift for Grammy’s birthday, but one thing after another goes wrong.  He perseveres, doing the right thing even when it is difficult, and ends up giving Grammy an unplanned but even more wonderful gift.

Links To Resources: Today we have wonderful, special resources straight from the author!  Take it away, Laura! 🙂

(With apologies from me that the text is so crunched together – I  could not get this to format properly no matter what I did!)

Little Owl’s Tea Party: FIVE TIPS for Pairing Picture Books with a Tasty Treat
by Laura Sassi
Today I’m delighted to share with you a sweet baking activity created by French illustrator Lison Chaperon, with a little collaboration from the author (me!) to adapt the recipe to US measurements. Click HERE to download a high quality at scale version for better printing. I hope you enjoy it!
 
thumbnail_Little Owl Tea Party 1
thumbnail_Little Owl Tea Party 2
In addition to being absolutely delicious, this LOVE IS KIND-inspired baking activity has gotten me thinking about how wonderful it is when we pair picture books with a tasty book-themed treat. In doing so, not only are we giving our kids the opportunity to learn some baking/cooking skills, we are helping them to connect to the story in a new and fun way.  As we nibble and chat about the book, we’re also instilling in them a framework to talk about the stories we read and an opportunity to think about how picture books relate to our lives and the world. Finally, we’re fostering good critical thinking skills as we converse with our little ones about what treat would be best paired with a particular picture book.
With all these benefits in mind, here are FIVE tips for PAIRING PICTURE BOOKS with TASTY TREATS.

1. Pick any picture book.  (Better yet, let your child pick the book.)

2. Pre-read the story so you can gather your ingredients. Once you’ve selected your picture book, take a few minutes a day or two ahead of time so that you can anticipate what types of treats you and your child might want to create to pair with the story.  This way you can be sure to have the ingredients in stock for a seamless and tasty brainstorming to baking to eating experience. 
3. As you read with your child, ponder the treat-making possibilities. It’s most beneficial (and engaging) to your budding critical thinkers if you include them in the process of deciding what book-themed treat to create, though it’s perfectly acceptable, in my opinion, to gently lead them towards the ingredients you have on hand (see step two). As you are pondering, the treat might be obvious. For example, in my third book DIVA DELORES AND THE OPERA HOUSE MOUSE, Fernando the mouse loves gumdrops, popcorn, and cheese on try toast, so those would be obvious picks. 
But…
4. Sometimes you will have to be creative!  Some picture books, however, won’t have such obvious choices. My recommendation, in these instances, is to pick a character or a defining element of the story and create a treat inspired by that.  For example, on her blog, Easy Elegant Entertaining™, trained chef and cookbook author (and mom to an adorable young budding reader), Addie Gundry, uses the concept of tails in GOODNIGHT, ARK to create an adorable book-themed treat. http://addiegundry.com/theblog/2018/3/21/tails-on-the-ark-two-by-two 
You can also create character-based cookies for almost any book, as my daughter did for Tara Lazar’s THE MONSTORE and my GOODNIGHT, ARK.
thumbnail_loveiskindcookies

Tiger Cookies for Goodnight Ark

5. Have fun!  (Need I say more?) 

 

Thank you, Laura!  What a fun activity!

Why I Like This Book: The story is sweet with a beautiful message about what love really is (from 1.Corinthians.13). While the story unfolds, the lovely words from the Bible verse appear in dreamy lettering in the background – on the breeze, in a rainbow, etc.  Not at all heavy-handed, but beautifully woven into the story.  Little Owl’s behavior and reactions are realistic and believable – frustration, disappointment, envy, sadness – but he doesn’t give in to his negative emotions, choosing instead to be a good person.  He shows up at Grammy’s empty-handed and unhappy, only to find that by being himself he has given her the best gift of all.  The art is warm and appealing, and Little Owl is adorable 🙂

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do 🙂

Here’s the book trailer in case you’d like a further glimpse of the book!

Laura Sassi with Sunflowers

Children’s Author Laura Sassi

Laura Sassi
Children’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)

twitter.com/laurasassitales

The publisher has generously offered a giveaway of one copy of LOVE IS KIND to one of our readers. To qualify, you must be a U.S. resident with a street address (as opposed to a P.O. Box) and at least 18 years old to enter.  If you wish to be considered, please leave a comment below indicating your interest by Monday October 8 at 9PM Eastern and we will randomly select a lucky winner!

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!!! 🙂

(And don’t forget to enter the giveaway if you’re interested!)

Would You Read It Wednesday #300 – The Night There Was No Bedtime (PB) PLUS The June Pitch Pick PLUS The May Pitch Pick Winner!

Woo hoo!  It’s another fun-filled edition of Would You Read It Wednesday!

Not only that, it’s the 300th WYRI!  Can you believe it?  Apparently we’ve been doing this for awhile 🙂 I think that calls for a celebration!  So I’m going to give away a book to one random commenter today!

This is an interesting week on Blueberry Hill.  I had a new book out yesterday which was a kind of a first for me.  I was hired to write the first-ever picture book version of the well-known movie, Miracle on 34th Street for Sourcebooks and the Valentine Davies estate.  A pretty cool project to be part of!

Miracle Updated Cover

 

As any of you know who have seen the movie, it is LONG to condense into a picture book, and has elements (drunkenness, being committed to an asylum, etc) which are not necessarily picture book friendly 🙂 So it was an interesting challenge!  I think it came out pretty well, although, due to trying to keep the word count down there are a few places where some of the niceties of language and transition in my original manuscript had to be cut in the interest of space.  But it tells the story, and the art is beautiful and perfectly suited to the era of the tale.  I think it will make a lovely holiday time read.

Since it’s brand new and hot off the presses, and we’re celebrating the 300th WYRI, I will give a copy of Miracle On 34th Street to a randomly selected commenter on today’s post!  I’ll even sign it for you if you want since I wrote this particular version, even though the original story belongs to Valentine Davies 🙂

Anyway, we’d better get down to business!

For starters, the winner of the May Pitch Pick was Jackie with her nonfiction picture book pitch for One Smart Cookie: The Story of Ruth Wakefield and the Invention of the Chocolate Chip Cookie!!!  Congratulations, Jackie!  I have to say, you had me at the title! :). Your pitch is on its way to editor Erin Molta, who, being inundated with this giant pile of pitch winners, will eventually dig herself out from under!  I think we’re going to have a huge Straight From The Editor post at some point! 🙂

Congratulations to all our pitchers!  You all did an amazing job, and your stories sound so interesting!  Keep up the good work!  A fair few writers have ended up selling books they pitched here (one of these days I should make a list of exactly who and have a celebratory post about them) but YOU could be next!  Why not?! 🙂

Onward, now, to the June Pitch Pick!  After this we only have July to catch up… and of course September which we are now ready for as well.  But we’re getting there!

Have a look at the revised pitches. Think them over. Make your selection. And then vote below for your favorite and step on up to the chocolate bar! (see what I did there? 🙂 )

#1 – Katie E – The Tooth Fairy Conference (PB ages 5-9)

Tooth Fairy Gwyneth rallies brainy and brawny conference attendees to extract Plaque Man, a rot-minded foe, and save the fairy economy. Gwyneth must convince skeptical speakers presenting key economic and tooth collecting knowledge to form a posse with tough tooth fairies from all over the world. Now if only they can combine their dental and mental derring-do and wash skunky, gunky Plaque Man down the drain.

#2 – Patricia – Amy’s Birdsong Aires/American Composer Amy Cheney Beach (PB ages 4-8)

Amy wasn’t an ordinary child. A musical prodigy, she could accurately sing any song she heard. Amy wanted to sing, play the piano, and write music, but girls in the late 1800’s didn’t grow up to do such manly things. Despite the times, her talents blossomed and she gained recognition.When a professor learned that Amy had perfect pitch, he asked her to help him ‘name the birds’, which ended up being a very important thing.

 

#3 – Katie B – The Librarian’s Treasure (YA/Fantasy)

Drake’s assignment: Find the child of the lady and the leprechaun. Vague much? The League of Leprechaun’s, at least that is what the three diminutive men called themselves, had shown up at Drake’s pub and offered him more gold than he was willing to turn down.
Drake had narrowed down the “sense” his new bosses had to Raegan, the only person of the right age consistently in this place. She didn’t seem a leprechaun any more than the three men had and how they expected her to save the village from dying out the League hadn’t felt compelled to share.
Getting close to Raegan to discover the truth, Drake became unexpectedly drawn to the goodness and innocence she exuded. He wondered, would she save the village, or might she just save him?

 

#4 – Yvona – Granny’s Veggie Garden (PB ages 4-8)

The seasons come full circle in this intergenerational story that introduces gardening and cooking adventures with fun, fresh language as the characters plan, plant, till, weed, harvest and cook from their garden’s abundance.

 

Please vote for your favorite pitch – the one you think most deserving of a read and comments by editor Erin Molta – in the poll below by Sunday October 7 at 9PM Eastern.  Many, many thanks for your help! 🙂

 

 

Since it’s October and Halloween is coming, I thought we’d do something fun AND delicious for today’s Something Chocolate!  How do you feel about Spiderweb Cookie Cake? (Especially appropriate given today’s May Pitch Pick winner 🙂 )

Spiderweb Cookie Cake (basically, a gigantic chocolate chip cookie 🙂 )

Yum-MY!  Really, there’s nothing like homemade chocolate chip cookies!  I think I know what I’m doing this afternoon…while I’m working…multi-tasking at its best 🙂

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Katie (yes! another Katie!) who says, “I am a Registered Nurse, mother to a sticky boy and a horse-lovin’ girl, and a writer of picture books. I enjoy spending time at the beach building sand castles and gawking at whales.”

Find her on the twitter at @KatieWills79

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: The Night There Was No Bedtime

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

The Pitch:  Drowsy children everywhere are yawning and hugging their teddies close… but Bedtime is nowhere to be found.  She has other plans for the night, and sleeping isn’t one of them. If Bedtime won’t return, the children may never sleep again!

So what do you think?  Would You Read It?  YES, MAYBE or NO?

If your answer is YES, please feel free to tell us what you particularly liked and why the pitch piqued your interest.  If your answer is MAYBE or NO, please feel free to tell us what you think could be better in the spirit of helping Katie improve her pitch.  Helpful examples of possible alternate wordings are welcome.  (However I must ask that comments be constructive and respectful.  I reserve the right not to publish comments that are mean because that is not what this is about.)

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on Would You Read it in the dropdown under For Writers in the bar above.  There are openings in October – yes – NEXT WEEK! – so someone send me a pitch!  You will get helpful feedback from our devoted readers and a chance to have your pitch read and commented on by editor Erin Molta!  What are you waiting for?! 🙂

Katie is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to receiving an actual copy of Miracle On 34th Street and being able to give a copy to one of you!

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂

 

Tuesday Debut – Presenting Hannah Holt!

Welcome to the October 2nd edition of Tuesday Debut, everyone!

Not only do we have a fabulous new author and debut picture book to enjoy today, this particular author did some research into advances, royalties, and rights last year which she has very kindly shared with us below.  After last week’s questions, I know you’ll all find it interesting!

So without further ado, put your hands together for Hannah Holt and her debut picture book, The Diamond And The Boy!

The Diamond and the Boy
written by Hannah Holt
illustrated by Jay Fleck
Balzer+Bray, October 2, 2018
Nonfiction, ages 4-8

 

DiamondMan Final cover

Told in a unique dual-narrative format, The Diamond and the Boy follows the stories of both natural diamond creation and the life of H. Tracy Hall, the inventor of a revolutionary diamond-making machine.

 

SUSANNA: Thank you so much for joining us today, Hannah!  We are thrilled to have you here and so excited to hear all about your amazing book!  Where did the idea for this book come from?

HANNAH: Tracy Hall was my grandfather. The idea to write his biography was simple enough, but how to tell the story eluded me for years. I took the story in a dozen different directions before landing on the dual narrative with graphite.

 

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

HANNAH: About five years.

 

SUSANNA: Did you go through many revisions?

HANNAH: Yes, about eighty.

SUSANNA: I am noticing a trend here, folks!  Last week, Beth told us her book had undergone 91 revisions.  It sounded like a LOT, but Hannah is giving her a run for her money!

 

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

HANNAH: When it was accepted for publication!
Kidding (sort of). I still struggle with knowing when my stories are “ready.”

I worked on this story for years. I had it professionally critiqued. The story won an award—and I still had to completely rewrite it before it was accepted for publication. A story can always be made better. However, every so often, you have to try the market. Sometimes you just have to let go and submit.

Yes, edit it and revise it. Rest it and rework it. Critique it and tweak it…and then send it out!

 

SUSANNA: When and how did you submit?

HANNAH: I wanted an agent, so I mostly submitted to them.

I sent in small batches of 5-8 at a time. When a rejection came in, I would send another query out. I was working towards a goal of 100 rejections in a year.

I didn’t quite make that goal because I signed with my agent, Laura Biagi, and we were fortunate to have The Diamond & the Boy picked up quickly.

Laura was actually my second agent. My first agent, Danielle Smith, is no longer working in the industry.

While working with Danielle, I received no rejections. None. My stories went out and nothing came back. After we parted ways, I set my rejection goal to take back control of my career.

If you aren’t getting rejected, you probably aren’t progressing towards publication.

Rejects are good! They are proof you are working.

Hannah and Zephyr

Hannah hard at work with her supervisor and neck-warmer, Zephyr 🙂

 

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

HANNAH: I spoke with my editor before I had an official offer.

Laura and I received interest from multiple houses for The Diamond & the Boy. My agent arranged phone calls with the interested editors, so I could hear their editorial ideas. Kristin Rens had a fantastic vision for the story, so I accepted the offer from Balzer+Bray.

 

SUSANNA: How did you celebrate signing your contract?

HANNAH: I signed my contract, and then finished washing the dishes.

Okay, later in the day, I went to dinner with my husband, but it’s funny how normal duties of life didn’t disappear just because a book contract is signed.

 

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

HANNAH: My advance was larger than expected, probably because of the interest from multiple houses. It still didn’t make me rich. I’ve sold more than this book, but I’m not living off my income from picture books.

I didn’t know what to expect in other areas, so I deferred to my agent’s judgment on those items. (Hurrah, for agents!)

 

SUSANNA: Readers of this series have expressed a strong interest in knowing a little more about the specifics of contracts.  As it happens, Hannah conducted a poll last year to gather information on that topic and she was kind enough to provide a graph and summary explanation which I hope everyone will find helpful.  Even though I’m sticking it smack in the middle of her interview 🙂

HANNAH:

I asked about advances as part of my children’s author survey last year. I had over 100 published picture book authors participate. The most common advance range for smaller houses is $1,000-$5,000. The most common advance range at Big 5 houses is $5,000-$10,000. However, I’ve attached an image to show you the spread. My debut advance was higher than average, but I had interest from multiple houses. That drove the offer up quite a bit.

My agent at the time was aggressive about pursuing international rights, so she only sold North American rights. I’ve spoken with editors about this. It’s more common for picture books to sell world rights because the words and illustrations are often created by different person. It can be easier to sell as a package. One editor I talked to said picture books at her house are about 2/3rds world rights. This same editor said it’s more common for novelists to retain world rights.

Q1 Large House vs small house advance

graph copyright Hannah Holt 2017

 

SUSANNA:  Thank you so much for sharing that, Hannah.  I think I can speak for all our readers when I say it is extremely helpful!

 

SUSANNA: Tell us about the editorial process…

HANNAH: I was fortunate to talk to my editor before accepting the offer, so there weren’t any big surprises.

I had pitched the book as a dual narrative meet-in-the-middle story, and Kristin wanted a side-by-side telling. I fully supported this switch and working with Balzer+Bray was a delight. Kristin kept me in the loop for everything from copy editing to the progress on the illustrations.

 

SUSANNA: Tell us about your experience of the illustration process…

HANNAH: I was involved from the very beginning.

My editor suggested four possible illustrators, and Jay Fleck was my top pick. Fortunately, he accepted the offer from my publisher. Yay!

My editor kept me in the loop as illustrations progressed. I saw sketches, and at some point, my editor asked if I would help supply research material. Of course, I was happy to help, and we went through a few rounds of sketches and tweaks.

I never spoke directly with the illustrator, and I tried to leave Jay as much stylistic freedom as possible in my notes while keeping the story technically accurate. I’m very happy with the result. The final artwork is stunning!

SUSANNA: Very cool that your editor sought your input on who the illustrator would be!

 

SUSANNA: Did you include art notes in your manuscript?  If so, can you share an example?

HANNAH: I only had one illustration note in the text for The Diamond & the Boy. It was describing something vaguely enough that I thought the illustrator might need some help:

“Once-frail sticks and sheets

become strong enough to lift his feet

off the earth. (illo note: huge kite)”

The resulting illustration looks like this:

The Change page

 

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

HANNAH: The Diamond and the Boy has had two trade reviews so far: Booklist (a STAR!) and Kirkus. I saw both reviews before they were made public and fortunately both were favorable.

 

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

HANNAH: About two years.

 

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

HANNAH: My publisher sent my book out for trade reviews and awards. They’ve brought The Diamond & the Boy to major book conferences, like Texas ALA. They’ve also had a digital copy available on Edelweiss+ and sent me several Folded & Gathered copies.

I won’t be going on a publisher sponsored book tour or anything fancy like that, but I’m happy with the level of support I’ve received.

 

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

HANNAH: I helped organize a picture book debut group with about 50 members. We recently ran a group giveaway for educators with over 1,600 entries. It’s much easier to market with friends. I highly recommend that approach.

I’m also writing blog posts (like this! Thanks, Susanna!), putting together a classroom guide, and recording videos for science experiments correlated with my book.

When focusing on promotional material, I try to spend time rather than money. Like I said earlier, writing books hasn’t made me rich.

 

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

HANNAH: Ten years.

In the last decade, I’ve watched many friends sign with agents and publishing houses. Some friends have become quite successful. Others have left the business. I’ve also seen books hit bestseller lists and then eventually go out of print.

Through all this, I’ve learned that quick success isn’t necessarily the path to happiness. Becoming “published” is not the end-all, be-all that budding authors sometimes think it is. It’s important to know what you want and not become distracted by the siren call of every opportunity.

Market trends come and go, but stories don’t expire. There is no deadline for success. Through it all, keep chasing your own dreams!

SUSANNA: That is excellent advice, Hannah!  Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us today.  We all really appreciate it and wish you the best of success with this book and all the books to follow!  Readers, if you have any questions for Hannah, I’m sure she’ll answer if she has time!

HannahHolt_small

Hannah Holt is a children’s author with an engineering degree. Her books, The Diamond & The Boy (2018, Balzer+Bray) and A Father’s Love (2019, Philomel) weave together her love of language and science. She lives in Oregon with her husband, four children, and a very patient cat named Zephyr. She and her family enjoy reading, hiking, and eating chocolate chip cookies. You can find her on Twitter and at her website: HannahHolt.com

You may purchase her book at:

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, our children’s teachers and librarians, and our local libraries and bookstores, by sharing their books on social media, and by 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

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Garden Party: A Counting Adventure Book

Hurray!  It’s Friday!

Every Perfect Picture Book Friday is fun because I get to share a book I really like with all of you and see what books you’re all loving this week.

But PPBF is especially fun when I get to share a book I love that happens to have been written by a friend!  (A friend who, coincidentally, I got to have coffee and blueberry muffins and a lovely chat with yesterday morning 🙂 )

As this book involves a garden, you could work it into any seasonal discussion or classroom unit (spring planting, summer growing, winter dormant) but since it’s harvest time, why not read it and share it right now? 🙂

Garden Party

Title: Garden Party: A Counting Adventure Book

Written By: Tania Guarino

Illustrated By: Emma Allen

Spork (Clear Fork Publishing), September 2018, fiction

Suitable For Ages: 3-6

Themes/Topics: concept (counting), animals, language fun (rhyme), nature/gardens

Opening: “One (1) bunny in a burrow on Farmer Dale’s trail,
wakes with a shake and a wiggle of her tail.
She starts with a hop by an old tin pail,
wiggle, hop, wiggle…down Farmer Dale’s trail.”

Brief Synopsis: One after another, the woodland friends join the group heading down Farmer Dale’s trail, following the bunny who may be the only one with a plan 🙂

Links To Resources: author’s website coloring pages and activities; 10 different animals are mentioned in the story. What other animals can you think of who could join the garden party?  Draw one (or more!), and describe how they would move or sound (e.g. “swishy swoosh swoosh”); which of the animals mentioned in the book do you think Farmer Dale would be most unhappy about having in his garden? Why?  Which ones might he be glad to have? Why? Easy Recipe for Carrot Cake

Why I Like This Book:  There are so many things to love about this book!  Where to start?  At the beginning, I guess :). The bunny who sets the whole adventure in motion clearly has a plan (the illustration shows the stockpile of carrots she has already gathered in her burrow.). She heads off toward the garden for more and is joined by 2 skunks, 3 fawns, 4 foxes, etc on her counting adventure.  Midway through the story, the rollicking rhythm of the adventure is beautifully paused by the arrival of the 5 snails, who bring the whole crew to a screeching halt.  But before you know it they’re all on their way again, the snails hitching a ride on the faster animals 🙂 I won’t give away the ending – you’ll have to read the book!  The rhyming story is nicely written and fun to read aloud.  Kids will enjoy the different sounds and movements used to describe the animals’ way of going (e.g. “wiggle, hop, wiggle” and “swishy, swoosh, swoosh”) and being able to chime in on the anticipated repetition of “down Farmer Dale’s trail!”.  The art is bright, colorful, and lively, and young readers will have a great time searching the illustrations to find all the snails!

fullsizeoutput_99e

text copyright Tania Guarino 2018, illustration copyright Emma Allen 2018

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 #299 – Marster Shoes (PB) PLUS The May Pitch Pick PLUS The April Pitch Pick Winner!

In case you were wondering, not only is today Would You Read It Wednesday, it is also Johnny Appleseed Day!

(I KNOW!  I, too, am wondering how I got through all these years without knowing there was a Johnny Appleseed Day!  Can you imagine?)

It stands to reason there would be one though, because how could we have apple cider donuts without Johnny Appleseed?  And we couldn’t really have autumn without apple cider donuts, and just think of the havoc that would be caused by no autumn and therefore no pumpkin-spiced everything!

Because of Johnny Appleseed, pumpkin-spiced trash bags.

Wow.

I think I just did philosophy.

Or possibly locomotiary substitution 🙂

Anyway, enough about Johnny!  We’ve got lots to get to today, starting with the winner of the April Pitch Pick who, I am pleased to announce, is Corine with her pitch for Willamina The Wolf Spider!!!

Congratulations, Corine!  Your pitch is wending its way along the cyber highway to editor Erin Molta for her thoughts!

Congratulations, too, to our other fabulous pitchers who did an amazing job!  I hope Would You Read It was helpful to you and that you all feel you’ve emerged with stronger pitches and a better understanding of what makes a good pitch for your future endeavors.  We are lucky to have such wonderful, helpful and discerning readers here to aid us in the pursuit of pitch excellence!

Now then!  Moving briskly onward to the May Pitch Pick!

(We’re making progress with the catching up… only June and July to go after this… but by then we’ll need September…!)

Have a look at May’s interesting and entertaining pitches:

#1 – Jackie – One Smart Cookie: The Story of Ruth Wakefield and the Invention of the Chocolate Chip Cookie (NF PB ages 4-8)

For years the invention of the chocolate chip cookie has been hailed a happy accident. Perhaps it was, or perhaps it was the clever invention of a clever lady. Devour every morsel of this mystery and decide if it was a lucky mistake or the creation of one smart cookie.

#2 – Patricia – Sadie’s Tail (PB ages 4-8)

Whenever Ryan tries to brush rescue-pup Sadie’s fluffy tail, Sadie growls and howls. Wary of scaring or hurting her, Ryan stops. Sadie’s fluffy tail grows matted, and things like cooking utensils, toothbrushes and even glasses get stuck in her fur. Ryan tries several ways to tame that tail, and retrieve the missing items, but fails, until he discovers that the solution was wagging at him the entire time.

#3 – Francis/Tim – I Am Not A Hugger (PB ages 4-8)

Val is not a hugger. She just isn’t. But nobody in her extend family of huggers seems to know it. Val has devised elaborate plans to make herself unhuggable, but nobody ever takes the hint. So when the latest family gathering promises to be another hug fest, Val must figure out how to be heard, or endure yet another hugtastrophe.

Now that you’ve had a chance to read through and evaluate, please vote for the pitch you think is best and most deserving of a read and critique by editor Erin Molta in the poll below by Sunday September 30 at 9PM Eastern.

 

 

Yowza! (a word just added to the Scrabble dictionary, for those of you who are keeping track.)  All that pitch evaluation and voting and talk of cider donuts has made me a mite peckish.  How about you?  Nothing like 100 layers of Something Chocolate to get that under control!

100 Layer Chocolate Chip Cookies

100-Layer-Cookie-6

Recipe and helpful video HERE at iambaker

Mmm!!!  So much delightful chocolate-y goodness!  I don’t know whose idea chocolate was, but it sure was a good one!!!

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Sarah who 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: Marster Shoes

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

The Pitch: Stanley has a human mom, a Martian dad, and a foot problem. MARSTER SHOES is a 425wc PB in which Mom insists Stanley wear shoes for school. Stanley wants to please her, but doesn’t want to give up the feeling of being barefoot. The end comes with a cringe.

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 October (10th and 17th!), 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!

Sarah is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to October!  How about you guys?  I love October – warm days, cool, crisp nights, apples (and all the good desserts that go along with them 🙂 ), orange, gold, and red leaves that make even gray, rainy days seem bright, Sheep & Wool Festival, long walks with the dogs, usually the first cozy fire of the year, fun-size Halloween chocolate (worthy of making the list twice 🙂 ), the Halloweensie Contest… and not too close to winter yet! Lots of good things 🙂

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂

Go forth and write!