Well hi there, my little snowflakes!
You’re just in time for some high jinx and shenanigans!
I’m always on the lookout for those fun holiday quizzes, but let’s face it: we’ve done Elf Names, and Reindeer Names, and that pretty much covers the available options. Last year I made up a What Kind of Christmas Cookie are you quiz. . . which was entertaining. . . but now we’ve done that too.
So this year I’ve decided to combine holiday quiz tomfoolery with writing prompt/idea generation! Try out this one!
I will not even try to deny that some of these combinations work better than others 😊 But I don’t mind if you cheat a little and use the first letter of your middle or last name or the month your pet iguana was born to get a better result 😊
My Holiday Picture Book Title is The Littlest Cookie (or, because there’s an alternative on that one, The Biggest Cookie, which is probably more appropriate!) But I think I could write either of those stories and have fun doing it! I might add in a type of cookie. . . The Littlest Sugar Cookie or The Biggest Peppermint Supreme Cookie. Or I might expand one way or the other: The Teeniest Tiniest Itty Bittiest Cookie or The Most Gigantic Christmas Cookie of All Time! But have a go and see what you get and share your title in the comments if you want to!
Wasn’t that fun?
Don’t you feel like you just got a little surprise holiday gift?
I bet those writerly brain cells are already humming!
So you’re welcome, and I won’t keep you from getting words on the page!
Go forth! Write! Create!
And enjoy your holidays!
Happy New Year!
See you in 2021!
Uh. . .
Were you expecting something else?
I already gave you your next picture book idea AND JOY!
What more could you want?
Oh, silly me.
There I go again, just completely forgetting the only reason you came to see me today!
I guess, now that you mention it, it IS time to find out who won
THE 10TH ANNUAL HOLIDAY CONTEST!!!
~ for children’s writers ~
As always, I was thrilled to see so many wonderful stories! Really! It is amazing and inspiring, not to mention VERY entertaining! There is just so much talent out there amongst you all!
But as you well know by now, with large entry numbers, all of high quality, come hard choices. My assistant judges and I worked hard to winnow the total down to a manageable number of finalists that we felt were truly all-around deserving of that distinction, and those were the ones we presented to you on Monday (ahem, okay, technically it was Tuesday 😊) for your vote.
There were, however, a few entries that barely missed being finalists, and many other entries that were outstanding in certain areas even though they might not have qualified all-around for one reason or another, or that the judges couldn’t reach a consensus on.
So my assistant judges and I would like to award recognition, a lovely badge, and a small prize to the following authors for the following merits:
1. For Honorable Mention In The Competition As A Whole: (entries we truly wrestled with not including in the finalists!)
Kaitlyn Sikes for ‘Twas A Cold Winter Solstice (beautifully written!)
Jessica Hinrichs for The Merry Melody Farm (also great for younger readers!)
Randi Lynn Mrvos for Four Things (also wonderful kid voice!)
Jilanne Hoffman for Promises Are For. . . (a poignant exploration of promises dishonored and promises kept)
Deborah Clayton for The Song of the Stable Mouse (a sweet, kid-friendly retelling of the Christmas story from the POV of a little mouse, nicely written!)
Elyse Trevers for Baia’s Bags of Blessings (a timely story of generosity and spreading the joy of Chanukah even in difficult times)
Laurie Carmody for The Holiday Henchman (a glimpse of Christmas from the naughty side that kids will enjoy)
Linda Schueler for Planting Smiles (a believable story of reluctance turning to understanding)
Patricia Nozell for Star (a miniature horse with a big heart who finds her own way to shine)
Cathrene Valente Youngquist for The Toymaker and the Christmas Tomte (told like a folk or fairy tale)
Mary Vander Plas for Oy to the World: An Ode to 2020 (so fitting!)
Shannon Howarth Nelsen for Christmas Bread (so evocatively written we could almost smell the bread)
2. For Make This A Picture Book! 😊
Ashlee Hashman for Gingerbread Construction Crew
3. For Great Depiction of Sibling Relationships
Pamela Love for Angel’s A
Melissa Trempe for Operation Christmas Distraction
Cynthia Stacey for The Christmas Tree
4. For Great For Younger Readers
Kirsten Leestma – December 21st
Larissa Elliott – Christmas Good
5. For Great Kid Appeal
Ellen Turcio for A Super Scooper
Stacey Miller for A Cranky Christmas
6. For Inventive Re-Telling
Lauri C. Meyers for Gingerbread Girl To The Rescue (a new version of The Gingerbread Man)
7. For Great Ending
Gabrielle Cardwell for Decorating The Tree
Ashley Bray for Noella
8. For Wonderful Stories Celebrating Other Lands/Holidays/Cultures/Customs
Shariffa Keshavje for Holiday Helpers
Rachel Hobbs for The Day of the Three Kings – Argentina
Linda Hofke – Not Counting On Sweet Treats This Year
Kathryn Rammell – A Swedish Pageant And The Mystery of the Missing Meatballs
9. For Unique Point of View
Megan and Rob Hunnicut for Sugar’s Spin (POV of the chosen cookie!)
10. For Humor 🤣
Bill Canterbury for Princess Oblivious
Congratulations to all of you for fantastic elements of your stories! You may all email me at susanna[at]susannahill[dot]com subject line Prize Winner to collect your award badge and prize, which is ten dollars for category 1 – Honorable Mention in the Competition as a Whole – and five dollars for all the other categories, in a format that can be emailed for you to put toward something you’d like at a large online store (and I’m being cryptic because when I did this for Halloweensie I got a ton of problematic spam mail because of the way I worded the post, but hopefully you can figure it out. The store starts with the letter A 😊 )
…the moment you’ve all been waiting for…
The announcement of the WINNERS OF THE 2020 HOLIDAY CONTEST as voted on by you, our esteemed readers!!!
In First Place…
Winner of the whole shebang…
who gets first choice of all the prizes…
Dana Marie Miroballi
Congratulations, Dana, on a fun, kid-friendly, delightfully humorous story that was clearly very popular with a LOT of readers!!!
In Second Place
Rebecca Gardyn Levington
A Spark of Friendship
Congratulations, Rebecca, on bringing the Shamash to life in spot-on rhyme! You get to pick your prize after Dana.
In Third Place
Congratulations, Molly, on a sweet entry that made us hope that Firling wouldn’t be left out! You get to pick your prize after Dana and Rebecca.
In Fourth Place
Waddle Santa Do This Christmas?
Congratulations, Julie, on a delightful, original story about penguins pitching in!!! You get to pick your prize after Dana, Rebecca, and Molly!
In Fifth Place
Let It Grow! Let It Grow! Let It Grow!
Congratulations, Allison, on a very well written, creative, original take on green gifts! So clever! You get to pick your prize after Dana, Rebecca, Molly, and Julie!
In Sixth Place…
The Solstice Tree
What a lovely story, Kelsey, where all the forest truly helped out! Nicely done! You get to pick your prize after Dana, Rebecca, Molly, Julie, and Allison!
In Seventh Place…
Kristy Roser Nuttall
The Twelve Sleighs of Christmas
Congratulations, Kristy! We loved how the elves helped Santa out of his fix by turning one sleigh into twelve! I’m sure you get the idea of how the prize picking goes by now 😊
In Eighth Place…
The Christmas Owl
Such beautiful writing, Natasha! You evoked the peace of the snowy woods, made us feel the tension of the situation, and taught us something about owls as a bonus! You get to pick after Kristy 😊
In Ninth Place
The Sleigh–Awake Band
Congratulations, Laura, on your entertaining entry written in excellent rhyme! Who would have thought Santa had a band along with him to keep him from falling asleep? You get to pick after Natasha 😊
In Tenth Place
The Christmas Corgi
Congratulations, Chelsea, on an adorable entry that made us all want a Christmas corgi! You get to pick your prize after Laura!
In Eleventh Place
Christmas Impossible: An Unquiet Night
Congratulations, Kelly, on a delightfully fun and kid-friendly entry that saw the elves helping out in true squirrel control fashion! You get to pick after Chelsea!
In Twelfth Place
Not Too Little
Congratulations. Marty, on a wonderfully relatable story that celebrates every child who has ever wanted to help and been made to feel that he or she isn’t ready for that yet! You get to pick after Kelly!
All the winners should email me at susanna[at]susannahill[dot]com with the subject heading Prize Winner so we can work out details for you to receive your prizes! (The sooner the better!) And for your convenience, the whole prize list is included at the bottom of this post.
Congratulations again to all our winners – it was a stiff competition!! – and congratulations to EVERYONE who wrote and entered a story in the contest. You all deserve a huge round of applause and a shower of holiday confetti!
Thank you to everyone who helped make this contest SO MUCH FUN, whether by writing an entry, reading people’s stories, leaving comments for the authors, and/or voting in the finals, or by donating a prize. It’s because of all of you that this contest was such a success, so many, many thanks from the bottom of my heart!
As I… hmm… maybe didn’t mention…? but seem to do every year so you’re probably not surprised, I’m taking a little blogging break so I can spend time with my family. Although it will be a bit different than in other years, it’s still holiday time 😊 So I will see you all in a couple weeks – most probably the first week of January 😊
Before we part company, I want to wish you all a happy and healthy holiday filled with love, laughter, joy, and family, and a happy, healthy and successful new year! It is a pleasure and a privilege to get to spend time with you all, and I’m happy and grateful to know each and every one of you!
Looking forward to all the things we’ll do in 2021!
Happy Holidays, and all best wishes for a wonderful New Year!!!
The Prizes!: OMG! So much awesomeness!!!
A Picture Book Manuscript Read and Critique by Agent Kaitlyn Sanchez of Olswanger Literary! Although she is currently closed to submissions (making this prize EXTRA special!) a look at her wish list will give you an idea of what she likes.
A 12×12 Silver Membership (valued at $177 but worth so much more!) generously donated by author and 12×12 founder and queen, Julie Hedlund! 12×12 is a fantastic, educational, supportive community with TONS to offer its members, including interesting and informational webinars of all kinds, access to forums and critiques, and the chance to submit to agents. If you’re not familiar with it, you can learn all about it HERE. Julie is the author of A Troop Is A Group of Monkeys (Little Bahalia Publishing, 2013), My Love For You Is The Sun (Little Bahalia Publishing, 2014), and the forthcoming Over, Bear! Under, Where? (Philomel Books, Fall 2021)
A Picture Book Manuscript Read and On The Spot Critique by prolific author Laura Purdie Salas! Laura offers a 50-minute on on-the-spot critique via Zoom for one picture book manuscript of up to 600 words (fiction or nonfiction, rhyming or prose or poetry). She will read it out loud to the writer and then do a critique right then and answer questions. Laura is a writer of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, prose, her own submissions and work for hire – she’s done it all! She is also the author of a number of fantastic books for writers which are often given as prizes here. Some of her books include A Leaf Can Be (Millbrook Press 2012), Clover Kitty Goes To Kittygarten (Two Lions 2020), Snowman – Cold = Puddle (Charlesbridge 2019), If You Were The Moon (Millbrook Press 2017), Making A Living Writing Books For Kids (CreateSpace 2017), and Picture Books The Write Way (CreateSpace 2014)
Rate Your Story owner, Picture Book Mechanic, and author Lynne Marie is offering 4 amazing prizes!
A 1/2 hour Zoom Session Picture Book Manuscript Consultation/Critique from ThePictureBookMechanic.com
Another 1/2 hour Zoom Session Picture Book Manuscript Consultation/Critique from ThePictureBookMechanic.com
[From the Rate Your Story site] “A SPEED PASS allows a Non-Member to submit to Rate Your Story, as well as a Member to submit additional items to best serve the rating and feedback needs of our writing community.
We have a variety of Speedpass options, including pitches, query letters, art or a single manuscript at any time for a rating + guaranteed comments*, and it will be returned in less than 7 days’ time. Should you require a faster turnaround, fast pass options may be purchased to facilitate that.”
Lynne Marie is the accomplished author of Hedgehog Goes to Kindergarten – art by Anne Kennedy (Scholastic 2011), Hedgehog’s 100th Day of School – art by Lorna Hussey (Scholastic 2017), The Star of the Christmas Play — art by Lorna Hussey (Beaming Books 2018), Moldilocks and the 3 Scares — art by David Rodriguez Lorenzo (Sterling 2019 and Scholastic 2019) and Let’s Eat! Mealtime Around the World — art by Parwinder Singh (Beaming Books 2019) and two others forthcoming.
A Picture Book Manuscript Critique (fiction, rhyme or prose) by accomplished author Laura Sassi, author of Goodnight, Ark (Zonderkidz 2014) , Goodnight, Manger (Zonderkidz 2015), Diva Delores And The Opera House Mouse (Sterling 2018), Love Is Kind (Zonderkidz 2018), and the forthcoming Little Ewe: The Story of One Lost Sheep (Beaming Books, February 2021)
A Picture Book Manuscript Critique by talented author Sandra Sutter, whose delightful books include The REAL Farmer In The Dell (Clearfork Publishing/Spork, March 2019) and Stan’s Frightful Halloween (Clearfork Publishing/Spork, September 2020)
A Picture Book Manuscript Critique by gifted author and former Holiday Contest prize winner, Jenna Waldman, author of the forthcoming Larry’s Latkes (October 2021) (originally written for the Holiday Contest!) and Shark-bot Shalom (August 2021) She is on twitter at @SarafinaDesign
Personalized, signed copies of The Night Baafore Christmas (WorthyKids 2019) by Dawn Young and Louis (HMH Books For Young Readers 2020) by Tom Lichtenheld, illustrated by Julie Rowan-Zoch. The Night Baafore Christmas will be signed by Dawn, the author. Louis will be signed by Julie, the illustrator.
Please join me in thanking these very generous authors and other writing professionals for contributing their books and writing expertise as prizes by visiting their websites and blogs, considering their books and services for holiday or other gift purchases, rating and/or reviewing their books on GoodReads, Amazon, B&N, or anywhere else if you like them, and supporting them in any other way you can dream up! 😊