Perfect Picture Book Friday – The One Day House

Hurray! Perfect Picture Book Friday is here again!

I love seeing what everyone has to share each week – so many fantastic books out there for kids to enjoy and for writers to learn from!

I found a wonderful book this week that I hope everyone will find inspiring!

Title: The One Day House

Written By: Julia Durango

Illustrated By: Bianca Diaz

Publisher: Charlesbridge, 2017, fiction

Suitable For Ages: 3-7

Themes/Topics: kindness, community, helping others

text copyright Julia Durango 2017, illustration copyright Bianca Diaz 2017, Charlesbridge Publishing

Opening: “‘One day,’ said Wilson, ‘I will paint your house orange and yellow like the sun.’
Gigi smiled. ‘I will like that. But today, you are all the sunshine I need,’ she said.”

Brief Synopsis: Gigi’s house needs fixing up, and Wilson wants to help make it cozy, safe, and beautiful – a nice place for his beloved grandmother to live. But he can’t do it alone.

text copyright Julia Durango 2017, illustration copyright Bianca Diaz 2017, Charlesbridge Publishing

Links To Resources: the back of the book has an Author’s Note about ways to help in your community including Labor of Love, Habitat For Humanity, and United Way, encouraging children who want to do something to reach out and find things that they can do, from smiling or saying hello to helping repair someone’s home; Little Ways Kids Can Make A Big Difference In Their Community; 10 Fun Community Giving Ideas (includes both “kitchen table” suggestions and “out in the community”)

text copyright Julia Durango 2017, illustration copyright Bianca Diaz 2017, Charlesbridge Publishing

Why I Like This Book: This story is lovely on so many levels. Wilson has a loving and generous heart and wants so much to make his Gigi’s home a better place for her to live, from painting it a cheerful color, to keeping her safe and warm, to making sure she can have a friend, and beauty, and music. He doesn’t let the fact that he is one young boy get in the way of his plans. A poster for “Build Up Neighbors” catches his eye and he gets him thinking. Gigi, meanwhile, is ever appreciative of Wilson’s ideas, but always grateful for what she has, never expressing any kind of dissatisfaction. I like that idea, she always says, but always follows it with, you are all the sunshine, or company, or warmth I need. Wilson shares his ideas with other members of the community – the ice cream man, passing neighbors, the librarian etc. – and they are all encouraging and supportive. No one tells him it’s too much for a boy to do. The art is warm and engaging, and includes such things as Wilson’s calculations for boards and nails needed, a diagram for how he thinks he can clean out the chimney, and what he’ll need to tune the piano. And of course he gets a stack of books from the library to aid his research. When Wilson is finally able to follow through with his plans, all the people from earlier in the book are present. This is a real feel-good story that showcases all the best things about people and community, and that models the concept that even little kids can do a lot to help out. A treasure for home, classroom, or library, and an empowering story kids will enjoy!

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do 😊

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

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

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! 😊

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Sweety

Hi Everyone!

Welcome to Perfect Picture Book Friday!

For my first choice of 2022, I have a wonderful book to share about being yourself and celebrating your own uniqueness. I think it’s a great story for kids, and also one we, as writers, can take to heart as we begin a brand new year of writing. After all, it’s who we are that gives our writing the uniqueness that will set it apart and help us tell stories in ways they’ve never been told before.

Title: Sweety

Written & Illustrated By: Andrea Zuill

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade, March 2019

Suitable For Ages: 3-7

Themes/Topics: being yourself/individuality, self-acceptance and appreciation

text and illustration copyright Andrea Zuill 2019, Schwartz&Wade

Opening: “Sweety was awkward.
Even for a naked mole rat.”

Brief Synopsis: Sweety is awkward, even for a naked mole rat. She has a hard time fitting in, and her classmates don’t always get her. But surely there must be someone out there who shares her love of fungus and interpretive dance! With a little help from her cool Aunt Ruth– Sweety begins to understand that being Sweety is actually pretty awesome and learns to embrace the things that make her who she is.

text and illustration copyright Andrea Zuill 2019, Schwartz&Wade

Links To Resources: 6 Great Ways To Help Kids Celebrate Individuality; All About Me Preschool Activities Theme; discuss what are some ways you are like others? what are some ways you are different? what do you think makes you special? are there some things about you that make you worry others will think you’re weird? do you think other people feel like that too?

text and illustration copyright Andrea Zuill 2019, Schwartz&Wade

Why I Like This Book: Sweety is such an endearing character! “A little square peg” as her grandma tells her. A bit of an oddball. But interesting, original, unusual and fun. This story of learning to appreciate the unique qualities that make you who you are and to not just accept yourself but celebrate yourself is one that so many kids can benefit from. Who among us hasn’t felt like an oddball from time to time? And isn’t it nice to know you’re not the only one! With charming art, humor and heart, this book is one young readers are sure to love.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do 😊

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

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

Now. Take a moment to think about what makes YOU amazing and special and then go forth and start writing something new and different to kick off this brand new year!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! 😊

The 2021 Holiday Contest Finalists Are HERE! Vote For Your Favorite!!!

Darlings!

This is no time for play!
This is no time for fun!
This is no time for games!
There is voting to be done! (just go with it and pretend voting is only one syllable 😊)
or
There are prizes to be won! (no, that doesn’t work either, although it’s true!)

Maybe we should go with:

Every writer
in Bookville
liked contests a lot. . .
But the judges
who judged all the entries
did NOT!
(although to be fair, we love the contests and we love reading the entries, we just hate having to cut them to get down to 12!)

The point is, we have done our valiant best to come up with 12 finalists (and let me tell you, it was a Herculean task!) and the time has come for you to read the entries that made the finals, choose your favorite, and vote for it!

Normally, I’d waste a little time with tomfoolery, but it’s been a desperate few days (and nights) of entry judging, which means not always paying as close attention to the puppy as I should, which means there is carpet steam-cleaning to be done. (Maybe I should have found a way to finish up my little stanza with that!)

So let’s just get right to it!

I know these entries are a little longer than the Halloweensie ones, so I truly thank you for taking the time to read through them and vote for your favorite. You won’t be sorry. They are all fabulous and I know you’ll enjoy them!

I will say THANK YOU to everyone who wrote an entry, took time to read other people’s entries and leave supportive comments, shared the contest with friends and family so that all our talented writers could get more readers, is taking the time now to read and vote, and who generally helped to make the contest so much fun, but I’m going to skip reiterating the judging criteria (you can check for it HERE) and save all my usual difficulty-of-choosing stuff for the winners post on Friday so you can get right to the entries!

Please read through the following 12 entries and vote for your favorite in the poll below by Thursday December 16 at 7PM Eastern so I can announce the winners on Friday! As always, I encourage you to share today’s link everywhere you want so that as many people as possible can read these stories and vote, but please do not attempt to influence the voting in any way. It is supposed to be based on merit, not on who can get the most people to come vote for their entry because they’re your friends and relations or they owe you for that time you babysat their kids 😊 If you’re a finalist, please don’t broadcast that on social media – just ask people to come read all the entries and vote for their favorite.

So here we go! Your 12 Finalists for

The 11th Annual Holiday Writing Contest

~ for children’s writers ~

1 – Tree of the Year

Deep in the forest,
where giant pines grow,
an eager young sapling
stood covered in snow.

She gleamed in the moonlight.
“I’m shiny and frozen.
Tonight is the contest.
I hope I’ll be chosen!”

The first day of winter,
to spread Christmas cheer,
the humans would vote
on the Tree of the Year.

“Sapling,” said Ancient,
“most victors are tall,
so don’t get your hopes up.
Remember, you’re small.”

Sapling’s thin branches
drooped low at the thought:
Big trees are winners.
Small ones are not.

The ground started thumping
with footsteps and drumming.
“Listen,” said Ancient.
“The humans are coming!”

Down from the village
perched high on a hill,
they marched with their music
and sang of goodwill.

Sapling stood taller.
“It won’t hurt to try.”
She lifted her branches.
“I’ll reach for the sky!”

A girl with a garland
of berries appeared.
She said, “This one’s lovely.”
The villagers cheered.

“Me?” Sapling gasped.
“Is it ME they will choose?”
“I’m frail,” Ancient shivered.
“I’m sure that I’ll lose.”

And Sapling remembered,
though Ancient was tall,
he’d never been voted
the best tree of all.

So Sapling leaned gently
and whispered an oath.
“I’ll root for you, friend.
I’ll hope for us both.”

“Those trees are embracing!”
the little girl said.
“Let’s decorate TWO trees
this Christmas instead.”

The town danced around them.
The verdict was clear.
Sapling and Ancient:
The Trees of the Year!

2 – Phoebe’s Snowperson

Outside the city library, a flier flits in the wind. “Snowperson Contest!” it announces, catching Phoebe’s eye. She reads:

Kids, let’s spread a little cheer
and deck the library halls
with handmade “snow”-people
who won’t melt like snowballs!

The prize? Free popsicles at the pool this summer.

“Yes, please!” Phoebe exclaims.

Phoebe hurries toward home, her imagination firing with every step. What can she use to build a snowman? Perhaps she should create a snowgirl? How much glitter does she have? Is there any white paint in the garage?

“Hi, Mom! Bye, Mom!” Phoebe yells and dashes to her room. It might be December, but she can practically taste the watermelon-cherry-coconut flavors of summertime.

But when Phoebe starts to gather materials, she feels doubtful. She looks at the pillows scattered about and wonders how she’ll make a snowperson that stands up—and stands out.

Phoebe starts to hum an old song about a snowman who came to life. “He had a magical hat!” she recalls and races to her closet.

Then she remembers a story about snowmen’s nighttime adventures and another about a silly snowman in a hot tub. She smiles.

“The snowmen are in my books. What if my books are my snowman?”

Phoebe lays a chapter book flat with the pages facing out. She stacks on a fat collection of fairy tales and then some tattered picture books. Before long, a snowman built out of stories stares back at her.

“Perfection,” Phoebe whispers.

3 – A CHRISTMAS PICKLE STORY

Sentimental ornaments
trim our tree high to low,
but Christmas Eve tradition calls
for one to steal the show.

Dad dons a scruffy Santa hat
and gathers us around.
“I’ve picked the pickle’s hiding spot!
It’s waiting to be found.”

“Dance! Prance! Blitz and dash!
All may search until
the finder claims the first gift and
the title of ‘Big Dill’.”

Grammy prods each shimmery bough.
Mom browses round and through.
Baby pulls off ornaments
(to get a better view).

I snug myself beneath a branch
to peer up from the bottom.
A glint of green. A clumpy curve.
Yes! I think. I got ’em.

I pluck the pickle from its place,
eager to claim my prize,
then notice Dad off to the side
with sparkle in his eyes.

His festive fuss for all of us
makes everybody grin.
It doesn’t seem to bother him
that he will never win.

I put the pickle back, but shift
it where no one will see.
Then grumble, “Oh by golly, there’s
no pickle on this tree!”

“Ho ho, oh? Check near the stump–”
That’s when Dad’s eyes meet mine.
I toss a wink and, in a blink,
Dad’s rummaging through pine.

He tugs back on a tree skirt bump
revealing what I’d done.
The pickle found, I quickly cheer,
“Gosh, Dad, looks like you’ve won!”

He wraps us all up in a hug
and whispers in my ear,
“You can have the first gift because
I’ve got mine right here.”

4 – SIMPLY THE BEST

Christmas was Maise’s favorite time of year.
Awe-inspiring. Wonderful. Magical.
Simply the best.
Maise wanted to be awe-inspiring, wonderful and magical, too.

Maise entered the Gingerbread House Decorating Contest.
Her house had icing and gumdrops!
Sprinkles and sparkles!
It even had an entire reindeer family reunion!
“It’s very…. creative,” said the judges.
But, Catalina won with a classic design.
“Awe-inspiring,” Maise told her.

Maise entered the Holiday Baking Contest.
Peppermint sticks!
Mocha melts!
Orange and ginger shortbread!
“Quite the variety,” observed the judges.
But Lester won with his Yule Log cake.
“Wonderful,” said Maise, licking her lips.

Maise entered the Ice Skating Contest.
Wearing a very sparkly leotard,
she skated forward!
And backward!
She even did a twirl!
But Jozef had a routine that was…well…
“Magical,” admired Maise.

Maise smiled.
She hadn’t won any ribbons but it had still been a delightful day.

“We have one last ribbon to award,” announced the judges.
“The award for the Most Holiday Spirit goes to…
Maise!”
“Awesome,” said Catalina.
“Wonderful,” said Lester.
“Magical,” smiled Jozef.
And to Maise, it was simply the best.

5 – SO YOU THINK YOU CAN PRANCE

“Places, Rudolph. Jump in line.”
(That’s me! Contestant #9.)

“Welcome back to North Pole Live:
‘So You Think You Can Prance,’ season five.
I’m your host, the famous Prancer.
Please welcome back our champion dancer!
He’s shimmied chimneys—Seoul to Atlanta:
the man, the myth, the legend—SANTA!”

Santa’s back? Last season’s best!
His reindeer too? I should’ve guessed.
Dasher coasts. Dancer whirls.
(Prancer hosts.) Vixen twirls.
Comet? She was born a star.
Cupid is on point, so far.
Donner brings the beat, the boom.
Blitzen’s jig ignites the room.
Maybe I’ll sit out this year.
With four left hooves, I’m bottom tier.

Eight contestants soar. I sink.
They float. I flail. They curve. I kink.
They sway. I swoop. They strut. I stop.
They spring. I sprawl. They dip. I drop.
Showing off, they’re busting moves,
I spin and—
SPLAT.
I’ve busted hooves!

“Oh, DEAR!” I hear.
Yes, I’m aware—
my spill was broadcast on the air.
The crimson of my well-known nose
extends until my body glows.
Someone whispers, “not a dancer.”
Reindeer snicker—even Prancer!
“Can klutzy caribous compete?”
My antlers shrink. My legs retreat.

Halfway out the door, I hear,
“Rudolph! I need YOU this year!
Ho-ho-ho! That grit! That glow!
Prancer, change my choreo’:
Substitute those samba mixes.
No more formal foxtrot fixes.
Rudi’s riffs will spark my set—
a glow-in-the-dark-breakdance duet!”

*North Pole Live rewrote its jingle
to feature Ru’ and Kris-Kross-Kringle,
the prime-time prancing pair sensation,
who tours one eve—to every nation.

6 – Cinder-Latke

Cinder-Latke puts down her scrub brush and reads a letter on the kitchen table.

—EVERYONE INVITED TO ROYAL PALACE HANUKKAH PARTY—

—Prince Nudnik Will Wed Latke-Making Contest Winner—

Cinder-Latke sighs. “I wish I could go like Pishka and Kishka, my stepsisters—”

Pink lightning FLASHES—

A puff of smoke morphs into Fairy-Godmother Yenta. “—and you will!”

Yenta waves her wand—

Cinder-Latke rides in a gold carriage wearing a sparkling diamond-studded gown.

“The spell ends at midnight.” Yenta grins. “Have fun!”

At the palace, all the princess-wannabes cook potato-pancakes like crazy.

Finally, Prince Nudnik tastes Cinder-Latke’s latke. “It’s perfection—I love you!”

The tower clock chimes midnight—Cinder-Latke flees.

Next morning, Prince Nudnik searches every house in the kingdom.

“Ugh!” He spits out Pishka’s latke and gags on Kishka’s. “One’s heavier than lead and the other tastes like moldy sweat-socks.”

An irresistible aroma tickles Prince Nudnik’s nose, luring him into the kitchen.

Cinder-Latke flips her latke onto a dish. “I knew you’d come.”

Prince Nudnik, drooling, bites into the latke. “Heavenly—” He sinks to one knee and whips out a ring with a gleaming latke-sized diamond. “Please, be my Latke-Princess!”

Cinder-Latke’s eyelashes flutter. “Sure, why not?”

Cinder-Latke and Prince Nudnik wed on the eighth night of Hanukkah and dance the hora around the menorah.

After the honeymoon, they open a restaurant—

—PRINCESS CINDER-LATKE’S LATKE PALACE—

—and dine on latkes happily ever after!

(Pishka and Kishka become fabulously wealthy businesswomen selling their latkes as cannonballs and bug-repellent.)

7 – Christmas…by a Nose

Newspapers trumpeted!
Radios blared!
Cable news cried in alarm!
BIG CARROT SHORTAGE REPORTED TODAY:
CHAOS ERUPTS ON CLAUS FARM

And, indeed, Claus was troubled.
Perplexed, some might say.
To friends, he appeared worried sick.
(This was Sam Claus, who harvested just up the way
from his jollier brother, Old Nick.)

Christmas was coming,
And, with it, Claus knew,
The first of the season’s big snows.
But if carrots were lacking,
Joy would fade quick…
For no snowman could count on a nose!

Assistance was needed—
“A contest!” Claus thought.
No sense in lazing about.
“A trophy” he called. “To the barnyard friend here
Who can find the best substitute snout!”

“An apple!” said Horse.
(Goat and Donkey agreed.)
“It’s festive and rosy to boot.”
“But it’s round,” Claus reminded,
“And, also, it’s red. A not-at-all carrot-like fruit.”

“Maybe corn?” piped up Chicken.
“Oh, yes!” Pig enthused.
“I’ve got a few corncobs right here.”
“Not bad,” Claus conceded.
“A veggie, it’s true. But we need a good nose, not an ear.”

“’Wait, wait!” squeaked a voice. “Down here, take a look!
May I share my idea with you, please?
You need something pointy and orange-ish, and so…
Why not try wedges of cheese?”

“Yes, CHEESE!” Claus applauded. “A trophy for Mouse!
Or perhaps a large crumb would be better.
And while we’re addressing the subject of snacks:
…do we know if the reindeer like cheddar?”

8 – TREE NUMBER NINE

Sofie could barely contain her excitement. Today was Noel Knob’s first ever Christmas Tree Decorating Contest!

She had been gathering decorations for weeks —

Berries from the holly bush next door.

Strings of garland strung with white, fluffy popcorn.

Bows made from leftover ribbon.

She packed everything in her backpack and headed to the town square. 

There, evergreen trees lined the lawn. The smell of fir, spruce, and pine tickled her nose.

At the sign-in table, Sofie was assigned tree number 9.

She got right to work — a bow here, berries there, garland wrapped around and around, and a big pinecone right on top!

Proudly, she stood beside her tree. But soon her shoulders sagged.

Around her, trees twinkled with tiny lights, dazzled with store-bought decorations, and on top of each tree was a shining star.

She glanced at the ceramic teapot on the prize table and felt her hopes evaporating like steam.

Zipping up her bag, Sofie headed home. 

Behind her, the judges were ready to announce the winners. 

“Third place goes to… Tree 21, for most decorations!”

Everyone clapped. Sofie kept walking.

“Second place goes to… Tree 7 for most sparkly!”

Everyone cheered. Sofie kept walking.

“And first place goes to… Tree 9 for most creative!”

Everyone celebrated. Stunned, Sofie hurried to the stage.

“Which prize would you like?”

“The teapot, please.”

When she got home, Sofie carefully wrapped the teapot in red and green paper. 

Then, she filled out the gift tag —

To Mom
From Sofie
MERRY CHRISTMAS!

9 – A CREATURE WAS STIRRING

Twas the night before Christmas
and all through the house,
Every creature was stirring,
including, Wee Mouse.
Stirring and blending, creating sweet treats
for a contest to see which ones Santa will eat.
“Don’t even bother,” said Pup. “He’ll choose mine.”
“I don’t think so,” purred Kit. “Because mine are divine.”
But Wee Mouse said nothing. Her movements were nimble
as she tossed her ingredients into a thimble.
She had flour in her whiskers, some dough on her nose,
and a drop of molasses had dripped on two toes.
She placed all her cookies in a minuscule sack,
climbed up to the table then…UH OH! Fell back!
The cookies all crumbled except for one bite.
“I’ve barely a taste for Santa tonight!”
Wee Mouse dried her tears, climbed back up to the platter,
feeling her one little morsel must matter.
“It’s totally tiny,” said Pup. “Not ornate.
Santa will think it’s a crumb on the plate.
Mine have fun sprinkles on top of red icing.”
Kit purred, “That brown dot? Well, it’s just not enticing.”
Wee Mouse ignored them and went straight to bed,
exhausted yet hopeful for what lay ahead.
Christmas morning she woke to a gift and a note.
She opened it up to see what Santa wrote:
“Dear Wee Mouse, My thanks for your cookie so sweet.
It was far and away my favorite treat.
And the thing that I think set it so far above
all the rest was your secret ingredient—LOVE!”

10 – BEAR’S CHRISTMAS COOKIE

Of all the holiday traditions, Bear’s favourite was the cookie decorating contest. Hedgehog always won. This year Bear was determined to beat him. He’d been planning his cookie for months.

The animals lined up with their cookies displayed. The crows approached. They were notoriously picky judges. They started with Rabbit.

Rabbit had decorated his cookie with a garden of sugar spun carrots and roses.

Badger had created a glittering forest of silver and gold gumdrops and candy cane stars.

Hedgehog had outdone himself. On his cookie, he’d crafted a miniature ice-rink with tiny skaters, each holding cups of hot cocoa. You could even see the marshmallows.

Bear was last. The Crows approached his cookie. Their black eyes widened. Towering above them was layer upon layer of icing, chocolate, candy cane, marshmallows, toffee, sprinkles, sugar plums, and whipped cream. At the top, they could just make out a Christmas angel spinning in the wind.

“Did I win?” asked Bear.

Suddenly the cookie began to wobble. It leaned one way. It leaned the other.

“Look out!” cried the judges.

SPAAAALOOSH!!!!

Every inch of fur, feathers, and forest was drenched in icing, chocolate, whipped cream, and candy. The angel landed on someone’s head. Badger licked sprinkles off his coat. Rabbit brushed marshmallows from his nose into his mouth. Hedgehog wiped icing out of his eyes. He licked his paws with gusto.

“Actually,” he said, “I think we all won!” And that day they all enjoyed the most glorious candy feast, thanks to Bear.

11 – A Miscalculation

*Attention all children!
Come out in the snow
And bring all your shovels and gear
Join in the sport,
And build your best fort
For the holiday contest this year!*

We dig and we pat
We scoop and we splat
To build the best fortress of all
No torrent of snow,
No, nothing they throw
Will knock down our unyielding wall!

Two towering turrets
Three tactical windows
Four bunkers built into the floor
Snowballs piled high,
Stacked up to the sky
There must be two hundred or more!

We hold up a finger
So that we can tell
Which direction the cold wind is blowing
We take up our stance,
They don’t stand a chance
Let’s get this tournament going!

Whoosh, whoosh, THUD, THUD
Oh no, wait a minute!
We should have seen this from the start
The snowballs we chuck
Don’t have any luck—
Our snow forts are too far apart!

12 – THE PERFECT CHRISTMAS STAR

Last year? Measly fifth. Year before? Pitiful fifteenth.
But THIS year? I’ll capture the winning star for the Interstellar Christmas Tree Contest!
For 11 months, I’ve studied, analyzed, and scrutinized all things stars.
Nothing will stop me. Nothing will slow me down.
NOTH—
“Dagan,” says Mom, “this year, your sister joins.”
“But MO-OM!” I yelp.
“My two star-chasers—or nothing,” Mom says.
Rest of the week, I lecture Daphne on the fine art of star-catching.
For Daphne, my lessons are a fine time to nap.
I demonstrate proper blaze-proof glove attire.
Daphne proves gloves go on ears, too.
We practice swooping and swirling our star nets.
Daphne tangles her net into one big knot.
Sigh.
On Christmas Eve, we load gloves and nets into our Lunar Rocket 3000 and take off.
“Sit still and be quiet,” I say. Daphne’s head droops.
Just past the moon, I spy the perfect star! It glitters and flickers and zooms around our rocket.
But it’s too fast.
Can’t. Quite. Catch. It.
“Dagie!” says Daphne. She shuts her eyes. I do the same. The star thinks we’re napping! It slows down.
Daphne hangs gloves on her ears. The twirling star stops and giggles.
We tie our two nets with a knot. Together, we extend the oversize net and scoop up the twinkling light.
On Christmas morning, we place our winning star atop the Interstellar Christmas Tree.
“Next year,” I say to Daphne, “let’s enter the Christmas Ginger-Planet Contest! Together.”
Daphne’s face beams.
“Merry Christmas, Dagie!”

WOW!

Now YOU get to enjoy the agony of decision as you try to choose which of those amazing entries to vote for!

Please vote for the entry you feel deserves to win in the poll below by 7PM EST Thursday December 16th.

Tune in Friday December 17th to see THE WINNERS!!! – same bat time, same bat station 😊

Thank you all so much for taking the time to write (if you did), read, and vote!  These contests simply wouldn’t be what they are without all of you!

I truly cannot wait to see who you choose as the winner!  Good luck!!! 😊

Ho! Ho! Ho! The 11th Annual Holiday Contest Is HERE!!!

⭐️Deck the Halls! ⭐️ Light the menorah! ⭐️ Fill the Kikombe cha Umoja! ⭐️

It’s time for . . .

The 11th Annual Holiday Writing Contest

~ for children’s writers ~

The Contest:  Write a children’s holiday story (children here defined as age 12 and under) about a Holiday Contest!

Your contest can be anything you want! Baking, wrapping, decorating (tree or home), raising money or collecting gifts for those in need, ice skating, sledding, caroling, fancy dress, snowman or fort building. . . sky’s the limit! But it must be about a holiday contest!

Your story may be poetry or prose, silly or serious or sweet, religious or not, based on Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, New Year’s or whatever you celebrate during the Holiday Season, but is not to exceed 250 words (I know! So much freedom after the Halloweensie Contest 😊 )  (It can be as short as you like (the judges will be grateful 😊 , you are welcome and encouraged to write shorter, but no more than 250!  Title not included in word count.)  The field is wide open!  Have fun!  The more creative the better!  No illustration notes please. (And yes, if you feel compelled to submit more than one entry you may, just remember you’re competing against yourself!)

Post:  Your entry should be posted between right now this very second and Thursday December 9th at 11:59 PM EST, and must be posted below in the comment section of this post. All entries should include a title, byline (people always ask what this is – it means who the entry was written by, so, by Suzy Q. Writer or whoever 😊) and word count. You are welcome to also post your entries on your own blogs and include your blog address with your entry here if you’d like to encourage people to come visit your blog, but your entry must be posted in the comment section of this post or it will not be counted because we won’t see it. This post will remain up for your reading pleasure until I post the finalists.  There will be no regular posts (Tuesday Debut, Would You Read It, or Perfect Picture Book) for the duration of the contest so everyone will have plenty of time to visit and enjoy.  If you have trouble commenting, you can email your entry to me and I will post it for you. Please copy and paste your entry with word count and byline into the body of the email NO ATTACHMENTS please.

The Judging: My lovely assistants and I will narrow down the entrants to approximately 12 finalists.  In the interest of finishing up the contest in a timely fashion so everyone can go about their holidays, we will do our best to post the finalists here by Tuesday December 14th for you to vote on for a winner.  (But it almost always seems to end up taking us longer. . . so it might be a day or two later.) The vote will be closed on Thursday December 16th at 5 PM EST.  Whoever gets the most votes will be first and so on down to twelfth place (or wherever we place to), and the winners will be announced on Friday December 17th. (These dates are subject to adjustment if it takes the judges longer than we anticipate to get the judging completed.)

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.  Holiday Contest! – the rules state a Holiday Contest story, so it must be crystal clear that the story is about a contest that in some way relates to Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, New Year’s, or whatever seasonal winter holiday you choose.  The story must center on the contest  – the contest must not be just an offhand mention/reference in a story about something else.
  • 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. Please proofread!
  • 5. Originality and creativity – because that is often what sets one story above another.
  • 6. PLEASE FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS! Large numbers of entries make it easy to cut entries that haven’t been entered as we asked.

The Prizes!: Oh! Such wonderful prizes! All I can say is, how lucky are we to be part of such a talented and generous community that offers such amazing prizes!

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 birthday, holiday or other gift purchases, rating and/or reviewing their books on GoodReads, Amazon, B&N, or anywhere else if you like them, recommending them for school and library visits, and supporting them in any other way you can dream up! 😊

⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique (Rhyming or Non-rhyming, Fiction or Nonfiction) with written feedback AND a 30-minute Zoom Chat with children’s author Vivian Kirkfield, author of PIPPA’S PASSOVER PLATE (Holiday House, 2019), SWEET DREAMS, SARAH (Creston Books, 2019), FOUR OTTERS TOBOGGAN (Pomegranate, 2019), MAKING THEIR VOICES HEARD: THE INSPIRING FRIENDSHIP OF ELLA FITZGERALD AND MARILYN MONROE (Little Bee Books, 2020), FROM HERE TO THERE: INVENTIONS THAT CHANGED THE WAY THE WORLD MOVES (Clarion Books, 2021), and SHOW ME HOW! BUILD YOUR CHILD’S SELF-ESTEEM THROUGH READING, CRAFTING AND COOKING (MoneyPenny Press Ltd, 2010)

⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique (Rhyming or Non-rhyming, Fiction or Nonfiction) with a recording of first read-through by children’s author and poet Sarah Meade, contributor to HOP TO IT: POEMS TO GET YOU MOVING (Pomelo Books, 2020!

⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique/Zoom Chat (Non-rhyming) from children’s author Janie Reinart, author of WHEN WATER MAKES MUD: A STORY OF REFUGEE CHILDREN (Blue Whale Press, 2021)!

⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique (Rhyming) PLUS Zoom Chat from developmental editor Lou Piccolo! Lou studied English Literature, creative writing and teaching at university in South Africa. After working as an EFL teacher in France for twenty years, she studied proofreading and editing before becoming a developmental editor of children’s and young adult’s literature for independent authors. She is a graduate of Renee LaTulippe’s Lyrical Language Lab – Punching Up Prose With Poetry course and Making Picture Book Magic, the in-house writer for Editions Entrefilet’s language-learning magazine ‘Go English Kids’ for children of 8-12 in France, and a traditionally published author of MG and YA fiction with Burlington Books.

Developmental Editor, Lou Piccolo

⭐️ Connecting With School Librarians! Fabulous Opportunity for published or soon to be published authors! Winner’s Choice of either a Zoom or phone chat about how to connect with school librarians and get their ear or an Ask Me Anything Zoom or phone chat about K-8th grade author visits from a librarian’s POV from Kathy Halsey. Kathy Halsey is Storyteller Academy’s Community Manager and Ambassador. She enjoys writing picture books, humor, and nonfiction. Kathy’s active in SCBWI and blogs with other kid lit writers on the GROG. She serves on the Choose to Read Ohio Advisory Council and speaks at educational and literary conferences. Kathy’s a former K-12 school librarian and children’s bookseller. She writes monthly author studies for the Reading for Research Month along with Keila Dawson.

Writer, librarian, bookseller, blogger Kathy Halsey

⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique (Rhyme or Prose, fiction only) from children’s author Shelley Kinder! Shelley is the author of NOT SO SCARY JERRY (Spork 2017), THE MASTERPIECE (Spork 2018) and GOD AND ME AND THE SEA (Kregel Children’s Books, May 17, 2022)

⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique (written) PLUS 15 minute Zoom Chat (no nonfiction) from Cindy Williams Schrauben author of THIS COULD BE YOU (Cardinal Rule Press, April 1, 2022)!

⭐️ Zoom Visit to a classroom or to kids at home by children’s author Ellen Leventhal! Ellen is the author of DON’T EAT THE BLUEBONNETS (Spork, 2017), LOLA CAN’T LEAP (Spork, 2018), HAYFEST: A HOLIDAY QUEST (ABCs Press, 2010), and A FLOOD OF KINDNESS (WorthyKids, 2021)

Author, Ellen Leventhal

⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Heather Gale, author of HO’ONANI: HULA WARRIOR (Tundra Books, 2019) which was one of the New York Public Library’s Best Books for Kids 2019, one of the Ontario Library Association’s 2019 Top Ten Titles, Featured on the 2020 Rainbow Book List, Featured on the 2020 Rise: A Feminist Book Project List, and received a Booklist Starred Review!

⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Maria Marshall! Maria is a children’s author, blogger, and poet passionate about making nature fun for children. She’s a judge for the Cybils Awards and the #50PreciousWords competition. Four of her poems are published in The Best Of Today’s Little Ditty anthologies. When not writing, critiquing, or reading, she bird watches, travels the world, bakes, and hikes. The Picture Book Buzz  Website  Facebook  Twitter  Instagram

Maria Marshall

⭐️ A Reversible Handmade Christmas Stocking or Other Winter or Holiday-Themed Gift Bag from Karen Gebbia PLUS a Personalized Signed Copy of CURIOSITY’S DISCOVERY by Nancy Derey Riley to fill it!

⭐️ Personalized Signed Copy of either QUEEN OF PHYSICS:How Wu Chien Shiung Helped Unlock the Secrets of the Atom (Sterling Children’s Books 2019) or TWO BICYCLES IN BEIJING (Albert Whitman 2020) (Winner’s Choice!) by Teresa Robeson

PLUS!!!

a Personalized Signed Copy of either LISTEN (Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books 2021) or TWO DOGS ON A TRIKE (Harry N. Abrams 2020) (Winner’s Choice!) by Gabi Snyder

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⭐️ Personalized Signed Copy of THE QUEEN AND THE FIRST CHRISTMAS TREE: Queen Charlotte’s Gift to England (Albert Whitman 2018) by Nancy Churnin PLUS a Digital Copy of THE STAR IN THE CHRISTMAS PLAY (Beaming Books 2018) by Lynne Marie

⭐️ Personalized Signed Copy of MY SCHOOL STINKS! (Philomel July 2021) by Becky Scharnhorst PLUS a Kindle or Audiobook Copy of either FUNNY JIMMY (AuthorHouse 2011) or THE HAUNTED HOUSE OF RIDDLES (Avid Readers Publishing Group 2011) (Winner’s Choice!) by Vanessa Rose Lee

⭐️ Winner’s Choice of 2 of the following 4 picture books, kindly donated by Dee Knabb!

With so many great prizes up for grabs I hope there will be a lot of entries – the more the merrier!  And you’ve still got a couple days to write, so you can squeeze in under the wire if you haven’t written yet.  Feel free to spread the word to your writing friends as well.  And your reading friends – parents, teachers, etc.  The more people who read and enjoy your stories, the better!!!

Contest Entrants, remember you MUST post your entry in the comment section below and include title, byline, and word count.

Eager Readers – just go along the list of links below, click on them (they’ll take you directly to whichever story you click on), and enjoy the stories!

So let the Holiday Contest begin!

Happy Writing and Happy Holidays! 😊 ☃️ ✡️ ⭐️ ❄️ 🎄🕯🕎

I can’t wait to read your entries!!!

THE ENTRIES!

  1. It Takes A Forest – Lucretia Schafroth
  2. The Kelpie Challenge – Bonnie Kelso
  3. The Cookies Of Holiday Hollow – Royal Baysinger
  4. Elf Off The Shelf – Anne Lipton
  5. The Trolls: A Winter Tale – Royal Baysinger
  6. Upon A Winter Solstice – Royal Baysinger
  7. So You Think You Can Prance – Amy Leskowski
  8. The Festive Flying Race – Nicola Beach
  9. Grumble’s Silent Night – Katrina Swenson
  10. Birdie’s Song – Beth Stillborn
  11. The Holiday Homework – Sue Lancaster
  12. How Tiny Won A Seat On Santa’s Sleigh – Elizabeth Westra
  13. The Claus’ Candy Cane Contest – Susan Schipper
  14. He Knows If You’ve Been Bad Or Good – Colleen Murphy
  15. Olive, The Other Reindeer – Lindsay Moretti
  16. Go Green For Christmas – Margaret Zotkiewicz
  17. Tree Number Nine – Lindsey Hobson
  18. Christmas Boots – P.J. Purtee
  19. Ellarose’s Sweater – Marta Cutler
  20. A Fourth Grader’s Poster Problem – Jennifer Vose
  21. A Buggie Tradition – Kay Inglis
  22. Kendy And The Solstice Solo Show – Sarah Meade
  23. Elsie And The Christmas Comedy Contest – Sarah Meade
  24. The Better Elf On The Shelf – Molly Ippolito
  25. Ernie And The Science Fair – Deborah Foster
  26. Mr. Tweedy’s Christmas Trees – Colleen Fogarty
  27. Best Wrapped Surprise – Sara Dean
  28. Christmas Eve Ride Along Contest – Dawn Young
  29. The Christmas Tree Contest – Dorothy K. Kohrherr
  30. Alfredo Learns The Secret Of Greatness – Joan Leotta
  31. The Pretty Ugly Sweater – Pamela Swanson
  32. Tree Of The Year – Lisa Varchol Perron
  33. Jamie’s Holiday Surprise – Diana Sussman
  34. Katie’s Snow Creation – Marty B.
  35. The Tasty Treat Christmas Contest – Katie Brandyberry
  36. Santa’s Secret Contest – Linda Staszak
  37. Phoebe’s Snowperson – Kelly Clasen
  38. The Star – Reed Hilton-Eddy
  39. THAT’S Not A Christmas Cookie! – Vanessa Konoval
  40. Candy Pies – Sharon McCarthy
  41. Solstice Skaters – Allison Strick
  42. The Best Gift Ever – Pen Avey
  43. The Most Christmassy House – Jen MacGregor
  44. Candy Caribou – Steena Hernandez
  45. A Christmas Pickle Story – Daniella Kaufman-Schloss
  46. Shining Star – Sarah Hawklyn
  47. Grumpy Snow Pants – Stephanie Maksymiw
  48. The Best Reading Contest Of Winter, 1959 – Beth Schmelzer
  49. Playground Games – Colleen Dougherty
  50. Simply The Best – Nicole Loos Miller
  51. Bear’s Christmas Cookie – Marta Cutler
  52. Happy Everything! – Laura Barens
  53. Dancing With The Elves – Jill Lambert
  54. A Creature Was Stirring – Judy Sobanski
  55. The Monster On Christmas Eve – Elizabeth Meyer zu Heringdorf
  56. What Christmas Means To Me – Marty Findley
  57. A Miscalculation – Emily Durant
  58. Lily And The Winter Festival – Karen J Moore
  59. 2021 Monkey Merry Xmas – Shariffa Keshavjee
  60. The Ginger Friend House – Kelly Swemba
  61. Gingerbread House Extravaganza – Elaine D’Alessandro
  62. Parol: This Little Star Of Mine – Lynn Grace Wong
  63. Christmas Song – YauMei Chiang
  64. Reindeer Games – Tiffany Hanson
  65. The Cookie Contest Caper – Kelsey E. Gross
  66. The Clean-Out-The-Clutter Contest – Sarah Demarest Guthrie
  67. The Contest – Amanda Sherlock
  68. Asher’s Chanukiah – Dina Silverberg
  69. Best Hanukkah Ever! – Paul Kurtz
  70. Cinder-Latke – Paul Kurtz
  71. Bunny Claus – Donna Kurtz
  72. Jangle Shells – Donna Kurtz
  73. Spin – Cheryl Simon
  74. Fantastical Fairytown Christmas Snowflake Contest – Ellen Crosby
  75. The Winning Recipe – Judy Abelove Shemtob
  76. The Greatest Display Of All – Barbara Kimmel
  77. Sparky’s Wish – Ingrid Boydston
  78. The Night After Christmas – Abby N. Wooldridge
  79. The Claus’s Hawaiian Vacation – C. S. Boyll
  80. Gifts For Grandma – Cindy Sommer
  81. Keep Christmas Coming – Jeannette Suhr
  82. The Most Special Ornament – Timothy Hicks
  83. Santa’s Workshop Winners – Polly Owen
  84. Elfie Selfie Contest – Stephanie Henson
  85. The Great Holiday Bake Off – Jamie Donahoe
  86. Laughing All The Way – Sarah Hetu
  87. The Perfect Christmas Star – Jennifer Lowe
  88. A Sack Full Of Presents – Patricia Nozell
  89. Fairy Tale Houses – Jim Chaize
  90. Christmas…By A Nose – Jesse Anna Bornemann
  91. Reindeer Sing…Are You Listening? – Katie Schwartz
  92. Christmas Carrots – Vashti Verbowski
  93. Being Santa Lucia – Cindy Greene
  94. Nun, Gimel, Hei, Shin – Who Will Win? – Stephanie Wildman
  95. ANDRÉS BLUE RIBBON – Carmen Castillo Gilbert
  96. The Chubby Bunny Champion – Alicia Meyers
  97. Up And Away! – Kristy Roser Nuttall
  98. Christmas Isn’t – Ingrid Boydston
  99. The Christmas Pirate – Julianna Kurtz
  100. Maryam’s Happy Persian Christmas – Shadi Kafi
  101. The Most Beautiful Snowflake Of All – Cassie Silva
  102. Fire And Ice – Jyn Hall
  103. The Santa Spectacle – Mary Cathering Amadu
  104. A Jarring Contest – Bru Benson
  105. Everything – Sandhya Acharya
  106. Similarity Despite Diversity – Eva Felder
  107. O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree – Becky Goodman
  108. Solstice Wars! – Phoebe Browning
  109. Gingerbread Surprise – JC Kelly
  110. Squirrels Christmas – Charlotte Boyer
  111. The Holiday Contest – Denise Seidman
  112. The Witch’s Gingerbread House – Lauri Meyers
  113. Elf Rivalry – Michelle S. Kennedy
  114. Dream Big, Little Pip! – Sally Yorke-Viney
  115. An Extraordinary Elf – Becky Kimbrough
  116. Jasmine Jingletoes And The Christmas Stocking Contest – Brenda Covert
  117. Let There Be (MORE!) Lights – Judy Carey Nevin
  118. Laughing All The Way – Samantha Gassman

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Latke, The Lucky Dog

Hi Everyone!

Welcome to Perfect Picture Book Friday!

It’s going to be the last PPBF for 2021, as the Holiday Contest (guidelines on that link if you’re interested in entering – lots of fantastic prizes!) opens next week and is going to keep us busy for the usable rest of December! Anyone who isn’t running a Holiday Contest and continues to post Perfect Picture Books for the next couple weeks is welcome to add their titles to today’s form or to the one I post in the first week of January! 😊

I love the book I’m sharing today for many reasons, not least of which is that I happen to have a newly adopted shelter puppy who is learning how to behave (although his challenge will be the Christmas tree, not the dreidel, menorah, and latkes 😊!)

Title: Latke, The Lucky Dog

Written By: Ellen Fischer

Illustrated By: Tiphanie Beeke

Publisher: Kar-Ben Publishing, August 2014, fiction

Suitable For Ages: 2-8

Themes/Topics: Holidays (Hanukkah), animal rescue, pets, family

text copyright Ellen Fischer 2014, illustration copyright Tiphanie Beeke 2014, Kar-Ben Publishing

Opening: “I am one lucky dog. Imagine a mutt like me, picked as a Hanukkah present. It happened one day in December when a family walked into the shelter. A mom, a dad, and two kids – Zoe and Zach.”

Brief Synopsis: (from Horn Book Magazine starred review) “On the first night of Hanukkah, a family adopts a little golden-brown dog and names it Latke. As the family celebrates the Festival of Lights, Latke joins in, thinking, ‘I am one lucky dog!’ But he has a lot to learn about how to behave.”

text copyright Ellen Fischer 2014, illustration copyright Tiphanie Beeke 2014, Kar-Ben Publishing

Links To Resources: a page at the end of the story details the history and customs of Hanukkah; 8 Great Hanukkah Activities for Preschool; 35+ Hanukkah Activities For Kids

text copyright Ellen Fischer 2014, illustration copyright Tiphanie Beeke 2014, Kar-Ben Publishing

Why I Like This Book: This book gives a nice glimpse of a loving family and the traditions of Hanukkah from the point of view of a newly adopted shelter dog. Latke, the dog, has a lot to learn about how to behave. He helps himself to the sufganiyot (Hebrew for donuts), unwraps the gifts on the floor, chews the dreidel, knocks the applesauce off the table, chews the menorah candles, and slobbers all over the gelt (gold foil-wrapped chocolate coins), but luckily his new family is very understanding and they give him a Hanukkah gift of his own – a chew toy 😊 The story is warm, and the art a perfect accompaniment sensitively showing the dog as he tries to learn to do what is right. I love that not only does the reader get a sense of what Hanukkah is like, but is also shown that although a new animal family member might not behave perfectly at first, it is important to give everyone time to adjust and learn. A lovely story for all young readers/listeners!

text copyright Ellen Fischer 2014, illustration copyright Tiphanie Beeke 2014, Kar-Ben Publishing
text copyright Ellen Fischer 2014, illustration copyright Tiphanie Beeke 2014, Kar-Ben Publishing

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do 😊

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

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

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! 😊

Perfect Picture Book Friday – A Thing Called Snow

Grab your hot cocoa, everyone! It’s time to gather ’round for Perfect Picture Book Friday!

Although winter (which is on its way if this morning’s temperature is anything to go by! Brrrr!) is not my favorite season, I do love snow! I love how cozy it feels to be indoors with a cup of hot cocoa while the snow falls silently outside the window. I love sledding and making snow-angels, snowman-building and fort-making, getting cold and wet and then coming inside to get warm and dry.

So when I saw this book, I had to read it immediately. And then I had to share it with you because it is so perfect!

Title: A Thing Called Snow

Written & Illustrated By: Yuval Zommer

Publisher: Doubleday Books For Young Readers, Nov. 2, 2021, fiction

Suitable For Ages: 3-7

Themes/Topics: snow, discovery, friendship

text and illustration copyright Yuval Zommer 2021, Doubleday Books for Young Readers

Opening: “Fox and Hare were born in the spring,
grew up in the summer,
and were the best of friends by autumn.”

Brief Synopsis: Fox and Hare have never seen snow. Wondering what it is like, they travel in search of answers, until at last they get to experience the magic of their first snow themselves.

text and illustration copyright Yuval Zommer 2021, Doubleday Books for Young Readers

Links To Resources: Easy Winter Paper Crafts For Kids; 7 Fun Ways To Play With Snow Indoors; Snowflake Crafts For Preschoolers; and if there is snow, go out and play! 😊

text and illustration copyright Yuval Zommer 2021, Doubleday Books for Young Readers

Why I Like This Book: This story is so delightful! It has the feeling of an adventure, as Fox and Hare set off to find out what snow is. There is companionship and friendship, curiosity and discovery, and there are helpful folks along the way. There is the feeling of newness and wonder that kids experience often, since they are just learning about the world and there are so many firsts. Each animal that Fox and Hare encounter tells them one thing about snow which, on its own isn’t quite enough for them to identify it, but when at last they experience snow, both Fox and Hare and the reader can see how each of those things were true but had to be taken all together to understand snow. The art is soft and beautiful and just a perfect accompaniment to the text. All around a book that kids (and their adult readers) will all enjoy!

I hope you like it as much as I do 😊

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

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

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! 😊

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Balloons Over Broadway

Wow!  Aren’t we all so glad it’s Friday?  Not only is the weekend so close you can taste it, we get a whole stack of Perfect Picture Books to start it off right!

And about time, too, as we missed a few weeks of PPBF for Halloweensie!

(Which reminds me, if you’ve been posting Perfect Picture Books during the weeks I couldn’t put up the list, please feel free to add your back titles to today’s list!)

I have a great book to share today, which I think is just perfect given that the Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City is only 6 days away! At this point it’s an oldie, and many of you may have read it, but it’s such a great book I’m sharing it in hopes of introducing it to folks who may not have been reading picture books back in 2011!

Title: Balloons Over Broadway
Written and Illustrated By: Melissa Sweet
Houghton Mifflin Books For Children, November, 2011, Non-Fiction Biography/History

Suitable For: ages 4-8

Themes/Topics:  art, puppeteering, pursuing a dream, non-fiction, biography

Text and illustration copyright Melissa Sweet 2011, Houghton Mifflin

Opening and brief synopsis:  “From the time he was a little boy, Tony Sarg loved to figure out how to make things move.  He once said he became a marionette man when he was only six years old.”  Melissa Sweet tells the true story of Tony Sarg, inventor of the huge balloons that are the trademark and centerpiece of the Macy’s Day Thanksgiving Parade in New York City.

Links to resources:  this story is perfect for a curriculum section that covers art, history, biography, or Thanksgiving, or just as a good story for children interested in where things come from and how they work.  Balloons Over Broadway Activity Kit.  (Please be patient – the activity kit loads slowly because of all the art but it’s well worth the wait!)  There is also a spread of interesting and helpful back matter at the end of the book to expand your learning/lesson.

text and illustration copyright Melissa Sweet 2011, Houghton Mifflin

Why I like this book: this book is interesting, entertaining and educational.  Tony Sarg is an inspiration because he had little or no formal art education and yet he went on to pursue his dreams and become world-renowned for his work.  One of his apprentices, Bil Baird, created the “Lonely Goatherd” marionettes for The Sound Of Music, and one of Bil Baird’s apprentices was Jim Henson who invented The Muppets!

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do! 😊

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

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

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! 😊

The 11th Annual Halloweensie Writing Contest aahhhrrrooooOOOOO!!!

***FRIDAY NIGHT UPDATE***

Sorry for the delay in posting finalists, everyone! So many great entries – it’s really hard to narrow the field and it’s taking us longer than expected. I will do my best to post them no later than Monday afternoon, sooner if I can. Thank you all so much for your patience, and have a great weekend!

Witch’s wart and wing of bat! It’s time for. . .

The 11th Annual Halloweensie Writing Contest!!!

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~ 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 word count) using the words glow-in-the-dark, goosebumps, and goodies.

  • Your story can be poetry or prose, scary, funny, sweet, or anything in between, but it will only count for the contest if it includes those 3 words and is 100 words. Get it? Halloweensie – because it’s not very long and it’s for little people 😊
    
  • You can go under the word count but not over!
  • Title is not included in the word count.
  • Also, being super clear for this year, glow-in-the-dark counts as 1 word (even though it looks like 4 😊)
  • You may use the words in any form i.e. glowed-in-the-dark, goosebumpley, goody (“Oh, goody!”, goody-two-shoes etc.), whathaveyou 😊
  • You are welcome to enter more than one entry – just remember you’ll be competing against yourself 😊
  • No illustration notes please!

And yes, I know 100 words is short, but that’s part of the fun and the challenge! We got just shy of 300 fantastic entries last year, so I know you can do it!

POST: your story in the comment section below between right now this very second and Sunday October 31st at Midnight – the witching hour! Please include your title, word count, and byline with your entry so that if your posting handle is MomNeedsAVacation I’ll still be able to tell who wrote your entry 😊

  • For those of you who would also like to post on your blogs, please feel free to do so! You are welcome to include the link to your blog with your entry in the comment section below so that people can come visit your blog, but all entries must be posted in the comment section of This Post between now and Sunday October 31st at Midnight.
  • If you have difficulty posting your entry to the comments, which unfortunately sometimes happens, you may email your entry to me and I’ll post it for you! Contact button above or [susanna[at]susannahill[dot]com Please place your entry in the body of the email including your title and byline at the top NO ATTACHMENTS! They will not be opened.
  • I know how hard you all work on your entries, and how anxious you are to get them posted, but please try to be a little patient if your entry doesn’t show up immediately. Many comments have to be manually approved, and it sometimes takes me a little while to post entries that come in by email. I promise I will get to everything as soon as I can. I try never to leave my desk during contests, but sometimes it’s unavoidable 😊
  • Side Note: WordPress will not properly format entries written in the shape of a pumpkin (or anything else!) or with fancy or colored fonts or unusual spacing. No matter how great it looks in whatever program you compose it in, be forewarned that when you post it in the comment section it is going to be basic and I am not able to change that for you, I’m afraid.

THE JUDGING: in a grueling marathon over the days following the contest close, my devoted assistants and I will read and re-read and narrow down the entries to a finalist field of about 12 which will be posted here for you to vote on I hope by Friday November 5th (though if the judging takes longer than expected it might be a little later – we will do our best!) The winner will be announced Monday November 8th (good lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise 😊)

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. Use of all 3 required words and whether you came it at 100 words or less.
  • 4. 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.
  • 5. Quality of Writing: check your spelling, grammar, punctuation etc.  If you’re going to rhyme, give us your best 😊  Use and flow of language, correctness of mechanics, excellence of rhyme and meter if you use it, PROOFREADING!
  • 6. Originality and creativity – because that is often what sets one story above another.
  • 7. How well you followed the Submission Guidelines – agents and editors expect professionalism. This is a chance to practice making sure you read and follow specified guidelines. If you don’t follow agent and editor submission guidelines, they won’t even read your submission.

THE PRIZES: So amazing! What wonderful, generous people we have in our kidlit community! Just wait til you see what you can win!

⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique by Dawn Young, author of THE NIGHT BAAFORE CHRISTMAS (WorthyKids, 2019), COUNTING ELEPHANTS (Running Press Kids, 2020), THE NIGHT BAAFORE EASTER (WorthyKids, 2021), THE NIGHT BAAFORE THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL (WorthyKids, 2021), and the brand new ONCE UPON A CHRISTMAS (WorthyKids, October 19, 2021)!

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⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique (nonrhyming) by Janie Reinart, author of WHEN WATER MAKES MUD: A STORY OF REFUGEE CHILDREN (Blue Whale Press, 2021)

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⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique (biography) by Lindsey McDivitt, author of NATURE’S FRIEND: THE GWEN FROSTIC STORY (Sleeping Bear Press, 2018), TRUTH AND HONOR: THE PRESIDENT FORD STORY (Sleeping Bear Press, 2020), and A PLAN FOR THE PEOPLE: NELSON MANDELA’S HOPE FOR HIS NATION (Eerdman’s Books For Young Readers, 2021)

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⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique (rhyming or any) or First 10 Pages of a longer MS (winner’s choice) by Kenda Henthorn, author of the forthcoming BAA, BAA TAP SHEEP (Sleeping Bear Press, April 15, 2022)

Kenda works in the aviation industry now so it’s no surprise that her writing inspirations and aspirations are sky-high, too.  She resides in Oklahoma and when the winds aren’t sweepin’ down the plains, Kenda enjoys acting, flying, kayaking and riding horses or her motorcycle.  (Vroom-vroom!)She has served as a Regional Coordinator for the Oklahoma SCBWI and a Best in Rhyme Award committee member and judge.

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⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique (rhyming or lyrical) by Randi Sonenshine, author of THE NEST THAT WREN BUILT (Candlewick March 2020) and the forthcoming THE LODGE THAT BEAVER BUILT (Candlewick Fall 2022)

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⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique by Danielle Dufayet, author of YOU ARE YOUR STRONG (Magination Press, March 2019) and FANTASTIC YOU (Magination Press, September 2019)

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⭐️ Storyboard Notebook – a great way to draft your picture books! PLUS a deck of What’s The Story Cards to inspire the drafts! PLUS the Making Picture Book Magic Self Study Course to help you craft your draft!

⭐️ Personalized signed copy of ONCE UPON A CHRISTMAS by Dawn Young PLUS your choice of one of the writing craft books listed below!

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⭐️ Personalized signed copy of BRANCHES OF HOPE: The 9/11 Survivor Tree by Ann Magee PLUS your choice of one of the writing craft books listed below!

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⭐️ Personalized signed copy of MIMIC MAKERS: Biomimicry Inventors Inspired by Nature by Kristen Nordstrom PLUS your choice of one of the writing craft books listed below!

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⭐️ Personalized signed copy of A PLAN FOR THE PEOPLE: Nelson Mandela’s Hope for His Nation by Lindsey McDivitt PLUS your choice of one of the writing craft books listed below!

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⭐️ Personalized signed copy of THE NEST THAT WREN BUILT by Randi Sonenshine PLUS your choice of one of the writing craft books listed below!

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⭐️ Personalized signed copy of 13 WAYS TO EAT A FLY by Sue Heavenrich PLUS your choice of one of the writing craft books listed below!

⭐️ Winners of the 6 signed picture books above may also receive their choice of any one of the following writing craft books to go along with their picture book:

Writing Picture Books Revised and Expanded Edition: A Hands-On Guide From Story Creation to Publication by Ann Whitford Paul
Writing Irresistible Kidlit: The Ultimate Guide to Crafting Fiction for Young Adult and Middle Grade Readers by Mary Kole
The Writer’s Guide to Crafting Stories For Children by Nancy Lamb
Yes! You Can Learn How to Write Children’s Books, Get Them Published, and Build a Successful Writing Career by Nancy I. Sanders
Yes! You Can Learn How to Write Beginning Readers and Chapter Books by Nancy I. Sanders
Making a Living Writing Books for Kids: Tips, Techniques, and Tales from a Working Children’s Author by Laura Purdie Salas

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 birthday, holiday or other gift purchases, rating and/or reviewing their books on GoodReads, Amazon, B&N, or anywhere else if you like them, recommending them for school and library visits, and supporting them in any other way you can dream up! 😊

Happy Writing! Happy Reading! And Happy Halloween!

Now, let the Halloweensie begin!

The 294 entries listed below are linked to where they appear in the comments so you can click on the titles and get right to them! (Assuming WordPress cooperates . . . fingers crossed!) Anyone who feels kind can start at the bottom of the list so those entries get some comments too! 🎃 😊

  1. Isolated For Halloween – S. J. Little
  2. A Halloween Time Machine – Sara Kruger
  3. Weather’s Trick, Witch’s Treat – Abby N. Wooldridge
  4. Halloween Is LIT! – Anne Lipton
  5. Kit’s Costume – Kari Ann Gonzalez
  6. Mean Halloween – Heather Ferranti Kinser
  7. A Witchy Switch – Katie Schwartz
  8. The Porchlight – Chris Garcia-Halenar
  9. Bruce Goose – Jessica Hinrichs
  10. Undersea Halloween – Vashti Verbowski
  11. Sweet Swap – Daniella Kaufman-Schloss
  12. The Halloween Witch – Trista Herring Baughman
  13. The Lonely Pumpkin Head – Elle Jaufret
  14. Hallows’ Eve – E. A. Peterson
  15. Whose Cat Is THAT? – Beth Stillborn
  16. This Pumpkin’s Not For Picking – Laura Howard
  17. The Jimjam – Carrie Karnes-Fannin
  18. Trick Likes Treats, But So Does Swoop – Melissa Valente
  19. The Haunted House High Up On The Hill – Sue Lancaster
  20. Tricked The Treats – Katie Fischer
  21. A Helpful Ghost – Emily Durant
  22. The Wraith On My Wrist or Ghostie Lost In City Mist – Sally Yorke-Viney
  23. Three Little Geese Do Halloween – Linda Williams Swanson
  24. A Glowing Solution – Nicole Loos Miller
  25. Warning: May Contain Sugar – Amy Leskowski
  26. How Hannah Saved Halloween – Colleen Murphy
  27. Double Meaning Halloween Knight – Debbie Meneses
  28. Untitled – Shariffa
  29. The Scavenger’s Feast Ball – Sarah Hetu-Radny
  30. ‘Tis The Season, Candy Eaters – Hannah Roy LaGrone
  31. Greta’s Glow-In-The-Dark Goosebumps – Susan E. Schipper
  32. Bobbing For Apples – Lyn Jekowsky
  33. The Perfect Pumpkin – Barbara Kimmel
  34. No More Sugar! – Sarah K. Rose
  35. Fairy-Fire – Vanessa Konoval
  36. Creepy Cook-Off – Sarah Meade
  37. Macy & Lucy’s Halloween – Sarah Meade
  38. Ghostly Linens – Stephanie Maksymiw
  39. Happy HOWL-oween – Lindsey Hobson
  40. Three Glowing Bats – Sherry Roberts
  41. Halloween Family Secret – Jennifer Mary Grolemund
  42. A Sick Day – Jany Campana
  43. The Pied Pumpkin Of Halloween – Marta Cutler
  44. Creatures From The Couch – Julie Hansen
  45. Alligator The Ghost – Marta Cutler
  46. Goose-Zilla – Linda Staszak
  47. Welcome To The Skeleton Dance – Sue Heavenrich
  48. Teal Halloween – Kathleen Lowry
  49. The Gloves – Stephanie Rondeau
  50. Ghoulie Rulies – Brenda Whitehead
  51. Tricky Treaters – P. J. Purtee
  52. Garth’s Game Changer – Darcee A. Freier
  53. Nabbed! – Abby Voss
  54. The Wart-Covered Tree – Danielle Arndt
  55. The Last Fall Firefly – Meagan T. Gentry
  56. Who Cares If It’s Cold? – Allison Strick
  57. Glenda’s Goosebumps – Susan Burd
  58. The Candy Thief – Meagan T. Gentry
  59. Halloween Hero – Rose Cappelli
  60. The Halloween Ball – Marta Cutler
  61. Scary-Go-Round – Catherine Catcho
  62. The Scariest Monster – Marty McCormick Bellis
  63. Fright Night – Marty Findley
  64. Halloween Eve – Barbara Renner
  65. Wilbur Werewolf – Deb Buschman
  66. Teeny Owl’s Spooky Halloween – Janet Parkinson Bryce
  67. No Room For Monsters – Jill Stuck
  68. Ghost House – HC Morris
  69. Boogie Man’s Bright Idea – Jenn Shetsen Wierda
  70. Swamp Beast Falls For Sweets – Jilanne Hoffman
  71. Have You Seen My Monster – Alan Elliott
  72. Halloween Hang-Ups – Russell Wolff
  73. Mark Lights The Way – Karyn Curtis
  74. Halloween Pie – Jill Stuck
  75. The Costume – C. E. King
  76. I’m Coming To Get You – Pat Holloway
  77. The Frightmare – Linda Staszak
  78. Frankie & Gigi: Trick Or Feet – Kira Barrett
  79. Home For Halloween – Melissa Miles
  80. Not The Costume I Wanted – Michelle S. Kennedy
  81. Goosey Glender’s Fall Feast – Bartybear
  82. Halloween Scavenger Hunt – Denise Seidman
  83. Stink Fairy’s Hallo-smelly-ween – Stacey Miller
  84. Hallowmas – Danielle S. Hammelef
  85. Goosebumps For Mother Goose – Lynne Marie
  86. How Do You Tickle A Ghost? – Kizzi Hutcheson
  87. Dragon Magic – Melissa Rotert
  88. Gretyl Hobbled Into Halloween History – Royal Baysinger
  89. Shiver And Sugar! – Abby Voss
  90. Monster Feast – Abby Voss
  91. Are You Ready To Trick-Or-Treat? – Corine Timmer
  92. Christmas In October – Vanessa Konoval
  93. Spooky ABCs – Alan Elliott
  94. Dragon And Pirate’s Halloween – Alan Elliott
  95. Tiny’s Halloween Flight – Carolyn C. Snelling
  96. Rainbow Bridge – Corine Timmer
  97. Great-Aunt Broomhilda – Josh Cohen
  98. Cirque Fantome – Kizzi Hutcheson
  99. A Knock On The Door – Pamela Swanson
  100. Trick-Or-Treat Nightmare – Cindy Sommer
  101. Worth The Climb – Armineh Manookian
  102. Thank You, Trick-Or-Treaters! For Protecting Your Mother – Sharon McCarthy
  103. Beware, Out There – Julie Lerczak
  104. The Haunted Bathroom – Jill Lambert
  105. Plan Bee – Jenny Morales
  106. “BOO!”K Spooky Halloween – Laura N. Clement
  107. The Witch’s Mistake – Jennifer Kaap
  108. Itsy B. Spider – Molly Ippolito
  109. Too Many Goodies – Rachel Krackeler
  110. Ghostmetics – Rozana Rajkumari
  111. Santa’s Halloween – Jen MacGregor
  112. My Scariest Halloween Night – Les Degnan
  113. Winnie Trick-Or-Treats – Dorothy Kohrherr
  114. Camping Surprise – Meredith Flory
  115. Halloween Hunt – Mary Ann Featherston
  116. The Glow-In-The-Dark Bowl – Kathy Scott
  117. The Haunted House – Carmen Castillo Gilbert
  118. Once Upon A Halloween – Colourbeam
  119. A Witchy Potion – Susan Summers
  120. A Giant Surprise – Susan Summers
  121. Hollow-Eeek! – Karen Keesling
  122. Once Upon A Halloween – Nadia Ali
  123. Halloween Battle: (Vampire) Squid vs. (Goblin) Shark – Laura Bower
  124. Happy, Happy Halloween – Claire Freeland
  125. Mr. O’Leary’s House – Nina Nolan
  126. Phantom Festival – Lynn Moore
  127. The Surprise Halloween Friend – Cindy Greene
  128. Goosebumps – Amy Flynn
  129. Ninja Goose And The Halloween Hi-Yah! – Deborah Foster
  130. Tricky Treat – Patricia Nozell
  131. A Halloween Snack – Debra Daugherty
  132. Escaping Planet Taradiddle – Colleen Daugherty
  133. First Halloween Treat – Natalie Cohn
  134. My Last Trick-Or-Treat – Reed Hilton-Eddy
  135. Glowing Ghost – Lauri C. Meyers
  136. hALLYween SPELL – Paul Roncone
  137. Halloween Love – Marla Yablon
  138. Cockroach’s Glowing Problem – Lori Himmel
  139. Scaredy-Cat Pat And The Haunted House – Sara Dean
  140. Let The Real Halloween Begin! – Lori Evans
  141. Ixchel’s Belizean Halloween – Blanca Manzanilla
  142. Emy Is Always Right – Katharyn R. Benessa
  143. Tricky Treat – Ann Grilli
  144. Jack’s Pumpkin Plan – Diana Murrell
  145. Lights In The Dark – Ivanka Dimitrova
  146. Fraidy Cat No More – Jennifer Cherry
  147. Galactic Trick-Or-Treat – Tiffany Hanson
  148. My Ghost Bubble Friend – Sheila R. Schmotzer
  149. R-R-R-Rattled – Gennie Gorback
  150. Glow-In-The-Dark Goodies – Leslie Collins
  151. Moonlit Love – Liz Kehrli
  152. Un-Spooky Halloween – Krista Legge
  153. Stella Shines – Laura Barens
  154. Tabby The Trouble Maker – Dawn Renee Young
  155. The Nameless Ghoul – Imelda Taylor
  156. How The Jack-O-Lantern Found His Real Smile – Sheri Palmer
  157. Halloween Chase – Connie Newbauer
  158. Spidey Sparkles – Angelique Lamour
  159. Never Trick A Witch – Tiffany Hanson
  160. Halloween Monster – Tiffany Hanson
  161. The Halloween Sleepover – Kelsey E. Gross
  162. Goose Bumped – Jen Subra
  163. The Rock – Trista Herring Baughman
  164. Halloween Pumpkin – Shariffa
  165. A Tricky Tattoo – Gregory E. Bray
  166. Brave, Adalaide – Katie Walsh
  167. March Of The Skeletons – Jill Richards Proctor
  168. Little Night Terrors – Obbverse
  169. The Mansion On Maple – Glenda Roberson
  170. The Graveyard Picnic – Gabrielle Cardwell
  171. Halloween Heebie-Jeebies – Karen Pickrell
  172. A Few Of The Scariest Things: A Parody To The Tune Of My Favorite Things – Ingrid Boydston
  173. The Witch Of Jekyll Island – Shampa Enayet
  174. FEELINGUNSEENONHALLOWEEN – Nicola Beach
  175. Hank’s Halloween Costume? (A Riddle In A Story) – Ken Major
  176. All Hallow’s Eve – Stacey Miller
  177. Molly’s Ghost – Hobbo
  178. The Witch’s House – Emma Wood
  179. My Word – It’s Halloween! – Jamie Donahoe
  180. Switched On And Off – Diana Webb
  181. A Night With Gran – Diana Webb
  182. Boys Will Be Boys – Matt Snyder
  183. Flicker Of A Cat’s Tail – Jacqui Boulter
  184. Pumpkin Train – Kathy Raggio
  185. The Alien – M. Waknitz
  186. Jellyfish George’s Halloween – Scott Kinder
  187. Skeleton’s Halloween – M. Waknitz
  188. Twyla Z. Witch – Lori Dubbin
  189. Witch’s Brew – K. Sibilia
  190. It’s Halloween – Elizabeth Muster
  191. Capture The Goodies On Halloween – Ames Jegen (age 11)
  192. (Not) A Very Scary Story – Linda Staszak
  193. Halloween Helpers – Ellen Seal
  194. Halloween Warning – Stephanie Henson
  195. Leaping Lizards! – Sharon Match
  196. Graveyard Bully – Jean James
  197. The Greatest Night Of The Year – Krista Harrington
  198. Halloween Hide And Seek – Melissa Wrex
  199. Trick Or Treat Night – Emily Keifer
  200. Oscar’s Irresistible Brew – Lucretia Schafroth
  201. All Hallow’s Eve At The Roller Rink – Bonnie Kelso
  202. My Halloween Crew – Alana DeVito
  203. Post Halloween Goals – Amy Reitz
  204. The Card Game – Cathy Lee
  205. Quiet Night – Thelia Hutchinson
  206. Trick-Or-Treat, Night Animals!: A Halloween Story – Mary Catherine Amadu
  207. A Halloween Tail – Janice Kay
  208. An Inch – Susan Leigh Needham
  209. Underwater Halloween – Judy Sobanski
  210. The Lonely Scarecrow – Sarah Atherton
  211. The Little Witch – Deborah Hunt
  212. Waking The Dead – Nancy Derey Riley
  213. A Not-So-Sweet Halloween – Erika Romero
  214. It’s Halloween In Toothytown – Kristen Littlefield
  215. Until It’s Safe – Brittany Saulnier
  216. First Halloween – Karen deWilde
  217. You Are What You Eat – Alexa Tuttle
  218. Once Upon A Halloween – Carrie O’Leary
  219. Goodie Ghost’s Halloween Screams – KJ Albright
  220. A Bunny Can Dream – Becky Walker
  221. Ogre’s Halloween – Barbara DiMarco
  222. Monster Lipstick – Kathi Morrison-Taylor
  223. Ghoulies Grand Soiree – MaryAnn Cortez
  224. Haunting Gnomes – Lindsay Moretti
  225. Goosebumped Ghoul And Scattered Skeleton – Sarah Kohls Roberts
  226. Not This Time – Sandhya Acharya
  227. How To Sneak A Halloween Treat – Alicia Meyers
  228. I Wish. . . – Amy Duchene
  229. Bram’s Hunt – Michaela Almeida
  230. Terrific Toothpaste! – Heather Gallagher
  231. The After Party – Samantha Sinclair
  232. The Final Hour – Ashlee MacCallum
  233. Halloween Gala – Tonnye Williams Fletcher
  234. Halloween Bites – Melissa-Jane Nguyen
  235. Double, Double Toilet Trouble – Stephanie Amargi
  236. Henley’s Haunted House – Jeannette Suhr
  237. Disguise Surprise – Nancy Derey Riley
  238. Enough – David McMullin
  239. Witches Aren’t Supposed To Be Afraid Of The Dark – Ally Piper
  240. Frankenpixie – Paul Kurtz
  241. Scaredy-Monster – Paul Kurtz
  242. Halloween’s The Worst! – Donna Kurtz
  243. Bunny’s Bored! – Donna Kurtz
  244. The Goblin Market – Aly Kenna
  245. Wilfred The Wizard – Nicola Thackrey
  246. Halloweenie – Jana Mattern
  247. The Last House On Halloween – Bru Benson
  248. Ghostly, Ghastly, Goosebumps – Janet F. Smart
  249. Astronaut Aidan – Kaye Wright
  250. The Halloween Dare – Erin Cleary
  251. Dracula’s First Halloween – Eleanor Cullen
  252. Pumpkin Dawn – TSW Sharman
  253. A Southern Halloween – Trista Herring Baughman
  254. The Candy Monster – Judy Cooper
  255. The Halloween Potty – Andrew Hacket
  256. It Absolutely Will Be A Fine Night – Susan Krevat
  257. Halloween Goodies – Una Belle Townsend
  258. It’s Dark In Here – Sue Ko
  259. Eyelashes – Sue Ko
  260. Fall – Sue Ko
  261. Too Dark – Rae Harkness
  262. Boo – Mary Ann Napolitano
  263. Much Too Goody – Sarah Hawklyn
  264. Candy Surprise – Julianna Kurtz
  265. Halloween Surprise – Judy Egan
  266. Trick-Or-Treat At 20 Below – Matthew Lasley
  267. Gotcha! – Pat Finnegan
  268. The House Next Door – Aundra Tomlins
  269. No Grownups! – Penny McNally
  270. The Halloween Party – Claire Schlinkert
  271. Can We Please Skip The Costumes? – JC Kelly
  272. How Would She Know? – Meredith Adams
  273. The Day After Halloween – Haven Blough
  274. Brujita’s Treat – Desi Vee
  275. Spooky Investigates – Jessica Murray
  276. The Best Medicine – Becky Falkum
  277. You Ain’t Nothin’ But A Hot Dog – Joyce Schriebman
  278. Witches Holiday – Nadia Nakib
  279. Halloween Hocus Potion – Shelley Kinder
  280. Goats And Goblins – Briana Joy McCormick
  281. Next Halloween – JC Kelly
  282. Pirate’s Halloween – Marjorie David
  283. Silly Goose – Sarah Marhevsky
  284. All’s Fair In Spook And Scare – Patricia J. Weaver
  285. Smartie Treat – Steena Hernandez
  286. Haunted Hunt – Dea Brayden and Linsday Brayden Ellis
  287. The Glow-In-The-Dark Goodies – Christopher Singleton, Sr
  288. Witches Woods – Bevin Rolfs Spencer
  289. Invite A Witch To Your Halloween Party?! – Holly Vagley
  290. Pumpkin’s Halloween – Holly Vagley
  291. Halloween Moon – Martha Holguin

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Big Cat, Little Cat

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, Everyone!

I have a such a touching book to share with you.

I’ve shared it before, but this was a hard week – my beloved Scouty crossed the rainbow bridge – and though this book is about cats, not a dog, it’s still the book I feel like sharing today.

Perhaps this lovely book particularly appeals to me because its message of loving, losing, and new beginnings strikes a chord with me right now, but I think anyone and everyone can appreciate what it has to offer.  I wish I could show you the whole thing – every page! – but you’ll just have to trot right out to the library after PPBF! 😊

Big Cat Little Cat

Title: Big Cat, Little Cat

Written & Illustrated By: Elisha Cooper

Roaring Brook Press, March 2017, fiction

Suitable For Ages: 3-6 years

Themes/Topics: friendship, cycle of life

Opening: “There was a cat who lived alone.  Until the day a new cat came…”

big cat little cat 2
copyright Elisha Cooper 2017

Brief Synopsis: Two cats become friends and do everything together until one day the older cat has to go…and he doesn’t come back.

Links To Resources:  draw a picture of you and your pet; write a story or poem about your pet; how would you describe your pet to someone who had never met it?  talk about what love means – is love for a pet the same as love for a sibling or friend or parent?  what are some things that let you know you love someone, or that someone loves you?  has a pet you loved ever died?  how did it make you feel?  what did you do to feel better?

Why I Like This Book: I LOVE this book.  It is the most beautiful, perfect, sweet book I’ve read in a long, long time.  186 words of sheer genius.  The kind of book every writer (well, at least this one!) dreams of writing.  A full, emotionally satisfying, complete story arc in less than 200 words.  Simple, yet so evocative.  Wonder and delight, learning and play, joy, contentment, friendship, love, grief, endings and beginnings – it’s all here.  The art is  a perfect complement – simple black and white drawings that convey personality, action, expression, and just enough detail, with one page in gray to show sadness, and a soft glow of pale butternut on just three pages to show warmth and contentment.  The text and art are also thoughtfully spaced to give time and distance where needed.  A lovely book to gently help children understand life, love, loss, new life and new love.  And writers, if you haven’t seen this book, rush out and read it – seriously I am not kidding! – a fabulous example of how to do it right!  Definitely in the “wish I wrote that!” category 😊

big cat little cat 3
copyright Elisha Cooper 2017

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!!! 🙂

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Hardly Haunted

Welcome to Perfect Picture Book Friday, Everyone!

As some of you may have noticed, Halloween is coming! 🎃🧙🏿‍♀️👻

So what better time for a story about a haunted house?

This one is so cute scary! 😊

Title: Hardly Haunted

Written & Illustrated By: Jessie Sima

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers, fiction, July 2021

Suitable For Ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: being yourself, self-acceptance, holidays (Halloween)

text and illustration copyright Jessie Sima 2021, Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers

Opening: “There was a house on a hill,
and that house was worried.”

Brief Synopsis:House has a problem. The evidence seems to suggest that she might be HAUNTED! How will she ever find a family who wants to make her a haunted home?

text and illustration copyright Jessie Sima 2021, Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
text and illustration copyright Jessie Sima 2021, Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers

Links To Resources: Haunted House Activities for Kids; Haunted Cookie Houses and Black Cat Cookies (and honestly I think you could easily do a haunted house cookie activity using chocolate graham crackers and icing if you don’t want to do all the gingerbread template baking!)

Why I Like This Book: Some kids like scary books. Mine were not in that category! 😊 So this is the kind of perfect Halloween book that I love. It hints at spookiness, and has a little suspense in the story, without being at all scary. After all, no one wants nightmares! The story is told from the point of view of the house, but there’s a delightful little black cat who appears on every page, adding to the story with her reactions. And while the house is concerned about her potential hauntedness, the art is so appealing that it makes her much more endearing than scary. Although this is a story appropriate for the Halloween season with its nod toward spookiness, it is also a story about being who you are and accepting yourself – always something kids can benefit from. Young readers will delight in this story and fall in love with the friendly little house…even if she is haunted 😊

text and illustration copyright Jessie Sima 2021, Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do 😊

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

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

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! 😊