Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Writing Challenge – Week 7!

My goodness!

How time flies!

Can you believe we’re on the last week of our little challenge already?  I’ve been having so much fun and enjoying all your creativity so much that it seems like we just started!

I want to apologize for getting a little behind with the updating and commenting.  A family situation came up and I’m not having much time to work.  But I promise I’ll sort it all out eventually, and I appreciate your patience in the meantime! 😊

This is the last week, so if you want to be eligible for the prize drawing (so many AMAZING prizes!!!) be sure to have all 7 of your entries posted in the comment section of the correct post (links to each week below) by Saturday June 27th at midnight!  I’ll announce the randomly drawn prize winners next Monday – June 29th.

Now! Let’s jump into Week 7!

Mix 'n' Match Mini Writing Challenge

Mix ‘n’ Match Mini is a 7 week writing challenge for anyone who needs a little boost or a little encouragement to get writing. . . or maybe just a little fun during this bizarre stay-at-home spring!

You get to write your own story, enjoy and be entertained by everyone else’s stories, and get yourself in the running for some awesome prizes (please see the end of the blog post for a list of all the prize goodies!)

To be eligible for the prize drawing you must enter all 7 weeks.

For a full description of the challenge or to add your Week #1 entry, please go HERE (Week #1)

To add your Week #2 entry, please go HERE (Week #2)

To add your Week #3 entry, please go HERE (Week #3)

To add your Week #4 entry, please go HERE (Week #4)

To add your Week #5 entry, please go HERE (Week #5)

To add your Week #6 entry, please fo HERE (Week #6)

 

Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Writing Prompt #7 for Week of June 22:

So far we’ve played with characters, setting, and emotion (or a combination, depending on where your random choosing landed you), with nursery rhymes and point of view, with a picture prompt, fun names, and a plot point, with fairy tales taking place in a new setting, with “How To”, and with getting into the young child mindset with only/always/never statements!  This week, for our final challenge, we’re going to do Summer Superheroes! 😊

Choose a superpower from Column A and an object/item from Column B and write a 100 word story for kids about a character of your choosing – boy scout, unicorn princess, sweet potato. . .  – anything goes 😊 that has, or meets someone with, the super power and includes the object.

Column A – Super Powers Column B – Objects/Items
Time travel Sand pail
Invisibility S’mores
Mind reading Picnic or barbecue
Xray vision Popsicle
Breathe underwater Pool float
Supersonic speed Goggles
Superhuman strength Shark or mermaid
Elasticty The Sun
Flight Camp Songs

You can write about Lily and Ben going on a picnic and meeting up with an invisible squirrel who is making off with their peanut butter sandwiches, or a time-traveling cave cricket who resolves an inter-cabin dispute at Camp Uggahmuggah by gathering all the kids around a fire and teaching them fun camp songs, or a Super Kid with xray vision whose powers are compromised at a crucial moment by ultraviolet swim goggles. . .  or anything else that inspires you!

  • Stories can rhyme or not – totally up to you!
  • You can go under or over 100 words if you want to – also totally up to you! – 100 is a guideline
  • If you’re deeply inspired by a super power or object/item that is not on the list you can use that instead – as long as you write a story as outlined above – the purpose here is inspiration and to get you writing!
  • For simplicity’s sake (and to aid skimming readers who might be interested in a particular thing) please be sure to put the super power and object/item you chose at the top of your entry along with your name and word count.

 

I’m not sure I’m going to have time for my little just for fun sample this week,  but if I can, I’ll add it in here! 😊

 

 

Now come join the fun! Get some writing done! Encourage your kids (or students) to give it a try! Or just have a good time together reading what other folks have written!

Remember, this is the last week, so if you want to be eligible for the prize drawing be sure to have all 7 of your entries posted in the comment section of the correct post (links to each week above) by Saturday June 27th at midnight.  I’ll announce the randomly drawn prize winners next Monday – June 29th.

Ready, set, WRITE! 😊

(And remember, for full details on the 7 week challenge you can check HERE)

(And if you need to motivate yourself scroll down to see all the amazing prizes you could win!!! 😊)

 

Check out the Week #7 stories!

Time Travel Freezing Power – Dawn Young (time travel, freezing power, popsicle)

Marty The Fly – Sue Lancaster (time travel, the sun)

Princess Supersonic Speed – Sara Ackerman (supersonic speed, popsicle)

Popsicles At Sunset – Matthew Lasley (popsicle)

Endless Freeze – Brenda Whitehead (time travel, popsicle)

Mia Flying Heart Girl – Lily Erlic (flight, hearts)

Supersonic Speed S’Mores – Jamie Bechtelheimer

Elasticity And Goggles – Ugo Anidi

When The Baby’s Allowed To Wish – Colleen Murphy (super size)

Untitled – Dot Anson (invisibility, popsicle)

Ed’s New Pair Of Sneakers – Jess Murray (superhuman speed, popsicle)

Marlene And The Fish – Patricia Nozell (breathe underwater, goggles)

The Crab And The Sun – Candice Conner (flight, the sun)

Soother – Mary Van Beuren (elasticity, electric guitar)

Limerick For Week 7 – Marty (superhuman strength, picnic)

Blaze – Rose Cappelli (invisibility, s’mores)

Untitled – Kay DiVerde (invisibility, popsicle)

The Sweet Smell Of Friendship – Jill Lambert (invisibility, s’mores)

Mind Reader – Rebecca Gardyn Levington (mind reading, goggles)

Lunch Lady – Susan Inez (elasticity, picnic)

Shark Breath – Deb Buschman (breathe underwater, shark)

Dr. Whooo – Susan Schipper (time travel, goggles)

A Melodious Picnic – Deb Sullivan (mind reading, camp songs)

X-Ray Birthday – Genevieve Petrillo (X-Ray vision, popsicle, goggles)

Saving Mermaid Arie – Cindy Boyll (breathe underwater, mermaid, goggles)

Rocks Rule – Amy Flynn (superhuman strength, pail)

Singing For His Supper – Penny Adler (elasticity, campfire songs)

Rocco Raccoon – Ashley Congdon (x-ray vision, goggles)

Fire Focus – Leslie Denkers (lights fires, a surprise, s’mores, bbq grill, popsicles)

Limerick #2 for Week 7 – Marty (supersonic speed, s’mores)

Lindy’s Flight Fright – Sarah Meade (flight)

Fish Camp Rocks – Katie Schwartz (breathe underwater, camp songs)

Dig It Up Jay – Michelle S. Kennedy (superhuman strength, sand pail, mermaid)

Untitled – Alicia Meyers Kelly (invisibility, goggles)

Untitled – Linda Schueler (time travel, popsicle)

Goggles The Supercow – Tracy(goggles)

True Blue – Corine Timmer

Week 7 Limerick – Liz Kehrli (flight, the moon)

Week 7 – Ketan Ram (X-ray vision, goggles)

The Super Babysitter – Mia Geiger (elastic, super)

Pudgy The Hero – Barbara Renner (superhuman strength, the sun)

Untitled – Heather Hatch (mind reading, picnic)

Sneaky Drake – Kristy Roser Nuttall (invisibility, s’mores)

All Bread Is Created Equal – Susan Krevat (time travel, s’mores)

 

 

PRIZES & PRIZES OF ALL SHAPES AND SIZES!

When it comes time for prizes, names of all those who completed the challenge will be drawn randomly and matched with prizes drawn randomly until we run out! 😊

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

For Spacious Skies by Nancy Churnin, award-winning author of so many fabulous books I don’t have space to list them all! Visit her website or Amazon Page!

For Spacious Skies

Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Kirstine Erekson Call, author of THE RAINDROP WHO COULDN’T FALL (Character Publishing 2013) and the forthcoming MOOTILDA’S BAD MOOD (Little Bee Books, September 2020), COW SAYS MEOW (HMH March 2021), and COLD TURKEY (Little Brown Spring 2021)

Kirsti Call Mootilda

Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Ellen Leventhal, author of DON’T EAT THE BLUEBONNETS (Spork 2017), HAYFEST: A Holiday Quest (ABCs Press 2010), and LOLA CAN’T LEAP (Spork 2018)

Ellen Leventhal Lola Can't Leap

Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Lindsay Hanson Metcalf, author of BEATRIX POTTER, SCIENTIST (September 2020), FARMERS UNITE!: PLANTING A PROTEST FOR FAIR PRICES (Calkins Creek November 2020), and NO VOICE TOO SMALL: FOURTEEN YOUNG AMERICANS MAKING HISTORY (Charlesbridge September 2020)

Lindsay+H.+Metcalf+(CREDIT+ANNA+JACKSON)+copy Beatric Potter

Picture Book Manuscript Critique (non rhyming) from Kaye Baillie, author of BOO LOVES BOOKS (New Frontier Publishing October 2020), and MESSAGE IN A SOCK (Midnight Sun Publishing 2018)

kaye-baillie-author-headshot Boo Loves Books message-in-a-sock-cover-1_2

Your choice of EITHER a Picture Book Manuscript Critique or a Virtual Visit with Keila Dawson, author of THE KING CAKE BABY (Pelican 2015), and NO VOICE TOO SMALL: FOURTEEN YOUNG AMERICANS MAKING HISTORY (Charlesbridge September 2020)

Screen Shot 2020-05-11 at 1.51.59 PM King Cake baby Keila No Voice Too Small

 

Winner’s Choice of Webinar from the amazing Alayne Kay Christian, author of picture books Butterfly Kisses, An Old Man And His Penguin, and the forthcoming The Weed That Woke Christmas and the chapter book series of Sienna The Cowgirl Fairy, and editor at Blue Whale Press!  Webinar choices include: How A Picture Book Is Made, Perfecting Your Critique, Top Ten Reasons For Rejection, and How To Write Powerful First Pages Like A Pro!

Alayne butterfly kisses An Old Man and His Penguin

 

15 Minute Video Chat – ask your questions about writing, research, submissions – whatever’s on your mind! –  with Christy Mihaly, author of DIET FOR A CHANGING PLANET: Food for Thought(Twenty-first Century Books/Lerner 2018), HEY, HEY, HAY!
A Tale of Bales and the Machines That Make Them (Holiday House 2018) , and FREE FOR YOU AND ME: What Our First Amendment Means (Albert Whitman March 2020)

Chris closeup Free For You And Me HEY, HEY, HAY! Cover

Quick Impressions on your Picture Book Manuscript from Rosie Pova, author of IF I WEREN’T WITH YOU (Spork 2017), SARAH’S SONG (Spork 2017), the forthcoming SUNDAY RAIN (Lantana Publishing March 2021) and others.

Rosie Pova Sunday Rain

RONAN THE LIBRARIAN, (Roaring Brook Press April 2020) brand new fromfabulous author Tara Luebbe

Ronan

Your Choice of EITHER A Picture Book Manuscript Critique (fiction, non-rhyming) or an Ask Anything 15 Minute Video or Phone Chat with Tara Luebbe, author of  SHARK NATE-O,(Little Bee Books 2018), I AM FAMOUS ( Albert Whitman 2018), I USED TO BE FAMOUS (Albert Whitman 2019), OPERATION PHOTOBOMB (Albert Whitman 2019), and RONAN THE LIBRARIAN (Roaring Brook Press 2020) (see above)

Tara Luebbe Shark Nate-O

Sherry Howard, author of Rock And Roll Woods (Spork 2018) and a series of Nonfiction Middle Grade titles for Escape Publishing (2019)

Sherry Howard (4) Cover Rock and Roll Woods

Sherry Howard MG NF Books

is offering 6 of her nonfiction middle grade titles which will go to 6 lucky winners!

Ann Whitford Paul, author of Writing Picture Books (being donated by Becky Scharnhorst below), the book we ALL use as our picture book bible 😊, and countless wonderful picture books, is offering signed copies of her IF ANIMALS… Series (Farrar Straus Giroux):

Ann Whitford Paul

If Animals Went To School                     If Animals Kissed Good Night

If Animals Went To School (2019)         If Animals Kissed Good Night (2008)

If Animals Said I Love You                     If Animals Celebrated Christmas

If Animals Said I Love You (2017)        If Animals Celebrated Christmas (2018)

If you would like to benefit from her picture book wisdom, please sign up for her newsletter HERE!

A hand lettered quote of someone’s choice from a picture book,  or a quote about reading or writing that could be framed as a gift for a child’s bedroom, a writer you know and love, or an inspiration for writing in your own work space (why shouldn’t you give yourself a present?!) offered by Kristy Roser Nuttall! (Samples below – you can choose your own quote!)

Kristy Nuttall 20200512_092224 20200512_091604

Making Picture Book Magic – Self Study Class any month (x3)

MPBM

Writing Picture Books by Ann Whitford Paul, donated by Becky Scharnhorst whose debut picture book P.S. Camp Wildwood Stinks will be released in Summer 2021 from Philomel!

Writing Picture Books Revised and Expanded Edition: A Hands-On Guide From Story Creation to Publication by [Ann Whitford Paul]

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert donated by Becky Scharnhorst whose debut picture book P.S. Camp Wildwood Stinks will be released in Summer 2021 from Philomel!

Big Magic

The Nuts & Bolts Guide To Writing Picture Books by Linda Ashman (only available for Kindle) (x2)

The Nuts and Bolts Guide to Writing Picture Books by [Linda Ashman]

Magnetic Poetry – Little Box of Happiness

Magnetic Poetry - Little Box of Happiness Kit - Words for Refrigerator - Write Poems and Letters on The Fridge - Made in The USA

 

The Story Book Knight by Helen Docherty

storybook knight

This Book Is Gray by Lindsay Ward

This Book Is Gray

Story Cubes

Screen Shot 2020-05-10 at 11.23.08 PM

Writing Journal (x10)

5358C071-383B-4EF4-ADFD-353F737E23E5_1_201_a

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Writing Challenge – Week 6!

Good morning, my friends!

It’s Monday!
It’s Monday!
That means it’s writing fun-day!
Grab a pen
and come join in!
We’ll all be published one-day! 😊

I made up that song just for you!  You can sing it to “It’s raining, it’s pouring!” hehehe 😊 It can be like our fight song 😊 Rah! Rah! Rah!

Now let’s jump in to Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Week 6!

Mix 'n' Match Mini Writing Challenge

Mix ‘n’ Match Mini is a 7 week writing challenge for anyone who needs a little boost or a little encouragement to get writing. . . or maybe just a little fun during this bizarre stay-at-home spring!

You get to write your own story, enjoy and be entertained by everyone else’s stories, and get yourself in the running for some awesome prizes (please see the end of the blog post for a list of all the prize goodies!)

To be eligible for the prize drawing you must enter all 7 weeks.

For a full description of the challenge or to add your Week #1 entry, please go HERE (Week #1)

To add your Week #2 entry, please go HERE (Week #2)

To add your Week #3 entry, please go HERE (Week #3)

To add your Week #4 entry, please go HERE (Week #4)

To add your Week #5 entry, please go HERE (Week #5)

 

Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Writing Prompt #6 for Week of June 15:

So far we’ve played with characters, setting, and emotion (or a combination, depending on where your random choosing landed you), with nursery rhymes and point of view, with a picture prompt, fun names, and a plot point, with fairy tales taking place in a new setting, and with “How To” 😊  This week we’re going to get right into the young child mindset! Behavior and choices tell us a lot about personality and character!

Begin with:

I (or Name) only/always eat  __________!
(first or third person, present or past tense – either is fine)

OR

I (or Name) never eat __________!
(first or third person, present or past tense – either is fine)

and choose a Simile from Column A, a Food from Column B, and/or a position from Column C to fill in the blank!

Column A – simile Column B – food Column C – position
Like a pig Peanut butter (or nut-free alternative 😊) Upside down
Like a bird Things that are orange On the floor
Like a horse Things that are square In his/her treehouse

So your story might begin:

I always eat in my treehouse!

or

Dumpling never ate like a pig!

or

Zoe only ate things that were orange, and she only ate them on the floor!

  • Stories can rhyme or not – totally up to you!
  • You can go under or over 100 words if you want to – also totally up to you! – 100 is a guideline
  • If you’re deeply inspired by another simile, food, or position that is not on the list you can use that instead – as long as you write a story as outlined above – the purpose here is inspiration and to get you writing!
  • For simplicity’s sake (and to aid skimming readers who might be interested in a particular thing) please be sure to put the simile, food, and/or position you chose at the top of your entry along with your name and word count.

 

Here is my little just for fun sample 😊

Just Like Mom (27 words – can you believe it? from ME?!)
position – upside down

Smidge always ate upside down.
A choice that made other folks frown.
But his mom only smiled
At her bottoms-up child.
“Monkey see, monkey do,” she’d expound!

Okay 😊 I took a few liberties using “expound”! 😊  I’d better leave the limericks to Marty, who has done one every week of the challenge so far!

Now come join the fun! Get some writing done! Encourage your kids (or students) to give it a try! Or just have a good time together reading what other folks have written!

Ready, set, WRITE! 😊

(And remember, for full details on the 7 week challenge you can check HERE)

(And if you need to motivate yourself scroll down to see all the amazing prizes you could win!!! 😊)

 

Check out the Week #6 stories!

(apologies for the delays in updating this week – family situation)

I Only Eat Like A Llama – Jamie Bechtelheimer (only, like a llama)

Marigold Eats Orange – Candice Marley Conner (only, things that are orange)

Eating With Gigi – Dawn Young (only, things that begin with P, treehouse)

Neater Eater – Cupcake The Dog (never, like a pig)

Polly’s Peanut Butter Passion – Patricia Nozell (only, peanut butter)

Drip Drop Plop – Brenda Whitehead (only, way up high, on the floor)

Doodle Dot – Cindy Boyll (like Minnie Mouse, dots, everywhere)

Charlie’s Cheesy Choices – Deb Buschman (like a cow, cheese, in the barn)

Lulu – Rose Cappelli (always, foods that begin with L)

Untitled – Colleen Murphy (never, in the stable)

Penny Never Ate Upside Down – Barbara Renner (never, upside down)

Geometric Eating – Deb Sullivan (only, foods that are square)

Ralphie Eats Like A Bird On The Floor – Ashley Congdon (always, like a bird, on the floor)

I Do NOT Eat Like A Bird – Sue Lancaster (like a bird, in my treehouse)

Annabelle Always Eats Chips – Susan Inez (always, like a pig, upside down, treehouse)

King Frederick The Square – Matthew Lasley (only, foods that are square)

Like A Bird – Dot Anson (only, foods that start with C, like a bird)

Limerick For Week 6 – Marty (only, foods that are square)

Milo Slurps – Sarah Meade (only, through a straw)

Stop And Roll – Linda Schueler (foods that are square)

There Was A Young Lass – Jill Lambert (never, like a pig, orange, upside down)

Dahlia’s Dilemma – Leslie Denkers (only)

A Bird Like Petunia – Michelle S. Kennedy (always, like a bird, seeds, on the floor)

Untitled – Kay DiVerde (like a bunny, things that are orange, on the floor)

Meredith, Meal Time Scientist – Sara Ackerman (always, like a scientist)

Untitled – Shariffa Keshavjee (always, like a bird)

Seafood Diet? – Rebecca Gardyn Levington (only, seafood)

I Only Ever Eat Things Beginning With C – Tracy (only, things beginning with C)

Tink Eats Like A Bird – Mary Van Beuren

Peter Liked To Eat Like A Pig – Lily Erlic

I Always Eat Summer – Kristy Roser Nuttall (always, summer)

I Always Eat upside Down – Corine Timmer

Follow The Rules! – Penny Adler (never, like a pig)

Henrietta – Susan Schipper (like a bird, things that are round, upside down)

You Are Invited – Di Litwer (pig, orange things, treehouse)

No To Purple Food – Bev Baird

Try It In Reverse – Elizabeth Meyer Zu Heringdorf (treehouse)

Gabi The Dog Eats Carrots – Susan Krevat

Santa And His Beans – Two Limericks – Liz Kehrli

I Only Eat Things That Are Square – Ugo Anidi

Jim? JIM! – Jess Murray (always, like a bird)

Carl Eats Like A Pig – Amy Flynn

I Only Eat Things That Are Square – Alicia Meyers Kelly

Oakley Only Eats Quirky Food – Katie Schwartz

Afternoon Snack – Mia Geiger (eat, bird)

Upside Down Blu Eats Things That Are Orange – Ketan Ram

Jay The Bird Boy – Lauri Meyers (like a bird)

Untitled – Heather Hatch (only, peanut butter)

 

PRIZES & PRIZES OF ALL SHAPES AND SIZES!

When it comes time for prizes, names of all those who completed the challenge will be drawn randomly and matched with prizes drawn randomly until we run out! 😊

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

For Spacious Skies by Nancy Churnin, award-winning author of so many fabulous books I don’t have space to list them all! Visit her website or Amazon Page!

For Spacious Skies

Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Kirstine Erekson Call, author of THE RAINDROP WHO COULDN’T FALL (Character Publishing 2013) and the forthcoming MOOTILDA’S BAD MOOD (Little Bee Books, September 2020), COW SAYS MEOW (HMH March 2021), and COLD TURKEY (Little Brown Spring 2021)

Kirsti Call Mootilda

Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Ellen Leventhal, author of DON’T EAT THE BLUEBONNETS (Spork 2017), HAYFEST: A Holiday Quest (ABCs Press 2010), and LOLA CAN’T LEAP (Spork 2018)

Ellen Leventhal Lola Can't Leap

Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Lindsay Hanson Metcalf, author of BEATRIX POTTER, SCIENTIST (September 2020), FARMERS UNITE!: PLANTING A PROTEST FOR FAIR PRICES (Calkins Creek November 2020), and NO VOICE TOO SMALL: FOURTEEN YOUNG AMERICANS MAKING HISTORY (Charlesbridge September 2020)

Lindsay+H.+Metcalf+(CREDIT+ANNA+JACKSON)+copy Beatric Potter

Picture Book Manuscript Critique (non rhyming) from Kaye Baillie, author of BOO LOVES BOOKS (New Frontier Publishing October 2020), and MESSAGE IN A SOCK (Midnight Sun Publishing 2018)

kaye-baillie-author-headshot Boo Loves Books message-in-a-sock-cover-1_2

Your choice of EITHER a Picture Book Manuscript Critique or a Virtual Visit with Keila Dawson, author of THE KING CAKE BABY (Pelican 2015), and NO VOICE TOO SMALL: FOURTEEN YOUNG AMERICANS MAKING HISTORY (Charlesbridge September 2020)

Screen Shot 2020-05-11 at 1.51.59 PM King Cake baby Keila No Voice Too Small

 

Winner’s Choice of Webinar from the amazing Alayne Kay Christian, author of picture books Butterfly Kisses, An Old Man And His Penguin, and the forthcoming The Weed That Woke Christmas and the chapter book series of Sienna The Cowgirl Fairy, and editor at Blue Whale Press!  Webinar choices include: How A Picture Book Is Made, Perfecting Your Critique, Top Ten Reasons For Rejection, and How To Write Powerful First Pages Like A Pro!

Alayne butterfly kisses An Old Man and His Penguin

 

15 Minute Video Chat – ask your questions about writing, research, submissions – whatever’s on your mind! –  with Christy Mihaly, author of DIET FOR A CHANGING PLANET: Food for Thought(Twenty-first Century Books/Lerner 2018), HEY, HEY, HAY!
A Tale of Bales and the Machines That Make Them (Holiday House 2018) , and FREE FOR YOU AND ME: What Our First Amendment Means (Albert Whitman March 2020)

Chris closeup Free For You And Me HEY, HEY, HAY! Cover

Quick Impressions on your Picture Book Manuscript from Rosie Pova, author of IF I WEREN’T WITH YOU (Spork 2017), SARAH’S SONG (Spork 2017), the forthcoming SUNDAY RAIN (Lantana Publishing March 2021) and others.

Rosie Pova Sunday Rain

RONAN THE LIBRARIAN, (Roaring Brook Press April 2020) brand new fromfabulous author Tara Luebbe

Ronan

Your Choice of EITHER A Picture Book Manuscript Critique (fiction, non-rhyming) or an Ask Anything 15 Minute Video or Phone Chat with Tara Luebbe, author of  SHARK NATE-O,(Little Bee Books 2018), I AM FAMOUS ( Albert Whitman 2018), I USED TO BE FAMOUS (Albert Whitman 2019), OPERATION PHOTOBOMB (Albert Whitman 2019), and RONAN THE LIBRARIAN (Roaring Brook Press 2020) (see above)

Tara Luebbe Shark Nate-O

Sherry Howard, author of Rock And Roll Woods (Spork 2018) and a series of Nonfiction Middle Grade titles for Escape Publishing (2019)

Sherry Howard (4) Cover Rock and Roll Woods

Sherry Howard MG NF Books

is offering 6 of her nonfiction middle grade titles which will go to 6 lucky winners!

Ann Whitford Paul, author of Writing Picture Books (being donated by Becky Scharnhorst below), the book we ALL use as our picture book bible 😊, and countless wonderful picture books, is offering signed copies of her IF ANIMALS… Series (Farrar Straus Giroux):

Ann Whitford Paul

If Animals Went To School                     If Animals Kissed Good Night

If Animals Went To School (2019)         If Animals Kissed Good Night (2008)

If Animals Said I Love You                     If Animals Celebrated Christmas

If Animals Said I Love You (2017)        If Animals Celebrated Christmas (2018)

If you would like to benefit from her picture book wisdom, please sign up for her newsletter HERE!

A hand lettered quote of someone’s choice from a picture book,  or a quote about reading or writing that could be framed as a gift for a child’s bedroom, a writer you know and love, or an inspiration for writing in your own work space (why shouldn’t you give yourself a present?!) offered by Kristy Roser Nuttall! (Samples below – you can choose your own quote!)

Kristy Nuttall 20200512_092224 20200512_091604

Making Picture Book Magic – Self Study Class any month (x3)

MPBM

Writing Picture Books by Ann Whitford Paul, donated by Becky Scharnhorst whose debut picture book P.S. Camp Wildwood Stinks will be released in Summer 2021 from Philomel!

Writing Picture Books Revised and Expanded Edition: A Hands-On Guide From Story Creation to Publication by [Ann Whitford Paul]

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert donated by Becky Scharnhorst whose debut picture book P.S. Camp Wildwood Stinks will be released in Summer 2021 from Philomel!

Big Magic

The Nuts & Bolts Guide To Writing Picture Books by Linda Ashman (only available for Kindle) (x2)

The Nuts and Bolts Guide to Writing Picture Books by [Linda Ashman]

Magnetic Poetry – Little Box of Happiness

Magnetic Poetry - Little Box of Happiness Kit - Words for Refrigerator - Write Poems and Letters on The Fridge - Made in The USA

 

The Story Book Knight by Helen Docherty

storybook knight

This Book Is Gray by Lindsay Ward

This Book Is Gray

Story Cubes

Screen Shot 2020-05-10 at 11.23.08 PM

Writing Journal (x10)

5358C071-383B-4EF4-ADFD-353F737E23E5_1_201_a

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Writing Challenge – Week 5!

Woo hoo!  It’s Monday and that means it’s time for the Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Writing Challenge to continue!

I just have to say that I am so impressed by all the amazing stories that have been shared here for the writing challenge so far!  You guys are so creative, and so talented!  It has been a real pleasure to read your work, and I look forward to seeing what you write this week!

Mix 'n' Match Mini Writing Challenge

Mix ‘n’ Match Mini is a 7 week writing challenge for anyone who needs a little boost or a little encouragement to get writing. . . or maybe just a little fun during this bizarre stay-at-home spring!

You get to write your own story, enjoy and be entertained by everyone else’s stories, and get yourself in the running for some awesome prizes (please see the end of the blog post for a list of all the prize goodies!)

To be eligible for the prize drawing you must enter all 7 weeks.

For a full description of the challenge or to add your Week #1 entry, please go HERE (Week #1)

To add your Week #2 entry, please go HERE (Week #2)

To add your Week #3 entry, please go HERE (Week #3)

To add your Week #4 entry, please go HERE (Week #4)

 

Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Writing Prompt #5 for Week of June 8:

So far we’ve played with characters, setting, and emotion (or a combination, depending on where your random choosing landed you), with nursery rhymes and point of view, with a picture prompt, fun names, and a plot point, and with fairy tales taking place in a new setting!  This week we’re going to play around with “How To” 😊

Choose an action from Column A and a creature/animal/person from Column B:

Column A – Action Column B – Creature/Animal/Person
scare monster
comfort brother/sister
entertain teacher
be babysitter
trick pet (choose any animal you like J)
catch
protect

and write a 100 word story for kids entitled:

How To _____(action)_____ A/Your _____(creature/animal/person)_____
(e.g. How To Comfort A Monster/How To Trick Your Babysitter)

  • Stories can rhyme or not – totally up to you!
  • You can go under or over 100 words if you want to – also totally up to you! – 100 is a guideline
  • If you’re deeply inspired by another Action or Creature/Animal/Person that is not on the list you can use that instead – as long as you write a How-To as outlined above – the purpose here is inspiration and to get you writing!
  • For simplicity’s sake (and to aid skimming readers who might be interested in a particular thing) please be sure to put your title: How To _____ A/Your_____ at the top along with your name and word count.

 

Here’s my little just-for-fun sample 😊

How To Comfort Your Monster (159 words)

Sometimes monsters can be a bit of a handful.
If your monster is angry, tell her to take a deep breath and count to ten.
“I, 2, 7, 100, 43, 10.”
It doesn’t matter how she counts.
All that matters is that she trusts she can count on you.
If your monster is hurt, put a bandaid on her boo-boo and kiss it better.
It doesn’t matter if you can’t see her boo-boo.
All that matters is that she feels seen.
If your monster is sad, hug her close and sing her a happy song.
It doesn’t matter if she’s not really listening.
It only matters that she knows you’re listening.
If your monster is scared. . .
. . . AHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!
If something scares your monster, it might scare you, too!
Stand and face your fear together.
It doesn’t matter if you’re scared or sad, hurt or angry.
All that matters is that you always have each other.

💕          😊          💕          😊          💕          😊          💕

Now come join the fun! Get some writing done! Encourage your kids (or students) to give it a try! Or just have a good time together reading what other folks have written!

Ready, set, WRITE! 😊

(And remember, for full details on the 7 week challenge you can check HERE)

(And if you need to motivate yourself scroll down to see all the amazing prizes you could win!!! 😊)

 

Check out the Week #5 stories!

 

How To Be A Teacher – Cupcake Petrillo

How To Scare A Monster – Sue Lancaster

How To Catch A Pet Tarantula – Jill Lambert

How To Scare Your Teacher – Matthew Lasley

How To Comfort Harry Hedgehog – Cindy Boyll

How To Catch A Brother – Brenda Whitehead

How To Train Your Pet Rock – Colleen Murphy

How To Be A Sister – Sara Ackerman

How To Catch A Pet Turtle – Kay DiVerde

If You Want To Be A Monster – Linda Staszak

How To Be “Your” Own Babysitter – Susan Schipper

How To Entertain Your Donkey – Penny Adler

Let Me Entertain You (aka How To Entertain Your Little Brother) – Barbara Renner

How To Be A Blue Whale – Rose Cappelli

How To Catch A Fish – Marty

How To Find A Friend – Dawn Young

How To Entertain Your Furry Feline Friend – Linda Schueler

How To Calm Your Kangaroo – Patricia Nozell

How To Entertain Your Dragon On His Birthday – Ashley Congdon

How To Scare A Librarian – Candice Marley Conner

How To Catch A Monster – Jamie Bechtelheimer

How To Scare A Babysitter – Elizabeth Meyer Zu Heringdorf

How To Catch A Cupcake – Mary Van Beuren

How To Catch A Babysitter – Deb Sullivan

How To Comfort A MOOdy Cow – Corine Timmer

How To Comfort A (Pet) Skunk – Susan Inez

How To Crown Your Beast – Kristy Roser Nuttall

How To Treat Your Teacher – Leslie Denkers

How To Be A Cat – Dot Anson

How To Catch A Cat – Di Litwer

If You Have To Catch A Babysitter – Jess Murray

How To Comfort A Frightened Mouse – Bev Baird

If You Want To Trick Your Monster – Michelle S. Kennedy

How To Pamper Your Porcupine – Sarah Meade

How To Protect Your T-Rex – Amy Flynn

How To Protect Your Teacher – Susan Krevat

How To Comfort A Turtle – Deb Buschman

How To Be A Teacher – Alicia Meyers Kelly

How To Train A Penguin For City Life – Lily Erlic

Monster Under My Bed – Shariffa Keshavjee

How To Protect Your Princess – Tracy

How To Scare A Monster – Liz Kehrli

How To Comfort Your Comforter – Katie Schwartz

How To Love Your Brother – Rebecca Gardyn Levington

How To Comfort Your Babysitter – Ketan Ram

How To Scare A Monster – Mia Geiger

How To Scare A Monster – Ugo Anidi

How To Catch A Sister – Lauri Meyers

How To Trick Your Sister – Heather Hatch

 

PRIZES & PRIZES OF ALL SHAPES AND SIZES!

When it comes time for prizes, names of all those who completed the challenge will be drawn randomly and matched with prizes drawn randomly until we run out! 😊

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

For Spacious Skies by Nancy Churnin, award-winning author of so many fabulous books I don’t have space to list them all! Visit her website or Amazon Page!

For Spacious Skies

Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Kirstine Erekson Call, author of THE RAINDROP WHO COULDN’T FALL (Character Publishing 2013) and the forthcoming MOOTILDA’S BAD MOOD (Little Bee Books, September 2020), COW SAYS MEOW (HMH March 2021), and COLD TURKEY (Little Brown Spring 2021)

Kirsti Call Mootilda

Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Ellen Leventhal, author of DON’T EAT THE BLUEBONNETS (Spork 2017), HAYFEST: A Holiday Quest (ABCs Press 2010), and LOLA CAN’T LEAP (Spork 2018)

Ellen Leventhal Lola Can't Leap

Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Lindsay Hanson Metcalf, author of BEATRIX POTTER, SCIENTIST (September 2020), FARMERS UNITE!: PLANTING A PROTEST FOR FAIR PRICES (Calkins Creek November 2020), and NO VOICE TOO SMALL: FOURTEEN YOUNG AMERICANS MAKING HISTORY (Charlesbridge September 2020)

Lindsay+H.+Metcalf+(CREDIT+ANNA+JACKSON)+copy Beatric Potter

Picture Book Manuscript Critique (non rhyming) from Kaye Baillie, author of BOO LOVES BOOKS (New Frontier Publishing October 2020), and MESSAGE IN A SOCK (Midnight Sun Publishing 2018)

kaye-baillie-author-headshot Boo Loves Books message-in-a-sock-cover-1_2

Your choice of EITHER a Picture Book Manuscript Critique or a Virtual Visit with Keila Dawson, author of THE KING CAKE BABY (Pelican 2015), and NO VOICE TOO SMALL: FOURTEEN YOUNG AMERICANS MAKING HISTORY (Charlesbridge September 2020)

Screen Shot 2020-05-11 at 1.51.59 PM King Cake baby Keila No Voice Too Small

 

Winner’s Choice of Webinar from the amazing Alayne Kay Christian, author of picture books Butterfly Kisses, An Old Man And His Penguin, and the forthcoming The Weed That Woke Christmas and the chapter book series of Sienna The Cowgirl Fairy, and editor at Blue Whale Press!  Webinar choices include: How A Picture Book Is Made, Perfecting Your Critique, Top Ten Reasons For Rejection, and How To Write Powerful First Pages Like A Pro!

Alayne butterfly kisses An Old Man and His Penguin

 

15 Minute Video Chat – ask your questions about writing, research, submissions – whatever’s on your mind! –  with Christy Mihaly, author of DIET FOR A CHANGING PLANET: Food for Thought(Twenty-first Century Books/Lerner 2018), HEY, HEY, HAY!
A Tale of Bales and the Machines That Make Them (Holiday House 2018) , and FREE FOR YOU AND ME: What Our First Amendment Means (Albert Whitman March 2020)

Chris closeup Free For You And Me HEY, HEY, HAY! Cover

Quick Impressions on your Picture Book Manuscript from Rosie Pova, author of IF I WEREN’T WITH YOU (Spork 2017), SARAH’S SONG (Spork 2017), the forthcoming SUNDAY RAIN (Lantana Publishing March 2021) and others.

Rosie Pova Sunday Rain

RONAN THE LIBRARIAN, (Roaring Brook Press April 2020) brand new fromfabulous author Tara Luebbe

Ronan

Your Choice of EITHER A Picture Book Manuscript Critique (fiction, non-rhyming) or an Ask Anything 15 Minute Video or Phone Chat with Tara Luebbe, author of  SHARK NATE-O,(Little Bee Books 2018), I AM FAMOUS ( Albert Whitman 2018), I USED TO BE FAMOUS (Albert Whitman 2019), OPERATION PHOTOBOMB (Albert Whitman 2019), and RONAN THE LIBRARIAN (Roaring Brook Press 2020) (see above)

Tara Luebbe Shark Nate-O

Sherry Howard, author of Rock And Roll Woods (Spork 2018) and a series of Nonfiction Middle Grade titles for Escape Publishing (2019)

Sherry Howard (4) Cover Rock and Roll Woods

Sherry Howard MG NF Books

is offering 6 of her nonfiction middle grade titles which will go to 6 lucky winners!

Ann Whitford Paul, author of Writing Picture Books (being donated by Becky Scharnhorst below), the book we ALL use as our picture book bible 😊, and countless wonderful picture books, is offering signed copies of her IF ANIMALS… Series (Farrar Straus Giroux):

Ann Whitford Paul

If Animals Went To School                     If Animals Kissed Good Night

If Animals Went To School (2019)         If Animals Kissed Good Night (2008)

If Animals Said I Love You                     If Animals Celebrated Christmas

If Animals Said I Love You (2017)        If Animals Celebrated Christmas (2018)

If you would like to benefit from her picture book wisdom, please sign up for her newsletter HERE!

A hand lettered quote of someone’s choice from a picture book,  or a quote about reading or writing that could be framed as a gift for a child’s bedroom, a writer you know and love, or an inspiration for writing in your own work space (why shouldn’t you give yourself a present?!) offered by Kristy Roser Nuttall! (Samples below – you can choose your own quote!)

Kristy Nuttall 20200512_092224 20200512_091604

Making Picture Book Magic – Self Study Class any month (x3)

MPBM

Writing Picture Books by Ann Whitford Paul, donated by Becky Scharnhorst whose debut picture book P.S. Camp Wildwood Stinks will be released in Summer 2021 from Philomel!

Writing Picture Books Revised and Expanded Edition: A Hands-On Guide From Story Creation to Publication by [Ann Whitford Paul]

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert donated by Becky Scharnhorst whose debut picture book P.S. Camp Wildwood Stinks will be released in Summer 2021 from Philomel!

Big Magic

The Nuts & Bolts Guide To Writing Picture Books by Linda Ashman (only available for Kindle) (x2)

The Nuts and Bolts Guide to Writing Picture Books by [Linda Ashman]

Magnetic Poetry – Little Box of Happiness

Magnetic Poetry - Little Box of Happiness Kit - Words for Refrigerator - Write Poems and Letters on The Fridge - Made in The USA

 

The Story Book Knight by Helen Docherty

storybook knight

This Book Is Gray by Lindsay Ward

This Book Is Gray

Story Cubes

Screen Shot 2020-05-10 at 11.23.08 PM

Writing Journal (x10)

5358C071-383B-4EF4-ADFD-353F737E23E5_1_201_a

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Writing Challenge – Week 4!

It’s June, my lovelies!

It came without playdates!
It came without school!
It came without Charmin, hand wipes, or the pool!
COVID-19 didn’t stop June – it came!
Somehow or other it came just the same! 😊🌸☀️

I invite you all virtually to my back porch for a little sunshine and lemonade 😊

IMG_9861

Ready to write?

Mix 'n' Match Mini Writing Challenge

Mix ‘n’ Match Mini is a 7 week writing challenge for anyone who needs a little boost or a little encouragement to get writing. . . or maybe just a little fun during this bizarre stay-at-home spring!

You get to write your own story, enjoy and be entertained by everyone else’s stories, and get yourself in the running for some awesome prizes (please see the end of the blog post for a list of all the prize goodies!)

To be eligible for the prize drawing you must enter all 7 weeks.

For a full description of the challenge or to add your Week #1 entry, please go HERE (Week #1)

To add your Week #2 entry, please go HERE (Week #2)

To add your Week #3 entry, please go HERE (Week #3)

 

Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Writing Prompt #4 for Week of June 1:

So far we’ve played with characters, setting, and emotion (or a combination, depending on where your random choosing landed you), with nursery rhymes and point of view, and with a picture prompt, fun names, and a plot point! 😊   This week we’re going to fracture fairy tales by playing with setting!

Choose a fairy tale from Column A, and a setting from Column B.  If you like, you may also include a random object from Column C but that is optional.  Write a 100 word story for kids where your version of the fairy tale takes place in your choice of setting (including your random object if you wish!)

 

Column A: Fairy Tale Column B: Setting Column C: Random Object
The Gingerbread Boy Wild West polka dot umbrella
Cinderella Pirate Ship green balloon
Hansel & Gretel Mount Everest bubblegum

 

  • Stories can rhyme or not – totally up to you!
  • You can go under or over 100 words if you want to – also totally up to you! – 100 is a guideline
  • If you’re deeply inspired by another Fairy Tale or Setting that is not on the list you can use that instead – as long as you rewrite a fairy tale in a different setting from the original – the purpose here is inspiration and to get you writing!
  • For simplicity’s sake (and to aid skimming readers who might be interested in a particular thing) please say which fairy tale and which setting you’re using at the top of your entry along with your title and word count.

 

Here is my sample (which I wrote in extreme haste because I’m still working on revisions – deadlines, deadlines!😊) (and which you should not feel compelled to read unless you want to boost your confidence because it is both not particularly good and. overly long!):

The (Not) Gingerbread Cowboy
(Gingerbread Boy – Wild West)
(way too many words 😊 – I didn’t have time to make it shorter!)

Once upon a time, Farmer Bubba and his lovely bride Thunder Lily had the most beautiful ranch in the Wild West.
The grass was emerald green.
The rivers were pure as morning dew.
The cattle were sleek and fat and gave such rich, creamy milk that all the ice cream makers in the world fought over who would get it.
But even with all this beauty and excellent ice cream, Bubba and Thunder Lily were sad.  For though they were surrounded every spring by velvet-eyed calves and stilt-legged foals, fluffy chicks, pink piglets, and wooly lambs, they never had a child of their own.  Thunder Lily was not one to sit around moping, however.  “If I can’t have a child, I’ll make one,” she told her darling Bubba.
She got cornmeal and buttermilk, eggs, salt, and bacon drippings, and quick as you like she whipped up a sturdy little Cornpone Cowboy.
“We’ll call him Charlemagne,” she said as she plucked the skillet lovingly from the barbecue pit.
“You’ll have to catch me first,” snorted the Cornpone Cowboy, and off he rode as fast as his cowpony could carry him.
He passed the pigpen and the piglets grunted, “Oh, Charlemagne! Come be our friend!”
“Don’t call me that!” said the Cornpone Cowboy.  Besides, he knew better.
He doffed his cowboy hat and sang,
“Git along little piggies, git along.
If I stop then your tummies will be my new home!
I was born to ride the open range,
so forgive me if I’m on my way!”
And off he galloped.
He passed the sheepfold and the lambs baaed, “Oh, Charlemagne! Come be our friend!”
“Don’t call me that!” said the Cornpone Cowboy. Besides, he knew better.
He doffed his cowboy hat and sang,
“Git along little lambkins, git along.
If I stop then your tummies will be my new home!
I was born to ride the open range,
so forgive me if I’m on my way!”
And off he galloped.
He passed the cow barn and the calves mooed, “Oh, Charlemagne! Come be our friend!”
“Why does everyone insist on calling me that?” said the Cornpone Cowboy.  And you can guess how things went from there.
And so it was at the hen house… the horse pasture… and the goat shed.
Along about sundown a voice called, “Hey, Cowboy! Won’t you come set a spell by the campfire?”
“Don’t mind if I do,” said the Cornpone Cowboy, tuckered out from galloping. He hopped down from his pony, spurs a-janglin’, and came face to face with. . .
. . . COYOTE!
Quick as a wink he twirled his lariat. . . .
. . . hog-tied Coyote. . .
. . . and lit off for home!
When Bubba and Thunder Lily heard his story, Thunder Lily said, “That’s our boy! Lightning fast!”
Which is how he came to be called Lightning Charlie instead of Charlemagne (because really, who could live with that?) and they all lived happily ever after in a home that wasn’t anyone’s tummy!

 

Now come join the fun! Get some writing done! Encourage your kids (or students) to give it a try! Or just have a good time together reading what other folks have written!

Ready, set, WRITE! 😊

(And remember, for full details on the 7 week challenge you can check HERE)

 

Check out the Week #4 stories!

Untitled – Sue Lancaster (Cinderella, Mount Everest)

Cinder of the Seven Seas – Candice Marley Conner (Cinderella, Mount Everest)

Gingerbread What? – Linda Schueler (Hansel & Gretel, pirate ship, bubblegum)

Untitled – Genevieve Petrillo (Gingerbread Boy, pirate ship, polka dot umbrella)

Cinder Sherpani, Base Camp Scullery Maid – Jess Murray (Cinderella, Mount Everest, polka dot umbrella)

Cinderella Sails Away – Barbara Renner (Cinderella, pirate ship)

Hansel and Gretel Duel It Out – Jamie Bechtelheimer (Hansel and Gretel, wild west)

The Fairy Godfather Does Not Know Best – Colleen Murphy (Cinderella, pirate ship)

Shiver Me Timbers, A Gingerbread Boy! – Sara Ackerman (Gingerbread boy, pirate ship)

Caliope Cowgirl And The Three Leopards – Cindy Boyll (Goldilocks, wild west)

Pirate Anne – Mary Van Beuren (Cinderella, pirate ship, bubblegum)

The Big Bad Nice Wolf – Marley Conner age 9 (Three Little Pigs, Candy Land)

A Pirate-y Happily Ever After – Brenda Whitehead (Cinderella, pirate ship)

The Peak of Passion? – Elizabeth Meyer Zu Heringdorf (Cinderella, Mount Everest)

Walk The Plank! – Brittany Pomales (Hansel & Gretel, pirate ship)

Captain Blackbeard’s Just Desserts – Kristy Nuttall (Gingerbread Boy, pirate ship)

Traveling With Gretel – Leslie Denkers (Hansel & Gretel, Mount Everest)

Hansel, Gretel And The Magnificent Climb –  Susan Schipper (Hansel and Gretel, Mount Everest, polka dot umbrella)

Cabin Boy – Deb Sullivan (Cinderella, pirate ship, bubblegum)

Hansel And Gretel And The Greedy Pirate Captain – Rose Cappelli (Hansel and Gretel, pirate ship, bubblegum)

That’s The Way The Cookie Crumbles – Susan Inez (Gingerbread Boy, wild west, balloon)

The Showdown – Matthew Lasley (Gingerbread Boy, wild west)

Meanwhile, Back At The Ranch – Jill Lambert (Hansel and Gretel, wild west, bubblegum)

Brother’s Big Idea – Dawn Young (Hansel and Gretel, Mount Everest, bubblegum)

Untitled – Kay DiVerde (Cinderella, pirate ship, bubblegum)

Goldie Goes To The Beach – Sarah Meade (Goldilocks & The 3 Bears, beach)

Cinderella In The Wild West – Linda Staszak (Cinderella, wild west)

Pirate-Ella – Deb Buschman (Cinderella, pirate ship)

Limerick – Marty (Cinderella, wild west)

Gingerbread Pirate – Mia Geiger (Gingerbread Boy, pirate ship)

No Fella For Cinderella – Michelle S. Kennedy (Cinderella, pirate ship)

Cinderella’s Vacation Liberation – Michelle S. Kennedy (Cinderella, pirate ship)

Hansel And Gretel’s Pirate. Ship Adventure – Dot Anson (Hansel & Gretel, pirate ship)

Cinderella And The Pirate Ship – Everard Anson (Cinderella, pirate ship)

Cinders And The Pirate Ship – Tracy (Cinderella, pirate ship)

Escape From The Greedy Gulch Home For Children! – Di Litwer (Hansel & Gretel, wild west)

The Leather Boot – Ashley Congdon (Cinderella, wild west, bubblegum)

The Gingerbread Boy (On A Pirate Ship) – Bev Baird (Gingerbread Boy, pirate ship)

Tinley’s Magical Fir Tree Cookies – Corine Timmer (Gingerbread Boy/Hansel & Gretel, Mount Everest/Himalayas)

Cinderella And Prince Sherpa – Susan Krevat (Cinderella, Mount Everest)

Untitled – Shariffa Keshavjee (Cinderella, pirate ship, green balloons)

Cinderella And The Wild West – Penny Adler (Cinderella, wild west)

The Woman In The Moon – Amy Flynn (Cinderella, moon)

Cinderella And The Bubblegum Ball – Lily Erlic (wild west)

Love On The Mount – Alicia Meyers Kelly (Cinderella, Mount Everest)

Cinderella Climbs Mount Everest – Rebecca Gardyn Levington (Cinderella, Mount Everest)

Untitled – Liz Kehrli (Cinderella, pirate ship)

Humberto And Genevie – Katie Schwartz (Hansel and Gretel, Mount Everest)

Cinderella In New York City – Patricia Nozell (Cinderella)

Untitled – Ugo Anidi (Hansel & Gretel, Mt. Everest, bubblegum)

Hansel And Gretel And The Candy Pirate – Lauri Meyers

Mt. Everest Writes To Cinderella – Ketan & Ravi Ram

 

 

PRIZES & PRIZES OF ALL SHAPES AND SIZES!

When it comes time for prizes, names of all those who completed the challenge will be drawn randomly and matched with prizes drawn randomly until we run out! 😊

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

For Spacious Skies by Nancy Churnin, award-winning author of so many fabulous books I don’t have space to list them all! Visit her website or Amazon Page!

For Spacious Skies

Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Kirstine Erekson Call, author of THE RAINDROP WHO COULDN’T FALL (Character Publishing 2013) and the forthcoming MOOTILDA’S BAD MOOD (Little Bee Books, September 2020), COW SAYS MEOW (HMH March 2021), and COLD TURKEY (Little Brown Spring 2021)

Kirsti Call Mootilda

Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Ellen Leventhal, author of DON’T EAT THE BLUEBONNETS (Spork 2017), HAYFEST: A Holiday Quest (ABCs Press 2010), and LOLA CAN’T LEAP (Spork 2018)

Ellen Leventhal Lola Can't Leap

Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Lindsay Hanson Metcalf, author of BEATRIX POTTER, SCIENTIST (September 2020), FARMERS UNITE!: PLANTING A PROTEST FOR FAIR PRICES (Calkins Creek November 2020), and NO VOICE TOO SMALL: FOURTEEN YOUNG AMERICANS MAKING HISTORY (Charlesbridge September 2020)

Lindsay+H.+Metcalf+(CREDIT+ANNA+JACKSON)+copy Beatric Potter

Picture Book Manuscript Critique (non rhyming) from Kaye Baillie, author of BOO LOVES BOOKS (New Frontier Publishing October 2020), and MESSAGE IN A SOCK (Midnight Sun Publishing 2018)

kaye-baillie-author-headshot Boo Loves Books message-in-a-sock-cover-1_2

Your choice of EITHER a Picture Book Manuscript Critique or a Virtual Visit with Keila Dawson, author of THE KING CAKE BABY (Pelican 2015), and NO VOICE TOO SMALL: FOURTEEN YOUNG AMERICANS MAKING HISTORY (Charlesbridge September 2020)

Screen Shot 2020-05-11 at 1.51.59 PM King Cake baby Keila No Voice Too Small

 

Winner’s Choice of Webinar from the amazing Alayne Kay Christian, author of picture books Butterfly Kisses, An Old Man And His Penguin, and the forthcoming The Weed That Woke Christmas and the chapter book series of Sienna The Cowgirl Fairy, and editor at Blue Whale Press!  Webinar choices include: How A Picture Book Is Made, Perfecting Your Critique, Top Ten Reasons For Rejection, and How To Write Powerful First Pages Like A Pro!

Alayne butterfly kisses An Old Man and His Penguin

 

15 Minute Video Chat – ask your questions about writing, research, submissions – whatever’s on your mind! –  with Christy Mihaly, author of DIET FOR A CHANGING PLANET: Food for Thought(Twenty-first Century Books/Lerner 2018), HEY, HEY, HAY!
A Tale of Bales and the Machines That Make Them (Holiday House 2018) , and FREE FOR YOU AND ME: What Our First Amendment Means (Albert Whitman March 2020)

Chris closeup Free For You And Me HEY, HEY, HAY! Cover

Quick Impressions on your Picture Book Manuscript from Rosie Pova, author of IF I WEREN’T WITH YOU (Spork 2017), SARAH’S SONG (Spork 2017), the forthcoming SUNDAY RAIN (Lantana Publishing March 2021) and others.

Rosie Pova Sunday Rain

RONAN THE LIBRARIAN, (Roaring Brook Press April 2020) brand new fromfabulous author Tara Luebbe

Ronan

Your Choice of EITHER A Picture Book Manuscript Critique (fiction, non-rhyming) or an Ask Anything 15 Minute Video or Phone Chat with Tara Luebbe, author of  SHARK NATE-O,(Little Bee Books 2018), I AM FAMOUS ( Albert Whitman 2018), I USED TO BE FAMOUS (Albert Whitman 2019), OPERATION PHOTOBOMB (Albert Whitman 2019), and RONAN THE LIBRARIAN (Roaring Brook Press 2020) (see above)

Tara Luebbe Shark Nate-O

Sherry Howard, author of Rock And Roll Woods (Spork 2018) and a series of Nonfiction Middle Grade titles for Escape Publishing (2019)

Sherry Howard (4) Cover Rock and Roll Woods

Sherry Howard MG NF Books

is offering 6 of her nonfiction middle grade titles which will go to 6 lucky winners!

Ann Whitford Paul, author of Writing Picture Books (being donated by Becky Scharnhorst below), the book we ALL use as our picture book bible 😊, and countless wonderful picture books, is offering signed copies of her IF ANIMALS… Series (Farrar Straus Giroux):

Ann Whitford Paul

If Animals Went To School                     If Animals Kissed Good Night

If Animals Went To School (2019)         If Animals Kissed Good Night (2008)

If Animals Said I Love You                     If Animals Celebrated Christmas

If Animals Said I Love You (2017)        If Animals Celebrated Christmas (2018)

If you would like to benefit from her picture book wisdom, please sign up for her newsletter HERE!

A hand lettered quote of someone’s choice from a picture book,  or a quote about reading or writing that could be framed as a gift for a child’s bedroom, a writer you know and love, or an inspiration for writing in your own work space (why shouldn’t you give yourself a present?!) offered by Kristy Roser Nuttall! (Samples below – you can choose your own quote!)

Kristy Nuttall 20200512_092224 20200512_091604

Making Picture Book Magic – Self Study Class any month (x3)

MPBM

Writing Picture Books by Ann Whitford Paul, donated by Becky Scharnhorst whose debut picture book P.S. Camp Wildwood Stinks will be released in Summer 2021 from Philomel!

Writing Picture Books Revised and Expanded Edition: A Hands-On Guide From Story Creation to Publication by [Ann Whitford Paul]

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert donated by Becky Scharnhorst whose debut picture book P.S. Camp Wildwood Stinks will be released in Summer 2021 from Philomel!

Big Magic

The Nuts & Bolts Guide To Writing Picture Books by Linda Ashman (only available for Kindle) (x2)

The Nuts and Bolts Guide to Writing Picture Books by [Linda Ashman]

Magnetic Poetry – Little Box of Happiness

Magnetic Poetry - Little Box of Happiness Kit - Words for Refrigerator - Write Poems and Letters on The Fridge - Made in The USA

 

The Story Book Knight by Helen Docherty

storybook knight

This Book Is Gray by Lindsay Ward

This Book Is Gray

Story Cubes

Screen Shot 2020-05-10 at 11.23.08 PM

Writing Journal (x10)

5358C071-383B-4EF4-ADFD-353F737E23E5_1_201_a

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Writing Challenge – Week #3!

I know.  It’s Monday.  When the last thing we need is confusion!

Here’s the situation:

It was brought to my attention that “Eenie Meenie Miney Mini” was a poor choice of name for my writing challenge.

I chose it innocently, thinking of the rhyme as a childhood game of random choice that was fun to say.  Nothing more.  I thought it a good representation for the challenge because it’s something kids (and kid lit writers) are familiar with and it represents making random choices, as we do with the prompt selection.

But someone more educated than I pointed out that it was based on a rhyme that was racist and potentially terribly offensive to anyone who knew its origin.

Now that I know, I cannot in good conscience keep the original name in such a public way.  I would never want to offend anyone.  So I have changed the name to the less-fun-to-say-but-more-appropriate Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Writing Challenge.  I changed the graphic and tried to go back and correct all the places I used the original term.  If I missed any I apologize and hope no one will be offended.

But it is still the same writing game and you are still in the right place!

Onward then, to the newly named but still the same

Mix 'n' Match Mini Writing Challenge

Mix ‘n’ Match Mini is a 7 week writing challenge for anyone who needs a little boost or a little encouragement to get writing. . . or maybe just a little fun during this bizarre stay-at-home spring!

You get to write your own story, enjoy and be entertained by everyone else’s stories, and get yourself in the running for some awesome prizes (please see the end of the blog post for a list of all the prize goodies!)

To be eligible for the prize drawing you must enter all 7 weeks.

For a full description of the challenge or to add your Week #1 entry, please go HERE (Week #1)

To add your Week #2 entry, please go HERE (Week #2)

 

Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Writing Prompt #3 for Week of May 25:

So far we’ve played with characters, setting, and emotion (or a combination, depending on where your random choosing landed you), and with nursery rhymes and point of view. 😊   This week we’re going to play with a picture prompt, fun names, and a plot point!

Here’s the picture, drawn by the incredibly talented Julie Rowan-Zoch (illustrator of LOUIS by Tom Lichtenheld forthcoming from HMH October 6, 2020!) and used with her permission for your writing fun 😊 (Thank you, Julie!!! 💕)

2953C608-C019-4000-88CB-EE72BFAC62D8_1_201_a

illustration copyright Julie Rowan-Zoch 2020 used by permission

 

These will be the characters in your story!

Now, choose character names from the following list and one of the plot points!

Character Name Plot Point
Mugsy Make a friend
Tick Tock Share a secret
Delphine Get in an argument
Henry Cook up a plan
Marigold Get in trouble
Pip
Zico

Write a 100 word story for kids about the pictured characters, using two of the name choices and one of the plot scenarios and post it in the comment section below!

  • Stories can rhyme or not – totally up to you!
  • You can go under or over 100 words if you want to – also totally up to you! – 100 is a guideline
  • If you’re deeply inspired by character names that are not on the list you can use them instead – the purpose here is inspiration and to get you writing, not specific names!
  • For simplicity’s sake (and to aid skimming readers who might be interested in a particular thing) please say which plot point you’re using at the top of your entry along with your name, word count, and title if you have one.

 

I’m going to have to skip my sample today – I have a deadline this week and I used up my blog post writing time on tasks I hadn’t planned for – but if I have time and can add a sample later in the week I will! 😊 Meanwhile, I am SO looking forward to seeing what you guys come up with!  There have been so many amazingly creative, clever, fun, and entertaining stories written so far!!!

Now come join the fun! Get some writing done! Encourage your kids (or students) to give it a try! Or just have a good time together reading what other folks have written!

Ready, set, WRITE! 😊

(And remember, for full details on the 7 week challenge you can check HERE)

 

Check out the Week #3 stories!

Mugsy Shares A Secret – Elizabeth Meyer Zu Heringdorf  (share a secret)

Time For A New Bird Feeder – Jess Murray (cook up a plan)

Who’s The Favorite – Sue Lancaster (get in an argument)

Ball Trouble – Genevieve Petrillo (cook up a plan)

Henry And The Wind-Up Chick – Rose Cappelli (share a secret)

Name Game – Brenda Whitehead (share a secret/make a friend)

Tick Tock Pip – Leslie Denkers (get in trouble/cook up a plan)

Pip’s Plan – Barbara Renner (cook up a plan)

Duck Hunt – Colleen Murphy

Henry And Marigold – Linda Staszak (make a friend)

Marigold And Mugsy’s Dance Battle – Jamie Bechtelheimer (get in an argument, make a friend)

Henry And Marigold Get In An Argument – Sara Ackerman (get in an argument)

Hank, Pip And The Garden – Susan Schipper (get in trouble)

Mugsy And Marigold’s Morning – Deb Sullivan (cook up a plan)

Delphine’s Secret – Linda Schueler (share a secret)

Pip’s Perfect Partner – Jill Lambert (cook up a plan)

Miss Marigold Fluffington – Susan Inez (hatches a plan)

A Day At The Dog Park – Matthew Lasley

Pip And Dip – Sarah Meade (get in trouble)

Tik Tok Of Zico – Candice Marley Conner (get in trouble)

Henry And Pip Make Friends – Marley Conner age 9! (make a friend)

Tick Tock Makes A Friend – Mary Van Beuren (make a friend)

Mugsy And Marigold – Cindy. S. Boyll (share a secret)

A Pal To Play With – Ashley Congdon (make a friend)

Dot And Edna: Chick Trouble – Deb Buschman (get in trouble)

Storm Secrets (Zack & Pip Share A Secret) – Di Litwer (share a secret)

Tick Tock’s Luck – Michelle S. Kennedy (get in trouble)

Different And Yet Alike – Eleanor Ann Peterson (get in an argument)

Marigold And Mugsy Hatch A Plan – Patricia Nozell (make a plan)

Henry And Marigold – Beverly Baird (make a friend)

Pip And Zico Share A Secret – Corine Timmer (share a secret)

Henry And Marigold Cook Up A Plan – Susan Krevat (cook up a plan)

Mugsy The Chick’s Tricky Trick – Rebecca Gardyn Levington (cook up a plan)

Pip And Zico Cook A Plan – Ketan, Aiyka & Ravi Ram (cook up a plan)

Pip And Henry – Mia Geiger (plot a secret)

Pip And Zico Share A Secret – Kristy Nuttall (share a secret)

Big News – Dawn Young (share a secret)

Untitled – Kay DiVerde (share a secret)

Butch And Kip Cook Up A Plan – Liz Kehrli (cook up a plan)

Limerick – Marty (make a friend, Delphine)

Untitled – Dot Anson (cook up a plan)

Pip And Delphine Cook Up A Plan – Tracy (cook up a plan)

Tick Tock (and GusGus) Come Up With A Plan – Penny Adler (cook up a plan)

Bing And ShickShick – Amy Flynn

Mugsy And Marigold Share A Secret – Alicia Meyers Kelly

A Chick For My Hat – Lily Erlic (cook up a plan)

Zico And The Fiesta – Katie Schwartz (cook up a plan)

Untitled – Lauri Meyers

Pip And Tick Tock Cook Up A Plan – Ugo Anidi

 

 

PRIZES & PRIZES OF ALL SHAPES AND SIZES!

When it comes time for prizes, names of all those who completed the challenge will be drawn randomly and matched with prizes drawn randomly until we run out! 😊

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

For Spacious Skies by Nancy Churnin, award-winning author of so many fabulous books I don’t have space to list them all! Visit her website or Amazon Page!

For Spacious Skies

Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Kirstine Erekson Call, author of THE RAINDROP WHO COULDN’T FALL (Character Publishing 2013) and the forthcoming MOOTILDA’S BAD MOOD (Little Bee Books, September 2020), COW SAYS MEOW (HMH March 2021), and COLD TURKEY (Little Brown Spring 2021)

Kirsti Call Mootilda

Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Ellen Leventhal, author of DON’T EAT THE BLUEBONNETS (Spork 2017), HAYFEST: A Holiday Quest (ABCs Press 2010), and LOLA CAN’T LEAP (Spork 2018)

Ellen Leventhal Lola Can't Leap

Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Lindsay Hanson Metcalf, author of BEATRIX POTTER, SCIENTIST (September 2020), FARMERS UNITE!: PLANTING A PROTEST FOR FAIR PRICES (Calkins Creek November 2020), and NO VOICE TOO SMALL: FOURTEEN YOUNG AMERICANS MAKING HISTORY (Charlesbridge September 2020)

Lindsay+H.+Metcalf+(CREDIT+ANNA+JACKSON)+copy Beatric Potter

Picture Book Manuscript Critique (non rhyming) from Kaye Baillie, author of BOO LOVES BOOKS (New Frontier Publishing October 2020), and MESSAGE IN A SOCK (Midnight Sun Publishing 2018)

kaye-baillie-author-headshot Boo Loves Books message-in-a-sock-cover-1_2

Your choice of EITHER a Picture Book Manuscript Critique or a Virtual Visit with Keila Dawson, author of THE KING CAKE BABY (Pelican 2015), and NO VOICE TOO SMALL: FOURTEEN YOUNG AMERICANS MAKING HISTORY (Charlesbridge September 2020)

Screen Shot 2020-05-11 at 1.51.59 PM King Cake baby Keila No Voice Too Small

 

Winner’s Choice of Webinar from the amazing Alayne Kay Christian, author of picture books Butterfly Kisses, An Old Man And His Penguin, and the forthcoming The Weed That Woke Christmas and the chapter book series of Sienna The Cowgirl Fairy, and editor at Blue Whale Press!  Webinar choices include: How A Picture Book Is Made, Perfecting Your Critique, Top Ten Reasons For Rejection, and How To Write Powerful First Pages Like A Pro!

Alayne butterfly kisses An Old Man and His Penguin

 

15 Minute Video Chat – ask your questions about writing, research, submissions – whatever’s on your mind! –  with Christy Mihaly, author of DIET FOR A CHANGING PLANET: Food for Thought(Twenty-first Century Books/Lerner 2018), HEY, HEY, HAY!
A Tale of Bales and the Machines That Make Them (Holiday House 2018) , and FREE FOR YOU AND ME: What Our First Amendment Means (Albert Whitman March 2020)

Chris closeup Free For You And Me HEY, HEY, HAY! Cover

Quick Impressions on your Picture Book Manuscript from Rosie Pova, author of IF I WEREN’T WITH YOU (Spork 2017), SARAH’S SONG (Spork 2017), the forthcoming SUNDAY RAIN (Lantana Publishing March 2021) and others.

Rosie Pova Sunday Rain

RONAN THE LIBRARIAN, (Roaring Brook Press April 2020) brand new fromfabulous author Tara Luebbe

Ronan

Your Choice of EITHER A Picture Book Manuscript Critique (fiction, non-rhyming) or an Ask Anything 15 Minute Video or Phone Chat with Tara Luebbe, author of  SHARK NATE-O,(Little Bee Books 2018), I AM FAMOUS ( Albert Whitman 2018), I USED TO BE FAMOUS (Albert Whitman 2019), OPERATION PHOTOBOMB (Albert Whitman 2019), and RONAN THE LIBRARIAN (Roaring Brook Press 2020) (see above)

Tara Luebbe Shark Nate-O

Sherry Howard, author of Rock And Roll Woods (Spork 2018) and a series of Nonfiction Middle Grade titles for Escape Publishing (2019)

Sherry Howard (4) Cover Rock and Roll Woods

Sherry Howard MG NF Books

is offering 6 of her nonfiction middle grade titles which will go to 6 lucky winners!

Ann Whitford Paul, author of Writing Picture Books (being donated by Becky Scharnhorst below), the book we ALL use as our picture book bible 😊, and countless wonderful picture books, is offering signed copies of her IF ANIMALS… Series (Farrar Straus Giroux):

Ann Whitford Paul

If Animals Went To School                     If Animals Kissed Good Night

If Animals Went To School (2019)         If Animals Kissed Good Night (2008)

If Animals Said I Love You                     If Animals Celebrated Christmas

If Animals Said I Love You (2017)        If Animals Celebrated Christmas (2018)

If you would like to benefit from her picture book wisdom, please sign up for her newsletter HERE!

A hand lettered quote of someone’s choice from a picture book,  or a quote about reading or writing that could be framed as a gift for a child’s bedroom, a writer you know and love, or an inspiration for writing in your own work space (why shouldn’t you give yourself a present?!) offered by Kristy Roser Nuttall! (Samples below – you can choose your own quote!)

Kristy Nuttall 20200512_092224 20200512_091604

Making Picture Book Magic – Self Study Class any month (x3)

MPBM

Writing Picture Books by Ann Whitford Paul, donated by Becky Scharnhorst whose debut picture book P.S. Camp Wildwood Stinks will be released in Summer 2021 from Philomel!

Writing Picture Books Revised and Expanded Edition: A Hands-On Guide From Story Creation to Publication by [Ann Whitford Paul]

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert donated by Becky Scharnhorst whose debut picture book P.S. Camp Wildwood Stinks will be released in Summer 2021 from Philomel!

Big Magic

The Nuts & Bolts Guide To Writing Picture Books by Linda Ashman (only available for Kindle) (x2)

The Nuts and Bolts Guide to Writing Picture Books by [Linda Ashman]

Magnetic Poetry – Little Box of Happiness

Magnetic Poetry - Little Box of Happiness Kit - Words for Refrigerator - Write Poems and Letters on The Fridge - Made in The USA

 

The Story Book Knight by Helen Docherty

storybook knight

This Book Is Gray by Lindsay Ward

This Book Is Gray

Story Cubes

Screen Shot 2020-05-10 at 11.23.08 PM

Writing Journal (x10)

5358C071-383B-4EF4-ADFD-353F737E23E5_1_201_a

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Writing Challenge – Week #2!

I hope everyone ate their Wheaties this morning because it’s time for the Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Writing Challenge Week #2!!!

 

Mix 'n' Match Mini Writing Challenge

Mix ‘n’ Match Mini is a writing challenge for anyone who needs a little boost or a little encouragement to get writing. . . or maybe just a little fun during this bizarre stay-at-home spring!

You get to write your own story, enjoy and be entertained by everyone else’s stories, and get yourself in the running for some awesome prizes (please see the end of the blog post for a list of all the prize goodies!)

For a full description of the challenge or to enter your Week #1 entry, please go HERE

 

Let’s jump into Week #2!

Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Writing Prompt #2 for Week of May 18:

Last week we played with characters, setting, and emotion, or a combination, depending on where your eenie meenie miney moe-ing landed you. 😊   This week we’re going to play with Point of View!

Eenie meenie miney moe, choose a Nursery Rhyme below. . . and rewrite its story (for kids) in 100 words from the point of view of someone or something else mentioned in (or conceivably associated with) the rhyme.  For example, if you choose Humpty Dumpty from the list, you can write the story of that famous tumbling egg incident from the point of view of the wall, or one of the king’s horses, or one of the king’s men, or a tree hanging over the wall watching the drama unfold, or the grass underneath that got landed on, or the chicken that laid Humpty Dumpty to begin with, or anything else you dream up! Post your story in the comment section below to get your Week #2 entry in!

  • Stories can rhyme or not – totally up to you!
  • You can go under or over 100 words if you want to – also totally up to you! – 100 is a guideline
  • If you’re deeply inspired by another Nursery Rhyme that is not on the list below you can use that instead – as long as you rewrite a nursery rhyme from a different point of view from the original – the purpose here is inspiration and to get you writing!
  • For simplicity’s sake (and to aid skimming readers who might be interested in a particular thing) please say which rhyme and what point of view you’re using at the top of your entry along with your word count.

Choose a rhyme: (rhymes included for your convenience in remembering the words 😊)

Humpty Dumpty
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall,
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men,
Couldn’t put Humpty together again.

Hickory Dickory Dock
Hickory dickory dock
The mouse ran up the clock
The clock struck one
The mouse ran down
Hickory dickory dock.

Hickory dickory dock
The mouse ran up the clock
The clock struck two
The mouse went “boo!”
Hickory dickory dock.

Three… the mouse went weeee
Four…The mouse went “no more!”

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are,
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky, twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are.

Jack And Jill
Jack and Jill went up the hill
To fetch a pail of water.
Jack fell down and broke his crown,
And Jill came tumbling after.

Up Jack got, and home did trot,
As fast as he could caper,
He went to bed to mend his head,
With vinegar and brown paper

There Was A Crooked Man
There was a crooked man, and he walked a crooked mile.
He found a crooked sixpence upon a crooked stile.
He bought a crooked cat, which caught a crooked mouse,
and they all lived together in a little crooked house.

 

Here’s a little sample 😊

 

Week #2: Humpty Dumpty, POV of lawn beneath the wall (199 words)

Rock Til You Drop

Okay, so technically? It might be that Humpty Dumpty didn’t exactly fall off that wall.

It was the night of the Rock ‘Til You Drop Dance Contest, and that egg head was taunting me.

“I’m going to win!” he boasted. “You can’t rock and you can’t roll!”

He showed off his moves, rocking and rolling on his round behind.

I was green with envy.  But I wouldn’t let him mow me down.

“I may be lawn,” I shouted back, “but I can sway to the beat better than you!”

I showed off my moves. Swish! Swoosh!

Then I laid it down.  “Besides, I’m taller than you.  No one will even see you!”

I watched him boil.  He knew I was right.

“Unless. . .” I said slyly, “you get up on that wall. . .”

Humpty enlisted one of the king’s horses to help him up.  He teetered on top.  “Just watch me shake my booty!” he gloated.

The beat boomed.

“Shake-shake-shake!” I dared him.

Humpty shook.

But the wall was narrow.

Too narrow for that big-bottomed-boy!

Rock…

…roll…

BLAM!

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall!

I won!

I had egg on my face, but it was worth it!

 

 

So come join the fun! Get some writing done! Encourage your kids (or students) to give it a try! Or just have a good time together reading what other folks have written!

Ready, set, WRITE! 😊

(And remember, for full details on the 7 week challenge you can check HERE)

 

Check out the Week #2 stories!

 

The Water’s Tale – Jess Murray (Jack & Jill, water’s POV)

The Moon Above The World So High – Candice Marley Conner (Twinkle Twinkle, moon’s POV)

I Am Not Afraid – Genevieve Petrillo (Itsy Bitsy Spider, Little Miss Muffet’s POV)

Jack And Jill Continued… – Colleen Owen Murphy (Jack & Jill, Jill’s POV)

No Running In My House! – Elizabeth Meyer Zu Heringdorf (Hickory Dickory, clock’s POV)

Twinkle Twinkle Neon Light – Corine Timmer (Twinkle Twinkle, star POV)

Little Miss Muffet – Susan Inez (Little Miss Muffet)

Children, Children – Rose Cappelli (Twinkle Twinkle, star POV)

Star’s Reply – Sue Lancaster (Twinkle Twinkle, star POV)

Not Again! – Dot Anson (Hey Diddle Diddle, moon’s POV)

The Clock Snaps – Sara Ackerman (Hickory Dickory, clock’s POV)

Cutie Lamb – Jamie Bechtelheimer (Mary Had A Little Lamb, lamb’s POV)

A Little Crooked Smile – Brittany Pomales (There Was A Crooked Man, house’s POV)

Twinkle Twinkle, Little Bear – Brenda Whitehead (Twinkle Twinkle, star POV)

Who’s To Blame? – Sue Lancaster (Jack & Jill, multiple POVs)

Teacher Had A Long School Day – Amy Flynn (Mary Had A Little Lamb, teacher’s POV)

The Clock – Linda Schueler (Hickory Dickory, clock’s POV)

There Was A Crooked Man – Barbara Renner (There Was A Crooked Man, cat’s POV)

Baa Baa Black Sheep – Shariffa Keshavjee (Baa Baa Black Sheep)

The Wall And The Fall – Michelle S. Kennedy (Humpty Dumpty, wall’s POV)

Look! A Crook! – Jill Lambert (There Was A Crooked Man, stile’s POV)

Hickory Dickory Dock – Susan Schipper (Hickory Dickory, mouse during quarantine POV)

Jack Sprat – Leslie Denkers (Jack Sprat, dog’s POV)

Humpty Dumpty – Anne Cavanaugh Sawan (Humpty Dumpty, mother’s POV)

Lenny The Lamb – Ashley Congdon (Mary Had A Little Lamb, lamb’s POV)

Hickory Dickory Dock – Kristy Nuttall (Hickory Dickory, clock’s POV)

Jack Is Still At It – Boyll(Jack Be Nimble, narrator’s POV)

Vinegar’s View – Deb Sullivan (Jack And Jill, vinegar’s POV)

Pail’s Tale – Patricia Nozell (Jack And Jill, pail’s POV)

Jack And Jill (And Jen) Go Up The Hill Again – Sarah Meade (Jack And Jill, big sister’s POV)

That Icky Spider – Linda Staszak (Itsy Bitsy Spider, house’s POV)

Do You See Me – Michelle S. Kennedy (Twinkle Twinkle, star’s POV)

Trying Something New – Dawn Young (Itsy Bitsy Spider)

Raindrops –  Shariffa Keshavjee (Raindrops)

The Unbreakable – Jarmila (Humpty Dumpty, king’s horse POV)

Old King Cole: A Limerick – Marty (Old King Cole, fiddler’s POV)

Yes, You Can – Rebecca Gardyn Levington (Twinkle Twinkle, star’s POV)

Hickory Dickory Dock – Matthew Lasley (Hickory Dickory, cat’s POV)

Operation: Find Little Bo Peep – Di Litwer (Little Bo Peep, sheep detective’s POV)

Baa Baa Black Sheep – Susan Krevat (Baa Baa Black Sheep, little boy down the lane’s POV)

Hickory Dickory Dock – Everard Anson (Hickory Dickory, clock’s POV)

There Was A Crooked Man – Liz Kehrli (There Was A Crooked Man, crow’s POV)

Hey Diddle Diddle – Beverly Baird (Hey Diddle Diddle, moon’s POV)

Our Friend Humpty – Mia Geiger (Humpty Dumpty)

Miss Mary Mack – Mary Van Beuren (Miss Mary Mack, elephant’s POV)

Spout Off – Deb Buschman (Itsy Bitsy Spider, water spout’s POV)

Twinkle Twinkle Little Bear – Lori Himmel (Twinkle Twinkle, Little Bear (ursa minor)’s POV)

Jack & Jill – Ketan Ram (Jack & Jill, hill’s POV)

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star – Ketan Ram (Twinkle Twinkle, moon’s POV)

Cock-a-doodle Doo, My Dame Has Lost Her Shoe – Ketan & Ravi Ram (Cock-a-doodle Doo, fiddle bow’s POV)

Little Bo Peep – Tracy (Little Bo Peep)

Jack And Jill – Kay DiVerde (Jack & Jill, Jill’s POV)

Twinkle Twinkle Little Firefly – Lily Erlic (Twinkle Twinkle, firefly’s POV)

Sing A Song of Sixpence – Penny Adler (Sing A Song O’ Sixpence, king’s POV)

Untitled – Alicia Meyers Kelly (Hickory Dickory Dock)

Untitled – Katie Schwartz (There Was A Crooked Man, house’s POV)

Untitled – Ugo Anidi (Jack and Jill, hill’s POV)

Untitled – Lauri Meyers

 

PRIZES & PRIZES OF ALL SHAPES AND SIZES!

When it comes time for prizes, names of all those who completed the challenge will be drawn randomly and matched with prizes drawn randomly until we run out! 😊

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

For Spacious Skies by Nancy Churnin, award-winning author of so many fabulous books I don’t have space to list them all! Visit her website or Amazon Page!

For Spacious Skies

Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Kirstine Erekson Call, author of THE RAINDROP WHO COULDN’T FALL (Character Publishing 2013) and the forthcoming MOOTILDA’S BAD MOOD (Little Bee Books, September 2020), COW SAYS MEOW (HMH March 2021), and COLD TURKEY (Little Brown Spring 2021)

Kirsti Call Mootilda

Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Ellen Leventhal, author of DON’T EAT THE BLUEBONNETS (Spork 2017), HAYFEST: A Holiday Quest (ABCs Press 2010), and LOLA CAN’T LEAP (Spork 2018)

Ellen Leventhal Lola Can't Leap

Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Lindsay Hanson Metcalf, author of BEATRIX POTTER, SCIENTIST (September 2020), FARMERS UNITE!: PLANTING A PROTEST FOR FAIR PRICES (Calkins Creek November 2020), and NO VOICE TOO SMALL: FOURTEEN YOUNG AMERICANS MAKING HISTORY (Charlesbridge September 2020)

Lindsay+H.+Metcalf+(CREDIT+ANNA+JACKSON)+copy Beatric Potter

Picture Book Manuscript Critique (non rhyming) from Kaye Baillie, author of BOO LOVES BOOKS (New Frontier Publishing October 2020), and MESSAGE IN A SOCK (Midnight Sun Publishing 2018)

kaye-baillie-author-headshot Boo Loves Books message-in-a-sock-cover-1_2

Your choice of EITHER a Picture Book Manuscript Critique or a Virtual Visit with Keila Dawson, author of THE KING CAKE BABY (Pelican 2015), and NO VOICE TOO SMALL: FOURTEEN YOUNG AMERICANS MAKING HISTORY (Charlesbridge September 2020)

Screen Shot 2020-05-11 at 1.51.59 PM King Cake baby Keila No Voice Too Small

 

Winner’s Choice of Webinar from the amazing Alayne Kay Christian, author of picture books Butterfly Kisses, An Old Man And His Penguin, and the forthcoming The Weed That Woke Christmas and the chapter book series of Sienna The Cowgirl Fairy, and editor at Blue Whale Press!  Webinar choices include: How A Picture Book Is Made, Perfecting Your Critique, Top Ten Reasons For Rejection, and How To Write Powerful First Pages Like A Pro!

Alayne butterfly kisses An Old Man and His Penguin

 

15 Minute Video Chat – ask your questions about writing, research, submissions – whatever’s on your mind! –  with Christy Mihaly, author of DIET FOR A CHANGING PLANET: Food for Thought(Twenty-first Century Books/Lerner 2018), HEY, HEY, HAY!
A Tale of Bales and the Machines That Make Them (Holiday House 2018) , and FREE FOR YOU AND ME: What Our First Amendment Means (Albert Whitman March 2020)

Chris closeup Free For You And Me HEY, HEY, HAY! Cover

Quick Impressions on your Picture Book Manuscript from Rosie Pova, author of IF I WEREN’T WITH YOU (Spork 2017), SARAH’S SONG (Spork 2017), the forthcoming SUNDAY RAIN (Lantana Publishing March 2021) and others.

Rosie Pova Sunday Rain

RONAN THE LIBRARIAN, (Roaring Brook Press April 2020) brand new fromfabulous author Tara Luebbe

Ronan

Your Choice of EITHER A Picture Book Manuscript Critique (fiction, non-rhyming) or an Ask Anything 15 Minute Video or Phone Chat with Tara Luebbe, author of  SHARK NATE-O,(Little Bee Books 2018), I AM FAMOUS ( Albert Whitman 2018), I USED TO BE FAMOUS (Albert Whitman 2019), OPERATION PHOTOBOMB (Albert Whitman 2019), and RONAN THE LIBRARIAN (Roaring Brook Press 2020) (see above)

Tara Luebbe Shark Nate-O

Sherry Howard, author of Rock And Roll Woods (Spork 2018) and a series of Nonfiction Middle Grade titles for Escape Publishing (2019)

Sherry Howard (4) Cover Rock and Roll Woods

Sherry Howard MG NF Books

is offering 6 of her nonfiction middle grade titles which will go to 6 lucky winners!

Ann Whitford Paul, author of Writing Picture Books (being donated by Becky Scharnhorst below), the book we ALL use as our picture book bible 😊, and countless wonderful picture books, is offering signed copies of her IF ANIMALS… Series (Farrar Straus Giroux):

Ann Whitford Paul

If Animals Went To School                     If Animals Kissed Good Night

If Animals Went To School (2019)         If Animals Kissed Good Night (2008)

If Animals Said I Love You                     If Animals Celebrated Christmas

If Animals Said I Love You (2017)        If Animals Celebrated Christmas (2018)

If you would like to benefit from her picture book wisdom, please sign up for her newsletter HERE!

A hand lettered quote of someone’s choice from a picture book,  or a quote about reading or writing that could be framed as a gift for a child’s bedroom, a writer you know and love, or an inspiration for writing in your own work space (why shouldn’t you give yourself a present?!) offered by Kristy Roser Nuttall! (Samples below – you can choose your own quote!)

Kristy Nuttall 20200512_092224 20200512_091604

Making Picture Book Magic – Self Study Class any month (x3)

MPBM

Writing Picture Books by Ann Whitford Paul, donated by Becky Scharnhorst whose debut picture book P.S. Camp Wildwood Stinks will be released in Summer 2021 from Philomel!

Writing Picture Books Revised and Expanded Edition: A Hands-On Guide From Story Creation to Publication by [Ann Whitford Paul]

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert donated by Becky Scharnhorst whose debut picture book P.S. Camp Wildwood Stinks will be released in Summer 2021 from Philomel!

Big Magic

The Nuts & Bolts Guide To Writing Picture Books by Linda Ashman (only available for Kindle) (x2)

The Nuts and Bolts Guide to Writing Picture Books by [Linda Ashman]

Magnetic Poetry – Little Box of Happiness

Magnetic Poetry - Little Box of Happiness Kit - Words for Refrigerator - Write Poems and Letters on The Fridge - Made in The USA

 

The Story Book Knight by Helen Docherty

storybook knight

This Book Is Gray by Lindsay Ward

This Book Is Gray

Story Cubes

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Writing Journal (x10)

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Scythe by Neal Shusterman

The 5th Annual Valentiny Contest -FINALISTS!!!

Every time I run a contest I have a great time reading fabulous entries from writers who have entered my contests before and being dazzled by new writers who are entering for the first time, visiting blogs I’ve been to many times and blogs I’m seeing for the first time, reconnecting with old friends and making new ones, and generally being blown away by the collective talent (and peer support) in the kid lit community.

It is SO MUCH FUN!

And everything is as lovely as lovely can be. . .

. . . right up until I have to choose the finalists!

Then, all of a sudden, I find myself saying, “Why? Why do I do this to myself?”

and, “Whose idea was this ANYWAY?!”

and “GAHHHHHH!!!!!!!!”

cd521-surprisedbabytiger

Because you are all creative geniuses, and your work is spectacular, but there are only 12 prizes.

So somehow the other judges and I have to winnow somewhere in the neighborhood of 150 entries (sometimes more than twice that) down to 12!

Ouch!

Is it any wonder that we are reduced to a state where only a roomful of puppies and chocolate can give us the will to go on? 🙂

But we have made it through and by sheer stubborn determination present to you

The 5th Annual Pretty Much World Famous Valentiny Writing Contest!!!

Valentiny Writing Contest 2019!

~ FINALISTS!!!~

 

And it turns out, “curiosity” was much harder to incorporate well than I expected it to be!  Some terrifically-written entries missed it altogether, some were more self-examining or kind of wondering than really curious, some had one or two questions included but didn’t give rise to any real curiosity. . .  A curious state of affairs! 🙂

Before we get to the actual list of finalists, I have a couple things to say.  (I know you’re shocked as I’m normally so spare with my words :))

First of all, I want to thank EVERYONE who took the time and care to write an entry for this contest.  You all did a fabulous job and provided great enjoyment for so many!

Second, I’d also like to thank EVERYONE – writer, reader, or both – who took the time to go around and read as many entries as you could and leave supportive comments.  This means so much to the writers who worked hard on their stories.  It helps them see what they did well, as well as giving them the joy of knowing that their stories were read and enjoyed.  I hope you all got as much delight  and entertainment out of the reading as I did!  Plus, we got to meet quite a few new people which was a wonderful added bonus! 🙂

Third, before I list the finalists, I want to say again how difficult it was too choose!  There were so many amazing entries.  Really.  I could find at least something terrific about every single one.  The sheer volume of entries meant that many good ones had to be cut.  So if yours didn’t make the final cut please don’t feel bad.  There was a huge amount of competition – about 150 entries of which only 12 made the finals.  Judging, no matter how hard we try to be objective, is always subjective at a certain point – we all have our own preferences for what makes a great story.  And the fact that you didn’t make the final cut DOES NOT mean you didn’t write a great story.  Everyone who plonked their butt in a chair and worked hard to write a story for this contest is a winner!  You showed up.  You did your best work.  You practiced your craft.  You wrote to specifications and a deadline.  You bravely shared your writing with the world.  And you have a brand new story that is now yours to expand beyond 214 words if you like and maybe submit at some point to a magazine or as a PB manuscript.  So bravo to everyone who entered!

Now.  Onto the judging criteria which were as follows:

  1. Kid-appeal/Kid-friendliness – remember, this is a story for kids!
  2. Creativity in using curiosity and success in making us feel the curiosity!
  3. Valentine’s Day appropriateness – this is a VALENTINE story!
  4. Quality of story – we will look for basic story elements and a true story arc
  5. Quality of writing – use and flow of language, correctness of mechanics, excellence of rhyme and meter if you use it.
  6. Originality – surprise us with something new and different! 🙂

We really tried to choose stories that did the best job of fulfilling ALL the judging criteria.  There were some truly wonderful stories that didn’t have much to do with Valentines Day even if Valentine’s Day was mentioned in passing – including a couple that literally didn’t mention it at all – or that didn’t seem to really showcase curiosity although they may have used the word “curiosity” – several of which were very creative and well-written, or that were written in rhyme where the meter was off, or that didn’t seem particularly kid-oriented even though they were wonderful stories, or that really had us…until the last line or two when things sadly fell apart (which I know is often due to the tight word count requirement.)  We tried our best to select finalists that checked all the boxes.

So without further ado, I present to you the finalists in the 2020 Fifth Annual Pretty Much World Famous Valentiny Writing Contest!  Please read through them carefully, take your time, think it over, and vote for your favorite in the poll below by Saturday February 22 at 5 PM Eastern time.

To help with objectivity, finalists are listed by title only, not by author.

And I’d like to be very clear about the voting process.  You are MOST welcome to share a link to this post on FB, twitter, or wherever you like to hang out, and encourage people to come read ALL the finalists and vote for the one they think is best.  Please do that.  The more people who read and enjoy these stories the better, and the more objective votes we get the better.  HOWEVER (and I want to be very clear on this) please do not tell people you are a finalist.  Please do not ask people to vote for a specific number or title, or for the story about the curious little kitty whose curiosity nearly landed her in the jaws of the big bad wolf or whatever.  Trolling for votes or trying to influence the outcome is counter to the spirit of this competition which is supposed to be based on merit.  We operate on the honor system.  I thank you in advance for respecting this. Your win will mean more if it’s honestly earned.

So now, here are the 2020 Valentiny Contest Finalists!!! Some poetry, some prose, some for younger readers, some for older (but still kid) readers, all fabulous 🙂

 

1 – Candy Conundrum

I wonder what they taste like.

The Hug Me heart looks good.

My mommy says, “Don’t eat them.”

My tummy says, I should.

I smell True Love and Kiss Me,

then give Be Mine a lick.

I chew up Smile and Soul Mate…Yuck!

I think I might be sick.

I wonder why they make them,

those pretty hearts I ate,

to give to someone that you love

…or someone that you hate.

 

2 – Seeds Of Love

“The world needs more love,” says Grandma.
She sets a flower pot on the table.
We paint it with hearts for Valentine’s Day.
I don’t know about love, but the world has more color at least.

The seed is tiny, but Grandma says not to underestimate it.
What kind of seed is it?
But she won’t tell me.
“Life is better when there is room for wonder,” she whispers.

Poke. Dig. Poke.
The dark dirt sticks under my fingernails.
Scoop. Scoop. Scoop.
Back over my seed. Like a cozy blanket.

See you soon, little seed.

You are my sunshine, I sing.
My watering can is a gentle rainstorm.
Push. Push. Up!
A tiny bit of green starts to show.
You can do it.

Grow.
Secrets, bunched and waiting on a thin green stem.
Grow.
A little taller each day.
Stretch.

At last!
A tiny star surrounded by pink.
Bright and delicate.
Lovely and strong.

“Who should we give it to?’ Grandma asks.
I want to keep it.
“Love is for sharing,” she insists.
We leave it on our neighbors doorstep.

“We did it,” laughs Grandma.
And she’s right.
I can feel it.
There’s more love now.

From just one seed.

 

3 – The Stinky Valentine

The box arrived,
we stood and stared.
It smelled so bad,
that no one dared,
to pick it up
or sniff their nose,
the contents likely decomposed.

The box was wrapped
with bows, and hearts,
a Valentine
that smelled like farts!

It was addressed
to our whole family,
posted from
our favorite Grammy.
But why would Grammy
send a cache
that smelled like
weeks old, rotting trash?

I don’t think that’s
a Valentine’s treat,
it smells like Grandpa’s
stinky feet!

Mom called out
for Volunteers,
but we replied
with loud Bronx cheers!

Mom grabbed the box,
and held her nose,
tore off the hearts,
ribbons, and bows.

We all leaned in,
a tight knit squeeze,
and eyed a block
of blue veined cheese!

“Ewww,” we cried!
Quite displeased,
to find this marbled,
Valentine Cheese!

Then “Knock, Knock, Knock”
tapped like a score,
from the knocker
on our door.

Now who is that?
We went to see,
why,
Mr. Mouse’s Family,
who held a box
adorned with hearts,
that smelled divine,
and not like farts.

“I think this box belongs to you!”
It seems the post
mixed-up the two,
and no offense,
but this box reeks
of sickly, sugary,
doughy treats.”

We all laughed,
relieved to find,
a much more palatable
Valentine!

 

4 – I Snorfle You

Zingle gripped Mama’s warm green hand.

“I snorfle you,” Mama said.

“Snorfle you too.”

Zingle didn’t like this planet.

Spaceships zoomed on the ground. HONK!

Everyone stared at him—with two eyeballs.

And cold bits of sky fell everywhere.Brrrr.

“What’s this? What’s this? What’s this?” Zingle asked.

“Flag. Squirrel. School.” Mama brought him inside. “I snorfle you,” she said before leaving.

Zingle’s eye teared up. But then he looked around. “What’s this? What’s this? What’s this?”

“Sand. Playdough. Hamster.” an Earthlittle replied.

Lucy taught Zingle everything. Zingle got used to Lucy’s second eye.

Then one day, school looked different.

“What’s this?” Zingle asked Lucy. “What’s this? What’s this?”

“Glitter. Heart. Valentine.”

“Why?” Zingle asked.

“It means ‘I love you.’”

“I zuv you?”

“Love.”

Zingle didn’t know what that meant, but he liked making things. And he liked his friend. Zingle would make a valentine for Lucy!

But the scissors wouldn’t listen to him. The glue was too sticky. Glitter was NOTa snack. A classful of double eyeballs stared at him. The valentine was all wrong, the sky was falling again, and Zingle wanted Mama. His eye teared up.

Then Lucy put something in Zingle’s hand. “Happy Valentine’s Day!”

Zingle read the crooked heart: I snorfle you.

Zingle hugged Lucy. “Snorfle you, too.”

 

5 – Finding A Friend

She booted up and rolled outside.
“Today’s a special day.
How can I find a Valentine?
There has to be a way.”

“My mission is to make a friend,”
explained the little rover.
“So, NASA I am signing off.
I’ll call you later—over.”

She rumbled up a Martian hill,
antennas on alert.
She caught a sound, but what she found
was only blowing dirt.

Then suddenly, her radar pinged.
What could that be ahead?
She saw a rover stuck in sand.
Its batteries seemed dead.

“Oh, who are you?” she beeped in code.
“I wonder when you landed?
You couldn’t see the sand is deep?
Is that how you got stranded?”

She stretched her robot arm to him
and scanned his power pack.
“Perhaps a jolt of megavolts
will bring your functions back.”

Her stream of power filled his heart.
In minutes he was ready.
She pressed the button labelled START
and then she told him, “Steady.”

His motors revved and servos whirred.
She helped him from the hole.
“I’m Spirit. Thanks, you rescued me
and won my heart and soul!”

“My name is Curiosity.
I tracked down every sign,
to find a friend—I hope it’s you.
Please be my Valentine?”

 

6 – Dear Cupid

Dear Cupid,

Just wondering…

How good is your aim?

How often do you practice?

If you miss, do you try again?

How many arrows do you have, anyway?

Do you take requests? From anybody?

Or, are you like Santa? Do I have to have been good?

(I promise to try harder if you help me out.)

Here’s my list of targets. It’s kind of urgent. Let me explain.

  1. Mr. Crabtree. I sorta trampled his prize tomato plants…totally by accident. (He’s a BIG man. It might take two arrows.)
  2. Dad. Minor dent, garage door. Nothing anyone else would notice But he will.
  3. Mrs. Crinkly. Her trellis is trashed. Ball went haywire. Craziest thing. ( I’d like to stay on her good side. She bakes great cookies. And gives you milk, too. Or did. Not sure now. )
  4. Mom. Her fudge cake. I tested it. Delicious. Apparently not for me.

I’m usually a lovable kid, but today’s been an exceptionally bad day.

Thanks.

Your friend, I hope!
Dennis, as in Grateful (no, NOT the menace guy)

P.S. Can you leave me some arrows? For when you’re on vacation?
Thanks again,
Dennis, as in Hopeful (and slightly Hungry)

PPS. I’ll save you some cake and a cookie, if I can.

 

7 – Sending Love

Today I sent you all my love
Boxed up in bubble wrap.
I wonder how it gets to you
On your side of the map?

Do mailboxes have secret slides
To subway trains below?
That rumble through the tunnels
With their heart-covered cargo?

Do elevators lift my love
To rooftops way up high?
Where helicopters wait
To take it whizzing through the sky?

Do parachutes let my love drift
And land upon a train?
That chugs and chugs its way across
The mountains and the plains?

And when the railroad tracks run out
Does my love take a trip
Across the rolling ocean waves
Aboard a pirate ship?

Do pirates trade my love
For cheesy pizza when they dock?
And does the pizza guy
Drive on his scooter down your block?

And leave my love upon your step
For you to come home to?
I wonder if that’s how my love
Travels from me to you?

No matter how it gets there
In a plane or bus or car,
I’ll keep on sending all my love
From me to where you are!

 

8 – Always. Every Day. No Matter What.

Johnny’s eyes kept POPPING open.
He couldn’t sleep.

“MOOOOOOOM,” he called out.

Mom cracked open the door and whispered,
“What?” into the darkened room.

Johnny had a really important question
that couldn’t wait till morning.

“Will you always love me? No matter what?”
“Always,” said Mom. “No matter what.”

“Not just on Valentine’s Day?”
“Every day,” said Mom.

“Would you love me if I were a naughty puppy?”
“I’d push you out of trouble’s way with my wet nose.”

“What if I were a scared kitten?”
“I’d lick you until you purred.”

“What if I were a wiggly octopus?”
“I’d wrap my tentacles around you and give you a big squeeze.”

“What if I were a goofy giraffe?”
“I’d twist my neck around yours and kiss the tippy top of your head.”

“Would you still love me if I was a hungry little boy who ate all of my Valentine’s candy before bed?”
“Always,” said mom.

“Would you still love me if I ate… all… of…. your…. Valentine’s chocolates too?”
“Well,”…. said mom, “first I’d nuzzle you with my wet nose, then I’d lick you, then I’d squeeze you with my tentacles, then I’d give you a kiss on the tippy top of your head. And, then I’d say: “I love you, and GOODNIGHT!”

 

9 – Whose Valentine Could This Be?

Whose Valentine could this be?

Is it yours, fox, down deep in your den?
Is it yours, rooster,
or yours, hen?

Is it yours, hawk, high up in your tree?
Is it yours, cricket,
or yours, bee?

Is it yours, shark, out there in the bay?
Is it yours, turtle,
or yours, ray?

Is it yours, frog, afloat on the lake?
Is it yours, fish,
Or yours, snake?

Whose Valentine could this be?

Why,
there’s one for each of you,
with love, from me.

 

10 – Gibbon’s Valentine’s Surprise

Meerkat, Marmoset, and Sloth were sharing stories when Gibbon burst in.

“I’m making a Valentine’s surprise, and I need your help!”

They set down their books.

“I wonder what it is…” Meerkat mused.

“Maybe Valentine’s candy?” Marmoset murmured.

“Or… something… elssssssssse,” Sloth whispered.

First Gibbon grabbed paint and brushes.

“I wonder what he’s going to paint…” Meerkat mused.

“Maybe Valentine’s cards?” Marmoset murmured.

“Or… something… elssssssssse,” Sloth whispered.

Next Gibbon gathered wood and his toolbox.

“I wonder what he’s going to make…” Meerkat mused.

“Maybe a valentines mailbox?” Marmoset murmured.

“Or… something… elssssssssse,” Sloth whispered.

“Paint something you love on your pieces of wood,” Gibbon instructed.

“I love stories…” Meerkat mused.

“Me too,” Marmoset murmured.

“Oh….yesssssss,” Sloth whispered.

Everyone planned and painted.

“Perfect! Thanks!” Gibbon gathered everything and gamboled off.

“I wonder where he’s going…” Meerkat mused.

“Maybe the post office?” Marmoset murmured.

“Or… somewhere… elssssssssse,” Sloth whispered.

The three friends waited.

They pulled out paperbacks and read together.

And waited.

On Valentine’s Day Gibbon gathered his friends.

“Surprise!” Gibbon pointed.

“A little library!” Meerkat cried.

The outside:

“Our paintings!” Marmoset cheered.

Inside:

“Bookssssss!” Sloth said with a slow smile.

“Something we all love,” Meerkat mused. “Thank you, Gibbon!”

“Thank you!” said Meerkat.

“Thanksssss,” said Sloth.

Gibbon grinned. “Happy Valentine’s Day, friends!”

 

11 – Beetle’s Valentine

Beetle bakes a Valentine,
Frosting letters spell, ‘Be mine!’
Picks a rose and ties a bow,
Signs, ‘Love, Beetle— X and O.’

Hopes to woo her with affection,
Scuttles off with his confection.
“Where could Caterpillar be?”
Scours milkweed, checks each tree.

Searches under, searches over,
Every leaf and every clover.
Sits beside her favorite flower,
Waits for hour after hour.

“Is she ever coming back?”
Spots a small, brown hanging sack.
“What is this?” Creeps close to see,
“Caterpillar?” Couldn’t be.

Turns to go, snap, “What’s that sound?”
Startled, Beetle whirls around.
Sack bursts open, color flies.
Beetle can’t believe his eyes.

Caterpillar, fluttering high,
Now a lovely Butterfly!
“Is that Valentine for me?”
Beetle blushes, “Yes siree!”

 

12 – Scraps Of Love

Jumping out of bed, Sergio announced, “Yay! Recycle day!”

Papa’s bushy brows wrinkled his forehead. “You’re up early for a Saturday! Taking out the green buckets?”

“Yup, but I have to beat the collection truck to everyone’s driveways!”

Sergio slipped a clipboard under his arm, grabbed a pen, and went into the garage. He carried the last bin of moving day packing paper to the curb.

“What do you think that boy’s up to?” Papa asked Curious, their cat, who watched from the windowsill.

Balancing a battered cardboard box on top of his creaking wagon, Sergio stopped at each house on the street.

“#6 Fitzpatrick”, Sergio wrote. “Good stuff!” he exclaimed, dropping a tennis magazine, ticket stubs, and birthday card into the box.

Hearing his enthusiastic outbursts, neighbors peeked outside. They phoned each other, wondering, “What’s he looking for? They seemed all set when we helped them move in!”

At home, Sergio stashed his trash treasures in a closet so Curious couldn’t shred them.

Sergio spent hours shaping cardboard scraps into hearts. Each became the canvas for a paper collage created from each family’s own junk.

On Valentine’s Day, Sergio delivered the personalized artworks to all the neighbors with a note that said, “Thanks for opening your hearts to my family. Your friend, Sergio.”

 

 

 

Wow!  Those were impressive, weren’t they?  Good luck picking! 🙂

Please vote for your favorite in the poll below by Saturday February 22 at 5PM Eastern time.

 

Tune in Monday February 24 to see THE WINNERS!!!

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 can’t wait to see who the winners will be!

 

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I am going to lounge on my chaise and call upon Jacques, my personal masseuse, to give me a one hour foot massage. . . SNORT! As if!  I can’t even say that with a straight face 🙂

Ahem.  Let’s try again.

I’m going to go start plowing through the work that built up during all that reading and agonizing and negotiating over Valentiny stories!

Less indulgent, perhaps, but a lot more believable (and true) 🙂

Have a thrilling Thursday, everyone!

What’s In Your Heart? – The 5th Annual Valentiny Writing Contest!!!

 

Roses are red

Violets are blue

Valentinies rock

And so do YOU!

Hang onto your conversation hearts everyone!  It’s time for . . .

The 5th Annual Pretty Much World Famous Valentiny Writing Contest!!!

Valentiny Writing Contest 2019!

~ for children’s writers~

The Contest:  since writing for children is all about “big emotion for little people” (I forget who said that, but someone did so I put it in quotes!) and Valentines Day is all about emotion, write a Valentines story appropriate for children (children here defined as ages 12 and under) maximum 214 words in which someone feels curious!  Your someone can feel curious themselves or make someone else feel curious.  The curiosity may be about a person, place, thing, quality, idea, event, or about whether something will happen or something is true or real, or anything else under the sun you can think up!  Think beyond the obvious!  Your story can be poetry or prose, sweet, funny, surprising or anything in between, but it will only count for the contest if it includes someone curious (can be the main character but doesn’t have to be) and is 214 words (get it? 2/14 for Valentines Day 🙂  You can go under the word count but not over! (Title is not included in the word count.)  If you are so inclined, you are welcome to enter more than one entry – just remember you’ll be competing against yourself 🙂  No illustration notes please!

Post your story on your blog between right now this very second and Friday February 14th by 11:59 PM EDT and add your post-specific link to the list below.  There will be no regularly scheduled posts (Tuesday Debut, Would You Read It or PPBF) for the duration of the contest, so this post and the list of links will stay up all week for everyone to enjoy. If you would like to enter but don’t have a blog you are welcome to paste your entry in the comment section below (please be sure to include your byline so that if your posting handle is writesbynightlight1 or something I’ll be able to tell who you are!)  If anyone has trouble commenting, which unfortunately happens, please email your entry to me at susanna[at]susannahill[dot]com and I’ll post your entry for you. But please no attachments!  Just copy and paste your story including byline into the email.  Also, please only post your entry once – either in the comment section of my blog or on the link list or by emailing me and asking me to post it.  Multiple postings of the same entry get confusing. 🙂
P.S.  Although I try to stay glued to my computer 24/7 I am sometimes forced to leave my desk.  If you haven’t commented on my blog before, your comment won’t show up until I approve it.  It may take a little while if I’m away from my desk.  Likewise, if you send me an entry to post, I promise I will do it as soon as I can!

The Judging: over the next several days, my lovely assistants and I will narrow down the entrants to 6-10 top choices depending on number and quality of entries (hee hee hee – you know how much trouble I have with the narrowing, so we’ll see) which will be posted here and voted on for a winner on Wednesday February 19th (or possibly a day or two later if the judges need extra time.)   The winner will be announced Friday February 21st or Saturday February 22nd depending on judging and voting time needed. (And there will be no Tuesday Debut, WYRI or PPBF that week either so that everyone will have time to read and vote and so that we don’t confuse PPBF with announcing winners.)  The dates of the judging/voting/winner announcements are subject to finagling depending on how much time the judges actually end up needing!

Judging criteria will include:

  1. Kid-appeal/Kid-friendliness – remember, this is a story for kids!
  2. Creativity in using curiosity and success in making us feel the curiosity!
  3. Valentine’s Day appropriateness – this is a VALENTINE story!
  4. Quality of story – we will look for basic story elements and a true story arc
  5. Quality of writing – use and flow of language, correctness of mechanics, excellence of rhyme and meter if you use it.
  6. Originality – surprise us with something new and different! 🙂

The Prizes:  Oh, so many wonderful things to choose from that will be of great help to you in your writing career!!!

Penny’s Two Cents – an incredible opportunity for any picture book writer!

Sometimes it’s helpful to chat with a published author about your writing journey. Penny Parker Klostermann is offering her two cents. The prize includes six thirty-minute Skype/Google Hangout sessions with Penny. The sessions can be used anytime during 2020. Ask her anything related to writing for children and getting published. Up to two sessions can be used for general comments on a manuscript (not a full critique). Penny doesn’t claim to have it all figured out, (by any means) but she’s happy to share her two cents based on what she’s learned and continues to learn on her journey as an author.

Penny Klostermann

Penny is the author of THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHT (Random House 2015) (now available in board book and with matching pajamas! 🙂 ) and A COOKED-UP FAIRY TALE (Random House 2017)

495eb-penny      Cooked-Up Fairy Tale

 – Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Rosie Pova, author of If I Weren’t With You (Spork 2017),  Sarah’s Song (Spork 2017), and the forthcoming Sunday Rain (Lantana Publishing, September 2020)

Rosie Pova                Sarah's Song

If I Weren't With You Sunday Rain

Picture Book Manuscript Critique (rhyming or non-rhyming) from Katey Howes, author of GRANDMOTHER THORN (Ripple Grove Press 2017), MAGNOLIA MUDD AND THE SUPER JUMPTASTIC LAUNCHER DELUXE (Sterling Children’s Books 2018), BE A MAKER (Carolrhoda Books, 2019), and the forthcoming RISSY NO KISSIES (Lerner/Carolrhoda Spring 2021)

KathrynHeadshots-20 (2)               Magnolia Mudd cover art Grandmother Thorn  Be A Maker

Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Ellen Leventhal, author of DON’T EAT THE BLUEBONNETS (Spork 2017), LOLA CAN’T LEAP (Spork 2018), and HAYFEST A HOLIDAY QUEST (ABCs Press 2010)

Ellen Leventhal       Don't Eat The Bluebonnets

Hayfest     Lola Can't Leap

Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Sherry Howard, author of ROCK & ROLL WOODS (Spork 2018)

Sherry Howard (4)Cover Rock and Roll Woods

Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Lydia Lukidis, author of NO BEARS ALLOWED (Blue Whale Press 2019) and many educational titles.

Lydia Lukidis        No Bears Allowed

– a spot in Making Picture Book Magic (Interactive or Self Study version – winner’s choice) – an online picture book writing course from Yours Truly.  If you choose the interactive version, month to be mutually agreed on by me and the winner.

MPBM

– Prize Pack #1 – a personalized signed copy of A MORNING WITH GRANDPA (Lee&Low Books 2016) by Sylvia Liu and the 2020 Guide To Literary Agents (which you may exchange for the Children’s Writer’s And Illustrator’s Market 2020 if you prefer)

MorningWithGrandpa_cover 2020 Guide to Literary Agents
Lee&Low New Voices Award 2013

Picture Book Prize Pack – a personalized signed copy of NOT QUITE SNOW WHITE (HarperCollins 2019) by Ashley Franklin and a personalized signed copy of NOAH NOASAURUS (Albert Whitman & Co 2019) by Elaine Kiely Kearns

Not Quite Snow White      noah

Picture Book Pack From Chris and Chris: a personalized signed copy of EMILY’S IDEA (Sounds True, March 2020) by Christine Evans and a personalized signed copy of HEY, HEY, HAY! A Tale of Bales and the Machines That Make Them (Holiday House 2018) by Christy Mihaly

Emily's Idea HEY, HEY, HAY! Cover

Historical Women Picture Book Pack: a personalized signed copy of QUEEN OF PHYSICS: How Wu Chien Shiung Helped Unlock the Secrets of the Atom (Sterling Children’s Books 2019) by Teresa Robeson and a personalized signed copy of MAKING THEIR VOICES HEARD: The Inspiring Friendship of Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe (Little Bee Books 2020) by Vivian Kirkfield

queen of physics cover              Making Their Voices Heard
Asian/Pacific American Award Picture
Book and ALA Notable Picture Book

A SURPRISE PACK! – 2 additional picture books (not signed) donated by Darshana Khiani (who will have her own book, How To Wear A Sari, out in Spring 2021!): What Color Is Night? by Grant Snider and Caspian Finds A Friend by Jacqueline Veissid

What Color Is Night? Caspian Finds A Friend

 

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, Amazone, B&N, or anywhere else if you like them, and supporting them in any other way you can dream up! 😊

 

And now, lovelies, it is time for my traditional sample entry, since I feel I shouldn’t ask you to do anything I wouldn’t do. . . 🙂

Steel yourself!

A Valentiny Mystery (184 words)

Mama’s working busily
Making something I can’t see.
“What’s that?” I ask her quizzically.
“Try to guess,” she answers me.
“It’s a little mystery.
I’ll give you clues.  Think carefully,
And figure out what it could be!
It’s something red.”

What could it be?

“Ribbon? Wagon? Redwood tree?”

Ooh! I love a mystery!

“It’s something sweet and sugary.
And something red.”

What could it be?

“Candy apple? Raspberry?”

Hmm… it’s still a mystery!

“It’s something heart-shaped perfectly,
And something sweet and sugary.
And something red.”

What could it be?

“A candy heart? A strawberry?”

Hmmm… it’s still a mystery!

“It’s something super sparkly.
And something heart-shaped perfectly.
It’s something sweet and sugary.
And something red.”

What could it be?

“A sparkle-sprinkled chocolate cherry?”

Golly! What a mystery!

By now, it smells deliciously!
I know it’s super sparkly. . .
I know it’s heart-shaped perfectly. . .
I know it’s sweet and sugary. . .
It’s something red. . .

What could it be?

“I’ve got it!” I say gleefully.
“I figured out the mystery!
It’s my Valentiny cookie!”
Made by Mama just for me!

I warned you. . . 🙂

Never let it be said that I’m not willing to embarrass myself for you! 🙂

And now you all hopefully feel filled with confidence in your own entries because certainly they are all FAR better than that!

I can’t wait to read all of yours!  I’m SO looking forward to them!  I hope there will be LOTS – the more the merrier!  And you still have until midnight Friday to write, so you have time 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!!!

So!

Contest Entrants, remember to add your post-specific link to the list below so we can all come read your awesome stories!  (Post-specific means not your main blog url, but the actual url of the post that has your story in it – otherwise if you post again before the contest ends, your link will take readers… and judges!… to the wrong place!)  Please allow a few minutes and possibly refresh your browser before deciding that your link hasn’t posted and adding it a second time or emailing it to me.

Eager Readers – click on the links in the list to visit the blogs and read the stories.  And be sure to read the 90 fabulous entries posted in the comment section below!!!

Happy Valentines Week, Everyone! 💕

Scroll through the comments to find these wonderful stories! Titles are direct links.

  1. Shelly & Saul – Sue Lancaster
  2. Bags Of Love – Laura Howard
  3. Some Bunny Loves You – Laura Howard
  4. I Don’t Need A Valentine – Deb Buschman
  5. Sending Love – Chelsea Tornetto
  6. My Sunny Valentine – Glenda Roberson
  7. What Makes Your Heart Beat? – Beth Brody
  8. The Perfect Valentine’s Playdate – Deb Sullivan
  9. The Heart – Nina Nolan
  10. Love And My Teddy – Tracy Curran
  11. Crazy, Foolish Love – Tracy Curran
  12. The Chocolate Beast – Megan Walvoord
  13. How To Fix A Broken Heart – Paul Roncone
  14. Little Card’s Purpose – Theresa Kiser
  15. Valentine Story 2020 – Shariffa Keshavjee
  16. A Robot’s Valentine’s Day – Susan Summers
  17. Mystery Valentine – Lindsey Hobson
  18. The Hunter Games – Anne Lipton
  19. Cupid’s Love Trials – Katrina Swenson
  20. Will You Be Mine? – Ryan Roberts
  21. I Snorfle You – Sara Ackerman
  22. Signed Sealed Delivered – Delia Black
  23. A Shelter Dog’s Valentine – Anne Bromley
  24. The Curious Concoction – Stacey Miller
  25. Crabby’s Heart Speaks – Rebecca Loescher
  26. Valentine Clue – Alicia Fadgen
  27. Cupid’s Confusion – Alicia Fadgen
  28. Cupid’s World – Alicia Fadgen
  29. The Perfect Valentine – Maryna Doughty
  30. Jigna’s Valentine – Gabrielle Cardwell
  31. Moe’s Valentine’s Day Discovery – Kelsey Gross
  32. The Rose Thief – Margaret Aitken
  33. The Egg – Rebecca Woodall
  34. How Do You Write A Poem? – Belen Medina Cabot
  35. Missing Hearts – Bru Benson
  36. An Antique Valentine – Abbi Lee
  37. My Piggy Valentine – Claire Lewis
  38. Romeo And Jellyette – Kristy Roser Nuttall
  39. The Lost Valentine – Ellie Langford
  40. Mia Flying Heart Girl – Lily Erlic
  41. Squirrel’s Surprise – Darci Nielson
  42. Sylvia’s Special Valentine – Vanessa Cicarelli
  43. This Arrow Is Narrow – Linda Staszak
  44. Valentine’s Day Is Gross – Ranessa Doucet
  45. The Art Of The Heart – Wikki Krawczyk
  46. Valentine Equation – Claire Bobrow
  47. Cupid’s Diary – Ketan Ram
  48. Valentine Broccoli? – Susan Drew
  49. The Upside-Down Heart – Mary Munson
  50. Who Could It Be From? – Ashley Congdon
  51. The Curious Case Of The Valentine Gift – Heather Kauffman
  52. My Heart’s Wish – Melissa Stiveson
  53. The Unquestionable Valentine– Deborah Boerema
  54. Whose Valentine Could This Be? – Michelle Howell Miller
  55. Mailbox – Amy Flynn
  56. I Miss You – Jarmila Kurucova
  57. What Is That? – Jyoti Gopal
  58. Katerina The Caterpillar Solves A Conundrum – Dina Towbin
  59. Beetle’s Valentine – Chambrae Griffith
  60. Scales Of Love – Caroline Perry
  61. Cupid And Curtis – Jen Bagan
  62. What If…? – Susie Sawyer
  63. A Valentine Surprise – Corine Timmer
  64. Where Is Love? – Emmie R Werner
  65. Will She Or Won’t She? – Elizabeth Volkmann
  66. Mystery Marks – Mary Warth
  67. Roosters And Roses – Paul Kurtz
  68. Computer Bugs – Paul Kurtz
  69. Boys – Yecchh! – Donna Kurtz
  70. Eight Legs Of Love – Donna Kurtz
  71. Secret Stash – Mia Geiger
  72. The Curious Kitten – Elsie Duffany
  73. What’s Love? – Ingrid Boydston
  74. An Unexpected Valentine – Michelle S. Kennedy
  75. How To Find Your Valentine – Cindy Williams Schrauben
  76. Peck! – Andrea MacDonald
  77. The Mailbox Mouse – Roo Parkin
  78. Pandora’s Peek-Not Pact – Jenny Buchet
  79. Dear Cupid – Marty Bellis
  80. Curious Kip – Kirsten Pendreigh
  81. Bernard And Robin: One Adventure, Two Friends – Susan Twiggs
  82. Scraps Of Love – Charlotte Sheer
  83. When Love Gives You Wings – Kate Thompson
  84. What If . . . A Valentine’s Story – Kelly Pope Adamson
  85. Cookie Memories – Judy Sobanski
  86. Wanted – Jill Lambert
  87. Always. Every day. No matter what. – JC Kelly
  88. Ophelia Divine – Sofia Dibble
  89. Bee My Perfect Valentine – Kelly Pope Adamson
  90. Joy Finds Love – Olivia Rehfield

The Twelve Days Of Valentines…

Let’s talk for a moment about deadlines and time pressure.

Woohoo!  Fun, right???!!! 🙂

Some people feel these are negative things, but I propose we look at them as an opportunity for extraordinary productivity!

(This opportunity for extraordinary productivity arises because I missed my deadline of posting this on Thursday, but we won’t talk about that 🙂 )

So if we’re being completely above board here, it’s not exactly the 12 days of Valentines.

It’s more like we have 12 days until Valentines.

Or, to be more precise, 12 days until the

The 5th Annual Valentiny Writing Contest!!!

Valentiny Writing Contest 2019!

So my gift to you is a nice little 12 day window to get your contest entry written! 🙂

The Contest:  since writing for children is all about “big emotion for little people” (I forget who said that, but someone did so I put it in quotes!) and Valentines Day is all about emotion, write a Valentines story appropriate for children (children here defined as ages 12 and under) maximum 214 words in which someone feels curious!  Your someone can feel curious themselves or make someone else feel curious.  The curiosity may be about a person, place, thing, quality, idea, event, or about whether something will happen or something is true or real, or anything else under the sun you can think up!  Think beyond the obvious!  Your story can be poetry or prose, sweet, funny, surprising or anything in between, but it will only count for the contest if it includes someone curious (can be the main character but doesn’t have to be) and is 214 words (get it? 2/14 for Valentines Day 🙂  You can go under the word count but not over! (Title is not included in the word count.)  If you are so inclined, you are welcome to enter more than one entry – just remember you’ll be competing against yourself 🙂  No illustration notes please!

Post your story on your blog between 12:00 AM EDT Wednesday February 12th and Friday February 14th by 11:59 PM EDT and add your post-specific link to the list that will accompany my February 12th post.  There will be no regularly scheduled posts that week (Tuesday Debut, Would You Read It or PPBF), so the post and the list of links will stay up all week for everyone to enjoy.  If you don’t have a blog and would like to enter, you can simply copy and paste your entry in the comments section of that post once it’s up. (Or, if you have difficulty with the comments, which unfortunately sometimes happens, you may email your entry to me and I’ll post it for you! Please copy and paste your entry with byline into the body of the email – no attachments! And please do not submit emailed entries until the contest begins on Feb. 12!)  Please only post your entry ONCE! Either on your blog and the associated link list, or in the comment section of my post!  Otherwise it gets confusing 🙂

The Judging: over the next several days, my lovely assistants and I will narrow down the entrants to 6-10 top choices depending on number and quality of entries (hee hee hee – you know how much trouble I have with the narrowing, so we’ll see) which will be posted here and voted on for a winner on Wednesday February 19th (or possibly a day or two later if the judges need extra time.)   The winner will be announced Friday February 21st or Saturday February 22nd depending on judging and voting time needed. (And there will be no Tuesday Debut, WYRI or PPBF that week either so that everyone will have time to read and vote and so that we don’t confuse PPBF with announcing winners.)  The dates of the judging/voting/winner announcements are subject to finagling depending on how much time the judges actually end up needing!

Judging criteria will include:

  1. Kid-appeal/Kid-friendliness – remember, this is a story for kids!
  2. Creativity in using curiosity and success in making us feel the curiosity!
  3. Valentine’s Day appropriateness – this is a VALENTINE story!
  4. Quality of story – we will look for basic story elements and a true story arc
  5. Quality of writing – use and flow of language, correctness of mechanics, excellence of rhyme and meter if you use it.
  6. Originality – surprise us with something new and different! 🙂

The Prizes:  I’m still working on prizes, but I wanted to get the contest guidelines up so you’d have time to write.  If anyone has anything fabulous to offer, drop me an email 🙂  But meanwhile, start writing and watch this space for prizes which I will add as I get them organized!

Penny’s Two Cents – an incredible opportunity for any picture book writer!

Sometimes it’s helpful to chat with a published author about your writing journey. Penny Parker Klostermann is offering her two cents. The prize includes six thirty-minute Skype/Google Hangout sessions with Penny. The sessions can be used anytime during 2020. Ask her anything related to writing for children and getting published. Up to two sessions can be used for general comments on a manuscript (not a full critique). Penny doesn’t claim to have it all figured out, (by any means) but she’s happy to share her two cents based on what she’s learned and continues to learn on her journey as an author.

Penny Klostermann

Penny is the author of THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHT (Random House 2015) (now available in board book and with matching pajamas! 🙂 ) and A COOKED-UP FAIRY TALE (Random House 2017)

 

495eb-penny      Cooked-Up Fairy Tale

 – Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Rosie Pova, author of If I Weren’t With You (Spork 2017),  Sarah’s Song (Spork 2017), and the forthcoming Sunday Rain (Lantana Publishing, September 2020)

Rosie Pova                Sarah's Song

If I Weren't With You Sunday Rain

 

– Picture Book Manuscript Critique (rhyming or non-rhyming) from Katey Howes, author of GRANDMOTHER THORN (Ripple Grove Press 2017), MAGNOLIA MUDD AND THE SUPER JUMPTASTIC LAUNCHER DELUXE (Sterling Children’s Books 2018), BE A MAKER (Carolrhoda Books, 2019), and the forthcoming RISSY NO KISSIES (Lerner/Carolrhoda Spring 2021)

KathrynHeadshots-20 (2)               Magnolia Mudd cover art Grandmother Thorn  Be A Maker

 

– Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Ellen Leventhal, author of DON’T EAT THE BLUEBONNETS (Spork 2017), LOLA CAN’T LEAP (Spork 2018), and HAYFEST A HOLIDAY QUEST (ABCs Press 2010)

Ellen Leventhal       Don't Eat The Bluebonnets

Hayfest     Lola Can't Leap

– Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Sherry Howard, author of ROCK & ROLL WOODS (Spork 2018)

Sherry Howard (4)Cover Rock and Roll Woods

– Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Lydia Lukidis, author of NO BEARS ALLOWED (Blue Whale Press 2019) and many educational titles.

Lydia Lukidis        No Bears Allowed

 

An assortment of picture books which have yet to be organized into prize packs 🙂

– a personalized signed copy of A MORNING WITH GRANDPA (Lee&Low Books 2016) by Sylvia Liu

 

MorningWithGrandpa_cover

Lee&Low New Voices Award 2013

– a personalized signed copy of NOT QUITE SNOW WHITE (HarperCollins 2019) by Ashley Franklin

Not Quite Snow White

– a personalized signed copy of EMILY’S IDEA (Sounds True, March 2020) by Christine Evans

Emily's Idea

– a personalized signed copy of QUEEN OF PHYSICS: How Wu Chien Shiung Helped Unlock the Secrets of the Atom (Sterling Children’s Books 2019) by Teresa Robeson

queen of physics cover

Asian/Pacific American Award Picture Book and ALA Notable Picture Book

– a personalized signed copy of NOAH NOASAURUS (Albert Whitman & Co 2019) by Elaine Kiely Kearns

noah

2 additional picture books (not signed) yet to be identified! 🙂

So you’ve got approximately 12 days to write your entry!  Butt in chair! Chocolate snacks and coffee/tea on your desk!  Brain in gear!  Ready, set, WRITE!  You can do it!!!

I can’t wait to read your stories!!!

The 2019 Holiday Contest WINNERS!!!

 

 

          🎄             ⭐️             ✡️             ❄️             🕎             ☃️             🎄

 

Well, hello there, my little cupcakes!

It’s Thursday, so you know what that means!

For starters, it means you’re a little confused!

This is the second time this week you’ve come to visit on a day I don’t post!

But that is delightful in every way because I am ALWAYS glad to see you!

And as it turns out, I kind of thought you might wander in, so I made you something.

Yes! I really did!

All by myself!

It IS the holiday baking season after all . . .

. . . which got me to thinking, wouldn’t we all like to know what kind of holiday cookie we are?

I mean, I know wondering about that keeps me up at night. . . !😊

The rest of the world may be busy figuring out their elf names or their reindeer names, but that is so last year.

You are so special that you are the ONLY people IN THE WOLRD who get to discover what kind of cookie you are!  Check it out!

What Kind Of Holiday Cookie Are You_

And now you know how I spend my time – thinking up cookie flavors and types, randomizing the lists, and employing canva to make festive charts.  No wonder I haven’t vacuumed😊

Allow me to introduce myself:  Chocolate Chip Crinkle Cookie!!!  (which I think describes me to a T since I love chocolate and I am quite crinkly-looking now that I’m more than half a century old!😊)

So now that you all know what kind of cookie you are (please feel free to share in the comments!) you can all go off happily to your holiday whirlwind of shopping and wrapping and cooking and baking and traveling or tidying depending whether your visiting or hosting and etc, etc, etc!

Bon voyage!

See you next year!

                                                 ❄️

                                                                                                                                    ❄️

                       ❄️                                                              ❄️

                                                      ❄️

                                                                                                ❄️

                         ❄️                                           ❄️

                                                                                                                   ❄️

 

Tra-la-la…

Oh!

You’re still here?

Not that I mind, but . . .

. . . was there something you wanted?

Besides your cookie name?

It’s almost as if you’re hanging around . . .

. . . waiting for something . . .

. . . like . . .

. . . maybe . . .

. . . to find out who won

THE 9TH ANNUAL HOLIDAY CONTEST!!!

Holiday

~ 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 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 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!)

Carmen Castillo Gilbert for Andres SAVES la Navidad (beautifully written with a natural interweaving of Spanish vocabulary and a lovely depiction of a grandmother/grandson relationship)

Colleen Murphy for The Recipe (beautifully written and poignant – a tug-on-the-heartstrings story with a hopeful ending)

Janet Smart for Ho! Ho! Ho! Yum! (fun and kid-friendly with a delightfully conscientious mouse 🙂 )

Sarah Meade for Claire’s Big Christmas Trip (we could imagine her special outing to New York City perfectly!)

Maria Antonia for Last Christmas Cookie (great portrayal of sibling interaction and a nicely executed twist ending!)

Lori Sheroan for Watch And Learn (an entry we loved for its beautiful setting and wonderful characterization done in very few words as well as its Appalachian folk tale flavor)

Deb Sullivan for A Great Treat (energetic, kid-friendly and fun!)

Kathy Halsey for Likin’ Lichen . . . Or Marshmallows? (fun and believably kid – favorite line: “Their eyes – how they twinkled. Their noses – So hairy. Their antlers – so tall and a teensy bit scary.” 🙂 )

Katrina Swenson for The Great Cookie Escape (original, creative and entertaining Point of View (the cookies!) very well written!)

Kelly Pope Adamson for Recipe For A Snowman (very creative – who knew you could make a snowman without snow?!)

 

2. For Fun, Well-Written Twists on Familiar Tales:

Brenda Covert for A Surprise For General Gingerbread (well written and fun, not exactly based on the tale, but the main character is technically a Gingerbread Man 🙂 )

Jill Lambert for Even Trolls Deserve A Treat (a kind-hearted twist on The Three Billy Goats Gruff)

Angela Verges for Cora’s Christmas Cookies (a cute twist on The Little Red Hen)

Stacey Miller for A Fairy Tale Treat (a twist on Hansel And Gretel with a touch of the The Three Little Pigs thrown in – favorite line: “A book of 101 Things To Make With A Turnip” 🙂 )

 

 

3. For Top Of The Naughty List:

Sarah Hetu-Radny for A Trickster’s Treat (that Ellery was up to every kind of no-good! – good job with character!)

 

4. For Poetic Writing and Original Format:

Tracy Curran for The Choice Of A Tree (lovely language, poignant story which she somehow wrote in the shape of a Christmas tree!)

 

5. For Excellence In Representing A Different Holiday Tradition: (not already in the Finals or All-Around HM)

Jyoti Rajan Gopal for Luscious Laddoos: A Sweet Story (wonderfully descriptive and mouth-watering!)

 

 

6. For Best Entry Based On A True Story:

Pat Finnegan for A Taste Of Peace (based on the Christmas Eve truce in hostilities on the Western Front)

 

 

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 five dollars 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 🙂 )

 

And now…

…the moment you’ve all been waiting for…

The announcement of the WINNERS OF THE 2019 HOLIDAY CONTEST as voted on by you, our esteemed readers!!!

rat-a-tat-rat-a-tat-rat-a-tat-rat-a-tat-rat-a-tat

DDDRRRUUUMMM RRROOOLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!

In First Place

Winner of the whole shebang…

who gets first choice of all the prizes…

Rebecca Gardyn Levington
for

The Greatest Latke Topping!!!

Congratulations, Rebecca, on a fun, kid-friendly story written in spot-on rhyme with a delightfully humorous ending that was clearly very popular with a LOT of readers!!!  It ain’t over til Ketchup comes to the table! 🙂

In Second Place

Laurie Carmody
for
All I Want For Christmas

Congratulations, Laurie, on a fun, kid-friendly entry that made us laugh at yet another use for the poor. much-maligned fruit cake 🙂  You get to pick your prize after Rebecca.

In Third Place

Kelly Kandra Hughes
for

Christmas Peach Pie

Congratulations, Kelly, on an entry that made us long for peach pie and admire your little main character for being willing to embrace the naughty list to get that pie! 🙂  You get to pick your prize after Rebecca and Laurie.

In Fourth Place

Sue Lancaster
for
Grandpa Ted’s Garden Shed

Congratulations, Sue, on a fun story about a holiday treat that wasn’t food!!! with a great ending that left us wondering what exactly Grandpa gets up to in his spare time… 🙂  You get to pick your prize after Rebecca, Laurie, and Kelly!

In Fifth Place… a tie! between

Kailei Pew                                                                                      Anne Lipton
for                                                                                                       for
       A Christmas Treat For Mama                                                         Vinarterta With Amma

Congratulations, Kelly, on a sweet story that embraced the true spirit of the season, and Congratulations, Anne, on a beautifully-written story full of lovely language that introduced us to a different holiday tradition!  Great job both of you!  You get to pick your prizes after Rebecca, Laurie, Kelly, and Sue… and we may have to negotiate a little (which is why I try to avoid ties, but when they happen they happen!)

In Seventh Place…

Lara Elliot
for
Gingerbread Family

Congratulations, Lara!  We loved how Isabel found a way to make the best of things, not only saving the cookies but celebrating each member of the family for their uniqueness!  I’m sure you get the idea of how the prize picking goes by now 🙂

In Eighth Place…

Gabrielle Cardwell
for
Biscuit’s Christmas Treat

Congratulations, Gabrielle!  We loved that your story celebrated a dog’s POV of a Christmas walk through the neighborhood, and we felt like we knew Biscuit!  You get to pick after Lara 🙂

In Ninth Place

Tracy Curran
for
The Gingerbread Sleigh

Congratulations, Tracy, on your mouth-watering entry written in excellent rhyme with a wonderful ending!  You get to pick after Gabrielle 🙂

In Tenth Place

Brenda Whitehead
for
Christmas Eve Treats

Congratulations, Brenda, on a lovely entry that celebrated the love between a grandmother and granddaughter and came around to such a sweet ending where their roles were reversed.  You get to pick your prize after Tracy!

In Eleventh Place

Deborah Bence Boerema
for
Christmas Kitchen Chaos

Congratulations, Deborah, on an entry that perfectly portrayed the way things seem to go in the kitchen this time of year with a lovely ending that showed it’s the who not the what that matters!  You get to pick after Brenda!

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 Holiday Treat (see what I did there?  🙂 )

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 – I’ve got children to fetch, cookies to bake, Christmas presents to shop for and wrap, and my sister and her family arriving from Georgia! 🙂  So I will see you all in a couple weeks – most probably the first week of January 🙂

So now, 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 2020!

Happy Holidays, and all best wishes for a wonderful New Year!!!

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The Prizes!:  OMG! So much awesomeness!!!

 

Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Children’s Literary Agent Melissa Richeson of Apokedak Literary!!! Melissa will read and give a written critique of your picture book manuscript plus a 10 minute phone call to talk!!!

MG/YA First 1500 Words Critique from Children’s Literary Agent Melissa Richeson of Apokedak Literary!!! Melissa will read and give a written critique of the first 1500 words of your MG or YA manuscript!!!

Melissa Richeson

Literary Agent Melissa Richeson

Melissa is currently looking to build her client list and is focusing on children’s book authors—picture books through young adult. She’s drawn to witty wording and whimsical design for picture books, humor and quick pacing for chapter books, charming mysteries or magic in middle grade, and fresh, character-driven stories in young adult. She’s not the best fit for horror, high fantasy, or graphic violence of any kind

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Art of Arc Writing Course from writer and editor Alayne Kay Christian!

Art of ArcArt of Arc is an independent-study picture book writing course. Most stories have some sort of arc. Many successful picture books are built around an arc. Understanding story and character arcs will help give your story order and the tension that will energize it from the beginning to the end. This energy will not only drive your protagonist forward – it will also drive readers to turn pages and keep reading.

The purpose of this course is to deepen your understanding of picture books written with a classic arc and to introduce you to many other picture books structures. The course also addresses a number of common issues that weaken a story and common writing mistakes that authors make.

Picture Book Manuscript Critique (rhyming or non-rhyming) from Penny Parker Klostermann, talented author of THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHT (Random House 2015) and A COOKED-UP FAIRY TALE (Random House 2017)

fb844-penny 495eb-penny A Cooked Up Fairy Tale

Rhyming Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Dawn Young, author of THE NIGHT BAAFORE CHRISTMAS (WorthyKids 2019)

Young headshot hi res for blog - jacket

Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Melissa Stoller, author of SCARLET’S MAGIC PAINTBRUSH (Spork 2018), READY, SET, GORILLA! (Spork 2018), and THE ENCHANTED SNOW GLOBE COLLECTION (chapter books) (Spork 2017)

Picture2 Picture1 gorilla

Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Julie Abery, author of LITTLE TIGER and LITTLE PANDA (Amicus Ink 2019) and the forthcoming YUSRA SWIMS (Creative Editions February 2020) and LITTLE MONKEY and LITTLE HIPPO (Amicus Ink February 2020)

julie abery Yusra Swims

Little Tiger Cover Little Panda Cover Little Monkey Little Hippo

Book Bundle #1 – Nonfiction

Signed Copies of multiple star- and award-winning picture books

SONNY’S BRIDGE: JAZZ LEGEND SONNY ROLLINS FINDS HIS GROOVE (Charlesbridge 2019) and A PLACE TO LAND (Charlesbridge 2019)

and

A PLACE TO LAND: MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. AND THE SPEECH THAT INSPIRED A NATION (Charlesbridge 2019) by Barry Wittenstein

barry-wittenstein-photo Sonny's Bridge A Place To Land

 

Book Bundle #2 – Two By Tara Plus One

Personalized, signed copies of OPERATION PHOTOBOMB (Albert Whitman 2019) and I USED TO BE FAMOUS (Albert Whitman 2019) by Tara Luebbe

Tara Luebbe Operation Photobomb I Used To Be Famous

and a personalized signed copy of MOTHER TERESA: THE LITTLE PENCIL IN GOD’S HAND (Spork 2019) by Patricia Saunders

patricia-saunders_orig  Mother Teresa cover

Children's Writers And Illustrators 2020

(Charlesbridge 2019)

Making A Living Writing Books For Kids: Tips, Techniques, and Tales from a Working Children’s Author – by Laura Purdie Salas

Making A Living

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, Amazone, B&N, or anywhere else if you like them, and supporting them in any other way you can dream up! 😊