Be Brave, My Heart! – The 6th Annual Valentiny Contest Is Here!!!

[For those trying to post, you must click on the Blog Post Title to get on the blog post page and access the comments]

Roses are red

Violets are blue

Valentinies rock

And so do YOU!

Like galloping hooves, our brave hearts are pounding with excitement and anticipation (or maybe trepidation!) because it’s time for. . .

The 6th Annual Valentiny Writing Contest

~ 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 brave!

  • They can be brave about asking someone to be their Valentine, of course, but they can also do something brave to get a Valentine (the person or the gift), or do something brave to help a friend. They could be brave about giving something up, or brave about asking someone they’re not sure they like to be their Valentine just to be nice. . . sky’s the limit!  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 brave (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.
  • You are welcome to enter more than one entry – just remember you’ll be competing against yourself 😊
  • No illustration notes please!

Post your story in the comment section below (preferred) or on your own blog between right now this very second and Sunday February 14th by 11:59 PM EDT. If you only post on your own blog, add your post-specific link to the form list at the bottom of the post.  This post with all the entries in the comment section and the list of links for those who prefer to post on their own blogs will stay up all week for everyone to enjoy. If you have difficulty posting your entry to the comments, which unfortunately sometimes happens, you may email your entry to me and I’ll post it for you! [susanna[at]susannahill[dot]com

We discussed changing the entry posting. The majority voted to have all the entries in one place here in the comment section, so we’re going to give that a try. But there were some who wanted to continue blog-hopping, so I’m going to include a link list for them at the bottom of the post. For those who are willing to post in the comment section but also plan to post on their own blogs, you are most welcome to post the link to your blog in your posted entry here (see example below.) That way people can come visit you if they want to but can also read most of the entries in one place on my blog if they prefer. It is certainly easier for the judges to have as many entries as possible in one place. We’ll try it this way one time and see how it works. We can always go back to the old system 😊

(So a sample entry might look like this:
ENTRY TITLE – word count
Author Name
(link to your own contest entry blog post if you have one and would like to share it)

Amazing wonderful Valentiny Contest story.😊

Dudley’s Brave Valentine – 212 words
by Violet Hill
http://bit.ly/3aOxhZm

It was almost Valentines Day and Dudley’s heart had sunk to somewhere near his big toenail.
(etc etc amazing story continues)

I know how hard you all work on your entries and how anxious you are to be sure your entry is posted, but please try to be a little bit patient if you’re waiting for your entry to show up in the comments or on the list of entries. I try never to get up from my desk during contests but sometimes it’s unavoidable. 😊

The Judging: over the next several days, my lovely assistants and I will narrow down the entrants to 12 top choices which will be posted here and voted on for a winner on Thursday February 18th (or possibly a day or two later if the judges need extra time.)   The winner will be announced Monday February 22nd depending on judging and voting time needed.  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 bravery and success in making us feel the bravery!
  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, PROOFREADING!
  6. Originality – surprise us with something new and different! 😊
  7. How well you followed the Submission Guidelines – agents and editors expect professionalism. This is a chance to practice making sure you read and follow specified guidelines. If you don’t follow agent and editor submission guidelines they won’t even read your submission.

The Prizes:  Talk about a pounding heart! Just look at these fabulous prizes!

Hannah VanVels – Agent, Belcastro Agency – PB MS Critique

Hannah will offer one lucky winner a PB MS critique. The winner may submit fiction or nonfiction, rhyme or prose – Hannah is open to anything!

(from Belcastro Agency’s website)

Winner’s choice of Renee LaTulippe‘s Lyrical Language Lab Intensive Rhyme & Meter Self Study Course OR a one-hour ZOOM consultation with Renee to get feedback on a manuscript of your choice, ask questions about writing in rhyme/lyrical prose, or spend however you like!

Renee LaTulippe

Picture Book Manuscript Critique (Rhyme or Prose, Fiction) from Dawn Young, author of THE NIGHT BAAFORE CHRISTMAS (WorthyKids 2019), COUNTING ELEPHANTS (Running Press Kids, March 2020), and THE NIGHT BAAFORE EASTER (WorthyKids January 26, 2021)

Dawn Young

Picture Book Manuscript Critique (fiction) from Kirsti Call author of The Raindrop Who Couldn’t Fall (Mazo Publishing, January 2019),  Mootilda’s Bad Mood (Little Bee, September 2020), as well as COW SAYS MEOW (HMH) and COLD TURKEY (Little Brown) which will release in 2021.

Kirsti Call

Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Melissa Stoller, author of SCARLET’S MAGIC PAINTBRUSH (Spork 2018), READY, SET, GORILLA! (Spork 2018), THE ENCHANTED SNOW GLOBE COLLECTION (chapter books) (Spork 2017), and SADIE’S SHABBAT STORIES (Spork, October 2020)

Melissa Stoller

Picture Book Manuscript Critique (non-rhyming, fiction) from Becky Scharnhorst, author of the forthcoming MY SCHOOL STINKS! (Philomel Books, July 6, 2021)

Becky Scharnhorst

Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Ellen Leventhal, author of A Flood Of Kindness (WorthyKids April 2021), DON’T EAT THE BLUEBONNETS (Spork 2017), LOLA CAN’T LEAP (Spork 2018), and HAYFEST A HOLIDAY QUEST (ABCs Press 2010)

Ellen Leventhal

Picture Book Manuscript Critique (non-rhyming, fiction, fewer than 800 words) from Rebecca Kraft Rector, author of SQUISH SQUASH SQUISHED (Nancy Paulsen Books, February 16, 2021) (which means it’s coming out in the middle of our contest!😊) and the forthcoming LITTLE RED (Aladdin, Simon & Schuster, Spring 2022) and TRIA AND THE GREAT STAR RESCUE (Delacorte/Random House)

Rebecca Kraft Rector

Picture Book Manuscript Critique (nonfiction PB or rhyming PB) from Julie Abery, author of LITTLE TIGER and LITTLE PANDA (Amicus Ink 2019), YUSRA SWIMS (Creative Editions February 2020), LITTLE MONKEY and LITTLE HIPPO (Amicus Ink February 2020), THE OLD MAN AND THE PENGUIN (Kids Can Press, December 2020), and the forthcoming LITTLE PENGUIN and LITTLE ZEBRA (Amicus Ink, March 2, 2021) and SAKIMOTO’S SWIM CLUB (Kids Can Press, May 4, 2021)

Julie Abery


A Picture Book Manuscript Critique by gifted author and former Holiday Contest prize winner, Jenna Waldman, author of the forthcoming Larry’s Latkes (October 2021) (originally written for the Holiday Contest!) and Shark-bot Shalom (August 2021) She is on twitter at @SarafinaDesign

Author Jenna Waldman

– Either a signed copy of WHEN A TREE GROWS OR a Picture Book Manuscript Critique – winner’s choice! – from Cathy Ballou Mealey, author of WHEN A TREE GROWS (Sterling April 2019) and the forthcoming SLOTH AND SQUIRREL IN A PICKLE (Kids Can Press, May 4, 2021)

– a personalized signed copy of SUNDAY RAIN from author Rosie Pova PLUS a personalized signed copy of DEAR GRANDMA from Yours Truly.

– a personalized signed copy of DON’T HUG DOUG: (He Doesn’t Like It) from author Carrie Finison PLUS a personalized signed copy of CURIOSITY’S DISCOVERY from author/illustrator Nancy Derey Riley!

– a personalized signed copy of The Night Baafore Easter from author Dawn Young PLUS a personalized signed copy of Hop To It: Poems To Get You Moving from poet Sarah Meade!

Please join me in thanking these very generous authors and other writing professionals for contributing their books and writing expertise as prizes by visiting their websites and blogs, considering their books and services for birthday, holiday or other gift purchases, rating and/or reviewing their books on GoodReads, Amazon, B&N, or anywhere else if you like them, recommending them for school and library visits, and supporting them in any other way you can dream up! 😊

Now! Put your heart into it and bravely post your entries!

I can’t wait to read your stories!!!

Eager Readers: Check out the comment section for all the fabulous entries, and the link list at the end to visit the blogs of the authors who wanted to post on their own home turf 😊

ENTRIES IN THE COMMENT SECTION: (all entries are linked)

  1. Not “IT” – Danielle Sharkan
  2. A Goosely Valentine – Danielle Sharkan
  3. Charlie and Sienna – A Friendship Story – Laura Roettiger
  4. Most Valuable Valentine – Anne Lipton
  5. A Valentine’s Day Quest in the Land of Moore – Gregory Bray
  6. Red-Green Valentine’s Day – Stephanie Amargi
  7. A One-of-a-Kind, Just-in-Case, Not-at-All-Pink Valentine’s Day – Amy Leskowski
  8. Love Is Stronger – Teresa Traver
  9. Valentine’s Gotcha Day – Jessica Hinrichs
  10. Carmela’s Valentines – Lu Pierro
  11. Bee Brave – Gennie Gorback
  12. Crushed – Corine Timmer
  13. Too Chicken – Sue Lancaster
  14. Shelly and the Path of Peril – Sue Lancaster
  15. Brave Hearts – Jamie Donahoe
  16. Step-Brother Battle – Brenda Whitehead
  17. I Woof You – Debra Daugherty
  18. My Valenchicken – Glenda Roberson
  19. A Neighborly Valentine – Meg King-Sloan
  20. U R Brave – Lindsey Hobson
  21. If I Were Brave – Rose Cappelli
  22. Elonso’s Best Valentine’s Day Ever – Susan Drew
  23. Dibble and Wiscowski: “A Cookie Valentine” – Bru Benson
  24. One Brave Balloon – Susan Schade
  25. The Wibbler – Tracy Curran
  26. Brave Bonnie – Shannon VanStraten-Sundlass
  27. Cupid, Junior – Linda Staszak
  28. A Valentine Visit – Julie Maria
  29. Cupid: The Love Fairy – Rachel Shupin
  30. Be Brave On Valentine’s Day – Sara Kruger
  31. Operation Moonbeam – Simon Yeend
  32. A Valentine Rose – Daryl Gottier
  33. The Ballad of Bad Bart – Carrie Boone
  34. The Brave Little Seed – Michelle S. Kennedy
  35. Something I Want To Say – Jeny Morales
  36. Stella & Sparky And The Last Valentine – Patricia Nozell
  37. Stella & Hank – Nicole Loos Miller
  38. Untangled Valentines – Janie Reinart
  39. The Wildflower – Ashlee Hashman
  40. The Color of Love – Allison Strick
  41. Puppy Love – Deb Buschman
  42. Super Brothers – Shannon Howarth Nelsen
  43. Brave For Gigi – Kelly Swemba
  44. Wannabe my Valentine – Cynthia Stacey
  45. Cupix – Bridget Magee
  46. U To The Rescue – Amy Heath
  47. Blob’s Valentine’s Wish – Deb Sullivan
  48. Violet & The Valentine’s Vampire – Sarah Meade
  49. Jana’s Valentine’s Visit – Sarah Meade
  50. Mole & Miss Vole on Valentine’s Day – Sarah Meade
  51. A Valentine’s Mouse In Our House – Elizabeth Meyer Zu Heringdorf (2 entries in one comment)
  52. Will you be my ninja – Elizabeth Meyer Zu Heringdorf (2 entries in one comment)
  53. Grouchy Grover – Rebekah Hoeft
  54. Brave In A Cave – Cedar Pruitt
  55. Cardy’s Valentine Story In All Its Glory – Sally Yorke-Viney
  56. My Kind of Valentine! – Megan France
  57. Lavender Buzz – Vicky Langdon
  58. Love Sick – Abi Island
  59. Be Brave! – Lisa M. Clewner-Newman
  60. I’m Not Afraid – Patricia J. Franz
  61. The Girl With The Candyfloss Hair – Simon Yeend
  62. Valentine’s Day on Halloween Hill – Abby Wooldridge
  63. W-R-I-T-E For Each Other – Elizabeth Muster
  64. Olive You Forever – Ann Ferrello
  65. The Pink Pro – Kelsey Gross
  66. Brave Brave Brave – David McMullin
  67. The Witch of Valentine Lane – Marietta Apollonio
  68. Gordon’s One-Footed Hop – Kelsey Gross
  69. Charmadillo – Lauri C. Meyers
  70. “Soon” – M.R. Haqq
  71. More Than Cookies – Halley M. Cormack, LCSW
  72. Leroy The Lion (Hearted) – Lisa Varchol Perron
  73. Fishing For Love: A DIARY – Amy Olsen
  74. The Lost Valentine – Jeannette Suhr
  75. Brave New Friends – Dawn Young
  76. Scaredy-Cat – Danielle S. Hammelef
  77. Hard To Love – Robin Currie
  78. Brave Hearts – Susan Klaren
  79. Across The Road – Rachel Dutton
  80. Knight of Hearts – Ellen Crosby
  81. Tootsee Tulip Bulb’s Love-Treat – Judy Caldwell Hughes
  82. Brave in the Basement – Jessica Whipple
  83. Caleb’s Heart – Anne Bromley
  84. Corn Dogs on the Corner – Colleen Dougherty
  85. Brave Heart – Rebecca Gardyn Levington
  86. Knock, Knock, Knock – Marty Findley
  87. Villain-tine’s Day – Laura Bower
  88. Take A Deep Breath – Elyse Trevers
  89. Only Three Words – B. A. Schlosser Hill
  90. A Stolen Valentine – Martha Holguin
  91. Class List – Elizabeth Volkmann
  92. Cards and Cookies – Jennifer Reichow
  93. Chalk Tears – Judy Brewer
  94. Nurse A Broken Heart – E. Elle Bea
  95. Bravely Soldier On – E. Elle Bea
  96. New Kid Blues – Darcee A. Freier
  97. Valentine’s Recitation – Keely Leim
  98. Mama Love. Dada Love. – Nancy M. Tichenor
  99. A Valentine’s Treasure – Ingrid Boydston
  100. An Itsy Bitsy Valentine – Maria Antonia
  101. Dino & Gigi – Carolina Bottino (Nina K. Brown)
  102. Hearts Trail – Carolina Bottino (Nina K. Brown)
  103. The Giant’s Valentine – Sheila M. Hausbeck
  104. The Loneliness Street – Nina K. Brown
  105. Brave Little Valentine – Charlotte Dixon
  106. Playdate – Margaret Aitken
  107. Octopus Hugs – Chambrae Griffith
  108. Conversation Heart Courage – Becky Kimbrough
  109. My Friend Nate – Karima Davis
  110. Last Turtle In The Nest – Susan R. Waide
  111. Jojo’s Valentine – Sarah Hawklyn
  112. “I Like You A Lot” – Julie Schnieders
  113. Unconventional Friendship – Sarah Hawklyn
  114. The Flavors of the Heart – Armineh Manookian
  115. The Candybot – Ellen Seal
  116. An Otter Love Story – Kristy Roser Nuttall
  117. Floret And The Fondue – Ashley Sierra
  118. Be Brave, Be Kind, My Valentine – Susan E. Schipper
  119. Cupid’s Booty Camp For BabyBoo – Ally Enz
  120. The Cat And The Space Heater: A Love Story – Jen Fier Jasinski
  121. Playing To Win – Norah Colvin
  122. Super Special Valentine – Aundra Tomlins
  123. A Brave Change of Heart – Amy Nicolai
  124. Sarla Asks A Question – Sandhya Acharya
  125. A Trail of Ketchup and Mustard – MeiLin Chan
  126. Juliet and Romeo: Verona’s Valentine’s Celebration – Cristina Raymer
  127. A Little Atom – Isabel Cruz Rodriguez
  128. Oscar Octopus Plants A Garden – Isabel Cruz Rodriquez
  129. My Bestest Friend – Roberta Abussi
  130. My Every-Day-Valentine – Roberta Abussi
  131. Sarah’s Valentines – Rachel Zimmerman Brachman
  132. Lemur In Love – Sarah McDermott
  133. A Cocoon of Love – Jyoti Rajan Gopal
  134. Eggbert – Charlie Bown
  135. A Valentine For Mom – Patricia Martin
  136. Becca’s Brave Hearts – Marty Bellis
  137. Little Truck’s Daring Delivery – Kristin Kolp
  138. The Valentine On My Shoe – Catherine J. Lee
  139. No More Pink – Robin Currie
  140. Shiny Sharp Scissors – Katie Fischer
  141. Valentine Love Languages – Jaymie Dean
  142. Val & Jack – Karen Keesling
  143. Brave Heart – Tonnye Fletcher
  144. Valentine Delivery – Katie Brandyberry
  145. Apple Pie: Valentine’s Day Treat – Sarah Skolfield
  146. Brave Little Friends – Judy Sobanski
  147. Lone’s Very First Day – Jennifer Reinharz
  148. The Monster’s Valentine Buffet – Kelly Conroy
  149. Freddie Frog’s Valentine – Lindsey Hobson
  150. A Simple Valentine – P. J. Purtee
  151. The Wonky Heart – Stacy Burch
  152. Roses From Valentina – Carmen Castillo Gilbert
  153. A Natural Valentine’s Day – Sharon McCarthy
  154. Miss Hedgehog’s Valentine Mission – Amy LaMae Brewer
  155. Blown Away – Diana Webb
  156. Zooming Valentine’s Day – Susan VandeWeghe
  157. Snack Attack – Melisa Wrex
  158. Heart Hands – Sarah Heaton
  159. Bigfoot’s Valentine – Kirsten Leestma
  160. Geronimo! – Lydia Loeber
  161. The Most Terrible, Awful, Icky Valentine Ever – Melissa Trempe
  162. Babies Share Bedrooms – Kristi Newsome
  163. 214 St. Valentine Way – Tracy Anderson Martin
  164. Six Secret Valentines – Una Belle Townsend
  165. The Bees and the Birdss – Paul Kurtz
  166. Someone Special! – Paul Kurtz
  167. Zombie My Valentine – Donna Kurtz
  168. The Owl and the Kitty-Kat – Donna Kurtz
  169. No Pictures! – Diane S. Scotti
  170. Blue Flower – Mary Warth
  171. New Line Valentine – Marcia Parks
  172. Leo Lionhearted – Jill Lambert
  173. Bravery Is From The Heart – Sophia Zafra
  174. A Heavenly Visit – Deborah Dolan Hunt
  175. The Bird And The Cat – Beth Winslow
  176. THE Valentine Question – Kate Rehill
  177. How To Be Valentines (With A Boa Constrictor) – Mary Noon
  178. Desi’s Daring Delivery – Darci Nielson
  179. New Best Friend – Sherri T. Mercer
  180. The Gift Tree – Ciara N M Greenwalt
  181. One Shot – Dazzle Ng
  182. Fuzzy Bum – Stacey Miller
  183. Arrrrr Is For Valentine – Sara Ackerman
  184. Valentine’s Day Rocks – Samantha Haas
  185. Cyrus The Bold – Patricia Corcoran
  186. Saying What I Really Mean – Nina Nolan
  187. Mr. Grumpy’s Valentine – Anne Sawan
  188. Heart Shaped Everything – Rathi Munukur
  189. You Can Do This Jonathan! – Martina Palkovicova
  190. Caveman Valentine – Jennifer Lowe
  191. Percy’s Valentine – Nancy Derey Riley
  192. Brave Hearts – Mary Rudzinski
  193. Legendary Valentine – Audrey Day-Williams
  194. In Front Behind – Diana Webb
  195. A Punny Valentine – Linda Staszak
  196. Love is an Ocean Away – Kimiko Wadriski Lumsden
  197. Valentine’s Day Rescue – Brigid Finucane
  198. Mission: Cancel Cupid Call – Kalee Gwarjanski
  199. The Valentine’s Quest – Karyn Curtis
  200. Seeking Courage – Bonnie Kelso
  201. Valentina and Valentino – Claire Lewis
  202. Will You Bee My Valentine – Ranessa Doucet
  203. A Valentine Ski – Clara MacClarald
  204. Dance Like An Eagle – Jyothi Nookula
  205. A Gift For Abuelo – JC Kelly
  206. My Tummy Valentine – Janice Kay Alexander
  207. Elijah and the Valentine – Susan Twiggs
  208. Assortment Phobia – JC Kelly
  209. A Beastly Valentine – Steve Jankousky
  210. A Valentiny for ME! – Karima Davis
  211. Peanut’s Brave Valentine’s Day – Mia Geiger
  212. Friendship Cake – Dea Lenihan
  213. Be My Valentine – Liz Kehrli
  214. Love Story – Liz Kehrli
  215. Love Birds – Lisa Lee Furness
  216. Mr. Grumpy – Mary A. Zychowicz
  217. Feep and Meep – Echo Roben
  218. The Cave of Utter Darkness – Bill Canterbury
  219. Yellow Like A Mango – Imelda Taylor
  220. Melanie’s Back! – Shari Della Penna
  221. All About Heart – Anna Lunt
  222. Tilly’s Great Big Heart – Amy Flynn
  223. Insiya’s Valentine – Aditya Simha
  224. Corazon Does Not Cliff Jump – Kate Rehill
  225. We’re Still Brave! – Kelly Coutsoubos
  226. The Cupcake Who Dared To Be Different – Susanne Whitehouse
  227. Lucy’s Brave Lifelines – Karen A. Kelly

This form ONLY for people who prefer to post on their own blogs and are ONLY posting their entries on their own blogs!

Perfect Picture Book Friday – A Round Up Of Groundhogs!

It’s the Perfect Picture Book Friday before Groundhog Day (which, as you know, we are very partial to around here 🙂 ) so Phyllis insisted I thought, for fun, that we feature her book I’d share a roundup of Groundhog Day titles – three that have already been reviewed for PPBF and one new one! 🙂

Some of my (and Phyllis’s 🙂 ) favorite Groundhog Day titles:

Punxsutawney Phyllis by Susanna Leonard Hill, illustrated by Jeffrey Ebbeler, Holiday House 2005 (yes, ok, we are biased 🙂 ) – reviewed for Perfect Picture Books by Beth Stilborn

punxsutawney_phyllis_cover-b

Substitute Groundhog by Pat Miller, illustrated by Kathi Ember, Albert Whitman & Co – reviewed for Perfect Picture Books by Jennifer Rumberger

Substitute Groundhog

Groundhug Day by Anne Marie Pace, illustrated by Christopher Denise, Disney-Hyperion, December 2017  – reviewed for Perfect Picture Books HERE

groudhugday

And one that hasn’t been on PPBF yet (as far as I know) that is an older title but was well-loved in my house! 🙂

Gretchen Groundhog It’s Your Day

Greta Groundhog

Title: Gretchen Groundhog, It’s Your Day!

Written By: Abby Levine

Illustrated By: Nancy Cote

Albert Whitman & Co, November 1998, fiction

Suitable For Ages: 5 and up

Themes/Topics: holidays (Groundhog Day), emotions (feeling shy), overcoming a fear

Opening: “It was a dark and snowy night.  Gretchen Groundhog sat in her burrow, worrying.  In a few days it would be February 2, when the world would be watching the little town of Piccadilly.
On that day, for the first time, Gretchen would step from her burrow to stand before TV cameras, newspaper reporters, tourists, all the townsfolk, and a brass band.  Everyone would be waiting as Gretchen looked for her shadow.

Brief Synopsis: Gretchen must carry on the family tradition of stepping out on the morning of February 2 to search for her shadow, but she is too shy to “Go Out” and face the crowd of people.  After much worrying, she musters up courage when she learns that throughout history groundhogs have been afraid to “Go Out” the first time.

Links To Resources: Groundhog Day Crafts and Activities; make your own Groundhog Day prediction: 6 more weeks of winter or early spring???!!! 🙂

Why I Like This Book: Any youngster who has ever felt apprehensive at the idea of being in the spotlight will relate to shy Gretchen.  Lots of children feel shy at the idea of meeting other kids for the first time, or of entering a new classroom, or of standing at the front of the class for a spelling bee or to give a report, so they will easily understand how Gretchen feels at the idea of having to face crowds of people, TV cameras and newspaper reporters.  Gretchen’s courage is bolstered when the town historian’s daughter arrives with a box of notes written by Gretchen’s ancestors (Goody Groundhog, who sailed on the Mayflower; George Groundhog, who fought at Valley Forge; and Gloria Groundhog, movie star 🙂 ), all confessing their fear of “Going Out.”  Gretchen writes a few words of her own for the history box and then finds she can face her fear.  A fun story accompanied by warm, appealing art that lots of kids will enjoy for Groundhog Day!

I hope you enjoy all of these titles as much as Phyllis and I do 🙂

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

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

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!! 🙂

Happy Groundhog Day!!! (and here’s hoping we get an early spring 🙂 )

 

A Holiday Tuesday Debut!

Okay.  So there was teensy mix-up with email…

As a result I don’t have a true Tuesday Debut today.

But it occurred to me at the last minute (this morning!)  (as you can tell by the lateness of this post!) that I just so happen to have a new book coming out today, which is technically a Tuesday Debut for the book 🙂

So I’ll share that instead.  No time like the present (no pun intended) to get to work on your letter to Santa!  It will give you time to write and revise!  Make your list and check it twice 🙂

Dear Santa
written by Susanna Leonard Hill
illustrated by John Joseph
published by Sourcebooks Wonderland
October 1, 2019

Dear Santa Amazon cover

Santa Claus gets thousands of letters every year. But this year, Santa’s going to get a letter he’ll never forget…
This enchanting Christmas story about one boy’s honest letter to Santa is sure to become a cherished part of your holiday traditions for years to come.

Here’s a little sneak peek inside…

Screen Shot 2019-10-01 at 7.05.48 AM

text copyright Susanna Leonard Hill 2019, illustration copyright John Joseph 2019      Sourcebooks Wonderland

 

Screen Shot 2019-10-01 at 7.06.05 AM

text copyright Susanna Leonard Hill 2019, illustration copyright John Joseph 2019      Sourcebooks Wonderland

Screen Shot 2019-10-01 at 7.06.35 AM

text copyright Susanna Leonard Hill 2019, illustration copyright John Joseph 2019      Sourcebooks Wonderland

Screen Shot 2019-10-01 at 7.06.55 AM

text copyright Susanna Leonard Hill 2019, illustration copyright John Joseph 2019      Sourcebooks Wonderland

Isn’t John’s art amazing?!

Also, he made a coloring page…

dear santa coloring sheet

illustration copyright John Joseph 2019

and a word search!

word search dear santa

illustration copyright John Joseph 2019

which will be available to download from my site (from the For Teachers And Parents Coloring & Activities Pages in the menu bar above) very soon!

The book contains special holiday stationary at the back that kids can write their letters on, and the letters can be mailed (instructions supplied in the book) so that they will receive a personalized reply!

There are 4 choices, but here’s a sample:

I hope you all know someone who can have fun with it!

Happy Writing Tuesday, Everyone!

 

Christy Mihaly – Hey! Hey! Hay! A Tale of Bales And The Machines That Make Them

Jessie Oliveros – The Remember Balloons

Beth Anderson – An Inconvenient Alphabet: Ben Franklin And Noah Webster’s Spelling Revolution

Hannah Holt – The Diamond And The Boy

Laura Renauld – Porcupine’s Pie

Annie Romano – Before You Sleep: A Bedtime Book Of Gratitude

Melissa Stoller – Scarlet’s Magic Paintbrush

Sherry Howard – Rock And Roll Woods

Kate Narita – 100 Bugs! A Counting Book

Vivian Kirkfield – Pippa’s Passover Plate

Laura Roettiger – Aliana Reaches For The Moon

Matthew Lasley – Pedro’s Pan: A Gold Rush Story

Natalee Creech – When Day Is Done

Margaret Chiu Greanias – Maximillian Villainous

Wendy Greenley – Lola Shapes The Sky

Danielle Dufayet – You Are Your Strong

B.J. Lee – There Was An Old Gator Who Swallowed A Moth

Cathy Ballou Mealey – When A Tree Grows

Pippa Chorley – Counting Sheep

Sandra Sutter – The Real Farmer In The Dell

June Smalls – Odd Animals ABC

Jill Mangel Weisfeld – Riley The Retriever Wants A New Job

Kathleen Cornell Berman – The Birth Of Cool: How Jazz Great Miles Davis Found His Sound

Eleanor Ann Peterson – Jurassic Rat

Sarah Hoppe – Who Will? Will You?

Marla LeSage – Pirate Year Round

Stacey Corrigan – The Pencil Eater

Shannon Stocker – Can U Save The Day?

Nadine Poper – Randall And Randall

Christine Evans – Evelyn The Adventurous Entomologist

 

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Happy Groundhog Day!

Woohoo!

It’s Groundhog Day!

And you know what that means!!! 🙂

Punxsutawney Phyllis herself will be up and at ’em as soon as it’s light to make her prediction about whether we’ll have 6 more weeks of winter or an early spring!  (Fingers, toes, eyes, paws, etc. crossed for the latter! 🙂 )

As it happens, however, Phyllis and I are off to an all-day school visit the second she’s made her prediction, so you’ll have to wait to find out what she says!  And we are not here to participate actively in PPBF…

…so at the risk of tooting our own horn, Phyllis and I would like to direct you to Beth Stilborn’s Perfect Picture Book blog post on Punxsutawney Phyllis for today’s Perfect Picture Book.

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We hope you will read Beth’s post and then enjoy our book with all your friends and relations, human and groundhog!

Also, Phyllis being Phyllis, she would love fan mail in the comments, so feel free to write to her 🙂

I’m skipping most of the PPBF categories because they’re on Beth’s post, just making sure everyone sees the accompanying resources!

Links To Resources: coloring pages and activities (scroll down to Punxsutawney Phyllis to make your selection); classroom guides (scroll down to Punxsutawney Phyllis to make your selection); Groundhog Day Cupcakes

Why I Like This Book: I think I’m probably too biased to answer that question 🙂  See what Beth has to say 🙂

I hope you enjoy it as much as Phyllis and I do 🙂

Before we go, Groundhog Day Cupcakes, anyone???!!!

Groundhog Day Cupcakes

Recipe HERE at Bakerella

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

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

Happy Groundhog Day, enjoy the cupcakes, and have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!! 🙂

Happy New Year!

Hi Everyone!

Happy New Year!

I hope you all had spectacular holidays!

I was going to have a spectacular pitch pick today – two actually –  but I haven’t heard back from all the pitchers… so I’m either going to post that later or wait until next Wednesday.

Meanwhile, for the sake of filling today’s space (and not because I’ve been pushed into it by a headstrong llama who desperately needs a haircut!) there’s a new llama in town!

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I am so excited about this book!  A lot of you are probably familiar with Daniel’s art from WHEN YOUR LION NEEDS A BATH and WHEN YOUR ELEPHANT HAS THE SNIFFLES, but he gets better with every book.  The art in this one is hilarious!  I just love the llama’s expressions 🙂

I owe this book a little attention, but I felt like I’d blog-toured myself and everyone else out last summer with LION, ELEPHANT and TRUCKS, and following so close on the holidays I didn’t want to impose on your good nature.  So maybe I’ll think up a little something at some point, but for now, I hope you’ll just all get a chance to enjoy the book somewhere!

Here’s a little sneak peek at some of the interior art:

llama 1st page screen shot

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There’s a GoodReads giveaway for this book if you’re interested… and I think I still have a couple copies available if anyone wants one to read and review on GoodReads, Amazon, B&N, their blog, etc…  Email me if you’d like one!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

When Your Llama Needs a Haircut by Susanna Leonard Hill

When Your Llama Needs a Haircut

by Susanna Leonard Hill

Giveaway ends January 23, 2018.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

And now you are all excused to go about your happy Wednesdays!  You’ll be the first to know if I end up posting pitch picks later 🙂

Have a wonderful day! 🙂

Trucks On Tour – Kickoff!

Just when you thought it was safe to venture back into the blogosphere . . .

duhn duhn duhn . . .!

. . .I’ve got another blog tour starting!

I know!  The first one isn’t even finished!

I’m sorry!

They’re right on top of each other and overlapping and I know it’s a lot to keep up with!

*hides under the kitchen table*

(Believe me I know!  My house hasn’t seen a vacuum in two weeks and my refrigerator is empty except for a wrinkled lemon no one’s been desperate enough to tangle with!)

But the trucks and I would be ever so grateful if you’d journey along the road with us a little ways.  They’re VERY cute!  And I don’t want them to feel less loved then LION and ELEPHANT!  That would be sad 😦

So let’s break out their shiny new blog tour banner, shall we?

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Have you ever seen such friendly little trucks?

Er… I mean BIG trucks!  MIGHTY trucks!  They’re strong!  They’re tough!  They’re heavy duty! (And they have really nice teeth, don’t they? 🙂 )

Julie is really kicking off the tour over at Little Red Story Shed today.  She has a review of the book and a delightful activity she did with her preschoolers.  I hope you’ll hop on over and visit her!

We’ve got a great line-up of fun-filled posts – interviews with me and Erica Sirotich (the talented illustrator), activity and coloring page reveals, book reviews and giveaways, games, recipes, crafts, and a book trailer reveal (a little farther into the tour because I haven’t made it yet! 🙂 ) as well as a couple of special prizes!

As with the WHEN YOUR… blog tour, I’m really hoping that the lovely people who are being kind enough to host, especially on this second, overlapping tour where readers will undoubtedly be feeling a little burned out on Susanna Hill blog tours!, will get some visitors for all their kindness and hard work.  (Please also bear in mind that with the exception of a couple days in August – I think August 3, 10, and 15 – you’ll get a nice break from me until the around the second week of September… so there’s hope if you can just soldier through the next couple weeks 🙂 )

To make it even more fun, I will once again offer a Special Prize to be raffled off among people who visit and comment on every stop on the tour!

I’d also love the trucks to get their little moment in the social media limelight, so every time you share on Face Book, Twitter, or Instagram using the hashtag #trucksontour you will get an entry in a raffle to be conducted at the close of the tour in which 3 $25 gift certificates to Merritt Bookstore and Toystore will be up for grabs!  We can support a wonderful independent bookstore, and you can get your choice of any book on your wishlist and a great selection of high quality toys! (And if a book on your wish list should happen to be one of mine, I can sign it for you 🙂 )

Here’s the schedule so you can plan your summer so as not to miss anything important 🙂

Truck Blog Tour Schedule

(With a million, billion, trillion thanks to Katie Hill for fixing all the formatting issues after I totally screwed it up even though she was tired and sunburned from a long day at work!  Love you, sweetie ❤ )

So HERRRHERRRHERRR!

RUMBLEGRUMBLETHRUM!

VRRROOOOM!

VRRROOOOOOOM!

Off we go with TRUCKS ON TOUR!

Don’t forget to share today’s post and Julie’s or any other relevant delightful items – photos, books in the wild sightings, truck-related crafts, activities, games or recipes – with the hashtag #trucksontour! (Credit for that clever hashtag to Julie Abery!  Thank you again, Julie!)

Tune in tomorrow for an interview with yours truly at Writer’s Rumpus for the WHEN YOUR BOOKS TOUR, and a book review and craft activity at Lynn’s blog, Polilla Writes,  for the TRUCK TOUR.

(Yeah… you can see how this is gonna go… give me about 12 seconds and I’ll be hopelessly confused between the two tours!  I’m hoping you guys will be able to keep it all straight! 🙂 )

Have a marvelous Monday, everyone!!! 🙂

When Your Books Go On A Blog Tour – Kickoff!

It’s July!!!

And you know what THAT means…!

It’s National Lasagna Awareness Month!

(It IS actually – I am not making that up!  It also happens to be National Blueberries Month and National Doghouse Repairs Month… so many things appropriate to life on Blueberry Hill!  But that is not actually why we are here… 🙂 )

At long last the much-anticipated, eagerly-awaited BOOK BIRTHDAY MONTH has arrived!

I am thrilled beyond measure to introduce you all to WHEN YOUR LION NEEDS A BATH and WHEN YOUR ELEPHANT HAS THE SNIFFLES, coming to a bookseller near you on July 11! (to be followed by a third book birthday a couple weeks after…but we’ll get to that later 🙂 )

For now . . .

Woo hoo!  Strike up the band!  Shower down the confetti!  Release the balloons!

It’s time for . . .

BlogTourBanner

Thanks to a group of kind, generous, kidlit-enthusiast bloggers who are absolutely lovely in every way, we have a fun-filled couple of weeks in store for you all, full of interviews with the author (me 🙂 ) and illustrator (the amazing Daniel Wiseman!), book trailer reveals, activity and coloring page reveals, recipes, crafts, and games, articles on different aspects of writing, as well as giveaways and prizes!  It’ll be almost like all of you are celebrating your birthdays too! 🙂

Let’s have a look at the line up, shall we?

Blog Tour Schedule

* one small note: Sue of KidLit Reviews may not be able to post.*

I hope you will all join us as we welcome these two brand new books into the world!  All the participating bloggers have worked hard to make this fun, and I’d hate for you to miss anything.  And I’d love as many people as possible to come visit!

So I am offering two special prizes to be awarded after the close of this blog tour.

One prize will be given to a randomly-selected person who visits and comments on every single post in the blog tour!  All 19 listed here! (18 if Sue is unable to post.)

That special prize will be personalized signed copies of WHEN YOUR LION NEEDS A BATH and WHEN YOUR ELEPHANT HAS THE SNIFFLES, a “goody bag” containing items relating to both books – stickers, bookmarks, orange-scented kid-friendly lion soap, an elephant memory game, lion bubbles…plus a couple surprises! (and I’m not saying there will be chocolate, but if you’ve spent any time around this blog at all you should know that’s a distinct possibility…) :), PLUS your choice of any one of my other books personalized and signed.

The other prize will be given for sharing on social media.  The hashtag we are using to promote the books is #whenyourbooks.  Every time you share a post on Face Book, Twitter or Instagram using #whenyourbooks you will get an entry into a raffle where 3 winners will each get a $25 Amazon gift card.

Did you read a blog post you thought was so great all your friends should read it too?  Share it with #whenyourbooks

Do you have a photo of a child reading WHEN YOUR LION NEEDS A BATH or WHEN YOUR ELEPHANT HAS THE SNIFFLES?  Share it with #whenyourbooks

Did you try an activity, craft or recipe that was included in one of the posts with your child or class? Or one you thought up related to these books?  Share the results and/or a photo with #whenyourbooks

Live video footage of you bathing a lion? 🙂  Definitely share THAT with #whenyourbooks  🙂

Although the tour ends on August 3, I’ll give you a couple days to comment on that last post, and announce the winners on Monday August 7.

So, are you ready to join the high jinx and shenanigans?

Comment below to start your eligibility for prize #1, and share today’s post with #whenyourbooks to start earning points toward prize #2!  Then tune in to Frog On A Blog tomorrow, when Lauri Fortino will have a guest article from yours truly on writing a series!

Let’s get this blog tour underway! 🙂

 

illustration copyright (C) Daniel Wiseman 2017

P.S.  Since the Blog Tour Schedule is a photoshop-made graphic that can’t have live links (plus when I made it none of the posts were actually posted yet so no one had urls) I will list the links to the ones that have gone up below for your convenience.

7/1/17 – Susanna Leonard Hill – Blog Tour Kickoff – well, you’re already here 🙂

7/2/17 – Lauri Fortinos’s Frog On A Blog – Guest Post on Writing A Series PLUS a Giveaway!

7/3/17 – Jena Benton’s Of Tea And Mermaids Blog – Simply 7 Interviews with Susanna & Daniel PLUS a Giveaway!

7/4/17 – Lynn Davidson’s Polilla Writes Blog – LION book review and GAME

Perfect Picture Book Friday – April Fool…. Phyllis! :)

It’s April!  It’s April!!!

Hurray!  Hurray!!!

I love April!

Even though it’s supposed to be about April showers, it makes me think of new spring grass, baby animals, the rich scent of warming earth, shy leaves unfurling, apple blossoms… and birthday cake 🙂

And what do you know?  After the hardcover went out of print in January, APRIL FOOL, PHYLLIS! arrived on Kindle on Wednesday – just in time for April Fools’ Day!

I’m so excited I’m running a teensy contest to get the word out.  Every time between now and midnight that you share about APRIL FOOL, PHYLLIS on FaceBook, Twitter or Instagram with hashtag #aprilfoolphyllis (so I can keep track and find them all… and it wouldn’t hurt if you tag me on FB!)) you will get an entry to a raffle.  The more shares, the more chances to win!  Then this weekend I will select at random 1 person who will win a $25 Amazon Gift Certificate, and 5 people who will each win a Kindle copy of APRIL FOOL, PHYLLIS! to be delivered to the person of their choice (yourself, if you’d like it, or a little person in your life who would enjoy it 🙂 )  So please, help me share the good news! 🙂

Although I would never post my own books on Perfect Picture Book Friday (because that is a level of horn-tooting I’m extremely uncomfortable with!), in honor of it actually being April Fools Day on a Perfect Picture Book Friday when a new version just came out bringing my little book back from the land of Out of Print, the lovely and talented Beth Stilborn, who very sweetly reviewed APRIL FOOL, PHYLLIS for PPBF on March 9, 2012, has most kindly and generously given me permission to post her review here on my blog today.  Thank you, Beth, for the lovely review and the permission to reprint from your blog.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you’re the cat’s (or maybe in this case the groundhog’s 🙂 ) pajamas!!!

Any of you who don’t know Beth, please go visit her blog!  She writes a wonderful one!  And she offers copyediting for all levels of fiction through her Flubs 2 Fixes website (www.flubs2fixes.com)

So without further ado…

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Title: April Fool, Phyllis!

Author: Susanna Leonard Hill

Illustrator: Jeffrey Ebbeler

Publisher: New York: Holiday House, 2011

Genre: Picture book, fiction

Audience Age: 5-8

Theme: April Fool’s Day, trusting your instincts, respecting other’s advice, changing seasons, treasure hunts, riddles.

Opening Sentences: Phyllis knew everything about the weather.

After all, she was Punxsutawney Phyllis, Weather Prophet Extraordinaire!

So when she woke up on April first, the day of the Spring Treasure Hunt, it took only one whiff of the morning air to tell her something wasn’t right.

Synopsis: Phyllis is certain that there’s a storm brewing, but no-one will believe her, because it’s April Fool’s Day. Everyone is too excited about the Spring Treasure Hunt to pay attention to Phyllis’ continued warnings. The Treasure Hunt provides clues in riddles that children will enjoy guessing along with the young groundhogs in the story. Each riddle leads them closer to the treasure, further from home – and closer to the snowstorm that’s coming. They finally realize that Phyllis was telling the truth about the weather. (Of course she was! She’s Punxsutawney Phyllis, after all!) They do make it home safely – but Phyllis has the last laugh.

Why I liked this book: As in the first of Susanna Leonard Hill’s delightful Phyllis series, Phyllis shows herself to be a spunky and resourceful little groundhog, wise beyond her years, and a lot of fun to be around. The theme of April Fool’s Day jokes is something children can easily relate to, as is the problem of not being taken seriously. The riddles are great fun, as the obvious answer is not the correct answer, so the reader and read-to have to think. The story keeps the reader turning the pages, eager to find out what will happen next, and the illustrations are a delight. Kids will love that Phyllis gets the last laugh on everyone.

Activities/Resources: The author gives a page of information about April Fool’s Day at the back of the book, and has classroom guides and activities on her website .

There’s some history of April Fool’s Day (in kid-friendly text) at Mr. Donn’s resource site.

A to Z Teacher Stuff has lots of April Fool’s activities.

Lesson Planet has lesson plans using riddles as a teaching tool.

Story Arts has a story treasure hunt.

Lesson Planet’s treasure hunt lesson plans include math treasure hunts, map-reading treasure hunts, even a treasure hunt in the school library.

Availability: Readily available in hardcover. (And now for Kindle!)

Every Friday, bloggers join together to share picture book reviews and resources, thanks to author Susanna Leonard Hill’s brainchild, “Perfect Picture Book Fridays.” Susanna then adds the books (and links to the reviews) to a comprehensive listing by subject on her blog. Find the entire listing at her “Perfect Picture Books.”

Reblogged from Beth Stilborn http://www.bethstilborn.com/april-fool-phyllis-perfect-picture-book-friday/

Thank you all for indulging me and Phyllis in our wild and crazy April Fools’ Day celebrating (and horn-tooting) 🙂

PPBF peeps, please add your post-specific link (post-specific PLEASE!!! not general blog link!) to the list below so we can all come see your fabulous picks for the upcoming weekend (which looks to be a cold/rainy/snowy one perfect for curling up with picture books!)

(And here we go again with this google form/spreadsheet which I feel in my bones I’m going to mess up but don’t worry, if I do I’ll fix it once I get help from my in-house computer genius later in the day!)

 

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!! 🙂