Would You Read It Wednesday #357 – Sonny’s Smile (PB) PLUS The November/ December/January Pitch Winners And The Late February/March Pitch Pick

Hi Everyone!

I hope you’re all doing well – staying healthy and not going too nuts being cooped up at home!

Here’s a little taste of the outdoors for those of you who might need it – blue sky, sunshine, babbling brook, spring peepers. . . and swimming dog which luckily you can’t smell 😊

 

Now then!  Let’s get on to today’s exciting installment of Would You Read It and associated education and fun!

First, I’m happy to announce that the winner of the November/December Pitch Pick is Megan with her PB pitch for Wired To Worry!  And the winner of the January/Early February Pitch Pick is Paul with his PB pitch for All Over The World!  Congratulations to both of you on excellent pitches that you worked hard to revise and improve!  Your pitches have winged through cyber space to editor Erin Molta’s inbox and I’m sure you will receive her comments as soon as she is able!

Congratulations to all the other pitchers as well.  You also did a wonderful job revising your pitches and hopefully feel that you’re in better shape with them thanks to the feedback from our amazingly helpful readers!  Thank you all for sharing with us so we can all learn and improve our pitch skills!

Next, it’s time for the Late February/March Pitch Pick!  Please read over the revised pitches below and vote for your favorite in the poll provided by Sunday April 12 at 9 PM Eastern.

Here are the pitches for your consideration:
(one pitcher opted not to put her pitch in the running)

#1 – Sarah – Hotdogs Don’t Camp (PB 3-8)

Young hotdogs ignore their elder and toss off their buns to try pitching tents, swimming, and roasting dinner. The humans stoke their fire pit near the hungry bears’ lair. Three campsites collide as dinnertime nears for some in-tents adventure.

#2 – Rose – Rabbit’s Lists (PB 4-8)

Rabbit’s whiskers are in a tizzy. She doesn’t have the vegetables needed for her special stew. Oodles of acorns and clumps of clover just won’t do. Determined to please her friends, Rabbit searches and digs until she finally discovers the delight in trying something new

#3 – Paulette – What Would Mozart Do? (PB 5-9)

Parker practiced hard for his piano recital but he’s nervous about performing. When a barking-dog ringtone in the audience scares the notes right out of Parker’s brain, he has to find a way to calm down and keep playing. Time to use a tip from an improviser named Mozart (and his singing starling).

 

#4 – Shae – Skritch, Scratch, Snuffle (PB 3-8)

Waffles, an anxious wombat, has trouble keeping her fears to a manageable size. She hears a noise and imagines a “what-if” monster which grows as her imagination runs wild. She’s certain she’s going to be eaten, until her echidna friend, Chicken, appears at her door and together they find the true source of the noise and overcome the monster by talking about Waffles feelings.

 

 

And now you can have your well-earned reward – Something Chocolate! I thought these Raspberry Cheesecake Truffles would be delicious and also maybe make a nice Easter treat for this weekend because they look festive and pretty!

Raspberry Cheesecake Truffles

 

I think we can all agree that nothing says I’ve got this quarantine thing down! like something chocolate-y and scrumptious 😊  And given that many of us are going for a schedule which looks something like

First Breakfast
Post-First Breakfast Snack #1
Post-First Breakfast Snack #2
Pre-Second Breakfast Snack
Second Breakfast
Post-Second Breakfast Snack
Lunch
Post-Lunch Snacks #s 1-7
etc…

it is important to be well supplied with chocolate! 😊😊😊

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Deborah.  Deborah Foster grew up in the heyday of Disney Princess movies. She was born and has lived all her life on a farm in Iowa. Deborah’s love of storytelling began when she was very young and in sixth grade one of her Christmas stories won the Holiday Writing Contest. Her writing continued through high school in the form of angsty poetry. But with the birth of her first daughter, her love of writing took hold in the form of picture books. She is now a mother to two little girls and the author of three self-published picture books. Deborah’s picture books focus on humor and biographies of lesser-known women.

Find her on the web at
deborahclaytonbooks.com

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Sonny’s Smile

Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 3-8)

The Pitch: When Sonny Brightwell is invited to The Gleeful Gala to receive the “Biggest Smile on Earth Award”, he finds that the only place in town to stay is at The Prickly Inn; where smiles aren’t allowed. Being around all of the frowning guests causes Sonny’s smile to droop to the floor and now he must figure out how to get it back in time to receive his award.

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

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

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on Would You Read it in the dropdown under For Writers in the bar above.  There are openings in May, so you could get your pitch up pretty soon for helpful feedback and a chance to have it read and commented on by editor Erin Molta!

Deborah is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to practicing Zoom because tomorrow I have a Zoom meeting with a large group of preschoolers. . . which I’m a little worried may be like herding cats😊. . . but here’s hoping it will all work out!!!

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone, and stay well!!! 😊🌷🌸

 

Would You Read It Wednesday #355 – Capybara Triplets (PB) PLUS The November/December and January/Early February Pitch Picks!!!

Hey there, everyone!

Just when you thought we’d never get around to the November/December and January/Early February Pitch Picks. . . guess what we’re doing today? 😊

Let’s jump right in, shall we?

Here are the pitches from November/December, some revised, some the same as the original:

#1 – Lynne – Samantha’s Swimsuit (PB 3-7)

Samantha is a girl who knows what she wants when it comes to fashion. When she was imagining the absolutely dreamy suit for summer swim lessons, Samantha forgot about one.  Little.  Detail.  It would get wet. What if water ruins her perfect swimsuit?!?  Now Samantha must decide if she is relegated to the lounge chairs (safely outside of the splash zone!) or if she takes a chance in the pool!

#2 – Lu – Mary Janes (PB 4-8)

All 6 yr. old Bella wants is a pair of new shoes, not just any shoes, but red Mary Janes. On her Saturday shopping outing with her grandmother, she notices the shoes of others. There are jump-roping girls wearing Keds, ice cream eating girls in black and white saddle shoes, and well-heeled ladies at her uncle’s butcher shop. Bella’s dream comes true in an unexpected way.

#3 – Megan – Wired To Worry (PB 4-8)

Bot arrives on the doorstep in a smiling box, ready to lead a perfectly programmed life.  Except he’s not perfect.  Bot has an extra worry port and everything from dripping water to malfunctioning lasers threatens to overload his system.  But when disaster strikes, Bot just might find that being wired to worry isn’t a fatal error after all.

#4 – Sarah – Lilly’s Get A Great Night’s Sleep Book: Trust Me! It Works! (PB 4-8)

Lilly had a hard time sleeping. Maybe it was all the TV, the lack of bedtime snacks, or her wild imagination, but she finally figured out the (sort-of) perfect pre-sleep routine. Now she wants YOU to get a great night sleep too! In her made-for-TV style, Lilly shares her seven step method including bedtime buddies and a just right way to say good night.

 

Please choose the one you like best and vote for it in the poll below by Sunday April 5 at 9PM Eastern.

 

And now here are the beautifully updated and revised pitches from January/Early February:

#1 – Sarah – Waddles And Wheels (PB 4-8)

Wheels is waiting when Waddles flies in to spend summer at the pond. Waddles befriends Wheels and is undaunted by the toy duck’s limitations. Waddles quacks and takes the lead while Wheels clickety tickety follows along. When it’s time for Waddles to migrate, he tries to take Wheels with him but is forced to make a difficult decision. As spring returns, so too does Waddles and his new friend Lucille.

#2 – Paul – All Over The World (PB 4-6) (formerly Does It Rain?)

In a whirlwind tour of the world, from the Outback to Peru to Israel and Cameroon, ALL OVER THE WORLD (249 words, ages 6-8) reminds us that rain falls. The sun shines. Plants grow. Birds fly. Children read and laugh and play and write. Parents kiss their children and tuck them into bed at night. And all of us, regardless of age or gender, irrespective of orientation or creed, no matter our continent or city or home, share the same struggles and triumphs, fears and dreams, joys and laughter and hopes. All over the world.

#3 – Sarah – Bigness (PB 5-8)  (formerly The Dark Bigness)

Theo wants to watch the colors swirl like music sounds across his eyelids, but he knows what’s coming. When the shifty shadows of sleepiness unleash the Bigness, Theo faces the scariest part of his pre-dream world: Monster. Theo summons all his courage to conquer the endless darkness of his imagination and fall peacefully asleep.

#4 – Rena – Iggy Crane: The Case of the Missing Bolt (CB 7-9)

A mystery is brewing in Monster Hollow. Kid detective Iggy Crane takes the case in hopes of following in her great uncle’s sleuthing footsteps. But as the day unfolds, Franko’s stolen bolt isn’t the only problem Iggy is tasked with. She must find a missing bat, stop a fight and calm a fearsome Egyptian princess. She better get detecting as the bolt is the key to winning this year’s science fair, starting in a few short hours. Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew meets The Legend of Sleepy Hollow with a dollop of science and a dose of spooky.

#5 – Augusta – Spotlight (PB 4-8)

Hank feels out of place in his theatrical family. Everyone has a talent
to showcase on stage, but him; his dad is an acrobat, his mom a ballerina, and his sister a magician. Hank longs to to shine in the spotlight too. Will Hank be able to save the day and get his chance to discover his talent under the spotlight when an unfortunate accident renders his family unable to perform on opening night?

 

Please choose the one you like best and vote for it in the poll below by Sunday April 5 at 9 PM Eastern.

 

Phew!  All that reading and choosing and voting calls for Something Chocolate, don’t you think?  Let’s go fancy and delicious with Chocolate Bird’s Nest Cake 😊

Chocolate Bird’s Nest Cake

Isn’t that so pretty?  Also chocolate-y and scrumptious-looking?!  Nothing says breakfast like chocolate cake 😊

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Sandy who says, “I am a retired teacher that spends her days walking the dog and writing the stories I’ve carried in my head for years.  Please find more about me at jesusjingle.com or on FB @makingmuchofHisname.  ”

Find her on the web at

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Capybara Triplets

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

The Pitch: The capybara triplets, Sebastian, Arturo, and Esteban, have had fun all day playing soccer, wallowing in the mud, and swimming.  When it’s time to wind down the day and prepare for bed the brothers go into bedtime avoidance behavior with silly antics but little success. What will they find when they run recon to gather intelligence on the nighttime activities they are missing?

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

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

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on Would You Read it in the dropdown under For Writers in the bar above.  There are openings in April, so you could get your pitch up pretty soon for helpful feedback and a chance to have it read and commented on by editor Erin Molta!

Sandy is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to seeing who wins these Pitch Picks and to (hopefully!) posting the Late February/March one next week so we’re all caught up!

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone, and stay healthy and well!!! 😊

 

Would You Read It Wednesday #354 – Maple & Pine (PB)

Darlings, has the novelty of working from home…whilst homeschooling the littles…whilst still being in charge of laundry, household chores, cooking, refereeing, peacekeeping, and entertaining…. whilst trying to exercise in the hall closet because the rest of the house is overrun with hooligans and it’s the only place you can get any privacy… whilst not being able to take the kids to the park or the zoo or the movies or even send them to play next door…  worn off?

I’m thinking we’d better have some fun!  How about you?

This is a game adults and kids, parents and teachers, writers and illustrators, anyone and everyone can play!

Are you ready?

It’s time to make Story Starter Cootie Catchers!

In case you don’t remember how to fold them, here’s a little review:

And in case you don’t remember where to write on them, here’s a template:

A nice flat clear one:

cootie catcher

and then mine which is less flat and less clear but has the right kind of information on it! 😊

IMG_9400

You will need 4 colors (I chose Orange, Purple, Raspberry, and Turquoise.)  Alternatively you could choose 4 animals, or 4 musical instruments, or whatever blows your hair back 😊

Then you need 8 numbers.  I went with the obvious: 1-8.  But you can pick whatever you like 😊 You could also swap out the numbers for genres if you want – adventure, mystery, how-to, etc.

Then you need 8 story elements of some kind.  I actually put in choices to get more mileage out of my little homemade idea generator, but for those of you who are trying to get mileage out of entertaining your kids, let them make as many cootie catchers with as many options as they like…!

I put in 8 different story starter/opening lines and also 8 different sets of 3 random words.  You could choose one or the other or parts of both if you land on that option while playing the game.

You could also use the colors and/or numbers as part of your story if you wanted to.

If thinking up what to put in doesn’t work for you, you are most welcome to use my options – I’m pretty sure you can read them with a little zoom-in and tilt your head sideways!

IMG_9392

IMG_9394

IMG_9395

So, for example, if you were using MY fancy little story starter, you could choose

Raspberry, (and you open and close the cootie catcher 9 times as you spell out r-a-s-p-b-e-r-r-y which lands you on a choice of 4 possible numbers)
so you might choose  3,
and when you lift that flap it that would give you a story that started with Rory rounded the corner quickly and ran headfirst into. . .

or you could choose to write a story that included the words cinnamon, feather, and bubble

If you wanted to also incorporate raspberry and/or 3, you could do that as well!

See?

Instantly ideas begin to percolate!

If your kids are old enough to read and write, they can make their own story starter cootie catchers and you can trade them around so you get other people’s sparks.

If you’re trying to stretch out the entertainment value, your kids can write, illustrate, act out, make up a song or a jump rope rhyme, and/or tell stories as well, earning you time to do your work (or hide in the hall closet!!!)

Then, after you’ve all had tons of fun with creativity, you can make a snack together!

Something Chocolate – Fun For Kids Chocolate-Dipped Rice Krispie Treats!

Fun For Kids Chocolate-Dipped Rice Krispie Treats!

 

These are decorated with rainbow sprinkles, but you can decorate with anything you like – mini marshmallows, blueberries, peanut butter chips, slightly stale breadcrumbs if that’s all that’s left in your larder… 😊 – just another opportunity to use your imagination!

Ta da!  I hope I’ve given you a way to entertain your household for at least 14 minutes today 😊

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Jenny Prevost, an aspiring picture book author and french fry aficionado who also loves coffee, her small southern town, and going on adventures with her hilariously loud family. (3 kids, 2 pets, 1 husband and a partridge in a pear tree. Kidding, no pear trees… only citrus ones.) She interviews authors and shares writerly musings at www.jennyprevost.com and ‘mom stuff’ over on  www.thelafayettemom.com.

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Maple & Pine

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

The Pitch: Maple gives the best high fives and her words are sweet as syrup, but she’s planted next to Pine, who pokes fun all year long. At least until a springtime storm shakes things up and gives Pine a fresh perspective.

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

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

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on Would You Read it in the dropdown under For Writers in the bar above.  There are openings in April, so you could get your pitch up pretty soon for helpful feedback and a chance to have it read and commented on by editor Erin Molta!

Jenny is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to hearing how you all fare with Story Starter Cootie Catchers!  Feel free to share your story starters in the comments!  And feel free to share this blog post with any of your desperate bored friends! 😊

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂

 

Would You Read It Wednesday #353 – Skritch, Scratch, Snuffle (PB)

Greetings, friends!

Somehow, in this crazy week, we’ve come around to Would You Read It Wednesday!

Today, before we get to our pitch, I have a couple You Could Read It stories for you😊

Since we’re all looking for ways to keep our kids engaged while they’re out of school, or trying to fill out our lesson plans if we’re teachers, or hearkening back to the better times of our youth if we’re just old like me😊 here are a couple of my favorite stories that might be new to today’s kids (since they’re oldies but goodies)!


And what could go better with story time than Something Chocolate?  How about some Death By Reeses Cheesecake Brownies?😊

Death By Reeses Cheesecake Brownies

 

I would say YUMMMM!!!!! but my mouth is too full 😊

Now, isn’t that lovely?  Between the stories and the recipes you’ve got a way to entertain yourself and your kids for the better part of a morning!😊

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Shae who says, “My name is Shae Pepper. I’m a new picture book author. In addition to being The Traveling Teach (www.facebook.com/thetravelingteach), curating my dogs instagram (www.instagram.com/trufflestravelsus), I travel full-time with my husband and Truffles, and blog about it at www.nohomejustroam.com. I am a regular contributor to the online Cincy Pet Magazine (cincypet.com).  My own experiences with anxiety and my Master’s Degree in Youth Work and Community Development, particularly helping children and teens develop life skills, provides a unique perspective on this subject.

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Skritch, Scratch, Snuffle

Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 3-8)

The Pitch: Just like children, Waffles, an anxious wombat, has trouble keeping her fears to a manageable size. She hears a noise and imagines the “what-if” monster which grows as her imagination runs wild. She’s certain she’s going to be eaten, until her echidna friend, Chicken, appears at her door and together they overcome the monster.

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

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

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on Would You Read it in the dropdown under For Writers in the bar above.  There are openings in April, so you could get your pitch up pretty soon for helpful feedback and a chance to have it read and commented on by editor Erin Molta!

Shae is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to some procrastabaking (a term you can thank my daughter for 😊)!!!

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 😊

And I hope you all stay safe and well!

 

Would You Read It Wednesday #352 – What Would Mozart Do? (PB)

Hi there, my friends!

It’s Would You Read It Wednesday, once again!  Hooray!

Before we get to today’s pitch I want to spread some cheer.  The world seems to be a bit of an alarming place at the moment, and I think we can all use a little dose of cuteness and sunshine and happiness 😊

Untitled design (3)

And for anyone who is a writer, there might be a little story inspiration in puppies and easter eggs, springtime flowers and splashing in puddles 😊 It’s possible three little kittens has been done… but there’s always room for a new twist! 😊

Let’s follow with Something Chocolate – always a way to brighten the day!  I thought with St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner it might be fun to add a little good luck into our chocolate 😊

Shamrock Pretzel Pops

 

So festive and delicious!  For even more chocolate-y goodness, you can dip the pretzels in white chocolate mixed with a drop of green coloring and let them set before adding the other ingredients!

Now that we are all feeling cheered, let’s have a look at today’s pitch which comes to us from Paulette.  Paulette is a writer and pianist who dreaded every one of her childhood piano recitals. Her debut picture book, A Doll for Grandma: A Story About Alzheimer’s Disease (Beaming Books, 2020), was inspired by her work as a volunteer pianist in memory-care homes.

Find her on the web at:

Website: https://paulettesharkey.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/pbsharkey

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: What Would Mozart Do?

Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 5-9)

The Pitch:  When a ringing cell phone derails Parker during his piano recital, he uses a tip from Mozart, a sparrow’s warble, and a bit of outside-the-box thinking to save his performance. A story about learning that things can be okay even when they don’t go as planned.

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

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

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on Would You Read it in the dropdown under For Writers in the bar above.  There are openings in April, so you could get your pitch up pretty soon for helpful feedback and a chance to have it read and commented on by editor Erin Molta!

Paulette is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to Spring! 🌷🌷🌷

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 😊

 

Would You Read It Wednesday #351 – Rabbit’s Lists (PB)

Welcome to Would You Read It Wednesday, where this week’s installment falls smack in the middle of Read Across America Week!

Read Across America

Read Across America Week begins with Read Across America Day – the Monday that falls closest to March 2, Dr. Seuss/Theodor Seuss Geisel’s birthday – and continues for a week of reading celebration.

I don’t know about you guys, but I loved Dr. Seuss and so did my kids.  I read The Cat In The Hat, The Cat In The Hat Comes Back, Green Eggs And Ham, One Fish Two Fish, And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street, and many others so many times I could recite them verbatim when my kids needed entertainment in the car or waiting in any of the many situations that require waiting (the DMV, the supermarket, doctor’s and dentist’s offices, airports, restaurants…)  The man was a genius!

So what are you reading this week?  What are you writing?  How are you celebrating with your kids and/or students?

Whatever you’re reading, it goes better with Something Chocolate! (Like how smoothly I slipped right into chocolate time? But let’s be honest, any celebration is a good reason to have cake 🙂 )

Today I think we’ll wander on the road less traveled.  I know we all often think of white chocolate as milk and dark chocolate’s lesser sister – a chocolate imposter – but it IS technically still chocolate, and sometimes it’s nice to change things up a bit, especially when no baking and fresh raspberries are involved.  What could be better for breakfast?

No Bake White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

no-bake-white-chocolate-raspberry-cheesecake-www.thereciperebel.com-600-11

Recipe (including helpful video) HERE at The Recipe Rebel

 

Doesn’t that look decadently delicious?  But if thinking of it as health food makes it more appealing as a breakfast choice, no problem!  It’s fresh fruit, calcium, protein, and whole grains 🙂

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Rose who says, “I am a former reading specialist and lover of literacy, nature, and all things pumpkin. You can read more at my blog http://www.imaginethepossibilities.wordpress.com or follow me on Twitter @RoseCappelli”

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Rabbit’s Lists

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

The Pitch: It’s Stew Saturday and Rabbit’s whiskers are in a tizzy. She can’t find the vegetables she needs to make her special stew for Squirrel, Badger, and Porcupine. Rabbit searches and digs accepting no substitutions until she is finally forced to step out of her comfort zone and try something new.

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

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

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on Would You Read it in the dropdown under For Writers in the bar above.  There are openings in April, so you could get your pitch up pretty soon for helpful feedback and a chance to have it read and commented on by editor Erin Molta!

Rose is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to my school visit on Friday where I will be doing a new presentation (I won’t lie – I’m feeling a wee bit panicky!) so wish me luck!

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂

 

Would You Read It Wednesday # 350 – Hotdogs Don’t Camp (PB)

Hey there, peeps!

I saw this on FB yesterday, and I think I’m going to adopt it as my permanent motto 🙂

 

Think how cheerful we’ll all feel! 🙂

And to make us even cheerfuller (which should be a word because it’s fun to say) how about Something Chocolate?

I was instantly sold on this recipe because it was advertised thusly:

“If you haven’t made brownies in your waffle iron, you haven’t truly lived yet.”

Whoever wrote that, has the same appreciation I do for all things chocolate!

How is possible that I have never made brownies in my waffle iron?!

This is a situation which must be rectified immediately!

So let’s make breakfast, shall we?

Waffle Iron Brownies

delish-waffle-iron-brownies-still003-1579717010

Recipe HERE at Delish

 

I always say, “Chocolate!  It’s what’s for breakfast!”. . . and today it really is! 🙂

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Sarah who you know very well by now! 😊  Sarah says, “I am an Optometrist, mother, and lover of the outdoors. I live in NH with my husband and two children. I love to paint in my free time, when I’m not writing.”

Find her on the web at www.sarahheturadny.com

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Hotdogs Don’t Camp

Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 3-8)

The Pitch: Hotdogs, humans, and bears—oh my! All on one campsite? There is bound to be some in-tents conflict. Three stories in one—with the primary story about hotdogs trying the impossible:  to camp like the humans do—explode off the page in this illustrator-heavy manuscript.

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

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

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on Would You Read it in the dropdown under For Writers in the bar above.  There are openings in March, so you could get your pitch up pretty soon for helpful feedback and a chance to have it read and commented on by editor Erin Molta!

Sarah is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to Leap Day!  What could be better than a day devoted to leaping?

7AF5AFED-9E61-43C3-A55D-FF05BD6CEA71_1_201_a

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂

 

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

Would You Read It Wednesday #349 – Spotlight (PB)

Hi there, everyone!

Before we get to Would You Read It today, I have a tidbit of helpful information!

I know we’re barely into February, but March isn’t that far off.  For those of you who wonder how to find mentor texts and how best to make use of them, Carrie Charlie Brown and Kirsti Call are once again running ReFoReMo (Reading For Research Month.)

 

Far be it from me to tell you what to do, but . . . hustle on over there and sign up!  You’ll be glad you did.  It’s going to be amazing!

I actually wrote a guest post for ReFoReMo in 2015 which you can see HERE if you’re interested.

And speaking of helpful tidbits, if you need a little inspiration why not have a go at the 5th Annual Valentiny Writing Contest?  It opens February 12 – a week from tomorrow – so you’ve still got plenty of time to write!

Wow!  All that talk of craft improvement for our writerly selves has put me in the mood for Something Chocolate!  (Chocolate fuels creativity, you know.  And I’m not just saying that.  I have done extensive research on this and have empirical evidence to back it up!)

It seems like everyone is talking Girl Scout Cookies at the moment so let’s make cake out of them!  How about some Samoa Sheet Cake for breakfast?!  (Is there a “drool” emoji? 🙂 )

Samoa Sheet Cake

Screen Shot 2020-02-04 at 2.42.04 PM

Recipe (including helpful video) HERE at Food.com

 

How delicious does THAT look?!  I may have to make some later!  Strictly in the interest of fueling my creativity, you understand . . . 🙂

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Augusta who says, “Greetings!
My name is Augusta McMurray. I am a preschool teacher, mother, wife, sister, and a daughter, who loves to dance, paint, read, and explore the world. I live, in my opinion, on one of the most beautiful islands in the world – Orcas Island – in Washington State. I love reading children’s literature, as much as I love dreaming up stories for children.”

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Spotlight

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

The Pitch: Hank feels out of place in his theatrical family. Everyone has a talent
to showcase on stage, but him; his dad is an acrobat, his mom a ballerina, and his sister a magician. Hank longs to to shine in the spotlight too. Will Hank be able to save the day and get his chance to discover his talent under the spotlight when an unfortunate accident renders his family unable to perform on opening night?

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

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

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on Would You Read it in the dropdown under For Writers in the bar above.  There are openings in March, so you could get your pitch up pretty soon for helpful feedback and a chance to have it read and commented on by editor Erin Molta!

Augusta is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to taking Phyllis on a library visit this weekend!  She is milking the Groundhog Day time of year for all it’s worth, packing her calendar so she can show off share her knowledge with children!

punxsutawney_phyllis_featured

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂