Would You Read It Wednesday #379 – The Story of Citronella (Please Hold Your Nose) (PB)

It’s Would You Read It Wednesday! Woo hoo!

But that’s not all!

Yesterday was Dr. Seuss’s birthday, Read Across America Day, and opening day of Vivian Kirkfield’s #50preciouswords contest!

If you enjoy my writing contests and may somehow have managed to miss this, quick! Rush over!

There are 50 truly amazing prizes on offer with everything from critiques by editors, agents, and picture book authors, to seats in classes, to bundles of books – definitely worth writing an entry for! So don’t miss it!

If you’re not up to writing an entry on such short notice, you can still go over and read all the wonderful entries that are posted!

So enjoy!

And to fuel your writing and/or help you enjoy your reading and/or energize you for helping today’s pitcher polish her pitch, how about a little Something Chocolate? I’m thinking Chocolate Cream Puffs because, YUM!

Chocolate Cream Puffs

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Bru who says, “I’m a respiratory therapist of 33+ years, now retired, who over the past covid months, revisited my files of story ideas and manuscripts to revise for today’s audience. Since the libraries were mostly closed during the past year, I built and set up a Little Free Library #91063 so children could continue to read books.  When I first started writing stories for my children in 1985, I wrote articles for trade journals but never published any of my children’s PB stories in book form. As the saying goes, you are never too old to learn new tricks, so I rejoined SCBWI and my hometown RACWI (Rochester Area Children’s Writers and Illustrators) groups. I have placed in The Writer’s Digest Children’s Writers annual contest as an Honorable Mention for many years. I hope to give everyone some smiles this year.”

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: The Story of Citronella (Please Hold Your Nose)

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

The Pitch:

In the Stinkbug Kingdom, everything changes in a single moment for Citronella. She realizes she smells different from everyone else which starts trouble.
When an announcement for the prince’s ball arrives Citronella isn’t invited. Is it the work of the stepsisters who smelled like burnt bacon and rotten eggs or the stepmother who’s odor was like a dirty diaper. Or Both. Citronella has choices; go incognito to the ball to try to marry the prince, seek out who she really is, or stay with the smelly stepsisters and their mother forever; um, wait, no way for the last one.
With the help of a wisecracking fairy godfather, Citronella has her one chance to attend the ball. After seeing the prince in his undergarments, she has more in common with him than she realized. Citronella’s bright yellow with black stripes outer skin is not solid brown like the stinkbugs and either is the prince’s. She really does fit into both the Stinkbug and the Bee Kingdom after all. Both the prince and Citronella lived happily, in a hive downwind from everybody else that smelled not just pleasant but Bee-utiful. This smelly insect kingdom re-creation of a favorite fairy tale comes with instructional (Bees & Stinkbugs) backmatter for classroom use.

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 Bru 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!

Bru is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to heading on over to Vivian’s and reading some of the wonderful entries posted there!

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 😊

Would You Read It Wednesday #378 – The Bitter Tastebud (PB) PLUS Straight From The Editor X 4!!!

Woo hoo!

What a Would You Read It Straight From The Editor line up we have today!

Fun times for all!

It’s always such a great learning experience to hear what editor Erin Molta has to say!

Let’s jump right in, shall we?!

First off, we have such a treat! Straight From The Editor for FOUR (count them! 4!) pitches: April 2020, May/September 2020, October 2020, and November/December 2020!

You will recall Sierra’s winning pitch from April:

Title: The Bug Battle Circus
Audience: Children ages 3-8
Genre: Narrative Nonfiction/Humor

Pitch: When household pests go head to head in the Bug Battle Circus, which crawly critters will be victorious? You guess! A wild, interactive story comparable to Bob Shea’s Crash, Splash, or Moo! and the Who Would Win? series. Nonfiction backmatter included.

Here’s what Erin had to say:

I can see the potential for this and understand why you’re comparing it to already published books but that shouldn’t be in the pitch. That’s in the query letter. The pitch is your sell line. What makes your book special—apart from Crash Splash Moo or Who Would Win? It would be great to get at least one example of a competition in the pitch. Even a wild interactive story is telling us, not showing us and an example from the story would have more impact on an editor. Perhaps something more like: Household pests go head to head in the Bug Battle Circus—ants and mice compete to see who can hoist the most crumbs. Which crawly critters will be victorious in this interactive story? Nonfiction backmatter included.

Lindsey’s winning pitch from May/September was:

The Wind Keeper
PB ages 4-8

On Jenny’s eighth birthday, Papa tells her that she comes from a long line of Wind Keepers. Together they harness the power of the wind to change the seasons and send kites flying high. But when Papa suddenly passes away, her world becomes still. Jenny must find the strength to overcome her grief and bring the wind back to the valley.

And Erin said:

This seems almost perfect. I would suggest one tweak—just to have slightly more impact. Rather than “her world becomes still” because it’s everybody’s world and no wind affects everybody, I’d say “the world becomes still.”

Nicole’s winning pitch from October was:

Dear Duchess
(PB 4-8)
When her octopus stuffie, Duchess, moves to the ocean to pursue a lifelong dream of becoming a mermaid, Charley isn’t sure she’s brave enough to face the first day of school alone. Duchess and Charley comfort and cheer each other through letters until Duchess realizes that some things are even more precious than her magnifique new tail.

And Erin said:

This sounds adorable—so much going on between a pretend animal moving away to become a fantasy creature of a whole different type in a whole different place and then to write letters to her friend/owner. So much suspension of belief needs to be unpacked here. Not saying that can’t be done but maybe Duchess goes back to the sea because of her lifelong dream to become a real octopus but realizes life in the ocean is dangerous and scary and lonely without her friend Charley. Just a thought. At the very least, I think you need to add “beloved” before octopus stuffie (as shown below)—just to make it clear that Duchess is a well-loved longtime companion of Charley’s.

When her beloved octopus stuffie, Duchess, moves to the ocean to pursue a lifelong dream of becoming a mermaid, Charley isn’t sure she’s brave enough to face the first day of school alone. Duchess and Charley comfort and cheer each other through letters until Duchess realizes that some things are even more precious than her magnifique new tail.

Last but not least, Patricia’s winning post from November/December was:

Working Title: Back to the Sea (PB 4-8)

The Pitch: At sunrise on a lush, tropical island, an inquisitive child accompanies a huge cast of terrestrial hermit crabs as they scritchedy-scratch and clickety-clack on their annual journey to spawn in the sea. They face rocky terrain, hungry gulls, and larger animals that could crush them, but the crabs remain focused on their instinctive goal. This lyrical STEM manuscript is Hawk Rising set in the Caribbean.

Erin had this to say:

This seems very interesting. However, I would encourage you to get more of your lyrical language into the pitch—show an editor, don’t tell an editor that your text is lyrical. The scritchedy-scratch clickety-clack are great and I think that you’d be better off using another line to mention the dangers a hermit crab faces on its trek from the trees to the ocean. No need to mention another book (Hawk Rising) in the pitch. That goes in the query letter.

I am always so interested to hear Erin’s thoughts, and she is so helpful and generous to share them with us! I hope you all found this as educational as I did!

After all that learning, I think we need Something Chocolate, don’t you? Packed with vegetables (from the cocoa BEAN) and protein (from the peaNUT butter) and calcium (because I just dare you to eat these without a glass of milk!), let’s start the day off right with this healthy breakfast!

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Filled Cupcakes

Arrrnthosejusssdulischosss?

I told you you’d need some milk 😊

Now that you (surely!) feel totally energized (from all the nutrients of course, not the sugar surge 😊) I think we’re ready to direct our full attention to today’s pitch which comes to us from Deborah. Deborah Foster is a home designer, mother, and a fantastic cook. Her CRAV-O-METER tends to have a “sweet” outcome and her all-time favorite food is cherry pie. She is a master at writing while cooking supper and, thankfully, her husband doesn’t mind eating burnt casseroles every now and then. Deborah is a member of 12×12, Inked Voices, and SavvyAuthors. She is always looking for more writing friends on Twitter. Follow her @DeborahClaytonF. A

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: The Bitter Tastebud

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

The Pitch: Amargo is a bitter tastebud who can’t stand to take another sweet, salty, or lip-puckering bite. But he is outnumbered and so is his vote on the CRAV-O-METER. Amargo must figure out how to change the vote or continue eating the food he detests.

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 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!

Deborah is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I usually say something I’m looking forward to here, but today I have something for YOU to look forward to! I know I’m a little bit Mars-crazy, having written a book about Mars and the rovers, but if you haven’t seen this official video from NASA of Perseverance landing on Mars you’re in for a treat. It is, to put it plainly, absolutely incredible! Watch the video, share it with your kids and/or students, maybe read MARS’ FIRST FRIENDS along with it… 😊 but don’t miss the video!

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 😊

The 2021 Valentiny Contest WINNERS!!!

Rise and shine, my friends!

I know it’s Monday.

I know it’s freezing cold and snowing… AGAIN!

I know someone in your house probably snagged the last Poptart and you’re stuck eating All-Bran for breakfast. . .on a frigid Monday morning. . .in the snow!

But.

BUT!

I am about to cast a ray of sunshine into your freezing, snowy, All-Bran-y, Monday morning!

Yes!

It’s true!

Here comes sunshine and heart-warming happiness because I am going to SING YOU A SONG! 🎶🎵🎶


🎶How much are those Poptarts in the window,
So sugary sweet and divine?
I’m brave, but not brave enough to offer
All-Bran to my sweet Valentine!🎶

No?

Ok, how about

🎶Oh, my darling,
Oh, my darling,
Oh, my darling, Valentine!
I will give you all my Poptarts
If you promise to be mine!🎶

Oh no, wait! I’ve got it!

🎶I’m a little Poptart filled with jam
Some say I’m sweet and it’s true! I am!
But my Valentiny also true –
No one else is sweet as you!🎶

I don’t know what’s happening here.

Apparently someone (who is not a good singer) has Poptarts on the brain.

Who could that be?

But never mind, because GUESS WHAT?

It’s time to announce the WINNERS of

The 6th Annual Valentiny Writing Contest

~ for children’s writers ~

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! As always, I was thrilled to see so many wonderful stories!  It is amazing and inspiring, not to mention VERY entertaining!  There is just so much talent out there amongst you all!  The other judges and I are blown away anew each time!

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, 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.  We chose 14 finalists, and around 35 Honorable Mentions which we also loved, and even with those 49 total there were over 200 entries we couldn’t list! So if yours didn’t make the final cut please don’t feel bad.  You’re in good company! There was a huge amount of competition.  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!

Because it was such a hard choice, and there were so many wonderful stories, before we get to the winners, my assistant judges and I would like to award bragging rights, recognition and a small prize to the following authors for the following merits:

1.  For Honorable Mention In The Competition As A Whole: (entries we truly wrestled with not including in the finalists!)

Elizabeth Volkmann for Class List

Melissa Trempe for The Most Terrible, Awful, Icky Valentine Ever

David McMullin for Brave Brave Brave (also funny 😊)

Laken Slate for The Brave Little Conversation Heart

M.R. Haqq for Soon

Mia Geiger for Peanut’s Brave Valentine’s Day

Ashlee Hashman for The Wildflower

Lindsey Hobson for U R Brave

Audrey Day-Williams for Legendary Valentine

Sara Ackerman for Arrrrr Is For Valentine

Amy Leskowski for A One-of-a-Kind, Just-in-Case, Not-at-All-Pink Valentine’s Day

Donna Kurtz for The Owl and the Kitty-Kat

2. For Great Kid Appeal: (not already mentioned in the finals or other categories)

Una Belle Townsend for Six Secret Valentines

Jan Suhr for The Lost Valentine

Kaylee Gwarjanski for Mission: Cancel Cupid Call

Gregory E. Bray for A Valentine’s Day Quest in the Land of Moore

Elizabeth Muster for W-R-I-T-E For Each Other

3. For Original POV:

Molly Ippolito for Cardamom’s Courage (POV of cardamom)

Rozana Rajkumari for Lemon-Tine (POV of a lemon)

4. For Humor:

Kelly Conroy for The Monster’s Valentine Buffet (dark 😊)

Catherine J Lee for The Valentine on My Shoe

Karyn Curtis for The Valentine’s Quest

Tracy Curran for The Wibbler (also great POV – jelly!)

5. For Well-Written, Fun Story With Great Sibling Interaction:

Brenda Whitehead for Step-Brother Battle

Shannon Howarth Nelson for Super Brothers

Danielle S. Hammelef for Scaredy-Cat

6. For Beautiful Writing:

Ciara N M Greenwalt for The Gift Tree

Sandhya Acharya for Sarla Asks A Question

Jyoti Rajan Gopal for A Cocoon of Love

Amy Flynn for Tilly’s Great Big Heart

7. For Best Short Valentiny Story:

P. J. Purtee for A Simple Valentine

8. For Sweet Valentiny:

Kelly Swemba for Brave For Gigi

Anne Bromley for Caleb’s Heart

Carmen Castillo Gilbert for Roses From Valentina

9. Best Story From A Young Writer:

Sophia Zafra for Bravery Is From The Heart

Congratulations to all of you for fantastic elements of your stories!  You may all email me at susanna[at]susannahill[dot]com subject line Prize Winner to collect your award badge and prize, which is five dollars in a format that can be emailed for you to put toward something you’d like at a large online store (and I’m being cryptic because when I did this for Halloweensie I got a ton of problematic spam mail because of the way I worded the post, but hopefully you can figure it out.  The store starts with the letter A 😊) I know it’s not much, but hopefully it will come in handy for something!

And now…

…the moment you’ve all been waiting for…

The announcement of the WINNERS OF THE 2021 VALENTINY CONTEST as voted on by you, our devoted readers!!!

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

DDDRRRUUUMMM RRROOOLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!

In First Place

Winner of the whole shebang…

who gets first choice of all the prizes…

Sarah McDermott
for

Lemur in Love!!!

Congratulations, Sarah! We had such fun reading this aloud! Terrific job 😊

In Second Place

Sarah Meade
for
Jana’s Valentine Visit

Congratulations, Sarah!  So believable! You get to pick your prize after Sarah.

In Third Place

Nancy Derey Riley
for
Percy’s Valentine

Congratulations, Nancy!  What a perfectly rhymed and timely story! You get to pick your prize after Sarah and Sarah.

In Fourth Place

Jessica Hinrichs
for
Valentine’s Gotcha Day

Congratulations, Jessica!  So sweet! You get to pick your prize after Sarah, Sarah, and Nancy!

In Fifth Place

Carrie Boone
for
The Ballad of Bad Bart

Congratulations, Carrie!  What a Valentine bargain! You get to pick after Sarah, Sarah, Nancy, and Jessica!

In Sixth Place...

Nicole Loos Miller
for
Stella & Hank

Congratulations, Nicole!  You must have a cat and a dog to write them so well! I’m sure you get the idea of how the prize picking goes by now 😊

In Seventh Place…

Paul Kurtz
for
Someone Special!

Congratulations, Paul!  You made us laugh   You get to pick next 😊

In Eighth Place…

Chambrae Griffith
for
Octopus Hugs

Congratulations, Chambrae!  Happy ending for shark 😊 You get to pick after Paul 😊

In Ninth Place…

Janie Reinart
for
Untangled Valentines

Congratulations, Janie!  So beautifully written!  You get to pick after Chambrae!

In Tenth Place…

Anne Lipton
for
Most Valuable Valentine

Congratulations, Anne!  You did a masterful job of turning history and racial justice into a Valentiny story! And in rhyme! You get to pick after Janie!

In Eleventh Place…

Katie Brandyberry
for
Valentine Delivery

Congratulations, Katie! We could just see the picture book your little mail truck would make! You get to pick after Anne 😊

In Twelfth Place…

Lauri C. Meyers
for
Charmadillo

Congratulations, Lauri! You had us at the title! And we laughed at the ending 😊 You get to pick your prize after Katie.

In Thirteenth Place…

Judy Sobanski
for
Brave Little Friends

Congratulations, Judy! Little Racoon was certainly very brave! 😊 You get to pick after Lauri!

In Fourteenth Place…

Samantha Haas
for
Valentine’s Day Rocks

Congratulations, Samantha! We loved Marjorie for her kindness and understanding, and Roger for bravely (and intelligently) coming up with valentines that worked for him!

All the winners should email me at susanna[at]susannahill[dot]com with the subject heading Prize Winner so we can work out details for you to receive your prizes!  (The sooner the better!)  And for your convenience, the whole prize list is included at the bottom of this post.

Congratulations again to all our winners – it was a stiff competition!! – and congratulations to EVERYONE who wrote and entered a story in the contest.  You all deserve a huge round of applause and a gigantic chocolate heart… or lots of little chocolate hearts… or both… really, you can never have too much chocolate 😊 . (Or, can I interest you in a Poptart? Maybe a chocolate Poptart… 😊 )

Thank you to everyone who helped make this contest SO MUCH FUN, whether by writing an entry, reading people’s stories, leaving comments for the authors, and/or voting in the finals.  It’s because of all of you that this contest was such a success, so many, many thanks from the bottom of my heart!

Have a marvelous Monday, everyone! 😊

The Prizes:  Swoonworthy!

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! 😊

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!

Would You Read It Wednesday #377 – Gina The Prima Bearina (PB) PLUS The January Pitch Pick!

In case you were wondering, not only is today Would You Read It Wednesday, it is also National Umbrella Day!

(I knew you’d want to know!)

It’s kind of funny, actually, since today is the only day we’ve had recently (or expect to have for the next few days) when it is NOT precipitating! (And also not sunny, so no actual reason for an umbrella!)

Still, we should celebrate.

And since many of us (including moi) are surrounded by a LOT of snow, I’m going with this:

Image by Louise Dav from Pixabay

Now that we’re feeling warm and sunny, let’s begin the day’s festivities with the January Pitch Pick! Our contenders are:

#1 – Aundra – Beach Sand Waves (PB 4-8)

It’s another sizzling summer Saturday. Beach day. Ocean day! Sand day-ugh. The average beach has ONE HUNDRED TRILLION GRAINS OF SAND. They scratch, they stick, there are crabs and bugs. But to get to what Morgan loves- quiet floating- first sand.

#2 – Sarah – Crin and Iggy: Friendship Rocks on the Beach (Young Reader Graphic Novel Ages 4 -8)

Three stories, two rock friends, one day. With Iggy’s friendship, Crin’s grumpy morning turns into a swimmingly fun afternoon. Well, except, rocks can’t swim — they sink. What will they do?  To end their day, Iggy puts on a One Rock Band performance. Maybe.

#3 – Debbie & Sophia – Rocky The Christmas Tree Surprise (PB 4-9)

A little owl falls asleep in her tree in the forest and wakes up to find herself in the middle of New York City. Alone and without her family, the tiny owl will have to trust her own courage and the kindness of strangers in order to find her way home.

#4 – Mindy – Just Right For Jack Ambrose (PB 3-8)

Jack Ambrose Kalabash wants everything to be just right; from his name, to his fly swatter collection, to the sounds he hears all day long.  He knows how to make the annoying and loud sounds at school just right, but on the bus ride home and at home, it is never just right. Then, unexpectedly a package arrives to help him through his noisy days.

Now that you’ve read them, which one do you think is best and most deserving of a read and comments by editor Erin Molta? Please vote for your favorite in the poll below by 9 PM Eastern Sunday February 14th (ooh! that’s Valentines Day! ❤️)

All that reading and choosing and voting definitely calls for Something Chocolate, so please help yourself to some French Silk Brownies!

French Silk Brownies

Recipe HERE at Kitchen Fun With My Three Sons

Mmmmm! Chocolate-y, creamy, delicious! Perfect to take with you on your beach picnic for Umbrella Day! 😊

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Ms. T. A NYC native, Ms. T. has been teaching dance for decades across the country. Her past students perform all over the world and all have received countless coloring sheets and daily dance stories as part of class. 

Find her on the web at
www.DANCETRUTH.com/illustrations 

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Gina The Prima Bearina

Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 3-6)

The Pitch: Left overnight in a dance studio, a teddy bear learns, from pliés to pointe shoes, how to become a “prima bearina”, so she can help her little girl pursue her dance dreams. With illustrations closely inspired by Edgar Degas, this informational fiction written by a NYC ballet teacher shows how technique and creativity blend to make great art. The loyalty of TRUMAN and the bravado of OLIVIA meet in a child’s art book. 

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 Ms. T 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 reserve a spot now and you’ll have time for a little polishing before you’re up for helpful feedback on your pitch and a chance to have it read and commented on by editor Erin Molta!

Ms. T is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to the Valentiny Contest which opens in less than 2 days at 12 AM Eastern February 12! I absolutely cannot wait to read all the wonderful stories I know you guys will invent!

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 😊

Would You Read It Wednesday #376 – Hairy Bigfoot Believes In Humans (PB) PLUS The October and November/December Pitch Winners!

Hi Everyone!

I hope you all enjoyed Groundhog Day yesterday!

Phyllis and I certainly did. We had to dig out of our burrow which was buried under 16+ inches of snow in order for Phyllis to determine that Punxsutawney Phil was nuts to claim he could see his shadow! There were no shadows on Blueberry Hill – only more snow! As far as we’re concerned, it’s going to be an early spring! 😊🌷 (Which reminds me of the plot of a certain picture book I know. . . 😊)

With that in mind to cheer us on, let’s get down to business! First off, the pitch winners!

The winner of the October 2020 Pitch Pick was Nicole with her PB pitch for Dear Duchess!

And the winner of the November/December Pitch Pick was Patricia with her PB pitch for Back To The Sea!

Congratulations to both of you on terrific pitches that made people want to read your stories, and for making good use of the feedback you received to improve your originals! Great job! Your pitches have been sent to editor Erin Molta and I’m sure you’ll hear from her as soon as she is able!

And congratulations also to all our other pitchers! You also did a great job! It is no easy thing to put your work out in the world for evaluation. But not only do you get the opportunity to learn from the experience, all of us do, too. So thank you for your bravery and generosity!

Let’s all celebrate with Something Chocolate! This morning, we will be indulging in Cheesecake Brownies because why not?! 😊

Doesn’t the day look better already with breakfast like that? Scrumptious!!! 😊

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Corey who says, “Hey there!! My name is Corey King (C.E. King) and I have been writing for a few years now. Just turning to Kidlit last year, I have enjoyed learning new ways of communicating through the power of words! I have an awesome 7 year old to judge my stories and give me daily inspiration. I hope to see you all in print someday!! To see current titles in progress, visit my website: http://www.scribblebuddy.com/ceking or look my up on Twitter @ckinginator”

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Hairy Bigfoot Believes In Humans

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

The Pitch: Hairy Bigfoot has spent years writing books & hosting weekly podcasts proving that humans exist.
After a gang of non-believing bigfeet vandalized his storefront, Humans-R-Real, INC., he sets out to disprove the naysayers. BRAVE READERS ONLY! #pbpitch #ha

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 Corey 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 early 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!

Corey is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to trying out 1 or 6 of those brownies! (writing fuel – it’s allowed!) 😊😊😊

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 😊

Would You Read It Wednesday #375 – Just Right For Jack Ambrose (PB) PLUS Pitch Winners And More Pitch Picks!

Howdy, Friends!

We’ve got a busy Would You Read It schedule today!

First, in the closest vote we’e ever had, with the winner one point ahead of second, and second one point ahead of third!, the winner of the April Pitch Pick was Sierra with her PB pitch for The Bug Battle Circus.

The winner of the April/May/September Pitch Pick was Lindsey with her PB pitch for The Wind Keeper.

Congratulations Sierra and Lindsey on your stellar pitching! Your pitches have been sent to editor Erin Molta for her thoughts and comments and I’m sure she’ll respond as soon as she is able!

Congratulations also to all our other pitchers! You all did a great job writing and revising your pitches, and you were brave to share your work for evaluation from your peers and so that we could all learn!

Thanks so much to all the talented, generous readers who take the time to read and comment on the pitches and help our pitchers out! And thanks to all of you for reading and voting!

I hope all of you feel that you ended up with stronger pitches than you started with!

Now, let’s do some more Pitch Picking so we catch up to where we should be!

First, the October 2020 Pitch Pick:

Please read and think over the pitches below and then vote for the one you think is best and most deserving of a read and comments from editor Erin Molta in the October 2020 Pitch Pick Poll below by Sunday January 31 at 9PM.

1 – Eileen – Tree Monster Tea Party (PB 4-8)

With the BFF tea party any minute, a broken chair could mean disaster! Never fear, good-natured Bear is off to the rescue until he trips, and gets his head stuck a log! As more forest friends stop to help, the problem grows and grows to epic proportions! In this action-packed cumulative comedy, the kooky cast of characters learn that teamwork makes the dream work and, there’s more than one way to solve a problem

2 – Sandy – Little Blue (PB 3-6)

Pfffft!  Normally, the sound of flatulence is associated with a balloon deflating, but it might be just the right thing to lift Little Blue’s spirits.  Little Blue is down, dejected, and downhearted which is distressing when you’re a balloon!  Little Blue’s buddies display real friendship when he’s dragging the ground.   Green and Orange wedge Blue between them as they skip over the jump rope. Pink pulls him onto a swing to help him remember how to fly through the sky.  Yellow pounds the ground with the teeter-totter, propelling Blue into the air. Friends and a bit of flatulence buoy him along as he struggles to get his float back.

3 – Katie – Imagine That: The Lion, Maria, and Brindy (PB 4-8)

Brindy’s never lonely thanks to the amazing characters she meets in books. Trouble is, Brindy can’t hide in the pages of books in class, at church, or during swim practice. But making real friends seems impossible amid all the talking, teasing, tiring activity. Then some lively characters appear and encourage Brindy to sing with confidence and speechify with courage. The unimaginable becomes possible and Brindy finally makes a true friend.

4 – Nicole – Dear Duchess (PB 4-8)

When her octopus stuffie, Duchess, moves to the ocean to pursue a lifelong dream of becoming a mermaid, Charley isn’t sure she’s brave enough to face the first day of school alone. Duchess and Charley comfort and cheer each other through letters until Duchess realizes that some things are even more precious than her magnifique new tail.

Finally, the November/December 2020 Pitch Pick:

Please read and think over the pitches below and then vote for the one you think is best and most deserving of a read and comments from editor Erin Molta in the November/December 2020 Pitch Pick Poll below by Sunday January 31 at 9PM.

1 – Patricia – Back To The Sea (Informational PB 4-8)

At sunrise on a lush, tropical island, an inquisitive child accompanies a huge cast of terrestrial hermit crabs as they scritchedy-scratch and clickety-clack on their annual journey to spawn in the sea. They face rocky terrain, hungry gulls, and larger animals that could crush them, but the crabs remain focused on their instinctive goal. This lyrical STEM manuscript is Hawk Rising set in the Caribbean.

2 – Diana – Little Witch Zooming Broom (PB 4-8)

Look up! There she zips again. Now she’s off to Grandma’s house with her basket of Trick-or-Treat goodies. But when Werewolf tries to trick Little Witch Zooming Broom, he finds she has tricks of her own under her hat.

3 – Aundra – Gregory The Garbage Truck (PB 3-9)

 GREGORY THE GARBAGE TRUCK loves his daily routine: Drive around/Clamp the bin/Lift it up/Dump it in. But his stench becomes too much and making friends is impossible. He tries washing and bouncing the trash off but he’s left smelling like old socks sprayed by a skunk and washed in dirty diapers. One evening at the dump his crusty clamper catches the eye of two rifling raccoons. They are excited to help Gregory clean up!

4 – Sarah – My Antler Is Missing (PB 4-8)

“MY ANTLER IS MISSING” Moose cries when he wakes and scratches his head. A mystery is afoot. Moose and his bestie Mouse head off on an adventure discovering clues and track prints. They romp through the winter forest chasing down possible thieves as they search for Moose’s missing antler.

Wow! Such hard choices! Thank you all for reading and voting! You have earned. . .

. . . your reward!

Something Chocolate!

Here you go. Some DELICIOUS Frosted Peanut Butter Cookie Cups!

Frosted Peanut Butter Cookie Cups

Aren’t they just making your mouth water? Yum! Grab a glass of milk and help yourself to 2 or 3 or 5 😊

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Mindy who says, “Due to the pandemic, I retired after 35 years working with developmentally delayed young children and their families. Writing children’s books is my next chapter.”

Find her on the web at:
Facebook: Mindy Meyer
Instagram: mjmeyer06
Twitter: @MindyJ06

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Just Right For Jack Ambrose

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

The Pitch: Jack Ambrose Kalabash wants everything to be just right, from his fly swatter collection hanging on the wall, to the seat he chooses on the bus, to even the sounds he hears or doesn’t hear throughout the day.

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 Mindy 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!

Mindy is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to Groundhog Day which is right around the corner! Phyllis and I are hoping for an early spring! (Mostly because we’ve had a week of very cold weather which is normal for January in New York but we still don’t like it! 😊)

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 😊

Would You Read It Wednesday #374 – Rocky The Christmas Tree Surprise (PB) PLUS The April 2020 and May/September 2020 Pitch Picks

No time like the present for getting around to a task that should have been done 8 months ago! 😊

Due to COVID and the general insanity of 2020 which included various situations I will not burden you with, it appears we’ve wandered into 2021 without doing all of last year’s pitch picks and Straight From The Editors! So this week and next week we will play catch up and you will get to Vote Vote Vote to your hearts’ content!

Let’s start with the April 2020 Pitch Pick, shall we? Please read the 3 pitches in the April group, choose the one you think best and most deserving of a read and comments by editor Erin Molta and vote for it in the April 2020 Pitch Pick Poll below by Sunday January 24 at 9 PM Eastern.

1 – Sandy – Capybara Triplets (PB 4-8)

The rambunctious capybara triplets, Sebastian, Arturo, and Esteban, play and have fun all day.  But when bedtime approaches, they put on the brakes and push for a delay.  The three capybaras use slow-motion, bathroom art, and a closet hideaway to slow the bedtime process.  Although they end up under the covers, they may not stay there as they are determined to investigate what staying-up-fun they might be missing.

2 – Deborah – Sonny’s Smile (PB 3-8)

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. 

– Elaine – withdrew from consideration

3 – Sierra – The Bug Battle Circus (PB 3-8)

When household pests go head to head in the Bug Battle Circus, which crawly critters will be victorious? You guess! A wild, interactive story comparable to Bob Shea’s Crash, Splash, or Moo! and the Who Would Win? series. Nonfiction backmatter included.

Next we have the Remaining April/Single May/September 2020 Combo Pitch Pick: please read the following 4 pitches, choose the one you think best and most deserving of a read and comments by editor Erin Molta and vote for it in the April/May/September 2020 Pitch Pick Poll below by Sunday January 24 at 9 PM Eastern.

1 – Jennifer – Priya Paints Backwards (PB 4-8)

Priya thinks blank pages are scary and art class is hard; harder for her than everyone else, at least.  When you add in other opinions and constant comparisons, she’s sure she’ll never make a masterpiece.  Then one day, she turns it all around, and finally finds her way.

2 – Deborah – Jack’s Crazy Confection (PB 4-8)

Jack wants to sell his sweet confections, but the dastardly Ice Cream Man has stolen all his customers. Using his great-great-grandmother’s magic ingredient, Jack must cook up something to out-sweet those frozen treats. But a little too much magic ingredient leads to outrageous results.

3 – Lindsey – The Wind Keeper (PB 4-8)

On Jenny’s eighth birthday, Papa tells her that she comes from a long line of Wind Keepers. Together they harness the power of the wind to change the seasons and send kites flying high. But when Papa suddenly passes away, her world becomes still. Jenny must find the strength to overcome her grief and bring the wind back to the valley.

4 – Katie – Winx Thinks. . . Dinosaurs (MG Time Travel Adventure)

Winx Muller dreams of visiting the Mesozoic Era. But he’s going nowhere fast thanks to an ailing sister, busybody great aunt, and missing parents. Then Winx finds a pair of disgusting old socks that sing promises of Time Travel and suddenly the future – and past – seem wide open! Before he can  meet any Mesozoic megafauna, Winx must survive the Time-Space Continuum and the unsettling  evolution of paleontology. Stumbling through fossil-hunting hot spots, Winx gets mucked up in Colonial America, chased by men with explosives in Victorian England, captured by an ancient tracker in the desert Southwest, and half-drowned in British Colonial India. Which is nothing compared to the thunderous dangers he faces in the Mesozoic Era.

Thank you all so much for taking the time to read and vote!

Phew! After all that voting we definitely need Something Chocolate! Grab a cup of coffee, tea, or milk and let’s get dunking with these delectable Sea Salt Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies!

Sea Salt Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Mmmmmm!!!!! Scrumptious!!!!! Perfect for breakfast, second breakfast, mid-morning snack, elevenses, lunch, etc… 😊😊😊

Now then, onto today’s pitch which is a special one! A WYRI first! – a team effort! The pitch comes to us from Debbie and Sophia.

Debbie: I’ve been writing since I was twelve years old and have always loved creating stories. My other passion is volunteering with my therapy dog, Zoey, who is a Tail Waggin’ Tutor. We have been working in libraries helping children practice their reading for 9 years.

Sophia is a sixth grader in Denver, Colorado and is eleven years old. She has been writing for 3 years and can’t wait to publish her very first book! She writes in the Creative Writing column in her school newspaper, the Sun Devil Scoop. So far, she has published four stories. To read them, you can click the link below.

The two of us have been friends since Sophia was born and we both share a love of reading and writing.

https://sundevilscoop.org/?s=Sophia+Zafra

Here is their pitch:

Working Title: Rocky The Christmas Tree Surprise

Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-9)

The Pitch: A little owl takes an unexpected trip in the most famous Christmas tree in the world. After getting stranded, she discovers that she is no longer in the peaceful countryside. Alone in New York City, this brave owl finds her way home with the love and help of kind strangers.

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 Debbie and Sophia improve their 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!

Debbie and Sophia are looking forward to your thoughts on their pitch!  I am looking forward to being able to taste those delicious-looking Sea Salt Dark Chocolate Chunk cookies and getting out of quarantine someday 😊

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 😊

Would You Read It Wednesday #373 – Kindness Rocks (GN)

So. . . I had this great plan that I was going to start catching up on last year’s pitch picks, but the pitchers turned out to be not quite ready.

No worries! Gives us something to look forward to next week 😊

And all the more time to dig into Something Chocolate this week! I’m thinking German Chocolate Cheesecake because. . . why not?!

German Chocolate Cheesecake

Doesn’t that look delicious?! And I know you can appreciate all the calcium, protein, and vegetable of the cocoa bean therein! 😊

Also, it’s a good day for cake because it’s Scouty’s birthday (not that she can have German Chocolate Cheesecake, but there will be a little plain yellow cupcake for her later – it’s not everyday you turn 14!)

Please may I have some cake? 😊

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Sarah whom you will remember from last month with her pitch for My Antler Is Missing. Sarah grew up on the shores of Lake Michigan. She loves rocks and has collected many. She loves the Kindness Rocks project and leaves rock treasures for others to find on beaches, trails, and in neighbor’s trees.

Find her on the web at:
sarahatobias.com
Twitter: @peacefulheart63
Insta: @sarahpeaceandsmile

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Kindness Rocks

Age/Genre: Graphic Novel (ages 4-8)

The Pitch: Even Kindness Rocks have their struggles. After Crin wakes up on the wrong side of the bedrock, his day feels like it’s going from bad to worse until his best friend Iggy arrives with a little gift. With the day turned around, Crin and Iggy plunge into the water for a swim and rock and roll into the evening as summer vacation begins. 

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 February, 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 Scouty’s birthday cake! 😊 (which I have to go bake 😊)

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 😊

Would You Read It Wednesday #372 – Beach Sand Waves (PB)

Darlings!

Here we are in a whole brand new year!

Happy, happy to you all!

Let’s just dive right into Something Chocolate and start things off with a decadently delicious glass of Whipped Hot Chocolate to celebrate!

Whipped Hot Chocolate

Divine, isn’t it?! Slurp, slurp! 😊

I hope you’ll indulge me for one moment to share my new book with you since it had it’s birthday yesterday 😊

written by Susanna Leonard Hill, illustrated by John Joseph, published by Sourcebooks

I enjoyed writing this book to celebrate grandmas of every kind in every place – each one so special to her grandchildren in her own unique way. And John did such an amazing job with the illustrations! I hope you’ll like it if you get a chance to take a look at it.

Here’s a sneak peek at a couple of the pictures 😊

text copyright Susanna Leonard Hill 2021, illustration copyright John Joseph 2021, Sourcebooks Wonderland
text copyright Susanna Leonard Hill 2021, illustration copyright John Joseph 2021, Sourcebooks Wonderland

Can’t everyone appreciate a grandma who helps her defeat dragons? 😊

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Aundra whom you will remember from November with her pitch for Gregory The Garbage Truck. Aundra says, “I am a middle school special education teacher and mother to a 4 year old and 2.5 year old.”

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Beach Sand Waves

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

The Pitch: BEACH SAND WAVES is a 600 word picture book about a child who is willing to endure the thing they hate most to get to be with what they love.

Everyone loves the beach, but Morgan. Sand: It’s like glue. It’s everywhere. And there are bugs. Morgan’s day at the beach is nothing like a day at the beach, but to get to what Morgan loves more, first SAND. #wndb #nonfiction #pb

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 Aundra 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 January, 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!

Aundra is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to actually getting a copy of DEAR GRANDMA to hold in my hot little hands! I think my copies might come today. . . fingers crossed!

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 😊