Would You Read It Wednesday # 410 – Remmy’s Sticky Situation (PB)

It’s Wednesday! Let’s wind up for the pitch!

But first. . .

If you spend any time around kids, you have no doubt been challenged to a variety of tongue twisters. My sister and I had two favorites when we were kids: “toy boat” and “rubber baby buggy bumper” ((say either of them at least 3 times fast!)

But the most recent one I got challenged to (which I can barely say 1 time without messing up 😊) is “Irish wristwatch, Swiss wristwatch” Go on! I dare you!

It’s hard, right?! 😊

So, if you’re casting about for a writing prompt today, why not have a go at writing something with tongue twisters? Dr. Seuss did it. You can, too!

I think it’s actually kind of a cool exercise, since it makes you really think about the sounds in words – something we care a lot about here in kidlit 😊

Here’s Something Chocolate to get you fueled up and ready to write – Cookie Dough Fudge! Looks scrumptious, doesn’t it?

Cookie Dough Fudge

Perhaps you’ll feel inspired to write a story full of tongue twisters about cookie dough fudge 😊

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Cindy. Cindy is a kidlit writer, graphic designer, kid at heart, and lover of all things chocolate. She works full time in marketing but writing for kids is her happy place. She is also a member of the Write2Ignite Conference team (write2ignite.com) which offers virtual workshops for children’s writers and her website is cindylynnsawyer.net.

Find her on the web at:

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Remmy’s Sticky Situation

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

The Pitch: When Remmy raccoon’s cotton candy disappears, he blames his friends. But he finds himself in a sticky situation when he discovers the real reason for the mystery. Has he lost his best buds forever? How can Remmy show his friends that he is truly sorry?

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 you answer is MAYBE or NO, please feel free to tell us what you think could be better in the spirit of helping Cindy 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 menu bar above. There are openings as soon as next week (April 27), so you could get your pitch up pretty soon for helpful feedback and a chance to have it read and commented on my editor Erin Molta!

Cindy is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch! I am looking forward to seeing if I can figure out a story that has been percolating in my mind for about 2 weeks. . . I hope I can get it on paper, and I hope I love it when it gets there! 😊

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 😊

Would You Read It Wednesday #409 – Little Camper’s Not-So-Big Adventure (PB) PLUS So Many Pitch Winners!

Howdy, Friends!

Here’s a little puzzler for first thing in the morning.

April is a big birthday month in my family, which prompts discussions of how likely it is people’s birthdays will land on Easter. I am well aware of the deep and important meaning of Easter and do not make light of it, but let’s face it: for kids it’s all about getting birthday presents AND jelly beans in the same day 😊

I googled a bit, but was quickly sent scurrying back to my rightful place by Scary Math. So, as is appropriate, I’m going anecdotal.

My dad’s birthday has been on Easter 3 times: 1962, 1973, and 1984. Perhaps Easter dates move in 11 year cycles? (How’s that for deductive reasoning? Take that, Scary Math!)

One of my daughters’ birthday has never fallen on Easter for her, but will in 2031. (I will not say how old she’s going to be because it is not polite to tell a lady’s age 😊)

My niece’s birthday is April Fool’s Day and her birthday landed on Easter in 2018 when she turned 14, and will again in 2029 and 2040. (There are those 11s again!) My nephew’s birthday fell on Easter 2 years before he was born when it wasn’t his birthday yet and isn’t due to land on that date again until 2066 when he will be 62 years old!

I, as you know, am extremely ancient, and yet my birthday has only landed on Easter once, the year I turned 9.

My deductions, based on the anecdotal evidence cited above, (and just try to stay with me on this because I know math and science simply aren’t for everyone and you should just not feel bad if your mind has a hard time with the acrobatic feats demonstrated by mine!), is that my next Easter birthday will be whenever Easter feels like it 😊

There will be extra credit for anyone who can guess the dates of my Dad’s, daughter’s, nephew’s, and my birthdays. The cat’s already out of the bag on my niece’s 🤣🤣

Now that I’ve limbered you up with mental calisthenics, let’s do a little celebrating, shall we? I am thrilled to announce the pitch winners that you all voted on last week! Woo hoo!!!

The Pitch Winners are . . . .

September 2021 – Hannah – The Good Wolf (PB 4-8)

October 2021 – Robin – I Am The Zookeeper (PB 3-7)

November/December 2021 – Melissa – Don’t Even Think About Lions! (PB 4-8)

January 2022 – Patti – Dragon Is Out Of Here (PB 4-8)

Congratulations, Hannah, Robin, Melissa, and Patti! Great job! Your pitches have already been sent to editor Erin Molta and I’m sure she will reply with her comments as soon as she can! We have a lot of Straight From The Editors to look forward to!

Congratulations to all our other pitchers, too! You all did a fabulous job presenting your pitches and then taking the feedback offered by our wonderful readers and using it to revise and improve. I hope everyone feels like a winner because I think you all ended up with stronger pitches!

I appreciate everyone who steps up to share because it gives all of us a chance to learn and improve our skills! So, thank you all!

All that math and excitement has rendered me slightly faint, so I think it’s time for Something Chocolate! Don’t these Easter Blossom Cookies (or Spring Blossom if you don’t celebrate Easter) look delicious? So springy! And, more importantly, so delightfully chocolate in the middle! 😊

Recipe HERE at Crayons and Cravings

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Deborah. Deborah Foster is a mother, an architectural drafter, and a fantastic cook. She is a member of 12×12, Inked Voices, and SCBWI. She is always looking for more writing friends on Twitter. Follow her @DeborahClaytonF or check out her blog at www.deborahfosterbooks.com.

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Little Camper’s Not-so-big Adventure

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

The Pitch: Little Camper can’t wait for her first big adventure! Will it be the Grand Canyon? Roaring Niagara Falls? When Little Camper’s first adventure bounces down dusty back roads to the Apron Museum, she’s ashamed to recount her travels to the other campers. But after a hurry-to-the-next-stop trip, Little Camper realizes that bumpy back roads and odd attractions might just be the perfect adventures for her.   

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 you 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 menu bar above. There are openings immediately, so you could get your pitch up next week if you want for helpful feedback and a chance to have it read and commented on my editor Erin Molta!

Deborah is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch! I am looking forward to Easter weekend! 😊

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 😊

Would You Read It Wednesday – Catching Up On Pitch Picks!

Hi folks!

Last week we caught up on Straight From The Editor.

But this will tell you exactly how crazy life is around here. Do you realize what I did last week? Did you notice? Did you catch it?

I FORGOT SOMETHING CHOCOLATE!

How can that even happen???!!!

You are all witness to the fact that I am losing my marbles!

So, to be sure I don’t make such a gigantic faux pas this week (and because you need to fuel up for today’s demands!) let’s have Something Chocolate right now! These are just so darn cute I couldn’t resist them – Polar Bear Paw Cupcakes!

Polar Bear Paw Cupcakes

Recipe HERE at One Little Project (photo credit Debbie Chapman)

The cupcakes are chocolate (yum yum!), the fur is made of shredded coconut, the paw pad is a peppermint patty, and the toes are chocolate-covered raisins. So clever! (and delicious 😊) And, like all the treats offered on my blog, they have no calories and can be considered health food if thought about in the right way. 🤣

Now then! This week, we’re all about voting. (Well, voting and eating cupcakes…)

Look at us, catching up! 😊

Let’s choose some pitch winners, shall we?

There is a poll below each group so you can vote for your favorite in that group, so, 4 separate polls in all. Please cast your votes by Monday April 11 at 9PM Eastern and I will post the pitch winners next week on WYRI!

First up, the September 2021 Pitch Pick!

#1 – Elizabeth – CHICK-A-GATOR (PB 3-6)

I bet you’ve never met a chick-a-gator. Neither had the hens in the chicken coop. When one hatches from an egg, pandemonium breaks out. None of the hens accept him; they make him sleep outside the fence;They run whenever he comes near; his rooster father disowns him. But there’s more to Chick-a-gator than they know. One night he performs an heroic act that changes their opinion of him. He is hailed as a hero. He’s half chicken and half gator with a mighty roar. He’s the Chick-a-gator!

#2 – Hannah – THE GOOD WOLF (PB 4-8)

All Wolfington wants is to be included, but when he goes into town, grandmothers hide, pigs squeal, and sheep faint. Fed up with the big bad wolf stereotype, Wolfington sets out to prove that his heart is bigger than his stomach.

#3 – Kelly – WHICH NEWBIE YOU BE? (MG)

While trying to keep her bipolar disorder a secret in a new town, Ella, a twelve-year old resilient young girl overcomes seventh grade obstacles to find hope and discover what friendship is all about despite a bully that reveals her secret. Distinctive weather metaphors help the reader really feel what the main character is thinking and feeling in WHICH NEWBIE YOU BE? a middle grade novel appropriate for ages eight to twelve.

#4 – Jennifer – READEROSAURUS (PB 4-8)

A kid who loves dinosaurs all because he devours books finds out that his favorite place in the whole world is closing and there isn’t anything he can do about it. Or is there? 
Will his roar be heard among giants? 

SEPTEMBER 2021 PITCHPICK POLL

Next, the October 2021 Pitch Pick!

#1 – Robin – I AM THE ZOOKEEPER! (PB 3-7)

“I have a Messy Zoo inside me.” That is what the child feels about all the emotions growing inside her and escaping as animal behavior. Bear grows and stomps, porcupine prickles, monkey is silly. Loud and crowded! With help, the child discovers self-soothing techniques to tame the animals and become the Zookeeper.

#2 – Melisa – HIBERNATION EXASPERATION (PB 4-7)

Groundhog needs to hibernate, but mounting misunderstandings keep Beaver SMACK WHACK WHACKing at the door with puzzling offerings of unrequested assistance. Groundhog must figure out how to get the message across before Beaver whittles hibernation season into a mere nap. 

#3 – Jeannette – DO YOUR THING, PEKING (PB 4-8)

As the zoo’s only peachick, Peking struggles to discover what makes him unique. He can’t swing like Monkey or waddle like Penguin or trumpet like Elephant. He looks at his reflection in the lily pond and doesn’t see anything spectacular. Peking visits the zoo’s animals, tries to copy their talent and asks their advice. Peking’s specialty does surface with time and patience and he becomes brighter and bolder than anyone could have ever imagined.

#4 – Melissa – THE PIED PIPER OF GRANNIES: A joyous twist on the original story. (PB 4-8)

Gran has hit the road with her band, and shy Kai misses his best friend, until he discovers he can use his harmonica to charm grannies galore! That should fill the void… only… it doesn’t. 

When the grandchildren track down Kai’s geriatric conga line, Kai has to make some decisions and find his voice, only then does he solve his loneliness – by making a friend. 

A 527-word rhyming romp featuring grannies and music from all over the world.

OCTOBER 2021 PITCHPICK POLL

Next, the November/December 2021 Pitch Pick!

#1 – Deborah – WELCOME TO THE WORD FACTORY (PB 4-8) 2d9a5f

Come along on a tour of The Word Factory and listen as EP (exclamation point) explains how words are discovered, spelled, and defined. Despite the repeated interruptions from Oxford, EP is unaware of the growing problem until the tour arrives at the lunchroom where they find a messed up menu and hangry punctuation marks. Thankfully, EP knows the perfect punctuation needed, “Oh Oxford!”

#2 – Melissa – DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT LIONS! (PB 4-8)

He’s been warned, but this renegade monkey and his bush baby buddy break all the rules Mama mentioned as they venture out on a lion quest. 

The refrain ‘what if we just…’? entices readers to turn the page, following these wild risk-takers as they creep closer… closer… too close! GULP! 

Despite a dramatic rescue, followed by a breath-taking chase, only one of them learns his lesson! 

A 437-word madcap rhyming PB adventure featuring found family, and not following the rules. 

#3 – Emily – THE ADVENTURES OF RICKY AND FLASH: ESCAPE FROM THE CITY (CB 7-9)

City rats Ricky and Flash race to leave New York City after double-crossing Slick, the street-hardened stray cat who rules the alleyways. But the brothers have never known anything but city life, and country living comes with its own perils! They try to make a home at Wild Down Farm, but just like in the city… cats rule. When two kittens get trapped, Ricky and Flash have a decision to make—help out the fearsome barn cat who has been stalking them or walk away from both the kittens and their new life on the farm.

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2021 PITCHPICK POLL

Finally, the January 2022 Pitch Pick!

#1 – Patti – DRAGON IS OUT OF HERE (PB 4-8)

Dragon is out of here, leaving his ‘same old’ book and flying off to find a better spot in one of the other books on his shelf. But the grass isn’t any greener with the Big Bad Wolf, the Old Woman in the Shoe, or Sleeping Beauty. After a close call with Old MacDonald, Dragon rediscovers his own story where he can fly, breathe fire, and be his true self.

#2 – Kizzi – THERE WAS A SMALL PYTHON WHO SWALLOWED A FLEA (PB 4-8)

There was a small python who swallowed a flea. He swallowed the flea because it was small, but pythons need MORE after all. So the small python swallows more and more things and grows and grows. Soon he’s a huge python swallowing a moose and caboose, and a door and a store. Just when he couldn’t possibly swallow any more… he sees a rat, and even full pythons have room for that. But this rat is tough and cheesy, and soon python feels a bit queasy. After some moaning and groaning, a huge buuuurrrrppppp might solve all his problems.

THERE WAS AN OLD LADY WHO SWALLOWED A FLY meets THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR in this gluttonous tale.

#3 – Jessica – THE PAPER ROUTE (MG)

Grace takes over the neighborhood paper route, only to discover that these are no ordinary newspapers. These newspapers are magical. Not only do they reveal her neighbors’ wishes, but Grace soon learns that she is able to grant these wishes as well. Grace navigates this newfound secret power, but wrestles with simultaneously feeling more invisible than ever to her friends and family. She desperately needs the advice of her trusted friend, Miss Maisy. But, Miss Maisy died two years ago. As Grace grapples with this reality, her own life hangs in the balance. Will she be able to grant one last wish—her own—before it’s too late?

#4 – Reed – THE ALLEY CAT CHRONICLES: MR. FUZZYPANTS, BOOK 1 (CB advanced 7-9)

Over-confident housecat Mr. Fuzzypants, meets street-wise Sassy, and between them, they have one competent alley cat … it’s not Mr. Fuzzypants.

THE ALLEY CAT CHRONICLES follows the adventures of Mr. Fuzzypants and Sassy and their alley-cat crew as they navigate living on the streets. Mr. Fuzzypants, claims to be an “expert” of the outside world despite a life lived indoors. When he finally slips away to chase his dreams, he discovers that life outside is harder than it looked through the window. A feisty street cat Sassy, who can out-hunt and out-climb him steps up to help him learn the ways of the alley. Mr. Fuzzypants must accept he is in over his ears and hightail it home or dig in his claws and let Sassy teach him the ways of the streets.

JANUARY 2022 PITCHPICK POLL

Whew! That was a whole heckofalotta great pitches and hard decisions! Help yourself to another cupcake to restore your strength!

Please remember to place your vote for the person you think should win in each group by Monday April 11 at 9PM.

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone! 😊

Would You Read It Wednesday – Straight From The Editor!

Seems like it’s been awhile since we had any Straight From The Editor feedback, so today we’re going to rectify that!

Don’t laugh. I know how far behind these are. Apparently editor Erin Molta has been as busy as I have, and between us she didn’t get to these and I didn’t remind her, so here we are learning from February, March, and May of 2021. (Not sure what happened to April – hoping that comes through soon!)

ANYway, we now have an opportunity to learn, so get ready to take notes! 😊

The winner of the February 2021 Pitch Pick was Robin, with this pitch:

But When She Opens the Door… (PB 4-8)

On an Irish March day, Katie O’Shea and her feline assistant, Shamrock, are surprised by the fickle weather shifting dramatically each time she opens the door. In rollicking read aloud rhyme, Katie keeps changing clothes until a look at the calendar reveals the perfect outfit!

Erin’s comments are as follows:

This sounds so cute and I think it has potential but…rollicking read-aloud rhyme aside—will there be some weather facts in said rhyme or is it just a cute paean to unpredictable March—it comes in like a lion and leaves like a lamb type of thing? If it’s got a little weather information in it, I think you may want to state that a tad more clearly or if it’s a book about St. Patrick’s Day you need state that more clearly, too. Different editors will be interested in different aspects and you want to clue them in right up front. No need to keep them guessing.

The winner of the March 2021 Pitch Pick was Diana with:

Wait For Cate (PB 5-8)

Cate promised her team she’d finally be on time for the championship kickball game. But when she encounters the new girl in her class, stuck in the sand on the playground in her wheelchair, she has to make a BIG decision. Should she help or hurry on by? The clock’s ticking.

Erin’s comments are as follows:

I love the premise of this story but I think the pitch might be helped with a tad more “showing” not telling. And maybe an example of why Cate is always late—does she get distracted helping others a lot—whether it be people, animals insects… And I don’t think you need to ask the question of whether she should help or not. THAT can be implied.

Perhaps something more like: Cate is late for everything! She always has a really good reason but when her kickball team plays the championship game she promises she won’t let them down. What’s she supposed to do when the new girl in school’s wheelchair is stuck in sand in the playground?

The winner of the May Pitch Pick was Patricia with:

TY’S TREASURES (PB 4-7)

A crystal.  A marble.  A feather.  Ty growing collection of treasures is causing problems for his family.  But  where can he stash them?   Not in the toybox. Not in the closet. Not in the bed.  Mom wants them outside. In his search for a worthy spot, Ty observes birds, squirrels, even his dog hanging on to their treasures.  But a visit with his grandma helps Ty discover the difference between a treasure and a memor,y and that there is a place for both.

Erin had this to say:

I like the premise of this story but it seems so quiet and honestly if the poor boy can’t keep a box of treasures (a crystal, marble and a feather are very small, easily stored objects. If you want to make the point that he’s got a lot –rather than saying it’s causing problems for his family — say what is exactly. Is he collecting tires or does he have 4000 marbles and 250 feathers? Is he spreading them all across the dining room table? Or in his mother’s flour canister? Dad’s medicine cabinet? Go big so you can get the point across in a fun way—to grab an editor’s attention and then you can end with how his grandmother helps him tell the difference between a treasure and a memory.

As always, I find Erin’s thoughts so enlightening and so helpful! I hope they are useful to all of you, too!

Due to all the recent upheaval, the upcoming Would You Read It calendar is wide open. If you’d like to share a pitch here for feedback from our wonderful readers between now and June and the chance to get your pitch in front of Erin, please email me! I’d be happy to fill the calendar. Hopefully next week we’re going to catch up and do some voting on who the winners should be for the fall 2021 pitches and then we’ll be sitting pretty 😊

Have a wonderful Wednesday! Happy writing! 😊

The 2022 Valentiny Contest WINNERS!!!

Once upon a time. . .

. . . on a blueberry-covered hill not all that far, far away in upstate New York. . .

. . .a princess lived in a little house in the woods.

(I know. You’re wondering why the princess lived in a little house in the woods. “That’s not right!” I hear you saying. “Princesses are supposed to live in castles, or be trapped in towers or dungeons!” But this is not your usual run-of-the-mill princess. . .)

This princess was a champion pogo-sticker (yes, that is too a word.) She had been training for years, doing hours of jumping, and keeping to a strict diet of Spring Beans and Garbouncebos. It was very effective. The villagers could often be heard proclaiming, “That princess sure is full of beans!” And, “Boy! Can she bounce!”

The Bouncy Trouncy Pouncy Flouncy Pogosticking Championship, the most prestigious of all pogosticking competitions in the Universe, was only days away, and the princess (whose name was Poppy – so fitting, don’t you think? due to all that popping up and down? it’s almost like her excellence in pogosticking was foreseen when her parents picked her name. . .) but anyway, Poppy passionately wanted to win the competition and the life-size golden pogostick trophy that was the prize!

There was just one small problem. . .

She was supposed to have posted the winners for the 7th Annual Valentiny Writing Contest and she had spent so much time jumping and bouncing and eating beans and various other explosive foods that she had not done it. NO, SHE HAD NOT!

So her mother said, “Poppy, there will be no Pogosticking Championship for you until you have met your obligations! I will not have shirkers in my little house in the woods!”

Well. Poppy REALLY wanted to get to that Championship! So she sat on her hippity-hop (great indoor leg strength building for bouncing and jumping muscles) and made the list of winners and honorable mentions in record time (because Poppy was all about making records, whether in pogosticking or in judging whilst hippity-hopping and continuing her bean eating!)

“I am so proud of you, Poppy,” her mother said. “Not only have you fulfilled your obligations, you have kept up with your exercise regimen and your bean eating at the same time, showing great commitment to your sport and your goals! Now, go to the Bouncy Trouncy Pouncy Flouncy Pogosticking Championship and jump the socks off your competitors!”

There will now be a short commercial break to announce the WINNERS of . . .

The 7th Annual Valentiny Writing Contest

~ for children’s writers ~

(don’t worry – you’ll find out what happened to Poppy after this break from our sponsors)

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 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 nearly 150 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. And remember that the judging is based on the contest criteria. If you wrote a great story that didn’t showcase pride enough or that was too grown-up or not related to Valentine’s Day, you didn’t make the final cut.  But that 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!)

Lori Sheroan for The Proudest Pencil

Susannah Lee for Shelby’s Heartache

Claire Noland for The Valentine Surprise

Chayala Nachum for My Icky Sticky Valentine (great kid appeal too!)

Rachel Bandy for V’s For Valentine

Terri Hellard-Brown for Isabella’s Valentine

Becky Goodman for ValenTalent Show

Lauri C. Meyers for My Gummy Love

Susanne Whitehouse for The Mural

Judy Sobanski for Sloth’s Original Valentine

Laura Bower for Llama Love

Sara Kruger for The Perfect Present

2. For Great Read Aloud:

Brigid Finucane for Love Somebody (makes you want to sing and dance 😊)

3. For Great Story For Younger Readers:

Patti Ranson for Valentines Breakfast For Mom

Cindy Greene for Valentine’s Day Heartache

Tara Knox Cerven for The Purrfect Valentine

Lori C. Evans for Never Too Many Valentines

4. For Humor:

Donna Kurtz for Don’t-Let-The-Dung-Beetle-Make-The-Valentine-Brownies!

Jill Purtee for Gumballs

5. For Fun POV/Character:

Jenna Elyse Johnson for Hammie’s Valentine Surprise (dog)

Deborah Foster for Gary Groundhog Conquers The Shadow Monster (groundhog/snowhog)

6. For Great Ending:

Alayne Kay Christian for What Kind Of Cupid Am I?

Kristy Roser Nuttall for Love Inside

Mary Schultz for Taffy’s Sweet Surprise

7. For Well-Written Story With Great Sibling Interaction:

Julianna Helt for Allie’s Biggest Heart

Armineh Manookian for Lost But Found

Erika Romero for You Make Me So Proud

8. For Beautiful Writing:

A. Kidd for Three Hearts

Corine Timmer for It’s A Matter Of Taste (also educational and funny ending!)

9. For Best Short Valentiny Story:

Marty Findley for A Valentine For You (64 words!)

10. For Sweet Valentiny:

Heather Ferranti Kinser for Teeny Houdini

Kathy Crable for Valentine Barks

Lindsay Moretti for A Valentine For Mr. Weatherly

11. Best Story From A Young Writer:

Sophie Moore (age 10) for Detective Spot And The Search For A New Cupid (also clever and funny!)

Congratulations to all of you for fantastic elements of your stories!  Please 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’ve done this for previous contests 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…

Michaela Almeida
for

A Change Of Heart!!!

Congratulations, Michaela! Terrific job 😊

In Second Place

Daniella Kaufman
for
Sweet Valentine

Congratulations, Daniella! You get to pick your prize after Michaela.

In Third Place

Katie Brandyberry
for
Valentine Delivery – Part II

Congratulations, Katie! You get to pick your prize after Michaela and Daniella.

In Fourth Place

Jesse Anna Bornemann
for
Showdown In Smoochalot

Congratulations, Jesse! You get to pick your prize after Michaela, Daniella, and Katie!

In Fifth Place

Allison Strick
for
Percy’s Performance

Congratulations, Allison! You get to pick after Michaela, Daniella, Katie, and Jesse!

In Sixth Place...

Katie Palazzola
for
Oog Love Rock

Congratulations, Katie! I’m sure you get the idea of how the prize picking goes by now 😊

In Seventh Place…

Sarah Meade
for
V-Day!

Congratulations, Sarah!  You get to pick next 😊

In Eighth Place…

Amy Leskowski
for
Cupid’s Confidence

Congratulations, Amy! You get to pick after Sarah 😊

In Ninth Place…

Laura Bost
for
Flicker’s Valentine

Congratulations, Laura!  You get to pick after Amy! 😊

In Tenth Place…

Kate Thompson
for
The Valentine’s Cake

Congratulations, Kate! You get to pick after Laura! 😊

In Eleventh Place…

Sara Petersohn
for
Valentine Wins

Congratulations, Sara! You get to pick after Kate! 😊

In Twelfth Place…

Kimberly Shrack
for
The Perfect Valentine

Congratulations, Kimberly! You get to pick your prize after Sara! 😊

In Thirteenth Place…

Emily Keener
for
Special Delivery

Congratulations, Emily! You get to pick after Kimberly!

In Fourteenth Place…

Zach Schloss
for
Hoppy Belated Valentine

Congratulations, Zach!

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 😊 .

Oh! And as a special reward I will tell you that Princess Poppy went to the Bouncy Trouncy Pouncy Flouncy Pogosticking Championship and pogoed with astounding energy, bouncing and jumping as, one by one, all the other competitors fell victim to Jelly Legs and toppled off their pogo sticks, and she was so impressive that not only did she win the competition and the life-sized golden pogo stick trophy (“That’s my girl!” her mother said proudly), they also named a brand of beans after her, so now you can buy Princess Poppy Beans – Beans That Pop With Flavor and Will Make You Jump For Joy! They are high in fiber and an excellent source of protein so you really can’t go wrong! Try some with your chocolate! (er… or maybe that WOULD be wrong 🤣)

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 Wednesday, everyone! 😊

The Prizes:  Swoonworthy! As always, we are so fortunate to have an abundance of wonderful prizes donated by our very generous friends in the kidlit community! Just look at all these goodies!

⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Read & Critique from agent Mary Cummings of Great River Literary, “an agency devoted exclusively to representing authors and author/illustrators of books for children and teens. Strong relationships with editors have resulted in a rapidly growing list of sales of board and picture books, chapter books and novels to such publishing houses as Knopf; Philomel; Viking; Nancy Paulsen/Penguin; Balzer & Bray; Walker; Little, Brown; Henry Holt; Holiday House; Feiwel & Friends; FSG; Running Press; WorthyKids; Abrams; Random House; Wiseman S & S; Chronicle; Candlewick; HarperCollins and many others.”

⭐️ 1/2 Hour Zoom Picture Book Manuscript Critique or Mentoring Session with author Lynne Marie!

Author Lynne Marie

Lynne Marie is the accomplished author of Hedgehog Goes to Kindergarten – art by Anne Kennedy (Scholastic 2011), Hedgehog’s 100th Day of School – art by Lorna Hussey (Scholastic 2017), The Star of the Christmas Play — art by Lorna Hussey (Beaming Books 2018), Moldilocks and the 3 Scares — art by David Rodriguez Lorenzo (Sterling 2019 and Scholastic 2019),  Let’s Eat! Mealtime Around the World — art by Parwinder Singh (Beaming Books 2019) and The Three Little Pigs And The Rocket Project — art by Wendy Fedan (Mac and Cheese Press 2022) and American Pie — art by Dea Lenihan (Dancing Flamingo Press, April 12, 2022)

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

⭐️ 30 Minute Zoom Ask Me Anything with Keila Dawson, author of THE KING CAKE BABY (Pelican Publishing 2016), NO VOICE TOO SMALL (Charlesbridge 2020), and OPENING THE ROAD: VICTOR HUGO GREEN AND HIS GREEN BOOK (Beaming Books, 2021)

⭐️ Access to author/editor Alayne Kay Christian‘s webinars! Alayne is the author of BUTTERFLY KISSES FOR GRANDMA AND GRANDPA (Blue Whale Press, 2008), SIENNA THE COWGIRL FAIRY: COWBOY TROUBLE (Blue Whale Press 2021), THE WEED THAT WOKE CHRISTMAS (Blue Whale Press, 2020), and AN OLD MAN AND HIS PENGUIN (Blue Whale Press, 2020)

⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique (fiction) 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), SADIE’S SHABAT STORIES (Spork, 2020) and PLANTING FRIENDSHIP: PEACE, SALAAM, SHALOM

⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Rebecca Gardyn Levington author of BRAINSTORM! (Sleeping Bear Press, Summer 2022), I WILL ALWAYS BE…(HarperCollins, Spring 2024) and a contributor to the delightful anthology HOP TO IT: POEMS TO GET YOU MOVING (Pomelo Books, October 2020)

⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique (nonrhyming) from Rebecca Kraft Rector, author of SQUISH SQUASH SQUISHED (Nancy Paulsen Books, Penguin Random House, 2021), LITTLE RED AND THE BIG BAD EDITOR (Aladdin, September 2022), and TRIA AND THE GREAT STAR RESCUE (Delacorte/Random House)

⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique and Query Letter Critique from Jessica Stremer author of the forthcoming GREAT CARRIER REEF (Holiday House, 2023)

Author Jessica Stremer

⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Cathy Ballou Mealey author of WHEN A TREE GROWS (Union Square Kids, 2019), SLOTH AND SQUIRREL IN A PICKLE (Kids Can Press, 2021), and the forthcoming MAKE MORE S’MORES (Sleeping Bear Press, 2023)

⭐️ Personalized Signed Copy of THE KING CAKE BABY by Keila Dawson

⭐️ Personalized Signed Copy of PLANTING FRIENDSHIP: PEACE, SALAAM, SHALOM by Melissa Berger Stoller

⭐️ Personalized Signed Copy of IT’S A MUFFULETTA! IT’S A WHATA? (Spork 2021) by Patricia Saunders

⭐️ Personalized Signed Copy of Winner’s Choice of any available Susanna Leonard Hill picture book

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! 😊

With Prideful Heart – The 7th Annual Valentiny Contest Is HERE!!!

Hi Everyone! I’m so sorry, but there is absolutely no chance I’m going to have finalists Friday morning as I originally posted. I’m not even sure when to say I will have them, though I’ll get them up as soon as I can. It will not be over this weekend, I’m sure of that. Thank you all for your patience. I’m so sorry for the delay!

[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!

Whether your characters are filled with pride and joy, puffed up with pride, or in danger of pride going before a fall, the time has come for . . .

The 7th 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 proud!  They can be proud in a good way or a bad way. They can be proud of themselves for asking someone to be their Valentine, or they can be proud of how they asked. They can be proud of a Valentine they make, or a Valentine celebration they plan. They can be proud of giving something up, or proud of asking someone they’re not sure about for some reason in order to be nice. They can be proud of their performance in a Valentines Day play or concert or parade. . . sky’s the limit!  Just make sure it is clearly Valentine-centered! 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 proud (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 in the comment section below between right now this very second and Sunday February 13th by 11:59 PM EDT.  There will be no regularly scheduled posts for the duration of the contest (Tuesday Debut, Would You Read It, or PPBF), so the post and all of your entries will stay up for everyone to enjoy.  If you have difficulty with the comments, which unfortunately sometimes happens, you may email your entry to me and I’ll post it for you. [Also, a small note: I have a serious family situation at the moment. I didn’t want to cancel the contest at the last minute, but please be patient with me if it takes me a while to post emailed entries and update the link list etc. I will do my best, but apologies in advance for delays.]

The Judging: my lovely assistants and I will narrow down the entrants to 6-12 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 Friday February 18th (or possibly a day or two later if the judges need extra time.)   The winner will be announced Monday February 21st 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 pride, and success in making us feel the pride (whether it’s good pride or bad)!
  3. Valentine’s Day appropriateness – this is a VALENTINE story and Valentine’s Day must be central to it!
  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.

The Prizes:  As always, we are so fortunate to have an abundance of wonderful prizes donated by our very generous friends in the kidlit community! Just look at all these goodies!

⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Read & Critique from agent Mary Cummings of Great River Literary, “an agency devoted exclusively to representing authors and author/illustrators of books for children and teens. Strong relationships with editors have resulted in a rapidly growing list of sales of board and picture books, chapter books and novels to such publishing houses as Knopf; Philomel; Viking; Nancy Paulsen/Penguin; Balzer & Bray; Walker; Little, Brown; Henry Holt; Holiday House; Feiwel & Friends; FSG; Running Press; WorthyKids; Abrams; Random House; Wiseman S & S; Chronicle; Candlewick; HarperCollins and many others.”

⭐️ 1/2 Hour Zoom Picture Book Manuscript Critique or Mentoring Session with author Lynne Marie!

Author Lynne Marie

Lynne Marie is the accomplished author of Hedgehog Goes to Kindergarten – art by Anne Kennedy (Scholastic 2011), Hedgehog’s 100th Day of School – art by Lorna Hussey (Scholastic 2017), The Star of the Christmas Play — art by Lorna Hussey (Beaming Books 2018), Moldilocks and the 3 Scares — art by David Rodriguez Lorenzo (Sterling 2019 and Scholastic 2019),  Let’s Eat! Mealtime Around the World — art by Parwinder Singh (Beaming Books 2019) and The Three Little Pigs And The Rocket Project — art by Wendy Fedan (Mac and Cheese Press 2022) and American Pie — art by Dea Lenihan (Dancing Flamingo Press, April 12, 2022)

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

⭐️ 30 Minute Zoom Ask Me Anything with Keila Dawson, author of THE KING CAKE BABY (Pelican Publishing 2016), NO VOICE TOO SMALL (Charlesbridge 2020), and OPENING THE ROAD: VICTOR HUGO GREEN AND HIS GREEN BOOK (Beaming Books, 2021)

⭐️ Access to author/editor Alayne Kay Christian‘s webinars! Alayne is the author of BUTTERFLY KISSES FOR GRANDMA AND GRANDPA (Blue Whale Press, 2008), SIENNA THE COWGIRL FAIRY: COWBOY TROUBLE (Blue Whale Press 2021), THE WEED THAT WOKE CHRISTMAS (Blue Whale Press, 2020), and AN OLD MAN AND HIS PENGUIN (Blue Whale Press, 2020)

⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique (fiction) 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), SADIE’S SHABAT STORIES (Spork, 2020) and PLANTING FRIENDSHIP: PEACE, SALAAM, SHALOM

⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Rebecca Gardyn Levington author of BRAINSTORM! (Sleeping Bear Press, Summer 2022), I WILL ALWAYS BE…(HarperCollins, Spring 2024) and a contributor to the delightful anthology HOP TO IT: POEMS TO GET YOU MOVING (Pomelo Books, October 2020)

⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique (nonrhyming) from Rebecca Kraft Rector, author of SQUISH SQUASH SQUISHED (Nancy Paulsen Books, Penguin Random House, 2021), LITTLE RED AND THE BIG BAD EDITOR (Aladdin, September 2022), and TRIA AND THE GREAT STAR RESCUE (Delacorte/Random House)

⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique and Query Letter Critique from Jessica Stremer author of the forthcoming GREAT CARRIER REEF (Holiday House, 2023)

Author Jessica Stremer

⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Cathy Ballou Mealey author of WHEN A TREE GROWS (Union Square Kids, 2019), SLOTH AND SQUIRREL IN A PICKLE (Kids Can Press, 2021), and the forthcoming MAKE MORE S’MORES (Sleeping Bear Press, 2023)

⭐️ Personalized Signed Copy of THE KING CAKE BABY by Keila Dawson

⭐️ Personalized Signed Copy of PLANTING FRIENDSHIP: PEACE, SALAAM, SHALOM by Melissa Berger Stoller

⭐️ Personalized Signed Copy of IT’S A MUFFULETTA! IT’S A WHATA? (Sprok 2021) by Patricia Saunders

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 proudly post your entries!

I can’t wait to read your stories!!!

Eager Readers: Check out the comment section for all the fabulous entries! 😊

ENTRIES (all entries are linked) [will be linked tomorrow – sorry for delay]

  1. The Perfect Present – Sara Kruger
  2. Dr. Basil Discovers His Secret Admirer – Royal Baysinger
  3. Teeny Houdini – Heather Ferranti Kinser
  4. How To Win At Wordle – Anne Lipton
  5. Eva Valentina’s Day – Katie Fischer
  6. Chick Forgot Valentine’s Day – Jess Burbank
  7. The Make-A-Valentine Contest – Hanna Geshelin
  8. Never Too Many Valentines – Lori C. Evans
  9. Proud As A Peacock – Bru Benson
  10. Valentine Farm – Jennifer Lowe
  11. Gary Groundhog Conquers The Shadow Monster – Deborah Foster
  12. Tucker And The Sneezies – Susan E. Schipper
  13. When Dad Is Away – Aileen Stewart
  14. It’s Valentine’s Day, Thomas, The Worm – Maria Lahman
  15. The House On The Corner – Elyse Trevers
  16. Staying In The Lines – Elizabeth Meyer zu Heringdorf
  17. Top Of The World – Christine Alemshah
  18. The Canape Caper – Cathy Stenquist
  19. My Icky Sticky Valentine – Chayala Nachum
  20. The Best Card Maker – Stephanie Maksymiw
  21. Dad Gets Weird On Valentine’s Day – Debbie Day
  22. The Valentine Tiff – Sally Yorke-Viney
  23. Glitter & Glue – Janna MacLean
  24. Heart Aflutter – Kelly Clasen
  25. Little Things – Molly Ippolito
  26. Veronica’s Surprise – Janel Caverly
  27. My Quiet Valentine – Amanda Sherlock
  28. Who’s Ana? – Ellie Langford
  29. Prince Of The Pride – Jessica Seitz
  30. Cupid’s Big Day – Marty Bellis
  31. A Match Made In Socks – Laura Heath
  32. Momma’s Smile – Amber Hendricks
  33. The Perfect Valentine – Kimberly Shrack
  34. Miss Frog And Mister Turtle – Sharon McCarthy
  35. The Trees Of The Girl Who Raised Bees – B.J. Genovese
  36. Mailbirds: Valentine’s Day – Reed Ambrose
  37. The Perfect Card – Keely Leim
  38. Valentine’s Day Is For Everyone – Janet Scratchley
  39. Valentine’s In The Jungle – Melissa Rafson Friedman
  40. The Lovesick Groundhog – Debbie Daugherty
  41. Rosas For Senor Perez – Carmen Castillo Gilbert
  42. Get Well Soon, Mrs. Love – Rebekah Hoeft
  43. A Valentine For You – Marty Findley
  44. Cupid, A New Generation – Linda Staszak
  45. A Valentine For Her – Marty Findley
  46. Mr. Sunder’s Valentine’s Day Cookie – Marta Cutler
  47. Valentine Countdown – Marta Cutler
  48. V’s For Valentine – Rachel Bandy
  49. ValenTINY – Jessica Milo
  50. Three Hearts – A. Kidd
  51. I Whale Always Love You – Kimberly Horch
  52. Isabella’s Valentine – Terrie Hellard-Brown
  53. Dear Moon – Carissa Brown
  54. A Nose For Love – Julie Kurtz
  55. Rabbit [heart] Rebecca – Anne Bromley
  56. The Heart Of A Wizard – Jany Campana
  57. Sweet Valentine – Daniella Kaufman
  58. The Valentine’s Cake – Kate Thompson
  59. Gene’s Forbidden Valentine – Vanessa Konoval
  60. The Best Part – Sarah Meade
  61. V-Day! – Sarah Meade
  62. The Special Valentine Card – Sherry Roberts
  63. Cutting Is Hard – Ashley Chance
  64. Hammie’s Valentine Surprise – Jenna Elyse Johnson
  65. Pinky’s Message – Elizabeth Muster
  66. Everyting You Taught Me – Shuba Mohan
  67. It’s A Matter Of Taste – Corine Timmer
  68. Broken Hearts Need Love Too – Stephanie Henson
  69. All Aboard – Debbie Whittam
  70. Dove Letters – Amy LaMae Brewer
  71. My Furry Valentine – Tiffany Hanson
  72. A Squawking Serenade – Tiffany Hanson
  73. Proud That You Are Mine – Tonnye Fletcher
  74. Mother, You Are One In A Million – Elaine D’Alessandro
  75. King Of Love – Sue Ko
  76. Rose’s Creative Valentines – Elaine D’Alessandro
  77. Dear Valentine – Jill Burns
  78. Subterranean Lovesick Blues – Andrea MacDonald
  79. Love, Mama And Me – Karen Olmstead
  80. A Gift For My Mami – Lana Montalban
  81. Baby Bear’s Heart – Lori Himmel
  82. Gumballs – Jill Purtee
  83. Beaming With Pride – Paul Kurtz
  84. Proud As A Peacock – Paul Kurtz
  85. Don’t-Let-The-Dung-Beetle-Make-The-Valentine-Brownies! – Donna Kurtz
  86. Best Valentine’s Day Ever! – Donna Kurtz
  87. To Sarah – Elizabeth Westra
  88. The Heart-Shaped Mitten – Sherri T. Mercer
  89. Love Inside – Kristy Roser Nuttall
  90. Valentine’s Field Trip – Darcee Freier
  91. Heart And Hands – Marjorie David
  92. Flicker’s Valentine – Laura Bost
  93. A Valentine For Birders – Geraldine Oades-Sese
  94. The Floofabims – Sabrina Shah
  95. I Wanted To Say I Love You – Joy Curtis
  96. Percy’s Performance – Allison Strick
  97. Showdown In Smoochalot – Jesse Anna Bornemann
  98. Theo’s Not-So-Perfect Valentine’s Day – Kelsey E. Gross
  99. Mama, Are You Proud Of Me? – Pamela Swanson
  100. Awesome Together – Sarah Hetu
  101. Valentine’s Breakfast For Mom – Patti Ranson
  102. Special Delivery – Emily Keener
  103. Harriet’s Cards – Jessica Reed
  104. Dolley’s Favorite Month – Lincoln Mansch
  105. Llama Love – Laura Bower
  106. Will You Be My Valentine? – Michelle S. Kennedy
  107. Sunshine Valentine – Vashti Verbowski
  108. Shelby’s Heartache – Susannah Lee
  109. Taffy’s Sweet Surprise – Mary Schultz
  110. Where Is Puppito? – Bridget Magee
  111. Princess Candace – Sheila R. Schmotzer
  112. Suzie And Jordan’s Special Day – Shadi Kafi
  113. Valentine Delivery – Part II (sequel to 2021 Valentine Contest Entry) – Katie Brandyberry
  114. A Friend For Valentine’s Day – Daniele Arndt
  115. Hoppy Belated Valentine – Zach Schloss
  116. Remember The Love – Ashley Murray
  117. The Proudest Pencil – Lori Sheroan
  118. My Gummy Love – Lauri C. Meyers
  119. Love ME – Melissa Rutigliano
  120. Love Potions And Laughter – Tiffany Hanson
  121. A Cake-tastrophe – Tiffany Hanson
  122. The Valentine’s Day Invitiational – Lori Keating
  123. Lost But Found – Armineh Manookian
  124. L-O-V-E – Ronda Einbinder
  125. Shakesbear In Love – MaryLee Flannigan
  126. A New Friend – Steve Jankousky
  127. What Kind Of Cupid Am I? – Alayne Kay Christian
  128. My Hero – Dawn Young
  129. Valentine’s Day Dance-Off In Nestville – Lynn Marie Moore
  130. Hidden In These Hallowed Hills – Shuba Mohan
  131. A Rose For Toad – Ashlee MacCallum
  132. I Do NOT Like Rohini Rao – Sandhya Acharya
  133. Untitled – M.M. Sutanto
  134. A Heart Of Gold – Ryan Schneck
  135. Haiku Valentines: Love In 5-7-5 Rhyme – Brenda Whitehead
  136. Kate’s Valentines – Sheila M. Hausbeck
  137. A Nest For Bluegill – Katie Palazzola
  138. A Puzzling Valentine – My Side Of The Phone Call… – Ingrid Boydston
  139. Smelly Kelly – Glenda Roberson
  140. Underneath It All – Carrie Charley Brown
  141. How To Find A Valentine – Bevin Rolfs Spencer
  142. My Daddy’s Valentine – Gayle Krause
  143. Proud Valentine’s Day – Deborah Hunt
  144. A Valentine For Annie B. Bear – Charlotte Dixon
  145. Valentine’s Day Heartache – Cindy Greene
  146. Valentine Shenanigans – Vasilia Graboski
  147. You Make Me So Proud – Erika Romero
  148. I Am Proud To Be Your Friend – Kerry Porter
  149. Love Somebody – Brigid Finucane
  150. Marcus Is Not An Elephant: How A Woolly Mammoth Makes A Friend – Susan Schwartz Twiggs
  151. Purple Lace – Liz Kehrli
  152. Puppy Love – Kathy Halsey
  153. Valentine’s Day Booty – Danielle Sharkan
  154. Wholeheartedly – Catherine Brewer
  155. Valentine Barks – Kathy Crable
  156. Oog Love Rock – Katie Palazzola
  157. C.I.T. (Cupid In Training) – Colleen Murphy
  158. Allie’s Biggest Heart – Julianna Helt
  159. Detective Spot And The Search For A New Cupid – Sophia Moore (age 10)
  160. The Valentine Surprise – Claire Noland
  161. The Purrfect Valentine – Tara Knox Cerven
  162. A Valentine For Mr. Weatherly – Lindsay Moretti
  163. A Proud Mum – Shariffa Keshavje
  164. Valentine’s Day At Sweet Pig’s – Patricia Corcoran
  165. Poppy’s Gift – Melanie Adkins
  166. Go Tell Bully Brady – Mona Pease
  167. Valentine Surprise – Abby Wooldridge
  168. Full Of Heart – Allison Burke
  169. Two Little Valentines – Judy Abelove Shemtob
  170. A Change Of Heart – Michaela Almeida
  171. The Mural – Susanne Whitehouse
  172. The Perfect Friend Chip – Cheryl Simon
  173. Sloth’s Original Valentine – Judy Sobanski
  174. Be My Fred – Lisa Furness
  175. Cupid’s Confidence – Amy Leskowski
  176. The Flower Code – Ashlee Hashman
  177. A Valentine For Jake – Andrew Fairchild
  178. Cardi V – Alicia Meyers
  179. The Heart Of The Matter – Sarah Marhevsky
  180. Bear And Fish – A Love Story – Aly Kenna
  181. Valentine Wins – Sara Petersohn
  182. Sweet Breakfast – JC Kelly
  183. ValenTalent Show – Becky Goodman
  184. Marla’s Mistake – Jessica Watts
  185. The Koi That Should Have Been In The Zodiac – MeiLin Chan
  186. Surprise Valentine’s Day Party – Una Belle Townsend
  187. My First Love – Adolfo Gomez-Herrera

Would You Read It Wednesday #408 – The Cottonwood Stars (PB)

Hi Everyone!

It’s Would You Read It Wednesday where we’re all about practicing, polishing, and perfecting pitches!

Let’s jump right in, shall we?

First, a fortifying snack, Something Chocolate which isn’t exactly chocolate today 😊 Since we had chocolate cake yesterday for our impromptu giveaway winner celebration party, and since it’s practically Valentine’s Day, and since this cake is SO pretty, I’m departing from the norm and serving Valentine’s Day Cheesecake! (And it does have chocolate crust! 😊)

That just looks like four layers of heaven, doesn’t it? YUM! Dig in!

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Mary Beth who says, “I am a debut picture book author from Nebraska, blessed with four children who have given me more story material than I could ever use. I have been learning how to write picture books with the help of the wonderful writing community through SCBWI, 12 x 12, and the amazing authors like you with your informative and encouraging websites. 

When I am not making Jam (Covid stress reliever?!) I am a retreat facilitator and am trying to build more and more pockets of time to write.” 

I can be found online at:
Instagram @mbwallarice
Twitter @mbwallarice
Facebook..Mary Beth Rice
http://thevillagejoymaker.com

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: The Cottonwood Stars

Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8) (or maybe 5-9?)

The Pitch: Hattie shares the wonder of the Cottonwood tree with her brother near their Gram’s garden. In snip, snap, snapping the tree twigs in half, actual stars are revealed! Later that evening, Hattie makes a new discovery: Her heart is still linked to Gram’s through the stars in tree and sky. THE COTTONWOOD STARS encourages healing through the power of nature. 

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 you answer is MAYBE or NO, please feel free to tell us what you think could be better in the spirit of helping Mary Beth 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 menu bar above. There is an opening February 23 and March is open too, so you could get your pitch up pretty soon for helpful feedback and a chance to have it read and commented on my editor Erin Molta!

Mary Beth is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch! I am looking forward to the Valentiny Writing Contest (guidelines HERE if you’re interested in writing an entry!) which opens in 2 days!!! I can’t wait to read everyone’s entries!

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 😊

Would You Read It Wednesday #407 – Daphne’s Dress Code Dilemma (PB)

What a day! It’s Groundhog Day AND Would You Read It Wednesday AND World Read Aloud Day!

Since I wrote this post ahead of time, I don’t have Phyllis’s prediction for you, but I know what she’s hoping for 😊 I’ll give you a hint: it involves flowers 💐🌼🌷🌻🌹🌸🌺

She and I have a busy day, so we’re just going to jump right in and fortify ourselves with some fancy, fun, groundhog-friendly chocolate! Won’t you join us? We have a choice! Groundhog Day Cupcakes and Groundhog Day No Bake Cookies!

Groundhog Day Cupcakes & Groundhog Day No Bake Cookies

Recipes HERE at Fork and Beans

Please help yourselves to either or both. I mean, really, you should probably try both to see which one you like best 😊😊😊

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Helen. Helen is a Texas transplant living in beautiful Richmond, VA with her husband and two children.  When she is not writing and dreaming of engaging picture book ideas, she works as a medical provider with refugees and immigrants. 

Website: www.readhelentanner.com; IG and Twitter @readhelentanner ; LinkedIn: helenltanner

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Daphne’s Dress Code Dilemma

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

The Pitch: It’s first grade…
Daphne’s new school requires sneakers.
She refuses to wear them.
What’s a bold fashionista to do when her individuality is threatened by everyday rules?
With her big brother’s help, Daphne learns that embracing change can be wildly fun in DAPHNE’S DRESS CODE DILEMMA.

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 you answer is MAYBE or NO, please feel free to tell us what you think could be better in the spirit of helping Helen 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 menu bar above. There are openings February 9 and 23, so you could get your pitch up pretty soon for helpful feedback and a chance to have it read and commented on my editor Erin Molta!

Helen is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch! I am looking forward to visiting classrooms full of kids to share Fun With Phyllis! 😊

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 😊

Sunday Fun – Announcing The Guidelines For The 7th Annual Valentiny Writing Contest!!!

Well, hi there, everyone!

In spite of my tendency to forget what day it is, I do know that today is Sunday. Not a posting day for me.

But let’s face it. It’s freezing cold, there’s snow everywhere, and going outdoors is likely to cause loss of digits or possibly your nose to frostbite. Not only that, it’s still January so the spring light at the end of the tunnel seems far far away!

We definitely need something to energize us (whilst keeping our fingers and toes intact)!

Let’s get the sun shining and our motivation flowing with a nice mug of hot chocolate (preferably topped with whipped cream because why not? 😊) and a writing challenge!

Are you ready to fire up those brain cells?

Because you’ve got two weeks (nothing like a deadline to get you focused on something besides how cold and dark it is!) to write your entry for. . .

The 7th 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 proud!  They can be proud in a good way or a bad way. They can be proud of themselves for asking someone to be their Valentine, or they can be proud of how they asked. They can be proud of a Valentine they make, or a Valentine celebration they plan. They can be proud of giving something up, or proud of asking someone they’re not sure about for some reason in order to be nice. They can be proud of their performance in a Valentines Day play or concert or parade. . . sky’s the limit!  Just make sure it is clearly Valentine-centered! 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 proud (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 in the comment section of my Friday February 11th Post between 12:01 AM EDT Friday February 11th and Sunday February 13th by 11:59 PM EDT.  There will be no regularly scheduled posts for the duration of the contest (Tuesday Debut, Would You Read It, or PPBF), so the post and all of your entries will stay up for everyone to enjoy.  If you have difficulty with the comments, which unfortunately sometimes happens, you may email your entry to me and I’ll post it for you. But please don’t email your entry before the start of the contest – my inbox is generally overflowing and things may get lost!

The Judging: over the following days, my lovely assistants and I will narrow down the entrants to 6-12 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 Friday February 18th (or possibly a day or two later if the judges need extra time.)   The winner will be announced Monday February 21st 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 pride, and success in making us feel the pride (whether it’s good pride or bad)!
  3. Valentine’s Day appropriateness – this is a VALENTINE story and Valentine’s Day must be central to it!
  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.

The Prizes:  I’m still working on prizes (aren’t I always 😊), but I wanted to get the contest guidelines up so you’d have time to write.  Start writing and watch this space for prizes which I will fancy up and add to as I get them organized!

⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Read & Critique from agent Mary Cummings!

⭐️ 1/2 Hour Zoom Picture Book Manuscript Critique or Mentoring Session with author Lynne Marie!

⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique from author Penny Parker Klostermann!

⭐️ 30 Minute Zoom Ask Me Anything with author Keila Dawson!

⭐️ Access to author/editor Alayne Kay Christians webinars!

⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique (fiction) from author Melissa Berger Stoller!

⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique from author Rebecca Gardyn Levington!

⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique (nonrhyming) from author Rebecca Kraft Rector!

⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique and Query Letter Critique from author Jessica Stremer!

⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique from author Cathy Ballou Mealey!

⭐️ Personalized Signed Copy of KING CAKE BABY by Keila Dawson

⭐️ Personalized Signed Copy of PLANTING FRIENDSHIP: PEACE, SALAAM, SHALOM by Melissa Berger Stoller

⭐️ Personalized Signed Copy of IT’S A MUFFULETTA! IT’S A WHATA? by Patricia Saunders

Would You Read It Wednesday #406 – The Alley Cat Chronicles: Mr. Boots, Book 1(CB)

It’s Would You Read It Wednesday again, my friends!

And speaking of Would You Read It, what a glorious week in children’s publishing it is when the ALA Awards are announced – a whole BUNCH of books you’re definitely going to want to read! For the full list (in case you haven’t seen it already) click HERE.

So many books and not enough reading time . . !

I think I need Something Chocolate to munch on while I decide which one to read first 😊 It seems like just the right kind of day for fudgy chocolate brownie cookies loaded with extra chocolate chips . . . or fancied up for Valentine’s Day with Valentine M&Ms! . . . don’t you think?

Best Brownie Cookies

Now then, if you can manage to read and type without getting too much chocolate on your keyboard, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Reed who says, “I am a Registered Psychotherapist during the day and am a kidlit writer by night. I have MS in PB, CB and GN in various stages of development. I live in Toronto, Canada with my hubby, sticky humans and the real Mr Boots and Sassy (aka Boots and Mittens)”

Find her on the web at:
Twitter: reedandwriteki1
Website: reedandnicolebooks.ca

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: The Alley Cat Chronicles: Mr. Boots, Book 1

Age/Genre: Chapter Book (advanced) (ages 7-9)

The Pitch: Cocky housecat Mr. Boots, meets street-wise Sassy, and between them, they have one competent alley cat and it’s not Mr. Boots.

A tomcat, Mr. Boots, claims to be an “expert” of the streets despite a life lived indoors; the small sticky humans, dry clunky kibble, and stinky cramped litter box. When he finally slips away to chase his dreams – and some birds- he discovers that life outside is harder than it looked through the window. To help him learn the ways of the alley, a feisty street cat Sassy, his long-lost kid sister, who can out-hunt and out-climb him steps up. Mr. Boots must accept he is in over his ears and hightail it home or dig in his claws and let Sassy teach him the ways of the streets.

This is the first in a series of chapter books called THE ALLEY CAT CHRONICLES. The series will follow the adventures of Mr. Boots and Sassy and their alley-cat crew as they navigate living on the streets. The books will touch upon themes such as exploring the unfamiliar, facing one’s fears, discovering new cultures and trying new things. The series will keep readers young and old engaged through laugh-out-loud humour.

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 you answer is MAYBE or NO, please feel free to tell us what you think could be better in the spirit of helping Reed 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 menu bar above. There are openings February 9 and 23, as well as in March, so you could get your pitch up pretty soon for helpful feedback and a chance to have it read and commented on my editor Erin Molta!

Reed is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch! I am looking forward to choosing one of those award-winning books and settling down with chocolate cookies to feel cozy being indoors while it’s sub-zero outside. . . right after I freeze myself doing barn chores 😊

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 😊