Guess What? It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Contest Time!

‘Twas nearly Thanksgiving
When here on my site
I realized you guys needed
Guidelines to write
For the annual Holiday Contest. I know!
I’ve left you with only fourteen days to go!
So put on your thinking cap! Warm up your pen!
For Holiday Contest – numéro TEN!

Okay.

Clement C. Moore I may not be. . . 😊

I mean, if I’m going to be honest about it, I’m not really sure what a sugarplum even is. . . !

Let’s just put dancing fruits right out of our heads for a moment because I have big news!

Huge Excitement!

SOMETHING TO TWIRL YOUR TINSEL FOR!

The guidelines for . . .

THE 10TH ANNUAL HOLIDAY CONTEST!!!

~ for children’s writers ~

The Contest:  Write a children’s holiday story (children here defined as age 12 and under) about a Holiday Helper!

Your helper can be one helper, or a pair, or a group or a bevy or a herd of helpers. Your helpers can be children, animals, elves, aliens, unicorns, fairies . . . whatever your heart desires. He/she/they can help bake, decorate, shovel snow, wrap gifts, clean the house, entertain guests, feed the hungry, comfort the lonely, bring the holiday spirit to those who have lost it – sky’s the limit 😊 But the focus of the story must be on helping – not just a brief mention in passing that Marla helped Dad set the table in the middle of a story about her frustration at not getting the starring role in the school holiday pageant.

Your story may be poetry or prose, silly or serious or sweet, religious or not, based on Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, New Year’s or whatever you celebrate during the Holiday Season, but is not to exceed 250 words (I know! So much freedom after the Halloweensie Contest 😊 )  (It can be as short as you like (the judges will be grateful 😊 , you are welcome and encouraged to write shorter, but no more than 250!  Title not included in word count.)  The field is wide open!  Have fun!  The more creative the better!  No illustration notes please. (And yes, if you feel compelled to submit more than one entry you may, just remember you’re competing against yourself!)

Post:  Your entry should be posted on your blog between 12:01 AM EST Monday December 7th and Wednesday December 9th at 11:59 PM EST, and your post-specific link should be added to the link list on the official holiday contest post which will go up on my blog on Monday December 7th and remain up for your reading pleasure until I post the finalists.  There will be no regular posts (Tuesday Debut, Would You Read It, or Perfect Picture Book) for the duration of the contest so the links will stay up for everyone to visit and enjoy.  If you would like to enter but don’t have a blog you are welcome to paste your entry in the comment section of my December 7th post when it goes up.  If you have trouble commenting, you can email me.  (We’ll go over this part in more detail on the December 7th post! 😊 )

The Judging:  My lovely assistants and I will narrow down the entrants to approximately 10 finalists (depending on the number of entries and final number of prizes – if we get a lower turnout we’ll post fewer finalists, a higher turnout possibly one or two more.)  In the interest of finishing up the contest in a timely fashion so everyone can go about their holidays, we will do our best to post the finalists here by Monday December 14th for you to vote on for a winner.  The vote will be closed on Wednesday December 16th at 5 PM EST.  Whoever gets the most votes will be first and so on down to tenth place (or wherever we place to), and the winners will be announced on Thursday December 17th. (These dates are subject to adjustment if it takes the judges longer than we anticipate to get the judging completed.)

Judging criteria will be as follows:

  • 1. Kid-appeal! – These stories are intended for a young audience (ages 12 and under), so we’re looking for stories that children will enjoy and relate to.
  • 2.  Holiday Helpers! – the rules state a Holiday Helper story, so it must be crystal clear that the story is about someone helping someone else in some way during Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, New Year’s, or whatever seasonal winter holiday you choose.  The story must center on helping  – the help must not be just an offhand mention/reference in a story about something else.
  • 3. Quality of story – entries must tell a story, including a main character of some kind and a true story arc even if it’s tiny 😊  Entries must not be merely descriptions or mood pieces.
  • 4. Quality of Writing: check your spelling, grammar, punctuation etc.  If you’re going to rhyme, give us your best 😊  Overall writing quality and use of language are also important.
  • 5. Originality and creativity – because that is often what sets one story above another.
  • 6. PLEASE FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS! Large numbers of entries make it easy to cut entries that haven’t been entered as we asked.

The Prizes!:  The prize list is under construction. . .  But I wanted to get the guidelines up so you guys would have as much time as possible to work on your stories!  Stay tuned for an updated list at some point 😊

A Picture Book Manuscript Read and Critique by Agent Kaitlyn Sanchez of Olswanger Literary! Although she is currently closed to submissions (making this prize EXTRA special!) a look at her wish list will give you an idea of what she likes.

Agent Kaitlyn Sanchez

A 12×12 Silver Membership (valued at $177 but worth so much more!) generously donated by author and 12×12 founder and queen, Julie Hedlund! 12×12 is a fantastic, educational, supportive community with TONS to offer its members, including interesting and informational webinars of all kinds, access to forums and critiques, and the chance to submit to agents. If you’re not familiar with it, you can learn all about it HERE. Julie is the author of A Troop Is A Group of Monkeys (Little Bahalia Publishing, 2013), My Love For You Is The Sun (Little Bahalia Publishing, 2014), and the forthcoming Over, Bear! Under, Where? (Philomel Books, Fall 2021)

Julie Hedlund
Photo credit Kim Huggins

Rate Your Story owner, Picture Book Mechanic, and author Lynne Marie is offering 4 amazing prizes!

A 1/2 hour Zoom Session Picture Book Manuscript Consultation/Critique from ThePictureBookMechanic.com

Another 1/2 hour Zoom Session Picture Book Manuscript Consultation/Critique from ThePictureBookMechanic.com

A Rate Your Story Speedpass from RateYourStory.org

[From the Rate Your Story site] “A SPEED PASS allows a Non-Member to submit to Rate Your Story, as well as a Member to submit additional items to best serve the rating and feedback needs of our writing community.

We have a variety of Speedpass options, including pitches, query letters, art or a single manuscript at any time for a rating + guaranteed comments*, and it will be returned in less than 7 days’ time. Should you require a faster turnaround, fast pass options may be purchased to facilitate that.” 

Another Rate Your Story Speedpass from RateYourStory.org

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)  and  Let’s Eat! Mealtime Around the World — art by Parwinder Singh (Beaming Books 2019) and two others forthcoming.


A Picture Book Manuscript Critique (fiction, rhyme or prose) by accomplished author Laura Sassi, author of Goodnight, Ark (Zonderkidz 2014) , Goodnight, Manger (Zonderkidz 2015), Diva Delores And The Opera House Mouse (Sterling 2018), Love Is Kind (Zonderkidz 2018), and the forthcoming Little Ewe: The Story of One Lost Sheep (Beaming Books, February 2021)

A Picture Book Manuscript Critique by talented author Sandra Sutter, whose delightful books include The REAL Farmer In The Dell (Clearfork Publishing/Spork, March 2019) and Stan’s Frightful Halloween (Clearfork Publishing/Spork, September 2020)


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)

Personalized, signed copies of For Spacious Skies (Albert Whitman, April 2020) and The Queen And The First Christmas Tree (Albert Whitman, October 2018) by award-winning author Nancy Churnin.


Two Picture Books (TBD) donated by Darshana Khiani, whose own picture book How To Wear A Sari is forthcoming from Versify in June 2021.

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

So there you have it!  Fire up those brain cells!  Grab a cup of hot chocolate, plonk your tiny hiney into a comfy chair, and get to writing your potentially prize-winning Holiday Helper story!!! You have 14 full days!  (And remember, I’m being a helper because deadlines are great for creativity and productivity!)  So what if you’re in charge of Thanksgiving dinner this week! Your little cherubs can model helpfulness and serve as inspiration for your contest entry by peeling potatoes, making up the bed in the spare room for Great Auntie Brunhilda, bathing the cats, and whatever other little chores need doing! You’ll have plenty of time to write! 😊

On your mark…

…get set…

…GO!

I am SO looking forward to getting to read all your stories!!!

In this unusual year, when people have been isolated and separated and lots of folks are more than ever in need of holiday cheer, lending a helping hand seemed like a nice topic. I hope you’ll all have fun with it!

Have a marvelous Monday, everyone! 😊

The 10th Annual Halloweensie Writing Contest ~ aahhhrrrooooOOOOO!!!!!

Viper fangs and dragon claws. It’s time for. . .

The 10TH Annual HALLOWEENSIE CONTEST!!!

Halloweensie Pumpkin

~ for children’s writers ~

The Contest: write a 100 word Halloween story appropriate for children (children here defined as 12 and under) (title not included in the 100 words), using the words skeleton, creep, and mask.  Your story can be scary, funny, sweet, or anything in between, poetry or prose, but it will only count for the contest if it includes those 3 words and is 100 words (you can go under, but not over!)  Get it?  Halloweensie – because it’s not very long and it’s for little people 🙂  (And yes, I know 100 words is short, but that’s part of the fun and the challenge!  We got over 325 fantastic entries last year, so I know you can do it!)  Also, you may use the words in any form – e.g. skeletons, creepy/crept, masked/unmasked, whathaveyou 🙂  NO ILLUSTRATION NOTES PLEASE! (And yes, you may submit more than one entry if you’re so inclined 🙂 )

Post: your story on your blog between right now this very second and Saturday October 31st by 11:59 PM Eastern Time and add your post-specific link to the list below.  There will be no Tuesday Debut, Perfect Picture Book or Would You Read It posts for the duration of the contest so the links will stay up for everyone to visit and enjoy.  If you don’t have a blog and would like to enter, you can simply copy and paste your entry in the comments section below (please include your byline if your posting handle is something like MamaWritesByNightlight so I can identify you.)  If you have difficulty posting in the comments, which unfortunately sometimes happens, you may email your entry to me at susanna[at]susannahill[dot]com and I’ll post it for you.  Please place your entry in the body of the email including your title and byline at the topNO ATTACHMENTS!  And please do not submit entries in more than one place because it becomes confusing.

The Judging: in a grueling marathon over the following days, my devoted assistants and I will narrow down the entrants to 3 6 9 12? top choices (give or take… you know how hard it is to choose!) which will be posted here and voted on for a winner on Wednesday November 4th or Thursday November 5th (if the judging takes longer than we expect if could be later…but we will do our best!)  The winner will be announced on Monday November 9th (good lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise 😊 )

Judging criteria will be as follows:

  • 1. Kid-appeal! – These stories are intended for a young audience (ages 12 and under), so we’re looking for stories that children will enjoy and relate to.
  • 2.  Halloweeniness – the rules state a Halloween story, so it must be crystal clear that the story is about Halloween, not just some random spooky night.
  • 3. Quality of story – entries must tell a story, including a main character of some kind and a true story arc even if it’s tiny 🙂  Entries must not be merely descriptions or mood pieces.
  • 4. Quality of Writing: check your spelling, grammar, punctuation etc.  If you’re going to rhyme, give us your best 😊  Overall writing quality and use of language are also important.
  • 5. Originality and creativity – because that is often what sets one story above another.
  • 6. PLEASE FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS! Large numbers of entries make it easy to cut entries that haven’t been entered as we asked.

The Prizes:  SO AMAZING! What a generous community we have to donate so much awesomeness!!! 😊

1 – Get Your MS in Tip Top Shape With Vivian Kirkfield!

Vivian is offering a PB MS Critique (fiction or nonfiction/rhyming or prose), along with a 30 minute Skype or FB video chat to discuss, along with a read-through of the revision. And top it all off she will also help you with a query/cover letter edit to go with your polished up ms! WOW!

Vivian Kirkfield is the author of SWEET DREAMS, SARAH (Creston Books, 2019), PIPPA’S PASSOVER PLATE (Holiday House, 2019), FOUR OTTERS TOBOGGAN (Pomegranate 2019), MAKING THEIR VOICES HEARD (Little Bee, January 14, 2020), and more…

Making Their Voices Heard Screen Shot 2018-12-05 at 10.39.16 PM

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

Sometimes it’s helpful to chat with a published author about your writing journey. Penny Parker Klostermann is offering her two cents. The prize includes General/Big-Picture Feedback on one picture book manuscript + One 30-Minute Chat (Rhyming or prose-750 words or under) Penny doesn’t claim to have it all figured out, (by any means) but she’s happy to share her two cents based on what she’s learned and continues to learn on her journey as an author.

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

Penny Klostermann Cooked-Up Fairy Tale 2c5b9-dragon2bcover

3 – Picture Book Manuscript Critique (rhyme or prose) from Carrie Finison, author of DOZENS OF DOUGHNUTS (Putnam, July 2020) and DON’T HUG DOUG (forthcoming from Putnam in January 2021.)

Carrie-Finison-200x300 Screen Shot 2019-10-27 at 8.35.37 AM Don't Hug Doug

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

Lydia Lukidis        No Bears Allowed

5 – Picture Book Manuscript Critique (fiction or nonfiction) from Teresa Robeson, author of Queen of Physics (Sterling, 2019) and Two Bicycles In Beijing (Albert Whitman, 2020)

Picture Picture Picture6

6 – Picture Book Manuscript Critique 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

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

Ellen Leventhal       Don't Eat The Bluebonnets

Hayfest     Lola Can't Leap

8 – Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Heather Gale, author of Ho’onani Hula Warrior (Tundra Books, October 2019)

Heather Gale

9 – a personalized signed copy of The King Cake Baby  and 15 Minute “Ask Me Anything” Video Chat with Keila Dawson, author of The King Cake Baby (Pelican 2015), No Voice Too Small: Fourteen Young Americans Making History (Charlesbridge 2020), and Opening The Road: Victor Hugo Green and His Green Book (forthcoming from Beaming Books, January 2021)

Keila Dawson

10 – Making Picture Book Magic Self Study – an online picture book writing class – any month of winner’s choice!

MPBM

11 – a personalized signed copy of EITHER  ROCK AND ROLL WOODS (PB) or an ARC of SPIRITS AMONG US (MG) from author Sherry Howard

Sherry Howard (4)Cover Rock and Roll Woods Spirits Among Us

AND a personalized signed copy of TWO DOGS ON A TRIKE (Abrams Appleseed, May 2020) by Gabi Snyder

twodogsonatrike_cov gabi-snyder-profile-pic

12 –  a personalized signed copy of NOT SO SCARY, JERRY (Spork, 2017) by Shelley Kinder

Jerry shelley-kinder_orig

AND a personalized signed copy of MARS’ FIRST FRIENDS: COME ON OVER ROVERS! (Sourcebooks 2020) by Susanna Leonard Hill

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

Now then, my pretties! It’s past the witching hour in the dead of night – very appropriate for a Halloween story, don’t you think? – and the time has come for me to embarrass myself my sample entry which should fill you with confidence in your own MUCH MUCH better efforts!!!

Halloween
A pumpkin moon
A ghostly ship
A still lagoon
Tattered sails
Like swirling mist
Ancient rigging
Creaks and twists
Skull and crossbones
Striking fear
Warning sailors
Far and near
Captain Jack
Comes thump-a-peg
Limping on
His broomstick leg
“Steady now,”
breathes Captain Jack,
“Mustn’t blow
our sneak attack!”
Silently
The ghost ship glides
Closer . . .
Closer . . .
On the tides
Guided through
The murky blue
By the ghastly
Skeleton crew
Stealthily
it comes abreast
creeping
uninvited guest
nearing windows
warm with light
no idea
of their plight
Captain Jack
Deceit complete
Unmasks and shouts out, “Trick-or-treat!”

It’s truly spooky how willing I am to embarrass myself for you! 😊😊😊 

I can’t wait to read all of your entries!  I’m so looking forward to them!  I hope there will be a lot – the more the merrier!  And there are still nearly 3 days to write, so you have time if you haven’t written yet.  Feel free to spread the word to your writing friends as well.  And your reading friends – parents, teachers, etc.  The more people who read and enjoy your stories, the better!!!

Contest Entrants, remember to add your post-specific link to the google form below so we can all come read your awesome stories!  (Post-specific means not your main blog url, but the actual url of the post that has your story in it – otherwise if you post again before the contest ends, your link will take readers… and judges!… to the wrong place!)

Eager Readers – just go along the list of links, click on them, and enjoy the stories! 

Happy Writing and Happy Halloween!!! 😊  🎃

And don’t miss the 169!!! fabulous entries that are posted in the comments
below! (Hopefully each one is a link, but thanks to the new wordpress, I’ve redone the list twice with uncertain success!)
 
  1. Midnight Rescue – Laura Bost
  2. You Don’t Scare Me – Brenda B. Covert
  3. Rattle, Rattle Skeleton – Vashti Verbowski
  4. Corona’s Evil Plan – Marty Findley
  5. Littlest Witch’s Wild Ride – Marty Findley
  6. Shy Skeleton’s Dance – Marty Findley
  7. A Night Out. . . – Deb Sullivan
  8. See Billy Bony – Helen Addyman
  9. The Skeleton Shuffle – Susan R. Waide
  10. Scare School – Laura Howard
  11. Is It Time? – Sue Lancaster
  12. The Skeletons’ Masked Ball – Sue Lancaster
  13. Halloween Masquerade – Jamie Donahoe
  14. The Curse of Halloween – Bru Benson
  15. Halloween Hesitation – Beth Volkmann
  16. The Phantom Of The Library – Natalie Cohn
  17. Trick Or Treat – Alli Straus
  18. No Bones About It – Judy Sobanski
  19. Family Business – Natalie Cohn
  20. Tattered Treats – Marilyn Garcia
  21. Halloween Surprise – Anna Ouchchy
  22. A Spider’s Tale – Darcee A. Freier
  23. Grandfather’s Clock – Sarah Heaton
  24. Halloween Peeps – Jamie Donahoe
  25. Mystery Guest – Dawn Young
  26. Nelly O’Skelly – Danielle Sharkan
  27. First Halloween – Carol Jones
  28. One Noisy Halloween – Rebecca Thill
  29. Polly’s Not-So-Perfect Potion – Susan Summers
  30. Masquerade – Kathiann Weatherbee
  31. Howl-o-weenie – Ashlee Hashman
  32. Trick Or Treat – Stephanie Mena
  33. Skelly The Skeleton – Michelle S. Kennedy
  34. Trudy’s Toothy Halloween – Kelsey Gross
  35. Class Pet Trickery! – Mary Bleckwehl
  36. Hola Halloween! – ‘Boo Darkling’ (Roo Parkin)
  37. BOO! – Rebecca Woodall
  38. Haunted – Anne Lipton
  39. Creepy D’s – Martha Holguin
  40. Trick Or Treat – Marla Yablon
  41. Skellie’s Closet – KeelyWrites
  42. Skelly B. Skeleton – Cathy Chester
  43. When Skally Nearly Didn’t Show His Face – Diana Webb
  44. Sammy Goes Home – Courtney Rubo
  45. GRRRRRRRRRR! – Donna Kurtz
  46. Teeth Love HalloweenToo! – Donna Kurtz
  47. The Halloween Fair – Donna Kurtz
  48. Skeleton And Ghostina – Gail Hartman
  49. Little Bonesy Loves Halloween! – Paul Kurtz
  50. Mousey’s Batty For Halloween! – Paul Kurtz
  51. Spider-Claws Is Comin’ To Town – Paul Kurtz
  52. A Bone-afide Friend – Kristen Reinsel
  53. Wendy’s Sugar Spell – Caitlin Eslinger
  54. A Very Scary Halloween – Kerrie Elizabeth Godding
  55. Haunted Hallo-weave – Cathrene Valente Youngquist
  56. Spider’s Can’t Dance! – Cathrene Valente Youngquist
  57. The Beady Eye – Libby Hartwell
  58. Stitch – Amy Duchene
  59. Halloween Surprise – Sarah Hawklyn
  60. Four Dancing Skeletons – Isabel Rodriguez
  61. First Trick-or-Treat – Carol Samuelson-Woodson
  62. BIG Boney Story – Yolanda Danyi Szuch
  63. Skeleton Knights – Islancy Guada
  64. Halloween, This Year – Nina Nolan
  65. The Arnold Rock – Polly Sheldon
  66. Skeleton’s Scare – Erin K. McCabe
  67. Skeleton’s In The Closet – Karen Keesling
  68. Vampire And Skeleton Go Shopping – Jay Reece
  69. Haiku – Corine Timmer
  70. Opportunity Wanders – Florbela Nienaber  
  71. Trick or Treat – Susan R. Waide
  72. The Monster’s Mash! – Susan R. Waide
  73. The Skele-Mummy – Linda Staszak
  74. All On A Halloween Night – Linda Staszak
  75. Creep A Little Closer – Yvonne McCutchen
  76. Moonlight Party – Yvonne McCutchen
  77. Stella Decorates – Melissa Warren
  78. Candy Heist – Sarah Hawklyn
  79. Pillows In Pants – Christine Menke
  80. The Masked Skeleton – Deborah Dolan Hunt
  81. Mask Required – Lucretia Schafroth
  82. Psyched Out – Karen Pickrell
  83. The Case Of The Missing Skeleton – Karen Pickrell
  84. All Hallows’ Eve – Liz Kehrli
  85. My Worst Thirty-first – Obbverse
  86. Scary Mary – Geraldine Jones
  87. Sweet Escape – Allison Strick
  88. Bones: A Love Story – Keatley Eastman
  89. Phoebe’s Magic Stew – Linda Hofke
  90. Paco And The Skeletons – Katie Schwartz
  91. Lester Skeleton’s Halloween Hunt – Ford Waight
  92. Little Frankie Patches Things Up – Rozana Rajkumari
  93. Witch’s Fiery Broth – Corine Timmer
  94. Jack’s Halloween – Kara Sibilia
  95. The Jolly Skeleton – Linda Staszak
  96. Sammy Skeleton’s Warm Halloween – Lily Erlic
  97. Slinky Skeleton – Penelope McNally
  98. Annabelle’s Halloween – Penelope McNally
  99. The Hungry Corpse – Robert Schechter
  100. Little Goblin’s Halloween – Kathleen Mazurowski
  101. The Curse – Glenda Roberson
  102. Moving Day – Laura Bower
  103. Halloweenie – Lauren Harris
  104. Letter On The Door – Jessica Reed
  105. Sebastian’s Halloween – Polly Owen
  106. Skeleton’s Halloween Party – Polly Owen
  107. Halloween High Jinx – Stacey Miller
  108. Weensie’s Potion – Lisa Lee Furness
  109. The Nightmarish Place – Suzie Olsen
  110. I’m Not Scared – Desirae Moten
  111. What A Haul! – Diane Hanington
  112. The Halloween Trick – Aimee Larke
  113. A Skeleton’s Fright – Nadia Ali
  114. The Maple Tree Fright – Rebecca Allain
  115. Creepy Cookie Night – Annette LaFortune Murray
  116. The Night Stacey Saved Halloween – Autumn Haley (age 8)
  117. The Skeleton Ball – Jenny Caddy
  118. The Halloween Car Parade – Laura Bower
  119. The Halloween Ball – Crystal Lamb
  120. A Halloween Scare – Sarah Hetu-Radny
  121. Skeleton And Jack – Jennifer Bochonowicz
  122. Halloween – Marjorie David
  123. Ben’s Biggest Fear – Maria Pichler
  124. Skeletons – Patty Wright
  125. GHOST On The COAST – Becky Loescher
  126. The Scare Dare – Nancy Derey Riley
  127. Lonely Spider’s Dance – Danielle Sharkan
  128. Things That Go Cronk – Carla Bourne
  129. Grrrr! Brothers! – Susan Drew
  130. Midnight Mortal Ball – Nicola Thackrey
  131. The Monsters Of Halloween – Ryan Roberts
  132. The Perfect Halloween Present – Jenny Buchet
  133. Hopeless Heist – Karyn Curtis
  134. A 2020 Halloween Bash – Kristen Foote
  135. Boneyard Ballet – Jennifer Broedel
  136. Halloween Night – Di Litwer
  137. Tom Bones Goes Rogue – Marty Bellis
  138. A Bone-Fide Halloween Tale – Marty Bellis
  139. Dad’s Halloween – Lisa Lipsey
  140. Final Moments – E. Elle Bea
  141. How To Hug A Ghost – Cathy Lee Patterson
  142. Not This Year! – Carmen Castillo Gilbert, PhD
  143. Shh! Party In My Room! – MeiLin Chan
  144. Little Witch – Tracy Detz
  145. A Pumpkins Story – Christine Graham
  146. Beware Of Humans – Janelle Springer-Willms
  147. Beware Of Skeletons – Lea Boyd (age 8)
  148. Little Badger’s Great Big Scare – Bridget Grey
  149. Lightning And A Mask Of Stars – Rhett Trull
  150. Creature Of The Night – Lindsey Aduskevich
  151. Thorny Lane’s Treasure – Rhonda Gatlin
  152. Argleby’s New School Adventure – Echo Roben
  153. A Cat-astrophic Halloween – Elizabeth Meyer zu Heringdorf
  154. Two Can Play – JC Kelly
  155. Mia’s Halloween Celebration – Lily Erlic
  156. Seven Jack-O-Lanterns – Mary Arkiszewski
  157. A-Z: Who’s Behind Me? – Ashley Congdon
  158. The Attic Mask – Barbara DiMarco
  159. Not-So-Happy Halloween – Claire Schlinkert
  160. The Skeleton Creep – Tracy Curran
  161. The Brown, Brown Boots On The Cold, Cold Floor – Crystal Lamb
  162. Hedgehogs In The Garden – Nicola Holden
  163. Home Sweet Home – Mona Pease
  164.  
  165. All Bones – Desi Valle
  166. Hallowcake Cravings – Katie Pals
  167. Foggy Halloween – Denise Seidman
  168. Halloween Is Scary – Valerie McPherson
  169. The Sweetest Halloween Treat On Earth – Jill Burns 
 

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

My goodness!

How time flies!

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

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

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

Now! Let’s jump into Week 7!

Mix 'n' Match Mini Writing Challenge

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

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

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

Ready, set, WRITE! 😊

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

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

 

Check out the Week #7 stories!

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

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

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

Popsicles At Sunset – Matthew Lasley (popsicle)

Endless Freeze – Brenda Whitehead (time travel, popsicle)

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

Supersonic Speed S’Mores – Jamie Bechtelheimer

Elasticity And Goggles – Ugo Anidi

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

Untitled – Dot Anson (invisibility, popsicle)

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

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

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

Soother – Mary Van Beuren (elasticity, electric guitar)

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

Blaze – Rose Cappelli (invisibility, s’mores)

Untitled – Kay DiVerde (invisibility, popsicle)

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

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

Lunch Lady – Susan Inez (elasticity, picnic)

Shark Breath – Deb Buschman (breathe underwater, shark)

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

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

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

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

Rocks Rule – Amy Flynn (superhuman strength, pail)

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

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

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

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

Lindy’s Flight Fright – Sarah Meade (flight)

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

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

Untitled – Alicia Meyers Kelly (invisibility, goggles)

Untitled – Linda Schueler (time travel, popsicle)

Goggles The Supercow – Tracy(goggles)

True Blue – Corine Timmer

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

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

The Super Babysitter – Mia Geiger (elastic, super)

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

Untitled – Heather Hatch (mind reading, picnic)

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

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

 

 

PRIZES & PRIZES OF ALL SHAPES AND SIZES!

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

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

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

For Spacious Skies

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

Kirsti Call Mootilda

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

Ellen Leventhal Lola Can't Leap

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Alayne butterfly kisses An Old Man and His Penguin

 

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

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

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

Rosie Pova Sunday Rain

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

Ronan

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

Tara Luebbe Shark Nate-O

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

Sherry Howard (4) Cover Rock and Roll Woods

Sherry Howard MG NF Books

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

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

Ann Whitford Paul

If Animals Went To School                     If Animals Kissed Good Night

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

If Animals Said I Love You                     If Animals Celebrated Christmas

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

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

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

Kristy Nuttall 20200512_092224 20200512_091604

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

MPBM

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

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

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

Big Magic

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

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

Magnetic Poetry – Little Box of Happiness

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

 

The Story Book Knight by Helen Docherty

storybook knight

This Book Is Gray by Lindsay Ward

This Book Is Gray

Story Cubes

Screen Shot 2020-05-10 at 11.23.08 PM

Writing Journal (x10)

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

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

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

Good morning, my friends!

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

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

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

Mix 'n' Match Mini Writing Challenge

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Begin with:

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

OR

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

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

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

So your story might begin:

I always eat in my treehouse!

or

Dumpling never ate like a pig!

or

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

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

 

Here is my little just for fun sample 😊

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

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

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

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

Ready, set, WRITE! 😊

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

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

 

Check out the Week #6 stories!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Untitled – Colleen Murphy (never, in the stable)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dahlia’s Dilemma – Leslie Denkers (only)

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

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

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

Untitled – Shariffa Keshavjee (always, like a bird)

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

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

Tink Eats Like A Bird – Mary Van Beuren

Peter Liked To Eat Like A Pig – Lily Erlic

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

I Always Eat upside Down – Corine Timmer

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

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

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

No To Purple Food – Bev Baird

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

Gabi The Dog Eats Carrots – Susan Krevat

Santa And His Beans – Two Limericks – Liz Kehrli

I Only Eat Things That Are Square – Ugo Anidi

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

Carl Eats Like A Pig – Amy Flynn

I Only Eat Things That Are Square – Alicia Meyers Kelly

Oakley Only Eats Quirky Food – Katie Schwartz

Afternoon Snack – Mia Geiger (eat, bird)

Upside Down Blu Eats Things That Are Orange – Ketan Ram

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

Untitled – Heather Hatch (only, peanut butter)

 

PRIZES & PRIZES OF ALL SHAPES AND SIZES!

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

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

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

For Spacious Skies

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

Kirsti Call Mootilda

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

Ellen Leventhal Lola Can't Leap

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Alayne butterfly kisses An Old Man and His Penguin

 

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

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

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

Rosie Pova Sunday Rain

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

Ronan

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

Tara Luebbe Shark Nate-O

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

Sherry Howard (4) Cover Rock and Roll Woods

Sherry Howard MG NF Books

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

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

Ann Whitford Paul

If Animals Went To School                     If Animals Kissed Good Night

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

If Animals Said I Love You                     If Animals Celebrated Christmas

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

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

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

Kristy Nuttall 20200512_092224 20200512_091604

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

MPBM

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

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

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

Big Magic

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

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

Magnetic Poetry – Little Box of Happiness

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

 

The Story Book Knight by Helen Docherty

storybook knight

This Book Is Gray by Lindsay Ward

This Book Is Gray

Story Cubes

Screen Shot 2020-05-10 at 11.23.08 PM

Writing Journal (x10)

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

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

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

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

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

Mix 'n' Match Mini Writing Challenge

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

and write a 100 word story for kids entitled:

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

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

 

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

How To Comfort Your Monster (159 words)

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

💕          😊          💕          😊          💕          😊          💕

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

Ready, set, WRITE! 😊

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

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

 

Check out the Week #5 stories!

 

How To Be A Teacher – Cupcake Petrillo

How To Scare A Monster – Sue Lancaster

How To Catch A Pet Tarantula – Jill Lambert

How To Scare Your Teacher – Matthew Lasley

How To Comfort Harry Hedgehog – Cindy Boyll

How To Catch A Brother – Brenda Whitehead

How To Train Your Pet Rock – Colleen Murphy

How To Be A Sister – Sara Ackerman

How To Catch A Pet Turtle – Kay DiVerde

If You Want To Be A Monster – Linda Staszak

How To Be “Your” Own Babysitter – Susan Schipper

How To Entertain Your Donkey – Penny Adler

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

How To Be A Blue Whale – Rose Cappelli

How To Catch A Fish – Marty

How To Find A Friend – Dawn Young

How To Entertain Your Furry Feline Friend – Linda Schueler

How To Calm Your Kangaroo – Patricia Nozell

How To Entertain Your Dragon On His Birthday – Ashley Congdon

How To Scare A Librarian – Candice Marley Conner

How To Catch A Monster – Jamie Bechtelheimer

How To Scare A Babysitter – Elizabeth Meyer Zu Heringdorf

How To Catch A Cupcake – Mary Van Beuren

How To Catch A Babysitter – Deb Sullivan

How To Comfort A MOOdy Cow – Corine Timmer

How To Comfort A (Pet) Skunk – Susan Inez

How To Crown Your Beast – Kristy Roser Nuttall

How To Treat Your Teacher – Leslie Denkers

How To Be A Cat – Dot Anson

How To Catch A Cat – Di Litwer

If You Have To Catch A Babysitter – Jess Murray

How To Comfort A Frightened Mouse – Bev Baird

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

How To Pamper Your Porcupine – Sarah Meade

How To Protect Your T-Rex – Amy Flynn

How To Protect Your Teacher – Susan Krevat

How To Comfort A Turtle – Deb Buschman

How To Be A Teacher – Alicia Meyers Kelly

How To Train A Penguin For City Life – Lily Erlic

Monster Under My Bed – Shariffa Keshavjee

How To Protect Your Princess – Tracy

How To Scare A Monster – Liz Kehrli

How To Comfort Your Comforter – Katie Schwartz

How To Love Your Brother – Rebecca Gardyn Levington

How To Comfort Your Babysitter – Ketan Ram

How To Scare A Monster – Mia Geiger

How To Scare A Monster – Ugo Anidi

How To Catch A Sister – Lauri Meyers

How To Trick Your Sister – Heather Hatch

 

PRIZES & PRIZES OF ALL SHAPES AND SIZES!

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

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

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

For Spacious Skies

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

Kirsti Call Mootilda

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

Ellen Leventhal Lola Can't Leap

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Alayne butterfly kisses An Old Man and His Penguin

 

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

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

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

Rosie Pova Sunday Rain

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

Ronan

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

Tara Luebbe Shark Nate-O

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

Sherry Howard (4) Cover Rock and Roll Woods

Sherry Howard MG NF Books

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

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

Ann Whitford Paul

If Animals Went To School                     If Animals Kissed Good Night

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

If Animals Said I Love You                     If Animals Celebrated Christmas

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

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

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

Kristy Nuttall 20200512_092224 20200512_091604

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

MPBM

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

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

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

Big Magic

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

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

Magnetic Poetry – Little Box of Happiness

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

 

The Story Book Knight by Helen Docherty

storybook knight

This Book Is Gray by Lindsay Ward

This Book Is Gray

Story Cubes

Screen Shot 2020-05-10 at 11.23.08 PM

Writing Journal (x10)

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

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

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

It’s June, my lovelies!

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

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

IMG_9861

Ready to write?

Mix 'n' Match Mini Writing Challenge

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

Ready, set, WRITE! 😊

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

 

Check out the Week #4 stories!

Untitled – Sue Lancaster (Cinderella, Mount Everest)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Limerick – Marty (Cinderella, wild west)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Untitled – Liz Kehrli (Cinderella, pirate ship)

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

Cinderella In New York City – Patricia Nozell (Cinderella)

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

Hansel And Gretel And The Candy Pirate – Lauri Meyers

Mt. Everest Writes To Cinderella – Ketan & Ravi Ram

 

 

PRIZES & PRIZES OF ALL SHAPES AND SIZES!

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

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

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

For Spacious Skies

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

Kirsti Call Mootilda

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

Ellen Leventhal Lola Can't Leap

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Alayne butterfly kisses An Old Man and His Penguin

 

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

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

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

Rosie Pova Sunday Rain

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

Ronan

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

Tara Luebbe Shark Nate-O

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

Sherry Howard (4) Cover Rock and Roll Woods

Sherry Howard MG NF Books

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

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

Ann Whitford Paul

If Animals Went To School                     If Animals Kissed Good Night

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

If Animals Said I Love You                     If Animals Celebrated Christmas

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

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

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

Kristy Nuttall 20200512_092224 20200512_091604

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

MPBM

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

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

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

Big Magic

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

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

Magnetic Poetry – Little Box of Happiness

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

 

The Story Book Knight by Helen Docherty

storybook knight

This Book Is Gray by Lindsay Ward

This Book Is Gray

Story Cubes

Screen Shot 2020-05-10 at 11.23.08 PM

Writing Journal (x10)

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

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

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

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

Here’s the situation:

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

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

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

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

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

Onward then, to the newly named but still the same

Mix 'n' Match Mini Writing Challenge

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

2953C608-C019-4000-88CB-EE72BFAC62D8_1_201_a

illustration copyright Julie Rowan-Zoch 2020 used by permission

 

These will be the characters in your story!

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Ready, set, WRITE! 😊

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

 

Check out the Week #3 stories!

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

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

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

Ball Trouble – Genevieve Petrillo (cook up a plan)

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

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

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

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

Duck Hunt – Colleen Murphy

Henry And Marigold – Linda Staszak (make a friend)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Miss Marigold Fluffington – Susan Inez (hatches a plan)

A Day At The Dog Park – Matthew Lasley

Pip And Dip – Sarah Meade (get in trouble)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Henry And Marigold – Beverly Baird (make a friend)

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

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

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

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

Pip And Henry – Mia Geiger (plot a secret)

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

Big News – Dawn Young (share a secret)

Untitled – Kay DiVerde (share a secret)

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

Limerick – Marty (make a friend, Delphine)

Untitled – Dot Anson (cook up a plan)

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

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

Bing And ShickShick – Amy Flynn

Mugsy And Marigold Share A Secret – Alicia Meyers Kelly

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

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

Untitled – Lauri Meyers

Pip And Tick Tock Cook Up A Plan – Ugo Anidi

 

 

PRIZES & PRIZES OF ALL SHAPES AND SIZES!

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

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

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

For Spacious Skies

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

Kirsti Call Mootilda

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

Ellen Leventhal Lola Can't Leap

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Alayne butterfly kisses An Old Man and His Penguin

 

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

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

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

Rosie Pova Sunday Rain

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

Ronan

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

Tara Luebbe Shark Nate-O

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

Sherry Howard (4) Cover Rock and Roll Woods

Sherry Howard MG NF Books

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

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

Ann Whitford Paul

If Animals Went To School                     If Animals Kissed Good Night

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

If Animals Said I Love You                     If Animals Celebrated Christmas

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

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

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

Kristy Nuttall 20200512_092224 20200512_091604

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

MPBM

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

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

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

Big Magic

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

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

Magnetic Poetry – Little Box of Happiness

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

 

The Story Book Knight by Helen Docherty

storybook knight

This Book Is Gray by Lindsay Ward

This Book Is Gray

Story Cubes

Screen Shot 2020-05-10 at 11.23.08 PM

Writing Journal (x10)

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

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

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

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

 

Mix 'n' Match Mini Writing Challenge

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

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

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

 

Let’s jump into Week #2!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Here’s a little sample 😊

 

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

Rock Til You Drop

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

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

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

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

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

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

I showed off my moves. Swish! Swoosh!

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

I watched him boil.  He knew I was right.

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

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

The beat boomed.

“Shake-shake-shake!” I dared him.

Humpty shook.

But the wall was narrow.

Too narrow for that big-bottomed-boy!

Rock…

…roll…

BLAM!

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall!

I won!

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

 

 

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

Ready, set, WRITE! 😊

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

 

Check out the Week #2 stories!

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Little Miss Muffet – Susan Inez (Little Miss Muffet)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trying Something New – Dawn Young (Itsy Bitsy Spider)

Raindrops –  Shariffa Keshavjee (Raindrops)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our Friend Humpty – Mia Geiger (Humpty Dumpty)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Little Bo Peep – Tracy (Little Bo Peep)

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

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

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

Untitled – Alicia Meyers Kelly (Hickory Dickory Dock)

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

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

Untitled – Lauri Meyers

 

PRIZES & PRIZES OF ALL SHAPES AND SIZES!

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

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

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

For Spacious Skies

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

Kirsti Call Mootilda

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

Ellen Leventhal Lola Can't Leap

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Alayne butterfly kisses An Old Man and His Penguin

 

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

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

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

Rosie Pova Sunday Rain

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

Ronan

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

Tara Luebbe Shark Nate-O

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

Sherry Howard (4) Cover Rock and Roll Woods

Sherry Howard MG NF Books

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

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

Ann Whitford Paul

If Animals Went To School                     If Animals Kissed Good Night

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

If Animals Said I Love You                     If Animals Celebrated Christmas

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

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

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

Kristy Nuttall 20200512_092224 20200512_091604

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

MPBM

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

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

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

Big Magic

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

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

Magnetic Poetry – Little Box of Happiness

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

 

The Story Book Knight by Helen Docherty

storybook knight

This Book Is Gray by Lindsay Ward

This Book Is Gray

Story Cubes

Screen Shot 2020-05-10 at 11.23.08 PM

Writing Journal (x10)

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

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Announcing The Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Writing Challenge!!!

Rise and shine, my friends!

It’s about time for some new high jinx and shenanigans!

Given the unusual circumstances we all find ourselves in at the moment, I bet you are all challenging yourselves each and every day!

parenting

There’s the What Can I Make For Dinner Out Of 1/2 A Cup Of Raisins, A Sleeve Of Saltines, And A Can Of Baked Beans? Challenge. . .

. . .the Total Body Workout On Top Of The Coffee Table Because That’s All The Space I Have Challenge. . .

. . .and the Lord Help Me How Will I Entertain The Children On What Feels Like The Millionth Evening Of Quarantine (If I Have To Play Candy Land One More Time I Will Have To Be Committed!) Challenge!

It is just possible that the novelty is beginning to wear off of these a teeny tiny bit. . . 😊

So I am here to offer you something new and different! (and feel free to use it to solve #3 above as well 😊)

When life is so topsy-turvy it can be hard to find the energy and motivation to write, so how about a little boost and a little encouragement with perhaps a soupçon of competition?

It’s time for

The First Ever Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Writing Challenge
For Children’s Writers!

 

Mix 'n' Match Mini Writing Challenge

(Not a contest exactly… no room in the blog calendar, no time for judging, no gigantic prizes on offer…but still (hopefully!) tons of fun!)

Here’s how it works:

Starting today, each Monday until June 22 (which makes 7 Mondays total and will get us to the end of the school term) I will post a Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Writing Prompt for a 100 word story.  Post your story in the comment section for that week’s challenge (or if you have trouble posting it, email it to me and I’ll post it for you.)  At the end of the 7 weeks, everyone who has posted one story for each week’s prompt will

A) have 7 brand new stories to play with!  (Who knows? Your next picture book or even chapter book or longer might be sparked by something you write for the Challenge!)

B) be able to take credit for entertaining lots of stuck-at-home fellow writers and their kids (not to mention you’ll entertain yourself and your own kids!)

and

C) qualify to win a prize from the Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Mystery Bag of Marvelous Prizes for Writers! (I’m not really expecting 400 people to complete this challenge… if that happens we will have to eenie meenie miney mo winners until we run out of prizes, but you will still win A and B above!)

You can compete with yourself to see if you can write all 7 stories!  You can compete with your writing friends to see if you can write more than they do! And if you want to get really competitive, you can all read the stories that are posted and “like” the ones you think are best and see who gets the most “likes” 😊 (If you do that there might be some special prizes…who can tell??? 😊)

When the going get’s rugged, children’s writers beat the blues by playing writing games and creating new stories to keep themselves and everyone around them entertained!

So here we go!

Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Writing Prompt #1 for Week of May 11:

Choose one item from one or more of the columns below – minimum 1, maximum 3.  You can choose only one item (for example, one item from Column B), or you can choose one from Column A and one from Column C, or you can choose one each from Column A, B, and C – whatever combination you like depending on what you feel you need to spark your story.

Write a 100 word story for kids which includes at least 1 and not more than 3 of the items below.  Please either highlight them or list them at the top so it’s easy for me to see who has qualified for the challenge. (If you want to use a title, the title will not be included in the word count.)

Post your story in the comment section (or email it to me to post.)

Read, enjoy, and comment on each other’s stories! 😊

Here is today’s mix ‘n’ match list:

Column A Character Column B Setting Column C Emotion
knight birthday party cranky
alien school bored
camel beach jubilant

*For those of you who feel you would benefit from a little more structure, you can make this a Mother’s Day story – but that is a suggestion only for people who want it, not a requirement for this week’s story.*

So you might choose “camel” only.  Or you might choose “school” and “jubilant”.  Or “knight”, “beach” and “cranky”. . . (And you can throw in Mother’s Day if you want to 😊)

Get the idea?

In an attempt to answer possible questions I will say:

  • you can write as many stories as you want each week
  • you can post them at any time during the week (just make sure they’re on the Monday Mix ‘n’ Match Mini post for the week you’re entering – e.g. below for Week #1))
  • you can play catch up (so if you miss a week you can go back and add to an earlier week if you’re trying to complete the challenge and qualify for prizes as long as all entries are posted on the correct week and are posted no later than Saturday June 27th at midnight Eastern time.)
  • no illustration notes
  • if 2 or 3 items from one column are what get your creativity sparking, that is okay (e.g. you can use knight and alien if you want)
  • You may go over the word count if you’re on a roll and you wish to (because there is not judging 😊)
  • You may write in poetry or prose

 

Here’s a little sample to show you how it works:
(No comment on the dreadfulness of the sample 😊)

Week #1: camel, school (99 words)

Camel School

Cami was excited for school!

Would she learn reading? Writing? To count past 12?

“First class, Hydration,” said Miss Dromedary. “Try for 30 gallons of water in 13 minutes. Practice makes perfect!”

Cami couldn’t imagine drinking that much!

“Next, Spitting! Try for 120 feet. Practice makes perfect!”

Cami’s tongue flickered like lightning, but could she spit far?

“Now, Sand Running! A steady 25 mph. Practice makes perfect!”

“Even practice can’t make me that fast!” cried Cami.

Miss Dromedary patted her head. “This is Camel School, dearie.  Chameleon School is next door.”

“Phew!” said Cami, scurrying to join her friends.

 

And here’s a little sampling of the prizes up for grabs to whet your competitive spirit 😊 MORE TO COME!

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

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

For Spacious Skies

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

Kirsti Call Mootilda

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

Ellen Leventhal Lola Can't Leap

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Alayne butterfly kisses An Old Man and His Penguin

 

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

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

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

Rosie Pova Sunday Rain

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

Ronan

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

Tara Luebbe Shark Nate-O

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

Sherry Howard (4) Cover Rock and Roll Woods

Sherry Howard MG NF Books

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

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

Ann Whitford Paul

If Animals Went To School                     If Animals Kissed Good Night

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

If Animals Said I Love You                     If Animals Celebrated Christmas

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

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

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

Kristy Nuttall 20200512_092224 20200512_091604

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

MPBM

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

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

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

Big Magic

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

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

Magnetic Poetry – Little Box of Happiness

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

 

The Story Book Knight by Helen Docherty

storybook knight

This Book Is Gray by Lindsay Ward

This Book Is Gray

Story Cubes

Screen Shot 2020-05-10 at 11.23.08 PM

Writing Journal (x10)

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

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

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

Ready, set, WRITE!!! 😊

Check out the Week #1 stories!

How To Have A Camel Birthday Party – Brenda Whitehead (camel, birthday party)

A Knight At The Beach – Jess Murray (knight, beach)

Puddles From Pluto – Julie Abery (alien)

Untitled – Candice Marley Conner (knight, beach, jubilant)

Birthday Surprise – Genevieve Petrillo (birthday party)

The Knight And The Bouncy Castle – Little Cornish Writer (knight, birthday party, bored)

Andromeda And Nick – Cindy S. Boyll (alien, knight)

Carlos The Camel Goes To Revere Beach – Susan Reese Krevat (camel, beach, bored)

Chloe’s Extraordinary Bunny Beach Birthday Party – Corine Timmer (birthday party)

Wake Up Call – Jill Lambert (alien, school, cranky, Mother’s Day)

Cranky Camel At The Beach – Susan Inez (camel, beach, cranky)

Blast Off – Barbara Renner (alien, school)

Mommy’s Cranky Beach Baby – Jamie Bechtelheimer (beach, cranky)

Night Knight School – Matthew Lasley (knight, school, cranky)

How To Pet A Camel – Jeanette Jones (camel)

Untitled – Carmen Castillo Gilbert (cranky, birthday party, beach)

An Ode To Our Teachers – Michelle S. Kennedy (school)

The Uninvited Guest – Jarmila  (alien)

Knight Light – Margo  (knight)

Sir Grumpsalot’s Lesson – Dot Anson (knight, beach, cranky)

The Knight’s Princess – Linda Schueler (knight, birthday party)

Camel’s Surprise – Susan Schipper (camel, beach, jubilant)

The Birthday Party: A Circular Story – Rose Cappelli (camel, birthday party)

Alien Beach Adventure – Ashley Congdon (alien, beach)

Prehistoric Hairdo – Kristy Roser Nuttall (cranky)

Beach Bummed – Sarah Meade (beach)

The Cranky Alien On The Beach – Linda Boyden (cranky, alien, beach)

A Good Knight – Patricia Nozell (knight, school)

It’s Not My Party – Sarah Hoppe (birthday party, emotion of cranky but not the word)

Back To School – Deb Sullivan (school, alien, cranky)

Ulric, The Tap Dancing Knight – Brittany Pomales (knight)

If You Invite A Camel To Your Birthday – Sara Ackerman (camel, birthday party)

Grandpa’s Style – Leslie Denkers (jubilant)

Camel On Vacation – Dawn Young (camel, beach, jubilant)

Untitled – D. Litwer (alien, beach)

Alien Annie – Linda Staszak (alien)

Untitled – Mary VB (beach, knight, cranky)

(K)Night School – Bev Baird(knight, school)

Mr. Camel Needs A Break – Sue Lancaster (camel, beach, cranky)

Lost In Time – Colleen Murphy (knight, beach)

Sir Sunny – Rebecca Gardyn Levington (knight, beach)

Horace – Amy Flynn (camel)

Gismos The Alien – Everard Anson (bored, alien, jubilant, cranky)

A Limerick – Marty (knight, jubilant)

Pal – Mia Geiger (camel)

How To Homeschool An Alien – Liz Kehrli (alien, school)

A Knight’s Delight – Nancy Riley (knight, beach)

Zara’s Blooming Flower – Lori Himmel (camel, school, jubilant)

Cranky Camel – Deb Buschman (camel, cranky, beach)

Clanky Cranky – Laura Pomar (knight, school, cranky)

The Jubilant Beach – Ketan & Aiyka Ram (beach, jubilant)

Untitled – Kay DiVerde (knight, bored)

Mix And Match – Shariffa Keshavjee (knight, bored, camel, alien, school)

Good Knight! – Lily Erlic (knight, beach, cranky)

Untitled – Penny Adler (school)

Show And Tell – Elizabeth Meyer Zu Heringdorf (alien, school, bored)

Aliens Have Birthday Parties Too! – Alicia Meyers Kelly (alien, birthday party)

LeeLee Croaks – Katie Schwartz

Untitled – Lauri Meyers (bored, knight)

Untitled – Ugo Anidi (knight, birthday party, bored)

The 5th Annual Valentiny Contest -FINALISTS!!!

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

It is SO MUCH FUN!

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

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

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

and, “Whose idea was this ANYWAY?!”

and “GAHHHHHH!!!!!!!!”

cd521-surprisedbabytiger

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

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

Ouch!

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

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

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

Valentiny Writing Contest 2019!

~ FINALISTS!!!~

 

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

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

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

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

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

Now.  Onto the judging criteria which were as follows:

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

1 – Candy Conundrum

I wonder what they taste like.

The Hug Me heart looks good.

My mommy says, “Don’t eat them.”

My tummy says, I should.

I smell True Love and Kiss Me,

then give Be Mine a lick.

I chew up Smile and Soul Mate…Yuck!

I think I might be sick.

I wonder why they make them,

those pretty hearts I ate,

to give to someone that you love

…or someone that you hate.

 

2 – Seeds Of Love

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

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

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

See you soon, little seed.

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

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

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

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

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

From just one seed.

 

3 – The Stinky Valentine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

4 – I Snorfle You

Zingle gripped Mama’s warm green hand.

“I snorfle you,” Mama said.

“Snorfle you too.”

Zingle didn’t like this planet.

Spaceships zoomed on the ground. HONK!

Everyone stared at him—with two eyeballs.

And cold bits of sky fell everywhere.Brrrr.

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

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

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

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

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

Then one day, school looked different.

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

“Glitter. Heart. Valentine.”

“Why?” Zingle asked.

“It means ‘I love you.’”

“I zuv you?”

“Love.”

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

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

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

Zingle read the crooked heart: I snorfle you.

Zingle hugged Lucy. “Snorfle you, too.”

 

5 – Finding A Friend

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

6 – Dear Cupid

Dear Cupid,

Just wondering…

How good is your aim?

How often do you practice?

If you miss, do you try again?

How many arrows do you have, anyway?

Do you take requests? From anybody?

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks.

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

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

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

 

7 – Sending Love

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

8 – Always. Every Day. No Matter What.

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

“MOOOOOOOM,” he called out.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

9 – Whose Valentine Could This Be?

Whose Valentine could this be?

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

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

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

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

Whose Valentine could this be?

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

 

10 – Gibbon’s Valentine’s Surprise

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

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

They set down their books.

“I wonder what it is…” Meerkat mused.

“Maybe Valentine’s candy?” Marmoset murmured.

“Or… something… elssssssssse,” Sloth whispered.

First Gibbon grabbed paint and brushes.

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

“Maybe Valentine’s cards?” Marmoset murmured.

“Or… something… elssssssssse,” Sloth whispered.

Next Gibbon gathered wood and his toolbox.

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

“Maybe a valentines mailbox?” Marmoset murmured.

“Or… something… elssssssssse,” Sloth whispered.

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

“I love stories…” Meerkat mused.

“Me too,” Marmoset murmured.

“Oh….yesssssss,” Sloth whispered.

Everyone planned and painted.

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

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

“Maybe the post office?” Marmoset murmured.

“Or… somewhere… elssssssssse,” Sloth whispered.

The three friends waited.

They pulled out paperbacks and read together.

And waited.

On Valentine’s Day Gibbon gathered his friends.

“Surprise!” Gibbon pointed.

“A little library!” Meerkat cried.

The outside:

“Our paintings!” Marmoset cheered.

Inside:

“Bookssssss!” Sloth said with a slow smile.

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

“Thank you!” said Meerkat.

“Thanksssss,” said Sloth.

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

 

11 – Beetle’s Valentine

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

12 – Scraps Of Love

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

 

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

Thank you all so much for taking the time to write (if you did), read, and vote!  These contests simply wouldn’t be what they are without all of you!

 

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

 

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

Ahem.  Let’s try again.

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

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

Have a thrilling Thursday, everyone!