SALE! Going on now.

Conference season is upon us.
This is no time to nod off.


It’s time to get to work!
Need to get that picture book manuscript polished?
Is that query letter making you gag?


Good news! I’m running a sale on critiques for picture book query letters and manuscripts.

PB crits, usually $100, are now just $80.
$60 query letters are now only $45.

First come, first served.
Sign up & pay: now through February 29.
Submit your manuscript: now through April 30.

Details about how to submit and what to expect from my critiques are here.

Thanks for considering my services!

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Another Year of 12×12 (Squeeeee!)

I’m so excited for a new 12×12 Picture Book Challenge to begin (thanks, Julie Hedlund!) and to see Kelli Panique listing so many familiar names — and new ones, too — in her welcoming posts in our Facebook group. This is going to be a fabulous year. Can’t you feel it?
12 x 12 new badge
New members: there’s a lot of info in 12×12, and it can be overwhelming. Many new members don’t know where to start, what to do next, or they feel like everything must be done right now…or else! The more we learn, the more we realize what we don’t know. It might be immobilizing, at first. It definitely was for my in my first year. But if that happens, wait, breathe, and take it a bit at a time. Here are a few tips.
  • Focus on one thing at a time. Spend a week popping into the forum and poking around. Do the same in our FB group. If you begin to get overwhelmed with info you’re finding, open a word doc, jot some notes, & copy the link so you can revisit the info when you’re more relaxed.
  • You’ll begin to think there will never be an end to blog posts members will share. (Hint: there won’t be!) You’ll never get yourself fed or bathed if you tried to read them all, but if you’re like me, you’ll be afraid you’ll miss some good stuff. So give them a quick look and bookmark the I-can’t-not-know-this posts for a thorough read later.
  • Be active in the forum and on the FB page. You’ll build networks and friendships and get so much more from your membership when you’re active.
  • Don’t panic or beat yourself up if you don’t write a PB draft each month. Writing 12 over the course of the year will get you the win, even if you write them all in November. But try not to do that. The point of the challenge is to build good writing habits and grow in your profession. If you miss a month, take a look at why that happened. Make the changes you need to make so you can reach your goals.
  • When you need help, ask. (Notice I said when, not if. We all need help at some point.) The people in this community will hold you up, help you along, answer your questions, motivate you, and cheer for every single success you have, big or small.
 We’re your family. Welcome.



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Three Things You Should Think About Doing Now. Really, NOW.

Warning: Hot deadlines enclosed. Please handle in a timely manner.

I was going to write about the top things I’ve done for myself as a picture book writer, but I got to seven and still had more to say! It was a long blog post. I’ll save that list for another day, but for now, here are three from my Best Things I Ever Did list, all with ticking enrollment deadlines.

Revising — and Re-imagining — Your Picture Book Manuscript. Revision advice I’ve gleaned from here and there, including the sparkly gems I learned in this workshop, are in a folder labelled “PB Revision Tips,” which is at my side whenever I work to polish a picture book draft. I had been interested in this workshop when it was first offered a few years ago, but family obligations kept me on a short rope, and I couldn’t travel to attend it. So I contacted my SCBWI chapter and asked how I could bring the workshop to me with their help. They agreed to support it if I was willing to chair the event. So I did. This workshop was worth every drop of energy I spent to bring it to Western Massachusetts for my fellow SCBWI members. And for me. OK, mostly for me. Eileen Robinson and Harold Underdown of Kid’s Book Revisions created the workshop and will be offering it again — beginning on Wednesday, February 15. If you’re interested, sign up soon. Like NOW. Go here for details.

Carrie Charley Brown’s ReFoReMo Challenge. You’ll read a heck of a lot of picture books and learn so much about writing them if you join ReFoReMo (Reading For Research Month). Plus, you’ll get daily blog posts from experts who offer advice and knowledge about using mentor texts to improve your skills. Registration opens February 15, and the challenge begins on February 28. Go here for more information about it.

Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 Picture Book Challenge. Last, and most definitely not least, is this challenge to draft a picture book every month during the year. But that’s not all. There are monthly webinars, interviews, a supportive Facebook group, opportunities for Gold-level members to submit manuscripts to agents, and a forum where members can learn craft, give and get critique on manuscripts, queries, and pitches, and participate in other discussions. Hyperbole aside, it’s one of the freakin’ best things for picture book writers ever, man! Don’t believe me? Go see for yourself here. Membership for 2017 closes on February 28. (Full disclosure: I’m one of Julie’s elves, helping her out in the forum, but I wouldn’t use my precious time to do if I didn’t think this group was truly worthwhile.)

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Catching Up on Favorites

Contrary to what my blog would imply, I haven’t slacked off in my reading of picture books. I’ve just been lax about posting my favorites. So here, in one fell swoop, are the favs that have accumulated since January 2015 (sheesh, that long ago?), broken out by year.

They seem to have multiplied like, well, you know.


© 2016 Photo by Carol Munro




  • Arlo Rolled by Susan Pearson, illustrated by Jeff Ebbeler, 2014, Two Lions (Amazon Publishing)
  • Baby Danced the Polka by Karen Beaumont, illustrated by Jennifer Plecas, 2004, Dial Books for Young Readers (Penguin Young Readers Group)
  • THE BEAR ATE YOUR SANDWICH by Julia Sarcone-Roach, 2015, Alfred A Knopf / Random House Children’s Books (Penguin Random House)
  • BLIZZARD by John Rocco, 2015, Disney-Hyperion (Disney Book Group)
  • Click, Clack, Peep! by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Betsy Lewin, 2015, Atheneum Books for Young Readers / Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division (Simon & Schuster Inc.)
  • Come Back, Ben by Ann Hassett, illustrated by John Hassett, Holiday House
  • Dojo Daycare by Chris Tougas, 2014, Owlkids Books Inc.
  • Draw! by Raul Colon, 2014, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (Simon & Schuster, Inc.)
  • Duck & Goose Go to the Beach by Tad Hills, 2014, Schwartz & Wade Books / Random House Children’s Books (Penguin Random House)
  • Here Comes the Tooth Fairy Cat by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Claudia Rueda, 2015, Dial Books for Young Readers (Penguin Group)
  • Hermelin the Detective Mouse by Mini Grey, 2013, Alfred A. Knopf (Random House Children’s Books)
  • Hunters of the Great Forest by Dennis Nolan, 2014, A Neal Porter Book / Roaring Brook Press (Holtzbrinck Publishing)
  • I Don’t Want to be a Frog by Dev Petty, illustrated by Mike Boldt, 2015, Doubleday Books for Young Readers / Random House Children’s Books (Penguin Random House)
  • I Feel Five by Bethanie Deeney Murguia, 2014, Candlewick Press
  • If You Plant a Seed by Kadir Nelson, 2015, HarperCollins Children’s Books (HarperCollins Publishers)
  • Imagine a Day by Sarah L. Thomson, illustrated by Rob Gonsalves, 2005, Antheneum Books for Young Readers (Simon & Schuster, Inc.)
  • Interstellar Cinderella by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Meg Hunt, 2015, Chronicle Books
  • Lenny and Lucy by Philip C. Stead, illustrated by Erin E. Stead, 2015, A Neal Porter Book / Roaring Brook Press (Holtzbrinck Publishing)
  • Squirrel and the Moon by Sebastian Meschenmoser, 2015, NorthSouth Books (NordSud Verlag AG)
  • A Pig Parade is a Terrible Idea by Michael Ian Black, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes, 2010, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (Simon & Schuster, Inc.)
  • Red, A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall, 2015, Greenwillow Books / HarperCollins Children’s Books (HarperCollins Publishers)
  • See You Next Year by Andrew Larsen, illustrated by Todd Stewart, 2015, Owlkids Books
  • Sharing the Bread, An Old-fashioned Thanksgiving Story by Pat Zietlow Miller, illustrated by Jill McElmurry, 2015, Schwartz & Wade Books / Random House Children’s Books (Penguin Random House)
  • Shoe Dog by Megan McDonald, illustrated by Katherine Tillotson, 2014, Atheneum Books for Young Readers / Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division (Simon & Schuster Inc.)
  • Star Stuff, Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos by Stephanie Roth Sisson, 2014, Roaring Brook Press (Holtzbrinck Publishing)
  • Sun and Moon by Lindsey Yankey, 2015, Simply Read Books
  • The Things I Can Do by Jeff Mack, 2013, A Neal Porter Book / Roaring Brook Press (Holtzbrinck Publishing)
  • This is the House the Jack Built by Simms Taback, 2004, Puffin Books (Penguin Young Readers Group)
  • The Three Questions by Jon J. Muth, 2002, Scholastic Press (Scholastic, Inc.)
  • Violet and Victor Write the Best-ever Bookworm Book by Alice Kuipers, illustrated by Bethanie Deeney Murguia, 2014, Little, Brown and Company (Hachette Book Group)
  • Wherever You Go by Pat Zietlow Miller, illustrated by Eliza Wheeler, 2015, Little, Brown and Company (Hachette Book Group)
  • You and Me by Susan Verde, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds, 2015, Abrams Books for Young Readers (ABRAMS)
  • You Nest Here With Me by Jane Yolen and Heidi E. Y. Stemple, illustrated by Melissa Sweet, 2015, Boyds Mills Press (Highlights)

2016 (thru August)

  • Ask Me by Bernard Waber, illustrated by Suzy Lee, 2015, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Bear and Bunny by Daniel Pinkwater, illustrated by Will Hillenbrand, 2015, Candlewick Press
  • Ben Draws Trouble by Matt Davies, 2015, A Neal Porter Book / Roaring Brook Press (Holtzbrinck Publishing)
  • Cork & Fuzz Merry Merry Holly Holly by Dori Chaconas, illustrated by Lisa McCue, 2015, Viking (Penguin Random House Company)
  • Dragon Loves Tacos by Adam Rubin, illustrated by Daniel Salmieri, 2012, Dial Books for Young Readers / Penguin Young Readers Group (The Penguin Group)
  • First Grade Dropout by Audrey Vernick, illustrated by Matthew Cordell, 2015, Clarion Books (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company)
  • FISH by Liam Francis Walsh, 2016, A Neal Porter Book / Roaring Brook Press (Holtzbrinck Publishing)
  • FOX by Margaret Wild, illustrated by Ron Brooks, 2006, Kane Miller Book Publishers
  • The Full Moon at the Napping House by Audrey Wood, illustrated by Don Wood, 2015, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company
  • Goodnight, Baddies by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Juli Kangas, 2016, Beach Lane Books (Simon & Schuster Inc.)
  • Grandma Lives in a Perfume Village by Fang Suzhen, illustrated by Sonja Danowski, 2014, NorthSouth Books, Inc.
  • Groundhog’s Dilemma by Kristen Remenar, illustrated by Matt Faulkner, 2015, Charlesbridge
  • THE HOUSE THAT ZACK BUILT by Alison Murray, 2016, Candlewick Press
  • I Wish You More by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld, 2015, Chronicle Books
  • Ideas Are All Around by Philip C. Stead, 2016, A Neal Porter Book / Roaring Brook Press (Holtzbrinck Publishing)
  • Last Laugh: Animal Epitaphs by J. Patrick Lewis and Jane Yolen, illustrated by Jeffrey Stewart Timmies, 2012, Charlesbridge
  • Last Stop on Market Street by Matt De La Pena, illustrated by Christian Robinson, 2015, G.P. Putnam’s Sons (Penguin Group)
  • Marilyn’s Monster by Michelle Knudsen, illustrated by Matt Phelan, 2015, Candlewick Press
  • Miss Colfax’s Light by Aimee Bissonette, illustrated by Eileen Ryan Ewen, 2016, Sleeping Bear Press
  • Miss Hazeltine’s Home for Shy and Fearful Cats by Alicia Potter, illustrated by Birgitta Sif, 2015, A Borzoi Book / Alfred A. Knopf / Random House Children’s Books (Random House LLC)
  • My Pen by Christopher Myers, 2015, Disney Hyperion (Disney Book Group)
  • The Night Gardener by The Fan Brothers, 2016, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers / Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division (Simon & Schuster, Inc.)
  • Owl Babies by Martin Waddell, illustrated by Patrick Benson, 1992, Candlewick Press
  • Pepper & Poe by Frann Preston-Gannon, 2015, Orchard Books / Scholastic Inc
  • The Quickest Kid in Clarksville by Pat Zietlow Miller, illustrated by Frank Morrison, 2016, Chronicle Books
  • Raybot by Adam F. Watkins, 2016, Price Stern Sloan / Penguin Young Readers Group (Penguin Random House)
  • RETURN by Aaron Becker, 2016, Candlewick Press
  • The Sky is Falling by Mark Teague, 2015, Orchard Books (Scholastic Inc.)
  • Snappsy the Alligator Did Not Ask to Be in This Book by Julie Falatko, illustrated by Tim Miller, 2016, Viking (Penguin Random House LLC)
  • Stone Angel by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Katie May Green, 2015, Philomel Books (Penguin Group)
  • The Stranded Whale by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Melanie Cataldo, 2015, Candlewick Press
  • The Tea Party in the Woods by Akiko Miyakoshi, 2015, Kids Can Press
  • Thank You and Good Night by Patrick McDonnell, 2015, Little, Brown and Company (Hachette Book Group)
  • This is Not a Picture Book! by Sergio Ruzzier, 2016, Chronicle Books
  • Toys Meet Snow by Emily Jenkins, illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky, 2015, Schwartz & Wade Books / Random House Children’s Books (Penguin Random House)
  • What James Said by Liz Rosenberg, illustrated by Matt Myers, 2015, A Neal Porter Book / Roaring Brook Press (Holtzbrinck Publishing)
  • What to Do with a Box by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Chris Sheban, 2016, The Creative Company
  • When Spring Comes by Kevin Henkes, illustrated by Laura Dronzek, 2016, Greenwillow Books / HarperCollins Children’s Books (HarperCollins Publishers)

Give them a go! Let me know which ones you love.

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Now Offering Critiquing Services and a Limited-time Special

Since 2012, my professional writing focus has been on picture books – learning the craft, understanding the industry, and reading what’s currently being published. Sometimes I needed blinders to keep my attention from wandering into other things, like running for a seat on the town council or starting a chocolate truffle business or taking up spelunking.

Focus, Carol. Focus on your goals.

I, indeed, stayed focused. And my devotion to my dreams recently paid off when I signed with agent Stephen Fraser of the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency. What does this mean to me? Soooo much, but I won’t go into that right now because there’s something else I’m here to announce.


© 2016 Photo by Carol Munro

Having an agent gives me extra hours in every day. I no longer need to research agents, editors, and publishers, write query letters, submit manuscripts, and track responses. So before I fill that time by, say, trying to break the Guinness world record for the largest yarn ball, I’ve decided to do something more meaningful while maintaining focus on my craft.

I’m now offering manuscript and query letter critique services primarily for serious picture book writers, but also for writers of other kidlit genres and novels for adults. Click here or on the Writing Services tab above for all the details.

I’m so excited! But to ratchet up the thrill just a bit more – and because May is my birthday month – I’m offering you a gift.

Request a picture book manuscript critique
now through May 31 and save $10!

So if you’re in the market for a professional critique, I hope you’ll use my services, especially if your focus is beginning to wander away from your dreams.


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Photo Challenge / Writing Prompt #31 (the finale)

August was a month of unlocking, of learning.

  • I learned how quickly weeds could grow in the area of our yard where we’re landscaping and how exhausting it is to shovel, haul, and dump all those pretty little stones we’re spreading.
  • I learned I could ignore the sweat dripping down my face as we worked in the two rooms we’re renovating upstairs in our home and how to peel off sweat-soaked tee shirts without stretching them completely and permanently out of shape.
  • I learned to trust my writing instincts and write the stories I want to write even if they don’t fit the current demands for the genre.

Through this photo challenge, I learned to see what I was looking at, to see from new perspectives, to see that a subject not centered could be the center of attention in a photo. I thank Melodye Shore for introducing me to this challenge, Susannah Conway for making it possible, and all my fellow challenge photographers for sharing their beautiful work from their spots in this world we call our home.

And now, the final photo challenge writing prompt.

©2015 Photo by Carol Munro

©2015 Photo by Carol Munro

Photo prompt: August was…

Writing prompt: …unlocked. Your character is ignorant, unaware, oblivious, or confused until something – a word, a thought, an image, a person, a place – something makes his mind suddenly kick into gear. He gets it. Things fall into place. Everything is perfectly clear. He knows exactly what he should do now. Go. Write. Have fun.

Photo and writing prompt © Carol Munro, 2015

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Photo Challenge / Writing Prompt #30

©2015 Photo by Carol Munro

©2015 Photo by Carol Munro

Photo prompt: Smile

Writing prompt: Ooga. Ooga. I love the wildlife in my yard. They bring me lots of smiles. But what if I lived in a cave? Would I linger at its mouth to observe this guy with the cute smile? Uh, no. I’d be holed up the the back room. Oo…oo…ooga!

Write about the days of the troglodyte. Write about a liberated, feminist cave woman. Or a cave boy who befriends a Protoceratops. Or a cave man who’s afraid to bring home the bacon. Or write about inventing fire. Or what your troglodyte smile might get you if you use it to your best advantage. Go. Write. Have fun.

For more info about the photo challenge, go here:

Photo and writing prompt © Carol Munro, 2015


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