Monthly Archives: October 2013

Love it. Don’t love it. Ewww.

Whew! So far, 134 fictional picture books have been nominated for the Cybils awards. The nomination period for the general public is now closed, but over the next few weeks, professionals in the publishing industry will be making their nominations. Since October 1, I’ve read about 60 books (sincere thanks to the suddenly overburdened folks who manage and deliver books via the Inter Library Loan service), and I have a dozen or so on my short list. Some great books have been nominated, so I’m being very strict about how I evaluate which ones I’ll consider sending on to the final judging process. One little hiccup in the flow of the story, and sorry, not going on the short list. Fabulous illustrations but a story that’s ordinary? Sorry, no. A beautiful story but I just don’t like the art? Not getting recommended.

I compare my short list with the lists of the other four judges in my category. We agree on many books, but I’ve seen books on their lists and wondered, what are they thinking? I’m sure they do the same. This whole process has reinforced what I’ve known all along. It’s all subjective. We’re all judges, and we all have different tastes.

I submitted a manuscript to an agent yesterday. I LOVE this story I’ve told. It’s tender and funny and even a bit scary. It’s been rejected a half dozen times, and I got discouraged. I decided it wasn’t a lovely story. I decided it needed work – work that I put off doing. But I read it yesterday morning and LOVED it. So I submitted it. Everything is subjective. Maybe this agent will love it, too.

That’s my little bit of encouragement to my fellow writers. And here’s some more. Marcie Flinchum Atkins has another We’re All In This Together post on her blog. EW Clark, Sue Heavenrich, Vivian Kirkfield, Liz Parker Garcia, Alayme Kay Christian, Amie Rose Rotruck, Romelle Broas Guittap, Marcie, and I share some inspirational quotes for writers. Go take a look if you’re curious. Or need encouragement.

One more thing, I’ve been participating in Kathy Ellen Davis’s picture book reading challenge, 31 in 31. We pledge to read a picture book each day in October (yeah, not exactly a problem for me!) and post about it on her blog. Every five days, she has a drawing for a book. On day 15, I WON! Eagerly waiting for my copy of OVER AND UNDER THE SNOW by Kate Messner, illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal. Visit the blog to see what we’ve read and  get PB recommendations.

 

 

Advertisements

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Cybils judging has started!

Nominations began flooding in for the 2013 Cybils awards on October 1. Public nominations will be accepted until October 15. That means if you’re not a professional agent, editor, or publisher working in the kid lit industry, go here to find out how to nominate your favorite children’s books. After October 15, noms are open to the pros only.

I’ve been having a fun time judging the Fiction Picture Book category, and some gorgeously illustrated, beautifully written books are accumulating on my short list. I’m making notes about every book I read – what I love, what I don’t – to jog my memory in December when I have to whittled that list down to about five books. FIVE! Oh, give me strength. How will I decide? In January, the final round judges will begin the truly difficult work of choosing winners in each category.

Meanwhile, I’m doing well on my personal goals (which are to write a new PB manuscript each month, revise at least one each month, submit at least one each month, and read at least 10 PBs per week). I read 56 picture books in September, so I’m behind by only a hundred or so. Of those 56, here are my favorites:

  • BEAR HAS A STORY TO TELL by Philip C. Stead, illustrated by Erin E. Stead, 2012, A Neal Porter Book (Roaring Brook Press/Holtzbrinck Publishing)
  • FLORA AND THE FLAMINGO by Molly Idle, 2013, Chronicle Books
  • FROG SONG by Brenda Z. Guiberson, illustrated by Gennady Spirin, 2013, Henry Holt and Company
  • GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS AND THE 33 BEARS AND THE BLIIM AND THE FURNITURE AND LOTS MORE VARIATIONS by Allan Ahlberg, illustrated by Jessica Ahlberg, 2012, Candlewick Press
  • IF YOU WANT TO SEE A WHALE by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Erin E. Stead, 2013, A Neal Porter Book/Roaring Brook Press (Holtzbrinck Publishing)
  • KEL GILLIGAN’S DAREDEVIL STUNT SHOW by Michael Buckley, illustrated by Dan Santat, 2012 Abrams Books for Young Readers
  • LITTLE PIG JOINS THE BAND by David Hyde Costello, 2011, Charlesbridge
  • LUCKY DUCKLINGS by Eva Moore, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter, 2013, Orchard Books (Scholastic Inc.)
  • MOLE HAD EVERYTHING by Jamison Odone, 2012, Blue Apple Books
  • RED CAT, BLUE CAT by Jenni Desmond, 2012, Blue Apple Books
DSCF1928

(c) 2013 Photo by Carol Munro

Now, if I were a round two judge, and these books were the Cybils’ finalists, LITTLE PIG JOINS THE BAND would easily be my choice for THE WIN. (It doesn’t meet the rules regarding publication date, so, sadly, I can’t nominate it. Oh, and I must confess that I wrote a love fan letter to David Hyde Costello. Alright, love letter, since I think I used the word love about a dozen times. But it’s Little Pig I really love.)

I don’t care who you are or how old you are, go to your library or bookstore, find this book, and sit down to read it. Picture book writers and illustrators: you’ll learn something even if you think you already know it all. Slackers: think of it as a motivational handbook. Corporate ladder climbers: here’s your leadership training manual. I’m teasing, but seriously, get the book and read it. I already hear you thanking me for the recommendation.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

BEN RIDES ON with perilously big words. Good for you, Matt Davies!

I’m getting ready for Tara Lazar’s PiBoIdMo (30 picture book ideas in 30 days in November) by participating in a fun challenge created by Kathy Ellen Davis called 31 in 31. Participants pledge to read a picture book each day in October, then post about it on Kathy Ellen’s blog. It’s helping me meet my goal of 500 PBs read this year, and I’m getting leads on some very tempting, must-read picture books. Interested in taking the 31 in 31 or PiBoIdMo challenges. Click on the links to learn more.

I decided I wanted to share what I posted on the 31 in 31 blog today. Here it is:

My PB of the day is BEN RIDES ON by Matt Davies, 2013, A Neal Porter Book (Roaring Brook Press), 341 words.

The story and illustrations are terrific. I loved remembering how I felt when I got my first bike. Ben’s bike is stolen by a bully. You’ll thoroughly enjoy how the problem is resolved.

What I liked best about the book is Matt Davies use of L O N G words most PB writers shy away from — lots of long words.

Possession.

Devastated.

Explained, revolved, revenge. (All in one sentence!)

Peculiar.

Immediate investigation.

Whereupon.

Discovered.

Significant.

Extraordinarily. (Yes, really, the six-syllable, fifteen-letter extraordinarily.)

There are more. They’re used perfectly, so kids will get a pretty clear idea of what they mean, and they’re used in a story told in a way that kids will want it read again and AGAIN! (Nod to Emily Gravett. Look it up.) What a lovely way to teach kids new words. Three cheers, Matt Davies!

Read this book and ride the waves of emotion with Ben. Thoroughly enjoyable.

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized