Tag Archives: 31 in 31

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.




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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.



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


Immediate investigation.




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.


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