Tag Archives: picture books

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.

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© 2016 Photo by Carol Munro

 

 

2015

  • 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.

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© 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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PBers: Eyes Over Here! Hot News. Act NOW!

I’m here to tell you about two important things — 12×12 and ReFoReMo. Read on.

12×12 registration ends February 28.

I’ve mentioned Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 challenge often in this blog, and here I am again shouting out about the best writing challenge for PB writers who want to:

  • get and stay motivated to study craft,
  • write and revise manuscripts, and
  • get brave – and smart – about submitting.

The benefits are too numerous to mention here, but you can see for yourself here.

Membership at the GOLD level is now closed, and the SILVER and BRONZE levels will close on February 28. If you write PBs, you owe it to yourself to learn more about 12×12 and decide if you should join. Do it now because after February 28, membership is closed. For. The. Rest. Of. The. Year. And you’ll have to wait until next January for another chance to join.

ReFoReMo is coming in March.

Never heard of it? That’s because this brainchild of Carrie Charley Brown is debuting this year. It’s a month of study of picture books for PB writers and illustrators with PB experts posting daily about – you guessed it – PBs.

I first met Carrie through the 12×12 picture book challenge. We quickly became online friends and recently served together (with five others) as first round judges of picture books for the Cybils competition. I so enjoyed reading her comments about the books we judged, and I appreciated seeing things from her point of view when we stood on opposite ends in our whittling down of the best seven of more than 200 books. She’s intelligent, insightful, a former teacher using picture books in her classroom, and a writer of PBs who’s studied her craft. I’m sure ReFoReMo will be a grand success because of her experience and her big heart that makes her want to help others. Click here to learn more about ReFoReMo.

You’re welcome. Have a great year!

 

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Do it now or wait a whole year

Have you nominated your favorite books for the Cybils competition? October 15 is the last day for public nominations. You have ONE DAY LEFT. Just one day. Today.

C’mon, you’ve got favorite books, right? If they’ve been released between October 16, 2013 and October 15, 2014, they’re eligible for nomination.

Go here to check out the rules.

Then nominate. (One nom per category.)

Is this your favorite?

The Noisy Paint Box

Or this?

Going Places

Or this?

Extraordinary Jane

Or this?

Have You Heard the Nesting Bird?

Or this?

Planet Kindergarten

Or this?

Hopper and Wilson Fetch a Star

Or this?

Out of the Blue

Or this?

Rupert Can Dance

Can you believe it? These picture books (some of my faves) haven’t been nominated yet. (Hint, hint.)

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Slacker. That’s what I am.

Are you kidding me? I haven’t posted my favs since January?  Someone should have fired me by now.

Here, finally, are my favorites of the picture books I’ve read in February. And March. And April. And May. (Sheesh.)

  • ABC3D by Marion Bataille, 2008, A Neal Porter Book (Roaring Brook Press)
  • THE BEAR SAID PLEASE by Jacque Duffy, 2014, Wombat Books
  • BUGS IN MY HAIR by David Shannon, 2013, Blue Sky Press
  • CHEESE BELONGS TO YOU by Alexis Deacon, illustrated by Viviane Schwarz, 2013, Candlewick Press
  • COME BACK, MOON by David Kherdian, illustrated by Nonny Hogrogian, 2013, Beach Lane Books
  • EENIE, MEENY, MINEY MOLE by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Kathryn Brown, 1992, Harcourt Brace & Company
  • HAROLD AND THE PURPLE CRAYON by Crockett Johnson, 1955, Harper Festival (HarperCollins)
  • HERE COMES THE EASTER CAT by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Claudia Rueda, 2014, Dial Books for Young Readers (Penguin Random House)
  • HOW TO BICYCLE TO THE MOON TO PLANT SUNFLOWERS by Mordicai Gerstein, 2013, Roaring Brook Press
  • JUMPING PENGUINS by Jesse Goossens, illustrated by Marije Tolman, 2013, Lemniscaat
  • MISS MOUSIE’S BLIND DATE by Tim Reiser, illustrated by Rachel Berman, 2012, Tundra Books of Northern New York
  • OFF WE GO! by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Laurel Molk, 2000, Little, Brown and Company
  • THE SILVER BUTTON by Bob Graham, 2013, Candlewick Press
  • WAKING DRAGONS by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Derek Anderson, 2012, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Yes, I hadn’t read Purple Crayon until just recently. Not sure how that happened. And yes, I have three books by Jane Yolen on this list. How could anyone have a list of fav books without Jane’s books included? Unless those anyones aren’t reading Jane’s books. And if that’s the case, what the heck is wrong with you?

 

 

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Focus. Write. Squirrels!

There’s a new post in Marcie Flinchum AtkinsWe’re All In This Together. This month we answered this question: What is one thing that you’ve done to help yourself grow as a writer that you would recommend to someone else?” If you’re a writer, hop over to WAITT and see what Marcie, Vivian Kirkfield, Sue Heavenrich, Romelle Broas, and I have to say.

I talked about staying focused. That’s a tough thing for me. If you follow astrology, you’ll understand when I say I’m a Gemini. I love projects, and it’s easy for me to start many and finish few. So to stay on target with my writing, I need to remind myself of my goals.

Every. Single. Day.

Mmmm…good omelet.

Oh, sorry, I’m having breakfast as I write this. Got distracted. (Focus, Carol.)

In the 12×12 online community of picture book writers (best place ever for PB writers), our challenge is to write one new manuscript per month. So far this year, by staying focused, I’ve written nine. Two of them include squirrels. Maybe because I’ve also renewed my focus on photography (pun unintended), and squirrels in our yard have been a subject for me. Check out this baby (an eight week old, I’m guessing).

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He fell asleep in the nook of my arm.

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