Up-coming Author Appearances
November 11, 2016
Click to listen to the recording
November 17, 2016
Local Author Open House
Spencer Library Branch
427 Spencer Road, St. Peters 63376
South Central Elementary School, Kinmundy, IL April 14, 2016
ICD School visit March 1, 2016
With Nancy Polette, Writing for Children instructor, October 1, 2015
Picture Book Intensive, SCBWI conference September 2015, Soaring to New Heights
Author visit, with Author and Instructor (Writing for Children), Nancy Polette May 2015
Author visit at Troy Buchannan HS March 2015
Scholastic Book Fair, St. Charles, Missouri December 2014
Scholastic Book Fair, Fenton, Missouri December 2014
Scholastic Book Fair, Columbia, Missouri December 2014
Saturday Writers presentation on writing and marketing a picture book, June 2014, St. Peters MO
Lakeview Elementary School, O'Fallon, MO in April 2014
With Kim Piddington, Missouri SCBWI Regional Advisor, at the Missouri Association of School Librarians convention in St. Louis, April
Indiana SCBWI Spring conference April 2014
Chesterfield, MO children's writers group at Christmas 2013
scholastic Warehouse Book Signing December 7, 2013
At Main Street Books with owner, Vickie Erwin November 30th
B&N with authors Mike Force, Chris DiGiuseppi, and Valerie Battle Kienzle November 22nd
Local Author Open House at MK Library in O'Fallon, November 21st
Carlin Park Elementary School Angola, IN
Sherwood School Scholastic Book Fair in Arnold, MO
ICD Scholastic Book Fair with students--Immaculate Conception Dardenne Prairie, MO
Peggy with children's author Karen Guccione-Englert at the MK Library Local Authors Open House in O'Fallon, MO
Book signing at Indianapolis Fairgrounds, with Mary Igras
Author Visit to Immaculate Conception School (ICD) April 2012
ICD library staff
Edison Elementary School Hammond IN
Lincoln Elementary School Hammond IN
Beta Delta Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma, Hammond IN
Heather Alexander, editor at Dial Books for Young Readers
Quinlan Lee, agent, Adams Literary Agency
Suzanne Morgan Williams, author of BULL RIDER
Kids Ink Independent Children's Bookstore, downtown Indianapolis
Shirley Mullin, bookstore owner, with children's authors Janna Mathies, Peggy, and Nathan Clement
Thank You cards from Holy Family School in South Bend
Fieler Elementary students
Ms Hanneman's class at Northview Elementary
In the classroom at Northview Elementary School
Talking to students at Northview Elementary
Working together to create a poem in Starke County
Talking with students at Starke County
Author Judy Roth and students at the Starke County Young Artists Day
Booksigning at B&N Bookfair
Anderson's Children's Literature Breakfast, with author and keynote speaker Tim Green
friendly staff at The Bookstore
Author Book Signing
Butler University Chorus entertains with Christmas Carols
Turkey for Thanksgiving?
Stuffee and the author
November: Picture Book Idea Month
Author Panel: the Road to Publishing--Kathryn Page Camp moderating
Kate Collins: adult trade publishing, mysteries
Peggy Archer: children's trade publishing, picture books
Katherine Flotz: self-publishing, memoir
Michael Poore: adult trade publishing, fiction
Cynthia Echterling: e-publishing & small press, science fiction
Author visit to Portage Public Library, October 23rd
Esther Hershenhorn talks about the Reader's story and the Writer's story
Esther shares resources, experience, and opportunities
Trish Batey, Indiana RA
Yellow paper on your back gave a hint of 'What author are you?' for the day
Peggy Archer gives an overview of the 2010 SCBWI conference in LA
Karen Kulinski gives an update on Indiana's HoosierLinks
Janna Mathies at the piano sings "Why It Matters" by Sara Groves
IN SCBWI steering committee with Trish: (L to R) Karen Kulinski, HoosierLinks, Kristi Valiant, Website Coordinator, Alina Klein, Listserv Coordinator, Peggy, ARA (not pictured: Sharon Vargo, Illustrator Coordinator)
New Regional Advisor, Kristi Valiant, talks about plans for 2011
Indiana SCBWI: Outgoing RA Trish Batey, ARA Peggy Archer, Incoming RA Kristi Valiant
Visiting with author/illustrator Nathan Clement and son Theo at the ROAR author event
Autographing for a young reader
Story Time at ROAR's (Reach Out and Read) Evening With the Authors Event in Indianapolis
Reading to young bankers at Citizens Financial Bank in Valparaiso
Some of the crowd at the SCBWI conference in LA
Ashley Bryan, Golden Kite winner for Nonfiction
with Keynote speaker and Golden Kite winner, Marion Dane Bauer
Illustrator and Keynote speaker, Loren Long
E.B. Lewis, Keynote speaker
with Keynote speaker, Gennifer Choldenke
Keynote speaker, Gordon Korman
Chris Cheng, Australia RA and SCBWI Member of the Year
Kris Vreeland, Independent Bookstore manager, Vroman's Bookstore
Eva Mitnick, LA librarian and reviewer for SLJ
Greg Pinkus and Alice Pope on networking
with Lin Oliver, co-founder of SCBWI
Steve Mooser, co-founder of SCBWI, with Sally Crock RAE
Indiana SCBWI members Mary Jo, Shannon, and Peggy celebrate in LA with Heart and Soul.
East and Midwest members celebrate at the Golden Kite Luncheon in LA--Peggy, Courtney, Julia and Mary Jo.
Peggy with Alice and Lisa, co-RAs from IL--friends and roommates
Linda V., formerly of Indiana, with her 'dog-in-training,' Dusty.
Anyone for Literary Bingo?
This is the cornfield just down the street from my house on July 13th. That's me with the boot on my foot again!
Local Authors Day, Valparaiso B&N
Welcome to the Young Artists Fair in Plainfield, IN
Signing books at Van Buren Elementary School in Plainfield, IN
Happy Birthday, Name That Dog!
Little reader loving that dog book!
Celebrating the Book Launch!
Doggy treats at the book launch party
With Jocelyn at the Porter County Expo Center for the Be Kind to Animals Celebration
Speaking to readers and writers at the LaPorte County Public Library in April
Our new grandpuppy, Dudley!
The new Mr. and Mrs. Biggs!
Trish Batey, Indiana SCBWI RA, Stephen Roxburg, Lisa Graff, Helen Frost, Peggy Archer, Indiana SCBWI ARA
Stephen Roxburg, Publisher of namelos, talked about writing the YA novel, the current state of publishing, and his new company, namelos
Lisa Graff, Middle Grade author, talks about writing the middle grade novel and the Slush Pile
Lisa autographs books with a smile
Introducing Helen Frost, YA author and poet
Question and Answer panel--Lisa, Stephen, and Helen
Registration, getting to know you
Schmoozing with other writers
Trish with author, Valiska Gregory
Books for sale--writers can never have too many!
Taking it all in.
Afternoon Tea with the author in Mitchell
Alexis talks about storytime for the very young
My little corner--I love when students come up to talk.
HOW many dogs do you have?!
Authors of the day
Keynote address: Growing an Author with Peggy Archer
Making a book with Katie Mitschelen
Research--detective work, with Peggy Miller
Crafting a poem with Mary Ann Moore
Becoming an artist with Edwin Shelton
Music with the Band
One small hand holding onto another
Name That Dog! Sharing F&G's and write-up in Dial's catalog with group.
Writers Christmas lunch and meeting in Michigan City
Meeting up with Esther and Karen in Chicago
Name That Dog! ISBN: 978-0-8037-3322-0
Writing friends from the beginning!
Drawing a turkey at Hussey-Mayfield Public Library-- Zionsville, IN
Autographs at Hussey-Mayfield Library, Zionsville
"Who likes to eat turkey at Thanksgiving?" --Morton Elementary School, Hammond, IN
Thank you cards from Morton Elementary students
Reading to my grandson's pre-school class at Zion Lutheran School-- Bethalto, IL
Family Book Basket
Courtney Bongiolatti, Editor S&S
Laurent Linn, Art Director S&S
Terry Harshman, Editor CBHI
Author-Illustrators, Kristi Valiant and Sharon Vargo
Kristi Valiant, IN-SCBWI logo winner
Our volunteer crew (minus a few)
author Katie Mitschelen and Peggy enjoying the conference
Janine Harrison, opening remarks
Sharon Palmeri, President IWC and speaker
Kathryn Page Camp speaks on Taxes for Writers
Kate Collins, mystery book author and Keynote speaker
Gordon Stamper, secretary IWC
Peggy, Sally, and Karen--writing friends enjoying the dinner event together
Autographs with a smile :)
Smokies in the morning
Smile and say 'author'!
Ready to start!
Sara Grant, Editor, Working Partners
One on one with Sara
Author and Editor...
Getting to know you...
Sharing thoughts... connecting
Our Kentucky friends...
Trish, RA, Peggy, ARA, Christi and Alina, steering committee members
Picture book author, April Pulley Sayre, speaking in South Bend.
Esther and Heidi
Esther with Steve and Sally from National SCBWI
Heidi and Peggy, friends and poets
We came from Indiana...
...from California and Iowa
and enjoyed the friendships.
Peggy, Karen & Esther--connecting once again.
Critique group gathering at Peggy Miller's house. Karen, Fred, Mary Ann, Katie, Judy, & the two Peggy's in front.
Our daughter, Sarah & our son, Dan both sang original songs at the Porter County Fair in the Colgate Country Showdown.
From Fort Wayne to Whiting, we gathered to talk & gain some bit of insight into the world of creating children's books.
Enjoying the company of other children's writers & illustrators.
Meeting other children's writers.
Smiles were free.
Peggy Archer talks about trade publishers.
Judy Roth talks about working with a small publisher.
Karen Kulinski talks about working with an agent.
Karen fielding questions.
Peggy with the Cat in the Hat
Katie and the Cat in the Hat
I won a collection of autographed books from the IL SCBWI (Society of Children's Writers & llustrators) booth at ALA for the Valparaiso Public Library. An awesome prize! Thank you IL SCBWI!
Peggy, presenting books won at ALA to Connie Sullivan, Branch Manager and Leslie Cefali, Youth Services Assistant, Valparaiso Public Library.
November 18, 2016
is one of many new friends that I made through SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators) when we moved from Indiana to Missouri five years ago. I’m so pleased to interview her here on my blog during Picture Book Month!
Jeanie is the author of several picture books for children. She is a licensed professional counselor, and former elementary school counselor. She is also a former advertising copywriter and freelance magazine writer.
Earlier this year we celebrated the release of her newest picture book, There’s a Cat in Our Class.
Her book celebrates the diversity of children, and the value of accepting and enjoying the differences of others around us. Read more about her book below.
Welcome to my blog, Jeanie!
When you have an idea for a book, how do you start? How do you structure it?
Before I ever start writing, I let the idea roll around in my head for a while. “A while” for me can mean days, months, even years. There are probably still some rolling around up there from when I started writing for kids more than fifteen years ago -- along with a few rocks, I’m sure! I know an idea is ready to take to the page when bits and pieces of the story -- a conversation, a situation, a turn of phrase – start coming to me, often in the middle of the night, or in the shower, or while walking the dogs. That’s when I grab a blank notebook and start playing with words. As more of the story bubbles up from whatever part of my brain it’s been simmering, I capture what I can in a blank notebook, then begin to turn bits and pieces into sentences and paragraphs. I like to write my first draft the “old school” way, in longhand, then move to the computer when the words really start to fly. I like to edit my manuscripts the “old school” way, too, printing out the pages and marking them up by hand. That’s what works for me, but everyone’s different. Find what works for you, then stick with it!
Is there anything that you feel helped you to go from unpublished to published author?
The three Ps: Patience, persistence, and perseverance.
I think we could all post those three P’s as a reminder in the place where we write! How does your experience as an elementary school counselor inform, inspire, and affect your writing, Jeanie?
Before I was a school counselor, I was an advertising copywriter and freelance magazine writer for 20+ years. My first career gave me a solid writing foundation, as well as the ability to pitch and promote a variety of products and services. My second career, as a school counselor, gave me first-hand experience working with kids as well as educators. Both careers prepared me in so many ways for my third career as a children’s author.
What is the best piece of advice you've ever been given about writing?
Write the book you want to write, not the book you think you should write.
Do you have any advice for beginning children’s writers?
Join SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators
)! SCBWI has a wealth of resources and opportunities for writers (and illustrators), including conferences, workshops, and retreats.
Attend a state, regional, or national SCBWI conference.
Find a critique group in your area – or online.
Read as many new books in your genre as you can.
Today’s picture books are vastly different from picture books published ten years ago. My first picture book came out in 2000, and the word count was 1,200. My 2016 and 2017 releases all have 750 words or less. The world of children’s publishing is extremely competitive. If you’re serious about getting published, you have to do your homework.
What books are you reading now?
I like to alternate between middle grade and adult fiction, though sometimes I’m reading both genres at the same time, or something totally different, like a memoir or a collection of essays. Right now, I’m reading Ann Patchett’s new novel, “Commonwealth,” which the author autographed when she came to Traverse City, Michigan, last month for the National Writers Series, as well as Peter Brown’s first middle-grade novel, “The Wild Robot.”
Congratulations on another new book that you have coming out soon! What can you tell us about that?
comes out on April 11, 2017. The illustrator is Ovi Nedelcu
, and the publisher is Two Lions. I just got the F&Gs, and I’m really excited to launch this book!
I’m happy to share that excitement with you. Thank you so much for being my guest here during Picture Book Month, Jeanie.
Picture Book Month
is an international literacy initiative that celebrates the print picture book during the month of November each year. Jeanie is one of the 2016 Picture Book Champions
featured on the Picture Book website. Check her post there (November 12th) to find out why picture books are important to her. Then check out other picture book champions featured there daily throughout the month.
You can find out more about Jeanie and her books on her author website
There’s a Cat in Our Class—A Tale About Getting Along
Magination Press 2016
ISBN: 9 781433 822629
November 17, 2016
There’s a Cat in Our Class—A Tale About Getting Along
By Jeanie Ransom
Magination Press 2016
ISBN: 9 781433 822629
There’s a Cat in Our Class celebrates the diversity of children, and the value of accepting and enjoying the differences of others around us.
“Criss-cross gravy sauce, paws in your lap,” Miss Biscuit tells her 18 tail-wagging students. When she tells her pups that a new student will be joining them, they never expect it to be a cat! They soon find out that their ideas of what they think a cat is like are not always right. And in the end they find that whether you are the same or different doesn’t really matter at all.
A Note to Readers by Gayle E. Pitman, psychologist, on ways to talk with children about diversity is included at the end of the book.
November 15, 2016
Picture Book Month
is an international literacy initiative that celebrates the print
picture book during the month of November. It encourages the recognition of picture books through blogs, tweets and other activities.
For those of us who write picture books this is a fun time. Just put ‘picture book month’ in the search bar on your computer and you’ll find all kinds of great websites and blog posts to browse through!
Here’s one from 2012 that I hadn’t seen before on the history of children’s picture books. It posted on Brain Pickings: A Brief History of Children’s Picture Books and the Art of Visual Storytelling
. The post is really wonderful, and includes many famous quotes with regards to picture books through the years—my favorite part, as I love quotes.
My husband thinks that there is no one
who takes more picture books home from the library than I do! I’m sure he’s wrong. But I do take my share of them home. Here are some recent picture books that I’ve enjoyed—
NED THE KNITTING PIRATE
by Diana Murray
, illustrated by Leslie Lammle
(Roaring Brook Press 2016). “We’re grouchy and slouchy. We don’t ever quit! We slurp, and we burp, and we gulp, and we… KNIT!” How does a pirate who likes to knit fit in on a pirate ship?
by Ethan Long
(Bloomsbury 2015). Operation Kiddie Scare looks like it’s going to be a flop. And having an “adorable little bunny” ask to join the Fright Club is no help. Find out what a bunny and its friends do to put the Fright Club back on track.
MR. DUCK MEANS BUSINESS
by Tammi Sauer
, illustrated by Jeff Mack
(Simon & Schuster 2011). Mr. Duck is perfectly content, in his quiet pond, with his solitary routine. When a group of noisy farm animals crashes the pond, Duck finally sets them straight, and it's back to his peaceful routine--with one small change that pleases everyone.
THE PIRATE AND THE PENGUIN
by Patricia Storms
(Owlkids Books 2009). What happens when a penguin who doesn't like penguin things, and a pirate who doesn't like pirate things, cross paths? Another fun read.
THE VERY NOISY HOUSE
by Julie Rhodes
, illustrated by Korky Paul
(Frances Lincoln Children’s Books 2013). Fun accumulation of noise, floor by floor, in a very tall house! Things start to settle down, then...
The Picture Book Month celebration
originated in November 2011 by founder Dianne de Las Casas
(author & storyteller), and Co-Founders, Katie Davis
(author/illustrator), Elizabeth O. Dulemba
(author/illustrator), Tara Lazar
(author), and Wendy Martin
On the Picture Book Month website
, you’ll find daily posts by the 2016 Picture Book Champions blogging about why they feel picture books are important. They include many favorite picture book authors and illustrators.
You’ll also find activities and ways to celebrate picture books
on the site. The website includes picture book resources and resources for literacy organizations.
You don’t need young kids to join in on the celebration! But if you want to make it even more
fun and you don’t have any kids of your own, you might want to ‘borrow’ some from the neighbors! ps—ask first!
October 19, 2016
Last week I visited Nancy Polette’s
class for adults on Writing for Children
and talked about my journey from Reader to Writer. I came to the part where I had written some board books for Highlights Press
, and said how important it had been to them that my verse was absolutely perfect in rhyme and rhythm. That’s when one of the students brought up a question that I’m sure many aspiring children’s poets ask.
He said, “I hear it all the time, make your rhyme and rhythm perfect!
But,” he said, “I read many books of children’s poetry and books in verse, and they are not written with perfect rhythm and rhyme!” He wanted to know why we say to make your poetry perfect when so much of what we see published is not so.
I’m sure that I didn’t answer his question very well then. So I thought I’d put some of my thoughts about it here.
I enjoy rhyme in children’s poetry, whether it’s a collection of poems or a picture book in verse. I like it when the rhythm is right on, and the rhyme isn’t forced. It bothers me when words are switched around to make them rhyme, and when the rhythm trips me up. It interrupts my thoughts, and it interrupts the story. And I’m not sure why some of those books get published.
That’s how I
feel, and I know that editors who say that they don’t want to see any
poetry, really mean they don’t want to see bad
poetry—‘bad’ meaning imperfect rhythm and rhyme. And they do see a lot of it. So an author who is talking to beginning children’s writers about writing poetry or books in verse would be neglect if they didn’t pass that along to their listeners.
Yes, there are many rhyming books for children, and they’re not all done very well. But the children’s authors who write poetry and do it well, with good rhyme and rhythm, have books that are on the ‘best books for children lists,’ and that are nominated or win awards. And those are the kinds of books that editors are looking for.
So, one reason for writing perfect rhyme and rhythm is in the competition. Your book is going to compete with the thousands of picture books
that cross an editor’s desk each day/week/month. And by working to make your book the best that you can, you’re working your way past that first reader
and past all of those manuscripts
, toward the editor’s desk.
Talking more on the topic, the student said that often 'when he reads a book where the rhyme is perfect, it’s boring!' Some years back, the general opinion in the publishing world was that younger kids
liked rhyming poetry, but older students did not,
and preferred free verse. I remember that I disagreed, and I still do. I think that if rhyme is done well, it’s fun. It can also be a learning tool for older children as well as younger ones
—for example, when learning the names of the states, or learning musical notes.
If a rhyming poem for older children is very long, and written in simple verses of four lines throughout the book or poem, it would probably be a bit boring. But it can be fixed!
You can add detail, and rich language. You can ‘change it up’ a bit in places, with a repeating phrase or repeating lines. Put a twist at the end.
For younger children, such as the 0 to 2 year-old group
that the Highlights board books target, rhyme should be perfect,
because it makes it easier for them to understand, and to learn. Most board books at this age are concept books, designed to teach the child something. They are short, to go with the short attention span of a two year-old. Verse that follows the same pattern, and the same rhyme scheme become familiar to them, and they expect it. Not all board books are written for this young age.
If you’re thinking of writing for this age, or any age child, I would suggest getting a book about the developmental stages of children.
As a former nurse who worked with children, I have a medical book that shows this. There are many other books for parents on child development including the ‘What to Expect When Your Child is…’ books.
As a child grows he has better comprehension, and you can add some unexpected rhythm—maybe an added syllable in just the right place, like a grace note in music. Or extra syllables to speed things up. But before you do, write perfect rhyme and rhythm!
I think that before you ‘break the rules,’ you should ‘learn the rules.’
If you do that, then when you do make exceptions you’ll understand why it works. And it will make your poetry better.
Perfect rhyme, and perfect rhythm, isn’t easy! And it isn’t quick. But it’s worth the effort.
So don’t give up! And maybe someday your collection of poems or picture book in verse will be on that list of ‘best books for children!’
September 14, 2016
Sometimes good news comes just at the right time! My life has been a bit crazy this summer. Mostly good crazy—but crazy, just the same.
We’ve had some great times with grandkids, family and friends
--overnight visits with grandkids, swimming, ballgames, and just hanging out doing fun things
--hiking, swimming and campfires with our kids and grandkids, and seeing family and friends from out of town
--celebrating other author’s victories and meeting new people
Every time I take a break I come back to those neglected ‘R’s—Reading, Revision, Research—
and of course, wRiting!
It can be maddening at times. I want to sit down and just write! But I have to
--check my email
--pay the bills
--shop for groceries
--clean (well, maybe I can skip that one until company comes)
--cook (there’s always fast food…)
--clean veggies (next year I am not, NOT
going to plant a garden! Really
… I mean it!...)
But this time in the middle of all of this ‘catching up’ I got an email from the editor at Chicken Soup for the Soul
. My story Double Exposure
made the final cut and will be included in their upcoming book, Angels and Miracles
! Writing this story was a little bit out of my comfort zone, because it’s a story for adults. But it’s also about something very close to my heart, since it’s a memory from when my mother passed away. And I do believe in angels and in miracles. The book will be released on November 1st
of this year.
Along with the news of my story coming up in Angels and Miracles
, I learned that the board books that I wrote for Highlights Press
are finally out and available for sale!
Look for FIND IT at the Construction Site
, and FIND IT at Bedtime
at these places:
(look under Highlights Books/Basic concepts)
B&N: Construction Site
Books-a-Million: Construction Site
Thanks so much for sharing in my good news. I hope that you’ll do a little happy dance with me, and that you’ll enjoy my newest books and my Chicken Soup memory.
September 13, 2016
Find It at Bedtime
, Highlights Press September 2016
September 12, 2016
Find It at the Construction Site
, Highlights Press August 2016
August 23, 2016
A couple of weeks ago my blog post was a list of fun ‘quirks’ that potential children’s writers have. But every children’s writer knows that there’s a lot more behind writing a children’s book than all the fun we have once it’s finished. Today I thought I’d look at some of the more ‘serious’ qualities that children’s writers have.
You might be a children’s writer if…
You have patience—
Writing for children takes a lot of patience. Most likely, the story starts out in your head. You finally get it down on paper at about 2,500 words. Then you realize that a picture book is more likely to be between 300 and 800 words! Many revisions later you finally have a nice tight story, ready for a publisher to snatch it right up.
You send it out, and wait—months, sometimes longer, before you hear back from the editor. Many rejections later you finally find the right editor who loves your story! After more revisions it’s finally finished, ready for the illustrator. Who takes a year or more to finish the artwork. You wait for the physical book to be put together, for reviews to come in, for your author copies to arrive…. Lots of patience, but totally worth it!
You can handle rejection—
There are many types of rejections. There are form rejections—a printed card or letter simply saying it’s not right for them, a letter signed by the editor saying it’s not right for them, a letter signed by the editor telling you why
it’s not right for them (encouraging because they took the time to give you feedback!
), or a letter signed by the editor saying it’s not right for them but asking to see more of your work (don’t pass on this!
). And of course, there’s the rejection that you don’t
receive, from a publisher that says ‘if you don’t hear from us after three months, we are not interested.’
You believe that children are intelligent and deserve your best effort—
Children’s writers see their readers as intelligent human beings, who soak up knowledge from the world around them. And they drive you to tell the story that opens their imagination, and that will captivate them!
You like to interact with children—
You enjoy being around children and love to hear what they have to say. Their perspective on things opens your own imagination, and helps you to see the world around you in a new way.
You have a sense of humor—
Your sense of humor lets you laugh and not take life too seriously. Things like—
“You’re pretty! I like your gray hair and wrinkles.” Or
“Are you more than 80 years old?”
don’t bother you at all!
Your ‘casual’ reading includes author, editor and agent blogs as well as books, magazines and newsletters about writing for children—and lots of children’s books!
Because this is your introduction to learning how to write children’s books well, and you don’t settle for less.
You attend events such as author appearances and book fairs—
Your love of books and writing spills over into your social life. You’d rather be here than at the amusement park.
You value what you do over how much money you make—
Sometimes you wonder why you do all of this work with no guarantee of publication. But you just can’t seem to stop. Stories pop in out of nowhere, and follow you everywhere. The objective is much more than the money you make, which is probably less than minimum wage when you figure in all the hours spent before your book is published. But all it takes is one child who loves your book, and you know
why you do it.
If you have these qualities, combined with any of the quirks of my previous post, I’d suggest that you seriously
consider writing for children!
August 11, 2016
I love writing for children! It’s not something I dreamed about doing from the time I was a little girl, like some children’s authors. But I always loved reading, and books. That’s my addiction. Children’s writers come from all walks of life—from being a mom or a dad, to teachers, nurses, engineers, and farmers.
There are signs, you know—signs that you might be a children’s writer! Here are just a few.
You might be a children’s writer if…
You can’t read a book for pleasure without critiquing it or line editing.
You critique plot and character when watching a movie.
You miss half of what people are saying because you’re off in the land of the latest book you’re writing.
You miss out on most of a lecture, sermon, speech, TV show… because something inspired you and you’re thinking up a new story, plot, characters, setting…
You take picture books home from the library even though you have no young children at home.
You visit family or friends and end up spending more time with the kids than with the adults.
You ad lib when reading your child a story.
You keep a pencil and paper and a flashlight by your bedside.
You find it difficult to part with your kids’ books when they’ve outgrown them.
You order more books from the book club flyers that come home from school than your kids do.
You can’t fall asleep at night because of all the words running through your head.
You have a collection of notes that you’ve written on napkins, newspapers, coupons and other pieces of paper.
You are a list maker, including lists of words that are fun to say out loud.
You make lists of rhyming words.
Working on crossword puzzles and word games is relaxing.
You take a book with you to read at the doctor’s office and are disappointed because your appointment is on time.
You miss meals because you’re writing and lose track of time.
You ‘watch’ TV but never know what’s going on.
You take a stack of books, pencils, paper, highlighters, and a laptop with you when you go on vacation.
You get your exercise by going to storybook walks at the park.
You love quotes from famous people, especially authors.
You get more excited about going to a book convention (think: BEA / ALA / Printers’ Row) than to an amusement park.
Local librarians and independent bookstore owners all know your name.
You have at least one bookshelf in each room of your house.
You think the book is always better than the movie.
You ask for books at Christmas and on your birthday.
Everyone gets a book from you at Christmas and on their birthday.
If you have any of the above symptoms, watch out! You just might be destined to be a children’s writer! (Thanks to Jeff Foxworthy for the ‘Here’s your sign’ inspiration).
July 3, 2016
Following are a handful of patriotic picture books to help celebrate America and Independence Day with a child. The first few are new to me, and the others are books that I especially like.
HOW TO BAKE AN AMERICAN PIE
by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Raul Colon
Margaret K. McElderry Books 2007
In this book the author adds American 'ingredients' that come from its land, from the people who came to America, and more. It reminds me of what the people in America all stand for, together. I personally like that some of the ingredients that she adds are 'forgiveness,' and 'faith, hope, and love.' "Place in God's hands and allow to rise." Well written in lyrical prose, with illustrations that combine reality with imagination.
AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL
by Katharine Lee Bates, illustrated by Wendell Minor
GP Putnam's sons 2003
Beautiful illustrations accompany the words to 'America the Beautiful' in a moving tribute to one of our nation's most beloved patriotic songs. In the introduction the illustrator tells us that "The paintings in this book are the images that come to my mind when I sing the words." Back matter tells us more about the author of the poem that became the song and how she came to write it, and about the composer who wrote the melody to the words. An illustrated glossary tells about the places shown in the illustrations, and a map of the United States shows the locations of some of America's 'most beautiful places.'
WHAT PRESIDENTS ARE MADE OF
by Hanoch Piven
Atheneum Books for Young Readers 2004
The author selected 17 different past presidents and chose a different attribute for each, based on something about that president or something that they liked to do. I love reading little known facts about history, and I really enjoyed this book. I wasn't crazy about the illustrations, but that's just my personal taste, and they certainly are interesting.
THE SCRAMBLED STATES OF AMERICA
by Laurie Keller
Square Fish Publishing 2002
A crazy tale of mixed-up geography, each state has its own personality as they travel across the US!
BAD KITTY FOR PRESIDENT
by Nick Bruel
Roaring Brook Press 2012
Bad Kitty decides to run for President of the neighborhood cat club. A fun way for kids to learn about the election process. Read this easy reader to find out if Bad Kitty wins! There is a glossary of election terms at the back of the book.
by David McPhail
Henry Holt & Co 1999
Mole Music is not necessarily a patriotic picture book, but it is a wonderful story of hope, and peace. It shows the difference that one person can make in the world, and the wonderful influence of music on the heart.
Mole feels that something is missing in his life. When he hears someone playing a violin, Mole realizes that he longs to make beautiful music, too. As he gets better, he wonders if his music could reach into people's hearts, or even change the world. The illustrations tell the story from another perspective, and show how Mole's music has an effect on others that is more magical than Mole will ever know.
I wish all of my friends here a wonderful and safe 4th of July! I hope you'll celebrate our country, and never take for granted the freedoms that others have won for us. May 'God Bless America' and all who live here.