Tag Archives: Children’s Literature

Picture Books Read in 2021 #351-400

29 Dec

To think I previously only journeyed through 100 picture books each year. I’ve now surpassed my goal of 365 picture books! This collection of books features Halloween and Thanksgiving themed stories with diversions built around talented imaginators such as Gris Grimly, Carolyn Crimi, and Michael Rex.

In this assortment of books, the following receive the coveted 5-star treatment:

2013 PiBoIdMo

24 Oct

While fall is cooling our bodies as winter prepares to visit, allow Tara Lazar’s Picture Book Idea Month to warm your creative soul!


CraveWriting has participated for the past three years and looks forward to awakening from a dormant period of children’s book writing hibernation. We strongly encourage all imaginators to participate by visiting TaraLazar.com and creating 30 original picture book ideas during the month of November.

Happy imagining everyone!

Clean that Desktop

2 Jan

Cleanliness may be next to godliness, but it’s definitely before productivity. For the daily grind of a writer, nothing numbs your work rate like clutter. In the digital age of publishing, writers now have two desks to maintain. First, your physical wooden, steel, or LEGO desk. And second, the visual “desk” of your computer or digital word processor.

All Cleaned Up!

Those loyal to a daily writing regiment don’t need to worry as much. However, for the procrastinators and excuse makers, a messy desktop makes for a delicious yet unhealthy excuse to avoid writing. Generally speaking, my Mac OS desktop is organized akin to what you would expect from an obsessive compulsive. Especially when it comes to writing, there’s a menagerie of intricate folders containing everything from ideas, to inspiration photos and drafts.

I went to bed everyday knowing I should have tooled around with one of my picture book drafts. Somewhere in the hustle and bustle I “forgot.” Continue reading

CONTEST: Twas the Night Before Christmas Remix

21 Dec

Twas several nights before Christmas and you have a chance to find an extra gift under the tree this year. All you need is some holiday cheer, a plateful of rhyme, and a stocking full of creativity. Interested? Then enter an online contest asking participants to pen an original version of “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” To enter or find out more head on over to Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog! But you better hurry up as entries are due no later than Thursday, December 22nd at 11:59pm.

To read the original 1822 poem by Clement Clarke Moore click here.

Special thanks to Erik from “This Kid Reviews Books” for spreading the good word about this festive contest!

Check back soon as I’ll be posting my entry.

Happy holiday contest writing imaginators!

Winning Reads – My Rhinoceros by Jon Agee

20 Dec

Aspiring picture book writers are repeatedly told “no more than 500.” Meaning, your manuscript better have a marketable, visual kid-friendly story crammed into 500 words or less. For most, their first few manuscripts tower well above a thousand. If anyone wants to be schooled on the brilliance of brevity, pour your eyes into Jon Agee‘s “My Rhinoceros.”  Continue reading

Seasonal Reading

9 Nov

There’s nothing easy about writing (publishable) picture books except for one thing… the research. As the cliche saying goes, “writers read, and readers write.” It’s especially important for picture book authors to stay current and catch up on the latest trends. Luckily for me I’m living back in the Sort of United States of America and have access to those glorious selfless kingdoms known as libraries. Sure Japan maintained a healthy arsenal of literature thick borrowing stations, but besides a biography on Dan Marino and a few obscure picture books, it was all in Japanese. Continue reading

CONTEST: 2011 Cheerios New Author

19 May

“Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”

The chances of winning a writing contest may be as slim as being picked up out of publisher’s ‘slush pile,’ but a competitive nature and a ‘what if’ mentality can give you the confidence to enter.

For those imaginators who are 18 years of age, a legal US citizen/resident and are unpublished (have never been paid or written work), I urge you to enter the 2011 Cheerios New Author Contest.

Since March 22 and until July 15th, Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories program will be accepting electronic submissions of original picture book manuscripts (text only) of up to 500 words.  Please note that information is available in both english and espanol. It’s nice to see that applicants can enter manuscripts in espanol as well. For more specific rules please consult their website.

There is no entrance fee, and the grand prize s $5,000 with a possible contract with Simon and Schuster, with two runner-up $1,000 prizes. The chance of having a mini-version of your book placed in boxes of Cheerios is too good to pass up. But contestants beware.

The key phrase, “No limit on number of entries per person” may distinguish yours fears, but just keep in mind that each manuscript entered into the contest is a sort-of ‘exclusive submission.’

For example, If I feel one of my stories fits the mold for this contest, can I still send it to an agent or editor? I recommend using caution. For example, if you submit a manuscript to a publisher, typically you’ll wait up to 3 months before it’s understood they aren’t interested. Consequently, if you enter the contest in July, if you are a winner you will have to only wait 3 months (October 15th, 2011).

So should you send all of your manuscripts? I say choose 1 to 3 that you feel fit the needs of the contest, and if you don’t hear anything on October 15th, give the manuscript(s) another round of editing and then send to multiple editors and agents.

Judging from past winners, I would keep it short, cute, poetic, and universal. This has to be a book that all demographics could appreciate and identify with.

Special thanks to fellow imaginator Christine Cassello for reminding CraveWriting about this wonderful contest!

Good luck to all you imaginators out there!

Literary Digestion: 2010

7 Jan

Inspired by the many ‘books read in 2010’ posts including Michelle Knudsen’s, I decided to share my own.  Many of these lists are as long as a novel. I found it humiliating as mine contains less syllables than a haiku. Even as an English Education major at Boston University, I’ve never labeled myself a literary connoisseur. Reading takes practice, and as long as I persist with children’s books, non-fiction, and short story collections I’ll get there (eventually).

Consequently, this list exists for movitational purposes or provide you with a chance to ‘laugh at me.’ As you’ll see below, I should have an IV of words pumped through my veins after devouring a tiny morsel of literature. If you’re in the same hospital ward as me, don’t fret. We can always recover in 2011 and hit up the library buffet.

I could always piggyback on the fact that I live in a world devoid of English, but with Amazon delivering in Japan there’s no excuse. Sprinkling myself with a smidgen of encouragement, I must add that I trudged through more texts in 2010 than I had in the past 10 years.  It’s just that as a writer, I need to adopt a Lindsay Lohan sized addiction to other people’s parades of words, especially in the children’s literature domain.

Without further ado, here is my puny yet eclectic list:

  • 1.) Haruki Murakami – Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman
  • 2.) Roald Dahl – The BFG
  • 3.) Roald Dahl – The Fantastic Mr. Fox
  • 4.) J.K. Rowling – Harry Potter – The Prisoner of Azkaban
  • 5.) Chuck Klosterman – Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto
  • 6.) Hans Christian Anderson – Complete Fairy Tales Collection
  • 7.) Lonely Planet Taiwan (Can I count this? If so, add in Hong Kong/Macau and China)
  • 8.) Dav Pilkey – The Adventures of Captain Underpants
  • 9.) Jim Benton – Dear Dumb Diary #1 Let’s Pretend this Never Happened
  • 10.) Alice Pope – 2010 Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market
  • 11.) Ryunosuke Akutagawa – Kappa
  • 12.) Matt Alt & Hiroko Yodo – Yokai Attack!: The Japanese Monster Survival Guide
  • 13.) Julia Bruce – Fantasmagoria
  • 14.) Nancy I. Sanders – Yes! You Can Learn How to Write Children’s Books, Get Them Published, and Build a Successful Writing Career

Picture Books:

* The following includes memorable favorites, as I often surf through the stacks of English bookstores whenever in a big city.

  • 1.) Tony Ross – I’m Coming to Get You
  • 2.) Ted Prior – Grug
  • 3.) Chris Barton & Tom Lichtenheld – Shark vs. Train
  • 4.) Jan Fearnley – Mr. Wolf and the Enormous Turnip
  • 5.) Jan Fearnley – Mr. Wolf’s Pancakes