Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Six ways to catch the eye of an agent

Mima Tipper, MFA, advises "Be the Lemon Square."
What does she mean by this?

Well, this busy writer worked as an assistant to an agent and discovered six amazing tips to make YOUR manuscript stand out from the pack.
Want an agent to represent you?
Want an editor to love your manustript?

Read these tips and apply them to your writing life.
You'll be glad you did.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

November is Picture Book Month

2012 Picture Book Month Champions Announced

"Picture books are here and they're important. I have yet to meet a three-year-old person who didn't know what to do with a crayon. You make pictures with it," declared Chris Raschka, 2012 Caldecott Winner, in his Picture Book Month Essay.

Once again, November has something to look forward to. Across the globe, schools, libraries, booksellers, and book lovers are coming together to celebrate the print picture book.  First celebrated in 2011, Picture Book Month was a resounding success. It went viral through social media and was even featured on Oprah.com.

The website, PictureBookMonth.com, features essays from "Picture Book Champions" -- people who are leaders in the children's literature community. Each day in November, a new essay will be posted from the following notable contributors: Alma Flor Ada, Kathi Appelt, Sergio Bumatay (Philippines), Doreen Cronin, Kelly DiPucchio, Tony DiTerlizzi, Jackie French (Australia), Brett Helquist, Stephen Michael King (Australia), Uma Krishnaswami, Tara Lazar, E.B. Lewis, Tom Lichtenheld, Pat Mora, Margie Palatini, Emma Quay (Australia), Chris Raschka, Jean Reidy, Adam Rex, Peter Reynolds, John Rocco, Robert D. San Souci, Dan Santat, Jon Scieszka, Don Tate, Joyce Wan, Bruce Whatley (Australia), Karma Wilson, Kari-Lynn Winters (Canada), and Paul O. Zelinsky

This year, the celebration grows bigger with new partners such as The American Booksellers Association and The American Association of School Librarians. The Children's Book Council, Reading is Fundamental, and the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators continue their support of the literacy initiative. A downloadable promotional kit is now available as well as certificates, posters, and bookmarks. A readathon and blogathon
are planned.  Brain Burps About Books Podcast, the #1 kidlit podcast on iTunes, is dedicating the entire month of November to Picture Book Month.

Founder Dianne de Las Casas said, "I'm excited about this year's Picture Book Month. We have an incredible line-up of Picture Book Month Champions and their essays are a wondrous testament to the power of picture books."

Join the celebration! Visit www.picturebookmonth.com

Follow @PictureBookMonth on Twitter 
or use the #picturebookmonth hashtag. 
Visit our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/picturebookmonth

"Picture books are the connective tissue between a parent and a child. You stop everything, snuggle up on the couch or the floor and share a story," John Rocco, 2012 Caldecott Honor Winner, wrote in his Picture Book Month Essay.

Doreen Cronin, *New York Times* #1 Bestelling Author, wrote, "Picture books bring the world to children, one tiny piece at a time,"

Tune in and read these inspiring essays during the month of November at Dianne de Las Casas's website.

November is Picture Book Month! Read * Share * Celebrate!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Ladies, If you use a credit card make sure YOU are the primary account holder

Ladies, keep checking the status of your checking and charge card accounts.

It turns out that someone (Republicans?) passed a bill recently (date corrected to 2009) that stipulates that when the primary holder of a credit account dies, the account closes. It used to be that if you had a joint account with your husband, you were still part of that account, but no longer.  He's dead, so you are legally dead, as well and you can't use the store credit account.

Another anti-women action.  For years we had equal rights with checking accounts and they didn't have to be in the man's name, but no longer.  And here I thought that battle had been fought already in the 1970s and won, darn it.

Good-by Macy's credit account.  No, I don't want to begin a new account.
 I had an account with you/ I was the only person using the account/ I had a good credit record with you, but you have declared me a NON-person and closed the account.

Therefore ladies, you need to get yourself placed as the primary account holder if it's an account you usually use.
Do it NOW.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Nonfiction Monday -- Where to satisfy your nonfiction needs

The Nonfiction Monday roundup of blog posts about interesting Nonfiction books is at Hope is the Word, today.  She's still gathering her links, so I suggest you click on over to that page later in the afternoon.

if you'd like to read posts written by nonfiction authors about their writing process (or anything else that pops into their heads), click on over to one of my favorite blogs, INK -- Interesting Nonfiction for Kids. 

go check out Nonfiction Matters.  Unfortunately, Marc Aronson (no relation to lovely, talented author Sarah Aronson) has stopped writing this blog in order to have more time for working on his own books and his monthly column for the School Library Journal magazine, but you can still browse through his older, very thoughtful posts.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Checklist for your Plot

Did I ever tell you how much I admire the editor, Cheryl Klein?
(I did?  sure I did.  Just do a search on my blog and you'll see.)

Well, She realized that her Plot Checklist, which she uses every time she critiques or edits a manuscript, had changed from the original list she had on her website and in her book, Second Sight.
In her Brooklyn Arden blog today she points out the changes in her thinking and what's different about her new Plot Checklist.

Check it out.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Bruce Coville's 13 Rules for Writers

Sayantani DasGupta over at the Stories are Good Medicine blog has written a summary of a speech the well-known author, Bruce Coville, gave at the Rutgers' Council on Children's Literature conference a few days ago.  Click on over to see Bruce Coville's 13 rules for writers.

While you are reading it, keep in mind that Patricia Wrede insists that "there is no One True Way to write."  Ah, Bruce says the same thing -- see number 9.

oh, by the way, it's Nonfiction Monday again.  
(happens every Monday)
Today, Nonfiction Monday is at the Capstone Publisher's blog.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Interview with Jane Yolen

A little background note here.  Jane Yolen, author of over (way over by now) 300 books, was one of my first mentors when I began writing seriously. We met on the Children's book writer's area on an internet bulletin board called, GEnie.  (Yes, the spelling is correct.)  Then we met in person while she was teaching children's book writing at CENTRUM in Washington State. (only published people eligible and luckily I had had one or two books published by then.)

If you happen to stop by my website (which will be overhauled sometime early next year, I promise), you'll see a quote from her there:
"Love the writing, 
love the writing, 
love the writing 
... the rest will follow," 
-- Jane Yolen

Now, if you click on over to this website called Before It's News, you'll find an interview with her and many more quotes that you'll probably want to treasure, yourself.  Here's one of my favorites from this article: "You have to live life to have something to write about. You can always find time to write, but you first have to do some living as well."  

I call that, "filling the well."  
The 'well' being the source that feeds your writing.

She was interviewed on this website, because she's giving the next Andrew Lang Lecture at St. Andrews in Scotland on November 1st.  Wow, I wish I could be in that audience.

After you read this interview, do click on over to her website and explore.  I love checking in with her by reading her Journal entries, so do stop back every few days to read it, too.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Writing Life -- Exposed

There's a new post up at the Blogging Authors' blog, describing and demolishing a lot of those myths that non-writers have about writers and authors.
(Writers being the term for all of us who put words down and try to make them sparkle enough to insure our manuscript will attract readers.  Authors being those lucky enough to not only get published, but who also are read and enjoyed by others. -- my definition.  The older definition used to be -- we are writers/ authors are those dead white guys studied in schools in English class.)

Anywho --
Click on over and find out why Oprah won't call you about your book, and other facts of the writing life.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

KidLitCon 2012

Every year (for the past 6 years) there is a gathering -- in person -- of bloggers who write about children's books.  This year it was in New York City, hosted by the wonderful Fuse #8, otherwise known as Elizabeth Bird, head of Children's Librarians at the New York City Public Library and co-hosted by Monica Edinger who blogs at Educating Alice.  (click on their names to get directly to their conference reports/ click on their blog names for their latest blog entries.)

Where was it held?  At the world famous New York City Library central branch.  You know -- the one with the Lions? (yes, the last time I was in NYC, the first thing I did was get a picture of me standing by one of those lions -- it's required.) Click over here to get a peek at all the wonderfulness of the conference.

A few years ago I attended and spoke on a panel at the KidLitCon gathering in Washington, DC when I used to live near there, and can't wait until they hold one in or near San Diego where I now live.  If you blog, read blogs, or are an author, this conference always offers interesting and useful discussions.  So do plan to go next year.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Nonfiction Monday is HERE!

If you are a fan of nonfiction, keep checking back to this blog post.
All day long I'll be collecting links to posts all over the KidLithosphere that you can click on to reach all sorts of interesting nonfiction -- books, articles, and blog posts.

By Tuesday morning, I should have quite a long roundup here.

To kick us off, Lisa at Shelf Employed is relieved that Finally there's a New Book featuring the career of Librarianship -- A Day with Librarians by Jodie Shepherd, coming out from Scholastic 2013.

Tara at A Teaching Life shares two books she uses all the time:
1)  Shh! We're Writing the Constitution by Jean Fritz, illustrated by Tomie de Paola originally published by Harcourt Houghton Mifflin, which shows all the juicy backstabbing stories, the secret agreements and deals (you wanna know just why certain things were left out of the Constitution?) and the heated arguments... Hey, it sounds just like politics today.

2) She uses Pricilla Cumming's Red Kayak to teach many strategies of reading realistic fiction and recognizing plot structure. (available in paperback from Puffin Books.)

Poet Laura Salas reviewed a poetry book (of course) on her blog -- Eight Days Gone by from Charlesbridge, 2012.  Its a rhyming picture book that tells the tale of the first lunar landing and is perfect for any kids who are nuts about science.

Wow, did you know that there are people who run shelters for abused city chickens? Louise at Nonfiction Detectives discovered that this is what the book, City Chickens, by Christine Heppermann (Houghton Mifflin, 2012) is all about.

Amy at Hope Is the Word talks about Island, a Story of the Galapagos written and illustrated by Jason Chin, a new book at Roaring Brook Press, 2012.  Fascinating story of the evolution of these islands from their volcanic birth to their eventual disappearance, including the development of variations of life on them.

Two books about Abraham Lincoln are reviewed by Alice at Supratentorial. Lincoln Tells a Joke by Kathleen Krull and Paul Brewer focuses on Lincoln's sense of humor while What Lincoln Said is a picture book biography.

Jennifer at the Jean Little Library blog brings our attention to Moonbird by Philip Hoose which follows this bird's year long trip as it flies practically around the world -- from Tierra del Fuego near the South Pole all the way to the Arctic in the north.

Although most sea birds lay their eggs on a rocky shore or in a burrow, author/ illlustrator Joan Dunning discovered one that does not.  Deborah at The Swimmer Writer blog reviewed Joan's book: Seabird in the Forest, the Mystery of the Marbled Murrelet, published by  Boyds Mill Press, 2011.

Oh boy.  I love holidays, don't you?  Then you might enjoy the gorgeous Lighting Our World:  A Year of Celebrations by Catherine Rondina illustrated by Jacqui Oakley, published by Kids Can Press, 2012. You'll find Perogyo's review for it over on the Perogies and Gyoza, adventures in books and bilingualism blog.

Sue at Archimedes Notebook checked out tales of animal tails today with What Do You Do with a Tail Like This? by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page. Houghton Mifflin, 2003. Sounds like FUN.

Over at True Tales and a Cherry on Top, Jeanne features the impossibly wonderful Magritte's Marvelous Hat which was inspired by a real person -- the surrealist artist Rene Magritte. Written and illustrated by J.B. Johnson, Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2012.

Lynn Rutan at the Bookends blog reviewed How to Raise Monarch Butterflies: a Step-by-Step Guide for Kids by Carol Pasternak, published by Firefly, 2012.  Like her, I also tried getting butterflies to hatch in my library and would have found this book to be very useful to have on display near the cocoons while we waited, and waited, and waited for them to hatch.  (We gave prizes to the people who guessed the closest to the date when the butterflies would emerge.)

Shirley at the Simply Science blog didn't just review a book -- she asked the author, Darcy Pattison to be a guest blogger today, TALKING about how she researched her book, Desert Baths (Sylvan Dell, 2012 illustrated by Kathleen Reitz), and the animals she met. How did she manage to include the desert Tarantula in her book even though it never needs to take a bath?  Click on over to see.

All About the Books with Janet Squires reviews The 13 Nights of Halloween, written and Illustrated by Guy Vasilovich (Harper, 2011).  Inspired by The 12 Days of Christmas, Vasilovich gives his young readers a ghoulish countdown to Halloween. "On the first day of Halloween, my mummy gave to me...."  Ooooh, I like it already.

A review of The Emily Sonnets: The Life of Emily Dickinson by Jne Yolen and Illustrated by Gary Kelley is at the Wrapped in Foil blog today. This is a lovely book of 16 sonnets that reveal the life of poet Emily Dickinson.  Should this book be shelved in biographies (a picture book biography), or in the poetry section of your library?  Roberta's review makes the case for both.  What do you think?

Just in time for the World Series playoffs, Iron Guy Carl has reviews of two baseball books on his Boys Rule Boys Read blog:
1) Ballpark written and illustrated by Lynn Curlee, Athenum, 2005. Are all ballparks the same?  Not according to this book. Ballpark stadiums are a vital part of baseball and yet they are hardly ever shown or mentioned on TV. But your avid baseball fan will love knowing all the background facts revealed here.

2) Heroes of Baseball: The Men Who Made It America's Favorite Game by Robert Lipstye, Athenum, 2005. Why did nobody like Ty Cobb, even though he was probably the greatest baseball player who ever lived? Hey, did you know that Yogi Berra was not his real name.  You can find this out and much much more in this book about famous and not-so-famous baseball players.

That's All Folks.  Thank you for coming.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

What makes a book SELL?

Agent Jill Corcoran talks at Jill Corcoran Books about the book market and how you can write a book to not only sell to an agent, not only sell to an editor, but that the public will buy and enjoy and want more, more, more.

Friday, October 5, 2012

What's a "Trade" book? Educational Market book?

Confused about the difference between the Trade market and the Educational market for books?
Laura Purdie Salas explains it all in this post on her blog Writing the World for Kids.

Oh, she's also written many poetry books and since today is Poetry Friday, and since Laura is also the host for Poetry Friday, Check out the Friday roundup of Poetry at Laura's Friday post which should be here.
(if not, then move around her website until it appears.)
 - and check back again this evening when all of the poetry blogs have checked in to the roundup.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Authors of Banned Books

It's Banned Books Week.
A week when we take a look at the most banned books in this country and ask ourselves, "Huh?"

Well, here at Flavorwire are responses from some of the most banned authors.  Something to think about.

Skip on over to your public library and check their list of banned books.  You're certain to find one you really enjoy.  After all, the very best libraries contain lots that will offend someone, somewhere.  Mine did; doesn't yours?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Apostrophe Problems?

Confused about apostrophes?
Well, here's some help over at the Blood-Red Pencil blog.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Nonfiction -- Informational v. Narrative (or is there any difference?)

There has been lots of discussion of the Common Core standards for nonfiction books.  Here's another aspect/ definition / whathaveyou....  from famed nonfiction writer, Melissa Stewart on her blog called Celebrate Science: Behind the Books.

Which kind of nonfiction do you like the best?  Narrative or Just The Facts.
What about the idea that you can get lots of facts from narrative nonfiction?

Monday, October 1, 2012

NonFiction Monday -- It's October. Are you Ready for Halloween?

It's October. The harvest month in many parts of our country.

Did you see the full moon, the Harvest moon, last Saturday and Sunday nights? The Harvest Moon is the full moon closest to the autumn equinox. The full moon at the end of this month, is called the Hunter's Moon and will come on October 29th.  Watch it rise. It should rise even more orange in October, probably from the mist caused by the cooler nights and from the dust from the crumbling fallen leaves rising with the mist.

The full moon in October will make it easier for auto drivers to see the Trick or Treaters walking from house to house on Halloween evening. 

A good book for this month is The Halloween Book of Facts and Fun, by Wendie Old (ya -- that's me),  illustrated by Paige Billen-Frye (the lady sitting next to me up there, at the top of my blog), published by Albert Whitman.  If your bookstore doesn't have it on display, they'll order it for you.  

If you are looking for a scary book, try another one.  The pictures in this book are fun, not scary. (Frankenstein and Dracula sitting side by side reading each other's story?) The information is informational, not hyper-hysterical. And there are jokes -- some groaners, but lots that are funny.

It's an "everything you wanted to know about the holiday, but were too scared to ask."
The history of the event -- religious and nonreligious.
Why we carve faces and designs on pumpkins.
A folk tale.
Why Mary Shelley (she was Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin then, not yet married to Shelley -- yes THAT Shelley) wrote the scary story, Frankenstein.
Is there a REAL Dracula? (yes, I do mean in the present day)
Halloween jokes.
Plus --
There are Halloween party plans in the back of the book, with food of course.
Have a fun and spoooooky halloween.

Today is Nonfiction Monday. 
Click on over to the Shelf-Employed blog where she has gathered many other blog reviews of great children's nonfiction books.