The 2017 Best in Rhyme Award Announcement – February 4th, 6:00 pm ET, KidLitTV Studio, NYC

2017 Best in Rhyme Award logo

The 2017 Best in Rhyme Award Announcement is February 4th at 6:00pm ET. Don’t miss this exciting live streaming announcement from the KidLitTV Studio in NYC!

 
I want to thank the Best in Rhyme Committee who is a group of truly amazing writers and friends! This group, led by Manju Gulati Howard and Debbie Vidovich read, scored and blogged about the Top 10 books on the list. I was thrilled to see SANTA’S GIFT on the list this year, so of course, I was not involved at all, except for sharing the blog posts and handling social media. This is quite a time consuming job and these ladies deserve a roaring round of applause!
 
The 2017 Best in Rhyme Award Committee:
Manju Howard
Debbie Vidovich
Sherri Rivers
Cathy C. Hall
Kenda Henthorn
Annie Bailey
Gayle C. Krause
Deb Williams
Darlene Ivy
Suzy Leopold
Jill Richards

Angie Karcher – Award Founder

best-in-rhyme-2017-top-10.jpg

Here is the list of Top 10 Best in Rhyme Books. Please find these and read them, as they are fantastic!

 
CAPTAIN BLING’S CHRISTMAS PLUNDER by Rebecca Colby
DORIS THE BOOKASAURUS by Diana Murray
GRIMELDA AND THE SPOOKTACULAR PET SHOW by Diana Murray
FLASHLIGHT NIGHT by Matt Forest Esenwine
SANTA’S GIFT by Angie Karcher
THE POMEGRANATE WITCH by Denise Doyen
THE CASE OF THE STINKY STENCH by Josh Funk
MIGHTY, MIGHTY CONSTRUCTION SITE by Sherri Duskey Rinker
LITTLE EXCAVATOR by Anna Dewdney
TWINDERELLA by Corey Rosen Schwartz
 

I will be naming a winner and 3 honor books this year. Watch for the link to the live stream, coming soon.

Best in Rhyme 2017 Live Stream logo

Many thanks to Julie Gribble and the KidLitTV Team

for hosting this fun announcement every year!! ❤

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2017 BEST IN RHYME TOP 10 – REVIEW OF ANNA DEWDNEY’S LITTLE EXCAVATOR BY DEBBIE VIDOVICH

2017 TOP 10 List

Little Ex

Written and Illustrated

by Anna Dewdney

2017 Best in Rhyme Award logo

 

THE STORY OF LITTLE EXCAVATOR
Little Excavator is the rollicking tale of a young excavator trying hard to find his place in the grownup world. He fails and fails again!  With pluck and determination, Little Ex finds the one special thing that only he can do. Kids of all ages will relate to this universal tale of finding the specialness in each of us.
Anna’s soft, friendly but exuberant use of color exquisitely compliments the text and is a hallmark of her illustration style. It’s impossible not to fall in love at first site. Go Little Excavator, go!
I  recently had the  opportunity to interview the loving and devoted Reed Duncan, life partner of the late Anna Dewdney.  In the year and a half since Anna’s passing Reed and the creative team at Penguin brought Little Excavator to print with other books soon to come.
Little Excavator was very dear to Anna’s heart. She had sidelined it for a long time due to other obligations. According to Reed, Anna worked throughout her illness to finish it, altering her painting technique to accommodate her limitations. It was a true labor of love. She asked him to read it to her the day she died.
1)  You mentioned Little Excavator was near to Anna’s heart. What was her inspiration for the story?
Anna loved the Little Excavator character.  She had been drawing animals and people her whole life but she hadn’t rendered too many vehicles, so when she created this very animate, cute machine with lots of spirit, she was especially pleased.  The inspiration comes from when she and I were restoring our home; we have some large, deep stone-mill foundations on our property and in the process of preserving these stone foundations we encountered some small, tight spots that only a little excavating machine could successfully get to.  And the idea was born…
2) I loved that Little Ex cheerfully perseveres despite repeated setbacks.  He’s a wonderful role model. Today’s children live in an increasingly stressful and polarized world; how do you think Little Ex will impact them?
I hope that kids — and anyone, really — can take the core message of the book to heart and execute this principle in their daily practice, namely that we all have unique characteristics and sklll-sets that enable us to do what others can’t.  It may take some figuring out before we come to know our special talents and how to employ them, but everybody has them.
3) The patience and unconditional love the adult machines exhibit toward Little Ex is also important to this age group.  How did Anna feel about that?  Her adult characters always do exactly the right thing.
As a mother and a teacher, Anna knew implicitly that patience and support are key to a child’s development.  Young people are supposed to experiment and fail — that’s their job; it’s our job as adults to guide them and support them in that process of effort and self-discovery.
4) Of course the crowning achievement is when Little Ex finds his own perfectly suited place in the world.  How do you think kids will relate to that?
I hope the kids who read the book will feel relieved that somewhere in the world is a place perfectly suited to who they are, even if it doesn’t always or at first feel that way.
5) All of Anna’s characters are lovable and their struggles are relatable to children’s everyday experience.  She really understood them.  Can you tell us a bit about her experience bringing her stories to publication?
Anna spent many years working with children — her own and also her students when she was a teacher.  Those day-to-day experiences that we all can relate to are a big part of what make her books so immediate to her readers.  She worked for many years as a freelance illustrator until her own stories got published.  She also worked as a waitress and as a rural mail carrier and as a housesitter in addition to teaching; for her, making art was the only thing that mattered and everything else was just in support of those artistic goals.  She worked with limited success for about 20 years before the first Llama Llama book came out.  Persistence, persistence, persistence.
6) The Llama llama books are iconic and beloved.  Llama, Llama Red Pajama was my first mentor book.  What advice would Anna have for fellow rhymers/illustrators trying to get their first book published?
Keep at it!
7) Anna is also a gifted illustrator.  Her vibrant colors and sweet faced animals are appealing to kids and adults alike.  Can you tell us a little about her process and when she decided to be her own illustrator?
Anna began drawing and painting and inventing characters and stories when she was a very little girl.  She always had a high sense of theatre and drama and she imagined her stories very visually, so for her the story and the image were inseparable.  A story would unfold for her not just in a narrative arc, but also graphically and with strong color-value relation.
8) Can you include two of your favorite illustrations from Little Ex and tell us what you love about them?
I love the scene where Little E falls into the hole he has just dug — he’s so overzealous that gets in over his head, literally!
anna-1.jpg
My favorite illustration in the book is just before Little E goes across the bridge with the apple tree, the scene where he’s looking back at the reader and is framed by all the other machines; the expression on his face there is Anna’s expression, a very happy can-do expression, like “I got this!”.  I see Anna everytime I see that picture of Little E.
Anna 2
9) I understand Anna left more books in various levels of completion.  Is that true and when can we expect them?  A world without more Llama llama would be a dreary world indeed.
Yes!  Lots of stories, some Llama stories and several others too.  Anna created many other characters that the public hasn’t met yet.  My hope is to bring as many of these to the public as I can over time.  The next full Llama picture book, Llama Llama Loves to Read, hits the shelves on May 1st, 2018.  And of course there are several other Llama books coming out all the time: board books, sticker books, spinoff books from the Netflix animated series, and a really lovely memory book (Llama Llama and Me: My Book of Memories) that comes out in January of 2018.
10) Speaking of little Llama, is it true there is a series coming out on Netflix?
“Llama Llama”, a Netflix Original Series, debuts on Jan. 26, 2018.  This first season features 30 animated episodes.  Anyone who loves Anna’s books will really enjoy the series; it’s very true to her work.  All the familiar characters have roles and there are some new characters who appear too.  Jennifer Garner voices the Mama Llama character and she is fabulous in that role — loving and warm and funny and perfect.  A huge amount of care and attention went into the development of every detail of this show, from the storylines to the original music to the animation and color palette and to the voices of the characters.  We had an all-star production team, with key players from award-winning shows like The Lion King, The Magic School Bus, Mulan, The Little Mermaid, Stuart Little, Inspector Gadget, etc.  I couldn’t feel luckier to have had such an assemblage of brilliant people work on “Llama Llama”, and I couldn’t be more proud of the result.
Anna and Reed  shared a very close connection, as life partners and work partners. Reed always got first reed on Anna’s stories. They bounced ideas off each other all day in regards to storyline, color etc. How lucky we are to have such a devoted man to bring Anna’s unfinished works to the world.  Best of luck to Reed and the team at Penguin books. Thank you Reed for this loving and insightful glimpse into Anna and her process.
Anna 3

1 star

Buy It HERE

We are so pleased to have

LITTLE EXCAVATOR by the late Anna Dewdnehy

on the

2017 Best in Rhyme Top 10 List!

1 star

Watch for the live, streaming

2017 Best in Rhyme Award Announcement

on February 4th at 6:00 pm ET

from the KidLitTV Studio in New York City.

KidLitTV Logo - NEW 2017

2017 BEST IN RHYME TOP 10 – DIANA MURRAY INTERVIEW BY MANJU HOWARD

2017 TOP 10 List

Grimelda

Written by Diana Murray

Illustrated by Heather Ross

2017 Best in Rhyme Award logo

I’m rolling out the Best of Rhyme carpet for Diana Murray and her picture book, Grimelda and the Spooktacular Pet Show. In Diana’s entertaining sequel, Grimelda’s spell book goes missing in her still very messy room. The young witch wants to find a spell to turn her typical cat named Wizzlewarts into a spooktacular pet, so she can win first prize in the pet show.
Manju:
After Grimelda the Very Messy Witch was published, you shared in an interview that you lose things like your young witch. Did you have any “spooktacular” pets to draw upon to create Grimelda and the Spooktacular Pet Show?
Diana:
Well, we’ve had snails and newts for pets, so there’s that. Am I the only one who thinks snails are super cute? They’re fun to watch, too. As for the newts, one of them escaped from its tank and I ended up finding it in a kitchen drawer. That was quite a Grimelda-like surprise!
Manju:
Once you brainstormed the concept for this sequel, did you go through a similar writing process as your first Grimelda book? What aspect of writing rhyming picture books do you find most challenging?
Diana:
Since it was a sequel, the process was pretty different (more collaboration with the publisher, etc.). As far as technical details, I kept the meter and rhyme scheme the same in the sequel and tried to mimic the original refrain. In the first one, there was a repetition of “Where’d I put that pickle root?” and in the second there is a repetition of “Not spooktacular enough!” So in terms of rhyming difficulties, it was a challenge to keep coming up with words that rhyme with “root” and “enough”, yet blend seemlessly into the story.
In general, I think there are two main difficulties when it comes to writing any story in rhyme:
  1. Making the language sound natural rather than forced.
  2. Taking control of the story and not letting the rhymes make you meander or take too long to get to the point.
Manju:
Did you include art notes in your Grimelda manuscripts? Did any of Heather Ross’s illustrations surprise you? What ended up being your favorite spread in the book?
Diana:
I made a few illustrator notes just for clarification. But yes, the final art was full of surprises for me! For example, the creatures at the pet show were unlike anything I had imagined. I think the pet show spread is probably my favorite. There are so many wonderful details to pore over. I wondered how Heather would  illustrate the “haunted snail”.  She made it float! And the frog who turns into a prince always gets a laugh when I read the book to kids.
Manju:
How are the Grimelda books marketed? Does having a series based on a witch give both books a longer shelf life than the Halloween season?
Diana:
Neither of the books explicitly mentions Halloween so they are technically suitable for any time of year (like the classic, “Room on the Broom”). But I still find they are mostly promoted at Halloween. They were in some Halloween bookstore displays, for example. But the marketing is not something I have much control over.
Manju:
How many polished manuscripts did you have when querying your agent? Did you have a website prior to publication? Do you use social media to promote your work?
Diana:
I queried my agent with GRIMELDA: THE VERY MESSY WITCH. When she expressed interest and asked what else I had, I sent her NED THE KNITTING PIRATE and one other manuscript (can’t remember which one). She was particularly interested in Grimelda and Ned and signed me up on the basis of those. They both sold fairly quickly. I had many, many other picture book manuscripts (maybe 25?) that I didn’t send to her originally. For example, I had already written CITY SHAPES, but I didn’t send her that till a year or two later.
I did have a website, but it was not as polished as the one I have now. It had a little background information and listed some of my poetry sales and awards. It was very simple.
I do use social media–mostly Twitter and Facebook. I mainly use them to stay in touch with others in the business, but I also post information about new book sales, releases, and contests and such.
Diana, Thank you for taking the time to share your writing world with us.
Thank you for the opportunity!

1 star

Buy It HERE

Diana Murray - Headshot

Bio:
Diana Murray grew up in New York City and still lives nearby with her husband, two daughters, and a spiky bearded dragon who loves listening to stories—especially about dinosaurs. Diana’s many picture books have been mentioned earlier, and her poems have appeared in magazines including Highlights, High Five, Hello, Spider, and Lady Bug. http://www.dianamurray.com.

 

Congratulations Diana

on having

GRIMELDA AND THE SPOOKTACULAR PET SHOW

on the 2017 Top 10 List

1 star

Watch for the live, streaming

2017 Best in Rhyme Award Announcement

on February 4th at 6:00 pm ET

from the KidLitTV Studio in New York City.

KidLitTV Logo - NEW 2017

2017 BEST IN RHYME TOP 10 – REVIEW OF SHERRI DUSKEY RINKER’S MIGHTY, MIGHTY CONSTRUCTION SITE BY DARLENE IVY

2017 TOP 10 List

Mighty Construction Site

MIGHTY, MIGHTY CONSTRUCTION SITE

by Sherri Duskey Rinker

Illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld

2017 Best in Rhyme Award logo

They’re back!
The five hardworking crew members from Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site,
written by Sherri Duskey Rinker and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld, are back and gearing up for a new day and a new job.
But, in the new Mighty, Mighty Construction Site, the task is “a massive building, so
immense” that Cement mixer has to think fast. “He gives his horn a blaring blast” and five more
mighty trucks hear the call.
“Rolling, rumbling, revving hard,
ten big trucks meet in the yard.
A mighty, massive supercrew—
there is nothing they can’t do!”
As work begins, each crew member, both old and new, is quickly introduced and its job
explained.
“Skid Steer’s nimble, small, and quick.
She turns, she spins—she does a trick!”
Were you reading carefully? Did you notice that Skid is a girl truck? So is Flatbed Truck,
another new crew member. The illustrations don’t provide gender clues, so readers and listeners will have to pay attention to the text to notice this subtle nod to young female construction fans.
In this story of teamwork and hard work, an original crew member is paired with a new
crew member. When Crane is out of beams, he’s helpless without his new friend Flatbed!
“On site,
she rolls right to a stop,
with Crane’s supplies
all stacked on top.
Flatbed Truck’s
just saved the day!
Their work can get
back underway.”
“Rough and rugged all day long,
rolling, lifting, digging strong,
each truck has had a part to play
to help the work get done today.”
Mighty, Mighty Construction Site is a solid companion to Goodnight, Goodnight
Construction Site. This story ends with a reference to the previous book that fans will
understand, but the story stands alone and complete with plenty of action, fun word play and
rhyme, and solid information about the construction process. Near the conclusion, the pace of the text slows as the “tired, but strong and proud” trucks “roll to find their cozy beds, to cuddle up and rest their heads”, making Mighty, Mighty Construction Site a wonderful bedtime book.

1 star

Sherri Duskey Rinker

How This All Began

In 2008, in the midst of hectically trying to manage the demands of being a working mom in a career I no longer loved, I wroteConstruction Site, and it was picked up by the first publisher to whom it was sent (Thank you, Chronicle! It’s the literary equivalent of winning the lottery, I realize.) It’s been an unexpected and wonderful journey, and I’m deeply grateful.

Buy It HERE

Congratulations Sherri on

MIGHTY, MIGHTY CONSTRUCTION SITE

making the 2017 Best in Rhyme Top 10 List!

1 star

Watch for the live, streaming

2017 Best in Rhyme Award Announcement

on February 4th at 6:00 pm ET

from the KidLitTV Studio in New York City.

KidLitTV Logo - NEW 2017

2017 BEST IN RHYME TOP 10 – JOSH FUNK INTERVIEW BY CATHY C. HALL

2017 TOP 10 List

Stinky Stench

THE CASE OF THE STINKY STENCH

by Josh Funk

Illustrated by Brendan Kearney  

2017 Best in Rhyme Award logo

 

There’s a stinky stench in the fridge–and our favorite foodie friends must solve a smelly mystery! Sir French Toast’s nephew, Inspector Croissant, begs him and Lady Pancake for help in finding the source of the foul odor. Could it be the devious Baron von Waffle? A fetid fish lurking in the bottom of Corn Chowder Lake? Featuring the same delectable wordplay and delicious art that won critical raves for Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast–this fun follow-up is an absolutely tasty treat for kids and adults alike!
Oh my flapjack-a-doodle, I loved this picture book! And I’m not just saying that because Josh Funk promised to name a character Cathy C. Hall in his next picture book!
Um…I’ve just been informed that Josh Funk did NOT promise to name a character Cathy C. Hall in his next picture book.
Fine.
But he did promise to answer all five of my questions, so let’s see what he has to say:
So Josh, here’s THE CASE OF THE STINKY STENCH in the Top Ten, showing up at Goodreads in its Best of list, and now you have another book coming out in this series! Did you ever imagine that breakfast foods could be so profitable for you?
Nope! In fact, when I was querying LADY PANCAKE & SIR FRENCH TOAST (the first book in the series) to agents, one of the common responses I received was “anthropomorphic foods don’t sell.” It just goes to show that breaking the rules is sometimes a good thing (especially because another common rule you hear is ‘don’t write in rhyme’ – which clearly I broke as well).
And of course, the third book in the series (MISSION: DEFROSTABLE, available 9.4.18) will also be in rhyme.
Speaking of your rhyming picture books, which comes first when you write: the rhyme or the story?
Story. Always story. Story is the most important part of a rhyming picture book. In fact, the second most important part of a rhyming picture book is the rhythm. Any first grader can rhyme – it’s the rhythm that takes a ton of work to get right.
Rhyme is actually the least important part of a rhyming picture book.
So there’s hope for me! Humor plays a big part in THE CASE OF THE STINKY STENCH, both in the characters and story. How did you come to write so comically?
Because picture books are a visual art form (and I am a terrible visual artist), I think of things I’d like to see illustrated. Funny things that I could never draw. Like a pancake and French toast racing through the fridge causing culinary chaos. It just lends itself to hilarity.
And Brendan Kearney, the book’s illustrator, just ran with it. He’s added so much visual humor to the story. Starting with the character design (whipped cream hairdo, strawberry hat – those were all his ideas) and spreading throughout the entire fridge setting.
I’m also a fan of the occasional, well-placed pun – like the literal red herring and tripping by Miss Steak (which I just sort of fell into).
And I think we’re all fans of your books, Josh! So what do you have coming out next year?
2018 is going to be a busy year! I have 4 books (3 that rhyme) coming out between May 1st and September 4th (a slim 125 day period – but who’s counting?).
The first is called ALBIE NEWTON (Sterling, 5.1.18), illustrated by Ester Garay. It’s about smart and creative boy who starts school, but doesn’t really have all the social skills down yet. His grand attempt to make friends causes lots of problems for his classmates, and – well, you’ll have to read it to find out how it ends. But I think lots of kids will relate to Albie Newton and the other kids in his class.
HOW TO CODE A SANDCASTLE (Viking/Penguin, 6.5.18), illustrated by Sara Palacios is being published in partnership with Girls Who Code – and I couldn’t be more excited about this one, even though it doesn’t rhyme! It’s the first in a series of informational fiction picture books about a girl named Pearl and her robot, Pascal. In this first book, they use fundamental coding concepts to construct the perfect beach day using sequences, loops, and if-then-else statements – but using them in real world situations.
Later in the summer, I’ve got another rhyming book called LOST IN THE LIBRARY: A STORY OF PATIENCE & FORTITUDE (Macmillan, 8.28.18), illustrated by Stevie Lewis. This is the first picture book about Patience and Fortitude, the two lion statues that faithfully guard the New York Public Library (in fact, this book is published in partnership with the NYPL). When Patience goes missing, Fortitude realizes that Patience has ventured inside the library. So for the first time ever, Fortitude abandons his post to search for Patience before the sun rises and we, the readers, get to explore the library for the first time alongside Fortitude.
And lastly is the third book in the Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast series: MISSION DEFROSTABLE (Sterling, 9.4.18). In this action-packed adventure, the fridge is freezing over – and Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast have to travel to parts of the
fridge they’ve never ventured … and need to enlist the help of one of their fiercest rivals. Dun. Dun. DUN!
Can’t wait to read ‘em all! And now my last question because we’re also about letting all those rhyming picture book writers out there know there’s hope. What’s the best advice you can give to them?
Great question. I have lots to say about this subject, but most importantly I think rhyming picture book writers should remember that ALL picture books (especially rhyming ones) are meant to be read aloud to children (usually by adults). It’s important that everyone who speaks the language can read and perform the book well. It has to work for people with all accents and from all regions – which means that you have to be very careful when using words that people pronounce differently – especially regarding the rhythm!
For example, think about the word ‘family’ – how many syllables does it have? The dictionary will tell you it has 3 – but many people pronounce it with 2. So putting the word family in the middle of a line could screw up the rhythm for some readers. Then think about how many words are just like that in your story. Every syllable matters.
So have your manuscripts read aloud TO you by everyone – especially the worst readers out there. Listen for places where they screw up – and then fix those spots.
Thanks so much for honoring The Case of the Stinky Stench with Best in Rhyme consideration and inviting me to answer some questions!
Thank you, Josh! And best of luck to you and THE CASE OF THE STINKY STENCH. (Even if you’re not putting me in one of your books.)

 Josh Funk

BIO:
Josh Funk writes silly stories and somehow tricks people into publishing them as books – such as the Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast series (including The Case of the Stinky Stenchand the upcoming Mission: Defrostable), It’s Not Jack and the Beanstalk, Dear Dragon, Pirasaurs!, and the forthcoming Albie Newton, How to Code a Sandcastle (in conjunction with Girls Who Code), Lost in the Library: A Story of Patience and Fortitude (in conjunction with the New York Public Library), It’s Not Hansel and Gretel, and more coming soon!
Josh is a board member of The Writers’ Loft in Sherborn, MA and was the co-coordinator of the 2016 and 2017 New England Regional SCBWI Conferences.
Josh grew up in New England and studied Computer Science in school. Today, he still lives in New England and when not writing Java code or Python scripts, he drinks Java coffee and writes manuscripts.
Josh is terrible at writing bios, so please help fill in the blanks. Josh enjoys _______ during ________ and has always loved __________. He has played ____________ since age __ and his biggest fear in life is being eaten by a __________.
For more information about Josh Funk, visit him at http://www.joshfunkbooks.com and on Twitter at @joshfunkbooks.

1 star

Congratulations JOSH on

CASE OF THE STINKY STENCH

making the 2017 Best in Rhyme Top 10 List!

1 star

Watch for the live, streaming

2017 Best in Rhyme Award Announcement

on February 4th at 6:00 pm ET

from the KidLitTV Studio in New York City.

KidLitTV Logo - NEW 2017

2017 BEST IN RHYME TOP 10 – ANGIE KARCHER INTERVIEW BY SUZY LEOPOLD

2017 TOP 10 List

Santa's Gift Cover - Final

SANTA’S GIFT

by Angie Karcher

Illustrated by Dana Karcher

 

2017 Best in Rhyme Award logo

What a delight it was to meet you, Angie. The year was 2015. Both you and I were attending the WOW [Week of Writing] Conference in Georgia. Since we both live in the Midwest, I feel a special connection to you. Just wish we lived closer, as you live in Indiana and I live in Illinois.
Congratulations, Angie, on your continued success with the Rhyming Picture Book Award and the Rhyming Picture Book Month/Rhyme Revolution. You’ve always been supportive of all writers who write in rhyme and prose.
Hip, hip, hooray for your recent publication, a picture book titled SANTA’S GIFT! The folks in Evansville, Indiana must be proud of your rhyming picture book about a historical landmark. The true story captures special family traditions and community spirit. How wonderful for everyone to come together to restore the 35 foot tall Santa. Once again, the beloved Santa waves to travelers with a twinkle in his blue eyes, wishing  a gift of safe travels.
Q:During the season of giving, you are sharing many read alouds of SANTA’S GIFT. Tell us about these gatherings with a variety audiences, including your Mom. What fun and joy for all.
Yes, it was quite a busy few weeks promoting this book! I recently looked back and counted all the book signings, readings, school visits, etc. and I did 25 events in 6 weeks, and many of them dressed as Mrs. Claus. It was so much fun to read this story to kids and adults alike. Those who are familiar with the Santa statue in my area often teared up, as many grew up with Santa waving to them as a child. Others who weren’t familiar with the statue now hope to visit it someday. It has been such a fun and heartwarming project. It was expecially fun reading the story to the residents of the nursing home where my mother lives. Those folks all knew about the statue and were telling me fun stories about Santa. It was a special day.
Q: Every writer has a unique journey along the writerly path of becoming published. Share some tips and advice for those who continue read, write, and submit.
My advice is never give up! If this is truly your passion, then keep at it. I’m a perfect example of how perserverence pays off. I’ve been writing for over 20 years off and on. I’ve been writing professionally for the past 6 years. When I say professionally, I mean that writing is my job. It’s my career. I regularly attend writing conferences, take classes, teach classes, do manuscript critiques for other writers and present at schools and conferences.
Create a writing platform that will bring you exposure as a writer and enable you to network with others. My suggestions is that you find a platform that will help others. Once you figure out what your platform is, then do everything you can to promote it, invite others to participate and celebrate writing!
Find a group of writers that are your “people.” This can be a critique group, a book club, a Facebook group…The main thing is that you can go to these folks for advice and sharing the good news as well as the rejections. These are people you can trust with your writing and your heart. Writing is an emotional business and we all need a support group.
Q:The illustrations in SANTA’S GIFT are bright, colorful, and delightful. Did you share illustration notes or your vision of the illustrations with Dana Karcher, illustrator?
Yes, I’m fortunate because Santa’s Gift was published by a regional publisher that is in the town where I live. Because they are a small publisher, Dana and I were given free reign to collaborate. This was her first picture book and my first illustrated picture book so…we worked very hard to get it right. We talked through every single page, making notes and sharing ideas. I’m a visual writer so I mentioned what I envisioned and then Dana enhanced that or came up with an even better illustration. It was so exciting to see the words come to life on the page. The day I read the finished book to myself was the highlight of my career. I absolutely love the art!
Q:What’s next for you, Angie? What is your current WIP? What projects are you working on?
I’m pleased to share that I’ve accepted the position of IN SCBWI ARA. I’m heading to the New York Conference next week and can’t wait to meet more of the SCBWI Team! I’ve been a member of SCBWI for over 15 years and am happy to help serve Indiana.
I am hosting a Rhyme Revolution Conference in New Harmony, IN in October. You can check out the details HERE. It’s going to be a long fall weekend with an amazing faculty, lots of great sessions, writing time, a hayride, bonfire and s’mores.
I am also starting a new position this year with KidLitTV hosting a craft segment called Ms. Angie’s Craft Time. Coming soon, my first craft goes with Leslie Helakoski’s adorable picture book HOOT AND HONK JUST CAN’T SLEEP.
Dana and I have two titles coming out this year with M.T. Publishing. The first picture book, NO TEARS IN BASEBALL is about a bat boy and is set at historic Bosse Field, the third oldest baseball field still in use in the U.S. Our second picture book, THE SIGNATURE SHIP, is set on The Landing Ship Tank, a WW II ship that was built in the shipyard in Evansville, IN.
I have more exciting news coming soon! Oh…it’s so hard for me to keep a secret! = )
Q:Do you have any hidden talents you’d like to share?
I am a closet illustrator. I love sketching and painting. I am taking some illustration classes and hopefully will be working on a portfolio this year. But, don’t tell anyone!
Thank you, Angie, for celebrating the love of reading with all readers—young and old. As Dr. Seuss said, “You can find magic wherever you look. Sit back and relax, all you need is a book.” SANTA’S GIFT is a delightful story to read. So sit back, relax and experience the magic of Christmas.

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Mrs. Claus barn image

Mrs. Claus by the reindeer barn

Angie’s Bio:

Angie is the author of WHERE THE RIVER GRINS, 2012 M.T. Publishing, THE LEGENDARY R.A. COWBOY JONES 2014 M.T. and SANTA’S GIFT 2017 M.T. Publishing. Her poetry is included in the 2016 Indiana Bicentennial Tribute to Poems and Songs. NO TEARS IN BASEBALL, M.T. Publishing, July 2018 and THE SIGNATURE SHIP, M.T. Publishing, November 2018

Angie is the founder of Rhyme Revolution, The Best in Rhyme Award and the Rhyme Revolution Conference. (October 2018, New Harmony, Indiana) She is available for school visits, conference presentations and readings. Please see her website for more information. https://rhymerev.com/

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Congratulations ANGIE on

SANTA’S GIFT

making the 2017 Best in Rhyme Top 10 List!

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Watch for the live, streaming

2017 Best in Rhyme Award Announcement

on February 4th at 7:00 pm ET

from the KidLitTV Studio in New York City.

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