2017 BEST IN RHYME TOP 10 – REBECCA COLBY INTERVIEW BY KENDA HENTHORN

2017 Best in Rhyme Award logo

2017 TOP 10 List

Captain Bling cover

CAPTAIN BLING’S CHRISTMAS PLUNDER

by Rebecca Colby

Illustrated by Rob McClurkan

1 star

CAPTAIN BLING’S CHRISTMAS PLUNDER by Rebecca Colby, Illustrated by Rob McClurkan:

Captain Bling and his merry crew set off to find treasure, but they get blown off course and end up at the North Pole. When they spy the elves carefully wrapping presents, the pirates think they have found the ultimate booty! They quickly steal the presents and make their way back to the ship. By the time Santa Claus catches up to them, the pirates are well on their way to escaping. But Santa has a surprise for Captain Bling and his crew!

1 star

What better Christmas gift than a rhyming picture book, combining pirates and the retelling of a classic Christmas poem? Author, Rebecca Colby had me hooked with her clever title, CAPTAIN BLING’S CHRISTMAS PLUNDER, and her interesting rhymes moved this story merrily along with several unexpected twists from Santa for Captain Bling and his crew.

 

  • First, Rebecca, CONGRATULATIONS on being names as a Finalist for this year’s Best in Rhyme Award for CAPTAIN BLING’S CHRISTMAS PUNDER!! Combining Christmas and pirates is such a fun and unique mash-up!  How did this concept first come to you and what was your goal for this story?

 

I love humor, and over the years I’ve discovered that one way to ensure a book is funny is to put two things together that aren’t normally found together. The contrast between two normally opposing things fuels humor—in this case, pirates and Christmas.

 

Every year I participate in Tara Lazar’s Storystorm (formerly PiBoIdMo). In 2014, when the event still took place in November, I decided to concentrate on coming up with as many mash-up ideas as I could. With it being the run-up to Christmas, holiday ideas featured heavily on my list.

 

My initial goal for the story was purely to write a humorous story. I knew from the beginning that the pirates would be naughty with a capital N, and seeking to steal Santa’s treasure of toys. But (spoiler alert here) I wanted the pirates to eventually have a change of heart. What I hadn’t worked out at that point was what the catalyst would be for their transformation.

 

  • Your love of rhyme is obvious!  How long have you been a rhymer and what has it taken to get both your rhythm and rhyme to this level of publishing perfection?

 

I seriously took to rhyme twelve years ago when my eldest child was a baby. I decided to embrace those long, sleepless nights she was gifting me with as an opportunity to write picture books and poetry.

 

When I first began writing in rhyme, my ex told me in no uncertain terms how bad my meter was. He suggested I either buy a metronome or give up on rhyme altogether.

 

Feeling confident in my rhyming skills, I refused to take on board his criticism until my local critique group told me the same thing, albeit in a more diplomatic manner.  That’s when I started studying meter and began asking people to read my work aloud, so I could hear where the rhythm was off. Within a few short months, I had developed a much better ear for meter.

 

I should add, however, that this was still not the point at which my work came to “a level of publishing perfection,” as I was still using predictable rhymes and slant rhymes. What helped me most was studying books by other PB rhymers like Julia Donaldson.

 

  • Also, how do you decide whether your story will be written in rhyme or not?

 

Good question! Very often I use traditional rhymes as patterns for my books, so I’ll have chosen a rhyme before I start to write. With Captain Bling, because I knew I was writing a Christmas story, I wanted to use the “Twas the Night Before Christmas” poem as my model. Had I not been able to make the story fit the rhyming pattern, I would have changed it to prose.

 

Before I get a reputation as only writing to traditional rhymes or songs, I should add that I’ve just sold a rhyming picture book that is not patterned after a traditional rhyme.

 

  • What advice could you give to new or interested writers in Angie Karcher’s Rhyme Revolution group regarding writing in rhyme?

 

First and foremost, find some trusted critique partners. Angie’s Rhyme Revolution attracts rhymers from all over the world and, if they wish to be, she kindly connects them into critique groups. I’d definitely recommend taking advantage of this opportunity, as well as following Angie’s thorough and helpful posts each April, and reading and studying as many rhyming picture books as you can. Also, put a good rhyming dictionary on the top of your Christmas wish list!

 

  • It’s exciting to see that you’ve traveled the world and currently live in the UK!  How has that effected your picture book writing and please tell us about any impacts it may have also had on your US publishing and promotional aspects, as well.

 

I don’t feel my traveling and residence in the UK has adversely impacted on my being published in the US. I tried for years to get UK agents and editors interested in my work, and it was only when I gave up on the UK market and began submitting to the US market, that I realized, actually, my writing ‘voice’ was better suited for the US anyway.

 

As to promotional aspects, it’s harder to get festival and school events here as most of the organizers have never heard of me. Having said that, I’m pretty good at putting myself forward for events. I also produce free teaching resources for my books and am able to promote myself on-line to US librarians and educators that way. The only disadvantage I see is that I’m still waiting to be sent on a US book tour, but, I think that’s a pipe dream for many US-based PB authors as well, unless they write a bestseller.

 

  • And finally, what’s next on your publishing path?

 

As mentioned above, I’ve just sold a further rhyming picture book, however, I’m not yet at liberty to disclose additional information about it. Other things I’m working on include a non-fiction book for adults, stand-up comedy sketches, and screenplays—none of which are in rhyme. Nothing may come of these other projects, but they keep me out of trouble and are allowing me to spread my writing wings, so to speak.

 

Thank you, Rebecca and much continued success!!

RebeccaColby - HEADSHOT

Rebecca Colby’s Website

Rebecca is a children’s picture book author, poet, and screenwriter. Her children’s books are represented by Kathleen Rushall of Andrea Brown Literary Agency. Her fourth book, CAPTAIN BLING’S CHRISTMAS PLUNDER, was published by Albert Whitman & Co., 2017.

Buy It HERE

Rebecca’s other books include:

MOTOR GOOSE (Feiwel & Friends, 2017),

IT’S RAINING BATS AND FROGS (Feiwel and Friends, 2015), and

THERE WAS A WEE LASSIE WHO SWALLOWED A MIDGIE (Floris Picture Kelpies, 2014)

Congratulations REBECCA on

CAPTAIN BLING’S

CHRISTMAS PLUNDER

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 7:00 pm ET

from the KidLitTV Studio in New York City.

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2017 BEST IN RHYME TOP 10 – DENISE DOYEN INTERVIEW BY CATHY C. HALL

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2017 TOP 10 List

Pom Witch Cover 110 KB

THE POMEGRANATE WITCH

by Denise Doyen

Illustrated by Eliza Wheeler

1 star

 

 

When a scary old tree blooms with the most beautiful pomegranates ever seen, the neighborhood kids’ mouths water with anticipation. But the tree isn’t theirs—and it has a protector! So begins the Pomegranate War, a fun, rollicking, rhyming tale of a battle between the sly, plucky young rascals and their wry, witchy neighbor who may have more than one trick up her sleeve. 

1 star

 

Denise Doyen had me at witch. I love a good witch story! And a witch story that rhymes, too? Wicked cool. But I have to admit that I was a little surprised about…well…pomegranates. Possibly because I’m one of those people who didn’t know what a pomegranate was until 2001. And I didn’t actually taste a pomegranate until three years ago.

 

I know. It’s embarrassing. Because pomegranates are delicious! Still, I knew when Denise agreed to answer five questions for an interview that my first question would be pretty basic:

 

Why pomegranates, Denise? I feel like there must be a story there, in choosing such an unusual fruit! (It is a fruit, right?)

 

Hi Cathy, so nice to visit here.

 

Botanically, I’ve read it’s an overgrown berry. Why poms? This story came from a real childhood experience of, well, pilfering pomegranates. So, I guess that choice was made long ago when a group of us kids lusted after some ‘overgrown berries’. I might also have been influenced by the recent popularity of pomegranates (their antioxidant properties discovered.) Seeing pomegranate gems sprinkled on my salad or pom juice in fancy bottles kept bringing that childhood passion to mind. 

Then, trying to vividly recall that passion brought the language of delectable fruit into play. The summer I was working on this story, my older son, Paul, was writing a thesis for an advanced English Lit class. We’d head out to cafés together and work across the table on our respective projects. One evening, he mentioned an apropos poetic work he’d read in his class, “Goblin Market” by Christina Rossetti. https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/44996/goblin-market

Pom Witch - End Papers

I was enchanted. I saw how Rossetti celebrated each tactile, flavorful, aromatic, colorful aspect of the fruit that her goblins seductively touted. I think we rhymers can get caught up in a running cadence–and let it gallop away with us. Studying Rossetti’s poem gave me the confidence to drastically change tempo, to slow down when I wanted the reader to covet and take notice as the Pomegranate Gang did―with childlike awe: “the big, red, round, ripe pomegranate fruits”.

 

I noticed that your first book, ONCE UPON A TWICE, is also a rhyming picture book. Do your stories always come to you in rhyme?

 

Seems like it. Actually, I search for my next story by recalling books I loved as a child, then I try to glean what it was about them that so captured my imagination. As a kid, I felt a real affection for Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky. I recited it by heart. I loved the magical sounding nonsense words that still made sense. I enjoyed the brave boy’s adventure that unfolded like a miniature play, and yes, the end rhymes that wove it all together. So, I tried to incorporate those elements into my story about a bold, wayward mouse in Once Upon a Twice.

 

The qualities I wanted for The Pomegranate Witch came from ballad poems that I adored and memorized, like “Casey at the Bat”, “The Walrus and the Carpenter” and “Paul Revere’s Ride.”  Those classic-yarns and their air of nostalgia felt right for the tale I wanted to write about a spooky old farm house, an enchanted tree, the local ‘witch’ and the antics of children caught up in a neighborhood mystery. The meter of a ballad’s iambic heptameter offered a familiar yet dramatic pacing. I added some wordplay and strove to make the rhymes unique. Pondering this interview question, I realize that being able to memorize lovely language felt special and valuable to me as a kid. Rhyme is a great way to cue one’s mind to link: one line of text — to what comes next. Surely, that’s a reason I’m drawn to it. 

 

 

THE POMEGRANATE WITCH is centered on fall, harvest time, and Halloween. Is it harder to sell a seasonal book? And do you have any promotional tricks that will make it a treat to plan school events with a seasonal book?

 

Well, fortunately Halloween is a big book-selling holiday. I received photos from friends showing The Pomegranate Witch featured in their local bookstore’s festive fall windows or Halloween table displays. Illustrator Eliza Wheeler’s cover is so charming and evocative (ditto the entire book.) She added such thoughtful, imaginative layers and visual clues to the text. The pomegranate end papers are to die for. Actually, pomegranates themselves have proven one way to expand the niche of the book. At my book signings, I demonstrate how to open a pomegranate and get at the seeds without making a huge mess! The kids are fascinated (and parents and teachers, relieved.)  The town of Madera featured readings of the book on their Children’s Stage during their Annual Pomegranate Festival. Also, the book’s underlying themes are helpful; I’ve been very pleased to see several reviews noting that the childhood escapade and provocative questions about the mysterious neighbor make the story suitable for year-round readings. That wider storyline–about childhood invention and ‘not judging a book (or witch) by its cover’―were my intended focus, not Halloween.

 

RE: school visits. A favorite interaction: I have students recite the poem’s repeats with me. We practice first. I give them an easy visual cue (I hold up 3 fingers.) Then, at intervals kids can anticipate, the whole audience chants “The pomegranate, pomegranate, pomegranate witch!”

Pom Witch - Year to ear to hear...

What an interesting journey you’ve had to children’s publishing! What’s the best advice you ever received along the way, and what do you always tell those rhyming picture book writers when they’re first starting out?

 

Yes, I’ve sort of ricocheted through the Arts: studying design, a decade as a professional dancer/choreographer, film school, a director of children’s television, a graphic artist during The Mom Years and now, writing for children. I don’t think such branching of creative interests is unusual. I know so many writers who are also musicians, actors who paint, architects who sculpt, dancers who design costumes and clothes, illustrators who are accomplished chefs. Often diverse interests inform each other. For instance, I’m pretty sure my years of tap dancing lessons at Miss Isabel Christie’s Studio sensitized my ear to rhythm, syncopation, stressed/unstressed beats, anticipatory pauses, etc. I am a much better poet because a can tap it out and “feel the beat” in my feet, my bones, my heart.

 

Advice for new, brave, rhyming picture book writers? That old true chestnut: Always put word choices that truly enhance your story, your setting or your characters above your rhyme. And don’t fall to the temptation of overused couplets: tree/me, sky/high, blue/too. I always gather a ton of photographs showing the places, actions, plants, animals or people who I am trying to build my story around.  Sometimes just studying those pictures, looking with a poet’s exactness at all the colors, textures, elements, motions suggested by them, will conjure an original flash, a fresh take or cool description. One of my favorite phrases in The Pomegranate Witch came about this way. I was mulling over a photo of an ancient pomegranate tree, its crown, its bark, the earth beneath and I thought “Wow, those roots undulate like snakes.” Voila. The line in the story now reads, “…dirt ripplesnaked with roots.”

 

My mother (a retired kindergarten teacher) tells stories about how her little language learners used their small vocabularies in novel ways. One of my favorites is when someone knocked on the classroom door and a little girl said, “Teacher! The door is talking.” I mean, how great is that? We language masters need to trick or coach ourselves out of the ruts of everyday usage, look anew, because a flash thought like “the door is talking” is where poetry begins.

 Pom - pom prize

And finally, what’s Denise Doyen staying up way too late and working on these days?

So, as is my habit, I searched my fondest childhood reading moments to come up with an inspiration. I loved Madeline. I wanted to live in Paris, have eleven mirror-like roommates, see carousels, city rivers and stone bridges, and stroll through parks full of kites. I wanted to survive some brief, exciting Incident (that ended with a dollhouse.) So, I’m gathering up those childish wants and feelings, as well as Ludwig Bemelman’s simple, direct language and I’m applying them to a story called “Claire’s Stairs.”  I guess we’ll see what happens…

  

Thanks, Cathy for the interview and Rhyme Revolution for promoting books that rhyme.

 

Big congrats on THE POMEGRANATE WITCH being in the Top Ten list of Best In Rhyme 2017 books! Please go visit Denise’s wonderfully eerie website to read more. As for me, I’ve got a sudden hankering for a sweet treat.

You thought I was going to say pomegranate, didn’t you? But I’m off to find ONCE UPON A TWICE. And yep, a nice juicy pomegranate to go along with it!

 

DOYEN Denise, Headshot 2

WEBSITE 

Buy it HERE

Bio:

Denise Doyen studied creative writing and design at Stanford University (BA) and directing at the American Film Institute (Masters). For many years she worked in the world of children’s television where she directed the beloved Disney Channel series Welcome to Pooh Corner and Dumbos Circus as well as other productions for children including the video collection “The Mother Goose Treasury.”

Leaving show biz to raise her two boys, she embraced Mom-dom while working part-time as a graphic designer. However, her first love was writing. So, when her oldest son set off for college, Denise set off on a new creative career; she studied writing for children at UCLA. She joined SCBWI (Society for Children’s Writers & Illustrators), claimed a chair in Barbara Bottner’s Master Class and was a founding member of GOYA critique group. (GOYA: an Urdu word meaning “the suspension of disbelief that occurs in good storytelling”; it’s also a cheeky acronym for “Get Off Your Ass—and get writing!”) She loves amusing words, especially clever or elegant portmanteaus, and working late, late at night.

Her first book, Once Upon a Twice, a rousing mousey nonsense adventure, debuted in 2009 to starred reviews. It was a Junior Library Guild selection and included in several ‘best of’ lists including Kirkus Reviews “Best Children’s Books of 2009”. The book was awarded the 2010 “EB White Read Aloud Honor,” and Denise won the “2010 Ridgway Honor” for outstanding debut in the world of children’s picture books.

Her second book, The Pomegranate Witch, is loosely based on a childhood experience that she shared around a critique table one evening after Halloween, while the rest of the group was making its way through Los Angeles traffic. When she finished telling the story, her writer friends said, “That’s a book.” And now, it is.

Ms. Doyen lives with her husband, Michael, an attorney, (their young adult sons have flown the nest) and a Bengal cat, Zeek, in Pacific Palisades, CA.

Many thanks to 2017 Best in Rhyme Committee Member Cathy C. Hall for interviewing Denise Doyen about her fabulous new book

THE POMEGRANATE WITCH

 

Congratulations DENISE on THE POMEGRANATE WITCH

and making the 2017 Best in Rhyme Top 10 List again!

1 star

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.

KidLitTV Logo - NEW 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017 BEST IN RHYME TOP 10 – DIANA MURRAY INTERVIEW BY SHERRI JONES RIVERS

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2017 TOP 10 List

Doris cover

DORIS THE BOOKASAURUS

by Diana Murray

Illustrated by Yuyi Chen

1 star

“We shouldn’t have to beg or plead

To make our brothers want to read.”

Doris the Bookasaurus finds a way

to make reading fun for Max and TJ.

 

I first “met” the talented author Diana Murry in 2010 when I won a Letter of Merit from SCBWI’s Barbara Karlin Grant and she WON the award. I emailed to congratulate her and we corresponded off and on. I did an interview with her last year for the GROG about her book CITY SHAPES. I can honestly say I am a fan of hers, and I am pleased to get to interview her about her book DORIS THE BOOKASAURUS.  Diana is, by the way, the first author to have two books on the 10 Best in Rhyme List for a second year! Quite an accomplishment

Sherri:

It appears you started with poetry in magazines before publishing books. Do you recommend starting with poetry for magazines to build a resume and hone your craft?

Diana:

Yes. I had my first acceptance for a poem named “Mystery Dinner” from Spider Magazine. Shortly thereafter, I had a few acceptances from Highlights for Children. Since then I have sold many other poems, mostly to Highlights and High Five. I do recommend it. When agents or editors see that you have magazine credits, it helps to show you’re serious about your career (especially if you don’t have other publishing credits yet).

Sherri:

For those who are unfamiliar with your writing journey, can you give us a Reader’s Digest condensed version?

Diana:

I started writing seriously in 2007. That’s when I joined SCBWI. Three years later I sold my first couple of poems and won the SCBWI Barbara Karlin Grant for a picture book work in progress. Two years after that in, 2012, I signed with my agent, Brianne Johnson at Writers House. In 2016 and 2017 I had my first six books release: CITY SHAPES (Little, Brown), GRIMELDA, THE VERY MESSY WITCH plus a sequel (Tegen/HarperCollins), NED, THE KNITTING PIRATE (Roaring Brook/MacMillan), GROGGLE’S MONSTER VALENTINE  (Sky Pony Press) and DORIS THE BOOKASAURUS (Imprint/MacMillan). I have seven more children’s books coming in 2018 and beyond. The next one, coming in February, will be an early reader, PIZZA PIG, with the Random House Step-Into-Reading series. (By the way, writing rebuses for Highlights helped me get the hang of writing early readers).

Sherri:

Kirkus says: “The scansion is excellent, making the verses both easy to read aloud and easy for pre-readers to eventually memorize.”  How did you manage the “excellent scansion”? And did you purposely use two different rhythmic schemes?

Diana:

DORIS is written in rhyming couplets of iambic tetrameter. However, I use a lot of clipped, headless lines. In other words, instead of starting with an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed one (ba DUM ba DUM) I sometimes clip the first unstressed syllable of the sentence. Starting with a stressed syllable (DUM ba DUM) makes the lines feel a little bolder and I thought that captured Doris’ enthusiasm. In addition, when Doris reads from other books, that text is set in iambic 4/3 meter, sometimes referred to as “ballad” meter. When you have a text within a text, it is common to set it in a different meter in order to distinguish the two. As far as the scansion, that’s mainly a matter of practice.

Sherri:

I really like the color combinations and the art. What was your impression when you saw the illustrations? Did you have any art notes?

Diana:

I absolutely loved Yuyi Chen’s illustrations. I especially love the scene where they sail their ship into the pirate book.

Doris 1

That’s exactly what I pictured—except better. I inserted a few art notes for clarification. For example, when Doris is telling jokes and a “crowd” gathers, I noted that this would be her stuffed animals.

Sherri:

Such inventive language such as “dino-store”,  lounging in my “boulder bed” and “mega-dino-tastic.” Also, “stego Blocks” is too clever. And love the alliteration of “scurvy scaly pirate crew.” Do you think about word choice as you go, or go back and work on the lyrical language?

Doris 2

 

Diana: Thank you! Most of the time words just pop into my head as I’m going. But I do go back over the text to make sure I haven’t missed any opportunities.

Sherri:

What was the impetus for this book and how long did it take you to get to the finished product?

Diana:

This book started out in prose and actually went through tons of revisions. Wasn’t until I wrote it in verse that it sold. It took about three years from submitting to publications. The main inspiration was watching my kids play. I always loved it when they incorporated stories from books into their playtime. I started noticing how playing and reading went together more than people might think. I wanted to show how exciting and active books can be and also, what a good variety there is—from joke books to record books, to fantasy adventures—there’s truly something for everyone.

Sherri:

What advice do you have for rhyming writers?

Diana:

My advice for rhyming writers is, keep practicing, and make sure that you sometimes write just for pleasure. Write what moves you, even if you don’t think it will sell. Nothing you write will be wasted, even if it isn’t published. But, on the other hand, if you’re working on a picture book, don’t get stuck on one manuscript. If it’s not working, might be best to set it aside and work on something else. You may be able to save it when you look at it again in a few years (that’s happened to me before). And don’t be afraid to write a crappy first draft. That is, silence the inner critic at the beginning, or else it might stifle your creativity. Finally, a good critique group (or several partners) is a must!

 

Diana Murray - Headshot

WEBSITE 

Buy it HERE

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.

 

Many thanks to 2017 Best in Rhyme Committee Member Sherri Jones Rivers for interviewing Diana Murray about her fabulous new book

DORIS THE BOOKASAURUS!

 

Congratulations Diana on DORIS THE BOOKASAURUS

and making the 2017 Best in Rhyme Top 10 List again!

1 star

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.

KidLitTV Logo - NEW 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017 BEST IN RHYME TOP 10 – COREY ROSEN SCHWARTZ INTERVIEW BY GAYLE C. KRAUSE

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

turkey

No rest for the weary rhymers!!!

2017 Best in Rhyme Award logo

TOP 10 List

 

Twinderella

TWINDERELLA
by Corey Rosen Schwartz
Illustrated by Deborah Marcero

 

 

Many thanks to 2017 Best in Rhyme Committee Member

Gayle C. Krause for interviewing Corey Rosen Schwartz

about her fabulous new book TWINDERELLA.

1 star

DOUBLE YOUR PLEASURE!

DOUBLE THE PUN!

TWO CINDERELLAS ARE TWICE AS MUCH FUN!

Gayle 

If you are a pre-school teacher or director of an early childhood education program, like I was in my previous career, you’ll love Corey Rosen Scwartz’s Twinderella, as much as I do. In fact, even high school math teachers can use Twinderella as a quirky, unique teaching tool. But I’m not speaking solely as a teacher, though I always read a picture book with an eye for the ‘teaching moment.’ Parents can invest themselves in the two-for-one story too—a  bedtime tale about a well-loved character and a lesson in pre-math skills.

WIN! WIN! TWIN! TWIN-DERELLA!

Now, let’s discover a bit about Corey’s writing process.

 Corey - spread 1

 

GAYLE:  How long have you been writing?

 

COREY: I’ve been writing picture books since 2001. I had heard that it takes seven years on average to make your first sale. I was lucky to get plucked from the slush in less than two.  Needless to say, I was very pleased with myself.  Then… it took six and half years before I sold another manuscript!  Serves me right for being cocky.  Ha!  

Corey - spread 2

 

GAYLE:  How long does it take you to write a rhyming picture book? How many revisions?

COREY: As all rhymers know, it can takes a LOT of work to get the rhyme and meter just right.   Once I have an idea I love, I usually get a first draft down in a couple of weeks.  It is really important to get the story right first. So I revise with an eye toward plot structure.  Does it have enough tension?  A satisfactory ending, etc.  Once, I feel confident that the story arc is totally working, that is when I focus on tweaking the rhyme and meter.  All in all, it generally takes about four or five months and roughly 25-30 drafts.

 

Corey - spread 3

GAYLE: Where do you get your ideas?

COREY: I get nearly all of my ideas from my kids!   They were constantly providing me with material when they were little. Now that they are both in middle school, I am having a tough time.  I can no longer rely on them to say things like “Mommy, come quick.  Josh is in the oven!”   

 

Grandkids cannot come soon enough!    

 

GAYLE: How many rhyming picture books have you written?

COREY: Maybe a better question is how many non-rhyming pictures have I written?  Uh, none.  Ha!  That is not totally true.  I have three or four manuscripts that I have attempted to write in prose, but I’m embarrassed to even show them to my agent. Rhyme is what I do best.   My stories are not character-driven or plot-driven.  They are language-driven.  I’ve sold eight rhyming picture books and I have about a dozen others that are polished, but have not yet found a publisher.

 

GAYLE: How did you find the inspiration for Twinderella?

Corey - spread 4

COREY: Every year, I participate in what is now called Storystorm.  It is Tara Lazar’s challenge to come up with 30 PB ideas in 30 days.   In 2009, I came up with dozens of Goldilocks variations.  Two of the ideas were as follows:

 

  • Goldilocks has a surprise twin sister?  (Brownilocks?   Tawnylocks?)
  • Goldilocks and the Three and a Half Bears-  use fairy tales to teach fractions

 

Neither idea went anywhere, but they both kept nagging at me.  Then during Storystorm 2010, it suddenly hit me.   There was a perfect way to combine the two.   

 

TWINDERELLA: A FRACTIONED FAIRY TALE

 

GAYLE: Do you see yourself in any of your characters?

 

COREY: Yes. I actually see myself in Twinderella. Math was always my favorite subject in school. Like Tinderella, I see math as a fun, challenging puzzle to be solved. I love how logical it is. I was even a math teacher for a while and in my first draft of Twinderella, Tin wound up teaching math too! 

 

From Kirkus Reviews:

Touting itself as a “fractioned fairy tale,” (LOVE THIS PITCH!) however, this take on “Cinderella” proclaims that readers familiar only with the original story “don’t know the half of it!” Breezy, pun-filled rhymes introduce Cinderella’s twin, Twinderella, who uses math to divide their wicked stepmother’s chore list in half. 

 

Corey Author Photo

WEBSITE 

Congratulations Corey on TWINDERELLA

and making the 2017 Best in Rhyme Top 10 List!

Buy it HERE

1 star

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.

KidLitTV Logo - NEW 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017 Best in Rhyme Top 10 – Matt Forrest Esenwine and FLASHLIGHT NIGHT Interview by Deborah Williams

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Top 10 List

 

Flashlight Night

 

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT

by Matt Forrest Esenwine

Illustrated by Fred Koehler

 

 

Many thanks to 2017 Best in Rhyme Committee Member
Deborah Williams for interviewing Matt Forrest Esenwine
about his fabulous new book FLASHLIGHT NIGHT!

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Deb: Congratulations on the great reviews for Flashlight Night!  This is your first picture book, but have you had other rhyming work published?

Matt: Thanks, Deb! Yes, I’ve had numerous poems published over the years. My first was back when I was in high school – I sent a free verse poem to the local college’s literary magazine and they liked it enough to publish it! That set me on my path. Since then, several of my poems have been published in literary journals and anthologies.

Up until 2009 or so, I was only publishing poetry geared for adults – primarily free verse – but I had some children’s poetry I’d written and didn’t know what to do with. A friend told me about SCBWI, I joined a local critique group, and began studying the craft as well as the market (a hugely important and often underestimated aspect of writing for children). My first children’s poem, “First Tooth,” was published in Lee Bennett Hopkins’ Lullaby & Kisses Sweet (Abrams Appleseed, 2015) and between that poem and all the others I have – or will have – published in books, online journals, and ‘Highlights’ magazine, the grand total comes to about 24! Granted, in publishing, the wheels turn slowly, but I’m extremely grateful I’ve been able to get this far so quickly.

Deb: Your voice talent background taught you to pay attention to how written words sound when read aloud. Was this helpful to you in writing picture books?

Matt: Yes, it was…but what was more important was my ability to write radio copy (e.g., commercials). When writing a 30-second or 60-second radio commercial, one needs to create interest on some type of emotional level; introduce a problem; offer a solution; and then conclude the message. Sound familiar?? It’s a story! So no matter whether it’s a commercial, a poem, a picture book, or a novel, the general structure is very often the same – it’s how one varies that structure and what one does with it that makes the difference.

Deb: Which do you find more challenging when writing, perfect rhyme or perfect meter?

Matt: Perfect rhyme, no question. Perfect meter can be difficult, yes, but if one is writing in accentual verse rather than syllabic, it’s the rhymes that are going to be front and center to the reader. As long as the text flows, make sure those rhymes are as good as they can be.

Deb: Rhyming books are often a hard sell, partly because they’re tough to translate for foreign markets. What would you say to encourage those of us who write in rhyme?

Matt: I know of a number of folk who’ve written rhyming picture books that have been translated into other languages, and they usually end up as non-rhyming picture books. This is another reason why having a solid, universal story – and text that can be appreciated even in prose –is so important.

Flashlight Night spread

Deb: Can you share some creative marketing ideas you’ve used with Flashlight Night?

Matt: One of my first book signings was at night, and we displayed the book on a projection screen so everyone could see. I talked about the book a little bit, then showed the kids some shadow puppets on the screen, and everyone left with a small flashlight of their own!

I also contacted a local hospital’s gift shop, because I felt ‘Flashlight’ was the kind of quiet adventure book a young child might enjoy while staying there. The manager loved the book and ordered a case, and we scheduled a book signing during the “lunch hour” (a very loose term when it comes to hospitals). Before the signing I visited the on-campus preschool and read to three groups of young children, and by the time the signing rolled around many of their parents were requesting copies! In fact, we sold out of all the books in an hour – and I’m hoping to get back there before Christmas for another go-round!

Deb: What’s the most fun you’ve had since your book came out?

Matt: I’ve really been enjoying the signings, actually. Eventually when I’m old and grizzled (which may not be too long from now) and have a wall of books to my name I’ll probably become haughty and supercilious…but for now, I’m having fun meeting people and chatting with them about the book, my contributions to various poetry collections, and children’s publishing in general.

Deb: What’s next for you in your writing career?  Will your next book be in rhyme, too?

Matt: This spring, I’ll have my name associated with two books! My second picture book, “Don’t Ask a Dinosaur” (Pow! Kids Books), which I co-wrote with author Deb Bruss (“Book! Book! Book!”, “Big Box for Ben”), is scheduled for a March release. It’s about a couple of kids trying to put on a birthday party while their dinosaur friends – in the interest of helping – destroy everything. It includes a short glossary at the end so readers can learn more about the 14 different dinosaur species in the book…and yes, it’s rhyming!

I also am extremely grateful to Lee Bennett Hopkins for asking me to contribute a poem for his newest poetry anthology, “School People” (Boys Mills Press), which is being published by the same folks who published “Flashlight Night.” “School People is a collection of 15 poems about all the grown-ups that kids meet when they go to school: teachers, principals, the lunch crew, etc. Lee asked me to write a poem about the bus driver, so I’m really looking forward to seeing all my fellow friends’ and writers’ poems!

Deb; Thanks, Matt!  We’ll look forward to reading more of your writing and rhyming!

Matt: Thank YOU, Deb – and also thank you to Angie and everyone for including our little book in the Top 10!

2017 Top 10 Blogs - Mat Forrest

WEBSITE 

Congratulations Matt on FLASHLIGHT NIGHT

and making the 2017 Best in Rhyme Top 10 List!

Buy it HERE

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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. 

KidLit TV logo - new

2017 Best in Rhyme Award Top 10

2017 Best in Rhyme Award logo

Please take time to read these wonderful rhyming picture books!

Congratulations to the all the authors and illustrators!

Watch for weekly blog posts from the Best in Rhyme Committee Members about each of the Top 10 Best in Rhyme books

starting November 17th. 

Best in Rhyme 2017 Top 10

Here’s the official 2017 

Best in Rhyme Top 10 List

in no particular order

 

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

Watch for The 2017 Best in Rhyme Award announced February 4th at 7:00 pm ET from the KidLit TV Studio!

KidLit TV blk-white logo

Thank you to Julie Gribble at KidLit TV

Take a peek at the Best in Rhyme Rubric

used for scoring.

The Best in Rhyme committee is a group of dedicated Rhyme Revolution members. They have been busy reading, reviewing and scoring the nominated rhyming picture books for 2017. Members of the Rhyme Revolution Group nominated books for consideration.

Many thanks to this wonderful committee!! ❤

Angie

 

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

 

*Due to the fact that Angie Karcher has a rhyming picture book nominated for this award, she has not been involved in the reading or scoring of any of the nominated books this year. The committee has been in charge of making the final decisions concerning the winner(s) of this award.

2017 Best in Rhyme Award Top 20

2017 Best in Rhyme Award logo

2017 Best in Rhyme Award 

TOP 20

Please take time to read these wonderful rhyming picture books!

Congratulations to the all the authors and illustrators!

2017 BIRA Top 20

Here’s the official 2017

Best in Rhyme Top 20 List!

CAPTAIN BLING’S CHRISTMAS PLUNDER by Rebecca Colby
DORIS THE BOOKASAURUS by Diana Murray
GRIMELDA AND THE SPOOKTACULAR PET SHOW by Diana Murray
EVERYBUNNY DANCE by Ellie Sandall
NOTHING RHYMES WITH ORANGE by Adam Rex
MONSTERS NEED TO SLEEP by Lisa Wheeler
SANTA’S GIFT by Angie Karcher
TRAINS DON’T SLEEP by Andria Rosembaum
THE CASE OF THE STINKY STENCH by Josh Funk
LOVE IS by Diane Adams
GRANDMA’S TINY HOUSE: A COUNTING STORY by JaNay Brown-Woods
MIGHTY, MIGHTY CONSTRUCTION SITE by Sherri Duskey Rinker
THE POMEGRANATE WITCH by Denise Doyen
MONSTER’S NEW UNDIESby Samantha Berger
READY, SET, BUILD by Meg Fleming
LITTLE EXCAVATOR by Anna Dewdney
TWINDERELLA by Corey Rosen Schwartz
FLASHLIGHT NIGHT by Matt Forest Esenwine
THE HAWK OF THE CASTLE by Danna Smith
HOOT AND HONK by Leslie Helakoski

Watch for Top 10 Best in Rhyme Award books of 2017 announced mid-November.

KidLit TV blk-white logo

The final 2017 Best in Rhyme Award announcement will be on February 3, 2018 in New York City at the KidLitTV Studio.

Thank you to Julie Gribble at KidLit TV

Take a peek at the Best in Rhyme Rubric

used for scoring.

The Best in Rhyme committee is a group of dedicated Rhyme Revolution members. They have been busy reading, reviewing and scoring the nominated rhyming picture books for 2017. Members of the Rhyme Revolution Group nominated books for consideration.

Many thanks to this wonderful committee!! ❤

Angie

 

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

 

*Due to the fact that Angie Karcher has a rhyming picture book nominated for this award, she has not been involved in the reading or scoring of any of the nominated books this year. The committee has been in charge of making the final decisions concerning the winner(s) of this award.

Q and A with Susanna Leonard Hill about THE ROAD THAT TRUCKS BUILT. It RuMbLeS into bookstores on July 25th

slh-tour-schedule.jpg
Text copyright © 2017 by Susanna Leonard Hill
Illustration copyright © 2017 by Erica Sirotich
Used by permission of Little Simon

 

SLH - Book Cover

Text copyright © 2017 by Susanna Leonard Hill
Illustration copyright © 2017 by Erica Sirotich
Used by permission of Little Simon

 

I’m excited to share this fantastic new book with you! THE ROAD THAT TRUCKS BUILT is Susanna Leonard Hill’s newest picture book, coming out on July 25th.

She has been quite the busy lady as two of her other books came out in the past few weeks. Her blog hops have been so much fun to follow!  WHEN YOUR ELEPHANT HAS THE SNIFFLES and WHEN YOUR LION NEEDS A BATH both look terrific.

The blog hop shenanigans continue with a SPECIAL PRIZE to be raffled off among anyone who comments on every single blog tour stop, so don’t miss a single fascinating installment!

And don’t forget to share on social media.  The hashtag we are using to promote the book is #trucksontour.  Every time you share a post on Face Book, Twitter or Instagram using #trucksontour you will get an entry into a raffle where 3 winners will each get a $25 Merritt Bookstore and Toystore gift card.

Make sure you comment below to win a prize!!

I was lucky enough to catch Susanna for a moment to ask her a few questions about her book. Please enjoy this brief Q and A and make sure you stop by the book store and grab all of her books!

Q and A with Susanna:

Angie

Hi Susanna,

I thought of your wonderful, new picture book, THE ROAD THAT TRUCKS BUILT, as I was driving this summer and hit miles of road construction. What inspired you to write this book?

Susanna

Okay.  Call me nuts, but I have always been fascinated by heavy equipment! 😊 Seriously! I love the huge tires, the caterpillar tracks, the giant dumper beds, the buckets and claws and rock hammers and noise – not just the mighty roar of the engines, but that beepbeepbeep when they back up.  They look and sound so busy and important, always hard at work making something.  I am not kidding when I tell you that when I was three I was fully committed to a career driving a steam roller.  And call me nuttier, but I love the smell of hot asphalt… maybe because I grew up in New York City.  Anyway, along came my son who apparently inherited my love of big machines and for a couple years that was all he could talk about, and all he wanted to read about.  Since at that point a career in driving a steam roller seemed unlikely, I decided I’d like to write about road building even if I wasn’t actively participating in it 😊

 

Angie

You have obviously done lots of research on each type of truck. Did you find it challenging to add in facts, yet keep it fun and flowing for young readers?

Susanna

I think a lot of young readers, like me and my son, find big trucks inherently interesting!  Facts about them are fun by definition 😊 The main challenge I faced was selecting the most salient, age-appropriate facts to represent each vehicle while also keeping the story moving forward.  For example, it would have been very interesting to say exactly how much weight a bulldozer can shove… but it wouldn’t have fit the story as well as simply stating that its job is to shove stuff out of the way.  When choosing the facts, it’s a balancing act between what moves the story, which facts are age-appropriate (3 year olds can more easily comprehend that a bulldozer’s job is shoving things out of the way then that they can move however many tons of dirt and rock because the concept of specific weight is a little beyond them yet) and, in the case of a rhyming manuscript, what you can say and how you can say it and still fit the rhyme scheme and meter.

slh-book-pages-1.jpg

Text copyright © 2017 by Susanna Leonard Hill
Illustration copyright © 2017 by Erica Sirotich
Used by permission of Little Simon

Angie

My two nephews will absolutely love this, as BIG trucks are all the rage at their playgroup. What is your target age for this book?

Susanna

In my mind, the target age was 2-5, and I think that came through pretty well, especially with Erica’s cute and friendly art.

 

Angie

My husband is a Civil Engineer in Indiana and has worked with all of these big trucks for years. How did you decide which trucks to include?

Susanna

I wanted to tell a story of trucks working together to build a road, so I chose trucks that would be involved.  Some machines, like bulldozers, work at a variety of jobs.  Other machines, like graders and paint markers, are much more specific to road building.  I wanted to include as many that were specific to road building as possible, while also including a few other important multi-dimensional vehicles that were necessary for building a road even if that was not all they were good for.  In addition, this manuscript is one of a series of three.  The others also rely on a number of heavy machines working together to create something.  I didn’t want to use the same machine twice, so they are divided between the three manuscripts.  That’s why, for example, there is no dump truck in this story… it’s in one of the others 😊 Whether or not the other two stories will see the light of day undoubtedly depends on whether or not this story sells well so… fingers crossed! 😊

 

Angie

The illustrations are so much fun! I love how the illustrator, Erica Sirotich, brought them to life with expressive faces. Did you get to collaborate with her on this process?

Susanna

No!  I didn’t get to collaborate with her at all!  I didn’t see the art until it was pretty much finished.  But I think it’s really cute!  I love the way the book came out.  My favorite things are the pink bulldozer with the flower in her exhaust pipe and the little construction-worker birds 😊

SLH - Book pages 2

Text copyright © 2017 by Susanna Leonard Hill
Illustration copyright © 2017 by Erica Sirotich
Used by permission of Little Simon

Angie

This is a rhyming picture book. What challenges did you face with meter and rhyme?

Susanna

It was tricky!  Words like “bulldozer” are not made to fit easily into rhyme 😊 But I was basing my rhyme on the familiar House That Jack Built rhyme, so I had a framework to stay within.  Rhyming, to me, is a little like a puzzle – a word puzzle! – one of the reasons I like it so much.  I enjoy the challenge of playing with words until I get the right combination in the right order.  It’s important to keep the story moving forward without padding in extra lines just to make the rhymes work.

 

Angie

I know you have had two more books come out recently. Please tell us about them.

Susanna

So nice of you to ask 😊 Yes!  On July 11 WHEN YOUR LION NEEDS A BATH and WHEN YOUR ELEPHANT HAS THE SNIFFLES had their book birthdays.  LION is about a lion who does NOT want to take a bath.  ELEPHANT is about an elephant who gets the sniffles.  Both stories try to turn something that kids sometimes find unpleasant into something fun by putting the child in control and by making the whole situation silly.

 

Angie

What other books have you written and do you have any more truck books planned for the future?

Susanna

Aside from LION and ELEPHANT, other titles include:

THE HOUSE THAT MACK BUILT (Little Simon 2002)

TAXI! (Little Simon 2005)

PUNXSUTAWNEY PHYLLIS (Holiday House 2005)

NO SWORD FIGHTING IN THE HOUSE (Holiday House 2007)

NOT YET, ROSE (Eerdmans Books For Young Readers 2009)

AIRPLANE FLIGHT (Little Simon 2009)

FREIGHT TRAIN TRIP (Little Simon 2009)

CAN’T SLEEP WITHOUT SHEEP (Walker Books 2010)

APRIL FOOL, PHYLLIS! (Holiday House 2011)

BEER IS ZO MOE (Veltman Uitgevers 2011 – Dutch only)

 

Forthcoming:

WHEN YOUR LLAMA NEEDS A HAIRCUT (Little Simon January 2, 2018)

WHEN YOUR MONKEYS WON’T GO TO BED (Little Simon Fall 2018)

ALPHABEDTIME! (Nancy Paulsen Books, a division of Penguin Books, Spring 2019)

MOON DREAMS (Sourcebooks Spring 2019)

 

As I mentioned above, I have more truck books planned for the future – 2 of them at the moment! – but I don’t know how the publisher feels about that! 😊

 

Angie

Thanks for sharing this fun info on THE ROAD THAT TRUCKS BUILT! We look forward to reading more of your books in the future!

Susanna

Thank you so much, Angie!  And thank you so much for having me here today!  I so appreciate it!

 

SLH - Headshot

Bio:

Susanna is the award-winning author of over a dozen books for children, including Punxsutawney Phyllis (A Book List Children’s Pick and Amelia Bloomer Project choice), No Sword Fighting In The House (a Junior Library Guild selection), Can’t Sleep Without Sheep (a Children’s Book of The Month), and Not Yet, Rose (a Gold Mom’s Choice Award Winner and an Itabashi Translation Award Finalist.)  Her books have been translated into French, Dutch, German, and Japanese, with one forthcoming in Chinese.  Her newest books, When Your Lion Needs A BathWhen Your Elephant Has The Sniffles, and The Road That Trucks Built will be published by Little Simon in July 2017.  When Your Llama Needs A Haircut (Little Simon) and Alphabedtime! (Nancy Paulsen Books, an imprint of Penguin Books) are forthcoming in Spring 2018 and Spring 2019 respectively, with additional titles coming in 2018 and 2019.  She lives in New York’s Mid-Hudson Valley with her husband, children, and two rescue dogs.

Links:

Website: http://www.susannahill.com/HOME.html

Blog: http://susannahill.blogspot.com

Face Book Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/SusannaLeonardHill

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SusannaLHill

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/SLHill1

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=26268678&locale=en_US&trk=tyah&trkInfo=tas%3ASUSAN%2Cidx%3A2-1-2

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/102248907287284628149/posts/p/pub

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/susannaleonard/

Making Picture Book Magic (online picture book writing course):http://susannahill.com/for-writers/making-picture-book-magic/

Remember to use #trucksontour

 

slh-banner.jpg

Text copyright © 2017 by Susanna Leonard Hill
Illustration copyright © 2017 by Erica Sirotich
Used by permission of Little Simon

2018 Rhyme Revolution Conference Registration is OPEN! Plus other fun stuff

RR Conference Badge updated

Rhyme Revolution has come to an end but the rhyming fun

and opportunities are just beginning!

But first,

If you participated in Rhyme Revolution 2017 copy and paste this badge and share it proudly on your website and on social media! Please add #rhymerevolution to your post.

Congratulations on completing another year of learning and rhyming fun!

THANK YOU everyone for another successful year!

Angie

First bit of  exciting news!!

I have been busy contacting a few agents and editors this month and have more submission opportunities for writers of rhyme!

Starting June 1st, my manuscript critiques will receive a star rating (from 1 – 5 stars) based on the quality. An author who receives a 5 star rating on a rhyming picture book manuscript will be invited to submit to a growing list of agents and editors interested in reading manuscripts with the Rhyme Revolution stars.

You can purchase a manuscript critique HERE.

*As I am receiving quite a lot of manuscript critique requests, I will only accept a limited number per month and then put you on a waiting list or bump you to the next month, so I can respond in a timely manner. As stated above, the rating system begins June first but you may purchase a critique now and it will qualify for this opportunity. 

This is SO exciting and will hopefully improve the reception and quality of rhyming manuscripts.

Interested agents and editors may contact me at Angie.karcher@yahoo.com.

One blue star

Second exciting opportunity…

Now that Rhyme Revolution is over, are you ready to focus on writing a rhyming picture book manuscript?

Registration is now open for The Rhyme Revolution Online Writing Classes.

The classes run June – November and fill up fast as I only accept 5-7 people per class. I’m offering less classes this year as I have several projects going on so, don’t delay if you want a spot!

I always bring in an accomplished author who writes rhyming picture books to do a Q and A the last week of class.

We do a weekly webinar on Google Hangout and you will receive daily lessons via a private Facebook group for the class. You can look at the lessons at your convenience so it works well for those with busy schedules.

I offer a private face-to-face critique to each class member that will include the starred rating system opportunity.

The classes often continue as a rhyming critique group after the month ends.

It is a fun, low key class yet packed full of tons of info and links to keep you reading for weeks if you follow up.

One blue star

Third opportunity…

Sign up for a rhyming critique group!

The deadline to comment is May 5th.

First, you must join the Rhyme Revolution Facebook Group. The post is pinned at the top of the feed. Comment there and you will be registered for a rhyming critique group!

Make sure we are friends on Facebook (If not, send me a friend request) and I will add you to a private Facebook critique group.

Once you are in the group you will see the guidelines and organize yourselves. Each group will need an organizer (so comment as well if you will volunteer to get things started) to keep everything organized. This position can rotate as you decide. Once this group is set, you are on your own to keep it going. We have had many successful rhyming critique groups and I am happy to facilitate these again this year!

Blue Stars

And finally…

What you’ve been waiting for…

RR Conference Badge updated

Registration for the Rhyme Revolution Conference

is open!

CLICK HERE for more information!

Limit of 50 people!

Pay in full or make bi-monthly payments.

An amazing faculty at this 4 day Rhyme Revolution Conference!

Lisa Wheeler

Jill Esbaum

Miranda Paul

Lori Mortensen

Agent Adria Goetz with Martin Literary Management

Editor – TBA very soon!

Blue Stars

Last, but not least…

Congratulations

Week 4 Prize Winners

trumpets

Week 4 

Monday – Katie Engen – THE STORY BOOK KNIGHT by Helen and Thomas Docherty

Tuesday – Maria Marshall – THE FRECKLE FAIRY by Bobbie Hinman

Wednesday – Sherry Howard – MONSTER TRUCKS – by Anika Denise

Thursday’s Winner – Maritza M. Mejia – OLD TRACKS, NEW TRICKS by JESSICA Petersen

Friday’s Winner – Jennifer Broedel – THE GIRL WHO THOUGHT IN PICTURES by Julia Finley Mosca and Daniel Rieley

 

Thank you for reading the blog posts and commenting daily!!

Everything has been mailed out.

Thank you to the authors and publishers

for these generous book donations!!

 

Rhyme Revolution 2017 Day 20 ~Asia Citro of The Innovation Press ~ Rhyming Picture Book Submission Request

Red Stars

Thank you so much, Angie, for the opportunity to introduce

myself to everyone here!

I’m Asia, the publisher behind The Innovation Press, and I love rhyming books.

LOVE them.

As a parent, I love how engaging rhyming books are for children (hidden bonus: I don’t get tired of reading them 9023840384 times).  As an educator, I know how valuable they are to the development of language and reading skills.  Which is why, as a publisher, I actively seek rhyming submissions.  This year we have ten titles coming out and three of them are written in rhyme.   So far we have two more rhyming books slated for 2018…and there’s space for more.

All that to say, I am definitely excited to meet all of you!  I was thrilled to discover Angie’s event to teach the craft of rhyming.  Because it definitely is a craft!  Writing a children’s book is hard enough without the additional layer of making sure the rhyme and meter work perfectly without losing any of the content or character development in your story.

In terms of what I’m looking for in a submission — I love manuscripts that tell a creative and/or quirky story.  I am always really excited to see books that have an original approach that I haven’t seen before.  As a former teacher, I also value manuscripts that have some sort of learning involved (whether it be character learning or academic learning).  If you take a peek at our 2017 books, you’ll see I have a bit of a penchant for hybrid texts — books that combine non-fiction and fiction.  Oh and I also love manuscripts that make kids laugh.

Though we are a newer press, we have international distribution and foreign rights representation.  Our books are found in stores, shops, libraries, and schools all over the world and in several different languages.  We are also a member of the Children’s Book Council and we are an SCBWI PAL Publisher.

If you think you have something that would be a great fit for us, we’d love to see it!  You can find our submission guidelines on our website here.

And last, but definitely not least, I’m giving away two of our 2017 rhyming picture books.  OLD TRACKS, NEW TRICKS came out last month and is both written and illustrated by debut author (and SCBWI member) Jessica Petersen. THE GIRL WHO THOUGHT IN PICTURES is the first book in our new rhyming biography series, Amazing Scientists, that highlights the lives and achievements of amazing women scientists.

Thanks for so much for having me and HOORAY FOR RHYMING BOOKS!

Blue Stars

To participate in Rhyme Revolution:

Read the blog post and comment below

to be eligible for a prize.