Rhyme Revolution 2017 Calendar

This year’s guest bloggers!

rr-calendar-2017.jpg

 

Registration runs from

March 27th to April 10th

Register HERE!

 

This year’s event should be less time consuming than previous years. There are 16 days to read and comment for writers. Each blogger will share information on how to write professional rhyming manuscripts.

Rhyme often gets a negative reaction from editors and agents

because it’s frequently done SO poorly.

This event will help you learn how to write what they

are looking for…quality rhyming picture books!

 

Rhyme Time each Wednesday is for parents, teachers, librarians and…kids

to watch and comment for prizes!

 

See you in April!

 

 

 

Save the Date! Rhyme Revolution April 2017

RhyPiBoMo 2017 - Save the Date

RhyPiBoMo has a new name!

From now on this celebration of rhyming picture books is called Rhyme Revolution.

The new website is https://rhymerev.com/

Along with the new name, there are a some other changes happening.

This is still a challenge for writers of rhyme but I’ve also added a Classroom Challenge, a Library Challenge and a Family Challenge to bring teachers, librarians, parents and..kids to this celebration of RPBs!

RR Classroom Challenge 2017    RR Library Challenge 2017     RR Family Challenge 2017

PLEASE share these links with teachers, librarians and parents!

We have many of the Top 20 Best in Rhyme Award authors’s guest blogging as well as a few others. The topics will cover how to write professional rhyming manuscripts that editors will love. The blogger calendar is coming soon!

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I have also added a fun activity for kids on Wednesdays called RHYME TIME. This is a day off for those participating in the blog challenge. I know we are busy trying to write, so this gives everyone a chance to catch up, plus it gives me a day to bring families to the event. The reason we write is for kids, so my hope is that this will continue to foster the love of RPBs as time goes on. I will share links to author websites and Amazon to hopefully boost sales too.

It’s really a win win!

There will still be daily prizes awarded to participants who read and comment on the blog posts. Watch for the blogger calendar and prize calendars coming soon.

Yes, we will still offer rhyming critique groups but not until after the event ends. I will have a place to sign up in the Rhyme Revolution Facebook Group and then divide the groups in May.

Registration for Rhyme Revolution runs from March 27th -April 10th. You must be registered and comment on daily posts to be eligible for a prize. Unfortunately, I am not able to send prizes to those outside the Continental U.S. due to postage expenses.

2016-best-in-rhyme-logo

In case you missed it, we awarded The Best in Rhyme Award last month in New York City at the KidLitTV Studio. Congratulations to the winners and thank you to The Best in Rhyme Committee for their time and dedication to this award. Also, many thanks to Julie Gribble and KidLitTV for their continued support of what we do!

KidLit TV logo - new

See the announcement HERE.

Best in Rhyme Announcement

I hope to still have Rhyming Parties in the Facebook group but with the additions to the event, I will need to wait and see how much sleep I’m getting. LOL

Fireworks

So, please stay tuned and invite your friends!!

 

 

 

2016 Best in Rhyme Award Top 10

2016-best-in-rhyme-logo

Its up!!! The 2016 Best in Rhyme Award Top 10 List!!

Congrats to all the finalists!

Watch for the final award announcement streaming live on February 12th at 8:00 pm ET at the lovely KidLitTV Studio in New York City!

KidLit TV logo - new

And the finalists are…

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The 2016 Best in Rhyme Top 10 List

The Storybook Knight, written by Helen Docherty, illustrated by Thomas Docherty
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Ada Twist, Scientist, written by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by David Roberts
Publisher: Harry N Abrams

Teeny Tiny Toady, written by Jill Esbaum, illustrated by Keika Yamaguchi
Publisher: Sterling

Pirasaurs!, written by Josh Funk, illustrated by Michael H Slack
Publisher:Orchard

Cowpoke Clyde Rides the Range, written by Lori Mortensen, illustrated by Michael Allen Austin Publisher: Clarion

Ned, the Knitting Pirate, written by Diana Murray, illustrated by Leslie Lammle
Publisher: Roaring Brook

Good Night, Baddies, written by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Juli Kangas
Publisher: Beach Lane Books

Hensel and Gretel Ninja Chicks, written by Corey Rosen Schwartz & Rebecca J. Gomez, illustrated by Dan Santat
Publisher: Putnam

Mary Had a Little Glam, written by Tammy Sauer, illustrated byVanessa Brantley-Newton
Publisher: Sterling

Grimelda, the Very Messy Witch, written by Diana Murray, illustrated by Heather Ross Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

2016 Best in Rhyme Award Top 20

 2016-best-in-rhyme-logo

I’m pleased to share the TOP 20 Best Rhyming Picture Books of 2016!

The RhyPiBoMo (Rhyming Picture Book Month) Facebook Group nominated their favorites and the Best in Rhyme Committee read and scored all the qualified books. We will be announcing the TOP 10 books on January 30th. The winning book and 2 honor books will be named in New York City Feb 10-12th with the help of KidLitTV!

Day and time TBA.

Thank you to Julie Gribble and KidLit TV

KidLit TV blk-white logo

Please take time to read these wonderful books!

Congratulations to the authors and illustrators!

best-in-rhyme-2016-top-20

Thank you to the RhyPiBoMo 2016

Best in Rhyme Award Committee!

 *

This committee of dedicated RhyPiBoMo members has been reading and reviewing and scoring the best rhyming picture books. Members of the RhyPiBoMo Facebook Group nominate books for the committee to review.

*

Patricia Toht

Lori Degman

Mandy Yates 

Kenda Henthorn

Annie Bailey

Gayle C. Krause

Deb Williams

Darlene Ivy

Suzy Leopold

Cindy Schrauben

Angie Karcher – Founder

Tanja Bauerle – Illustrator

*

Take a peek at the Best in Rhyme Rubric

used for scoring.

RhyPiBoMo 2016 Day 22 Author Paul Czajak

RhyPiBoMo 2016 - graduate badge

CONGRATULATIONS to the many participants of RhyPiBoMo 2016! We did it!

WHOOT! WHOOT!

Grab this badge and proudly place it on your websites, blogs and social media pages!!!

You read the many wonderful blog posts, you commented daily, you read stacks and stacks of rhyming picture books and you shared your favorite’s on social media! This month of celebrating the genre that we love has been an amazing labor of love for us all. I always feel blessed to have so many supportive folks join me in April and many friendships have been formed through this event. Many critique groups and even some new RPBs have been published along the way! I thank you all for cheering me on as I grew weary in week 4. You have all been so uplifting and incredibly kind in your many comments, emails and messages and support through the auction and conference recording purchases!

I will be doing RhyPiBoMo in 2017 but I am letting you know that I will not be doing RhyPiBoMo in 2018 because…in it’s place, I will be hosting the 2nd RPB Revolution Conference in April of 2018! And Karma Wilson is coming too!!! It will most likely be in Florida and I will offer the option for extended stays to write on the beach afterwards. I will also offer a payment plan, requiring a deposit to hold your spot, as there will be a limited number of spots. Please follow our RhyPiBoMo Facebook Group to keep up to date on the details. I will be asking for names of people interested, to get an idea of how many to plan for.

Beach

I’m very excited about the future of RPBs and the message to writers of rhyme about how we can improve the quality and professionalism of the manuscripts submitted to editors and agents. A friend recently showed me an editor’s comment stating that the “Quality of rhyming picture books being received has improved.”  That makes me smile! That is good for us all!! Especially the parents, teachers and kids that we write for. So, I will see you here, same time next year and I will see you at the beach in 2018, where “The RPB Revolutionaries” will leave footprints in the sand! Bring your rhyming dictionaries and your sunblock!

 

imageI’m pleased

to introduce

Author Paul Czajak

Paul Czajak head shot.jpg

 

Writing Rhyming Stories That Sell

 

So I was given the task of blogging about how to write a rhyming picture book that sells. If that isn’t a loaded topic I don’t know what is! I hate to break it to you but, there is no secret formula. There is no all inclusive blog post that is going to give you the answer. If there was, every one of my rhyming picture books would have sold.

Let me tell you, they haven’t. Not even close.

So if you want to stop reading now because I can’t give you the perfect answer, then please do. Go and scour the internet until the end of days looking for the perfect answer, all the while getting zero writing done. Go I’ll wait.

OK, now that the pretend writers have left, and the true professionals have stuck around we can get down to business. I may not have a secret formula to help you sell that book you are working on, but I can give you some tips that helped me.

Number one, stop focusing on the rhyme, that’s not what is going to sell your book. What’s going to sell your book is the story. The story is the most important part of any book, whether it rhymes or not. If your story sucks, then I could care less that your meter and rhyme are perfect. Remember rhyme will not make a bad story good!

The Three Ninja Pigs, by Corey Rosen Shwartz,

Three Ninja Pigs image

 

Bats at the Ball Game, by Brian Lies,
Bats at the Ballgame image

Madaline, by Ludwig Bemelmans,

Madeline image

All three of these picture books are all rhyming books. But more importantly these are all great stories. If you’ve read these books (if you haven’t you should) I would be willing to bet your first reaction wasn’t, wow, what a great rhyme scheme. It was, I love this story! Their characters are engaging and memorable. Their stories are original, clever and not a one time read. Children can imagine themselves in place of the characters. As a writer, if you can pull that off, then the child will want to read it over and over again. It’s one of the reasons I never named the boy in my Monster&Me series. I wanted kids to be able to imagine themselves in place of the boy. So by removing that extra barrier, i.e. the name. I’m hoping children hearing the book become that much more engaged. Does it work? Only time will tell.

Number two, focus on the rhyme. I know, a bit confusing since I just told you not to. But once you have the story your rhyme and meter needs to be perfect. Remember poor rhyme can make a great story bad.

I am sure you have already heard the typical list of things to avoid:

Near rhyme

Backwards talk

Changing meter

Simple rhyme

Forced rhyme.

The reason you keep seeing these things to avoid, is because it’s that important to writing a good rhyming book.

Near rhyme, just wont do. Have a thesaurus and a rhyming dictionary open when you are writing at all times. There are so many wonderful rhyming words out there, so there is no reason to settle.

Backwards talk, or speaking unnaturally just for the rhyme is lazy. Sometimes a rhyme isn’t going to work they way you want it to and your only alternative is to rewrite the stanza, maybe even rewrite the one before. Really, what ever it takes to make a natural sounding stanza is what you need to do. What I’m trying to say is, put in the work and write!

Changing your meter, next to having a crappy story, is probably the biggest culprit when it comes to a rhyming story not selling. When the meter keeps switching it makes it painful to read. Unfortunately we as writers become deaf to our own writing. To counter act this we need to have other people read our stories to us so that we can hear where people stumble. Stop counting syllables. What drives your meter is not the syllable count, but the stress on the word being used. If you have a difficult time hearing a stressed syllable and an unstressed syllable then try tapping it out. When your finger is in the air it’s an unstressed syllable, when it hits the table it’s stressed. If your meter is off, your reading will try to keep the rhythm, but your finger won’t be able to.

Simple rhyme is not a story killer. Every story is going to have its hat, bat rhyme. But what makes a story shine are rhymes like casserole and profiterole or procrastinating and negotiating. You’re a writer be a writer.

Forced rhyme, this is up there with backwards talk. You are just doing it for the rhyme. Please don’t. It’s another sign of being a lazy writer. You are better then that. How do I know? Because you are here still reading this post. You want to learn. You want to be the best writer you can possibly be. So be it.

Now that I’ve laid out the major no, no’s I’m going to confuse you all with the old saying, Rules Were Made to be Broken. This is where I feel you can make your story shine, when you break the rules. But, there has to be a reason you are doing it. For example let’s go back to Bats at the Ball Game. In this story the meter changes. “How dare he!” You say. “Burn him! Run him out of publishing!” OK, maybe not burn him, I got carried away. Actually I think Brian Lies should be applauded. Why you ask? Because it he did it on purpose and it works. He uses the change in meter to portray a shift in the story. Something like this will absolutely catch an editors eye, because it’s unusual and it stands out.

In one of my newer Monster books, Monster Needs A Hug, Monster is having such a bad day that he decides to do everything backwards to turn his day around. That means talking backwards. Again, another rule breaker but, done on purpose for the sake of the story.

So to sum up, writing in rhyme is just like writing in prose. You have to focus on the story first. Whether you are adhering to the rhyming rules or breaking them, it has to be all about the story. And remember,

Rhyme will never make a bad story good, but it can make a good story bad.

 

BIO

Paul Czajak got an F with the words “get a tutor” on his college writing paper and, after that, he never thought he’d become a writer. But after spending twenty years as a chemist, he knew his creativity could no longer be contained. Paul lives in New Jersey with his wife and two little monsters. In addition to the Monster & Me™ series, he’s also the author of Seaver the Weaver, and a contributor to The Huffington Post. Look for his newest book, Monster Needs To Go To School, out on the shelves September 2016!

WEBSITE

TWITTER @pczajak

Monster Needs to go to School

Mighty Media Press

Thank You Paul!

PLEASE like our guest bloggers on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, go to their websites and express your appreciation for their time and wisdom! Many have generously donated multiple prizes and this event would not be successful without their support, so please support them! Oh…and buy their books too!!

image

To be eligible for today’s prize drawing by Random.org you must comment at the bottom of the page where it says “Leave A Reply” AND add your FIRST and LAST name in the comment. If I don’t have your name or how to contact you via email, you can’t win.

You must be a member of the RhyPiBoMo Facebook Group and if you haven’t officially registered, you are not eligible to win.

Please follow the pledge rules daily to get the most out of this challenge!

image

The drawings will be done daily and announced next week.

 

 

RhyPiBoMo 2016 Day 21 Author Samantha Berger

Only 4 days left to shop!

RhyPiBOMo 2016 Auction Badge

RhyPiBoMo Auction

 

I was fortunate to meet today’s guest blogger last summer at the LA SCBWI Conference! Do you see why I attend conferences? How many of our bloggers did I meet at that event? Lots and lots!! Samantha is just as much fun in person as she appears on her social media! Full of energy, loves her job and life itself!  That comes through in all her wonderful books!! I can’t imagine anyone better to blog about humor.

 

image

I am pleased

to introduce

Author Samantha Berger

Samantha Berger

Author Samantha Berger
Photo credit by Leo Moreton

 

PUTTING THE HA! IN YOUR RHYPIBOMO!

(Because there weren’t nearly enough letters in that acronym already)

by Samantha Berger

So, if you’re like me, the moment someone asks you how to be funny, your pendulum swings the opposite way, into NOT FUNNY AT ALL LAND.

You get serious.

You clam up.

You’re suddenly certain that you’ve never been funny a moment in your life.

But just at that moment, you fart, and it sounds like there’s a question mark on the end, and you laugh so hard, you forget all about the original question of how to be funny.

Because you just slayed yourself.

When it comes to humor (in rhyme, in life, in the bathroom), we all have the only thing we ever have—our own voice.

Yours will be different from mine, different from Jon Scieszka’s, different from Katie Beaton’s, different from Louis CK’s, Amy Schumer’s, and Fozzy Bear’s.

Yours will be different from everyone else on the planet.

And that’s good!

That’s what makes you YOU, your humor, YOUR humor, and your writing, YOUR writing.

But there are some universal things that do help with the funny factor.

And I wanna focus on three biggies here:

THE UNEXPECTED. THE TIMING. And the SPECIFIC.

What was funny about that fart?

It caught me off guard. (it was unexpected).

I was thinking about not being funny (the timing).

There was a question mark on the end <frrrt?> (the specific).

Put those three together, and you just might have a nugget of comedy gold.

And there are some incredible rhyming picture books that do it so well.

guess again

One of the best books to use that winning combo is Guess Again by Mac Barnett and Adam Rex.

He steals carrots from the neighbor’s yard.
His hair is soft, his teeth are hard.
His floppy ears are long and funny.
Can you guess who? That’s right! My—-

 

[turn the page:]

Grandpa Ned.

What this book does so brilliantly is rely on the reader’s knowledge and expectation of rhyming books. Then misleads us, surprises and delights us.

The reveal is the unexpected.

The page turn is the timing.

The who it actually is, is very specific.

It’s not just Grandpa. It’s Grandpa Ned.

I can’t stress enough what a hilarious and genius book this is.

These guys got the unexpected, the comic timing, and the specifics just right.

When I went through my collection of favorite rhyming picture books, I found these three elements of comedy exist almost unanimously.

The Nutshell Library by Maurice Sendak, poems from Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein, various Dr. Seuss books.

 Intersteller Cinderella

Interstellar Cinderella by Deborah Underwood, Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast by Josh Funk, Mrs. Biddlebox by Linda Smith, they all know how to take it to unexpected places, use the timing, and include a very specific “zoombroom” when necessary.

Even though they’re now second nature, I do try to keep these things in mind when I am writing.

SnoozeFEST_book

In Snoozefest, a sloth going to a concert for the world’s greatest sleepers felt unexpected to me. And kinda funny.

JUNIOR

In Junior Goes to School, spinning the wheel to see what absurd thing a pig would worry about, felt like good timing, And kinda funny.

witch_spa_big

In Boo-La-La Witch Spa, a witch getting a serpent spit spritzer at a spa felt very specific. And kinda funny.

So put them together and get some HA! into your RHYPIBOMO.

*And remember even a fart can inform your art.

 

BIO

Samantha Berger writes and writes and writes
She’s written picture books like CRANKENSTEIN! A CRANKENSTEIN VALENTINE, BOO-LA-LA WITCH SPA, SNOOZEFEST, MARTHA DOESN’T SHARE, and MARTHA DOESN’T SAY SORRY.
She’s written cartoons for television. She’s written comic books and commercials.
She’s written movie trailers, theme songs, licensed-books, slogans, promos, articles, poems, and PSAs.

You name it, Sam’s written it.
And when she ISN’T writing, she’s doing voice-overs, traveling the world, and helping rescue dogs.
THEN, she writes about that, too!
Samantha splits her time between New York City and sunny California.

WEBSITE

Twitter – @BergerBooks

Instagram – SamanthaBerger321

Facebook – Fans of Samantha Berger

CRANKENSTEIN

Crankenstein Book Trailer I made:

SnoozeFEST_book

Snoozefest Book Trailer I made

CRANKVALENTINE

Crankenstein Valentine trailer I made

witch_spa_big

 BOO-LA-LA WITCH SPA

JUNIOR

JUNIOR GOES TO SCHOOL

Thank You Samantha!

PLEASE like our guest bloggers on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, go to their websites and express your appreciation for their time and wisdom! Many have generously donated multiple prizes and this event would not be successful without their support, so please support them! Oh…and buy their books too!!

image

To be eligible for today’s prize drawing by Random.org you must comment at the bottom of the page where it says “Leave A Reply” AND add your FIRST and LAST name in the comment. If I don’t have your name or how to contact you via email, you can’t win.

You must be a member of the RhyPiBoMo Facebook Group and if you haven’t officially registered, you are not eligible to win.

Please follow the pledge rules daily to get the most out of this challenge!

image

The drawings will be done daily and announced next week.

 

 

RhyPiBoMo 2016 Day 20 Author Verla Kay

Happy Wednesday!

ONLY 5 days left to shop at the RhyPiBoMo Auction!!

RhyPiBOMo 2016 Auction Badge

SHOP NOW!

We have many autographed books, a few manuscript critiques, custom business cards, a customized curriculum guide for your picture book and 2 Author Skype visits for classrooms … so don’t wait or you will miss out on a great prize!

We are only $100.00 away from our goal!

Many thanks to all who have supported our auction!

 

SCBWI Midwest Conf logo 2

Art by Michael Kress-Russick

As I prepare to leave today for the Wild Wild Midwest Conference in Chicago I am excited about all the writer friends I will see! Many, I have met before and we will cherish the time together again. And some are friends through social media that I am SO excited to meet for the first time. This always feels like we have known each other for years because, in some says, we have. Our connection through writing is a tight bond.

One such friend, I met for the first time last summer at the LA SCBWI Conference and she is today’s guest blogger. It felt like Verla and I had known each other forever! She was so gracious to agree to participate this year and excited that I asked her about her rhyming non-fiction picture books! She said, “Everyone always wants to talk about the Blueboard,” which an amazing way for authors to connect. I have been a fan of Verla’s non-fiction books for many years and she has written a great blog post describing the challenges of combining two tough genres. When it’s done well…it’s simply magical!

image I’m pleased

to introduce

Author Verla Kay

Verla Kay

Author Verla Kay

 

Rhyming Non-Fiction Picture Books

by Verla Kay

 

After I became an adult I discovered there are fascinating stories and facts that are truly interesting and fun to learn about. It was the way those facts were presented to me in school that had turned me against non-fiction stories as a child. Now that I’m a writer, I can write things that kids ENJOY reading – exposing facts in a totally fun way.

Be forewarned, though. Rhyming non-fiction is an extremely difficult kind of writing. Just like prose, non-fiction books need a strong, solid, compelling beginning, a middle fraught with interesting situations, facts, and/or events, and they need a perfect, satisfying ending. But they also must be 100% factually accurate AND they need to have perfect rhythm and perfect rhyme!

It can take a long time to get a non-fiction rhyming picture book perfect enough to submit. Some of mine (250 – 350 words long, all written in my signature style that I call Cryptic Rhyme) have taken up to eleven years to write before they were ready to submit!

 

Beginnings

 

Beginnings are just as important in non-fiction as they are in prose. Here’s the evolution of my Gold Fever book beginning:

Moving westward,

Many miners.

People call them,

Forty-niners.

This was “okay,” but it didn’t reflect the flavor of the old west, didn’t tell how the miners were rushing to get out west before the gold was all gone and didn’t show how the people laughed at the miners. And I wanted all of that in the first verse. It took two years to find the “right” three words to make this verse work.

Dashing westward,

Many miners.

Townsfolk snicker,

Forty-niners.

 

What a difference those three words made in this beginning!

 

Every word must “sing” in a picture book, plus all your facts, your rhythm and your rhymes must be absolutely accurate when writing non-fiction rhyming picture books.

Rhythm & Facts

 

Rhythm in rhyming books of all kinds is where most rhyming books fail. If a sentence in your story doesn’t sound natural, like it would normally sound, then it shouldn’t be in your story. In Whatever Happened to the Pony Express? I had a horrible dilemma. My rhythm pattern for this story was:

DA da DA da,

da da DA.

DA da DA da,

da da DA.

No matter how I tried, I could NOT put the words, Pony Express, into my story, because the natural beat for them was: DA da da DA. (POny exPRESS). My solution? I put them into the title instead of the story.

In another of my books (Tattered Sails) I wrote about a family traveling from London to Boston in a 1600’s sailing ship. Here is the evolution of two verses in that story:

Crowded quarters,

Piled trunks.

Musty blankets,

Smelly bunks.

Piled is a tricky word. Is it pronounced with one or two syllables? This was my fix for it:

Crowded quarters,

Piles of trunks.

Musty blankets,

Smelly bunks.

But then… I discovered in my research that trunks were not in common usage on sailing ships until the 1700’s and my story took place in the 1600’s!  So… I had to change this verse yet once again and since trunks was my rhyming word in that verse, I had to change the final line, also. After my changes it read like this:

Crowded quarters,

Candle-lamp.

Musty blankets,

Clothing, damp.

Rhythm & Making Words Sing

Foul water,

Slimy vats.

Wormy biscuits,

Lice and rats.

Again I had another tricky word to pronounce with the correct number of syllables – foul. This was my fix for it:

Tainted water,

Slimy vats.

Wormy biscuits,

Lice and rats.

Tainted is a two syllable word and it was a better, more descriptive and visual word than foul.

 

Broken Featherthe story of a Nez Perce boytook eleven years to write!

Checking Facts

Many of the verses in this story had to be radically changed or cut altogether after I had it “fact-checked” by the Nez Perce tribe in Idaho and many of those changes left gaps in the story – creating MUCH rewriting:

Some Words changed or eliminated were:

Tepees – the Nez Perce lived in lodges most of the year, only using tepees when traveling to hunt during the summer months

Chiefs – the Nez Perce called them headmen or leadmen

Tomahawks  & peace pipes – they weren’t “native” to the Nez Perce

The Ending of Broken Feather took 5 years to get “just right”

Reservation,

Barren, dry.

Broken Feather,

“Father, why?”

I loved this ending! But during fact checking I realized their reservation was not barren or dry, so it had to be changed.  I changed it to:

Reservation,

Anguished cry.

Broken Feather,

“Father, why?”

This was a great ending for adults.  Unfortunately, it did NOT work for kids! When I read it to a 5th grade class as a “test,” the children just sat there…waiting for the ending! So I added two more verses. The last one was the hardest of all to write.

Broken Feather,

Chanting loud.

We no give up,

Stand here proud.

As you can see, this is SO bad…. Although it was the “essence” of what I wanted to say in the last verse, the actual words are HORRIBLE and I would never have actually used them.

White clouds many,

Raindrops fall.

You stay proud, son,

Stand up tall.

This is a little better, but it still doesn’t do the job. The words are “okay” – but when writing picture books “okay” is just not good enough.

Broken Feather,

Standing tall.

We will bend — but —

Will not fall.

This is better. It’s much smoother and feels almost right, but again, “almost” is not perfect, and anything less than perfect is definitely not good enough.

Native warriors,

Chanting loud.

Broken Feather,

Standing proud.

This verse works! It says what I wanted to say using words that are powerful and evoke a strong image. It allows readers to “feel” what Broken Feather would have been feeling. This ending “sings.” Notice how closely it mirrors that first “bad” verse? Only two lines really changed – but what a difference those few words make in the story!

Broken Feather,

Chanting loud.

We no give up,

Stand here proud

 

Writing non-fiction rhyming picture books is truly an art and it cannot be rushed. Give it your all, make sure every single fact in your story is accurate, every beat is perfect, every line is filled with interesting facts and/or images, and every rhyme is perfect and you will have created something of which you can be extremely proud.

 

BIO

Verla Kay lives with her husband and two Himalayan cats in the state of Washington. She writes historical and non-fiction picture books in her own style of poetry she calls “cryptic rhyme.”  She has had a total of eleven picture books published.

Verla Kay’s website, which she designed and maintains herself, has twice been named one of the 101 Best Websites for Writers by Writer’s Digest.  She created and runs a message board, the Blueboard, which has become almost an “icon” for children’s writers and illustrators on the internet. In 2013, the Blueboard was acquired by SCBWI, but Verla still maintains it.

Verla is a former instructor for the Institute of Children’s Literature where she taught the basic “How to Write for Children” course.  Since retiring from ICL in 2009, she has been concentrating on doing what she loves best – writing award-winning picture books, running her website, critiquing other writer’s manuscripts, giving author talks at schools and conferences, and giving back to children’s writers and illustrators by continuing to keep the Blueboard running smoothly for SCBWI.

WEBSITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER  @VerlaKay

 

 gold_fever

Buy it Here

 

 PonyExpress2

Buy it Here

 

 tattered_sails

Buy it Here

 

BrokenFeather

Buy it Here

Thank You Verla!

PLEASE like our guest bloggers on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, go to their websites and express your appreciation for their time and wisdom! Many have generously donated multiple prizes and this event would not be successful without their support, so please support them! Oh…and buy their books too!!

image

To be eligible for today’s prize drawing by Random.org you must comment at the bottom of the page where it says “Leave A Reply” AND add your FIRST and LAST name in the comment. If I don’t have your name or how to contact you via email, you can’t win.

You must be a member of the RhyPiBoMo Facebook Group and if you haven’t officially registered, you are not eligible to win.

Please follow the pledge rules daily to get the most out of this challenge!

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The drawings will be done daily and announced on Wednesday of next week.

 

 

RhyPiBoMo 2016 Day 19 Author Kwame Alexander and Mitch Karcher

Happy Tuesday!

Unfortunately, today’s guest blogger was unable to send her blog post, so I decided to share one of the most popular blog posts from last year. My youngest son Mitch interviewed author Kwame Alexander after he won the Newbury Award. We get to know him through 20 Questions for Kwame!

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I’m pleased to

Introduce Author

Kwame Alexander

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Kwame

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 Today’s guest blogger is a man of many talents.

One of them happens to be writing a Newbery Award Winning book for kids!

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Newbery                the crossover

If you have not read THE CROSSOVER, go, right now and find it, if you can, and read it! It took me about 6 weeks to get my copy and I read it cover to cover the day I received it in the mail. As a mother of 2 teenage boys, a mother of 2 teenage girls who date boys, and as a friend of a family who recently lost their father much too soon…this book is moving, relevant and so, so powerful in it’s playfulness with words. This is a book that will bring teens to poetry for years to come. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to meet Kwame in person this summer at the LA SCBWI Conference. I was one of the lucky few who got into his intensive and I will be sitting there, taking notes, listening to every single word and waiting patiently until I can give a proper hug to Kwame Alexander. His book, his integrity and his genuine care for children make me proud to be a children’s author! Plus I am so happy that his favorite word is…Yes!

As I contacted Kwame to be a guest blogger, honestly thinking that I wouldn’t get a response as he was nominated for The Newbery Award and so busy. I reached out via Facebook message, which by the way is how I snag most of my amazing guest bloggers, and he immediately responded. We agreed on a blog post topic and all was set.

Then he won.

He kindly messaged me at around 3:00 am two days later and very sweetly said, I haven’t slept, I’m not sure what town I’m in right now. I have barely eaten anything and I still want to help you but what can we do to simplify this?

As I am always on my toes, I said,” What if my 14 year old son Mitch comes up with 20 one word answer questions for you and we’ll call it 20 Questions with Kwame?

“YES!”

he said.

So, I am proud of my youngest son for enthusiastically coming up with some fun questions and am happy to say he was equally as enthusiastic to hear the responses, and…is reading The Crossover right now. Thank you Mitch! I’m pretty sure he did this whole thing without even one eye roll! = )

Kwame told me that another Newbery Award winner told him that the price of winning this award is a book. He will be speaking, touring, conferencing and honored at banquet after banquet for at least a full year. He tells me he still writes but it’s tough. Thank you Kwame Alexander for saying yes and for giving the youth of today a literal, literary hero to look up to!

20 Questions for Kwame

by Mitch Karcher

Mitch                  kwame 2

          Mitch Karcher         Kwame Alexander

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Mitch: What is your favorite time of day?
Kwame: 6 am, when no one else is awake, and I can return emails, listen to jazz, and plan my day.

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What is your junk food of choice?
RED. VELVET. CUPCAKES.

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Who inspires you?
My daughters. Students. The energy and innocence and freedom of youth.

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What are you reading now?
These questions…Seriously.

I am reading Margarita Engle’s new memoir in verse. WOW!

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What is your favorite sport?
To watch: Basketball
To play: Tennis

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What do you order to eat/drink at Panera Bread?
Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Large Lemonade. No ice.

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Do you prefer the mountains or the beach?
The beach.

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What book would you like to see made into a movie, besides The Crossover?
Ha! Very funny! My next one…

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Are you a cat person or dog person?
Neither.

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Are you an early riser or a night owl?
Both.

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If you weren’t a writer what career would you choose?
A pediatrician by day, stand-up comedian by night. (I have a friend who is a cardiologist and a country music star. Check out Cleve Francis)

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Who was your favorite teacher?
Nikki Giovanni

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What kind of music do you listen to?
Jazz. Country. Hip Hop. Soul. Classical. Everything else.

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What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?
Double fudge chocolate

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What is your favorite thing to do with your family?
Play Uno. Also, travel.

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What is your favorite word?
Yes.

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What is your favorite dance move?
My wife teachers Zumba. Every move she does when she’s teaching. Pretty cool!

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What is one piece of advice you have for kids?
Never listen to advice from people who make up stories for a living…Also READ a lot.

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What country would you like to visit?
Antarctica. Is that a country?

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Finish this sentence: If I had a million dollars I would:
buy a cupcakery.

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cc factory

Here you go Kwame!

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About Kwame:

Kwame Alexander is a poet and author of eighteen books, most recently THE CROSSOVER, which received the 2015 John Newbery Medal for the Most Distinguished Contribution to American literature for Children. His other works include the award-winning children’s picture book “Acoustic Rooster and His Barnyard Band,” recently optioned as a children’s television show, and the Junior Library Selection, “He Said She Said,” a YA novel. Alexander believes that poetry can change the world, and he uses it to inspire and empower young people through his Book-in-a-Day literacy program which has created more than 3,000 student authors at 69 schools across the US, Canada, and the Caribbean. A regular speaker and workshop presenter at conferences in the U.S., he also travels the world planting seeds of literary love (Brazil, Italy, France, and Turkey). Recently, Alexander led a delegation of 20 writers and activists to Ghana, where they delivered books, built a library, and provided literacy professional development to 300 teachers, as a part of LEAP for Ghana, an International literacy program he co-founded. The Kwame Alexander Papers, a collection of his writings, correspondence, and other professional and personal documents is held at the George Washington University Gelman Library. In 2015, Kwame will serve as Bank Street College of Education’s first writer-in-residence. Visit him at KwameAlexander.com.

 

Booked

BOOKED

Kwame’s latest novel in verse released April/2016

BUY IT HERE

the crossover

Buy It Here

*rooster

Buy It Here

he said

Buy It Here

Indigo

Buy It Here

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SELECTED PUBLICATIONS
The Crossover: A Novel (2014)
He Said, She Said: A Novel (2013)
Acoustic Rooster and His Barnyard Band (2011) (NAACP Image Award Nominee)
Indigo Blume and the Garden City (2010) (NAACP Image Award Nominee)
And Then You Know: New and Selected Poems (2008)
Family Pictures: Poems and Photographs Celebrating Our Loved Ones, ed. (2007)
Crush: Love Poems (2007)
The Way I Walk: short stories and poems for Young Adults, ed. (2006)
Dancing Naked on the Floor: poems and essays (2005)
Do The Write Thing: 7 Steps to Publishing Success (2002)
Kupenda: Love Poems (2000)
360°: A Revolution of Black Poets, ed. (1998)
Tough Love: Cultural Criticism and Familial Observations on the Life and Death of
Tupac Shakur, ed. (1996)
Just Us: Poems & Counterpoems, 1986-1995 (1995)
The Flow: New Black Poets in Motion, ed. (1994)

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SELECTED PRESENTATIONS
SCBWI Winter Conference (Keynote Speaker)
NCTE/ALAN (Keynote Speaker)
American Library Association (Featured Author)
Long Island Literacy Council (Keynote Speaker)
International Reading Association (Featured Presenter)
Arkansas Reading Association (Keynote Speaker)
New York State Reading Association (Keynote Speaker)
Virginia State Reading Association (Keynote Speaker)
Miss Ghana Tourism Pageant (Judge)
Florida Council of English Teachers Conference (Keynote Speaker)
Library of Congress “Afternoon Poetry Series” (Guest Poet)
Oscar Smith High School, Chesapeake, VA (Poet-in-Residence)
Cass Technical High School, Detroit High School (Book-in-a-Day)
New York State English Council Annual Conference (Keynote Speaker)
Oberlin College, Oberlin, OH (National Poetry Month Speaker)
Howard University, Washington, DC (Publishing Workshop)
Northern Virginia Community College (Poetry/Publishing Workshop)
Virginia Teachers of English, Annual Conference (Keynote Speaker)
Long Island City High School, Astoria, NY (Literacy Professional Development)
Stafford Middle School, Plattsburg, NY (Writer-in-Residence)
West Babylon Junior High School, Long Island, NY (Poet-in-Residence)
Crossland High School, Temple Hills, MD (Book-in-a-Day)
Great Bridge High School, Chesapeake, VA (Poet-in-the-Schools)
Great Bridge Intermediate, Chesapeake, VA (Poet-in-the-Schools)
Arlington Public Schools, Arlington, VA (Literacy Professional Development)
Washington & Lee High School, Arlington, VA (Poet-in-the-Schools)
Central High School, Little Rock, AK (Poet-in-the-Schools)
Duke Ellington School for the Arts, Washington, DC (Poet-in-the-Schools)
Wilson High School, Washington, DC (Poet-in-the-Schools)
Oyster School, Washington, DC (Poet-in-the-Schools)
Niskayuna High School, Niskayuna, NY (Poet-in-Residence)
South Carolina Library Association, Annual Conference (Keynote Speaker)
National Council for Teachers of English (Workshop Presenter)

Thank You Kwame and Mitch!

PLEASE like our guest bloggers on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, go to their websites and express your appreciation for their time and wisdom! Many have generously donated multiple prizes and this event would not be successful without their support, so please support them! Oh…and buy their books too!!

image

To be eligible for today’s prize drawing by Random.org you must comment at the bottom of the page where it says “Leave A Reply” AND add your FIRST and LAST name in the comment. If I don’t have your name or how to contact you via email, you can’t win.

You must be a member of the RhyPiBoMo Facebook Group and if you haven’t officially registered, you are not eligible to win.

Please follow the pledge rules daily to get the most out of this challenge!

image

The drawings for this week will be announced on Wednesday of next week.