RhyPiBoMo 2016 Day 18 Editor Emma D. Dryden & Author Karma Wilson

Happy Monday!

Can you believe this is our last week together?

It has gone by so fast!

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Week 3 Prize Winners

Monday-Day 12  Debbie McCue won an autographed copy of HAVE YOU SEEN MY NEW BLUE SOCKS? by Eve Bunting, Donated by Linda Sue Park

Tuesday-Day 13 Charlotte Dixon won an autographed copy of YOU NEST HERE WITH ME by Heidi Stemple

Wednesday-Day 14 Mary Lee Flannigan won an autographed copy of TINY RABBIT’S BIG WISH by Margarita Engle

Thursday-Day 15 David McMullin won a PB Manuscript Critique by Randi Sonenshine

Friday-Day 16 Stuart Carruthers won the RPB Revolution Conference Recording

Prize winners, please email (Angie.karcher@yahoo.com) or message me on Facebook with your contact information. Typically, the books will be mailed directly from the author, so please allow a few weeks. If you haven’t received your prize by the end of April, please let me know. 

 

Bear Snores On Hare

This is a blog post I have been looking forward to reading for many months! 

BEAR SNORES ON is the picture book I read to my own children over and over! I truly believe it is the book that brought me to writing rhyming manuscripts! The language is so rich and the rhythm frolics through the cave where the bear is sleeping. I actually brewed black tea after I read it! Seriously! LOL If you don’t own this book you MUST buy it! It is a gem that you too will read out loud over and over again. You will want to “pop white corn and brew black tea” too…Trust me! 

Bear Snores On - My Copy

This is the ragged copy of BEAR SNORES ON that I read to my own children over and over. Karma kindly signed it for me when we were together last December. It is very special to me!

I am blessed to know the two talented ladies who are guest blogging today. Both have been huge supporters of RhyPiBoMo and myself! I met Emma last summer at the LA SCBWI Conference. At Karma’s suggestion, I found Emma and asked her advice about planning our RPB Revolution Conference in New York City. She was so helpful with great suggestions and spent several hours chatting with me in the hotel lobby, as we paused frequently, for greetings and hugs from many in our industry who love and respect her as much as I do.  She generously donated a one hour phone consultation to our RhyPiBoMo 2016 auction. Thank you Emma! The other guest blogger today has been the number one supporter of RhyPiBoMo and she agreed to speak at our conference even before it was planned. She generously donated boxes of autographed books to sell in our auction to support the event. She is now a mentor and a friend. Thank you Karma! 

Bear Says Thanks

Gorgeous illustrations by Jane Chapman

 

The one thing I’ve learned through this process of planning events and networking is…

Don’t be afraid to ask!

If people can help, they generally will and if they can’t, they will graciously decline. People in the children’s literature business are very supportive and you must put yourself out there and connect to make things happen. Network with other writers in on-line writing groups, in person and on-line critique groups and meet authors, agents and editors at conferences – ALL IMPORTANT!

Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself, shake their hand, hand them your business card and get to know someone. This person may be the person that helps you succeed or teaches you something you didn’t know or connects you with your agent. Attending conferences is the best gift you can give yourself for these reasons. But, you need to make connections while you’re there. Both of these ladies have been supportive and genuinely wanted to help…fortunately, I wasn’t afraid to ask! 

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Emma Dryden (credit Sonya Sones) 6

Editor Emma D. Dryden

  Photo credit ~ Sonya Sones

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KarmaHeadshot (1)Author Karma Wilson

  Photo credit ~ Scott Wilson

 

 

THE RHYME AND REASON OF BEAR SNORES ON: An Author/Editor Collaboration

by Karma Wilson (Bear Snores On author) & Emma D. Dryden (editor)

BEAR SNORES ON

KW: Selling Bear Snores On was one of the most exciting moments of my life! For one thing, my washing machine was broken and I had to somehow provide clean clothes for three small children on a very small family income. ACK! So when the call came in that my agent had sold the book I SCREAMED! And I cried. And I danced. And I asked him when I could buy a new washing machine. Ha-ha! I was very nervous because I’d never worked with a real editor before! But Emma was so very kind and encouraging…and most importantly enthusiastic. I can’t overstate how important that is to a new author. It gives them energy to write new things! And then the editing process began. Okay, Emma, your turn!

EDD: I had just been promoted to Editorial Director of McElderry Books when Karma’s manuscript Bear Snores On was submitted to the publisher of Simon & Schuster Children’s Books. She and I were in her apartment to strategize about the direction McElderry Books needed to take to meet new financial goals and she showed me Bear Snores On. I started immediately to read it aloud, and I ended up reading it aloud about five times! I fell in love. The rhyming verse was so polished—more polished and well-crafted than any manuscript I’d seen in a long time—and I wanted to know more about this author Karma Wilson. I also could immediately see the potential for Bear Snores On to be the start of something bigger than the one manuscript. When verse works well, when it feels flawless and comes lightly off the tongue, it has the potential to become a classic. We all respond well to rhymes and verse when they work so well you don’t even think about it. The rhythms, cadence, and musical flow of beautifully-crafted rhymes and verse help put a story deeply into our heads and memories—and when a story is imbedded in a reader like that, that’s when we know it’s a keeper.

I don’t know how many drafts Karma wrote of Bear Snores On before the draft that was submitted (how many drafts DID you write, Karma??) but I saw little in Karma’s manuscript that I felt needed to be changed or edited. I called Karma and left her a message telling her how much I loved the manuscript! That was one of the most fun phone calls I’ve ever made!

When editing began, I remember there wasn’t much actual editing to do But we talked about the cast of characters, and being absolutely certain that the dialogue was true to each character—and from there we tweaked words and phrases just enough to feel confident Hare sounded different from Mouse who sounded different from the narrator, and so on. And we talked about the importance of the essential change in rhythm that comes a bit past half-way through the story and the essential twist at the end of the story. All the while paying attention to syllables, meter, and beats, to be sure the manuscript would always pass the read-aloud test. What do you remember about the editing process, Karma?

KW: My memory is very similar to yours—for Bear Wants More (the second book in what was to become the Bear Snores On series) which required more extensive editing. For Bear Snores On I actually thought you edited the grammar only. Maybe I’m off on that! Maybe it’s a “fish story” of writing. However, the manuscript itself for Bear Snores On was edited beforehand by some of the top people in the industry today—at the time we were all new or barely published authors struggling along in a critique group. Bear Snores On owes some major thanks to the critique partners who helped me and I will forever be grateful. Good critique groups are very hard to come by, but at the time I was in one of the best one in the world. Dori Chaconas and Lisa Wheeler were in it, to name a few! The manuscript took two weeks to weeks to write from start to finish and was sent to a critique group two times if I remember correctly. Maybe three? It’s been some years! Ha-ha. I can’t say the draft count because I never save my first drafts (I know, I know) and edit and save as I go. But revision for me is an ongoing process. I write, read to myself, read aloud to check meter consistency, and then make tweaks. Wash, rinse, repeat about 5,000 times for each book! I do remember you, Emma, being the most encouraging, wonderful, amazing editor and feeling so lucky and happy to have a mentor who trusted my ability as a writer and respected me as a person. I was a bird taking her first flight, and Emma was the mother, pushing me gently and encouraging me to fly. It was amazing!!! (Emma, I know you would absolutely edit out two of those exclamation points.)

EDD: You’re right, Karma. I would edit out those extra exclamation points because less is more. I think what worked so well for us—starting with Bear Snores On and then through at least ten more books together—is the mutual respect we have not only for one another, but for poetry and rhyme and story. We also have a mutual respect for the creative process and the revision process. We always had fun with the work while also taking it very seriously. We trust ourselves and we trust in what we were doing together. That’s important for any manuscript, but especially so for poetry and particularly rhyming poetry. Rhyme needs to be precise and sharp while feeling casual and fluid—it’s hard to pull off. And when a master like Karma pulls it off, that’s how classics are made!

Watch Karma read BEAR SNORES ON thanks to KidLitTV!

Karma Read Aloud

 

Emma Dryden (credit Sonya Sones) 6     BIO

Emma D Dryden is the founder of the premier children’s book editorial and publishing consulting firm, drydenbks, through which she provides editorial and consultancy support to authors, illustrators, agents, foreign and domestic publishers, and eBook and app publishers. Her long children’s publishing career began at Viking and Random House, followed by a position with Margaret K. McElderry Books. After McElderry retired, Emma became VP, Editorial Director of McElderry Books, and then VP, Publisher of Atheneum Books for Young Readers and Margaret K. McElderry Books, imprints of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing.

            Throughout her career, Emma has edited hundreds of books for children, ranging from board books and picture books to poetry, novelties, non-fiction, MG, and YA fiction and fantasy.  As publisher, she oversaw the annual publication of over one-hundred hardcover and paperback titles. Authors and illustrators whom Emma has edited include Karma Wilson, Ellen Hopkins, Cornelia Funke, Susan Cooper, Alan Katz, Raul Colon, Lee Bennett Hopkins, David Diaz, E. B. Lewis, and Paul Zelinsky.

A highly sought-after speaker about craft and the digital landscape, Emma is on the Society of Children’s Writers & Illustrators Board of Advisors. Her blog “Our Stories, Ourselves” explores the intertwined themes of life and writing and she encourages connection in the social network on Twitter (@drydenbks),  Facebook, and Pinterest

drydenbks - logo - JPEG

 

KarmaHeadshot (1)    Bio

Karma Wilson is an author making her home in beautiful NW Montana, where good coffee and bears are in abundance, which both spur her creativity. She’s been writing for 20 years and a published author for 16 years, which means it took her over three years of writing to sell her first book. That book was Bear Snores On which grew into the very successful Bear Books Series, published by Margaret K. McElderry. In addition to the Bear books, she’s published dozens of other titles and had 5 titles on the NYTs best sellers list. Several of Karma’s books have gone on to win prestigious national and state book awards, including the Oppenheim award, ALA Notable Book Award, Charlotte Picture Book honor award, and many more.

Aside from writing Karma enjoys cooking, enjoying nature, reading (duh), spending time with her family, and eating Moose Tracks ice cream (which inspired the title of her picture book, Moose Tracks and at least part of the need for new jeans).

You can learn more about Karma on her website,  or find her on Facebook (she’s also on Twitter @KarmaWilson and Instagram, which logs into like once a year).

Thank You Emma and Karma!

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!!

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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 for this final week will be announced on Wednesday, May 4th of next week as I will be out of town next weekend.

 

 

 

RhyPiBoMo 2016 Day 17 Literary Agent Alexandra Penfold

SCBWI Midwest Conf logo

Art by  Michael Kress-Russick

 

SO…who is going to the

Wild Wild Midwest SCBWI Conference 2016

Friday, April 29, 2016 – Sunday, May 01, 2016

It is next weekend near Chicago and I can’t wait!

If you are a RhyPiBoMoer and are attending please stop by our

RhyPiBoMojito Party on Saturday Night.

Mojito

We will have “Kid Lit-friendly” Mojitos and

you can add Rum to yours, if you like.

For those who already know me…we will have plastic cups ONLY!  ; )

Stop by and say hello! I will post the place and time in the Facebook group so be watching for updated information.

Please RSVP in the Facebook Post so I can plan for snacks.

I can’t wait to meet you!

SCBWI Midwest Conf logo 2

Art by  Michael Kress-Russick

 

I met today’s Guest Blogger at the LA SCBWI Conference last summer. I attended her session on writing rhyming picture books…of course! We immediately connected over our love of RPBs and she kindly agreed to share an agent’s perspective on writing them.

 

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I’m pleased to introduce

Literary Agent Alexandra Penfold

Alexandra Penfold photo by Donny Tsang

Alexandra Penfold photo by Donny Tsang

AN AGENT’S PERSPECTIVE ON RHYME

Rhyme can be fun! Rhyme can be funny! Rhyme can be playful and joyful and meaningful, too. But rhyme can also be dull and dry and boring. And when rhyme falls into those categories there are few things that are more tedious to read.

 

When you’re settled in at your computer and looking at a new draft on the screen, it’s important to ask yourself, “will this rhyme stand the test of time?” Because when you press send and share that manuscript with the world, that’s what an agent and editor are going to be asking.

 

If you’ve ever been to an SCBWI conference, you’ve probably heard editors say “Don’t send me rhyming picture book manuscripts.”

 

But if you go to the bookstore, you see books being published that are in rhyme. If no one is requesting rhyming texts, where are these picture books coming from? What gives?

 

I think the trouble is not the rhyming itself. It’s not an industry-wide distaste for poetry. It’s the abundance of bad rhyme that agents and editors see in their submissions that turns them off. Just like one apple can spoil the bunch, one bad rhymer can set an agent or editor’s eyes rolling and their mouse scrolling. Click, clack, delete.

 

As an agent, I’m looking for manuscripts that I think will stand the test of time. Ones that I know I’d have wanted to acquire when I sat on the editor’s side of the desk. Ones that I know readers would love to read again and again.

 

While rhyming picture books can break out, it’s important to consider why the manuscript is written in rhyme. Does this story need to be told in rhyme? Is rhyme the best vehicle for telling the story? Is the rhyme itself the reason for the story—i.e. sometimes a writer thinks of a rhyme and devises a plot around it. And this is where you need to be brutally honest with yourself, was that original rhyme so funny and so great that it deserves a story?

 

Rhyming text when not done well can be constraining your narrative voice. Even if you can maintain the story with the rhyming couplets, sometimes it might feel like the story has to meander a bit to get you that rhyme. With such a short and patterned text it can be hard to get a sense of a real voice. And that’s all the more challenging when you have meandering stanzas to hit all your beats.

 A Pig, a Fox, and a Box

Recently I’ve been utterly enchanted by Jonathan Fenske’s Geisel honor award winning book, A Pig, a Fox, and a Box.* With simple language and a buoyant rhyme scheme, not to mention spot on vocabulary for emerging readers, this deceptively simple early reader takes the reader through a rollicking rhyming story in three parts that begs for repeat reads. The front flap shows the titular, Fox with the text: “I have a box. I like to play. I think I will trick Pig today.” The set up and language are simple, but the humor and use of language are timeless. And most of all it’s joyful to read aloud. And that’s the sweet spot for any picture book.

*Mr. Fenske is not a client or acquaintance, so this is just unbiased fan gushing.

 

 

Bio

Alexandra Penfold is a Literary Agent at Upstart Crow Literary and has been working in publishing for over a decade. Formerly an Editor at Paula Wiseman Books/Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, she specializes in young picture books, middle-grade fiction, and young adult. Prior to becoming an editor, Alexandra was a children’s book publicist. She worked on media campaigns that appeared in USA Today,NewsweekUS News and World Report, and NPR’s All Things Considered. She’s the co-author of New York a la Cart: Recipes and Stories from the Big Apple’s Best Food Trucks and the author of three picture books: Eat, Sleep, Poop!, illustrated by Jane Massey, out this fall from Knopf Books for Young Readers, as well as the forthcoming We Are Brothers, We Are Friends illustrated by Eda Kaban, about the special relationship between two young brothers and Food Truck Fest, illustrated by Mike Dutton, her first rhyming(!) picture book text.

New York A La Cart

New York a la Cart: Recipes and Stories from the Big Apple’s Best Food Trucks 

Eat Sleep Poop

Eat, Sleep, Poop!, illustrated by Jane Massey

Twitter  @AgentPenfold

Upstart Crow Website

RhyPiBoMo 2016 Day 16 Author & Teacher Randi Sonenshine

Happy Thursday!

RhyPiBoMo Rhyming Party

Our final Rhyming Party is this Friday! I hope you can join me for the mayhem! It is one hour of trivia questions about this week’s blog posts in our RhyPiBoMo Facebook Group. If you aren’t a member, request to join the over 600 folks who share our rhyming passion.  Everyone involved must type in rhyming phrases…SO funny! Don’t miss this last chance at 8:00 pm CST Friday night.

daisy

 Today’s guest blogger is a good friend who was also part of my RPB Revolution Conference “DREAM TEAM” Committee! I first met her on Facebook, when we both competed in the March Madness Poetry Tournament. She placed second last year, which is truly a dinosauric feat! The level of poets in that competition is stellar. Fortunately, we met in person last summer at a retreat and really hit it off. I’m so happy to say that she is now an agency mate as we both share Kendra Marcus as our agent at BookStop Literary! Obviously, I’m thrilled to have this talented lady on the calendar of bloggers this year!

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 I’m pleased to introduce

Author & Teacher Randi Sonenshine

Randi Sonenshine Headshot

Author & Teacher Randi Sonenshine

 

Not Just for Circle Time: Rhyming Picture Books

in the Classroom

by Randi Sonenshine

 

I confess – I’m a picture book pusher.

As an instructional literacy coach, part of my job is to search for, recommend, and often purchase supplemental texts. Naturally, as a reading specialist and writer for children, picture books are at the top of my list. They are the perfect, bite-sized segue into many complex skills and concepts, not to mention a stand-alone literary treat.

Ten years ago, as the new (and only) literacy coach in the school system, it was hard enough to sell this idea to middle and high school English teachers. Luckily, with modeling and support, they quickly came around. But what about science, social studies, and math teachers? The first time I brought up picture books during a professional learning session, most of them looked at me like I had a third eye. Some even seemed to want to hurt me. Really.

In their defense, with only a vague statement about “reading across the curriculum,” in their standards, literacy was far from a priority; how could they see the connection between literacy and learning when the “experts” creating their curriculum made it an afterthought?

Thankfully, that’s far from the case today. Both the Next Generation Science Standards and the National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies weave literacy strands throughout the core concepts and across grade levels, and they both align with the Common Core Standards for ELA and Literacy. With those critical reading and writing skills embedded in the standards, content literacy is not merely a suggestion, but an expectation for all teachers.

The problem is that textbooks, especially science and social studies, haven’t caught up with these curriculum shifts. Most still contain dry, – well, textbook text, which is hardly the most engaging material, not to mention difficult for students with learning disabilities or limited English proficiency. That’s why many teachers are turning to online subscriptions like Newsela and TweenTribune, as well as classroom magazines, novels and picture books, for more interesting and accessible content-related texts.

While there seems to be a growing number of content-related picture books on the shelves, rhyming picture books are scarce among them, a surprising fact considering the strong link between rhyme and learning.

That’s where you come in! Add beautiful language, connections to content standards, and engaging illustrations, and your rhyming picture book will have a life well beyond Circle Time.

So, beyond the tips shared here by so many amazing industry professionals (Holy Cannoli, Batman – I’m in between Margarita Engle and Alexandra Penfold!), here are a few more from an educator’s perspective:

  • Establish a strong, rather than vague connection to the standard. To that end, familiarize yourself with the standards. As navigating these can be daunting, even for seasoned teachers, start by zooming in on overarching themes, like the Crosscutting Concepts in the NGSS, the Anchor Standards in the ELA Common Core, and the Ten Themes for the NCSS social studies standards.

  • Be diligent with your research, as content must be accurate and up-to-date. Provide bibliographic information and sources for further reading; teachers often use these to extend and enrich learning.

  • Create opportunities for readers to explore concepts more fully in the back matter or with non-fiction call-outs. Also consider adding sidebars, charts, graphs, and/or maps if appropriate; interpreting these text features is a critical skill across all subject areas, and a common task on state assessments.

  • When possible, use the academic language of the standards. Rhyming picture books, which naturally lend themselves to repeated readings, provide both context and multiple exposures to new words, which are necessary for word learning. If there isn’t sufficient context in the text for readers to infer the meaning, add a glossary as part of the back matter.

  • Consider emphasizing a particular organizational structure, such as cause-effect, chronological, comparison-contrast, cyclical, or problem-solution. Analyzing these patterns is another critical skill that crosses all disciplines.

  • Strive for multiple layers of meaning that provide opportunities for close reading, discussion, and debate for older students. For a good example, read Denise Fleming’s Where Once There Was a Wood or This is the Dream, by Diane Z. Shore, Jessica Alexander, and James Ransome.

  • Create some STEAM. The STEAM movement, which is quickly gaining momentum, grew out of STEM, (the push for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math education.) The new platform infuses the Arts, such as music, dance, theater, visual arts, and design.

A Few of My Favorite Rhyming Picture Books for the Classroom:

A House is a House for Me

A House is a House for Me by Mary Ann Hoberman

An Island Grows

An Island Grows by Lola Schaefer, illustrated by Cathie Felstead

The Lorax

The Lorax by Dr. Seuss

Mojave

Mojave by Diane Siebert, illustrated by Wendell Minor

Over in the Wetlands

Over in the Wetlands by Caroline Starr Rose, illustrated by Rob Dunlavey

This is the Dream        This is the Earth

This is the Dream and This is the Earth by Diane Z. Shore and Jessica Alexander, illustrated by James Ransome.

This is the Sunflower

This is the Sunflower by Lola Schaefer, illustrated by Donald Crews

Water can be

Water Can Be by Laura Purdie Salas, illustrated by Violeta Dabija

Water is Water

Water is Water by Miranda Paul, illustrated by Jason Chin

Where Once there was a wood

Where Once There Was a Wood by Denise Fleming

 Bio

Randi Sonenshine has been an educator and professional developer for over twenty years. An instructional literacy coach and member of the ELA Advisory Council for the Georgia Department of Education, she has taught high school English, middle school language arts, and college reading. As a children’s author, she is represented by Kendra Marcus at BookStop Literary.

She lives in northwest Georgia with her husband, two sons, a very sneaky schnauzer, and an immortal, shape-shifting goldfish.

You can find Randi at Facebook, theproseytree.blogspot.com or on Twitter as @rsonenshine.

Thank You Randi!

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!!

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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 Saturday of each week.

 

 

RhyPiBoMo 2016 Day 15 Margarita Engle

RPB Badge - for blog

Our 2015 RPB Revolution Conference Badge

The RPB Revolution Conference Recording

 Last December, my aMaZing Best in Rhyme Award Committee and my aMaZing RPB Conference Committee and I planned the first Best in Rhyme Award Ceremony and the Rhyming Picture Book Revolution Conference in New York City, sponsored by KidLitTV.

Congratulations to Author Penny Parker Klostermann
and her award winning book
THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHT

It was a last minute opportunity that we managed to pull off in 3 months time with the help and support of many. It takes a village of rhymers, for sure! Julie Gribble, of KidLitTV, generously hosted our conference as well as the Best in Rhyme 2015 Award Ceremony.

Julie Gribble Headshot with scarfKidLit TV logo - new

Our wonderful presenters were: Author Penny Parker Klostermann (2015 Best in Rhyme Award Winner), Author Lori Degman, Agent Kendra Marcus of BookStop Literary, Author Rebecca Kai Dotlich, Editor Rebecca Davis of WordSong/Boyds Mills Press, Author Karma Wilson and Editor Justin Chanda of Simon and Schuster. 

These generous folks donated their time, their wisdom and their support to our first conference and we are very grateful!  We, in turn, covered their flights, food and lodging. Hotels in Tribecca, NY in December are incredibly expensive, even with a group rate. ($350.00/night) This was the bulk of our expenses, plus the cost of renting chairs, tables and podium, appetizers and drinks for the award ceremony and a nice faculty dinner. We made tough decisions to cut costs and keep conference fees down. Many of the Top 20 Best in Rhyme Authors donated books for us to auction.  Karma Wilson and Rebecca Davis donated boxes full of books for us to auction. Justin Chanda and Simon and Schuster covered Karma’s expenses, to help us. Julie Gribble loaned us her studio, which is also her home, and recorded and edited the conference recording, HOURS of work, at no charge. Even my committee and I paid our own expenses to make this event happen. I’m explaining this because I want you to know how much passion there is from all involved to promote, support and write wonderful rhyming picture books! We felt that it was a great success with nearly 50 people attending the Best in Rhyme Award Ceremony, the Conference and the Books of Wonder book signing.

Were there bumps along the way? Absolutely! Did I learn a lot about hosting a conference? Absolutely! Would I do it all again? In a heartbeat!  ♥

Books of Wonder - with Penny 2

Author Penny Parker Klostermann and Author Angie Karcher at Books of Wonder Bookstore in NYC

Our presenters allowed Julie Gribble to record the conference, so we could sell it for 6 months following the event, to help pay the remaining bills. June 1st is the day the recording link expires, so that means that we have limited time to sell this OUTSTANDING conference recording! It is over 4 hours of information presented by talented authors, agents and editors!

And…those who purchase the recording will be invited to present a manuscript to Editor Justin Chanda, Editor Rebecca Davis and Agent Kendra Marcus! What? Really? YES!

All for the bargain price of $49.99!

The final sales of this recording, plus the auction sales, will make it possible for me to plan another book award ceremony and conference. I assure you that this was a non-profit event and anything you can do to support our efforts is greatly appreciated! 

Did I mention that I will have 3 in college this fall? = 0

Why am I offering this explanation? Because I continue to ask for your help and I felt like I should offer the explanation of where we are… RhyPiBoMo was never and will never be about making money.

It is about the love of the rhyme!

RPB Conference Group Pic

Here is the link:

PLEASE BUY THE CONFERENCE HERE!

Okay, taking my crumpled, car salesman hat off now!

Whew…the least favorite part of my job! 

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I’m pleased to introduce

Author & Poet Margarita Engle

Margarita Engle Headshot

Author & Poet Margarita Engle

 

NATURAL RHYTHMS AND OCCASIONAL RHYMES

I’m so happy to be included in this fantastic collection of brief statements honoring rhymed picture books.  None of my own picture books actually rhyme in the traditional way, with metered lines and rhymes that appear at predictable intervals.  In fact, I tend toward free verse, partly because most of my picture books are intended for older children.  Only three of them, When You Wander, Tiny Rabbit’s Big Wish, and Drum Dream Girl, incorporate a bit of rhyme.  In all three of these books, the rhythms emerge from the subject matter, rather than by counting syllables.  In all, at least some of the rhymes are widely scattered and often tend to be interior, occurring within lines, not just at the ends.

Tiny Rabbits Big Dream

People often ask me why I write the way I do, as if they find it unusual.  I can’t offer a logical answer, other than to say it feels natural, and the flowing effect makes me happy.  That’s really the key.  No matter how serious the subject, poetry has the innate ability to make writers—as well as readers and listeners—feel pleased in a physical, sonorous, sensory way.  Perhaps it’s our yearning to sing, even when we don’t have beautiful voices, or it could be the ancient link to verbal storytelling around a campfire, or chants repeated while planting and gathering crops, or lullabies dreamed up by mothers in an effort to soothe babies.  Whatever the source, poetry brings real pleasure in the form of lyrical, musical language.  The possibilities are endless.  Some natural sounds occur at regular intervals.  Cricket chirps, frog calls, and ocean waves bring to mind metered rhymes.  Other sounds found in nature are varied.  Mockingbirds, wind in treetops, thunder.  Writers are free to choose any combination.  Even the act of choosing is pleasurable, making the writing process a privilege, not a chore.

Drum Dream Girl

In my opinion, the most important characteristic of any story or poem is honesty.  Nonfiction, fiction, and fantasies all need emotional truth.  If I tried to write like a traditional balladeer, my counted syllables and forced rhymes would expose me as a fraud.  By letting rhythms, rhymes, and ideas flow naturally, I am being myself, a hybrid between a free verse poet and scientist.  For me, these mixtures work, while fixed forms would not.  When You Wander, a Search and Rescue Dog Story, needed to be very comforting, because the idea of getting lost is so scary.  Tiny Rabbit’s Big Wish incorporated rhymes inspired by the hopping motions of a bunny. In Drum Dream Girl, How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music, the dance like rhythms and scattered rhymes grew from Cuba’s wealth of percussion instruments  For me, this hybrid approach is natural, a balance between structure and flow.  It’s not something I do consciously, not a technique I could study or teach, just my own natural, variable, constantly changing approach.

 

Each seeker has to find her own way.  Some paths lead to the beautiful counted meters and patterned rhymes of traditional poetic forms, while others lead into a wilderness.  I happen to love exploring.

 

Bio

Margarita Engle is the Cuban-American author of many verse books, including the Newbery Honor winner, The Surrender Tree, PEN USA Award winner, The Lightning Dreamer, and Walter Dean Myers Honor winner, Enchanted Air.  Her books have also received multiple Pura Belpré and Américas Awards, as well as a Jane Addams Award, International Reading Association Award, and many others.  Books for younger children include Mountain Dog, Summer Birds, and the Charlotte Zolotow Award winner, Drum Dream Girl.

 

Margarita’s 2016 books are Lion Island (Atheneum, August), and Morning Star Horse (HBE Publishers, autumn).  She lives in central California, where she enjoys helping her husband train his wilderness search and rescue dog.

Margarita’s WEBSITE

Facebook

Pinterest

 

 Tiny Rabbits Big Dream

TINY RABBIT’S BIT WISH

 

Drum Dream Girl

DRUM DREAM GIRL

Thank You Margarita!

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 on Saturday of each week.

 

 

RhyPiBoMo 2016 Day 14 Author Heidi E. Y. Stemple

Have you miss a few blog posts?

Here are links to all the blog posts for this year.

Click and read…so simple!

RhyPiBoMo 2016 Calendar

 I want to extend a huge “THANK YOU!” to all our guest bloggers! They have generously shared their knowledge, their time and donated the wonderful prizes for this year. Please “LIKE” them on Facebook, FOLLOW their websites and purchase their books!

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I’m pleased to introduce

Author Heidi E.Y. Stemple

Heidi Stemple Headshot

Author Heidi E.Y. Stemple

Rhyming With a Partner

            I feel bad for writers who have to work hard to find a critique group.  My family is one big writer’s support group. Sometimes it feels like summer camp and sometimes it’s more like a twelve-step program, but, for better or worse, we all work in this business of children’s books and it’s our shared passion.  It’s no surprise that we all collaborate. My mother, author Jane Yolen, has written books with both my brothers and with me. We have all written one rather large book (Animal Stories, National Geographic Kids) together and are about to start on a second four-way collaboration.  It’s what we do. On any given day, there are dozens of family projects in the works.

You Nest Here With me

You Nest Here With Me

            So, how do we do it?  I can’t count the number of people who have said to me, “I could NEVER work with my mother.”  My easy answer is always, “but you could work with MY mother.”  And, it’s true.  My mother and I have been writing together for 22 years. We work on large projects and small.  We’ve written an adult collection together, close to 25 picture books, and numerous stories and even poems in collaboration. And, we manage this without killing each other. We banter and argue but we never leave angry.

Rhyming picture books are a special and delicate genre. You know we all love them when they’re done well. When all the elements line up, they are magic. But, we also love to hate the ones that just don’t work.  Yes, I admit to being a rhyming picture book snob.  When they are bad, they are awful.  It’s why we are discouraged by agents and editors from submitting rhymed manuscripts. Can you imagine having to read bad almost-but-not-quite-slant rhyme, mangled meter, and awkwardly flip-flopped sentence structure all day long?

NOT ALL PRINCESSES DRESS IN PINK

Not All Princesses Dress In Pink

One way to prevent bad rhyme being sent out into the world is writing with a partner.  This provides you a built-in editor. One who isn’t afraid to (nicely or not) tell you that your rhyme isn’t working. What’s more, your partner has a real stake in it being fixed because his or her name will be on the cover right alongside yours.

My mother and I, working in collaboration, have written four rhymed picture books:  You Nest Here With Me, Not All Princesses Dress In Pink, Sleep Black Bear, Sleep, and Pretty Princess Pig.  All of them have been written by passing the manuscript back and forth.  One of us will begin and, when we come to a stopping spot, (which could be long sections or sometimes it’s even just a couple words at a time) we send the manuscript on to the other.  In all our works together, there are parts we have passed back and forth so many times we can’t remember who wrote what.  This back and forth is especially good for rhyming books because instead of having to figure out if your words read the way you intended, (or sounded in your head) you have a built-in fresh look at it every time.

SLEEP, BLACK BEAR, SLEEP

Sleep Black Bear, Sleep

As in any critique situation, we try to be gentle.  Though, admittedly after a lifetime of knowing each other and so many years of writing together, we often forget our manners.  Phrases like, “that sucks,” or worse have made it into emails and sit-down sessions more than once.  But, since our shared purpose is a well-written rhyming read-aloud, we know that exacting critique is for the best.

Pretty Princess Pig

Pretty Princess Pig

The particular challenge with picture books is that there is no wiggle room. We have only 32 pages to play with.  We cannot waste words. The brevity and economy of the picture book does not make it easier to write—in fact– learning to work within the confines of the picture book rules makes it anything but!  When rhyming, this becomes even more of a challenge because of the additional puzzles of the rhyme, itself. Having a writing partner and built-in critique partner on board is one way to avoid some of the common mistakes rhyming writers can make.  But, really, the best reason to write your rhyming picture book with a partner is that writing can be a lonely business.  Sharing a project with a friend makes it a little less so.

 

Bio

Heidi didn’t want to be a writer when she grew up. In fact, after she graduated from college, she became a probation officer in Florida. It wasn’t until she was 28 years old that she gave in and joined the family business, publishing her first short story in a book called Famous Writers and Their Kids Write Spooky Stories. The famous writer was her mom, author Jane Yolen. Since then, she has published twenty books and numerous short stories and poems, mostly for children.

Heidi, her two daughters, her mom, and a couple cats live in Massachusetts on a big old farm with two book-filled houses.

 

Website

Facebook

Twitter  @heidieys

Pinterest

 

You Nest Here With me

YOU NEST HERE WITH ME

NOT ALL PRINCESSES DRESS IN PINK

NOT ALL PRINCESSES DRESS IN PINK

SLEEP, BLACK BEAR, SLEEP

SLEEP, BLACK BEAR, SLEEP

Pretty Princess Pig

PRETTY PRINCESS PIG

Thank You Heidi!

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 on Monday of each week.

 

 

RhyPiBoMo 2016 Day 13 Author Linda Sue Park

 trumpets

Did you read and comment on all the blog posts last week?

These folks did! Congratulations!

Week 2 Prize Winners

Day 8-Winner: Deirdre Englehart

Monday: Autographed Copy of BAKING DAY AT GRANDMA’S by Anika Denise

Day 9-Winner: Aimee Haburjak

Tuesday: Autographed Copy of MONSTER GOOSE NURSERY RHYMES by Henry Herz

Day 10-Winner: Anne Iverson

Wednesday: Copy of WOULD A WORM GO ON A WALK by Hannah C. Hall Donated by Sally Apokedak

 

Day 11- Winner: Debbie Vidovich

Thursday: Autographed Copy of OUTER SPACE BEDTIME RACE by Rob Sanders

 

Day 12-Winner: Anne Bielby

Friday: RPB Revolution Conference Recording ($50.00 value)

Prize winners, please email (Angie.karcher@yahoo.com) or message me with your contact information. Typically, the books will be mailed directly from the author, so please allow a few weeks. If you haven’t received your prize by the end of April, please let me know. 

 

Rhyming Critique Groups

If you expressed interest in a critique group by the deadline and are registered for RhyPiBoMo 2016, then you have been assigned to a specific group.

PLEASE find your assigned group, click on the link to the FB page for that group and Dawn Young will approve you to join. Dawn is available for any questions.

We have several critique groups with members that have not joined in. Your group members are waiting on you so they can begin. If you have not joined your assigned group by Tuesday, April 19th at noon CST, you may be removed to allow space for another writer, as we have a waiting list for critique groups.

Thanks so much, Dawn Young, for organizing and keeping these groups running!

I know everyone participating will benefit from them!

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I’m pleased to introduce

Author Linda Sue Park

 Linda Sue Park headshotAuthor Linda Sue Park

TIGHTENING THE SCREWS . . .

GENTLY: tension in rhyming picture books

by Linda Sue Park

The word ‘tension’ can be defined in a couple of different ways when discussing rhyming picture books. The first applies to any story: narrative tension. The stakes rise for the protagonist. Drama deepens. Word choice becomes sharper and more focused. (Bloated language can so easily dull a climactic moment.)

A writer must consider all of the above in a narrative picture book, and accomplish it in a few hundred words, at most. On top of that, you want to write it in rhyme?

Well, yes. As RhyPiBoMoers know, there are many wonderful reasons for writing in rhyme (because it’s fun, because it makes the text much more memorable, and for me, what is perhaps most important, because limitations can be liberating). For the purposes of this post, rhyme is a terrific tool for maintaining the second kind of tension, which I’ll call unifying tension. (I actually want to call it ‘integral tension,’ but that sounds lumpy.)

Because just as tension can cause things to fall apart—for our protagonist—it can also hold things together. The choice of a verse form combined with good rhyme and meter establishes a pattern that the reader can rely on, which unifies the text and thus aids the reading experience.

Good rhyme also enhances that experience by creating a subtle tension of its own. What rhyming word is coming next? What will the next set of rhymes be? As the story moves along and its narrative tension increases, how will the writer use the unity established by rhyme to create a climactic surprise or punch line?

Xander's Panda Party

There are as many ways to accomplish these goals as there are good rhyming picture books! One of the most popular is the cumulative story. (The classic example is ‘The House that Jack Built’. ) My book XANDER’S PANDA PARTY uses a cumulative story structure for narrative tension. The unifying tension is provided by unexpected rhymes, both end rhymes—‘invitation / conversation’—and internally—‘Koala hollered’—with the additional surprise of a non-stanzaic layout.

Have You Seen My New Blue Socks

Many rhyming stories are linear narratives. In HAVE YOU SEEN MY NEW BLUE SOCKS?, written by Eve Bunting and illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier, a little duck goes searching for his lost footwear. First he looks in his box. Then he asks Mr. Fox, who tells him to seek out the ox.

See the two kinds of tension at work here? The poor little duck is getting more desperate at each step (narrative tension). The rhymes are both pulling the story together (unifying tension), and creating their own interest (what will the next rhyming word be?).

Spoiler alert: The duck finally visits the peacocks. I love this choice for its surprise and illustrative possibilities (terrifically fulfilled by the illustrator). In an ideal world, I would have wished for a word in which the accent falls on the second syllable, as the metrics of ‘peacock’ are slightly off within the verses. But the overall package works so well that this small bump can be skated over.

What does bunny see

By contrast, most concept books lack a narrative arc. But writers of such books should still strive for some kind of narrative tension. In my own book WHAT DOES BUNNY SEE?, illustrated by Maggie Smith, a bunny hops through a garden learning colors and the names of flowers. Where will the bunny go next? When will I see my favorite color?

Although there’s no ‘story’, rhyme is used to create the tension that causes the reader to turn the page—literally.

In a cottage garden

Ears and whiskers clean

Bunny finds a patch of lawn

What she sees is . . . (page turn)

GREEN!

Once they’ve figured out the rhyme scheme, young readers can guess the upcoming color. The rhyming word is always a color (with one exception), which provides both unifying and narrative tension.

Dream Hop

Yet another way to create tension in a non-narrative book is the single rhyme. Julia Durango’s DREAM HOP emphasizes one rhyming sound—“-op”—which again unifies the text while also making the reader wonder what ‘op’ word will be next. Coincidentally, my book BEE-BIM BOP! uses the same end rhyme and many of the exact same words as Durango’s book—in a very different story!

Bee Bim Bopp

The rhyming picture book for young children might appear on the surface less probing or profound than novels written for middle-grade or YA audiences. But its concerns are no less important to its audience, who deserve your best effort to engage by using tension, rhyme, and meter effectively.

 

Bio:

Linda Sue Park was born in Urbana, Illinois on March 25, 1960, and grew up outside Chicago. The daughter of Korean immigrants, she has been writing poems and stories since she was four years old, and her favorite thing to do as a child was read.

This is the first thing she ever published—a haiku in a children’s magazine when she was nine years old:

In the green forest
A sparkling, bright blue pond hides.
And animals drink.

For this poem she was paid one whole dollar. She gave the check to her dad for Christmas. About a year later the company wrote to her asking her to cash the check! Linda Sue wrote back explaining that it was now framed and hung above her dad’s desk and was it okay if he kept it? The magazine said it was fine, and her dad still has that check.

During elementary school and high school, Linda Sue had several more poems published in magazines for children and young people. She went to Stanford University, competed for the gymnastics team, and graduated with a degree in English. Then she took a job as a public-relations writer for a major oil company. This was not exactly the kind of writing she wanted to do, but it did teach her to present her work professionally and that an interested writer can make any subject fascinating (well, almost any subject …).

In 1983, after two years with the oil company, Linda Sue left her job and moved to Dublin when a handsome Irishman swept her off her feet. She studied literature, moved to London, worked for an advertising agency, married that Irishman, had a baby, taught English as a second language to college students, worked as a food journalist, and had another baby. It was a busy time, and she never even thought about writing children’s books.

Since then, Linda Sue has published many other books for young people, including A Single Shard, which was awarded the 2002 Newberry Medal.

A single shard

She now lives in western New York with the same Irishman; their son lives nearby, and their daughter lives in Brooklyn. Besides reading and writing, Linda Sue likes to cook, travel, watch movies, and do the New York Times crossword puzzle. She also loves dogs, watching sports on television and playing board and video games. When she grows up, she would like to be an elephant scientist.

Bee Bim Bopp

BEE_BIM_BOP!

Xander's Panda Party

XANDER’S PANDA PARTY

What does bunny see

WHAT DOES BUNNY SEE?

Website

Facebook

Twitter @LindaSuePark

Pinterest

Thank You Linda Sue!

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 on Saturday of each week.

 

 

RhyPiBoMo 2016 Day 12 Author Henry Herz

Happy Friday!

I hope you have time to stop by the Rhyming Party tonight at 8:00 CST in our Facebook group! We will be there having fun with trivia about this week’s blog posts

while typing ONLY in rhyme!

RhyPiBoMo Rhyming Party 

I had the good fortune of meeting today’s guest blogger at the LA SCBWI Conference last summer. It is such a thrill to meet our Facebook author friends because we have so much in common and it feels like we’ve known each other for years. He has been a busy guy because he has 3 picture books coming out this year!

Today he will share examples of 5 poetic techniques that will spice up your writing. And…he wrote these in rhyme! We have such talented guest bloggers!

These tips will improve your rhyme and prose!

 image

 I’m pleased to introduce

Author Henry Herz

Herz Henry Headshot

Author Henry Herz

 

Spice Up Your Rhyme With Poetic Techniques!

By Henry Herz

 

It’s a labor of love to write a compelling story in rhyme. But authors seeking even greater challenge can leverage poetic techniques to spice up their writing and demonstrate mastery of their craft. Let’s take a look at five such devices to up your rhyming game. My meter isn’t perfect, but you’ll get the idea. Letters that demonstrate the technique are capitalized.

 

Assonance is technique number one.

ThOse who use it have bOatlOads of fun.

REpEating vowels (or dipthongs) Is how It Is done.

RObert FrOst’s Snowy Evening used this a ton.

 

“He gIves hIs harnEss bElls a shake

To ask If there Is some mistake.

The onlY other sound’s the swEEp

Of easY wind and downY flake.

The woods are lovelY, dar and dEEp.

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to gO befOre I sleep.”

 

Consonance offers technique number two,

A helpful approach you shouldn’t eschew.

By using Consonants in Close suCcession,

Shel’s The Acrobats makes a strong impression.

 

I’LL swing by my ankles.

She’LL cling to your knees.

As you Hang by your nose,

From a High-up traPeZe.

But just one THing, Please,

As we float THrough the breeZe,

Don’t sneeZe.

 

Alliteration is technique number three.

You’ll use it without trouble, I can foresee.

It’s consonance on syllable number one.

Mother Goose below shows how rhymes can be spun.

 

“Betty Botter Bought some Butter.

But, she said, the Butter’s Bitter.

If I put it in my Batter it will make my Batter Bitter,

But a Bit of Better Butter will make my Batter Better.”

 

Repetition is technique number four.

Write words twice; more if you’re hardcore.

It’s very straightforward; you simply repeat,

This adds some emphasis in one easy feat.

 

“Here we go round the mulberry bush,
The mulberry bush,
The mulberry bush.
Here we go round the mulberry bush,
So early in the morning.”

 

Onomatopoeia is technique five.

It’s the buzz of bees surrounding their hive.

It is words that seem to spell out a sound,

Like a cow’s moo, or the bark of a hound.

 

“It went zip when it moved and bop when it stopped,

And whirr when it stood still.

I never knew just what it was, and I guess I never will.”

 

Now, get your assonance in gear, and write some spicy rhyme!

 

Bio:

Henry Herz writes fantasy and science fiction for children. He has five picture books published or under contract: Monster Goose Nursery Rhymes (Pelican, 2015), When You Give an Imp a Penny (Pelican, 2016), Little Red Cuttlefish (Pelican, 2016), Mabel and the Queen of Dreams (Schiffer, 2016), and Dinosaur Pirates (Sterling, 2017).

Henry and his sons have also indie-published four children’s books, including Nimpentoad (early chapter book), which reached #1 in Kindle Best Sellers large print sci-fi & fantasy, and was featured in Young Entrepreneur, Wired GeekDad, and CNN; and Beyond the Pale (young adult anthology), with short stories by award-winning and New York Times bestselling authors Saladin Ahmed, Peter S. Beagle, Heather Brewer, Jim Butcher, Rachel Caine, Kami Garcia, Nancy Holder & Jane Yolen.

Henry is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI), and the Society of Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America. He writes articles about children’s literature for TheWriteLife.com, and maintains a popular blog on KidLit, fantasy, and science fiction at www.henryherz.com. At the 2015 San Diego Comic-Con, he moderated a speculative fiction author panel of Brandon Sanderson, Maggie Stiefvater, Kami Garcia, Heather (Zac) Brewer, and Jonathan Maberry. At the 2016 WonderCon, he moderated a KidLit author panel of Dan Santat, Jon Klassen, Laura Numeroff, Bruce Hale and Antoinette Portis. Henry created KidLit Creature Week (www.birchtreepub.com/kcw), an annual online gallery of monsters, creatures, and other imaginary beasts from children’s books. Henry reviews children’s books for the San Francisco Book Review and San Diego Book Review.

 

Monster Goose image

MONSTER GOOSE NURSERY RHYMES

When you give an imp a penny

WHEN YOU GIVE AN IMP A PENNY

Facebook

Twitter: @Nimpentoad

Pinterest

Thank You Henry!

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 on Monday of each week.

 

 

RhyPiBoMo 2016 Day 11 Author Rob Sanders

Happy Wednesday!

Have you visited our RhyPiBoMo Auction? We appreciate your support of the generous donations of so many authors, agents and editors to support rhyming picture books! This is a non-profit effort!

Thank you to all who have made purchases so far!

RhyPiBOMo 2016 Auction Badge

Please support RPBs by making a purchase today!

daisy

 Today’s author mentions many titles from one of my favorite authors of rhyme Lisa Wheeler. Have you read her books? If not, you MUST read them all to see what a true quality RPB entails.

I am so happy to have this very talented teacher/writer with us today! Look for more of his books coming soon!

image

 I’m pleased to introduce

Author Rob Sanders

Rob Sanders Headshot

Author Rob Sanders

 

Parade image

Finding Your Rhythm in Meter

By Rob Sanders

I love parades—have since I was a kid. I distinctly remember the Christmas parade back in Springfield, Missouri. Our entire family would bundle up and stand in front of the county court house waiting for the floats, bands, and, eventually, Santa. The drumline of each band would get my pulse racing. It was almost like I could feel the bass drum beats ricocheting off my chest. The syncopated rhythms always got the crowd cheering and clapping along.

Meter can do the same thing in rhyming picture books. Meter can quicken the pulse of the reader, provide the rhythm that drives the story forward, and cause the reader to cheer, “Read it again!”

A few years ago I was leading in-service training for teachers in my school district. Many of our Title I schools had been given sets of books to use as mentor texts to teach writing craft during writers’ workshop lessons. I was familiar with the books that filled the tub each school received because I’d spent several days reading all the books and creating a master list of the writing crafts in each book, the page numbers where examples could be found, and how each craft might be taught in a lesson.

During the training, small groups of teachers read through texts, used post-its to mark what they found, and then shared out their discoveries. One group read a passage from a picture book and started listing the writing crafts they had identified. “We found vivid verbs, and a simile.” I nodded my head in agreement, and then the teacher continued, “We also found rhyme and meter.”  I must have given the women a funny look because she added, “Really, we did!”

I asked her to read the passage aloud again, and sure enough there was rhyme and meter. As many times as I had read that passage, I hadn’t heard it. Why? Because the rhymes were so perfect and the meter so fluid that the text flowed seamlessly. “What a great writer!” I gushed upon the discovery.

I’ve never had that experience again, but I have begun to discover something that most masters of rhyme do. They choose their meter specifically to fit the text they are writing. They find the rhythm that suits the story.

For instance, in AVALANCHE ANNIE, Lisa Wheeler (a true master rhymer) uses her meter to drive the forward momentum of the story, leaving us speeding forward with Annie as she outpaces an avalanche.

            That avalanche was angry—

an awesome icy beast!

That wicked wonder wouldn’t stop

its power had increased.

 

As Yoohoos scurried downward,

their snowshoes lost their grip.

SNAP! That brute, in close pursuit,

cracked at them like a whip!

In MAMMOTHS ON THE MOVE, Lisa uses the same meter, but adds an additional foot. The pace slows, and I feel like I’m traveling side-by-side with these plodding, pre-historic pachyderms.

            The oldest mother led the way

            across the steppes both night and day.

            The females followed in her tracks,

            majestic glaciers at their backs.

            Rivers ran across their path

But mammoths didn’t mind a bath.

They raised their snorkel-trunks up high

And swam with noses to the sky.

 

I know Lisa Wheeler, and I’ve heard her speak at boot camps and conferences. She has professionally critiqued many of my manuscripts, and I’ve adopted her as one of my mentors. I don’t think the meter she used in each of these books happened by accident. I think Lisa intentionally chose the meter she would use in each book so it would contribute to the overall impact of the story she was telling.

Another strategy for choosing the meter that will create the rhythm in the story you are writing is to look to existing and familiar metric schemes. Examples include ONCE UPON A TWICE by Denise Doyen which uses the same meter as “Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll, and THE SOLDIERS’ NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS by Trish Holland and Christine Ford which is based on the Christmas classic THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS. Since I seem to be leading us through an author study of Lisa Wheeler’s rhyming picture books, let’s examine an excerpt from her SPINSTER GOOSE: TWISTED RHYMES FOR NAUGHTY CHILDREN which uses the rhyming structure and meter of many well-known nursery rhymes as inspiration.

 The Menu

Peas porridge hot.

          (I hate this food a lot.)

Peas porridge cold.

          (All moldy, green, and old.)

Peas porridge thin.

          (In slimy gelatin.)

Peas porridge thick.

          (I think I’m feeling sick.)

A strong meter anchors the reader in the story. Meter also serves as a road sign to readers—a road sign that directs them on their reading journey. Meter can dictate the pace at which a story is read, what words are emphasized, and what feeling is created. In all fairness, meter is not the only road sign that readers use on their reading journeys. Other road signs that dictate how a reader reads a piece of literature include punctuation, vocabulary, the use of all caps, onomatopoeias, line breaks, placement of words on a page, intentional interruption in the flow/meter, and, of course, the rhyme choices themselves. The importance of meter, however, cannot be over emphasized.

My challenge to you, my fellow rhyming picture book writer, is to create the road signs that will take your readers on a successful and marvelous journey. Find the rhythm or meter that will dictate how a reader will travel through your story. Don’t leave your meter to chance; don’t let it be half-done, awkward, or inconsistent; don’t settle for a metric pattern just because it seems comfortable or familiar. Find your rhythm and make it work for, and contribute to your writing. In the end, your readers will be cheering, “Read it again!”

Want to Dig In Deeper?

  • Do you want to study more about meter? Head straight to rhymeweaver.com where author, friend, and fellow Florida SCBWI member, Lane Frederickson, will enlighten, entertain, and inform you.

  • There are many forms of meter and many poets challenge themselves to try out various metric patterns in their writing. If you want to see a master poet at work, subscribe to Jane Yolen’s “Poem A Day.” Jane often challenges herself (and her readers) with new, different, or unfamiliar metric schemes.

  • Do you know about the Poetry Foundation? You should check it out so you can get a crash course on various forms of meter!

Bio:

Rob Sanders does not work as a telephone sales rep, a loading dock worker, a trophy engraver, or an editor. But he used to. Rob is not a cowboy, a ballerina, an alien, or a temper-tantrum-throwing toddler. But he writes about them. Rob is a picture book author and a writing teacher. He worked for fifteen years in religious educational publishing as a writer, editor, editorial manager, and product designer. These days he teaches elementary kids about books, and writes books for those same kids.

Since focusing on picture book writing eight years ago, Rob has sold six picture books to three major publishing houses. His first picture book, COWBOY CHRISTMAS, was released by Golden Books/Random House in 2012. OUTER SPACE BEDTIME RACE (listed among the top twenty rhyming picture books of 2015) was released by Random House Children’s Books in January 2015. RUBY ROSE—OFF TO SCHOOL SHE GOES (the first in a two-book deal with HarperCollins) releases in 2016. Other titles coming soon include: RUBY ROSE—BIG BRAVOS (HarperCollins 2017), RODZILLA (Simon & Schuster, 2017), and A FLAG FOR HARVEY (Random House Children’s Books, 2018). Rob also coordinates the Rising Kite Writing Contest for SCBWI Florida, organizes meetings for SCBWI Florida members in the Tampa Bay area, and coaches and critiques other picture book writers.

Outer Space Bedtime Race Cover

OUTER SPACE BEDTIME RACE

Ruby Rose Cover

Pre-Order for June 2016

RUBY ROSE OFF TO SCHOOL SHE GOES

 

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Thank You Rob!

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!!

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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 Saturday of each week.

 

 

RhyPiBoMo 2016 Day 10 Literary Agent Sally Apokedak

 RhyPiBoMo Rhyming Party
This Friday, 8:00 CST sharp! It is one hour of crazy, rhyming trivia!!!
Study this week’s blog posts for the answers! 
Congratulations to Lynn Alpert who won a rhyming picture book manuscript critique! Did you missed our Rhyming Party last week?  Well, here are a few funny comments posted from last Friday’s mania…
“Debbie Smart  – I made it in the nick of time … to Angie’s party to get on my rhyme!”
“Pj McIlvaine  – Should be working on my book, but here I am, procrastinating and on the lam.”
“Mona Pease – Illustrator you say. Don’t look at me or I’ll run away!”
“Karen Affholter  – Hello to all my rhyming friends, I’m checking in while nursing. I’ve got a newborn on my lap so keep it clean, no cursing!”
“Vivian Kirkfield  – Oh Karen needs a special prize, for rhyming makes a baby wise. “
 “Linda Staszak A glass of wine makes rhyming fine!”
So you get the idea…silly rhyming fun! There was no cursing, but I am certain the wine was flowing and the beer was cold. Cheers to all who played last week! I’ll see ya Friday!

daisy

Rhyming Critique Groups

Due to huge numbers of folks interested in our Rhyming Critique Groups, the last day to register in our Facebook Group is today, Wednesday, April 13th at Midnight CST. You will be placed in a group only if your name is on the Master Registration List.

Thank you for understanding as we manage almost 10 groups.

daisy

I had the opportunity to meet today’s guest blogger last summer at a writing retreat. She is such a nice person and would be a dream agent for anyone who likes to work hard and write beautiful, clever, one-of-a-kind rhyme! I feel blessed that we are friends and I appreciate her words of wisdom today.

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 I’m pleased to introduce

Literary Agent Sally Apokedak

Sally Apokedak headshot

Literary Agent Sally Apokedak

 

Move My Soul to Dance

Sally Apokedak image 1

Angie, delightful editor that she is, assigned me a topic for this post:

Why multi-syllabic ending rhyming words are gems.

Well, then.

Well, well.

Isn’t that a mouthful?

I have no one but myself to blame.

I have said on my website that if you are writing rhyming picture books, and you are employing end rhymes, and all the rhyming words are one-syllable, then the work is probably not for me.

Sally Apokedak image 2

WOULD A WORM GO ON A WALK? 
by Hannah C. Hall Illustrated by Bill Bolton

And I get a lot of questions about this. Why do I rep Hannah C. Hall, who uses single-syllable words as end rhymes? What about all the books on the shelves that do the same? What about Dr. Seuss, for pity’s sakes?

So here’s what I mean when I say single-syllable end rhymes are not for me: if you want to sell me on your rhyming picture book, you’re going to have to be better than 99% of the people who submit to me. And most people can rhyme single-syllable words pretty easily.

It’s not hard to say,

The cat sat on the mat.

Then he ate the rat.

And he got really fat.

It’s not even hard to say,

I love to walk beneath the trees,

to wander in their shade.

I love to feel the gentle breeze

and rest in mountain glade.

It took me under two minutes to write those two little rhymes. Those were not hard to do.

So my saying that you have to have more than single-syllable end rhymes is kind of shorthand for, “You have to stand out with your rhymes if you want me to love your rhyming books.”

It’s not really about single-syllable rhyming words. It’s about not sending me plodding little ditties that don’t move my soul to dance.

You need so much more than multi-syllabic words, though.

For one thing you need to never use the word syllabic in a work you send me. Isn’t that a horrid word? Fill your poems with words that are fun. Syllabic sounds slimy to me or like something a cat would cough up. I guess you could use it if you were being funny:

Send only multi-syllabic rhymes,

Full of saliva and phlegm,

Do not wail or send hate mail,

Just give me a rhyming gem.

But really what you need to do is delight the ear and stir the soul if you want to break in with your picture books.

Let’s look at a stanza of poetry that uses some single-syllable end rhymes.

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,

And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,

And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,

And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking,

 

Do you see how many figures of speech John Masefield employs?

 

More Information on Figures of speech

 

He’s got alliteration, assonance, consonance, personification, and anaphora. He’s creating a mood with his words. He’s calling to our souls, filling us with longing. All in four short lines.

Alright, you’re writing a picture book, not poetry. But that’s my point:

Picture books, even the simplest ones for the smallest children, ought to be more poetry and less advertising jingle.

 

Bio:

Sally Apokedak is an associate agent with the Leslie H. Stobbe Literary Agency.

She’s been studying, reviewing, and marketing children’s books, as well as giving writing instruction for 15 years. As the manager of the Kidz Book Buzz blog tour she was privileged to work with best-selling and award-winning authors such as Jeanne DuPrau, Ingrid Law, and Shannon Hale. She is currently working with her own best-selling and award-winning clients: Hannah Hall, Taryn Souders, Mark S. Waxman, to name a few. She teaches at writers’ conferences across the United States as well as teaching writing, online, to students in over 90 countries through her Udemy courses.

Sally is interested in children’s books written from a Christian worldview, but aimed at the general market. She loves picture books, middle grade novels, and young adult novels.

Find out more at

Submit to Sally at submissions@sally-apokedak.com

What Sally is looking for . . . in her own words 😉

Picture Books:  I’m looking for quirky, fun, characters and delightful language, with lines that roll and rhymes that rock. Conflict and growth for characters always helps.

Middle Grade Books:  I’d love some funny boy books. Boy scientists and boy geniuses are great. I love fantasies, and I’d really some sci-fi, but really want anything with a strong voice.

YA Books:  Fantasy is my favorite, and if there’s romance, I love it even more. I’m a huge contemporary fan. I do like sci-fi and mystery.

What Sally is not looking for

Any picture books that rhyme where all the rhyming words are one or two syllables, are not going to be right for me, I’m pretty sure.

I am also not a huge fan of issue books and preachy stories. Supernatural books, with angels, demons, or any mix thereof, will probably not catch my fancy. I’m not salivating for werewolves, vampires, ghosts, fairies, or zombies. I’m not into dark and angsty books. I like endings that are full of hope.

Website

Novel Writing Course

Facebook

Twitter

 Thank You Sally!

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 on Saturday of each week.

 

 

RhyPiBoMo 2016 Day 9 Author Rebecca J. Gomez

Happy Tuesday!

Rhyming Critique Groups will be organized this week!

Thank you Dawn Young for organizing our rhyming critique groups again this year! Dawn posted a sign up on our Facebook page so please sign up there if you want to join a rhyming critique group! You MUST be on the RhyPiBoMo Official Registration List to participate this year as we have so many people to accommodate. This is a great opportunity to find other rhymers, as it’s tough to find a rhyming crit group.

Rebecca 2

I am so pleased to have today’s guest blogger. She is a partner in crime with the rhyming guru Corey Rosen Schwartz. Together they wrote the Best in Rhyme Honor Book WHAT ABOUT MOOSE?  If you haven’t read it, find it! It is a delightful read and a perfect example of how rhyme enhances a story.

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I’m pleased to introduce

Author Rebecca J. Gomez

Rebecca head shot

Author Rebecca J. Gomez

 

Avoiding Disaster: Consistency in

Rhyme and Meter

When someone picks up a rhyming book, they want it to shine. They want the rhymes to be true and the meter to flow smoothly. Anything less can mean disaster for your story.

Do you want to avoid disaster in your rhyming manuscripts? Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Syllables aren’t everything.

More important than the number of syllables is a word’s natural rhythm. Consider the word “coincidence.” Four distinct syllables in a clear, established, natural rhythm—co-IN-ci-dence.

Others don’t have such consistent rhythm. Consider wild, fowl, and rumbling. The rhythm in each of these words depends on the speaker.

Wild and fowl technically have one syllable each. But many people, like me, pronounce them as two. Wi-ld. Fow-l.

Rumbling may seem like an obvious three-syllable word. But not so fast! Sure, rumble is two, so adding “ing” to the end would make it three. Right? Not necessarily. Some people skip over that middle syllable and pronounce the word as two. Rumb-ling.

Alternate pronunciations can also affect a word’s natural rhythm. Consider the word “harassment,” for example. Is the stress on the first or second syllable? It depends on the speaker.

  1. Does it REALLY rhyme?

When my co-author, Corey Rosen Schwartz, and I are working on a rhyming manuscript, one of us will inevitably say, “Those words don’t rhyme.” I’m in the Midwest. She’s on the east coast. We talk differently. For me, the words not and thought rhyme perfectly. For her, they don’t.

Working these things out together has helped us write rhyming stories with consistent, easy-to-read rhyme and meter.

  1. Names and verbs often compete for the stressed beat.

Consider this sentence: Jack ran down the street. Now say it out loud. Did you emphasize Jack or ran? I tend to emphasize a name when it is the first word in a line, but others will emphasize the verb. If I came across a section of verse like the example below, I might need to pause and correct myself.

Jack ran down the street

with no shoes on his feet,

feeling anxious to meet

his best friend.

This won’t be an issue for every reader, but it’s your responsibility to be aware of even the slightest potential for meter trouble and take steps to address it.

  1. If it doesn’t fit, don’t force it.

Don’t arrange a line in such a way as to force an emphasis onto a different part of a word. This is a big NO-NO and I doubt your readers will forgive you for it (assuming a mistake like this makes it past an editor…which, sadly, does occasionally happen).

Don’t use a word solely for its rhyme. Just because a word is listed on thesaurus.com as a synonym – and it’s just the rhyme you need! – doesn’t mean you should use it. Would you use that word if you were writing in prose? Does it truly make sense in the context of your story? Readers love interesting language, but if it a word feels out of place, it will annoy rather than amaze.

Because of the differences in the way people talk, the way they read, and even their penchant (or lack thereof) for rhyme, consistency in rhyme and meter is difficult to attain. However, if you put in the effort and are more patient than you ever thought possible, then your story’s “meter issues” will be blips rather than disasters.

 

Bio:

Rebecca J. Gomez loves to write rhyming stories and poems because they are her favorite to read aloud. When she’s not writing or test-reading her rhyming manuscripts on her family, she likes to bake, crochet, hike in the woods, watch movies, and read books from her ever growing to-read pile. She lives in Nebraska with her husband, three kids, two poodles, and one parrotlet.

Twitter: @gomezwrites

Facebook: Rebecca J. Gomez — Children’s Author

Rebecca’s website

 Thank You Rebecca!

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 on following Monday of each week.