Tuesday, September 17, 2019

The Light That Governs the Night--Monthly Challenge

By Janie Reinart




Our ancestors were drawn to the luminous orb like a moth to a flame. The mystery and magic of the light that governs the night fascinates us still. Get your moon shoes on and take the jump. Your challenge is to write about the moon.



Night’s shadow fingers
Reaching across expanses
Barely hold the moon.
~Janie Reinart



Behold the moon. In the Japanese Kamakura era (1185-1333 AD), Buddhism influenced art and literature. Moon gazing parties were held in gardens to read and write poetry about the moon.

Husking rice?
a child squints up?
to view the moon.
~Matsuo Basho



Consider creating a Moon Journal to record poems, scientific observations, sketch pictures, or write about dreams.Your journal will hold your discoveries and be a place for surprises.

Now let's explore picture books about the moon. 


By Jennifer Rustgi

The moon connects us to people and places. This story takes us to the seven continents, marks the phases of the moon, and has references in the back matter. The art work shows the little girl in silhouette. 

"Come along on an enchanted adventure around the world with a young girl and her faithful companion, the Moon.

Hey there, Moon. There you are again. I wonder why do you follow me?"



By Susanna Leonard Hill
Moon longs for a friend and has been waiting for someone to visit. The back matter has bonus educational pages about the moon mission!

"The moon was the queen of the night. She was so bright that everything she touched glowed with silver light. 

But after many, many years had passed, she was lonely.

'If only someone would visit me.' she said."

















By Joyce Lapin

Birthday parties are the best--on the moon. This book combines fun and facts about outer space.


" How amazing would it be to have your birthday party on the moon? 


Of course, everyone would want to come. Not just because it is the moon--but who wouldn't want to ride to a party in a rocket?

You'll get to fly 40 times faster than a plane. And for the most of the trip you'll also get to...

float."


So what are you waiting for? Go gaze at the moon and write. 



“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, 

you'll land among the stars.”


~ Norman Vincent Peale





Tuesday, September 10, 2019

THINK QUICK with Corey Rosen Schwartz

Hi Corey! 

Congratulations on the release of TWO TOUGH TRUCKS next Tuesday! I love how this story shows that our differences help us connect with each other.  

All of the THINK QUICK themes below appear in your book.  Let’s see which way you lean.  Remember, THINK QUICK!

On trucks:
Fun to drive or terrified of driving them?

Terrified!

On friendship:
Many acquaintances or a few close friends?

A few close friends.

On Opposites attract:
True or false?

True!

On Personality type:
Extrovert or Introvert?

Extrovert turned introvert








On State of Mind:
Anxious or Calm?

Anxious (I'd lie on this one, but you know me too well :)

On Learning:
Jump right in or Ease into it?

Jump right tin!

On complaining:
All the time or Never?

Um, often? (Gosh, I sound like such a curmudgeon. How do I have any friends at all?)


On writing rhyme:
A fun puzzle or a difficult challenge?


A super fun challenging puzzle!


On vehicle books:
Love them or leave them?


Love them!

On Two Tough Trucks:
Two Tough Trucks or Two Tough Trucks


Two Tough Trucks.

Kirsti's Review of TWO TOUGH TRUCKS


"Good grief, grumbled Mac. "My partner's a drag."
"That hotshot," said Rig. "He sure loves to brag."

TWO TOUGH TRUCKS is a story of teamwork and friendship despite differences.  This story is filled emotive illustrations, clever rhymes and two likable trucks.  I love how this story demonstrates how our different talents and characteristics can help us connect with others. Mac and Rig are opposites and that's what helps them work together in the end.  My son picked this book up as soon as he saw it, drawn in by the bright colors and topic!  It was a hit. This is a fantastic read aloud---I highly recommend it.


Corey is the author of THE THREE NINJA PIGS and several other rhyming picture books and fractured fairy tales. Corey has no formal ninja training, but she sure can kick butt in Scrabble. She lives with three Knuckleheads in Warren, NJ.  

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Mentor Text Author Study: David Michael Slater


David Michael Slater is a word whiz. When he isn’t teaching school aged tweens and teens, he’s writing picture books, chapter books, and books for the tween, teen, and adult market. This post looks at his books written for his youngest fans.

PLAYFUL LANGUAGE

Puns, idioms, wordplay, oh my!

     


On the very first page of Battle of the Books, Jeff Ebbeler (Illustrator), Slater introduces a mystery novel and Paige, a romance novel both new to the library. The mystery book approaches Paige and says, “Wait till everyone checks you out!” On the next page a book dressed with tweed hat and pipe tells the newcomers, “I’m afraid this library is all booked up” and the reader knows this book will be filled with wordplay.


When One forgets how to count past six in Seven Ate Nine,
Zachary Trover (Illustrator), Seven bullies her and Nine comes to her defense. The other numbers start to argue. “They could be very negative numbers.” One takes off to be alone and saw Seven eat Nine. “Seven ate Nine” One screamed, but the other numbers ignore her until they meet the same fate.

 


THEMES

Besides fun wordplay, kids take away important messages from Slater’s stories filled with humor and emotion.

   


Cheese Louise! Steve Cowden, (Illustrator).
Everyone deals with problems because “nobody is perfect.”

Jacques & Spock, Debbie Tilley (Illustrator).
When two sock brothers who are rarely "a foot away from each other" are separated they find each other again because "together is better".


CHARACTER ARC

Slater writes from a child’s point of view masterfully using imagination

    


How would a young nonreader treat a book?  In The Boy & the Book: [a wordless story], Bob Kolar (Illustrator), Slater’s character drags, tears, and tosses his favorite book at the library like a toy. Each time the boy returns the battered book hides from him. How does the character need to change, so he interacts appropriately with the book? He must learn what books are for.



In The Ring Bear: A Rascally Wedding Adventure, S. G. Brooks, (Illustrator), a young
boy with an active imagination has a close relationship with his single parent mother. He becomes anxious after hearing the news she is engaged. When his soon to be stepdad asks him to be the ring bearer at the ceremony, he hears ring bear and decides becoming a rascally bear is exactly what could put a stop to this marriage. The bear acts out up to the wedding day until his stepdad comforts him and he changes back to a boy.



More picture books by David Michael Slater:

 

 

 



Slater’s books are wonderful mentor texts to study how he uses language, theme, and character arc to write books that appeal to audiences of all ages.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Using Comp Titles in Your Query


By Cindy Williams Schrauben

Over the past year or so, one of my roles on the ReFoReMo team has been to discuss comp titles. For a refresher, follow these links to my old posts.


While choosing comp titles is arguably the most difficult task, describing them in your pitch or query letter can be a challenge, as well. How you choose to describe comps can strategically highlight specific qualities of your book. I may be overthinking this (me? never!), but it does warrant a discussion.

Option #1: Mention each comp separately. I would caution this option works only if the comparison is obvious and needs no further explanation.  Examples:

for fans of Elaine Kiely Kearns and Colin Jack’s NOAH NOARAURUS.
… for fans of Fancy Nancy (character)
… similar to THE GRUFFALO (title)
… similar to picture books by Ryan T. Higgins (author)

Option #2: Create a more unique and thorough description of your manuscript by combining two or more comp titles, authors, or characters. Examples: 
… a cross between MOTHER BRUCE and Pete the Cat (character).
… reads like a mix of DRAGONS LOVE TACOS and I DON’T WANT TO BE A FROG.
… a mash-up of THE BAD SEED and picture books by Josh Funk.
… WHAT DO YOU DO WITH AN IDEA meets BE KIND.






Option #3: An even more effective strategy is to use comps to highlight specific qualities of your manuscript. This answers WHY you’ve chosen these comps. Examples: 
… the snarky voice of HOW TO BABYSIT GRANDPA combined with the humor of PEOPLE DON’T BITE PEOPLE.
...with the tenderness of WHEN GRANDMA GIVES YOU A LEMON TREE and the interactive quality of PRESS HERE.
… with STEM aspects similar to ADA TWIST SCIENTIST and a nod to self-acceptance like JULIÁN IS A MERMAID.

Another option is to personalization your query to an agent by listing comp titles that match their wishlist or favorite titles. Caution - be sure you know this connection is strong. Examples:
... because you enjoyed SNAPSY THE ALLIGATOR (DID NOT ASK TO BE IN THIS BOOK), I thought you might be interested in my manuscript, which exhibits a similar meta quality.

As you can see, the possibilities are endless. Being diligent with your choice of comps and mindful of how they are described can make all the difference in a query. Please share your best ideas in the comments below.