Tuesday, April 21, 2020

ReFoReMo Mini-Monthly Writing Challenge: Comfort And Joy

By Janie Reinart

"Good books, like good friends, are few and chosen; the more select, the more enjoyable."
~ by Louisa May Alcott 

Books lift our spirits, bring us joy, and comfort us in times of trouble. Favorite stories are like good friends. These book friends are there when we need them. The challenge this month is to find your favorite picture book and use it as a mentor text to write a story that lifts your spirits. 

I would like to share some of my favorite book friends with you. My first selection is a Hoot & Olive Story. 

Brave Enough for Two by Jonathan D. Voss is a story of a loving friendship between a little girl and her beloved stuffie. Olive likes her adventures in books, while Hoot likes the rollicking kind outdoors. Olive isn't sure if she's brave enough for the activities Hoot has picked. But when her dearest friend gets hurt, Olive discovers not only is she brave, she is brave enough for two. 

"One day Hoot said, "I've made something special for you. But it could be a small bit scary and a slightly bigger bit adventurous."

"You know I don't like adventures," said Olive. "I'm not brave like you."

By Jo Empson

My second selection Rabbityness by Jo Empson was nominated for 8 awards. An interview with the author said, "Jo is never happier than when she is swept away in storytelling - in all its aspects - whether it be writing, illustrating or just reading a favorite picture book (which she still does every night!)." 

Rabbit enjoys doing rabbity things, and un-rabbity things! Rabbit suddenly disappears. No one knows where he has gone. His friends are desolate. But, as it turns out, Rabbit has left behind some very special gifts for them, to help them discover their own unrabbity talents! 

"Rabbit also liked doing unrabbity things.He liked painting...and making music.
 It made him so happy, all the other rabbits caught his happiness. He filled the woods with color and music."

By Cynthia Rylant

My last selection is The Dreamer by Cynthia Rylant. This creation story imagines God as a young artist all alone quietly making what he imagines. My favorite lines are:

"He moved among these living creatures and--like all young artists--felt such joy and love for his creation that he thought he might explode with happiness. He wanted to tell someone what he had done, to show someone his beautiful heavens and earth and water and grass and moving creatures, and he looked 
all around him but the world was empty of anyone who might listen and understand. Someone with ears to hear and eyes to see. Someone who was 
an artist as wellSo he worked all night long. And by morning he had made a new artist in his own image...The world began filling up with artists...The first young artist, still a dreamer, has always called them his children."

I invite you to the challenge. Find your favorite picture book and write a story that lifts your spirits. Heed the advice of my book friends:

Be brave enough.

Help others catch your happiness. Fill the woods with color, music, and your words.

Dream. Feel joy and love for your creations. Remember who's child you are.


  1. Thank you, Tina. Your stories always lift my spirits.

  2. Brave Enough For Two is a book on my shelf - I love it. The other two I have added to my TBR list! And this post has been bookmarked for any future times of darkness also because it definitely shines a light and lightens my spirits. Thanks Janie!

    1. Thank you, Kim. I love this quote by Kadir Nelson, "I would challenge everyone and anyone to fill their days with creating something that's going to help themselves get to the next moment, to the next hour, to the next day, to the next week, so that by the end of this experience, we've created this beautiful document that shows where we've been, who we are, and how we're going to move forward."

  3. What tender, beautiful selections, Janie. Thank you for the invite to write to lift the spirits. I think I mayday back into Hoot and Olive.

  4. What a lovely post! And once the libraries reopen, I'm definitely looking these up--how could I not? :)

  5. Thank you Yangmama. May you find joy in the small things today.

  6. I know The Dreamer, although it's been a long time and your quote reminds me I definitely need to re-read it! The other two are unfamiliar to me but they are now on my "to read" list. Thanks for your encouraging words -- so beautifully shared!

  7. “Dream. Feel joy and love for your creations. Remember whose child you are.” These words and your post inspired me today.
    Thank you for your encouragement to create and spread joy in the midst of trials. Yes, let’s shine.

  8. Brenda metaphors be with you. :)

  9. Oh Janie-you have filled my heart with hopes and dreams. I'm going to try to be brave and find spirit to write and create. <3

  10. Thank you CP. I love your beautiful work.

  11. I feel better just having listened to the soundtrack of Hoot & Olive. Thanks for a little respite from the world.

  12. This is such an inspiring post. Thx for sharing these 3 beautiful books, all of which are now on my TBR list. A worthy challenge for all of us!

  13. What a wonderful selection. Thank you.

  14. All new books for me! Thanks for sharing them. I want to read them all. :)