Calling Picture Book Writers | #PBCritiqueFest is here!

https://www.pbspotlight.com/single-post/pbcritiquefest-2021

Alright, folks, have you got a completed picture book manuscript (or two or seven or more like me?) and would love to get fresh eyes and feedback from talented authors, illustrators, and/or agents on your project? Now is your chance! Click on over to #PBCritiqueFest and fill out the registration form and you are automatically entered! Ok, ok easy peasy right?! But how would you like to earn MORE entries? There’s an opportunity for that as well!! By following the links above, you can also find the additional entries form and discover how to earn 200 extra entries. You have two weeks to get on this, so what’s stopping you! Good Luck!!

Sending out a special thank you to Brian Gehrlein for hosting who’s debut picture book THE BOOK OF RULES releases November 16, 2021 and is available for pre-order now!

#FallWritingFrenzy Contest Entry: SEA IN THE SKY

Fall- Credit: Vino Li / Unsplash

SEA IN THE SKY

By

Christine Alemshah

[WC: 196]

The stormy sea sky mocked me. Could Daddy and I see the same sinister moon?  Hopefully, he’s tucked safely inside his ship, not in danger of falling overboard as the swirling clouds suggested.

“No costume, Beatrice? It’s almost time for trick-or-treating,” called Mom.

I kicked the screen door. It squeaked. I hoped it might break.

“You don’t want to go?”

“I can’t, Mom. The sea is in the sky tonight.”

“I think it’s lovely with that crescent moon up there.”

“You mean the frowning crescent face staring at me?  It’s creepy — and Daddy…”

“Was supposed to go trick-or-treating with us?,” Mom finished.

I nodded.

“I miss Daddy, too.  It stinks he got deployed at Halloween. Ok, no trick-or-treating. Something else in mind?”

I squeezed my eyes shut as Daddy’s smiling face painted my mind. His tummy rumbled with a quirky chuckle while dolloping dots of frosting on our noses. Frosting — that’s it!

“Can we make graveyard cake with cookie headstones?”

Mom’s chin crumbled, her voice hitched. “Daddy’s favorite. I’d like that.”

The screen door whooshed as we left the stormy sea sky behind us. It could mock me no more.

How to use twitter lists and bookmarks

Hello everyone! Are you on Twitter? Have you heard of bookmarks? Or lists? I’ve received questions about these tools lately, and I wanted to share a how-to guide and why you might want to utilize bookmarks and lists on Twitter. I’m an organization queen, so they help me feel better about my twitter navigation experience, and I hope you enjoy using these helpful tools as well!

Twitter lists:
Why might you use a Twitter list? My top reason for using creating one is to organize relevant groups of people based on events or topics. I also use lists during pitch events to find other writers in my genre. Using a list, rather than the general Twitter feed at large will filter irrelevant content. This is beneficial during large-scale events like #pitmad or #pbpitch.

Here’s a quick how to guide to set up a list and get started.

To create a list go into your profile and click on lists to create a new one:

Once you have made your list, you can click on the three little dots at the top right of someone’s tweet… And add them to your list.

Bookmarks

Bookmarks are another genius tool to stay organized and keep posts you treasure readily accessible when you want to reference them again in a sea of twitter posts. To create a bookmark choose the arrow up symbol at the bottom of the post and choose bookmark. For reference later, go into your profile and you will see all your saved bookmarks and lists.

#SpringFlingKidLit contest entry: FLORY’S FAIRY WINGS

Thank you for this delightful Spring Fling Kid Lit contest opportunity hosted by Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez and Ciara O’Neal. There are also some amazing prize donors! You can shower our hosts and prize donors with love by visiting their blogs, following on social media, and viewing their amazing books.

I found my gif HERE.

I now present my tiny tale introducing Flory, The Garden Fairy.

FLORY’S FAIRY WINGS

By

Christine Alemshah

WC: 149

At graduation, Flory and her fairy friends debuted wings displaying their true power. 

Willow’s green wings cascaded a flowering arch. 

Phoenix’s fiery wings transformed her into a bird.

Amaya’s silver wings showered everyone in light rain.

Flory touched her back. Nothing. Her smile quivered at her turn. She ran to the ice cream shop instead.

“I’ll never be a real fairy without wings.”

A boy in front of her pulled at empty pockets.

Flory handed him a coin.

“My treat,” she said.

“Thank you,” the boy replied.

Prr-ing! Golden wings sprouted on Flory’s back.

Flory puzzled.

The boy ran to help an old fairy tie shoes he couldn’t reach.

I get it now, thought Flory.

She ran back to graduation.

“Oh, Flory,” said Amaya.

“They’re beautiful,” said Phoenix.

“What’s your power?,” asked Willow.

Flory smiled. “Something measured, yet unseen. I spread kindness forward one fairy at a time.”

Book Review: What Do Moms Do? By Amy Houts & Emily Bush

This little gem arrived in the mail recently, and I read it to my girls right away. They are super curious about what Moms do all day (answer: ALOT!). It’s a constant conversation we carry out each day. To their delight, this little book by Amy Houts & Emily Bush talked about that very subject! They loved saying at the end of each page whether it was something their mom did or not. Their giggles and snickers told me they loved it.

I also must talk about the animal mom/children illustrations throughout the book. They are just darling and very nostalgic for picture stories from my childhood. My new reader (who is 6) will be able to read his on her own. I love adding new books she can pick up and enjoy anytime she pleases. This one is a welcome addition to our library.

Virtual Spring Break ideas for kids

Credit: es.phillipmartin.info

So… Spring is coming up, and just like last year, things are looking a little different. I know we are all itching to get out! Our family included! And this year, our family does have a plan to get out … a little!

But, largely — we will still be at home, so we will still be doing a bit of vicarious vacationing! I’ve compiled a list of wonderful resources to enjoy a virtual vacation!

Don’t forget laundry basket + water in a spray bottle + roller coaster videos

= Ultimate At Home Splash Mountain Experience!!

San Diego Zoo
Smithsonian’s National Zoo Webcams

Canadian Egg Farm
Canadian Apple Orchard
Undeniably Dairy- Visit a Dairy Farm

Yellowstone National Park – visit several locations in the park.
Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida
Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii

Yosemite National Park, California

My #50Preciouswords entry – The Kindergarten Train

There’s a lovely little contest hosted by children’s author, Vivian Kirkland, going on right now for children’s writers, and there’s still time to enter through 3/7/21 if you’d like to join! The rules are quite simple to follow. Write a story with a beginning, middle, and end appropriate for children 12 and younger in 50 words or less. That’s it! And did I mention there’s prizes? You can find information and read everyone’s entries by following this —> here!

And here is my entry called The Kindergarten Train. The first lines came to me years ago — left in a notes file incomplete. I’d imagined what the first day of school for my nervous new students would be like and how there might be a story that would help with that transition. The visual imagery of a train that all the kids climb aboard while their parents waved goodbye came to mind as an analogy about the new journey they were embarking upon —an adventure and their opening to the wide world of school. Vivian’s contest provided the perfect opportunity to complete this story idea!


The Kindergarten Train
By
Christine Marie Alemshah


When the kindergarten train whistle sounds — Choo! Choo!
Will you be ready?

“All aboard!” 

Along the way, you’ll pick up new friends. They’ll have lunch boxes, backpacks, and smiles – just like you.

Finally, you reach your destination.

“Choo-Choo!” your teacher will say. “Your kindergarten adventure is about to begin.”

Picture Book Review: Cow Says Meow by Kirsti Call | Read this one out loud!

Cow Says Meow

Author: Kirsti Call

Illustrator: Brandon James Scott

I had the pleasure of reversing Kirsti Call’s latest picture book “Cow Says Meow.” Here is the book blurb on the back cover:

Read this zany picture book full of mixed-up animal sounds out loud. Fun puns and wordplay will have readers mooing, neighing, and clucking, and even laughing with every page turn.

I feel the key phrase in that blurb is read out loud. Because it’s true, when you read it out loud, especially to a three year old and six year old, a special kind of magic happens. You will laugh, and you will have little readers joining in and telling each animal that they are not, in fact, making the correct sounds. The illustrations are absolutely hilarious and kid-friendly. My daughter especially enjoyed the ‘pig who said hi.’ These animals are definitely confused. The wordplay throughout will make the parents reading along chuckle as well. I definitely recommend this book for some, rollicking laugh out loud fun. My guess is your little readers will ask you to read it again and again.

Firsts Books — Confidence Builders for Pre-Readers

Whether you prefer phonics-based methods, sight-reading methods, or some combination of both when teaching your children to read, one of the first things to consider is how to instill in them a desire to flip through a book, point out the words or pictures, and ‘read it’ on their own. This will boost confidence in your little pre-readers. It also lays the groundwork towards them becoming lifelong bookworms. Of course, in addition to books like these, continuing to read aloud a variety of picture books is highly recommended. Our family’s daily goal is to discover three new stories a day.

Sandra Boynton’s books and specifically Blue Hat, Green Hat, only need to be read aloud a few times before your little one will want to take over and read it themselves. The child in turn becomes the storyteller, while the parent can giggle at all the ‘oops’ moments.

I also love this set of First Little Comics by Liza Charlesworth. Simple two to three words spread on each page and yet still manages to be humorous. Both my 3 yr old and 6 yr old enjoy reading these books by themselves.



12 x 12 in 2021 – Back after a long break!

It’s official! I’ve signed up for the 12 x 12 Challenge hosted by Julie Hedlund! My first time doing so since 2013. I had started participating the previous year, in fact here is my original badge from 2012. I can hardly believe it’s been that long! So far I have 1 full draft, 2 partials & 2 revisions under my belt for 2021. 12×12 will be the extra boost needed to stay motivated this year! There’s still time to sign up if you’d like to join in on this fun picture book writing journey. Now-Feb. 28, 2021.

My original badge from 2012!

What is this challenge all about?
The premise is simple. Write 12 full picture books (with a beginning, middle, and end) in 2021. It’s ok if they’re not submission-ready. The idea is just to put pen to page, while motivating yourself and other writers in the process.  You can even earn prizes!! How about that?