Susanna Hill’s Holiday Writing Contest

Author Susanna Leonard Hill is having a Holiday writing contest where you could win prizes!
Be creative and write a post with your own version (350 words or less) of The Night Before Christmas (it can be about any winter holiday).  Please visit Ms. Hill’s website for all the details HERE.

My entry is posted below.  I have been interested in writing a picture book about the endangered Hawaiian Monk Seal for quite some time, but have not done it yet.  So, for my entry today the monk seal takes center stage, as I play around with the idea of what a monk seal might want for Christmas. Enjoy!!

A Monk Seal’s Christmas Wish
Christine Marie Alemshah

Twas the day before Christmas, when on the small isle,
A monk seal landed ashore, on a sand pile.
The hotel staff prepared yellow tape, 
As onlookers all stared, gasped, and gaped.

The monk seal stayed all day and all night.
He was even there at the first Christmas light.
“What could a monk seal want for Christmas?” asked a small girl.
“Some fish, or shave ice, or maybe a pearl?”

She pondered and pondered, but then soon forgot, 
As she went to her room to see want Santa brought.
A stocking full of treats and trimmings,
A teddy bear, and new fins for swimming.

She busied her day with family and good cheer.
And sang her very best, “Rudolph the Reindeer.”
At dinner, she ate til her tummy might burst,
And then was filled with a very great thirst.

She walked on the beach sipping hot cider,
When she noticed the monk seal right there beside her.
The little girl still had no clue.
“Mr. Monk Seal, what can I do for you?”

Finally, at day’s end, something came from the sea.
A big wiggly shape plopped near a palm tree.
Can it be — another monk seal?
The little girl thought she might squeal.

She was happy to see the seal got his wish,
And hoped that the two could share yummy fish.
She snuck away quietly, til she was out of sight,
and whispered, “Merry Christmas Monk Seals! Have a Good-night!”

My 5 Year Old Reading Self

This past weekend I was fortunate enough to attend a Free Writing Workshop, The Seven Deadly Sins of Writing led by Author Amy Goldman Koss and hosted by SCBWI (have I mentioned how much I love them?)

Ms. Koss was very candid, funny, and realistic in her discussion with us. I will be adding her list of seven deadly writing sins to my “post-its” from now on whenever I write. (I have been guilty of at least three!)

Ms. Koss also led us in several writing exercises, one of which was to think about the age group you are writing for, write to yourself when you were that age and tell yourself where you read when you were that age.  I wanted to share a bit of what I wrote below:

When I was five my family my moved all the time.  I had very little books of my own.  Most of my reading I did at school or daycare.  I remember reading and memorizing my first poem, “The Swing” at my preschool in Hawaii just before moving to San Francisco. I would recite that poem over and over in the car — from the airport, to the car, to our new naval housing tract.  I loved that poem and I loved reading.  It was still be a few more years before I read consistently at home with my own books… that happened when I was seven.

Isn’t it amazing the things we recall about ourselves during free-writing?