By Sharon Giltrow
Waterhole - a place in a hot country where animals go to drink (Oxford Learner’s Dictionary)
Australia is a hot country and home to many unique and funny animals. Animals that are one of a kind and unlike any other animals. This is because Australia’s ecosystem evolved in isolation from the rest of the world. It is also, (apart from Antarctica) the driest continent in the world. In the unique and humorous book WHEN THE WATERHOLE DRIES UP, these two themes Aussie animals and water (lack of) are combined.
When the Waterhole Dries Up
Written by: Kaye Baillie
Illustrated by: Max Hamilton
Published by: Windy Hollow Books, March 2021,
It's bath time in the outback. So many bubbles, and so many...ANIMALS! Will this boy ever get clean? A rollicking tale about togetherness and fun.
Here’s what Kaye finds funny about this page.
K- 'Close up of Chaos' - I laugh every time I see the emu surrounded by chaos. I especially like how the emu looks directly at the reader as if to say, this is all too much.
This spread is an excellent example of how to add humour, by letting the illustrations speak.
K- 'When Dingo Joins In' - I love how the boy looks shocked when the dingo joins in the fun. This is a cumulative story, so the humour builds through the illustrations as each new animal increases the chaotic bathroom scene.
In this spread Kaye builds up the story by, adding on and repeating previous information. With each new animal adding more humour to the scene. This repetition and Kaye’s use of alliteration makes this story such fun to read.
Well, that’s it from me this month, see you in May, with another great Aussie book.
Share a laugh and connect with someone today.
For a chance to win a copy of WHEN THE WATERHOLE DRIES UP
Sharon Giltrow grew up in South Australia, the youngest of eight children, surrounded by pet sheep and fields of barley. She now lives in Perth, Western Australia with her husband, two children and a tiny dog. Sharon has taught for all of her career. Previously a teacher of children who are hearing impaired and Deaf-Blind, she now teaches young children with Developmental Language Disorder. Her humorous debut PB BEDTIME DADDY! released May 2020 through EK books. Sharon’s humorous follow up PB GET READY, MAMA! Is due to be released through EK books in 2022. Awarded the Paper Bird Fellowship for Writers in 2019. Sharon used this time to write her early middle grade book SAMARA RUBIN AND THE UTILITY BELT. To be released in 2021 through Clear Fork Publishing’s new imprint &MG. Sharon is also a Blogger for the Children’s Book Academy,
by Bryan Patrick Avery
Well, Spring is finally upon us. As the flowers begin to bloom in our gardens and parks, this is a good time for our stories to bloom as well. This month, I’d like to walk you through an exercise that might help get your creative juices flowing and, hopefully, plant a few seeds for stories that can grow in the coming months.
1. Find three books that you have easy access to, have read previously, and remember. These can be on your bookshelf at home, at the library, or anywhere. I chose James Ponti’s CITY SPIES, Stuart Gibbs’ TYRANNOSAURUS WRECKS, and John Dickson Carr’s THE THREE COFFINS.
2. Scan through the three books quickly and re-familiarize yourself with the story and the characters.
3. Choose three characters from the books they resonate with you and make you think “I could write about a character like this”. Try to make sure that they come from at least two of the three books. I choose Dr. Fell from THE THREE COFFINS, Summer McCracken from TYRANNOSAURUS WRECKS, and Rio from CITY SPIES.
4. Take the three characters and make them your own. For example, I choose Dr. Fell because he’s a brilliant logician. He is however, an adult, and in a the middle grade novel I’m planning, a brilliant adult would stifle the kids (who are the main characters). Let’s rename Dr. Fell. I love a good locked room mystery, so I’d love to pay homage to Dr. Fell. How about “Professor Pitched”? It works for now. I can always change it later. In addition to a new name, let’s change him slightly. Instead of being brilliant, Professor Pitched will be a little less than sharp. Like Dr. Fell, he’ll still pontificate endlessly but will often be wrong and even more often forget what he was talking about in the first place. Do this for all three characters.
5. Think about how and why these characters would interact. Why would my middle grade characters need to talk to Professor Pitched? In my case, I decided Professor Pitched is a physics professor and a neighbor of one of the kids. When they need information on what the multiverse theory is, and how it works, they seek him out, not realizing that he’s not a very good physicist. This will introduce conflict when they can’t get the information they need from him, but also can’t get him to stop talking. Maybe I’ll even have him stop by one of the kids’ houses putting a secret they’re keeping from their parents in jeopardy.
It’s that simple. This short exercise can be done in about 30 minutes but you’ll end up with three characters, a little bit a conflict, and (hopefully) some seeds for a new story or two.
Well, that’s all for this month. Happy reading (and writing) and have a magical month.
Bryan Patrick Avery writes picture books, chapter books, middle grade and graphic novels. His middle grade story, “The Magic Day Mystery”, was published in June 2020 in SUPER PUZZLETASTIC MYSTERIES, an anthology from HarperCollins and the Mystery Writers of America. His debut picture book, THE FREEMAN FIELD PHOTOGRAPH, will be published in April 2021 by Clearfork Publishing/Spork.
By Melissa Stoller
If you are searching for ideas, why not flip through your recipes, consider your favorite foods and the chefs who cooked them, and reminisce about special occasions and memorable meals. There may be stories marinating, simmering, and boiling just below the surface.
Here are some prompts to get you started:
Next time you find yourself in the kitchen or in a restaurant, consider the ingredients, favorite recipes, family members who cooked delicious dishes, and your own experiences with food. Get cooking with some story ideas!
Melissa Stoller is the author of the chapter book series The Enchanted Snow Globe Collection - Return to Coney Island (Clear Fork Publishing); and the picture books Scarlet’s Magic Paintbrush, Ready, Set, GOrilla!, and Sadie’s Shabbat Stories. (Clear Fork). Melissa is a Blogger and Course Assistant for the Children’s Book Academy, a Regional Ambassador for The Chapter Book Challenge, a volunteer with SCBWI/MetroNY, and a founding member of The Book Meshuggenahs. In other chapters of her life, Melissa has worked as a lawyer, legal writing instructor, freelance writer and editor, and early childhood educator. She lives in New York City with her family, and enjoys theatre, museums, and long beach walks.
Hi gang, as you may know, our students are really rocking it out in the kidlit publishing world, and we are over the moon about them winning even more awards and receiving other accolades! As you probably know, Children’s Book Academy has an amazing track record in terms of our students becoming thriving and published KidLit creators. At this point our students have published over 590 books and counting, with more titles added all the time.
The thing is, CBA writers and illustrators are not only prolific, they are first-class, winning every children’s literature award out there. They are also exquisite human beings who we would like to highlight and share some love about them and some of their recent triumphs in this post. If you're one of our alums and I missed you, please let me know. And FYI, these are just recent folks. So let's start with . . .
I was so excited that these former students were mentioned (AKA honored) on the 2021 Notable Social Studies Trade Books list:
Exquisite former student Nancy Churnin’s books are also winning awards like: The Sydney Taylor Book Award Notable, South Asia Book Award, two Social Studies Notables, two California Reading Association Silver Eurekas, Junior Library Guild selection, Anne Izard Storytellers' Choice Award, Texas 2X2 and Topaz lists, Monarch Award Master List, Louisiana Young Readers Choice Awards list, Charter Book Awards list. Way to go Nancy, who always generously credits us with helping her get started. She was honored on the 2021 Notable Social Studies Trade Books list with Beautiful Shades of Brown: The Art of Laura Wheeler Waring, illustrated by Felicia Marshall
Here are some more former students and their books honored on this list:
Just Like a Mama. Alice Faye Duncan, illustrated by Charnelle Pinkney Barlow, was also listed and her career is rocketing too. Alice Faye generously joined us in our 2020 Picture Book Palooza where she was fabulous!
Flight for Freedom: The Wetzel Family’s Daring Escape from East Germany. Kristen Fulton. Illustrated by Torben Kuhlmann.
Mamie on the Mound: A Woman in Baseball’s Negro Leagues. Leah Henderson. Illustrated by George Doutsiopoulos.
The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read. Written by Rita Lorraine Hubbard. Illustrated by Oge Mora
Speak Up. Miranda Paul. Illustrated by Ebony Glenn
The Pig War: How a Porcine Tragedy Taught England and America to Share. Written by Emma Bland Smith. Illustrated by Alison Jay.
No Voice Too Small: Fourteen Young Americans Making History. Edited by Lindsay H. Metcalf, Keila V. Dawson, Jeanette Bradley. Illustrated by Jeanette Bradley
We The People: The United States Constitution Explored and Explained. Written by Aura Lewis and Evan Sargent. Illustrated by Aura Lewis.
Finally, Linda Elovitz Marshall's book, The Polio Pinoeer, illustrated by Lisa Anchin was honored on The Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K–12: 2021 List. Linda was already a published author when she came to us, but we still consider her one of ours.
Anyhoo, kudos to all our amazing students. I hope you'll help support them and their excellent work. We are looking forward to writing more congratulatory and ridiculously proud newsletters about even more brilliant alum in the future.
With warmth and appreciation,
Mira & the CBA gang
PS Sorry this is late, but I’ve been a bit busy lining up some outstanding editors, agents, and art directors to join us among other things for our upcoming writing and illustrating course! Wahoo! I’m also editing and art directing some awesome new kid’s books for Spork, which is always exciting, and will share about some of those soon. Meanwhile onwards and upwards. Come check out this magical course if you are up for the adventure of a lifetime. Course info here: https://bit.ly/CBICB2021 and scholarships info here: http://bit.ly/2021CBICBScholarship
PPS I know I’ve missed a bunch, so if you’re a former student, who’d like to celebrate with us or do a guest post about a new book, let us know. Moni Hadley Ritchie will be joining us first Monday in May to celebrate The Star Festival, and Annette Schottenfeld will be with us the first Monday in June to celebrate Obi’s Mud Bath (which I was honored to edit and art direct! Also congratulations to Shirin Shamsi who recently sold her 4th book, Darshana Khiana for her 2nd book, Katie Mazeika who had already published before us but recently sold 2 new books, Rosanne Kurstedt sold her 2nd book, and Lalita Iyer who wrote me this week: “I wrote my first picture book after your course and it's published now!” It makes an old teacher happy. Thank you.”
We are so excited to be mixing things up at CBA, beginning with some delicious additions to the Blogfish. Meet our awesome bloggers!!
Here's our lineup:
1st Mondays begin with awesome Aussie debut author and former student Amanda Lieber who will be focusing on Aussie kidlit.
2nd Mondays will feature super smart Melissa Stoller whose career is taking off with several new books.
3rd Mondays will feature STEM, STEAM & SEL obsessed author Kourtney LaFavre sharing delightfully dorky, quirky, and fun info.
4th Mondays will be a mystery for right now.
And 5th Mondays we'll be taking a break