by Dr. Mira Reisberg
Some fears can be really helpful in surviving and navigating life. But then there are other kinds of fears that can be adrenaline charging, excitement generating, and just plain fun. And that’s what I’d like to focus on right now. But before I do, I just want to preface this with the fact that part of entertaining kids with children’s books, often although not always, also involves helping them learn about life as these following books to do while tickling their fear and funny bones. This is called adding another layer and is one of my favorite things to teach. But I digress.
All of the following books are written by former students who dared to study with us, and wait for it, one of them will be co-teaching in our upcoming Craft and Business of Writing and Illustrating Picture Books course. So, let’s start:
First up is Stans Frightful Halloween written by brilliant editor and publisher Sandra Sutter. It's a super charming tale about clumsy Stan’s awful accident that stops him from celebrating with his friends as his FOMO (fear of missing out) kicks in big time. Stan tries and tries different things until... most delightfully, Stan learns to overcome his greatest fear of missing Halloween and friendships with a wonderful unexpected twist at the end.
Sandra is a super smart former lawyer and counselor who now runs Gnome Road Publishing’s Little Gnome imprint, a traditional publisher with tons of integrity building their picture book list. Sandra has already published some of our former students and is publishing more. She is especially delighted with the timing of the course as it’s right when she’ll be acquiring for their next season.
Snap up this opportunity and sign up for the course with a full hour in-person critique with Sandra that will knock your socks off. There are only a limited number of these available and do use the case-sensitive PBLove discount code to save $100.00!
Next up is Ana Siqueira’s If Your Babysitter is a Bruja, which does many things including contesting the image of witches as evil ugly women, playing with humor and imagination, and exploring culture and the concept of ambiguity. Full of delightful twists, this book was recently named one of Forbes magazine’s 31 Spooky New Books To Scare You this Fall, among other accolades. We’re thrilled to say that Ana actually worked on this book during our craft and biz of picture books course, which was then acquired by one of our Golden Ticket judges at Simon & Schuster. Hooray!
Then there’s Lynn Marie’s Moldilocks and the Three Scares, which is another hilarious Halloween book that deals with fear in super-fun and pun-filled ways while exploring the underlying themes of being a foster child and adoption. It’s another delightful approach to having fun with fear at Halloween while gently navigating challenging underlying themes.
And of course, we can't forget Jorge and Megan Lacera’s Zombies Don’t Eat Veggies whose main character is ashamed of his love of veggies and fearful of his parent’s disapproval. Absolutely gorgeous with TONS of awards and accolades, Jorge and Megan also worked on this book during our PB course.
Actually, most plot-driven books involve fear of some kind or another as the main character is often “tested” on their plot-driven journey throughout the story. Kuda’s fear of change in Rock and Roll Woods, Scarlet’s fear of not being able to paint without her magic paintbrush in Scarlet’s Magic Paint Brush, Roger’s fear of falling and loss in How I Learned to Fall Out of Trees by Vincent X. Kirsch.
Finally, check out major, major award winner, Donna Barba Higuera’s award-winning El Cucuy Is Scared, Too! This book was created during our course as a direct response to one of our picture book course prompts about remembering a childhood fear and how you overcame it. Donna took a wonderful soulful approach by writing about a little boy and his monster both facing their fears together and the rest is history.
We want to launch your career or elevate it if you’re struggling in anyway. We actually want to hear about your individual struggles so that we can address them and help make your work much more wonderful and publishable. There are only 8 more days until the $100 discounts expire and I’m opening up my own critiques for only $150 extra but there’s only a limited number available. Also, the scholarships are ending in just 6 days! WOW! Please help spread the word!
Here are some more options if you want to join the magic and start some of those fantastic bonuses today!
The course with all of it's individual feedback, over 30 lessons, editor, agent and art director access and submission opportunities, optional critique groups, step-by-step worksheets, beginning and higher-level learning, and so much more - only $597 with our time and case-sensitive PBLove promo code. And don't worry, we also have payment plans. Here's the magic link!
Click here for everything above plus an extraordinary critique with Barefoot Books Senior Editor and Art Director Lisa Rosinsky who loves publishing our students. This live one-hour, in-person critique is like gold! Only $150 extra with nifty payment plans. Don't forget to save $100 with the time- and case-sensitive PBLove code.
Helen H. Wu is amazingly sharp and will help propel your work forward in innovative ways. Let this award-winning Yeehoo Press publisher and author/illustrator help you with your story or art for future publishing success. This is only $150 extra and also comes with nifty payment plans. Just click here and don't forget the code: PBLove
Brilliant Kaitlyn Sanchez has just moved to Bradford Literary Agency where she's building her PB list. And she LOVES our students because we train you so well! Grab a one-hour critique with her and see make some magic together. Only $150 extra with nifty payment plans. Don't forget to save $100 with the time- and case-sensitive PBLove code.
And then there's little old me. My awesome students have published a lot of award-winning and best selling books and I can't wait to hit 1000 (coming soon, hopefully with your books)! I LOVE doing critiques so do grab one while you can. Only $150 extra with nifty payment plans. Don't forget that time- and case-sensitive PBLove code. Just click here for that.
Let’s face it - whether you’re just getting started with your first book or desire; you’re well on your way to publication; or you’ve won awards but want to refresh your skills or tap into new markets, it can be scary!
Luckily, The Children’s Book Academy is here for you. With almost a THOUSAND (yes, 1,000) success stories from our students who have achieved the dream we share of publishing great books to help and/or entertain kids – we really can inspire that first draft, or revise an existing story, AND connect you with agents, editors, and art directors who may be looking for what only you can create. If you’re having fears around this, we encourage you to grab your little monster imagination, join us, have a ton of fun, and hopefully win some awards!
Sending much love, Mira and the CBA gang xoxox
P.S. With over 30 years of working in the kidlit industry, a PhD in the subject, and a fabulous track record of student successes (plus a few of my own), I want to help as many people I can before switching gears to something easier. I'd love you to join me while I'm still doing this.
By Sharon Giltrow
Why do writer’s write?
To create, to share experiences, to have an impact, to achieve a goal, to overcome, to connect, to rest and be.
Why do you write?
For me it is to create, connect and because I have an underlying drive to write.
To do something amazing, such as writing, there needs to be that insatiable drive to keep going, to never give up. Especially when there are so many obstacles to overcome, the blank page, rejections, ourselves and don’t forget the ever-present imposter syndrome.
One of the keys to becoming a published author or illustrator is perseverance. As authors we can even write about perseverance. Author and Illustrator James Foley did that in his latest book STELLARPHANT. A story about an elephant who wouldn’t take no for an answer and who never gave up.
Written and illustrated by: James Foley
Published by: Fremantle Press, 2nd November 2021 – Australia
Kane Miller 1st January 2022 - US
Heroes come in all shapes, sizes and species. Stella wants to be an astronaut. There is only one problem: Stella is an elephant. Every time she applies to Space Command, they come up with a new reason she can’t join. But where there’s a will, there’s a way and Stella is determined to reach for the stars. Does she have the right stuff?
James shares two of his favourite spreads from his award winning book STELLARPHANT.
J- Stella the elephant facing the board of managers at Space Command. She had done everything she's been asked to do, but they still won't let her become an astronaut. She is the literal elephant in the room.
Sh- I love how this illustration shows us exactly who Stella is up against. The obstacles she has to overcome to achieve her dream.
J- Stella and her all-animal crew going into space. This was the first image from the book that I could see in my head when I first imagined the story. It's a serene, silent page and the climax of the book.
Sh- I love this image because it shows all of the other animals that helped Stella to achieve her goal. Look how happy they all are and at the same time they achieved something amazing for themselves. It reminds me as a writer to surround myself with people who support me and who I can support.
Next time you come up against an obstacle as a writer, remember Stella. If she can achieve her goal, then with perseverance you can to.
Never give up!
See you in November with another great Aussie book.
Remember share a laugh, and connect with someone today.
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 - EK books. Sharon’s humorous follow up PB, GET READY, MAMA! released in April, 2022 - EK Books. Her third and fourth PB, LET’S GO SHOPPING, GRANDMA! And LET’S GO TO THE BEACH, GRANDPA! are due to be released in 2022 and 2023 - Dixi Books. SAMARA RUBIN AND THE UTILITY BELT, book one in Sharon’s early MG series – THE UTILITY BELT, will be released in 2023 - Clear Fork Publishing. With book two TOBY KING AND THE UTILITY BELT to follow.
by Bryan Patrick Avery
One of the first manuscripts I sold as a children's book author was THE FREEMAN FIELD PHOTOGRAPH. It won a Golden Ticket in a Children's Book Academy class which eventually led to a contract offer. The book came out in 2021 and I’ve had the opportunity to talk with classes and community groups about the book, the famous photograph, and my grandfather (who took the photograph). Through all of this, I learned a valuable lesson: often, sharing the story is more important than selling the book.
I realize it sounds weird. I get it, we all want to sell more books. So do I. I simply mean that I find it incredibly rewarding, and important, to share my stories with young readers whether they buy the book or not.
This January, my fifteenth book will be published. I’ve been privileged to write short stories, poetry, picture books, chapter books, and middle grade. Each new release has reinforced this idea in me. When I meet readers, they are interested in my books and that’s great. They also tell me things like “I’ve never met a real author before”, “when I read your book, it made me want to be a writer”, and “I want to learn more history because of your book”. For me, that makes writing worth it.
Now, let’s jump back to the FREEMAN FIELD PHOTOGRAPH. A while back, someone contacted me through my website about the book. It tells the story of the 1945 Freeman Field Mutiny, a key event during World War II where 101 Tuskegee Airmen where arrested for refusing to submit to Jim Crow regulations in the US Army. My grandfather, himself a Tuskegee Airman, took a now famous photo of the arrested officers which, when published in the Pittsburgh Courier, led to more the 50,000 letters being written to the War Department demanding an end to segregation in the U.S. military.
It turns out, a monument to commemorate the event, and its impact on U.S. history, was being built at Freeman Field. I was asked to come and speak about the mutiny, and my grandfather. Last week, my wife and I traveled to Seymour, Indiana for the unveiling of the memorial. There, I met many people who were thrilled to meet and author, and even more thrilled that I had come to speak about such an important event. Many of them bought books, but even those who did not wanted to learn more about the event and about me.
While I was in Indiana, I even got a number of ideas for new projects! The trip was a great reminder that I write to share my stories with the world and to expose people to ideas and stories they might not otherwise be exposed to. For that, I am grateful.
As your books go out into the world. Think about what your stories might mean to others, and see if you can come up with ways to share yourself, and your ideas, with others.
That’s all for this month. Happy writing, and have a magical month.
Bryan Patrick Avery is an award-winning poet and author of more than a dozen books for children. His middle grade collective biography, BLACK MEN IN SCIENCE, illustrated by Nikita Leanne, was released in 2022. Bryan is also the author of the middle-grade story, “The Magic Day Mystery”, which appears in SUPER PUZZLETASTIC MYSTERIES, THE FREEMAN FIELD PHOTOGRAPH, illustrated by Jerome White, and the early chapter book series, MR. GRIZLEY’S CLASS, illustrated by Arief Putra. Bryan lives in northern California with his family.
By Melissa Stoller
October falls squarely in the autumn season where I live in New York. Cool weather activities have replaced ocean swims. It’s the perfect time to fall for ideas. Here are a few tips to help spark your imagination.
I hope these exercises help you fall into expanded storytelling during the autumn season.
Cheers to creativity and let me know how you are doing in the comments.
Melissa Stoller is the author of the chapter book series The Enchanted Snow Globe Collection - Return to Coney Island and the picture books Scarlet’s Magic Paintbrush; Ready, Set, GOrilla!; Sadie’s Shabbat Stories; and Planting Friendship: Peace, Salaam, Shalom (co-author). Building Bridges: Peace, Salaam, Shalom (co-author with Callie Metler and Shirin Rahman, Illustrated by Kate Talbot), releases from Clear Fork Publishing in October, 2022. Melissa is a Blogger and Course Assistant for the Children’s Book Academy, a Rate Your Story judge, a Regional Ambassador for The Chapter Book Challenge, a volunteer with SCBWI/MetroNY, and a founding member of The Book Meshuggenahs. She also interviews authors on her blog, This Writing Life, and offers book tips and resources. 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 Wordle!
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