By Sharon Giltrow
Refrain, Rhyme and Relatability the three Rs.
Refrain – In picture books every word counts, so try and make those words even more powerful through the use of a refrain. “What I really want the most, is some yummy cheese on toast.” For an added bonus the catchy refrain in our featured book rhymes.
Rhyme – As writers we are often told to steer away from rhyme. But if that is your writing style and you can make it work and sound great then write away.
Relatability - Choose a relatable theme. Children love to read stories that reflect their lives. What is more relatable for children than not wanting to eat their dinner. Or wanting to eat the same thing over and over again.
All of the three R's are used in the fabulous book CHEESE ON TOAST by Kelly Louise Jarris and Baginda Adr.
Cheese On Toast
Written by: Kelly Louise Jarris
Illustrated by: Baginda Adr
Published by: Kelly Louise Jarris , 1st November 2022
"I don't want this yucky roast.
I just want some cheese on toast."
Mum has prepared a delicious roast for dinner full of healthy vegetables like green beans, peas, and carrots, but her son is not pleased.
Will mum be able to convince him to give it a try?
Here are Kelly's favourite spreads and what she loves about them.
K - This one is a classic face all my boys have made at one time or another during dinner time. Baginda captured it perfectly with his illustration. It’s why I used it for the front cover. It tells the story with just his expression. I love it.'
Sh- Yes Kelly I agree, the reader doesn’t even need to read the text to know what is happening. But of course, there wouldn’t be an illustration without the text. Which makes me ask, what comes first the text or the illustration 😊?
K - Here the boy is in bed pretending, he is unwell gets kids into giggles. Children love ‘Crunchy’ the carrot. It’s been named recently by my friend's daughter. It's a perfect name for a carrot. (Additional info: Crunchy is hiding on each page in silly places. I tried to make it a fun book, repetitive and a bit interactive for this age group to read aloud together.')
Sh-. The magic of this spread and the book CHEESE ON TOAST is how relatable the story and the illustrations are to children. Also, the added bonus of looking for “Crunchy the Carrot” is a perfect addition to the book.
So, when you’re writing your next picture book try and remember the three Rs. Or if you can’t rhyme (like me) at least try and remember the two Rs – refrain and relatability.
See you in December for a re-cap (another great R) of all the great Aussie books I’ve featured in 2022.
Remember (another R) 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 2023 and 2024 - 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
I don’t know about you but, for me, 2022 has flown by. I had seven books come out this year including two middle grade mysteries, a middle grade collective biography, and four new chapter books in my Mr. Grizley’s Class series. For this year, I am extremely grateful.
Still, 2023 looms in the not-so-distant future (40 days away, to be precise). Next year promises to be just as busy for me as this year. I have two picture books on the way, followed by another four chapters, and an anthology. So, as I take time out this wake to count my blessing and be thankful, I’m also looking ahead to next year. I try to finish the year with a simple ritual to get ready for the year ahead. This month, I’d like to share my process with you.
First, I plan. That’s Step 1. Like I said, I have seven books on the way in 2023, including EARL LEARNS A LESSON and MAX'S MAGIC CHANGE. That means promotion, school visits, signing, giveaways, and the like. My plan is simple. I already have a template for book promotion that includes things like updating my website, doing a cover reveal, and starting to pester readers for early reviews. My end of the year plan, then, consists of putting the Book Birthdays on my calendar, and pulling items off my book release template and putting them on the calendar as well. This helps me see what I have ready and what I need to do additional prep work for. For example, one of the items on my book release template is creating my school visit presentation. This already exists for my Mr. Grizley’s Class series. I don’t have one yet for my two new picture books. I’ll add an action item to my to do list to create the presentation so that I market school visits for the books.
Once I finish with my plan for next year, the ritual starts to be a little more fun. Step 2 is where I create some goals for the year. These aren’t the usual, write 500 words a day goals. These goals are my stretch goals. I start by thinking about a quote I first heard when I just out of college: “What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?” The sky is the limit here. I try to come up with two or three stretch goals. I’ll revisit these goals throughout the year, breaking them down into smaller chunks. I might not achieve these goals but, as the saying goes, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll be among the stars.
Step 3 of my ritual is the most fun: Celebrate! Writing is hard (I know, I’m preaching to the choir). Give yourself a pat on the back for all the things you’ve accomplished. Those who know me well, know I celebrate everything from finishing a draft to a book birthday. Writing might be hard, but it should be fun, too. Otherwise, why do it?
So that’s it. My end of year ritual to get ready for what’s coming next. Give it a try. In the meantime, congratulations on your accomplishments this year and best of luck in the year ahead.
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.
This month, I will celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends. Here are a few ways to include gratitude in your writing in November and throughout the year.
1) At every Thanksgiving holiday dinner, I pass around stones and markers to each guest. Each person writes a word or phrase detailing what they are grateful for. This year, I will think about my words, and perhaps try to incorporate some of my feelings of thanks into my manuscripts.
2) I am definitely thankful for my writing partners. They help guide me, critique my work, share in the ups and downs of the writing life, and generally provide support throughout this journey. This month, I will think about all my writing friends and hopefully become inspired to write a new story highlighting themes of friendship.
3) I am always thankful for my family. This year, I will write notes of thanks to my family, reminiscing about special times we have shared over the past twelve months. I hope that these memories of vacations, adventures in nature and in cities, and just everyday moments will help spark some stories centering on family.
What are you grateful for this year? How can you incorporate some of the ideas above into your writing practice this month? Let me know 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-authored with Callie Lovvorn and Shirin Rahman, Illustrated by Kate Talbot), released from Clear Fork Publishing on November 1, 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 new bloggers!!
Here's our lineup:
1st Mondays begin with editor/art director, & CBA Director Mira Reisberg PhD who is handing her Mondays over to awesome former now traditionally pubbed students to widen their audience.
2nd Mondays will feature super smart Melissa Stoller whose career is taking off with several new books.
3rd Mondays will feature Bryan Patrick Avery, published writer, man of mystery, and professional magician among other things.
4th Mondays will feature STEM, STEAM & SEL obsessed author Kourtney LaFavre sharing delightfully dorky, quirky, and fun info.
And 5th Mondays will feature Libyan American author Koloud Tarapolsi sharing wonderful diverse books.