2021, It’s A Wrap!
By Sharon Giltrow
Wow! I can’t believe a whole year has gone by, since I started blogging for The Children’s Book Academy. Over the past year, I have shared fantastically funny books by fellow Aussies. I hope these books added joy and laughter to your world. The books that I chose contained one or more humorous elements, such as...
Well, that’s it from me for 2021.
See you in 2022, with more fantastically funny, Aussie book.
For a chance to win a book of your choice,
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 April, 2022. Her third PB, LET’S GO SHOPPING, GRANDMA! is due to be released through Dixi Books in 2022. SAMARA RUBIN AND THE UTILITY BELT, book one in Sharon’s early MG series – THE UTILITY BELT, will be released in 2022 through Clear Fork Publishing. With book two TOBY KING AND THE UTILITY BELT to follow.
by Bryan Patrick Avery
Well, we’ve almost made it through another year. I have one more writing deadline for the year before I take a short break for the holidays. This past year, I’ve had the pleasure of introducing a number of new characters to world including Sidney (who graced the pages of THE FREEMAN FIELD PHOTOGRAPH) and Mr. Grizley and his creative, kind, and caring class, including Cecilia (CECILIA’S FUNDRAISER), Mordecai (MORDECAI’S MAGIC), Shaw (SHAW’S SOLO), and Emily (EMILY’S BIG SHOT). This January, readers will get to meet middle grade sports stars turned sleuths Gabriella (SOCCER SUSPICIONS) and Jayden (OFF BASE).
Thinking back over all these characters I’ve been privileged to create, I decided I’d use this month’s blog post to share some holiday-themed questions you can ask you characters to get to know them better. I’ve included some of my characters answers as well. Here goes:
1. How do you spend your holiday break? Where do you go (if anywhere) and what do you do?
Gabriella: I love the holidays. We stay home so, with no school for almost three weeks, I get to play soccer pretty much all day, everyday. Plus, I can watch all of the English Premier League festive fixtures
2. What, if any, events (Hannakuh, Christmas, Kwanzaa, etc.) do you celebrate?
Cecilia: We’re Catholic, so my family celebrates Christmas. Before that, though, is my favorite celebration, the Feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe. It starts early in the morning on December 12th. There's singing and praying, then we have a mass with a Mariachi band. When it's over, we get tamales and hot cocoa. I love it!
3. What is your least favorite part of the holidays and why?
Mordecai: I like the holidays but, since my Dad is in the military, we’re always someplace different. The worst part is we don’t usually get to see my grandparents over the holidays. We just moved to a new town again. The good news is we might be able to see Grandma and Grandpa this year!
4. Does your family have any special traditions (e.g. gumbo on Christmas Eve) for the holidays?
Jayden: We’ve celebrated Kwanzaa for as long as I can remember. We also celebrate Christmas but Kwanzaa gives us a chance to celebrate our African heritage and culture. My favorite day of the Nguzo Saba is Kujichagulia. It’s fun to say but, more important than that, it represents Black people determine our future and how we’re seen by the world. It reminds me that I have to work hard to succeed and help others do that also.
I encourage you to ask your characters these questions. It may help you unlock a part of the backstory or personality that will really make a difference in your story. I’d love to hear how your characters answer these questions. Feel free to leave a note in the comments.
Well, that’s all for this month. I wish you all a happy, and safe, holiday season. Have a magical new year!
At the age of 7, Bryan Patrick Avery discovered a love of reading and mysteries after receiving his first Bobbsey Twins Mystery Book. Today, he is an award-winning poet and author of books for children. His middle-grade story, “The Magic Day Mystery”, appears in SUPER PUZZLETASTIC MYSTERIES, an anthology from HarperCollins and the Mystery Writers of America. His debut picture book, THE FREEMAN FIELD PHOTOGRAPH, illustrated by Jerome White, was published by Clearfork Publishing/Spork. His early reader series, MR. GRIZLEY’S CLASS, illustrated by Arief Putra, is available now from Picture Window Press. He is the 2021 recipient of the SCBWI Work in Progress Award for his chapter book mystery THE ROBOT IN THE LIBRARY.
Bryan serves on the board of directors of the Northern California Chapter of Mystery Writers of America and is a 2021 Amplify Black Stories Fellow, a joint program presented by the Brown Bookshelf and the Highlights Foundation.
Bryan lives in Northern California with his family.
by Melissa Stoller
As we get ready to welcome 2022 – it’s time to take stock of the year that is about to end and to plan and set writing goals for the upcoming months.
Wishing you all the joys of the holiday season, Happy New Year, and cheers to creativity in 2022!
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!; and Sadie’s Shabbat Stories. Planting Friendship: Peace, Salaam, Shalom (co-written with Callie Metler and Shirin Rahman, illustrated by Kate Talbot), released from Clear Fork Publishing in October, 2021. 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. 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 long beach walks. www.MelissaStoller.com
Adding Tension to your Manuscript
by Ana Siqueira
I want to tell you how to add tension to your manuscript. Oh, no! I can’t tell you that.
It’s against the rules.
I must show you, right?
Let’s start with a sweet and silly story about a carrot-eating bunny. (This is not my WIP! hahaha)
Bunny Jeo gobbles up sweet carrots.
When the floor shakes.
And he hears…
It’s a Monster Carrott!!!
Now let’s investigate some techniques used in these spreads.
Technique 1: Page-turner
TV shows often end with a cliffhanger, to reel you in and keep you coming back for more. Will the bad guy catch the good guy? Will the princess fall in love with the prince? Will the rabbit gobble up the monster?
So you must hook your readers with a question.
Ending a spread with but, when, then, or even ellipsis will pique the readers’ curiosity.
They won’t be able to stand it. They must…
TURN THE PAGE!!!
Now that the reader is hooked, let’s keep them curious and a little nervous too.
Technique 2 - Short sentences
Short sentences full of tension will hook your readers and engage them in the story.
The bunny gags.
The bunny hides.
Long sentences are good to slow down the pace. Short, snappy sentences add tension and mystery. But don’t forget to use the page-turner to heighten things even more.
On spread 2, readers will feel the need to TURN THE PAGE because they must find out who is doing all that stomping.
Technique 3 - Onomatopoeia and Senses
If you’ve read comic books, you’ll have seen lots of sound effects, right? Pow, Kaboom, Zap, Crash! Words like these immediately grab your attention. Sound effects, onomatopoeias, smells, visions, or any senses can involve readers. And if readers can hear, smell, taste, see, or touch but they don’t know what…Ta-Da! They will…
TURN THE PAGE.
Technique 4 - Show, Don’t tell
Of course, we all have heard and been annoyed by this message - Show, Don’t Tell, but…
Technique 5 - Why do they Care?
These are a few techniques you can use to add tension to your manuscript. But remember, the most important way to get your readers hooked is to make them feel. If we really feel for this bunny and cheer for him, that will keep us hooked. So, make sure your character is likable and readers care about them. And also, one more annoying question…
What is at STAKE?
Will the Monster Carrot say he wants to be his best friend and they go play in the garden? - Probably not that tension-packed, right?
But maybe the Monster Carrot does want to be the bunny’s best friend, but the bunny is really scared of the monster. - Higher stakes
What if the Monster Carrot tries to gobble up the rabbit? - Huge stakes.
Choose what is at stake.
Make your readers care.
And force them to…
Turn the page!
And if they
Pound, pound! Feel.
You got them HOOKED…
FOREVER! (just an exaggeration for tension purposes, of course!)
Find more about her and her books at https://anafiction.com/
You can follow Ana on
Twitter - https://twitter.com/SraSiqueira1307
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/asiqueira1307/?hl=en
Mark Ana’s book - Want to Read on GoodReads - https://www.goodreads.com/author/dashboard?ref=nav_profile_authordash
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 multi-published former student Shirin Shamsi who will be focusing on Muslim and cultural kidlit.
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 we'll be taking a break