Spring into Writing
I’m reading so many good books right now. How about you? I’m still working on getting through the pile of books on my TBR list. It’s always hard having a TBR is hard, because so many other books get in the way. A lot of my TBR pile can be seen here: https://www.daniduck.com/black-lives-matter/ I’ve read quite a few already!
These are all kidlit books. Next week will be all adult (and possibly YA) books.
New Children's Books
Emergency Kittens and Who is Jackie Chan? by Jody Jensen Shaffer, Emergency Kittens illustrated by Dave Mottram
Jody’s Website: https://jodyjensenshaffer.com/
Dave’s Website: http://www.davemottram.com/
Buy Emergency Kittens: https://jodyjensenshaffer.com/books/emergency-kittens/
Buy Who is Jackie Chan?: https://jodyjensenshaffer.com/books/who-is-jackie-chan/
King of the Swamp by Catherine Emett and Ben Mantle
Catherine’s Website: https://catherineemmett.co.uk/
Ben’s Website: https://www.benmantle.co.uk/
Buy King of The Swamp: https://www.waterstones.com/book/king-of-the-swamp/catherine-emmett/ben-mantle/9781471181696
The Whatifs by Emily Kilgore, Illustrated by Zoe Persicoe
Emily’s Website: https://www.emilykilgore.com/
Zoe’s Website: http://www.zoepersico.com/
Buy The Whatifs: https://bookshop.org/books/the-whatifs/9781499810295
Frederico and the Wolf by Rebbeca J. Gomez Illustrated by Elisa Chavarri
Rebbeca’s Website: http://www.rebeccajgomez.com/
Elisa’s Website: http://www.elisachavarri.com/
Buy Frederico and the Wolf: https://www.hmhbooks.com/shop/books/Federico-and-the-Wolf/9781328567789
2020 Kidlit Book Releases
I had a minor family emergency yesterday for my 4 year old. He’s fine. Just needs to be on antibiotics for a week. I didn’t get a chance to put these up yesterday, so here they are late today. I’m going to continue to post these on Tuesdays until I get through my list!
No Party Poopers by Gretchen McLellan and illustrated by Lucy Semple
Gretchen’s Website: http://gretchenmclellan.com/
Lucy’s Website: https://www.lucysemple.co.uk/
I've Got A Tail! by Julie Murphy and illustrated by Hannah Tolson
Julie’s Website: https://juliemurphybooks.com/
Hannah’s Website: https://www.hannahtolson.com/
Benny's True Colors by Norene Palson illustrated by Anne Passchier
Norene’s Website: http://www.norenepaulson.com/
Anne’s Website: http://www.annepasschier.com/
WHAT A PRICKLY PEAR by Tina Mowrey, Illustrated by Sarah Williams
Tina’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/tmowtx
I could not find Sarah’s website. If you know Sarah, please send me a link to her website!
Two Dogs on a Trike by Gabi Snyder illustrated by Robin Rosenthal
Gabi’s Website: https://gabisnyder.com/
Robin’s Website: https://www.robinrosenthal.com/
Things have been so busy for me lately. I keep thinking that I was going to be able to make time to put up a list of new books this week and I failed. I have less involved things this coming week, so I will be able to pick back on the list next week.
Website building or consultation:
3 pieces of promotional material:
Thanks so much with your participation in Spring into Writing!
I will attempt to contact you both shortly. You will have 1 month to pick up your prize after notification and 6 months to use your prize.
In Support of Black Lives Matter I’m posting about books by Black authors/illustrators. (I will be posting the rest of the books on my list later.) Right now Black creators need our support. This list are books I’d like to read and are mostly 2020 releases. There are so many more new books out there this year so follow these people on Twitter, because they are constantly posting great Black reads this year!
The first book is by Kacen Callender is about and written by a trans Black person. Recently the trans community received a big hit by JKR’s comments on Twitter. This isn’t right and it’s caused a lot of pain. I want to show my support, respect and love to trans people!
On My TBR Pile
Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender (Queer, Trans, Romance, YA)
Felix Love has never been in love–and, yes, he’s painfully aware of the irony. He desperately wants to know what it’s like and why it seems so easy for everyone but him to find someone. What’s worse is that, even though he is proud of his identity, Felix also secretly fears that he’s one marginalization too many–Black, queer, and transgender–to ever get his own happily-ever-after.
When an anonymous student begins sending him transphobic messages–after publicly posting Felix’s deadname alongside images of him before he transitioned–Felix comes up with a plan for revenge. What he didn’t count on: his catfish scenario landing him in a quasi-love triangle….
But as he navigates his complicated feelings, Felix begins a journey of questioning and self-discovery that helps redefine his most important relationship: how he feels about himself.
Felix Ever After is an honest and layered story about identity, falling in love, and recognizing the love you deserve.
Kacen’s Website: https://www.kacencallender.com/
Kacen’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/kacencallender
The Sound of Stars by Alechia Dow (Sci-fi, YA)
Two years ago, a misunderstanding between the leaders of Earth and the invading Ilori resulted in the deaths of one-third of the world’s population.
Today, seventeen-year-old Ellie Baker survives in an Ilori-controlled center in New York City. With humans deemed dangerously volatile because of their initial reaction to the invasion, emotional expression can be grounds for execution. Music, art and books are illegal, but Ellie still keeps a secret library.
When young Ilori commander M0Rr1S finds Ellie’s library, he’s duty-bound to deliver her for execution. The trouble is, he finds himself drawn to human music and in desperate need of more.
Humanity’s fate rests in the hands of an alien Ellie should fear, but M0Rr1S has a potential solution–thousands of miles away. The two embark on a wild and dangerous journey with a bag of books and their favorite albums, all the while creating a story and a song of their own that just might save them both.
Get the Book: Signed + Swag: https://www.onemorepagebooks.com/book/9781335911551
For more places to buy the book go here: https://twitter.com/alechiawrites/status/1238622395856019456
Alechia’s Website: https://www.alechiadow.com/
Alechia’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/alechiawrites
Given by Nandi Taylor (Fantasy, YA)
As a princess of the Yirba, Yenni is all-but-engaged to the prince of a neighboring tribe. She knows it’s her duty to ensure peace for her people, but as her father’s stubborn illness steadily worsens, she sets out on a sacred journey to the empire of Cresh, determined to find a way to save him at any cost, even though failure could mean the wrath of her gods and ruin for her people. One further complication? On the day she arrives at the Prevan Academy for Battle and Magical Arts, she meets an arrogant dragon-shifter named Weysh who claims she’s his “Given”, or destined mate. Muscular, beautiful (and completely infuriating), he’s exactly the kind of distraction Yenni can’t afford while her father’s life hangs in the balance.
But while Yenni would like nothing more than to toss Weysh the man into the nearest river, Weysh the dragon quickly becomes a much-needed friend in the confusing northern empire. Yet when her affection for the dragon starts to transfer to the man, Yenni must reconcile her duty to her tribe with the call of her own heart.
Buy The Book: https://hypel.ink/given
Nandi’s Website: https://nanditaylor.com/
Nandi’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/nandi_taylor
You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson (Queer, Romance, YA)
Liz Lighty has always believed she’s too black, too poor, too awkward to shine in her small, rich, prom-obsessed midwestern town. But it’s okay — Liz has a plan that will get her out of Campbell, Indiana, forever: attend the uber-elite Pennington College, play in their world-famous orchestra, and become a doctor.
But when the financial aid she was counting on unexpectedly falls through, Liz’s plans come crashing down… until she’s reminded of her school’s scholarship for prom king and queen. There’s nothing Liz wants to do less than endure a gauntlet of social media trolls, catty competitors, and humiliating public events, but despite her devastating fear of the spotlight she’s willing to do whatever it takes to get to Pennington.
The only thing that makes it halfway bearable is the new girl in school, Mack. She’s smart, funny, and just as much of an outsider as Liz. But Mack is also in the running for queen. Will falling for the competition keep Liz from her dreams—or make them come true?
Buy The Book: https://linktr.ee/byleahjohnson
Leah’s Website: https://www.byleahjohnson.com/
Leah’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/byleahjohnson
A Song Below Water by Bethany Morrow (Fantasy, YA)
Tavia is already at odds with the world, forced to keep her siren identity under wraps in a society that wants to keep her kind under lock and key. Nevermind she’s also stuck in Portland, Oregon, a city with only a handful of black folk and even fewer of those with magical powers. At least she has her bestie Effie by her side as they tackle high school drama, family secrets, and unrequited crushes. But everything changes in the aftermath of a siren murder trial that rocks the nation; the girls’ favorite Internet fashion icon reveals she’s also a siren, and the news rips through their community. Tensions escalate when Effie starts being haunted by demons from her past, and Tavia accidentally lets out her magical voice during a police stop. No secret seems safe anymore―soon Portland won’t be either.
Bethany’s Website: https://www.bethanycmorrow.com/
Bethany’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/BCMorrow
A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown (Fantasy, YA)
In a world inspired by West and North African mythology, where magic and spirits lurk behind every corner, two teens on opposite sides of a thousand-year-old conflict must kill each other to save the ones they love —even if it means fighting the blossoming connection that ties them together.
An explosive new Young Adult Fantasy novel by Roseanne A. Brown, perfect for fans of Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone and Sabaa Tahir’s An Ember in the Ashes!
Buy The Book:
Signed copy of the book: https://bookswithapast.com/home/bookdetailsin/0062891499
Other places to get the book: https://roseanneabrown.com/books
Rosanne’s Website: https://roseanneabrown.com/
Rosanne’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/rosiesrambles
The Gilded Ones by Namia Forna (Fantasy, YA)
Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs.
But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity–and Deka knows she will face a consequence worse than death.
Then a mysterious woman comes to her with a choice: stay in the village and submit to her fate, or leave to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her. They are called alaki–near-immortals with rare gifts. And they are the only ones who can stop the empire’s greatest threat.
Knowing the dangers that lie ahead yet yearning for acceptance, Deka decides to leave the only life she’s ever known. But as she journeys to the capital to train for the biggest battle of her life, she will discover that the great walled city holds many surprises. Nothing and no one are quite what they seem to be–not even Deka herself.
Namia’s Website: https://naminaforna.com/
Namia’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/NaminaForna
Manifique Noir by Briana Lawerence (Fantasy Graphic Novel)
“It’s all fun and games until you question the magic.”
Our favorite magical girl squad is back for their regularly scheduled program.
After the last colossal battle, Marianna, Bree, and Lonnie are trying their best to recover, but the daily monsters don’t give a lick about self-doubt and personal struggles. Fortunately, Prism Pink is there to lend a hand, turning the trio into a courageous group of girls who can take on whatever threat comes their way.There’s just one problem: they still don’t know who Prism Pink is or where she came from.
In fact, where did any of this come from?
The monsters. The magical powers. What does any of it mean? It’s time to start getting answers, but are the girls ready to hear the truth? Knowledge is power, as they say, but power is fickle and can be corrupted so easily. After all, Blaze never said what happened to the previous generation of magnifiqueNOIR, did she?
Buy the Book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0999398326
Magnifique Noir Website: http://www.magnifiquenoir.com/
Brianna’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/BrichibiTweets
Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett (Fiction, Queer, YA)
Simone Garcia-Hampton is absolutely positive that having a crush is more dangerous than having HIV; after all, she’s got her viral load under control. Simone knows that her status isn’t a death sentence, as long as she remembers to take her medication and go to her doctor’s appointments, she can live a long, healthy life. There’s just one problem: she wants to have sex. Badly.
She knows abstinence is the safest policy, she’s heard it almost every day of her life from her sweet and well-meaning Dads, and up until now, she’s been able to handle it herself, but Miles Austin has ruined that. He’s hot! He plays lacrosse! He asks Simone about her favorite plays because of how it lights her face up! What’s a horny (but responsible) teenage girl to do!?
Simone is already agonizing about how to tell Miles about her status, but she’s been burned before when she told people that she loved that she was positive—she even had to switch schools over it, leaving her boarding school when there was a huge public outcry from uneducated parents, not to mention a scarring shunning from the people she cared about most. She’s determined to keep her status a secret, but the cardinal rule of dating-while-positive is disclosure. Allowing herself to get close to Miles would be a gigantic risk.
Before she’s able to figure out what to do, Simone finds a threatening note left in her locker: I know you have HIV. You have until Thanksgiving to stop hanging out with Miles. Or everyone else will know, too.
Buy the Book: https://www.camryngarrett.com/full-disclosure
Camyrn’s Website: https://www.camryngarrett.com/
Camyrn’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/dancingofpens
Books I've Read and Love
Clyde the Hippo: Clyde Goes to School by Keith Marantz, Illustrated by Larissa Marantz (Fiction, Picture Book)
Meet Clyde, a lively (and often worried) hippo with a heart of gold who’s always eager to go on new adventures, in this fun-filled 8×8!
Clyde can’t believe his mom is making him go to school. He has so much fun at home—what could a classroom possibly have to offer? As his mom lists all the activities he’ll get to do, Clyde only imagines the worst possible outcomes. He’s so caught up in what could go wrong that he’s determined to turn around and go home. But when he comes across his kind teacher and the butterfly habitat she’s carrying inside, it might just be enough to convince him to stay!
Buy the Book/Clyde’s Website: http://www.clydethehippo.com/index.html
Larissa’s Website: http://larissamarantz.com/index.html
Larissa’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/LarissaMarantz
Odd One Out by Nic Stone (Fiction, Queer, YA)
Courtney Cooper and Jupiter Sanchez (Coop & Jupe!) have been next-door neighbors and best friends since they were seven-years-old. She’s his partner-in-crime and other half. But lately, Cooper can’t ignore he might want something more than friendship from Jupiter.
When Rae Chin moves to town she can’t believe how lucky she is to find Coop and Jupe. Being the new kid is usually synonymous with pariah, but around these two, she finally feels like she belongs. She’s so grateful she wants to kiss him…and her.Jupiter has always liked girls.
But when Rae starts dating Cooper, Jupe realizes that the only girl she ever really imagined by his side was her.
One story. Three sides. No easy answers.
Nic’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/getnicced
Nic’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nicstone/
The winner of Kaitlyn Sanchez’s prize A CRITIQUE is:
Congratulations! You will be contacted soon about your prize.
Thank you so much for participating in Spring into Writing this year! This was only the second year for the event. I have a survey you can fill out if you’d like: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CCTXW3Q
Here is a badge for anyone who wants an “I Won” badge. If you did any writing at all this month, congratulations you won Spring into Writing!
You have until next Monday (June 8th) to enter for the following 3 prizes
1. A critique with Kaitlyn Sanchez of your work.
2. Website building help from Dani:
The third prize is 3 pieces of promotional material for your book!
If you have a book coming out soon you might need help with making post cards, bookmarks, posters, book plates ect. I will do the set up and design for these with simple art if wanted. (If you have a different business I can help with that as well).*
To enter: Comment below to tell me how you liked Spring into Writing!
Please comment on as many posts as possible!
*If you would rather me help you set up a website I can do that. Prize winner must contact me 30 days after winning. Prize must be redeemed within 6 months after prize is announced.
Cyndi Marko puts the POW in Kung Pow Chicken — The book series, not the food (maybe also the food). She is a writer and illustrator. She started off her career hoping to sell picture books. Things don’t always happen the way we plan, but Cyndi did end up selling books. Just not the picture books she had planned.
Cyndi has now created a wonderful collection of superhero chicken books called Kung Pow Chicken. This was my son’s first chapter book. I read them to him when he was in kindergarten. It’s still on the top of my list for fun chapter book series! Cyndi’s new book Kung Pow Chicken: Jurassic Peck comes out in September. The Kung Pow Chicken Collection can be now bought as a 4 in 1 book!
Check out Cyndi’s Website here: https://www.cyndimarko.com/
Dani: Besides writing and illustration, What is your superpower?
Cyndi: Well, I’m actually pretty put out that I can’t fly or shoot lasers from my eyeballs, but I am a fairly decent cook. I love to put on loud music and just lose myself in the kitchen, and I always sing while I cook.
Cooking is a creative outlet for me separate from book work stuff. I’m particularly good at creating dishes from whatever’s on hand when there’s almost no food left in the house because I haven’t gone grocery shopping (which I hate doing), and I’m also good at recreating dishes I’ve had at restaurants. I hardly ever use recipes (except for when baking because science) and prefer to just go by instinct as I’m cooking. (Pro tip: there’s no such thing as too much garlic!)
I love to bake as well, and have been making sourdough from my own starter for about a year now. I think I most enjoy making soups (I save bones and make my own stock) and baking fancy cookies at Christmas time. I think this love of cooking comes through in my books because I almost always find a way to incorporate food into my stories. There are candy corn cupcakes in KUNG POW CHICKEN and stale jelly donuts in THIS LITTLE PIGGY.
Dani: How has your process changed since you first started creating books?
Cyndi: I’m much faster now, for one thing. It used to take me months to make a sketch dummy for a picture book, and writing was like pulling teeth. But now I can sketch a dummy for a picture book in about a week, and a book like KUNG POW CHICKEN in about two weeks.
The biggest difference is scale, I think. I used to sketch at full size and it led me to be a perfectionist. Over the years my sketches got progressively smaller. Now I sketch at thumbnail size and then enlarge when I scan. I can then edit the composition in PhotoShop, and print off and trace using my lightbox when I go to final art.
As for writing, I’m much more likely to start with a loose outline before jumping into a first draft, which has totally helped my productivity. Also, I found a writing partner who writes and illustrates the same types of books as I do and getting feedback from a peer has been invaluable. (Hi, Troy!)
Dani What’s it like writing your 5th book in a series? Is it hard keeping a series fresh so far into the series?
Cyndi: It had been about five years since KUNG POW CHICKEN 4, so it was interesting to jump back in with book 5 (JURASSIC PECK). I had to reread the previous books to make sure I got all the details right. It surprised me how little I remembered writing the words or painting the art!
But I had SO much fun working on book 5. We had more time in the schedule for each step of the book, and I found I was faster and more experienced. KPC 5 also has dinosaurs, and I have always wanted to do a book with dinosaurs so I was pretty much geeking out the entire time. I really love the end result and I hope we get to do many more KPC books. I don’t think I’ll ever run out of adventures for those plucky little chickens!
Dani: What is your favorite way to relax?
Cyndi: Reading a book while having a glass of wine and eating Sour Patch Kids (pairs nicely with merlot) or spending time with friends. During social distancing I’ve found ways to spend time with friends online: playing tabletop games on Roll20 or watching a series or movie at the same time and chatting about it over messenger.
Dani What are you working on now?
Cyndi: So many things!
First there’s SLOTH SLEUTH, a graphic novel series about a sloth named Paz who solves mysteries on the fantastical island of Winklefuss. The first two books will come out in 2021 and 2022, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. I’ve also got BOO! HISS! (Aladdin, 2021), about a ghost and a snake who are roommates in a haunted (by them) house.
I also have a couple dozen (I’m not kidding) WIPs—works in progress for the layperson—on the go. I’m working on picture books, chapter books, graphic novels, middle grade novels, and maybe a humorous coffee table book for grown-ups. I am sometimes overwhelmed by so many ideas that I am dying to work on that I end up working on none of them and just drink too much coffee and share too many memes. But I am determined to prioritize!
Buy the Kung Pow Chicken Collection: https://shop.scholastic.com/parent-ecommerce/books/kung-pow-chicken-collection-books-1-4-9781338599213.html
Preorder Kung Pow Chicken 5: https://www.amazon.com/Jurassic-Peck-Branches-Book-Chicken/dp/1338596640/
Indiebound links to all of Cyndi’s Books: https://www.cyndimarko.com/my-books
Lisa Chen-Wing is just hilarious. Anyone can write a story about their life, but it takes a special kind of person to make other people laugh about that experience. Lisa’s webcomic Whiny Whiny Pancakes is all about Lisa’s life with her kids. This comic is hilarious and very dear to my heart. I love reading this comic and I hope you will too!
Lisa’s website: http://whinywhinypancakes.com/
9 Reasons Why
By Lisa Whiny Whiny Pancakes
2 Reasons why I started a semi-autobiographical web comic
- My friend looked at a web comic and said ‘Hey, you could do that!’
- I said ‘Hey, I could do that.’
5 Reasons why you should start a web comic.
- Making more social media accounts is extremely easy.
- The best way to get better at something is to do it regularly.
- It’s a great way to practice new skills and techniques.
- Getting a few likes from randos on the internet is a great ego boost.
- It’s not a huge time commitment.
1 Reason why you shouldn’t start to draw a web comic
- Nobody really cares about your web comic.
1 Reason you should draw your web comic anyway.
- Outsider artists, the ones who toil their whole lives in obscurity, are the real heroes.
Since I don’t have the integrity of an outsider artist, only the same number of followers: (Instagram @whinywhinypancakes, Twitter @WhinyPancakes, Facebook @whinywhinypancakes, URL: whinywhinypancakes.com, other URL: elsiedub.com)
Here is a short list of books I gathered from Twitter that had releases this year. Check them out and pick up a copy if you like!
I’m working through a long list of books suggested to me, so I will not have all of the books in this one post. I will continue to make posts on Tuesdays until I get through the list.
If there is a problem with the information on the page, please contact me. If there is a problem with any of the books I may not display them on my site.
MISADVENTURES OF A MAGICIAN’S SON by Laurie Smollett Kutscera released April 1st (published by Blue Whale Press/Clearfork). Middle Grade.
Buy the Book: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781732893542
Taste Your Words by Bonnie Clark. Illustrated by Todd Bright. Picture Book.
Bonnie Clark https://bonnieclarkbooks.com/
Todd Bright http://www.toddbright.com/
Buy the Book:
Cells by Julia Cowan. Languishing in a mysterious prison, a teenager is torn between exposing his abductors and his desire for a new life.
Website & Buy the Book: https://www.blkdogpublishing.com/cells
Dawn Young is on my blog talking about everything writing and fun. That’s right, Dawn has taken on the spirit of Spring into Writing and is talking about her favorite ways to write. So grab a hot drink (or a cold one, I wont judge) and curl up with this wonderful post by Dawn!
You can read more about Dawn and her work here: https://www.dawnyoungbooks.com/
The sun is shining. Flowers are blooming. Birds are chirping. It’s springtime and here we are in Spring into Writing – a perfect time to take that “leap forward” and have some fun!
So how exactly do you have fun writing, when sometimes it’s hard to even start writing, especially when that blank page of paper sitting in front of you seems to be daring you to even try, staring at you as if to say, “So, whatcha got?” or, “Ha! I knew it! You’re as blank as I am!”?
But there are ways to start and definitely ways to have fun! I’m sure what’s considered fun is different for everyone, but here are some things that work for me to make writing fun and they may work for you too…
Humor. To have fun with writing, I go for humor. I love to write funny, wacky stories. In my books, The Night Baafore Christmas (WorthyKids, December 2019), Counting Elephants (Hachette, March 2020) and the soon to be released, The Night Baafore Easter (WorthyKids, January 2021), my goal was to make kids laugh. Since some of my best memories include reading to my kids while they were plopped in my lap, all giggling at silly, clever picture books, I wanted to create that experience for other children. In these books, I went for craziness and chaos.
Rhyme. I love writing in rhyme. To me, it’s fun to write andread. Some of my favorite books are written in rhyme. I love when the rhyme creates a rhythm that makes the words flow, as if your reading was set on cruise control. The Night Baafore Christmas is written in rhyme because, other that the fact that I think it’s fun to write in rhyme, I thought the rhyme created a rollicking rhythm which complemented the Christmas chaos.
Figurative language and specifically alliteration is fun to write and even more fun to read. Think back to being a kid. Remember how fun it was to try and say “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers” and “She sells seashells by the seashore”? Although I wouldn’t advise that level of alliteration, otherwise you’d find yourself tripping over your own tongue, certainly some is fun. My book vThe Night Baafore Christmas is full of alliteration, like these lines:
“Bo reads them a story, they listen and look, till 10 licks a page and devours the book.
Sheep 9 scared of monsters hides under the rug, while 8 missing mommy, holds Bo in a hug. “
And “Bo races to rescue his mother’s new wreath.” The r sounds make the sentence roll off your tongue.
Wordplay. The Night Baafore Christmashas word play in the title. I used Baafore instead of Before because, as you may have guessed, there are sheep in the story, and many of them. The Baafore was a fun way to introduce the sheep without actually saying there are sheep in this story. Then in the story I have them discover the fridge and bellow “baaffet!” to add more word play.
Internal rhyme. Again, think back to being a kid. Remember how fun it was to say “The itsy bitsy spider went up the water spout.”? In The Night Baafore Christmas, I tried to add as much internal rhyme as I could, like “while Bo saves the angel, sheep 1, 2 and 3 nibble non-stop to the top of the tree.”
Unexpected twist. Well, I can’t reveal the twist in The Night Baafore Christmasbecause it would spoil the ending, so you’ll have to read it for yourself…
Write about things you love. Your natural love for the subject will inherently come through, so think of the things you like to do and use that as material for your stories.
Something I think is fun is math. As former mechanical engineer turned writer, I don’t get many opportunities to do math, except of course when I help my kids with their homework, which usually doesn’t go well, since they do not appreciate my math enthusiasm. We all know most kids roll their eyes at the thought of math, so I wanted to get kids to have fun with math. With Counting Elephants, my goal was to make the book fun to read so kids would feel that sense of enjoyment, connect that feeling to math and have a more positive view of math in general.
Shake things up. I’ve read counting book after counting book with my kids, but they were typically the same ̶ a number on the page and some items that add to that number. And that’s great for the really little kids, but I wanted to take counting to the next level. I wanted kids to do more than count. I wanted them to add and subtract. I imagined an addition character, counting items, while a subtraction character made them disappear. I put them together and Voilà! I came up with a Counter who tries to count her ten elephants while her magician friend – POOF! – makes it impossible. Ten, nine, eight… each time we get back to counting, one of the elephants has been changed into something unexpected. In Counting Elephants, kids are adding new things in and subtracting elephants out to come up with a total of 10. And what better way for kids to have fun than to have things go a little crazy.
Unexpected twist. Once again, but this time in Counting Elephants, I can’t reveal the twist or it will spoil the ending, so you’ll have to read for yourself.
Pay attention to what makes you smile, laugh and fill up with joy. Use what you’re passionate about when you write to take that leap and Spring into Writing and have some fun.
Dawn Young bio:
Dawn graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering, and later with an MBA. For years, Dawn worked as an engineer and, later, manager at a large aerospace company, until her creative side called her to pursue her dream of writing children’s books. After reading and writing hundreds of corporate documents, none of which were titled The Little Engineer Who Could or Don’t Let the Pigeon Fly the Airbus, Dawn is thrilled to now be reading and writing picture books instead.
Dawn is also a math enthusiast. When she’s not busy writing and reading, she can be found doing math problems, sometimes just because… In high school, Dawn’s dream was to have a math equation named after her, but now, she believes having her name on the cover of books is a million times better! Dawn lives with her husband, three children and golden retriever in sunny Arizona. She is the author of The Night Baafore Christmas (WorthyKids, Oct 2019), Counting Elephants (Hachette, March 2020), and the soon to be released The Night Baafore Easter (WorthyKids, Jan 2021).
Buy Dawn’s Books:
The Night Baafore Christmas: https://www.amazon.com/Night-Baafore-Christmas-Dawn-Young/dp/1546014586/