Picture Book Idea Month – Day 30 (The End!)

piboidmo12participantIt is the last day of Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo). Coordinated by Tara Lazar, this annual event asks writers to set a goal of coming up with 30 picture book ideas during the 30 days of November. Phew! I made it again this year. Now, I have 12 x 12 in 2013 to look forward. This event asks writers to set a goal of writing 12 picture books over the 12 months of 2013. I’m game.

PICTURE BOOK IDEA #30: And my final idea for PiBoIdMo 2012 is the story of a cat’s adventures flying to his new home in Massachusetts. I figure he might meet some other interesting animals along the way. He would also be thrilled to meet his new family.


Picture Book Idea Month – Day 29

One more day left! It’s Day 29 of Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo). Coordinated by Tara Lazar, this annual event asks writers to set a goal of coming up with 30 picture book ideas during the 30 days of November. I wasn’t sure I would be able to make it this year, but it looks like I will be able to declare myself a winner tomorrow.

PICTURE BOOK IDEA #29: Everybody’s Home for Christmas is the story of a young boy who misses his father who is stationed overseas. The little boy prays for his father’s safe return, which happens with his surprise visit on Christmas Eve. I thought this would be nice since so many of our military are away from their families for the holidays.

Interview with Jessie Atkin, Author of We Are Savages

Jessie Atkin lives in Upstate, NY, and attended Washington University in St. Louis. She received a B.A. in English Literature. Besides reading, she was also involved in theater during college, working as an assistant stage manager and even trying her hand at acting in a single show.

Jessie learned to read later than most, but her sudden ability coincided with the release of the first Harry Potter book in 1998, and an obsession was born. Aside from Harry Potter, she also learned to love comic books, with a particular affinity for superheroes. Other than young adult fiction, Jessie also writes plays in her free time. We Are Savages is her debut novel.

Website: http://www.jessieatkin.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WeAreSavages

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JessieA_7


Thank you for joining us today, Jessie. Can you please start off by telling us a bit about yourself?

Hello, all. 🙂 I guess one fun thing to know about me is that I am a twin (the younger in a set, and thankfully we are not identical). My twin and I are the oldest of four kids, and all four of us ended up going to the same college. None of this was on purpose, but it does show what a close-knit group we are (even if we like to deny that). 

When did you first get bit by the writing bug?

The first time I really started fantasizing over the idea of being an author was at the start of fourth grade. Harry Potter had come out the summer before and once I found Harry, and a new love for reading, I could think of nothing better than creating stories myself. 

Why did you decide to write stories for children?

I don’t think it was ever a conscious decision, that’s just often, where my story ideas tend to lean.  Children’s books, along with YA books, were, and still are, the books that mean the most to me, so I guess I just wanted to be a part of the genre I continue to be most drawn to. 

Do you believe it is harder to write books for a younger audience?

I think it’s hard to write a book for any audience.  I love it, but it does take work and commitment.  I think younger audiences are particularly critical, which can make things a little difficult.  They’re not going to say that they love the writing style even if they didn’t like the plot or the characters.  You have to really have the complete package.  But I think a younger audience can also be the most rewarding to write for.  There’s a passion there you don’t often see with other audiences. 

What is your favorite part of writing for young people?

I really feel like I can give my imagination free reign. As long as I construct a world clearly, I can take it almost anywhere I want.  As long as you build that trust, in being true and clear about the world you’re working to create, young people are much more willing to follow a story down a new path.

Can you tell us what your latest book is all about?

Well, it’s about an underground world, and adventure, and magic, and freedom … But, We Are Savages, at its core, is really about being true to yourself.  The main character, Tris, is being forced to grow up a bit faster than she’d like, but she begins to learn that she doesn’t have to change who she is to do that. 

What inspired you to write it?

I started writing We Are Savages when I was in college.  So, the very original idea came from my missing my dog.  That’s why the story starts with a girl and her dog. But, I was also cast in a college production of Peter Pan, and I was really inspired by Neverland.  I kept wondering, if the Darling children were escaping their home today, what world might they end up in instead?

Where can readers purchase a copy?

The book is available on amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/We-Are-Savages-ebook/dp/B008HWHFD8/

What is up next for you?

I am currently working on a YA dystopian trilogy.

Do you have anything else to add?

If you don’t have an ereader, We Are Savages will be released in paperback sometime before Christmas, so keep an eye out.

Thank you for spending time with us today, Jessie. We wish you much success.


Picture Book Idea Month – Day 28

We’re almost done. It’s Day 28 of Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo). Coordinated by Tara Lazar, this annual event asks writers to set a goal of coming up with 30 picture book ideas during the 30 days of November. Since I missed posting yesterday’s idea, I have two for you.

PICTURE BOOK IDEA #27:  I’m stuck on alliteration today. Why? I don’t know. How about a book titled Pushy Penelope. Penelope is the type of kid who pushes herself into any game, any conversation, any situation. I figure it would be good to have her be in kindergarten. Since some kids don’t attend preschool, kindergarten could be children’s first exposure to different personalities on a regular basis. How would Penelope’s classmates react to her? How would she treat them?

PICTURE BOOK IDEA #28: How about Crabby Cathy? Cathy is a total crab. No matter what is going on around her, she’s a grump. What if a classmate plotted to change Cathy’s attitude?

Picture Book Idea Month – Day 26


It’s Day 26 of Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo). Coordinated by Tara Lazar, this annual event asks writers to set a goal of coming up with 30 picture book ideas during the 30 days of November.

PICTURE BOOK IDEA #26: I’ve been trying to wrap my brain around an idea that would combine my love of cross-stitch with a book for kids. I still haven’t figured it out yet, but I wondered if a book about a girl who likes to cross-stitch would be marketable. I learned from my grandmother when I was young. My girls enjoy needlepoint, even though it’s still challenging for them.  Maybe Susie likes to cross-stitch every day at recess or something. The kids giggle at her. The teachers keep pushing her to run around and play. Then at the end, they see she has created a beautiful picture. What do you think?

First Chapter Review of The Magic Warble by Victoria Simcox and Giveaway (3 winners!)

First Chapter Review is a special feature I started at The Book Connection this year. I haven’t written any for this blog, but I figured this giveaway would be the perfect chance for it. Author Victoria Simcox has generously offered 3 electronic copies of The Magic Warble to 3 readers of The Children’s and Teens’ Book Connection. Read the details on how you can enter this giveaway at the end of this post.

BLURB: Dwarfs, gnomes, fairies, talking animals, and an evil queen – all these and more can be found in The Magic Warble, an enchanting tale of adventure and friendship.

Twelve-year-old Kristina Kingsly feels like the most unpopular girl in her school. The kids all tease her, and she never seems to fit in. But when Kristina receives an unusual Christmas gift, she suddenly finds herself magically transported to the land of Bernovem, home of dwarfs, gnomes, fairies, talking animals, and the evil Queen Sentiz.

In Bernovem, Kristina not only fits in, she’s honored as “the chosen one” the only one who can release the land from Queen Sentiz’s control. But it’s not as simple as it seems. To save Bernovem, she must place the gift she was given, the famous “Magic Warble” in its final resting place. And she must travel through the deep forest, climb a treacherous mountain, and risk capture by the queen’s “zelbocks” before she reaches her destination. Guided by her new fairy friends, Clover and Looper and by Prince Werrien, a teenage boy, as well as an assortment of other characters, Kristina sets off on a perilous journey that not only tests her strength but her heart.

COVER: Love it. The artwork and colors are stunning. Though we can’t guess what the cover has to do with the story based solely on the first chapter, the book blurb lets us know that it is appropriate.

FIRST CHAPTER: Kristina drags herself out of bed on the last day of school before the Christmas holiday. A bit of a loner, she doesn’t have friends at school. She has wonderful parents, though, which helps to make up for her lack of friends. Her dawdling leaves her rushing to catching the bus on time.

KEEP READING: Yes. This isn’t a genre I read often, but I like to expand my horizons from time to time. The author has created a character that young people can easily relate to in Kristina. Though the first chapter is short, the reader gets an idea who Kristina is, what she likes, what she doesn’t like, and who is important in her life. Nicely done.

Victoria was born in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada, to an Austrian immigrant mother, and a Dutch immigrant father. She now lives in Western Washington with her husband, Russ and their three children, Toby, Kristina, and William. Her other family members are a Chihuahua, named Pipsy and two cats, named Frodo and Fritz. Besides being an author, Victoria is a home-schooling mother of twelve years and an elementary school art teacher of eleven years. In her spare time, Victoria enjoys managing her two older children’s Celtic band. She also loves writing, reading, painting watercolors, hiking, good movies, and just simply hanging out with her family and friends.

You can enter for your chance to win 1 of 3 available electronic copies of The Magic Warble by Victoria Simcox. Entry instructions are simple. You get one entry for each item:

Follow Victoria’s blog at http://www.victoriasimcox.blogspot.com/

Like her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Magic-Warble/118277634882514

Follow her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/VictoriaSimcox

Please leave a separate comment for each entry, including your email address so I can contact you if you win. All winners will be notified by email and have 72 hours to respond accepting their prize. Instructions on how to claim your prize will be provided by the author or her representative. Giveaway ends at 11:59 PM on Sunday, December 2, 2012.

Picture Book Idea Month – Day 25

Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo) is almost over. Coordinated by Tara Lazar, this annual event asks writers to set a goal of coming up with 30 picture book ideas during the 30 days of November. I’m behind because of the holiday and our church’s annual Christmas bazaar and tag sale. Everything went well, but I was tied up with preparations most of the week. Here are my latest ideas for PiBoIdMo:

PICTURE BOOK IDEA #22: The World’s Craziest Hockey Mom is about a boy who thinks his mother is the craziest hockey mom ever. I’m very competitive and I love hockey. I’m sure there are days my son wished I had stayed home instead of attending his games.

PICTURE BOOK IDEA #23: What if a garden gnome decides he’s tired of being a garden gnome one day and wants to try to be something else: a carpenter, a car mechanic, a ballerina? Not sure how I would develop this idea, but it sounds funny.

PICTURE BOOK IDEA #24: I also thought a book about a girl who is transported back to when Washington crossed the Delaware might be a neat idea. Not sure if it’s good for a picture book, but it might work.

PICTURE BOOK IDEA #25: What if one of Cinderella’s evil step-sisters got a chance to tell her side of the story?