New from Kevin Henkes: Sweeping Up the Heart

A novel about loss, loneliness, and friendship that tells the story of the spring break that changes seventh-grader Amelia Albright’s life forever.

Amelia Albright dreams about going to Florida for spring break like everyone else in her class, but her father–a cranky and stubborn English professor–has decided Florida is too much adventure.

Now Amelia is stuck at home with him and her babysitter, the beloved Mrs. O’Brien. The week ahead promises to be boring, until Amelia meets Casey at her neighborhood art studio. Amelia has never been friends with a boy before, and the experience is both fraught and thrilling. When Casey claims to see the spirit of Amelia’s mother (who died ten years before), the pair embarks on an altogether different journey in their attempt to find her.

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Grade Level: 3 – 7
Hardcover: 192 pages
Publisher: Greenwillow Books (March 19, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 006285254X
ISBN-13: 978-0062852540

Purchase here!

Bilge Rat – Pirate Adventurer – Remarkable Rascal by Kevin Charles Smith

Bilge Rat – Pirate Adventurer is a three part series drawn from the imagination and investigation of Kevin Charles Smith in this remarkable debut. Described as “Mutiny on the Bounty meets Pirates of the Caribbean with an Oliver Twist”, this first volume is written with incredible detail and historical accuracy. William Eden and brother Toby are two helpless orphans in early 1700 London. Taken in by an aged clerical uncle, the boys are assigned specific maintenance duties in the cavernous Saint Agnes of Agony Basilica. By day, their duty is to clean, wax and maintain the aged facility for their uncle whose failing eyesight prevents his presence or assistance. Each day the lads are also provided a lesson de jour by their learned and caring relative who bestows upon them quite a solid education. One day, while William is practicing his language lessons, he utilizes the natural echo-like chamber of the empty basilica to ensure his translations are precisely correct. In the process, he discovers that he has a natural talent that enables him to duplicate all manner of sounds and voices. From that point on, he decides to keep his fabulous talent secret and changes his name to Echo thereby hiding this special talent in plain sight. By night, the boy s assignment is to venture down into the creepy bowels of the church to eradicate the pesky rodent population. Charged with a daily bounty of 25 tails or be penalized their one daily meal, Echo devises a variety of methods to reach their rattail goal . In the end, Echo duplicates rat speech (at least rat squeaks and squeals) and like the fabled Pied Piper leads the odious cellar dwelling creatures to their doom. Due to this ability to easily capture their prey, the boys have time on their hands and begin exploration of London at night. Their travels take them to Slugger s Emporium, a gaming and drinking establishment for the wicked and depraved. These nightly excursions also take them to the London docks where they routinely trespass on various docked ships for fun and excitement. On one such vessel they are discovered by a kind hearted cook named Handy, who befriends them and regales them with exciting stories from his many voyages. At the same time, the brothers are tormented by a vicious bully named Scarf Rockingham. By a series of unique ruses, Echo implicates Scarf in a number of dastardly deeds which leads to the villain s punishment thereby establishing an undying hatred for the brothers. Scarf eventually abducts Toby and savagely murders their aged uncle implicating Echo for this horrific crime. Echo is forced to flee his homeland and joins Handy for a voyage to the New World. Beginning as a cook s assistant, Echo learns the vital art of navigation and survival aboard ship. Haunted and persecuted by the vessel s bullying first mate, Echo must devise all manner of tricks and gambits to simply remain alive. Along the way, he saves both the ship and three aged traveling sisters from a band of bloodthirsty pirates earning the respect and gratitude of all.

Series: Bilge Rat, Pirate Adventurer (Book 1)
Paperback: 286 pages
Publisher: Journey Publications, LLC; Book One edition (January 3, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0979817188
ISBN-13: 978-0979817182

Purchase here!

Guest Blogger: Hank Quense, Author of Fiction Writing Workshop for Kids

Writing a story is a tough job, especially for a kid. There’s all that stuff about characters and setting they have to remember. And then there’s the plot. How is a kid supposed to figure that one out?

I’ve written a number of novels and I’ve had over forty short stories published in magazines, anthologies and web sites. So I know firsthand about these difficulties. Over time and after a lot of false starts, I developed a process that allows me to approach a new story in an organized manner. Once I had this process I found it eliminated many of the dead ends I had previously run into.

A few years ago the Valley Middle School in Oakland NJ asked if I would visit the school and talk to their seventh graders. On visits like this, authors usually talk about their books and read scenes from them. I hate reading scenes! I find it boring and I’m sure I bore the audience with my monotonous voice. Instead of torturing the kids this way, I decided to show them how I use my process to create a short story. The slide talk worked like this: I gave them the overall story idea, one that they would want to write. After that, I used a handout with a series of text boxes with questions to have the kids come up with ideas on characters, setting and plot. Finally, I broke the story up into six scenes and showed the kids how to use the text box ideas to write each scene. The talk was wildly successful.

4: New Project
Besides the Valley Middle School, I’ve given this talk in libraries and expanded the concept to include two more story ideas. While I love doing this, my talks are geographically limited. To remove this limitation, I used these three talks as the basis for the ebook called Fiction Writing Workshop for Kids. Using the advanced technical capabilities of ebooks, the book has graphics, audio and video clips embedded into it. The videos show the text boxes and coach the kids on how to develop ideas for the basic story elements: characters, setting and plot. Each story has a final video clip showing the kids which text boxes to use in each scene.

Finally, there is a set of blank worksheets the kids can use to develop stories on their own.

The suggested audience for the ebook is 4th to 7th graders.

This is not an ordinary ebook: it’s interactive and that presents some problems. Not all e-readers can open the epub and mobi versions of this book. Apple computers and IOS devices can open the epub version if they have the free iBook app installed. Some Nooks also can open it. You can open the epub on a PC computer if the computer has Adobe Digital Edition app installed. You can download this free app here: https://www.adobe.com/solutions/ebook/digital-editions.html

The mobi edition will only work on the more recent Kindle Fire tablets.

Other Kindle tablets will not be able to deal with the audio and video clips.

The ebook is available on iBooks at https://apple.co/2CJYDjN and Kindle at https://amzn.to/2RnU5Yo.

This website has more information and a demo story your child can try out: https://padlet.com/hanque/a7zx74mjcgrg

Getting a book published is always a great feeling, but this one felt not just great, but also fulfilling.

PBPitch Today on Twitter

 

Today is PBPitch on Twitter. Picture book authors and illustrators pitch their books to participating agents in the hopes of getting a contract. You can pitch once in the morning and once at evening. My morning pitches are already done. Are you participating today? Have you ever done so in the past? Good luck to all!

Find the details of PBPitch at www.pbpitch.com

The Emotion Thesaurus, 2nd Edition by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi

New resource for all my writing friends…and a chance to win a great prize too!


As writers, we all have our favorite writing methods. For instance, some swear by Scrivener, while others write in Word or Google docs. Some prefer to draft longhand, using colorful gel pens and notebooks.

Most of us have a favorite writing book (or ten), too. These books have helped us understand storytelling better, demystifying certain aspects of writing. Well, today I’m taking part in welcoming a new writing guide into the world: The Emotion Thesaurus (Second Edition).

You may have heard of The Emotion Thesaurus before, or even have a copy. The original’s lists of body language, thoughts, and visceral sensations for 75 unique emotions made brainstorming character expressions and reactions so much easier. It quickly became a bestseller.

Now, there’s a bigger, better second edition. Angela and Becca have added 55 NEW emotions such as Euphoria, Vindicated, and Schadenfreude. (And that’s not all that’s new, either…the book is almost twice the size as the original.)

Anyway, if you’re interested in checking it out, you can read some of the reviews on Goodreads or find information here.

One more thing to tell you about…are you ready for this?

GIVEAWAY ALERT!

Wish you could attend a free writing retreat, go to a conference, snag a seat at a workshop, or have your professional membership to a writing organization paid for? Of course you do!

Well, at Writers Helping Writers, one lucky winner will get one of the above, up to a $500 US value.

This is the giveaway of a lifetime, so hurry over to enter!

A Toad That Explodes and Other Cool Animal Facts by Melissa Abramovitz

Did you know that horned lizards can shoot blood from their eyes? Discover other mind-blowing facts about animals!

Age Range: 10 – 12 years
Grade Level: 2 – 3
Lexile Measure: HL470L
Series: Mind-Blowing Science Facts
Library Binding: 32 pages
Publisher: Capstone Press (January 1, 2019)

Purchase here!

Melissa Abramovitz is the author of hundreds of magazine articles, more than 30 educational books for children and teenagers, numerous poems and short stories, and several children’s picture books. She is a graduate of the University of California San Diego. Visit her website at www.melissaabramovitz.com