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KidLit411 by Sylvia Liu - 4d ago

April 9, 2019

We are thrilled to reveal the cover of Teresa Robeson's debut picture book, QUEEN OF PHYSICS: HOW WU CHIEN SHIUNG HELPED UNLOCK THE SECRETS OF THE ATOM, illustrated by Rebecca Huang (Sterling Children's Books) coming out on Sept. 17, 2019! Isn't it so cool? We love it.

Enter to win a handmade STEM-themed tote bag to celebrate (choice of strap colors):



Fabric designed by Vincent Desjardins and the bags handmade by Bower Fibre Goods


About the Book

Meet Wu Chien Shiung, famous physicist who overcame prejudice to prove that she could be anything she wanted.

When Wu Chien Shiung was born in China 100 years ago, girls did not attend school; no one considered them as smart as boys. But her parents felt differently. Naming their daughter “Courageous Hero,” they encouraged her love of learning and science. This engaging biography follows Wu Chien Shiung as she battles sexism and racism to become what Newsweek magazine called the “Queen of Physics” for her work on how atoms split. 

Along the way, she earned the admiration of famous scientists like Enrico Fermi and Robert Oppenheimer and became the first woman hired as an instructor by Princeton University, the first woman elected President of the American Physical Society, the first scientist to have an asteroid named after her when she was still alive, and many other honors.

About the Author

Teresa 何 Robeson was born in Hong Kong, raised in Canada, and now writes and creates from her mini-homestead in southern Indiana where she lives with her scientist husband. A nonfiction winner of the We Need Diverse Books Mentorship Program, Teresa advocates for greater scientific and cultural literacy. Visit her online at teresarobeson.com and on Twitter @TeresaRobeson.

Where to Buy It

You can pre-order QUEEN OF PHYSICS at Indiebound, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, and everywhere books are sold.



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KidLit411 by Sylvia Liu - 6d ago
© Lori Nichols


April 12, 2019 vol. 14

The Weekly 411 gathers all the links added to Kidlit411 each week. To receive this post by email, sign up for our email updates. Are you on Facebook? Join our Kidlit411 group for conversations & camaraderie. This week's illustration is by Lori Nichols.


AUTHOR SPOTLIGHTS


Today we are excited to feature author and agent Anna Olswanger and her middle grade novel, GREENHORN, with illustrations by Miriam Nerlove (New South Books 2012), which was also made into an independent film of the same name. Enter to win a copy!




Today we are also excited to feature author Natalee Creech and her two picture books, WHEN DAY IS DONE, illustrated by Robert Dunn (Beaming Books 2019) and NOTHING CAN SEPARATE YOU FROM GOD'S LOVE, illustrated by Joseph Cowman (WorthyKids 2019). Enter to win a copy of both books!


For Writers



Submissions: Agents & Editors

The Straight Dope on Publisher's Marketplace



May 1 - June 12 Curtis Brown Creative, the creative writing course led by agency Curtis Brown is offering three courses: two individual 6-week courses: Writing a Children's Picture Book which will help students turn ideas into fully-fledged story-book texts for 2-6 year-olds and Illustrating a Children's Picture Book  which shows students the tricks of the trade, how to leverage their creativity and develop technique. And a 10-week combined course Writing and Illustrating a Children's Picture Book which brings together all of the teaching materials from the two individual courses. The popular children's author-illustrators: SARAH MCINTYRE and DAVID O'CONNELL are leading the courses.  Enroll by April 29. Get 10% off with the code MAKEAPICTUREBOOK2019.   



July 12-14 Vermont Writers Roundtable Learn from editor Laura Backes and authors Stephen Swinburne and Peter Lourie in a three-day, small group (maximum 15 authors) workshop setting, to work on nonfiction manuscripts. Also included is a Skype visit with an author.   




Syntax in Poetry and Poetic Voice in Rhyming Picture Books










Get this weekly update by email each Friday. We collect your email to send you the update and new posts when they go up.


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KidLit411 by Elaine Kiely Kearns - 6d ago

April 12, 2019

Today we are excited to feature author Natalee Creech and her two picture books, WHEN DAY IS DONE, illustrated by Robert Dunn (Beaming Books 2019) and NOTHING CAN SEPARATE YOU FROM GOD'S LOVE, illustrated by Joseph Cowman (WorthyKids 2019). 

Enter to win a copy of both books!




Tell us about yourself and how you came to write for children.

I have always written poems and stories for myself and my students, but it took me until 2015 to decide I wanted to try and get published. That’s when I declared it to my family and joined the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.


Congrats on your two picture books, WHEN DAY IS DONE and NOTHING CAN SEPARATE YOU FROM GOD'S LOVE. Tell us about them and what inspired you. 



WHEN DAY IS DONE grew out of a line that popped into my head when I sat down to write one day. That line was, “We sleep when day is done.” and it became the ending line of each stanza.

I started writing NOTHING because I teach at a Christian school and I was looking for books based on specific Bible verses (which we were studying) to share with my class. I found lots of picture books about Noah, Daniel, and other biblical heroes. I found lots of picture books retelling parables or stories from the Bible, but not many concept books introducing a specific verse or point of theology. NOTHING is based on the promise in Romans 8:38,39 – that nothing can separate us from God’s love. It’s a book I wish I had been able to read with my own children when they were small enough to fit in my lap! 



Was your road to publication long and windy, short and sweet, or something in between? 

Overall it was short and sweet. The part that took longest was me deciding that writing for children was something I wanted to pursue as more than a hobby.  


What projects are you working on now? 

I always have multiple picture book manuscripts going. Right now I’m focusing on revising a companion book to NOTHING and fine-tuning some non-rhyming manuscripts. 


What advice would you give to your younger self? Is this the same as you'd give to aspiring authors?

Continue taking steps towards your goal, focus on things you can control, and don’t obsess over things you can’t. Any action toward your goal is progress! 


What is one thing most people don't know about you?

I have an older brother and two younger sisters. For most of my life, I shared a room with my sisters – which I loved – but I’m also an introvert. Sometimes I would tuck myself into the bottom shelf of the linen closet in our hallway and read with a flashlight just to get some peace and be alone. (I’m not sure my family even knows I did this!)


Where can people find you online?

Twitter: @nataleecreech



Natalee Creech is a children's author who is equally at home in Canada, (where she grew up) in the U.S., (where she studied education) and in South Korea (where she taught for many years). Regardless of where she lives, she is probably sneaking more children's books into the house, much to the delight of her children and the dismay of her husband. Oreo, the family cat, remains indifferent.



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April 12, 2019

Today we are excited to feature author and agent Anna Olswanger and her middle grade novel, GREENHORN, with illustrations by Miriam Nerlove (New South Books 2012), which was also made into an independent film of the same name. 

Enter to win a copy!





Tell us about yourself and how you came to write for children.

I started my writing life as a playwright, and during graduate school in playwriting, I went to London to live for a few months and to try to find a group of actors to write for. While I was in England, I made a trip to one of the university towns and visited a large bookstore (this was in the days before Barnes and Noble). Wandering throughout the store, I ended up in the children's book section where I rediscovered picture books, and realized that between the covers of each book were the script, costumes, lighting, and stage set, everything in the theater that I thought I had needed to produce a play. Only, I didn't need a theater. That led to my writing my first children's book, the picture book SHLEMIEL CROOKS.

Congrats on your second book, GREENHORN. Tell us about it and what inspired you.

I had originally self-published GREENHORN as a miniature book for collectors. A few months after I sent it to the publisher of my first book as a holiday gift, she called to say she wanted to publish it.

As an agent, I attract a fair number of queries about Holocaust-related books because of my interest in Judaica. I rarely ask to see these manuscripts, and I’ve never taken on the authors as clients. It's difficult to sell Holocaust-related work. Not many editors, especially of children’s books, want to buy books about Jewish suffering. So, when I asked my publisher why she wanted to publish Greenhorn, she said it was a provocative little book, and the story's image of a tin box and its contents haunted her. That made me think about why I wanted to tell the story.

I first heard it on a tour bus in Israel in the mid-1980s. I had traveled there on a group trip with my synagogue, and as we approached Jerusalem, the rabbi told us about a little boy who had lost his parents in the Holocaust, who wouldn’t speak when he came to live at the Brooklyn yeshiva where the rabbi was in the sixth grade, and who wouldn’t let a tin box out of his sight. The story about the little boy stayed with me for years.

My rabbi, a witness to the story, was preoccupied with leading his large congregation. He wouldn’t write the story. And I had no idea where the little boy was 40 years later, so I couldn’t ask him to write the story. Was it my responsibility? I didn’t think so. How could a childless woman, born in America after the Holocaust, whose ancestors had left Eastern Europe in the 1890s, long before the Holocaust, tell the story of a little boy who couldn’t let a tin box out of his sight? But I knew the story was important and that I wanted to do it.

As I began to write the story of Greenhorn, I also began to discover what I was writing about. Because when I really listened to this story, I heard in it something deeper than suffering and loss. The little boy, who wouldn’t speak when he came to America, who wouldn’t let the tin box out of his sight, made a friend. Later, he agreed to live with his friend’s family. And then he let go of his box. The little boy moved on. The story had hope.


GREENHORN has been described as "a perfect high-low choice." What does "high-low" mean and did you set out to write a high-low book?

Hi-Lo is a term used to describe high-interest, low-readability books. 

I didn't set out to write a high-low book. I only knew that I wanted to honor the story I heard and not embellish it. I didn't want to invent any backstory or previous history for the character I named Daniel because I wouldn’t have been able to honor what he went through if I had invented his past. Rabbi Rafael Grossman, who was the basis of the “Aaron” character and who told me the real story in the 1980s, didn’t remember every detail forty years later, and certainly not seventy years later when the story was about to be published and I was revising it one last time, so I had to fictionalize parts of what he told me. Because I was concerned about the ethics of creating fiction based on the Holocaust, I focused entirely on the events I heard, and refrained from inventing anything from the time of the Holocaust itself when Daniel may have been in a concentration camp. 

All that meant that I was writing a sophisticated story, but in a simple way. That made it a high-lo book.

You are also an agent in addition to being an author. Are you open to submissions. If so, what is on your wish list and how can people query you?

I am open to submissions, but after 13 years as an agent, I've learned that what I love most is what I sell best, and what I love most are illustrated books. So, I'm only taking on author-illustrators as new clients. My email for submissions is anna (at) olswangerliterary (dot)com

What are the 1-2 key pieces of advice you give to aspiring authors?

Don't give up. (I sometimes place a manuscript 2-3 years after I first start sending it out.)

Be appreciative. You may not get an offer from one of the Big 5, but be grateful for the offer you might get from a smaller, independent publisher. Your career will grow.

What is one thing most people don't know about you?

I'm not sure. That I'm left-handed?

Where can people find you online?



After nine years at Liza Dawson Associates in New York, Anna Olswanger launched her own agency Olswanger Literary LLC in 2014. Her clients include the New York Times best-selling author Michael Hall and the Newbery Honor Book winner Vince Vawter. Her first children's book SHLEMIEL CROOKS is based on a Yiddish newspaper article she uncovered about the attempted robbery of her great-grandfather’s kosher liquor store in St. Louis in 1919. SHLEMIEL CROOKS is a Sydney Taylor Honor Book and PJ Library Book. In 2011 the Kaufman Center in New York adapted SHLEMIEL CROOKS into a musical for families, which premiered at Merkin Concert Hall. Anna's second book for young readers is GREENHORN, an illustrated children’s novel inspired by the true story of a young Holocaust survivor. It has been made into an independent film.

Watch the trailer for the film here:

Greenhorn Film Trailer - YouTube



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KidLit411 by Sylvia Liu - 1w ago

© Elizabeth Lampman Davis

April 5, 2019, vol. 13

The Weekly 411 gathers all the links added to Kidlit411 each week. To receive this post by email, sign up for our email updates. Are you on Facebook? Join our Kidlit411 group for conversations & camaraderie. This week's illustration is by Elizabeth Lampman Davis.

ILLUSTRATOR AND AUTHOR SPOTLIGHTS

Today we are excited to feature author-illustrator Lisa Anchin and her book, THE LITTLE GREEN GIRL (Dial Books April 2, 2019). Enter to win a copy!



At the beginning of each month, we change our website banner. This month, we feature illustrator Elizabeth Lampman Davis and her banner for Kidlit411's website.

© Elizabeth Lampman Davis


We are excited to feature picture book author Kim Chafee and her debut book,  HER FEARLESS RUN: Kathrine Switzer's Historic Boston Marathon, illustrated by Ellen Rooney. (Page Street Kids, 2019). 








For Writers



Critique Groups

How to Critique: Best Practices for Workshopping



Authors Beware: Author Scams and Publishing Companies to Avoid




Writing Challenges



April 1-30 Camp NaNoWriMo
What: virtual writing retreat brought to you by the creators of NaNoWriMo where you set your own writing goals. Join cabins with other writers for motivation.

What: fun, monthlong writing event with a group of other writers. You set your goals.

Inspirational Things




April 29, 4:00 - 5:15 p.m. First Pages in Middle Grade and Young Adult Fiction A strong opening chapter is essential in capturing not just an agent's attention, but in hooking your readers. But what makes a truly engaging opening? How much backstory is too much backstory, and what is connecting your reader to your main character? And is capturing the entire scope of a novel in the opening pages really all that necessary? In this lecture, literary agent Sarah LaPolla will discuss the best ways to effectively present voice, story, and character in your opening pages in ways that reach teen readers and keep an agent wanting more. (Discloure: the link above is an affiliate link; registering through this link will help support Kidlit411)

May 8, 8:30 p.m.-9:45 p.m. Middle Grade v. Young Adult Fiction, a Q&A with Cheryl Klein  Cheryl Klein, editorial director at Lee & Low, will explore the differences between middle grade and young adult fiction in this structured Q&A session. There will be time for audience questions at the end of the Q&A. Unable to attend live? All registrants will have access to the recording for 30 days after the event. (link is an affiliate link: signing up through this will help support Kidlit411)

Sept. 21-25 and Sept 25-29 Avalon Writer's Full Manuscript Retreat Small writing retreats of 8 writers and 2 professionals (agent + editor), where you get a 30-page critique, first page sessions, and more.  Faculty for first session: Catherine Laudone, editor, Simon & Schuster and Wendi Gu, agent, Janklow & Nesbit; Second session: Alexandra Borbello, editor, Athaneum and Claire Freedman, agent at Inkwell Management.


SUPPORT KIDLIT411


Have you enjoyed this weekly update every week of the year? If so, please consider supporting Kidlit411. Any amount is appreciated. Donating $12 is the equivalent of $1/month and $24 is $2/month.


  


Get this weekly update by email each Friday. We collect your email to send you the update and new posts when they go up.


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© Lisa Anchin
April 5, 2019

Today we are excited to feature author-illustrator Lisa Anchin and her book, THE LITTLE GREEN GIRL (Dial Books April 2, 2019). Enter to win a copy!



Four years ago, we featured you as an illustrator with a debut picture book. Now you are debuting as an author-illustrator. Tell us how you transitioned from illustration only to authoring as well.

First, thank you so much for having me on the blog again! 

A number of years ago when I was still in school, I met Mo Willems, and he said one of the best things to me of anyone in the industry. I introduced myself as an aspiring author-illustrator. (I’m paraphrasing here.) He said it’s nice to meet you, but you’re not an aspiring author-illustrator, you already ARE an author-illustrator, you’re just aspiring to publish.

I always have trouble with questions about transitioning from illustrating to writing because there was never a transition for me. I’ve always written. I’ve been writing my own stories since well before I illustrated my first book. I looked back at the illustrator interview I did with Kidlit411, and at least four of the illustrations posted are from stories that I was working on at that time. I’ve always written; it’s just taken time and patience to find the right home (editor and publisher) for my work.

© Lisa Anchin


Congrats on your book, THE LITTLE GREEN GIRL. Tell us about it and what inspired you.

THE LITTLE GREEN GIRL is the story of a curious topiary girl and a somewhat stodgy gardener. She dreams of seeing the world beyond the garden walls, but her gardener is rooted in his routine. The story is ultimately about growing up, branching out, and exploring with someone you love. 

This book was born entirely from a sketchbook doodle of a tiny plant girl. At the time, I knew right away that this little character had a story to tell, and I remember quickly filling the page around her with additional character sketches and scratchy story notes. Her story evolved as I doodled, thinking that a little plant girl surely needed a gardener and a garden to live in. 

© Lisa Anchin


How does illustrating someone else's story differ from illustrating your own?

I first had the idea for THE LITTLE GREEN GIRL in 2014, so I’ve been thinking about her for the better part of five years. Not every story takes quite so long from first concept to published book, but in my case, I’ve had not only days and months, but years to get to know my characters and their story. 


© Lisa Anchin

All of the books (authored by others) that I’ve illustrated thus far have been rushes. I had only six weeks for final art for one. I’m not less invested in the characters in these books, but the biggest difference for me has been time, and thus depth of knowledge about the world and characters. I know the Little Green Girl’s world inside and out, but then again, I’ve had years to think about it.

What new projects are you working on?
I’m spending the bulk of my time right now illustrating a picture book for Knopf called “The Polio Pioneer: Dr. Jonas Salk and the Polio Vaccine.” It’s a nonfiction picture book biography about Jonas Salk and a really important historical moment. I’m currently working on final art for the interior.

© Lisa Anchin


During the odd subway ride or while waiting for paint to dry, I’m also working on a few of my own picture book dummies. I have a couple that I’m revising, one of which is based on another idea I had in 2014. 



What advice would you give to illustrators who want to also write their own stories?

Be persistent and cultivate a writing practice. Writing, like illustrating, takes time, patience, and practice. You have to find your voice on the page the same way you did as an illustrator. Build a daily practice, whether it’s working on morning pages (a writing exercise from The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron) or daily writing prompts or using your own illustrated images to build written stories, and when you find what works for you, stick with it.  

© Lisa Anchin

  
What is something most people don't know about you (other than tap dancing competitively, which you told us before)?

I have a 17 month old daughter, and all of the final art for the Little Green Girl was painted on weekends and during naps when she was 2-8 months old. I’ve also been keeping an illustrated journal/sketchbook about her since she was born.



Where can people find you online?
  
Say hi, and drop me a line! 
Instagram: @lisa.anchin
Twitter: @lisaanchin

Lisa Anchin has been drawing since she could hold a pencil and making up stories since she could speak. She is often holed up in her studio stringing words together and compulsively doodling, but she also loves meeting other kidlit folks and volunteers as the Illustration Coordinator for SCBWI‘s Metro NY chapter. She is the illustrator of A Penguin Named Patience by Suzanne Lewis (Sleeping Bear Press 2015) and I Will Love You by Alyssa Satin Capucilli (Scholastic 2017). The Little Green Girl (Dial 2019) is her first author/illustrated title. Lisa lives in Brooklyn with her husband, daughter, and their two studio kittens.

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KidLit411 by Elaine Kiely Kearns - 1w ago

April 5, 2019

We are excited to feature picture book author Kim Chafee and her debut book,  HER FEARLESS RUN: Kathrine Switzer's Historic Boston Marathon, illustrated by Ellen Rooney. (Page Street Kids, 2019)

Enter to win a copy!


Tell us about yourself and how you came to write for kids. 

I like to think my path to writing for kids started with my obsession with the Baby-Sitters Club series when I was in fourth grade. That was the introduction to my love of books. Fast forward about thirteen years and my love of books and kids brought me to teach second grade. I loved my time in the classroom but when I started to have kids of my own I made the decision to stay home with them while they were little. That was when I first admitted, out loud, that I wanted to write books of own…books that teachers would share with their students and that kids would want to read.



Congrats on your debut picture book,  HER FEARLESS RUN: Kathrine Switzer's Historic Boston Marathon (Page Street Kids, 2019). Tell us about it and what inspired you. 

In 2016 I was working on revisions while watching/listening to the coverage of that year’s Boston Marathon. Kathrine was on the broadcast, talking about her first Boston run in 1967. I wasn’t familiar with her story and, as a female runner, was stunned. Having grown up after the passage of Title IX, being told I couldn’t do something just because I was a woman seemed so unreal to me. But hearing Kathrine recall her experience made it feel personal. I did a quick Google search to see if there was a picture book biography about her and when I discovered that there wasn’t I knew I had to write it. 

Was your road to publication long and windy, short and sweet, or something in between? 

I would have to say that the road to publication was something in between. It definitely wasn’t short and sweet but I also know a lot of authors that have waited a lot longer than I have for publication. I started my writing journey in 2014. I learned very quickly that I needed to take classes and work on my craft so that’s exactly what I did. I wrote a lot of stories that will only see the inside of a drawer but they all taught me something. 

What projects are you working on now? 

I currently have some fiction stories out on submission with my agent and have just started working on a new picture book biography that I am very excited about!

What are the one or two things that you did that best prepared you to write your PB What advice would you give to other aspiring writers who want to write a picture book? 

First, I would say READ! Read all you can in the genre of picture book that you want to write! Second, I would say GET A CRITIQUE GROUP! Having other writers read your story and give you feedback is essential to making your story as strong as possible before you submit. I’m going to give you a third…BELIEVE IN YOURSELF! The road to publication can be tough. You have to be tougher! Keep putting in the work, keep submitting, and it will pay off! 

What is one thing most people don't know about you? 

Most people don’t know that I am a master at those claw machines that you find at arcades! And I’m super competitive about it!

Where can people find you online? 

www.KimChaffee.com 
Twitter: Kim_Chaffee. 
Facebook: www.facebook.com/KimChaffeeAuthor 
Instagram: kchaffeebooks

About Kim: 

Kim Chaffee once held the Guinness World Record for the largest game of pick-up sticks ever played. (It’s true! Check out pg. 111 of the 2005 edition) She is a former second-grade teacher who loves coffee, chocolate, and writing picture books that kids will want to read again and again.  Her debut picture book, Her Fearless Run: Kathrine Switzer’s Historic Boston Marathon, was inspired by her own journey with running.  Kim is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire and now lives not too far from there with her husband, two kids, and two cats. 

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© Elizabeth Lampman Davis


April 1, 2019

On the first of each month in 2019, we feature an illustrator who won or placed in our Kidlit411 Banner Contest, and we switch our website banner and Facebook page cover image. Today we present Elizabeth Lampman Davis.



© Elizabeth Lampman Davis


Tell us about yourself and how you came to illustrate for children.

I've always created things in one way or another... as a kid it was stories and artwork, games, forts, even building my own toys in some cases. Now after a decade of full-time creating as a photography and design freelancer, I’ve started to return to my first loves: writing and illustrating. It felt like coming home. Children’s books had such a profound impact on me as a kid so that has been a natural outlet. 

 © Elizabeth Lampman Davis


Congrats on your awesome Kidlit411 banner design. Tell us what inspired you and how you approached the illustration.

Thank you! Most of the characters in that illustration are ones I felt like I grew up with, in a way. I was kind of a disconnected, day-dreamy kid and books helped me approach the world. I still find their journeys relevant and helpful for my inanely grownup-ish struggles. 

Alternate contest entry © Elizabeth Lampman Davis

I wanted the child with the book to lead the procession because I feel like that’s what quality kid lit has the ability to do for a kid... offer a sense of control, of explanation, of a home, for a child who perhaps doesn't have those things otherwise.

What is your illustration process (medium, etc.)?

I've always illustrated with pen and ink and/or watercolors, but I’ve moved to drawing with a tablet within the last couple of years. My photography experience with light and composition have influenced me a lot in this new medium. I still find pencil sketching and watercolors the most relaxing, though. 

My process changes as I learn more and try to incorporate new elements and practices. Right now it looks something like this: 

-Rough sketch on paper or tablet  

© Elizabeth Lampman Davis

-In Photoshop, use a fat brush to apply huge, messy color to the whole canvas, which helps me decide about light sources and the end mood

© Elizabeth Lampman Davis

-Block in cleaner color, then object-specific shadows and highlights

© Elizabeth Lampman Davis


-Sometimes I'll add linework to the main characters and sometimes I prefer to rely on the shapes alone. I lean toward a more messy look with visible brush strokes and stray lines, but I'm trying to challenge myself to create a neat and clean final image without going into the too-polished, HD-looking realm. 

© Elizabeth Lampman Davis

© Elizabeth Lampman Davis


Lately I've been experimenting with adding additional mystery/story to a nearly-finished piece by shrouding some of the view with foreground items, like the large leaves and the rain in this example, or adding secret "easter eggs" in the background just because it delights me to find those little things in the works of other illustrators I admire. 

© Elizabeth Lampman Davis


-Finish with lighting and/or toning to drive the overall mood home

What projects are you working on now?

I am in the querying trenches! I wrote and illustrated a picture book a few years ago and queried, receiving all form rejections very quickly. Since then I’ve really dug in and educated myself on the querying process, the industry, and the standards and best practices I hadn’t even known about the first time, so I do feel better prepared this time around. 

© Elizabeth Lampman Davis


I have three picture book dummies complete, I'm revising the one based on some great agent feedback, and I'm working on the dummies for two more new ones. I've also been writing a middle grade adventure novel about the friendship and tension between a big family kid and a foster kid, set on the reefs and beaches where I grew up. 

© Elizabeth Lampman Davis


What is one thing most people don't know about you?

I am a Superintrovert. INFJ. If it weren’t for my family I would probably live in a remote mountainside cabin in the Alps and raise goats and make cheese and write very long-winded stories about nature. There would be no internet and it would be glorious. 

© Elizabeth Lampman Davis


Where can people find you online?
I am most active on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/elizabethlampmandavis/
But I do have a Twitter account: https://twitter.com/lizlampmandavis
And my website and illustration portfolio is here: http://elizabethlampmandavis.com

© Elizabeth Lampman Davis


Elizabeth Lampman Davis is a freelance writer, editor, and illustrator based in Florida. She works with clients who value authenticity and creativity (and an occasional dash of cynical humor). She has a special interest and joy in writing about small business, foster care and adoption, travel, and all things outdoors. If she could write sonnets all day about her love affair with coffee, she would. Most of all, she lives to create.
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KidLit411 by Sylvia Liu - 2w ago
© Gary Fabbri

March 29, 2019 vol. 12

The Weekly 411 gathers all the links added to Kidlit411 each week. To receive this post by email, sign up for our email updates. Are you on Facebook? Join our Kidlit411 group for conversations & camaraderie. This week's illustration is by Gary Fabbri.

BOOK TRAILER PREMIERE


We're excited to debut the trailer for NOAH NOASAURUS, by Elaine Kiely Kearns, illustrated by Colin Jack (Albert Whitman & Co. April 1, 2019):

NOAH NOASAURUS trailer - YouTube



AUTHOR SPOTLIGHTS

We are pleased to feature four amazing debut MG authors in our March joint spotlight:

  • Quinn Sosna-Spear, THE REMARKABLE INVENTIONS OF WALTER MORTINSON (Simon & Schuster, April 2)
  • Joshua Levy, SEVENTH GRADE VS. THE GALAXY (Carolrhoda Books, Mar. 5) 
  • Katherine Sparrow, LITTLE APOCALYPSE (Harper Collins March 12, 2019)
  • Gillian McDunn, CATERPILLAR SUMMER (Bloomsbury Children's Books, April 2, 2019)

Enter to win all four books!



We are also excited to feature picture book author Cathy Ballou Mealey and her debut book, WHEN A TREE GROWS, illustrated by Kasia Nowowiejska (Sterling Children's Books, April 2, 2019). Enter to win a copy!




For Writers


Revisions

What to Do After Finishing Your First Draft


Query Letters



Submissions: Agents & Editors


The Truth about Publishing 





April 1 noon-6 p.m. EST Authoress: Secret Agent Contest


  • What: submit the first 250 words of your completed manuscript (MG, especially adventure stories & historical fiction, YA contemporary romance, YA magical realism) 
  • Prize: 50 randomly selected manuscripts will be selected for critique by the blog community and a secret agent
July 1-Sept. 30 SLF Gulliver Travel Grant
  • What: apply for a grant to cover airfare, lodging, or travel expenses associated with researching speculative writing (fiction, poetry, drama, or creative nonfiction)
  • Prize: $1,000 grant

Legal Resources for Creatives

Life Plus 70 (Agent Ethan Ellenberg talks about negotiating rights)



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Mar. 29, 2019

We are excited to feature picture book author Cathy Ballou Mealey and her debut book, WHEN A TREE GROWS, illustrated by Kasia Nowowiejska (Sterling Children's Books, April 2, 2019). Enter to win a copy!




Tell us about yourself and how you came to write for children.

I wrote my first picture book in 2010 to enter the Cheerios “Spoonful of Stories” contest. Even though “Ozzie the Oyster” was definitely not ready for publication, my prize was discovering a passion for the craft of picture book writing. After attending conferences, classes and workshops, I joined SCBWI, the 2012 12X12 Challenge and two critique groups. I have been writing, revising and studying ever since!



Congrats on your debut PB, WHEN A TREE GROWS. Tell us about it and what inspired you?

WHEN A TREE GROWS is a rollicking read-aloud that follows a zany chain of events triggered by a broken tree, a cranky Bear, a nut-loving Squirrel and his loyal friend Moose. 

My inspiration arrived during a woodsy family hike. As we trudged along, enjoying nature, we heard a distant creaky Crash! Was it a tree? An animal? We froze, and after a long silence, hiked on. I continued to wonder: What if that sound had scared a bear or frightened a deer?

Building on that “OR” question, I framed a wacky story with two opposite possible outcomes, one rather expected and one funny and unexpected. Readers will find the “OR” spotlighted on the bottom corner of each recto page with a clever curled paper art effect.



Was your road to publication long and windy, short and sweet, or something in between?

As a picture book, TREE grew from the seedling of an idea to an actual bound, printed book in three years, four months from the date I accepted the offer from Sterling Children’s Books. I’m so grateful to illustrator Kasia Nowowiejska for her dedicated efforts to make our book the very best it could be.

The writer’s road can seem like a long and windy one. Persistence is key! For me new story ideas are always waiting just over the horizon. (channels inner Winter Warlock and hums "Put One Foot in Front of the Other" from Santa Claus is Coming to Town).



What projects are you working on now?

Cheering for and promoting the amazing books from my fellow debut picture book writers and illustrators in the Notable19’sand Epic18’s groups. Such incredible talent and wonderful stories for young readers are all around us.

Next up for me is a still-secret picture book with an amazing publisher in Canada. A sloth and a squirrel are involved! Look for an announcement soon, and a book sometime in 2021!

What advice would you give to your younger self? Is this the same as you'd give to aspiring authors?

Yes! Never leave home without your library card.

What is one thing most people don't know about you?

Just one? I can fold a king-sized fitted sheet to crisp-cornered, shelf-square perfection.

Where can people find you online?

Please come connect and say hello! Tell me if you’ve seen a Moose in real life, or if you need a recipe for cardamom crème cupcakes.
Website: https://cathyballoumealey.wordpress.com/about/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CatBallouMealey
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cathy.mealey

Cathy Ballou Mealey lives with her family north of Boston, where she delights in watching silly squirrel antics and is waiting patiently for a moose to appear. Her favorite nut is the hazelnut and her favorite cupcake is cardamom crème.

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