Aside

Welcome to

RhyPiBoMo 2015 Day 24

Agent Kendra Marcus

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   RPBM 15 Kendra

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 Today’s guest blogger is my wonderful agent! Forgive me as I tell a short story about my journey in hopes that it may help someone out there…

I am so blessed to have met her last summer in Georgia at Kristen Fulton’s WOW Conference. The really scary thing is that I almost didn’t go to that conference. Money was tight and I had already paid for the LA SCBWI Conference, which was on my bucket list, and my husband needed convincing that this week-long conference was that important…

Thank goodness I went. I met all my closest writing friends face-to-face, I signed with Kendra and I almost sold a picture book that week. Can you imagine if I hadn’t gone? I probably would not be writing now. My point is, if you feel strongly that you must do something to further your career…do it if you can. Fortunately, I had the joy of calling my husband to tell him that I finally signed with an agent after 20 years of writing! I’ll never forget that moment, sitting by a lake, crying, and telling him that the stars aligned in Georgia. They really did!

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This is the lodge where Kendra and I met.

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This is Kendra’s session and we had not yet met, but I loved her already!

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Angie Karcher, Darshana Khiani, Kristen Fulton and Karen Brueggeman

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This is what I was wearing for a cookout/costume contest, with my fake campfire and all, when she tapped me on the shoulder and said, “You need an agent!” Can you imagine what that felt like? It was surreal and I said, “Yes, yes I do!” That was pretty much it. She liked my writing, liked me for being me and I liked her professionalism and fun, witty personality. It was a perfect match. I am blessed and, though my hand accident in LA was a setback, we are working hard to put my work out  into the universe for all to see! She is a wonderful person and completely dedicated to me. I know she represents many other very successful writers, but she makes me feel like I am the only one she represents…what a lady!

Please meet

Kendra Marcus.

 

RhyPiBoMo 2015 Bird with Feather

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Tough Time Selling Rhyme

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You would think that rhyming picture books would be snapped up by publishers.  Who doesn’t take delight in repeating Mother Goose and other rhymes over and over.  My grandmother at 90 years old easily recited all the rhymed ditties she’d learned in her childhood.  Rhymed verse sticks with us and its predictability is often helpful as a child learns to read.

So, why do we have a really tough time selling rhyme to publishers?  And why do so many publishers specifically say they do not want to see picture books in rhyme?  And why do we see so many rhyming picture books on the shelves in bookstores?

The answer is that it is a challenge to integrate rhyme into plot, setting and character–the basic building blocks of a picture book.   And, since rhyming picture books are some of the most difficult to craft, it is no wonder that publishers shy away from them.

Uninitiated writers ask, how difficult can it be to write a picture book. After all, they say, it’s only a five page manuscript and it wouldn’t take more than a few hours, at most, to whip out good story.

But, picture books, even without rhyme, are deceiving.  They need to catch the attention of a wiggly three to five year old without using many words.  It is, indeed, a challenge to develop convincing characters, distinct voices and plot in just a few pages.  In a rhyming picture book not only do you need to craft all of the fore mentioned items, but you have the added challenge of crafting them all in perfect rhyme, with rhythm, cadence and flow that scans perfectly.

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Remember, not every picture book needs to be in rhyme.  Rhymes are good for the very young because they tend to be straightforward and easy to understand, without a lot of clauses and complicated sentences.

Some common pitfalls of rhyming picture books are mundane and overly predictable rhymes, meaningless and forced rhymes, and distorted sentence structure (to maintain the rhyme scheme).

Consider these examples:
He rushed to the bus in the nick of time
it was just taking off but stopped on a dime

(Did the bus really stop on a dime? Will a child understand this? Is this fact important to the story?) I suspect the writer was looking for a word that rhymed with time and figured out that he could add this irrelevant detail so the rhyme would work.

She was often the last to arrive at a show.
Did she know something that no one else did know?

(usually we would use the word knew but clearly, the writer needed a rhyme for show?)

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We often see rhyming manuscripts that are heavy with descriptions that tend to slow the pace of the story.  Description is an easy crutch for the writer who is searching for the right rhyming word and has to wander off course to find it.

Imagine the mountains of manuscripts editors and agents face every day.  We are all looking to clear our desks so we can get to the real work.  If the first few rhyming stanzas of a manuscript are purely descriptive and filled with forced rhymes and distorted sentences, it is abundantly clear that the author hasn’t mastered his craft.  The easy solution for an editor is to dismiss such a manuscript quickly and get on with the next one.  But, you ask, what if it was basically a good story?  It may be a case where a good story was hidden by bad rhyme but an editor doesn’t have the time to wade through it all.  Don’t let this happen to your manuscript.

For solidly crafted rhyming books I urge you to study two of my favorites, GOODNIGHT, GOODNIGHT, CONSTRUCTION SITE by Sherri Duskey Rinker and THE THREE NINJA PIGS by Corey Rosen Schwartz.

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A good rhyming book needs to conform to all the basic tenets of good picture book writing (plot, setting, character and voice) AND it needs to scan well with good meter, syllables and stress.  The rhythm, cadence and flow should enable a smooth and engaging read by whomever picks it up.

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So, before you submit your rhyming manuscript to an editor, ask yourself if the rhyming really contributes to the storytelling and the reader’s experience of the book. Then listen to readings by a variety of readers.  If those readers stumble on your rhymes or word choices or meter …you still have some reworking to do!

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There’s one thing you all need to know, if you’re going to write like a pro.
If the story is weak, not shiny and sleek, but the rhyme has spectacular glow,
it will be detected and quickly rejected because…

“IT’S NOT ABOUT THE RHYME!”

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*Bookstop Literary Logo

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About Kendra:

Kendra Marcus started BookStop Literary Agency in 1984 and since then the agency has grown to be one of the most well-known and well respected agencies for children’s book writers and illustrators.
Kendra gravitates toward quirky and funny picture books, fiction with unforgettable characters and stories that will bring her to tears. Unusual non-fiction, especially science presented in new ways and little gems of history are also her cup of tea. Stories with Hispanic or Latino characters are always welcome, and she is thrilled to find accomplished illustrators with a fresh style who can tell a strong story in pictures to accompany a text.

RhyPiBoMo 2015 Optional Writing Prompt: 23

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This is NOT part of the pledge. It is an option for a writing exercise for those interested. You will not publically share this as part of RhyPiBoMo but may keep a journal of your writing this month for your own review.

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Today’s writing prompt is to complete that rhyming picture book manuscript that you have been working on, apply all the tips you learned this month and submit it to a publisher or agent.  But, don’t send it until the story is clever, unique and has that magic, read-it-out-loud-ability! Don’t send it until the meter is perfect, the rhyme is brilliant and poetic techniques are obvious to the one reading it that they are intentional and effective!

I wish you the best of luck and please let us know, on the RhyPiBoMo Facebook Group, if you have a rhyming picture book or poetry book published!!

 

I can’t believe this month is over!

First of all…Thank you to all our Amazing Golden Quill Guest Bloggers!

Thanks to all of you who came everyday to read, learn and celebrate RPBs and Poetry with me!

Here is the badge of RhyPiBoMo Honor for participation and support of this event! You earned it! Please post it on your blog, your Facebook Page and anywhere you like.

RhyPiBoMo 2015 Graduate Badge

Isn’t this so adorable!!! Tanja Bauerle, you rock!

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Watch this spectacular clip of fireworks in New York City to celebrate as this Ray Charles Version of America The Beautiful seems so fitting today as I announce the winners of the

Golden Quill Poetry Contest with a theme of Freedom!

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https://youtu.be/YSJQR-0AYPg

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Congratulations and thank you to all the winners

and all who submitted poems!

Also, a huge thanks to our

Golden Quill Poetry Contest Judges

Jackie Wellington, Dianna White and Iza Trapani!

You ladies are all so busy and I thank you for your help with this contest!

fireworks 3Golden Quill Poetry Contest Winners

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 The 1st Place winner of  a manuscript critique

by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen is

Ann MaGee

 

WHERE IS FREEDOM? AN ESCAPING SLAVE’S TRIOLET

by Ann Magee

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In the whisper of hummingbird wings

Where lanterns beam and dreams soar

She trusts the star and all it brings.

In the whisper of hummingbird wings

Listen and dream as the stream sings

A promise of something more . . .

In the whisper of hummingbird wings

Where lanterns beam and dreams soar.

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2nd place winner of a scholarship for Non-Fiction Archeology by Kristen Fulton is

Darlene Ivy

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Breakout Poem

by Darlene Ivy

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Laces loosened. One boot. Two.

Wedging, wrestling. Off with you!

Thick knit socks! You’re next to go.

Bunched up blobs – two balls to throw.

Giggling, wriggling winter toes

sunning . . . drumming. There she goes.

Spinning, splashing, splattering,

barefoot girl’s first dance of spring.

 

 

3rd place winner of a scholarship for Pacing Picture Books to WOW! Class by agent Jodell Sadler is

Sherri Rivers

THE KENNEL OF DOOM

by Sherri Rivers

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The clanging door is quickly clicked in place.

She knows the drill, still hates this locked-up space.

Inside the confines, whimpers, whines, and wails—

The scratch, scratch, scratch of dirty doggy nails.

The hours drag inside her lonely tomb.

She’s trapped behind the bars of dreaded doom.

But, then, a hand unlocks the leaden latch.

Two happy yelps—“You throw the ball, I’ll catch.”

 

Congratulations to our Honor Poem winners in no particular order!

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FINALLY FREE

by Rebcca Colby

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Destitute, she lives alone,

forced to make it on her own.

Works two jobs to pay the rent,

for years on end until she’s spent.

Tired and grey, ill health, bad knee,

but can’t retire at seventy.

Trapped and strapped to constant strife;

she freed herself…she took her life.

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WISTFUL WISH FOR THE WIZARD

by Stephanie Salkin

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Oh for Oz, where wrongs are righted,

hurts are healed, blind are sighted,

justice lives, kindness thrives,

people lead enlightened lives.

Oh for Oz, no tyrants here,

no witches spreading hate and fear.

Oh for Oz, where wizardry

may grant me freedom—to be me!

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FLOWER GIRL FREEDOM

by Karen Affholter

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Will this wedding ever end?

This dress is just the WORST!

It’s itchy, scratchy and too tight.

The seams are bound to burst!

Can’t we get these “I-do’s” done?

I need this dress off, FAST!

The bride and groom best close their eyes ….

Aaaaaaaaaaah! Freedom, at last.

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FLOOR AND PEAS

by Natalee Creech

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On a fine china dish beside lemon and fish

Sat a succulent portion of peas.

Lightly buttered and salted, then highly exalted,

One orb felt a sense of unease.

Shouting, “There shall be freedom for those in my pea-dom!”

He plunged to the floor down below.

Did our plump little friend meet a fortunate end?

The dog came… regrettably, no.

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Free as can Bee Poem

by Maria Oka

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Holding fast to balloon strings, I jump, then I fly.

I tip-toe ‘cross clouds, and I soar through the sky.

I swing from the strings while I wave at a car.

The passengers gawk like I’m something bizarre.

Then trouble comes at me in thousands of bees,

Their stingers are out, but I hide in the trees.

I flutter away, floating low over town.

I’m free, yes I’m FREE! And I’ll never come….{POP!}

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 Congratulations to Week 5 Prize Winners

Monday      Copy of WRITING RHYMING PICTURE BOOKS Donated by Laura Purdie Salas and Lisa Bullard

Winner: Judy Rubin

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Tuesday      Copy of GOODNIGHT GOODNIGHT CONSTRUCTION SITE and Game Donated by Sherri D. Rinker

Winner: Annie Bailey

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Wednesday Copy of

STEAM TRAIN, DREAM TRAIN and Puzzle Donated by Sherri D. Rinker

Winner: Sarah Haroff

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Thursday    Manuscript Critique by Kristen Fulton

Winner: Val McCammon

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Winners, PLEASE message me your information on Facebook

or email it to Angiekarcherrpbm@gmail.com

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Don’t Miss the

Friday Night BIG Finale Rhyming Party!

RhyPiBoMo 2015 Rhyming Party

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Diverse Books Logo

The amount donated to We Need Diverse Books from the Barnes and Noble BookFair for will be available soon so watch on Facebook for the amount. Thank you for all the support for this wonderful organization!

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trumpets

Watch the

RhyPiBoMo

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT

Here on Youtube!

Please share this link!

http://youtu.be/y84jT9FE0Wg

We are pleased to announce the

RhyPiBoMo 2015

Best in Rhyme Award Committee!

Rhyme Award Best In Rhyme

Thank you Tanja Bauerle for your beautiful award designs!

This committee of dedicated RhyPiBoMo members is busy reading, reviewing and nominating the best rhyming picture books and poetry books of 2015. Only members of the RhyPiBoMo Facebook Group may nominate books to the committee for consideration. There will be much more information coming soon with specific guidelines and voting requirements!

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Thank you to the 15 members of this committee!

Dawn Young – Co-chair

Mandy Yates – Co-chair

Deirdre Sheridan Englehart – Co-chair

Kenda Henthorn – Co-chair

Danna York

Annie Bailey

Patricia Toht

Gayle C. Krause

Deb Williams

Corey Rosen Schwartz

Darlene Ivy

Lori Degman

Suzy Leopold

Angie Karcher – Founder

Tanja Bauerle – Illustrator

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Angie will soon be blogging about some of the best rhyming picture books and poetry books we come across, so please contact her if you want your book to be highlighted.

Angiekarcherrpbm@gmail.com

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Writing in Rhyme to WOW! class logo

ONLY 1 spot left!

The $99.00 discounted price ends Thursday.

Do you enjoy writing rhyming picture books?

Do you find rhyme challenging?

Do you want to pep up your prose with poetic techniques?

Then this is the class for you!

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Writing in Rhyme to WOW! is a 4 week course,

M-F with daily lessons, writing prompts, rhyme journaling, creating tools you will use, group poetry readings, webinars and critique groups, and a one-on-one webinar critique with Angie.

Each class begins on the first Monday of the month and the weekly group webinars are on Thursdays at 8:00 p.m. Central Standard Time, (Chicago Time) or at a time that best suits the group due to time zones of those involved.

I am beginning to sign people up for June and July!

If you register now for June or July, I will give you the $99.00 price!

Contact Angie with questions.

Sign up now before the classes are full!

Click here for more information!

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Need a Rhyming Picture Book Critique?

Angie offers

rhyming picture book and poetry manuscript critiques.

A One Time critique is ($25.00) or a Twice Look critique is ($35.00)

See the tab above or click here for more information.

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RhyPiBoMo Gift Shop is Open!

Cafepress notebook

http://www.cafepress.com/rhypibomogiftshop

Please stop by and see what’s available this year. There are notebooks, mugs, buttons and more. All proceeds will go to WE NEED DIVERSE BOOKS!

Thank you Tanja Bauerle for these gorgeous images!!!

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Official RhyPiBoMo 2015 Registration ended on April 8th.

If you are not officially registered you will not be able to participate in the Golden Quill Poetry Contest, in Rhyming Critique Groups or will not be eligible for daily prizes.

To see if you registered in time go to the Master Registration List on the drop down menu under the RhyPiBoMo Blog tab above.

*RhyPiBoMo 2015 Pledge

YouPlease comment below. You MUST add your FIRST and LAST names

You to be eligible for today’s prize!

RhyPiBoMo 2015 Day 24 Kendra Marcus of BookStop Literary

Aside

Welcome to

RhyPiBoMo 2015 Day 23

Kwame Alexander

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Kwame

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 Today’s guest blogger is a man of many talents.

One of them happens to be writing a Newbery Award Winning book for kids!

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Newbery                the crossover

If you have not read THE CROSSOVER, go, right now and find it, if you can, and read it! It took me about 6 weeks to get my copy and I read it cover to cover the day I received it in the mail. As a mother of 2 teenage boys, a mother of 2 teenage girls who date boys, and as a friend of a family who recently lost their father much too soon…this book is moving, relevant and so, so powerful in it’s playfulness with words. This is a book that will bring teens to poetry for years to come. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to meet Kwame in person this summer at the LA SCBWI Conference. I was one of the lucky few who got into his intensive and I will be sitting there, taking notes, listening to every single word and waiting patiently until I can give a proper hug to Kwame Alexander. His book, his integrity and his genuine care for children make me proud to be a children’s author! Plus I am so happy that his favorite word is…Yes!

I am over the moon

to introduce

Kwame Alexander

RhyPiBoMo 2015 Bird with Feather

As I contacted Kwame to be a guest blogger, honestly thinking that I wouldn’t get a response as he was nominated for The Newbery Award and so busy. I reached out via Facebook message, which by the way is how I snag most of my amazing guest bloggers, and he immediately responded. We agreed on a blog post topic and all was set.

Then he won.

He kindly messaged me at around 3:00 am two days later and very sweetly said, I haven’t slept, I’m not sure what town I’m in right now. I have barely eaten anything and I still want to help you but what can we do to simplify this?

As I am always on my toes, I said,” What if my 14 year old son Mitch comes up with 20 one word answer questions for you and we’ll call it 20 Questions with Kwame?

“YES!”

he said.

So, I am proud of my youngest son for enthusiastically coming up with some fun questions and am happy to say he was equally as enthusiastic to hear the responses, and…is reading The Crossover right now. Thank you Mitch! I’m pretty sure he did this whole thing without even one eye roll! = )

Kwame told me that another Newbery Award winner told him that the price of winning this award is a book. He will be speaking, touring, conferencing and honored at banquet after banquet for at least a full year. He tells me he still writes but it’s tough. Thank you Kwame Alexander for saying yes and for giving the youth of today a literal, literary hero to look up to!

I give you

Kwame Alexander

20 Questions for Kwame

by Mitch Karcher

Mitch                  kwame 2

          Mitch Karcher         Kwame Alexander

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Mitch: What is your favorite time of day?
Kwame: 6 am, when no one else is awake, and I can return emails, listen to jazz, and plan my day.

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What is your junk food of choice?
RED. VELVET. CUPCAKES.

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Who inspires you?
My daughters. Students. The energy and innocence and freedom of youth.

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What are you reading now?
These questions…Seriously.

I am reading Margarita Engle’s new memoir in verse. WOW!

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What is your favorite sport?
To watch: Basketball
To play: Tennis

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What do you order to eat/drink at Panera Bread?
Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Large Lemonade. No ice.

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Do you prefer the mountains or the beach?
The beach.

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What book would you like to see made into a movie, besides The Crossover?
Ha! Very funny! My next one…

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Are you a cat person or dog person?
Neither.

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Are you an early riser or a night owl?
Both.

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If you weren’t a writer what career would you choose?
A pediatrician by day, stand-up comedian by night. (I have a friend who is a cardiologist and a country music star. Check out Cleve Francis)

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Who was your favorite teacher?
Nikki Giovanni

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What kind of music do you listen to?
Jazz. Country. Hip Hop. Soul. Classical. Everything else.

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What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?
Double fudge chocolate

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What is your favorite thing to do with your family?
Play Uno. Also, travel.

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What is your favorite word?
Yes.

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What is your favorite dance move?
My wife teachers Zumba. Every move she does when she’s teaching. Pretty cool!

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What is one piece of advice you have for kids?
Never listen to advice from people who make up stories for a living…Also READ a lot.

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What country would you like to visit?
Antarctica. Is that a country?

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Finish this sentence: If I had a million dollars I would:
buy a cupcakery.

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cc factory

Here you go Kwame!

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About Kwame:

Kwame Alexander is a poet and author of eighteen books, most recently THE CROSSOVER, which received the 2015 John Newbery Medal for the Most Distinguished Contribution to American literature for Children. His other works include the award-winning children’s picture book “Acoustic Rooster and His Barnyard Band,” recently optioned as a children’s television show, and the Junior Library Selection, “He Said She Said,” a YA novel. Alexander believes that poetry can change the world, and he uses it to inspire and empower young people through his Book-in-a-Day literacy program which has created more than 3,000 student authors at 69 schools across the US, Canada, and the Caribbean. A regular speaker and workshop presenter at conferences in the U.S., he also travels the world planting seeds of literary love (Brazil, Italy, France, and Turkey). Recently, Alexander led a delegation of 20 writers and activists to Ghana, where they delivered books, built a library, and provided literacy professional development to 300 teachers, as a part of LEAP for Ghana, an International literacy program he co-founded. The Kwame Alexander Papers, a collection of his writings, correspondence, and other professional and personal documents is held at the George Washington University Gelman Library. In 2015, Kwame will serve as Bank Street College of Education’s first writer-in-residence. Visit him at KwameAlexander.com.

the crossover

Buy It Here

*rooster

Buy It Here

he said

Buy It Here

Indigo

Buy It Here

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SELECTED PUBLICATIONS
The Crossover: A Novel (2014)
He Said, She Said: A Novel (2013)
Acoustic Rooster and His Barnyard Band (2011) (NAACP Image Award Nominee)
Indigo Blume and the Garden City (2010) (NAACP Image Award Nominee)
And Then You Know: New and Selected Poems (2008)
Family Pictures: Poems and Photographs Celebrating Our Loved Ones, ed. (2007)
Crush: Love Poems (2007)
The Way I Walk: short stories and poems for Young Adults, ed. (2006)
Dancing Naked on the Floor: poems and essays (2005)
Do The Write Thing: 7 Steps to Publishing Success (2002)
Kupenda: Love Poems (2000)
360°: A Revolution of Black Poets, ed. (1998)
Tough Love: Cultural Criticism and Familial Observations on the Life and Death of
Tupac Shakur, ed. (1996)
Just Us: Poems & Counterpoems, 1986-1995 (1995)
The Flow: New Black Poets in Motion, ed. (1994)

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SELECTED PRESENTATIONS
SCBWI Winter Conference (Keynote Speaker)
NCTE/ALAN (Keynote Speaker)
American Library Association (Featured Author)
Long Island Literacy Council (Keynote Speaker)
International Reading Association (Featured Presenter)
Arkansas Reading Association (Keynote Speaker)
New York State Reading Association (Keynote Speaker)
Virginia State Reading Association (Keynote Speaker)
Miss Ghana Tourism Pageant (Judge)
Florida Council of English Teachers Conference (Keynote Speaker)
Library of Congress “Afternoon Poetry Series” (Guest Poet)
Oscar Smith High School, Chesapeake, VA (Poet-in-Residence)
Cass Technical High School, Detroit High School (Book-in-a-Day)
New York State English Council Annual Conference (Keynote Speaker)
Oberlin College, Oberlin, OH (National Poetry Month Speaker)
Howard University, Washington, DC (Publishing Workshop)
Northern Virginia Community College (Poetry/Publishing Workshop)
Virginia Teachers of English, Annual Conference (Keynote Speaker)
Long Island City High School, Astoria, NY (Literacy Professional Development)
Stafford Middle School, Plattsburg, NY (Writer-in-Residence)
West Babylon Junior High School, Long Island, NY (Poet-in-Residence)
Crossland High School, Temple Hills, MD (Book-in-a-Day)
Great Bridge High School, Chesapeake, VA (Poet-in-the-Schools)
Great Bridge Intermediate, Chesapeake, VA (Poet-in-the-Schools)
Arlington Public Schools, Arlington, VA (Literacy Professional Development)
Washington & Lee High School, Arlington, VA (Poet-in-the-Schools)
Central High School, Little Rock, AK (Poet-in-the-Schools)
Duke Ellington School for the Arts, Washington, DC (Poet-in-the-Schools)
Wilson High School, Washington, DC (Poet-in-the-Schools)
Oyster School, Washington, DC (Poet-in-the-Schools)
Niskayuna High School, Niskayuna, NY (Poet-in-Residence)
South Carolina Library Association, Annual Conference (Keynote Speaker)
National Council for Teachers of English (Workshop Presenter)

RhyPiBoMo 2015 Optional Writing Prompt: 23

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This is NOT part of the pledge. It is an option for a writing exercise for those interested. You will not publically share this as part of RhyPiBoMo but may keep a journal of your writing this month for your own review.

*and

Today’s writing prompt is to take the day off and eat cupcakes! Red. Velvet. Cupcakes.

Enjoy!

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trumpets

Watch the

RhyPiBoMo

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT

Here on Youtube!

Please share this link!

http://youtu.be/y84jT9FE0Wg

 

We are pleased to announce the

RhyPiBoMo 2015

Best in Rhyme Award Committee!

Rhyme Award Best In Rhyme

Thank you Tanja Bauerle for your beautiful award designs!

This committee of dedicated RhyPiBoMo members is busy reading, reviewing and nominating the best rhyming picture books and poetry books of 2015. Only members of the RhyPiBoMo Facebook Group may nominate books to the committee for consideration. There will be much more information coming soon with specific guidelines and voting  requirements!

*

Thank you to the 15 members of this committee!

Dawn Young – Co-chair

Mandy Yates – Co-chair

Deirdre Sheridan Englehart – Co-chair

Kenda Henthorn – Co-chair

Danna York

Annie Bailey

Patricia Toht

Gayle C. Krause

Deb Williams

Corey Rosen Schwartz

Darlene Ivy

Lori Degman

Suzy Leopold

Angie Karcher – Founder

Tanja Bauerle – Illustrator

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Angie will soon be blogging about some of the best rhyming picture books and poetry books we come across, so please contact her if you want your book to be highlighted.

Angiekarcherrpbm@gmail.com

 

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What a month! What a week! What a day!

Don’t Miss the

Friday Night BIG Finale Rhyming Party!

RhyPiBoMo 2015 Rhyming Party

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Today is Poem In Your Pocket Day!

Print out copies of your favorite poem and hand them out to friends, family, co-workers and neighbors. Let’s all celebrate Poetry by actively making a difference in someone’s day by reading a poem.

Share! Share! Share!

Poem in your pocket

Sponsored by Poets.org

More info on Poem In Your Pocket Day

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Writing in Rhyme to WOW! class logo

ONLY 1 spot left!

The $99.00 discounted price ends Thursday.

Do you enjoy writing rhyming picture books?

Do you find rhyme challenging?

Do you want to pep up your prose with poetic techniques?

Then this is the class for you!

image

Writing in Rhyme to WOW! is a 4 week course,

M-F with daily lessons, writing prompts, rhyme journaling, creating tools you will use, group poetry readings, webinars and critique groups, and a one-on-one webinar critique with Angie.

Each class begins on the first Monday of the month and the weekly group webinars are on Thursdays at 8:00 p.m. Central Standard Time, (Chicago Time) or at a time that best suits the group due to time zones of those involved.

I am beginning to sign people up for June and July!

If you register now for June or July, I will give you the $99.00 price!

Contact Angie with questions.

Sign up now before the classes are full!

Click here for more information!

*

*

*

Need a Rhyming Picture Book Critique?

Angie offers

rhyming picture book and poetry manuscript critiques.

A One Time critique is ($25.00) or a Twice Look critique is ($35.00)

See the tab above or click here for more information.

*

*A

RhyPiBoMo Gift Shop is Open!

Cafepress notebook

http://www.cafepress.com/rhypibomogiftshop

Please stop by and see what’s available this year. There are notebooks, mugs, buttons and more. All proceeds will go to WE NEED DIVERSE BOOKS!

Thank you Tanja Bauerle for these gorgeous images!!!

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Official RhyPiBoMo 2015 Registration ended on April 8th.

If you are not officially registered you will not be able to participate in the Golden Quill Poetry Contest, in Rhyming Critique Groups or will not be eligible for daily prizes.

To see if you registered in time go to the Master Registration List on the drop down menu under the RhyPiBoMo Blog tab above.

*RhyPiBoMo 2015 Pledge

YouPlease comment below. You MUST add your FIRST and LAST names

You to be eligible for today’s prize!

RhyPiBoMo 2015 Day 23 Kwame Alexander

Aside

Welcome to

RhyPiBoMo 2015 Day 22

Ed DeCaria

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  Ed DeCaria

I am please to introduce

today’s guest blogger

Ed DeCaria

RhyPiBoMo 2015 Bird with Feather

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How To Get Your Readers Past Line One

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First lines are like fangs.

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They break your readers’ skin, take hold deep within, and draw them — willingly or not — into your world.

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I asked Angie to skip her customary guest introduction so that I could illustrate a key point about first lines. As the author of this post, displaced by time and space, I had absolutely no idea what you as the reader would have been doing one minute ago. Some of you might have just made a pot of coffee, others of you might have just finished a meeting, still others might have laid a kid down to nap or hopped on a bus or sat on a toilet. How could I have known?

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What I did know is that I needed a strong first line that would give me a chance of grabbing and keeping your attention regardless of your point of entry. Whether or not you would even “like” my sharp-toothed opening didn’t matter to me – what mattered was that you wouldn’t keep scrolling right to Angie’s next post. That you wouldn’t bounce to another website or app. That you wouldn’t put down your device completely. That you would stay with me until line two.

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I like to believe that, from line two until the end of a poem or story, writers can control readers’ minds. We set up scenes, cast doubts, foreshadow conflicts, etc., each element placed perfectly after last and before next. Once readers are in, they’re in, and they submit themselves to our whims. But before that, between real life and line one, we have no such control. We first have to coerce it away.

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This, in and of itself, is not a revelation. However, if you audit the children’s poems and picture books in your house/library/bookstore – and perhaps your own manuscripts, too – you may notice that these types of works often miss their opportunity to hook readers right there on line one. It is as if authors take for granted that they already have readers’ full attention, and that readers WILL read each poem or story in its entirety, when one or both of these may be untrue.

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I first shared this observation with the Poetry Friday community a few years back, and posed the open question http://www.thinkkidthink.com/are-the-first-lines-of-kids-poems-memorable/ Are the First Lines of Kids’ Poems Memorable? This sparked an interesting conversation and elicited many examples of first lines that readers perceived as “compelling, urgent, and/or unusual” – three criteria proposed elsewhere as characteristics of a great first line. (If you haven’t read that post or the comments below it, you may wish to do so quickly now, but make sure you come back!)

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Since then, I have paid much closer attention to how poets and picture book authors begin their works. One excellent (and efficient) way to experience first lines in action is to browse children’s poetry anthologies. Not only do most anthologies feature a wide variety of poets and styles, many also include a gift-wrapped package near the end of the book called an “Index of First Lines.” Every once in awhile, I like to open an anthology to this index and just read the first lines, one after the other, until I come across one that I can’t help but flip back to continue reading the rest of the poem immediately (because when a first line is really good I CAN’T NOT read the rest). After reading it, I reflect on why I chose that poem in that moment. What about that single line drew me to that poem? I didn’t know the author, couldn’t read the title, had no sense of form or length, could see no accompanying photo or illustration. I had nothing to go on … except that magical first line. What made it so special to me?

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While classifying great first lines as “compelling, urgent, and/or unusual” holds up in abstract, as I reenact my readings of great first lines in my head, I find that those terms do not truly describe my experiences in those moments, which are always much more concrete. These firsthand emotions, reactions, and thoughts are (by definition) impossible to summarize in a handful of terms, so what may be more helpful is to start looking at some examples.

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Here is the Index of First Lines from the anthology Forget-Me-Nots, edited by Mary Ann Hoberman:

Ed 2

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My experiences from these first lines included:

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• Imagining an origami world. An origami universe!
• Fearing going down that horrible street, but wanting a quick peek to see why it is so horrible.
• Predicting whether or not she’s gonna go talk to the famous man eating soup or not …
• Wanting to meet this promiscuous Jenny girl.
• Imagining slowly sinking my feet into that dark brown river …
• Picturing myself holding the actual earth in my hands, with the moon on one side and beaming, rising sun on the other. What power I have!

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Here’s another, the Index of First Lines from the anthology Climb Into My Lap, edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins:

ed 3

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My experiences from these first lines included:

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• Remembering all of the times I’ve drawn chalk pictures all over my sidewalks at home.
• Picturing a cartoon-like stick figure dog that’s actually a real-life dog. How skinny is he, really?
• Thinking of all different kinds of skin – slimy fish skin, soft baby skin, leathery sunburnt skin, etc.
• Being transported mid-climb into a tree in front of my old house.
• Closing my eyes, willing those talkers to Just. Stop. Talking.
• Mumbling “What the heck does ‘brillig’ mean? And what are ‘slithy toves’?”

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And finally, this is the Index of First Lines from the anthology A Family of Poems edited by Caroline Kennedy:

*ed 1

My experiences with these first lines included:

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• Imagining how this hound is going to deal with that porcupine …
• Wondering just who is this tough kid talking to and why is he addressing him as “Sir”?
• Realizing I have no idea what masons do when they start upon a building. What do they do???
• Sighing and agreeing YES – please compare me to a summer’s day …
• Picturing wind in all of its manifestations – leaves blowing wildly, flags waving, umbrellas flipping inside out …
• Trying to conceive of how maggie and milly and molly and may all came to be together …

Those were just a few of my first line experiences. What about YOU? Among those shown above, which first lines spoke to you? Which did you just gloss right over or, worse yet, actively dismiss? Did any of them make you start writing your own line two right there in your head? Did any of them send you off into full-on daydreams? Are any of them still driving you crazy because you don’t have the book in front of you right NOW?!?!?

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THAT is the reaction you need to strive for in your first lines. Make readers want more. Drive them crazy. If I’m holding your book in a store and randomly open it to page 18, then the poem on page 18 better start with a great first line. If not, then I’ll probably flip to page 19 and see what’s there. If I’m still not feeling it, maybe I jump to another page and read one more opening. But if that still doesn’t pull me in, then that book is probably going back on the shelf … never to be picked up again.

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Picture book authors: This applies to you, too. When I pick up a book off the shelf (or get a sneak preview online or whatever) and read your first page – it had better be good! The hardest part is over – I am already holding your book in my hands, and I am committed to reading page one. But it’s on you to get me to page two.

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I have one final point for you to consider: New technologies will likely make first lines even more critical for authors as time goes on. Though I haven’t yet found any software products/sites/apps that are delivering tremendous value to readers in the poetry or picture book space, they are getting better, and the “search and discovery” space will continue to heat up. For now, I’ll use the current Poetry Foundation app as a rough example of where I think things are headed …

Ed 4

Get the App

Here I typed only the keyword “thief” and twenty-six poems came up. It’s a smartphone app, so screen real estate is at a premium, so I had to choose one – and only one – way to view the poems. When I tapped First Line, this is what I saw, a straight list of first lines. Naked. Alone. Exposed. The only thing left to do is to scroll up, scroll down, or tap to read a poem.

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Which first line will sink its fangs into my neck first?

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About Ed:

– Launched March Madness Poetry (#MMPoetry), an “epic event” that has been embraced by a global community of kids’ poetry writers and fans.
– Generated over 400,000 site visits, 20,000 Facebook likes, and nearly 8,000 reader comments in just twelve weeks (March 2012, 2013, and 2014 combined). Growing 50-60% year over year — all word of mouth.
– Featured on CBS TV, in USA Today, The Boston Globe, poetryfoundation.org, scbwi.org, poetry4kids.com, and countless other smaller newspapers, websites, and blogs.
– More fun in the works. Stay tuned!

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 Thank you Ed!

I have known Ed through The #MMPoetry Contest for the past two years as a contestant. He is unbelievably great with poetry and numbers as he runs this amazing contest beginning with 64 “Authletes” and ending with one final winner, in a matter of a few weeks. There are kids in classrooms voting, the public votes and even the Authletes vote in a bracket style competition, to determine winners each round. I am always amazed at the amount of balls he must be juggling throughout this process, and he has a full-time job too! WOW!

I am proud to say  that last year I applied and was accepted into the contest, losing my first round to a wonderful author, Elizabeth McBride . This year, again I was accepted and made it through 2 rounds before going down to Carol Samuelson-Woodson with my word “funereal.” Try using that in a kids poem! LOL

It is great fun and I’ve enjoyed participating both years. Maybe the blessing for me is in the losing, as RhyPiBoMo is steaming full speed ahead, mid March, about the time Round 3 begins…at least I’m consoled knowing that losing eases my stress level! Ha!

You must all check it out next year! Sometimes a little pressure is good for our writing!

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RhyPiBoMo 2015 Optional Writing Prompt: 22

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This is NOT part of the pledge. It is an option for a writing exercise for those interested. You will not publically share this as part of RhyPiBoMo but may keep a journal of your writing this month for your own review.

*and

Today’s writing prompt is to pull out your favorite manuscripts and poems.

1) Make a list of the first lines.

2) Now, use your fangs…write new first lines that will kiss your reader, vampire style, and not let them go!

 

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trumpets

We have a

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT

on Thursday

so don’t miss the blog!

Hmmm…I wonder what it is? Hee Hee!

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Don’t Miss the

Friday Night BIG Finale Rhyming Party!

RhyPiBoMo 2015 Rhyming Party

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April 30th is Poem In Your Pocket Day!

Print out copies of your favorite poem and hand them out on Thursday to friends, family, co-workers and neighbors. Let’s all celebrate Poetry by actively making a difference in someone’s day by reading a poem.

Share! Share! Share!

Poem in your pocket

Sponsored by Poets.org

More info on Poem In Your Pocket Day

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Writing in Rhyme to WOW! class logo

ONLY 1 spot left!

The $99.00 discounted price ends Thursday.

Do you enjoy writing rhyming picture books?

Do you find rhyme challenging?

Do you want to pep up your prose with poetic techniques?

Then this is the class for you!

image

Writing in Rhyme to WOW! is a 4 week course,

M-F with daily lessons, writing prompts, rhyme journaling, creating tools you will use, group poetry readings, webinars and critique groups, and a one-on-one webinar critique with Angie.

Each class begins on the first Monday of the month and the weekly group webinars are on Thursdays at 8:00 p.m. Central Standard Time, (Chicago Time) or at a time that best suits the group due to time zones of those involved.

I am beginning to sign people up for June and July!

If you register now for June or July, I will give you the $99.00 price!

Contact Angie with questions.

Sign up now before the classes are full!

Click here for more information!

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Need a Rhyming Picture Book Critique?

Angie offers

rhyming picture book and poetry manuscript critiques.

A One Time critique is ($25.00) or a Twice Look critique is ($35.00)

See the tab above or click here for more information.

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*A

RhyPiBoMo Gift Shop is Open!

Cafepress notebook

http://www.cafepress.com/rhypibomogiftshop

Please stop by and see what’s available this year. There are notebooks, mugs, buttons and more. All proceeds will go to WE NEED DIVERSE BOOKS!

Thank you Tanja Bauerle for these gorgeous images!!!

*

*

Official RhyPiBoMo 2015 Registration ended on April 8th.

If you are not officially registered you will not be able to participate in the Golden Quill Poetry Contest, in Rhyming Critique Groups or will not be eligible for daily prizes.

To see if you registered in time go to the Master Registration List on the drop down menu under the RhyPiBoMo Blog tab above.

*RhyPiBoMo 2015 Pledge

YouPlease comment below. You MUST add your FIRST and LAST names

You to be eligible for today’s prize!

RhyPiBoMo 2015 Day 22 Ed DeCaria

Aside

Welcome to

RhyPiBoMo 2015 Day 21

Sherri Duskey Rinker

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  RPBM 15 Sherri Duskey Rinker

 Today’s guest blogger is a New York Times Best Selling author who has, I’m sure, more award winning picture books up her sleeve! I absolutely love her books and the rhyme in them is…perfection! GOODNIGHT GOODNIGHT CONSTRUCTION SITE has been mentioned multiple times this month, by multiple authors, as one to read and study as a mentor text.

I am please

to introduce

Sherri Duskey Rinker.

RhyPiBoMo 2015 Bird with Feather

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Picture Book: Read It Out Loud!

 

As I child, I loved it when people read to me, and I ESPECIALLY loved rhyming books. There was a song-quality in the meter; a special kind of rhythm that allowed the child-me to often predict the final word in the sentence, or to be able to “sing” along with a refrain. There was comfort and great fun in that. So perhaps that’s why, in part at least, I’m particularly attracted to WRITING the read-aloud rhythm that a rhyming book creates.

Many (but not all) of my soon-to-be-picture-books manuscripts are written in verse, at least partially. Why? I’m not completely sure, but to (badly) quote my friend and brilliant fellow author, Andrea Beaty: “That’s just the way a particular story comes to me.” Andrea and I are in agreement here: It’s nearly impossible to turn a verse book into prose. Just like those TV commercial jingles or the refrains of Taylor Swift songs, once it’s in my head, I’m stuck with it. The rhythm has tangled itself into my brain; I can’t unwrap it. But, I can finesse it…

As I’ve written more (and more), I’ve learned a few things along the way, thanks to the insights and assistance of a few spectacular editors. The learning curve has been painful — even excruciating — at times, and I’ve spent countless hours fighting for (and admittedly sometimes boo-hooing over) syllables that an editor assures me must go: sometimes for the sake of the meter, sometimes for the sake of structure. But, with painful experience has come some knowledge, and, for whatever it’s worth, I’d love to share some insights…

First, the easiest and most straightforward tip for creating solid picture book verse is to simply count out the meter:

He came into the house. (6 syllables)
And then he saw a mouse. (6 syllables)

This is a VERY simple example, but it illustrates a good starting point. It’s not a fail-proof system, (and, arguably, it can be a little stale) but it’s a solid place from which to begin. Just keep in mind that rhyming lines can be a syllable or two (or sometimes more) off, and still work, especially if the lines are longer. That’s simply because our typical speech pattern pushes compound words together or speeds though several small one-syllable words, etc. BUT, if you look closely at a book like Anna Dewdney’s Llama, Llama Red Pajama you’ll see that the verse is almost totally mathematical. With almost no exception, there are exactly the same number of syllables in rhyming lines, making it almost impossible to not hit the meter correctly — and making it just one of the reasons that it’s an approachable, enjoyable read-aloud and a great early reader choice.

 

And now, I come to the title of this post: Since picture books are often read out loud, it seems logical that that’s what we, the writers, need to do. Actually, let me rephrase that: IT’S IMPERATIVE. And, it’s certainly what I do, constantly. And, not only do I read my manuscripts-in-progress aloud ALONE (like some kind of crazy woman constantly speaking to her computer screen as if it’s a small child), I capture everyone I can find and force them to endure bits-and-pieces as I work through the manuscript.

Sample of actual dialog:

Me: I need to read this to you.
Kid: (insert eye roll and huff): Ok.
Me: Bla, bla, bla…
Kid: You read that to me yesterday.
Me: It’s not the same, I revised it.
Kid: Mom, can’t you read it to (other kid) then? You read it to me yesterday.
Me: It’ll just take a second.
Kid: (insert eye roll and huff): Fine.
Me: Bla, bla, bla… Ok, wait, that’s off. Here, ok (scribble note on page) … Let me start over…
Kid: Mom, are we out of Wheat Thins?

Here’s my point: You’ve read it out loud twenty times, but something changes when you read it to someone else. You are trying to get the CONTENT to come across and CREATE INTEREST WITH INFLECTION and, in doing that, you notice issues with the meter. Trying to make your point that the dog is SO FILTHY can throw off the pace of the entire couplet — and it needs to be fixed. (My other point is that my children don’t appreciate me, but that’s a story for another blog post.)

And then, once you’ve annoyed and alienated every person in your inner circle and a few strangers on the street, the next step is: Give it to someone who has never read it, and ask them to read it out loud to you. THIS is where your text is made or broken. THIS is where you discover stops and stumbles that you so smoothly are able to breeze over because it’s so familiar to you. THIS is where you find that you can quickly push together the syllables in “Unappreciated,” while it causes others to read it in such a way that makes the meter of the entire line two beats off. THIS is where you discover that your sister in North Carolina says “tired” as two syllables… (Again, probably a subject for another post…).

My editors tell me that they’ve passed the manuscript and, later, the layout around the office for read-alouds, even in the early/rough layout stages. There’s huge value in that step. My first request with every editor on each new project is this: “Once it is edited and the text is inserted into the layout, I’d like to have someone who has never seen or read it before read it aloud to both of us, on a conference call.” Every editor has been completely open to this step, and it offers both of us the assurance that it will read smoothly for every parent, teacher and librarian who picks it up to read. Sometimes, I request that a syllable be added or removed (take off the word, “then” on that line, or change “big” to “giant.”) Sometimes, we find problems with how the text is set in with the illustration (i.e. The reader didn’t see the word “flea” behind the dog’s ear.). We’ve both seen it so many times that it never occurred to us. But, thankfully, this final step is final peace-of-mind. (And, I’m not sleep-deprived with worry for the next year while it’s being printed and shipped from China.)

My final suggestion is tricky, because editors like their manuscripts formatted a certain way before they send them to copy-editing or off to agents for illustrator look-sees. But, writer-to-writer, I think it’s important that, if you want a certain word/phrase emphasized (bigger, bolder, hand-drawn, etc) or whispered (smaller, lighter, italicized, etc.) for the sake of meter (or content), include that note in your original manuscript and make sure to comment on it occasionally throughout the process. Most illustrators will likely do something special with the word, “EARTHQUAKE!!!” anyway — but it can’t hurt to make your thoughts known.

And so, to simply review: Count it out (literally), read it aloud (to yourself and anyone that will stand still), have someone new read it aloud — in manuscript AND in layout form, make suggestions for the illustrator or typesetter so that the final pages are read correctly.

As completely obvious as this all might seem (and, reading through it, I keep thinking that I’m incredibly dense that it took me so long to figure some of it out!), it’s reflective of a tremendous amount of frustration and trial-and-error. But I can happily report that, as of today, I have ten picture books in various stages of production, so, hopefully, there might be a small fleck of wisdom here that the next writer can find helpful. 

Happy writing, happy rhyming!
Sherri

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Goodnight          Steam Train

Buy Here            Buy Here

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About Sherri:
Sherri is the author of two #1 bestselling picture books, Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site and Steam Train, Dream Train. Cumulatively, these two books have spent over four years on the NYT Bestseller List.

Additionally, Sherri has numerous other projects in production, including Since There Was You, illustrated by Patrick McDonnell (spring 2016) and a sequel to Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site (spring 2017).

Sherri is passionate about children’s literacy and has had a life-long love of books. Her exciting school presentation, “Books Are Magic!” is designed to encourage and support students on the wondrous journey of reading and writing.

Email: visits@sherririnker.com

Like: facebook.com/GoodnightConstructionSite

Visit: SherriDuskeyRinker.com

RhyPiBoMo 2015 Optional Writing Prompt: 21

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This is NOT part of the pledge. It is an option for a writing exercise for those interested. You will not publically share this as part of RhyPiBoMo but may keep a journal of your writing this month for your own review.

*and

Today’s writing prompt is to choose your favorite rhyming picture book manuscript and read it out loud 20 times.

Next, find 5 people to read it out loud to you while you mark where they stumble or trip and on the words.

Revise and repeat until it is flawless!

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trumpets

We have a

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT

on Thursday

so don’t miss the blog!

Hmmm…I wonder what it is? Hee Hee!

 **

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Congratulations to Week 4 Prize Winners

Monday Manuscript Critique by Kristy Dempsey(Under 500 words)

Winner – Stephanie Salkin

Tuesday Copy of BLUE ON BLUE Donated by Dianne White

Winner – Charlotte Dixon

Wednesday Copy of A POETRY HANDBOOK Donated by Dianne White

Winner – Carrie Charley Brown

Thursday Manuscript Critique by Lori Mortensen (under 1000 words)

Winner – Al Lane

Friday Copy of The 20th CENTURY CHILDREN’S POETRY TREASURE Donated by Dianne White

Winner – Sherri Jones Rivers

(

Winners, PLEASE message me your information on Facebook

or email it to Angiekarcherrpbm@gmail.com

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 Don’t Miss the 

Friday Night BIG Finale Rhyming Party!

RhyPiBoMo 2015 Rhyming Party

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Writing in Rhyme to WOW! class logo

ONLY 1 spot left!

The $99.00 discounted price ends Thursday.

Do you enjoy writing rhyming picture books?

Do you find rhyme challenging?

Do you want to pep up your prose with poetic techniques?

Then this is the class for you!

image

Writing in Rhyme to WOW! is a 4 week course,

M-F with daily lessons, writing prompts, rhyme journaling, creating tools you will use, group poetry readings, webinars and critique groups, and a one-on-one webinar critique with Angie.

Each class begins on the first Monday of the month and the weekly group webinars are on Thursdays at 8:00 p.m. Central Standard Time, (Chicago Time) or at a time that best suits the group due to time zones of those involved.

I am beginning to sign people up for June and July!

If you register now for June or July, I will give you the $99.00 price!

Contact Angie with questions.

Sign up now before the classes are full!

Click here for more information!

*

*

*

Need a Rhyming Picture Book Critique?

Angie offers

rhyming picture book and poetry manuscript critiques.

A One Time critique is ($25.00) or a Twice Look critique is ($35.00)

See the tab above or click here for more information.

*

*A

RhyPiBoMo Gift Shop is Open!

Cafepress notebook

http://www.cafepress.com/rhypibomogiftshop

Please stop by and see what’s available this year. There are notebooks, mugs, buttons and more. All proceeds will go to WE NEED DIVERSE BOOKS!

Thank you Tanja Bauerle for these gorgeous images!!!

*

*

Official RhyPiBoMo 2015 Registration ended on April 8th.

If you are not officially registered you will not be able to participate in the Golden Quill Poetry Contest, in Rhyming Critique Groups or will not be eligible for daily prizes.

To see if you registered in time go to the Master Registration List on the drop down menu under the RhyPiBoMo Blog tab above.

*RhyPiBoMo 2015 Pledge

YouPlease comment below. You MUST add your FIRST and LAST names

You to be eligible for today’s prize!

RhyPiBoMo 2015 Day 21 Sherri Duskey Rinker

Aside

Welcome to

RhyPiBoMo 2015 Day 20

Laura Purdie Salas

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  RPBM 15 Laura Purdie Salas

Today’s guest blogger is an award-winning author with over 120 children’s books published to date. She says her first love is poetry and several of her latest books are in rhyme. She and author, Lisa Bullard, offer critiques, consultations, and guide books for children’s writers at Mentors for Rent. We can all use a second opinion on our work so stop by and let them take a peek. I am also very excited about the latest book in their series for writers called RHYMING PICTURE BOOKS: THE WRITE WAY. I immediately bought it read it cover to cover. It is full of great information that is pertinent to why we are all here! Check it out!

Rhyme book

Buy It Here

I am so happy to introduce

today’s guest blogger,

Laura Purdie Salas.

RhyPiBoMo 2015 Bird with Feather

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READER AGE AND MANUSCRIPT LENGTH: KEEP THOSE NUMBERS LOW!

The rhyming picture books that are being published today most often target the younger edge of the picture book market. Occasionally there are nonfiction rhyming picture books that appeal to elementary-school readers, but the true sweet spot for most rhyming picture books is the preschool set.

A problem that often crops up when Mentors for Rent is critiquing rhyming verse manuscripts is that many of them actually target older readers, even upper elementary-aged readers. We usually have to advise the writer to revise their work so that it is a better fit for all those editors who seem to prefer preschool-appropriate picture books. Pieces in rhyming verse for an older elementary audience might work well as poems published in magazines that target these older readers, but they usually won’t work as well for picture books.

So when approaching your rhyming picture book, remember to shrink your vision to a time when you were knee-high in the world!

And don’t just shrink your vision—shrink your word count! Rhyming picture books, like picture books in general, are shrinking! Many new rhyming picture books are 100 words or less. It takes restraint and creativity to tell a story in so few words.
Some of my favorite rhyming picture books feature just four or five words per spread. What can you cover in so few words? A lot!

* Think Big, by Liz Garton Scanlon, follows kids putting on a show—in 61 words.
* An Island Grows, by Lola M. Schaefer, shows the formation of a new island in 119 words.
* Eight Days Gone, by Linda McReynolds, tells the true story of the Apollo 11 mission of 1969 (155 words).

So, you’re not off the hook for covering a lot of ground in a very short book. The key is to make every word count. Avoid filler words like “the” and “a” when you can. Delete useless words like “very” and “so.” We often see writers using these words just to make the rhythm work. But every single word needs to contribute to story and mood. It can’t just be short. It has to be short and evocative, specific, and meaningful!
Here’s a not-great quatrain:

Kids are singing very loud
Kids are singing very proud
Voices carry, sure and strong
Not a single note is wrong

That’s 21 words, and it does tell us information—that the kids are singing loud and singing well.

Here’s how Liz Garton Scanlon conveys that in Think Big:

Big voice
On pitch

Four words. That’s it. And “pitch” rhymes with “stitch” on the next page.

In Rebecca Kai Dotlich’s All Aboard, she describes trains whistling across prairies and through storms, always staying on schedule. You could write that in a boring way, like:

Across the dark and quiet plain
there goes a racing, whistling train.
Over prairies and mountains they climb.
Even through storms, they stay on time.

Not Dotlich. She writes:

Trains whistle through prairies,
a long, steel sweep.
Through thunder and wind,
they have schedules to keep.

Dotlich’s version is eight words shorter and more compelling and vivid!
Start out with a situation or topic that will either be familiar to preschoolers (or, at the oldest, primary grade students) or will fascinate them. Explore or celebrate your topic using few words, and make sure all your words are fabulous ones! Then you’ll be on your way to writing a fantastic rhyming picture book!

–Laura Purdie Salas and Lisa Bullard

The material in this post is excerpted from Rhyming Picture Books: The Write Way, by Laura Purdie Salas and Lisa Bullard. Laura is the author of more than 120 books, including several rhyming picture books, such as A Rock Can Be…, Water Can Be…, and Move It! Work It! A Song About Simple Machines. Lisa Bullard is the author of more than 80 books for young readers, including her middle grade mystery novel Turn Left at the Cow. Her first published book was a rhyming picture book called Not Enough Beds! Laura and Lisa offer critiques, consultations, and guide books for children’s writers at Mentors for Rent.

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About Laura:

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As a kid, Laura Purdie Salas devoured books. Her big sisters, Gail, Patty, and Janet, taught her to read when she was 4, and she read for hours every day, despite constant orders from her parents to “Go outside and get some fresh air!” Since she grew up in Florida, she heard these dreaded words all year long. If she was forced outside, she climbed up to the treehouse or lay on the trampoline, reading.

Books were like pieces of magic, conjured up to entertain her, keep her company, and show her the whole world before disappearing into the library return drop as if they had never existed. It never occurred to her that real people actually wrote those books.

College was the first time she considered a career in the publishing field. After graduating with an English degree, she worked first as a magazine editor, and then as an 8th-grade English teacher. While teaching, she rediscovered her love for children’s literature. She began to focus on children’s writing, and she never looked back.

Laura has published more than 120 books for kids and teens. Although she’s written many nonfiction books, her first love is poetry. Her books include the award-winning BOOKSPEAK! POEMS ABOUT BOOKS (Clarion, 2011—Minnesota Book Award, NCTE Notable, Bank Street Best Book, Eureka! Gold Medal, and more), and the rhyming nonfiction books A LEAF CAN BE… (Millbrook, 2012–Bank Street Best Books, IRA Teachers’ Choice, Riverby Award for Nature Books for Young Readers, and more) and WATER CAN BE…. (Millbrook, 2014). She enjoys helping kids find poems they can relate to, no matter what their age, mood, and personality.

Laura and her family live in the Minneapolis areas, and she still devours books.
See more about Laura and her work at http://www.laurasalas.com

water

Buy Here

WATER CAN BE… (Millbrook Press, 2014 – STARRED reviews in Kirkus and Publishers Weekly)

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leaf

Buy Here

A LEAF CAN BE… (Millbrook Press, 2012)

bookspeak

Buy Here

BOOKSPEAK! POEMS ABOUT BOOKS (Clarion, 2011)
and more than 100 nonfiction books for kids
http://www.laurasalas.com

 

RhyPiBoMo 2015 Optional Writing Prompt: 20

*
This is NOT part of the pledge. It is an option for a writing exercise for those interested. You will not publically share this as part of RhyPiBoMo but may keep a journal of your writing this month for your own review.

*

Today’s writing prompt is to write one of your rhyming manuscripts in 100 words or less. Next, try it in 75 words, and then in 50 words…

For example:

Deborah Underwood 2

Buy Here

 Bad Bye, Good Bye by Deborah Underwood

*

(

(

Congratulations to Week 4 Prize Winners

Monday      Manuscript Critique by Kristy Dempsey(Under 500 words)

Winner – Stephanie Salkin

Tuesday      Copy of BLUE ON BLUE Donated by Dianne White

Winner – Charlotte Dixon

Wednesday    Copy of A POETRY HANDBOOK Donated by Dianne White

Winner – Carrie Charley Brown

Thursday    Manuscript Critique by Lori Mortensen (under 1000 words)

Winner – Al Lane

Friday     Copy of The 20th CENTURY CHILDREN’S POETRY TREASURE Donated by Dianne White

Winner – Sherri Jones Rivers

(

Winners, PLEASE message me your information on Facebook

or email it to Angiekarcherrpbm@gmail.com

*

*

*

 

          A Friday night BIG Finale Rhyming Party!

RhyPiBoMo 2015 Rhyming Party

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*

**

Writing in Rhyme to WOW! class logo

Do you enjoy writing rhyming picture books?

Do you find rhyme challenging?

Do you want to pep up your prose with poetic techniques?

Then this is the class for you!

image

Writing in Rhyme to WOW! is a 4 week course,

M-F with daily lessons, writing prompts, rhyme journaling, creating tools you will use, group poetry readings, webinars and critique groups, and a one-on-one webinar critique with Angie.

Each class begins on the first Monday of the month and the weekly group webinars are on Thursdays at 8:00 p.m. Central Standard Time, (Chicago Time) or at a time that best suits the group due to time zones of those involved.

I am beginning to sign people up for June and July!

If you register now for June or July, I will give you the $99.00 price!

Contact Angie with questions.

Sign up now before the classes are full!

Click here for more information!

*

*

*

Need a Rhyming Picture Book Critique?

Angie offers

rhyming picture book and poetry manuscript critiques.

A One Time critique is ($25.00) or a Twice Look critique is ($35.00)

See the tab above or click here for more information.

*

*A

RhyPiBoMo Gift Shop is Open!

Cafepress notebook

http://www.cafepress.com/rhypibomogiftshop

Please stop by and see what’s available this year. There are notebooks, mugs, buttons and more. All proceeds will go to WE NEED DIVERSE BOOKS!

Thank you Tanja Bauerle for these gorgeous images!!!

*

*

Official RhyPiBoMo 2015 Registration ended on April 8th.

If you are not officially registered you will not be able to participate in the Golden Quill Poetry Contest, in Rhyming Critique Groups or will not be eligible for daily prizes.

To see if you registered in time go to the Master Registration List on the drop down menu under the RhyPiBoMo Blog tab above.

*RhyPiBoMo 2015 Pledge

YouPlease comment below. You MUST add your FIRST and LAST names

You to be eligible for today’s prize!

RhyPiBoMo Day 20 Laura Purdie Salas

Aside

Welcome to

RhyPiBoMo 2015 Day 19

Rene’ Diane Aube

Rene

*

Today’s guest blogger is a new writer friend I made via Facebook! I was browsing one evening and came across the picture of her storyboard that she had made and I loved it! I immediately messaged her, told her who I was, what RhyPiBoMo was and asked if she would be a guest blogger…she said, “Are you sure you want me?” I said, “Absolutely! RhyPiBoMo is about sharing ideas to help us all get better at what we do.” I was so impressed that she took Sudipta’s class, made her storyboard and then shared it with others…so nice and really what this virtual writing community is about!

I am so happy

to introduce

Rene’ Diane Aube

RhyPiBoMo 2015 Bird with FeatherRD

*SB1

When I posted the picture of my FINALLY-finished storyboard on Meg Miller’s ReviMo Facebook page in February, I never dreamt it would lead to my first invitation as a guest blogger. I was simply excited to get ‘er done! But, lo and behold, Angie fell in love with it and…well…here it goes!

SB 2

*
When I designed the board, I was engrossed in one of Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen’s writing classes. I decided to draw her format onto my board to re-inforce what I had been learning. (You can find out more about her classes at http://www.kidlitwritingschool.com. Be sure to check out her website, too, http://www.sudipta.com ).

*SB

I chose red marker to outline spreads representing end matter. You know, where those adorable and sometimes funny illustrations appear to get you excited about the book? You also find the title page, publisher’s page, and author’s dedications on these pages. Red = Story text does not appear here. *Please note: Since designing my board, I have noticed many books with the publisher’s page at the end of the book.*

*SB 3

Spreads outlined in blue represent your “Proposition.” Text begins on these pages. Your main character is introduced, his/her conflict, and attempts to solve them. Do the main character’s attempts escalate? Is there enough action? Blue = Flow of text.

*SB 5

Orange spreads represent the height of your climax, or “Volta” ~ where your main character has a change of heart/learns something. He/she resolves the problem. Do you have enough? Can your illustrator fill the pages with fabulous fanfare? How is your word count? Orange = Hot and distinguishable conclusion.

*SB 4

The curved line represents “Story Arc.” Where does your climax appear? Do you have enough text/resolution attempts? Does resolution come quickly and have a satisfying end?
When I storyboard, I use sticky notes. I seek answers to the questions above. I have a lot to learn about storyboarding for pacing and page turns, but, hey, it’s early in my writing journey.
Just for fun and demonstrative purposes, I storyboarded my first published story, “Jesus Changes Everything” from the September 2014 issue of THE KIDS ARK magazine. I excluded visual descriptions since I was pretending it was a picture book.

*

May storyboarding catapult you closer to publication. Happy boarding 

*

*

Here are step – by – step directions for my Story Book Board Dummy. By all means, alter them to suit YOUR time/tastes/needs/space.

*

Materials:

23″ X 35″ Wood framed bulletin board *mine was a homeschooling left over*
Acrylic crafting paint
Paint glitter *sold in Lowe’s paint department*
White paper *I used printer*
1” Decorative tape
Old fashioned letter stencils *yup ~ the kind you trace around and cut out*
Construction paper AND cardboard *Fancy Feast cat food cardboard worked well*
Ruler/yardstick
Pencil/Markers
Glue stick AND 527 crafting glue
Regular Glitter
Stapler

*

1. Mix paint glitter with paint

2. Paint bulletin board frame ~ let dry

3. Staple paper over cork

4. Divide/draw a grid: 4 rectangles down by 8 across…mine are not even, but I’m sure you will do MUCH better :)

5. Using markers, draw over grid lines to mark out the END PAGES, PROPOSITION, and RESOLUTION of your story.

6. Label FRONT MATTER, SPREAD and PAGE NUMBERS, and END page

7. Add the STORY ARC

8. Apply decorative tape

9. Make letters and decorate them to your heart’s content. *I made them by hand because I didn’t want to go out and buy ready-made ones.*

10. Glue letters to your board with 527. *I tried the 3M double-sided sticky squares with only construction paper letters only to discover they didn’t hold up in humidity ~ thus duplicating the letters with cardboard and gluing them together.*

*

Like I said, there are a LOT of variations that would make this process far easier. JUST HAVE FUN! And don’t be afraid to tie it in with that manuscript of your heart, I did!

*

About Rene':
Rene` Diane Aube is wife to Chuck, mother to Michael, Joel, and Kevin, and grandmother of four whom she affectionately calls “grandies.” Oh, yes, and too many cats and one fabulous horse! Her long-dreamed-of writing journey began her fiftieth year, 2011, as she and hubby bickered over renovations on a vintage camper. After overcoming some fears and insecurities ~ well, somewhat ~ she plunged into and completed several writing courses including the Institute of Children’s Literature and Susanna Leonard Hill’s “Making Picture Book Magic.” She was rewarded with her first publication in September 2014 in THE KIDS ARK magazine, Volume 8/Issue 3. Polishing picture book manuscripts, devouring the overwhelming world of publishing, and studying in on-line writers’ groups/challenges like Meg Miller’s “Word By Word,” Carrie Charley Brown’s “ReFoReMo,” and, of course, Angie Karcher’s “RhyPiBoMo” keep her brain bubbling after grandies are tucked into bed. She is a member of SCBWI and Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 Challenge as a Little Golden Book participant.*

 

RhyPiBoMo 2015 Optional Writing Prompt: 19

*
This is NOT part of the pledge. It is an option for a writing exercise for those interested. You will not publically share this as part of RhyPiBoMo but may keep a journal of your writing this month for your own review.

*

Today’s writing prompt is more of a craft project…to create your own reusable story board! This is a bit time consuming but will last you for years and will help your writing soar!!! DO IT!!!

For example:

This is my story board I made after I saw Diane’s on Facebook. I think it took me about 2 hours to make mine from start to finish. I was using it within the third hour and I LOVE IT!!!

My SB1

I made my storyboard from an unused bulletin board. I glued burlap on the back and ribbon inside the frame. The burlap is nice because you don’t see holes from the pushpins as you do with a paper background ~ which make me crazy for some reason.

My Sb2

This is how I folded the corners and stapled it with a staple gun.

My SB4

I put pushpins around the edge to hold ribbon dividers.

My SB3

This is the thin ribbon that I used to create the grid. Sorry this is blurry!

MySB5

The vertical lines…the nice thing about pushpins and ribbon is you can change your grid configuration if you need to.

My SB6

The finished product ready for Post-its with text on them!

I will share the one with the Post-its tomorrow as my brother is visiting and asleep in my guest room/office. And, I can’t go take a picture! AcK! Look for it soon!

RhyPiBoMo 2015 Bird with Feather

*

It’s “Friday Favorites” day again!

Today is the day that I ask you to choose one of the rhyming picture books that you read this week as part of the challenge and share it with the world. Post a picture of it on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.) and a link to the authors blog, a link to a book store or a link to anywhere people can find it and buy it. This is the day we celebrate all the wonderful rhyming picture books out in the world already! These authors are our heroes and heroines. We should celebrate the hard work it took them to get to publication! We should buy these books ourselves if we can and share them with friends and family.

Now is the time to promote great rhyme!

I was thrilled that so many of you shared your favorite rhyming picture books last Friday! Thank you! See if we can post even more today!

*

What if you are not on social media?

That is no problem. Just share titles with friends, family, teachers, librarians, book store owners…anyone who will listen. Word of mouth is very powerful! Go to a book store and ask for a specific title. If they don’t have it ask them to order it. You can certainly do our part without social media!

It would be great if you would also add the link to my blog so folks can see what we are doing here.

Here’s the link:

https://angiekarcher.wordpress.com/2015/04/02/rhypibomo-2015-day-2-nikki-grimes/?preview=true&preview_id=3722&preview_nonce=51465bf1a5&post_format=aside

*

*

Golden Quill Poetry Contest

The Golden Quill Poetry Contest is open for submissions.

The deadline is this Saturday, April 25th midnight Central Time.

And…did I mention the prizes?

1st place – A Manuscript Critique by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen

2nd place – A Scholarship for Non-Fiction Archeology by Kristen Fulton

3rd place – A Scholarship for Pacing Picture Books to WOW! Class by Agent Jodell Sadler

*

PLEASE make sure you read the contest rules and follow them exactly. Unfortunately, due to the number of poems we will receive, a poem will be disqualified if it does not follow the guidelines exactly. This is only fair to those who did follow the rules and is good practice for us as writers because editors expect those guidelines to be followed to the letter.

*

Contest Rules:

First and Last name included in the body of the email at the top left

Email address included in the body of the email at the top left

Phone number – top left

Space down 5 spaces

The Theme is: Freedom

Title of poem – centered with no by line or name here

8 line limit

Must be a rhyming poem

You will be judged on clever title, rhyme scheme, rhythm, scansion, perfect rhyming words, internal rhyme, alliteration, consonance, assonance, onomatopoeia, and clever ending.

Email poems to Angiekarcherrpbm@gmail.com

by April 25th midnight central time

*

*

*

Writing in Rhyme to WOW! class logo

Do you enjoy writing rhyming picture books?

Do you find rhyme challenging?

Do you want to pep up your prose with poetic techniques?

Then this is the class for you!

image

Writing in Rhyme to WOW! is a 4 week course,

M-F with daily lessons, writing prompts, rhyme journaling, creating tools you will use, group poetry readings, webinars and critique groups, and a one-on-one webinar critique with Angie.

Each class begins on the first Monday of the month and the weekly group webinars are on Thursdays at 8:00 p.m. Central Standard Time, (Chicago Time) or at a time that best suits the group due to time zones of those involved.

I am beginning to sign people up for June and July!

If you register now for June or July, I will give you the $99.00 price!

Contact Angie with questions.

Sign up now before the classes are full!

Click here for more information!

*

*

*

Need a Rhyming Picture Book Critique?

Angie offers

rhyming picture book and poetry manuscript critiques.

A One Time critique is ($25.00) or a Twice Look critique is ($35.00)

See the tab above or click here for more information.

*

*A

RhyPiBoMo Gift Shop is Open!

Cafepress notebook

http://www.cafepress.com/rhypibomogiftshop

Please stop by and see what’s available this year. There are notebooks, mugs, buttons and more. All proceeds will go to WE NEED DIVERSE BOOKS!

Thank you Tanja Bauerle for these gorgeous images!!!

*

*

Official RhyPiBoMo 2015 Registration ended on April 8th.

If you are not officially registered you will not be able to participate in the Golden Quill Poetry Contest, in Rhyming Critique Groups or will not be eligible for daily prizes.

To see if you registered in time go to the Master Registration List on the drop down menu under the RhyPiBoMo Blog tab above.

*RhyPiBoMo 2015 Pledge

YouPlease comment below. You MUST add your FIRST and LAST names

You to be eligible for today’s prize!

RhyPiBoMo 2015 Day 19 Rene’ Diane Aube

Aside

Welcome to

RhyPiBoMo 2015 Day 18

Lori Mortensen

Lori 1

Today’s guest blogger is an award-winning author of over 70 books, several of which sit on my bookshelves in my “near-and-dear” section!  Her books have great humor and amazing stories with satisfying and unexpected endings. What more do you want from a picture book?

I too have an engineer husband who likes to bake (how lucky are we!) so we will have to exchange recipes. I’m so happy she’s here to share how to avoid writing bland picture books. As she will tell you, the key ingredient to perfect picture books is a well-structured story arc.

I am pleased

to introduce

Lori Mortensen.

*RhyPiBoMo 2015 Bird with Feather

Full of Beans

*

My husband recently tried a new brownie recipe made almost entirely of beans.   I know–beans! What’s up with that? But when my engineering husband inherited a bunch of dried beans from a friend, he was determined to find new ways to use them. In the end, there were so many beans in the brownies, the whole thing tasted boringly bland.  (That doesn’t mean I didn’t eat a few–they were the only brownies in the house–lol!)

*
Picture books can be bland too. Even though your manuscript may contain some important story elements such as a catchy title, fun opening hook, and an appealing main character with a problem, it’s all for naught without a strong story arc.

*
As a writing instructor for the past nine years, I’ve seen the lack of one a million times. A character starts out okay, then the action flat lines into random scenes that don’t add up no matter how much “imagination” the author has packed in.

*
So what is a story arc? Story arc is the rise in action that pulls the reader towards the climatic peak of the story problem. Will the main character succeed . . . or fail? Once this is resolved, the story quickly comes to its satisfying conclusion. The story arc goes up, up, up, reaches the peak, then arcs over the top and stops.

*
If you read picture books with this arc in mind, you’ll see this winning story structure over and over. My latest releases are good examples of this. In my rhyming picture book, Cowpoke Clyde and Dirty Dawg, for example, Cowpoke Clyde sets out to catch his dirty dog for a bath. This is the beginning of the story arc. As Clyde tries and fails to catch his dog, the story arc rises and tension builds.  Finally, after getting kicked in a ditch by his mule, the story reaches its climatic moment in the story arc. Will Cowpoke Clyde ever catch his ol’ dirty dawg? It was fun to write the fun and unexpected resolution. (That’s another important story element for another blog.) In the end, Clyde and Dawg both end up in the tub, but not the way Clyde (or the reader) imagined.

*
In my rhyming picture book Cindy Moo, a cow on the Diddle Farm vows to jump over the moon just like the cow she’d heard about in a nursery rhyme. Like Clyde, the story arc rises as Cindy Moo tries one thing, then another. Finally, when it seems as if she’s doomed to fail, the story reaches its climatic moment in the story arc. Was she ever going to jump over the moon? In the next page-turning moment, Cindy Moo resolves her problem in a fun and unexpected way, bringing the story to its satisfying conclusion.

*
If you’re scratching your head over one of your manuscripts, maybe it’s full of beans just like my hubby’s brownies. The solution? Ditch the boring beans and pack it with an irresistible story arc that goes up, up, up (and keep readers turning pages) until it peaks at the top and ends with a fun, yet unexpected conclusion. (Oh, yeah–ditch the beans in brownies too.)

*

*

About Lori:
Lori Mortensen is an award-winning children’s book author of more than 70 books and over 350 stories and articles. Recent titles include Cowpoke Clyde & Dirty Dawg, (Clarion, 2013) one of Amazon’s best picture books of 2013, Cindy Moo (HarperCollins, 2012), Come See the Earth Turn – The Story of Léon Foucault (Random House, 2010), a Smithsonian Notable Book for Children, 2010, and In the Trees Honey Bees! (Dawn, 2009) a 2010 NSTA/CBC Outstanding Science Book K-12 Winner. When she’s not removing her cat from her keyboard, she follows her literary nose wherever it leads and works on all sorts of projects that delight her writing soul. Lori lives in Northern California with her family.

*

For more information, visit her website at http://www.lorimortensen.com.

 

Lori 2          Lori 3

Buy Here              Buy Here

*

lori@lorimortensen.com

Cowpoke Clyde and Dirty Dawg, Clarion, 2013
“Plumb funny fer sure.”—Starred Kirkus Review

Cindy Moo, HarperCollins, 2012
“Mo(ooo)ve aside your other cow tales, because this lovable bovine really does take off.”—Booklist

Come See the Earth Turn: The Story of Leon Foucault, Random House, 2010
“Readers will marvel at the genius of this little-known scientific wizard.”—John Peters, School Library Journal

In the Trees, Honey Bees! Dawn Publications, 2009
“Children may never view honey bees in the same way again.”—The Children’s Hour.

*

Coming Soon!

Cowpoke Clyde Rides the Range, Clarion, Spring 2016
Chicken Lily, Henry Holt, Winter 2016
Mousequerade Ball, Bloomsbury, 2016
Away With Words – The Daring Story of Isabella Bird, Peachtree, 2017

 

RhyPiBoMo 2015 Optional Writing Prompt: 18

*
This is NOT part of the pledge. It is an option for a writing exercise for those interested. You will not publically share this as part of RhyPiBoMo but may keep a journal of your writing this month for your own review.

*

Today’s writing prompt is to write an outline for one of your works-in-progress that gives it a great title, a grabbing hook, several increasingly tension stirring moments that lead to one big problem that is ultimately solved by the child protagonist. Make sure it has an unexpected,  satisfying ending that keeps them coming back for more!

*

*

For example: Story Arc

Catchy Title

Great Hook

Tense Moment #1

Tense Moment #2

Tense Moment #3

Peak Moment of Tension

Child Character Solves the Problem

Unexpected, Satisfying Ending

 

 

RhyPiBoMo 2015 Bird with Feather

 *

Golden Quill Poetry Contest

The Golden Quill Poetry Contest is open for submissions.

The deadline is this Saturday, April 25th midnight Central Time.

And…did I mention the prizes?

1st place – A Manuscript Critique by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen

2nd place – A Scholarship for Non-Fiction Archeology by Kristen Fulton

3rd place – A Scholarship for Pacing Picture Books to WOW! Class by Agent Jodell Sadler

*

PLEASE make sure you read the contest rules and follow them exactly. Unfortunately, due to the number of poems we will receive, a poem will be disqualified if it does not follow the guidelines exactly. This is only fair to those who did follow the rules and is good practice for us as writers because editors expect those guidelines to be followed to the letter.

*

Contest Rules:

First and Last name included in the body of the email at the top left

Email address included in the body of the email at the top left

Phone number – top left

Space down 5 spaces

The Theme is: Freedom

Title of poem – centered with no by line or name here

8 line limit

Must be a rhyming poem

You will be judged on clever title, rhyme scheme, rhythm, scansion, perfect rhyming words, internal rhyme, alliteration, consonance, assonance, onomatopoeia, and clever ending.

Email poems to Angiekarcherrpbm@gmail.com

by April 25th midnight central time

*

*

*

Writing in Rhyme to WOW! class logo

Do you enjoy writing rhyming picture books?

Do you find rhyme challenging?

Do you want to pep up your prose with poetic techniques?

Then this is the class for you!

image

Writing in Rhyme to WOW! is a 4 week course,

M-F with daily lessons, writing prompts, rhyme journaling, creating tools you will use, group poetry readings, webinars and critique groups, and a one-on-one webinar critique with Angie.

Each class begins on the first Monday of the month and the weekly group webinars are on Thursdays at 8:00 p.m. Central Standard Time, (Chicago Time) or at a time that best suits the group due to time zones of those involved.

I am beginning to sign people up for June and July!

If you register now for June or July, I will give you the $99.00 price!

Contact Angie with questions.

Sign up now before the classes are full!

Click here for more information!

*

*

*

Need a Rhyming Picture Book Critique?

Angie offers

rhyming picture book and poetry manuscript critiques.

A One Time critique is ($25.00) or a Twice Look critique is ($35.00)

See the tab above or click here for more information.

*

*A

RhyPiBoMo Gift Shop is Open!

Cafepress notebook

http://www.cafepress.com/rhypibomogiftshop

Please stop by and see what’s available this year. There are notebooks, mugs, buttons and more. All proceeds will go to WE NEED DIVERSE BOOKS!

Thank you Tanja Bauerle for these gorgeous images!!!

*

*

Official RhyPiBoMo 2015 Registration ended on April 8th.

If you are not officially registered you will not be able to participate in the Golden Quill Poetry Contest, in Rhyming Critique Groups or will not be eligible for daily prizes.

To see if you registered in time go to the Master Registration List on the drop down menu under the RhyPiBoMo Blog tab above.

*RhyPiBoMo 2015 Pledge

Please comment below. You MUST add your FIRST and LAST names

to be eligible for today’s prize!

RhyPiBoMo 2015 Day 18 Lori Mortensen

Aside

Welcome to

RhyPiBoMo 2015 Day 17

Miranda Paul

RhyPiBoMo 2015 Guest Blogger Badge  Miranda_Paul_Headshot_2015

*

Today’s guest blogger is a friend with whom I had the pleasure of meeting last summer at Kristen Fulton’s WOW Retreat in Georgia. It was the best week of my writing life as I met SO many of my virtual writing friends in person and signed with my wonderful agent Kenda Marcus of BookStop Literary! Mirada taught an amazing session that week and it was full of great ideas, motivating writing tips and loads of resources. I am so happy she is here to help us celebrate Non-Fiction and Earth Day with her environmentally friendly books!

I am pleased

to introduce

Miranda Paul

*RhyPiBoMo 2015 Bird with Feather

The Science of Poetry: A Look at

Rhythmic Nonfiction

^

The craft of writing books for children straddles the line between science and art. When I’m working on a nonfiction manuscript, it feels like I’m alternating between a paint-by-number kit and a laboratory experiment—with an outcome I can’t fully predict.

If you haven’t immersed yourself in newer nonfiction for young readers, you’re missing out. Today’s rhythmic and rhyming nonfiction picture books and poetry collections are quite remarkable. Here are five things I’ve noticed about some of my favorite titles.

1. Clear format or pattern
When working with a nonfiction concept or historically-based story, bending and twisting facts to change the plot isn’t an option. But establishing a different way to tell the story is an option.

If you’re exploring a concept that’s been done already, you might find a fresh, new format or pattern to use. For example, I chose a very unique stanza rhythm for my forthcoming book, Water is Water, which involves a concept (the water cycle) that’s been written about many times over.

Bus 1 copy

 

Bus 2 copy

 

Art from Water is Water © Jason Chin 2015. http://www.jasonchin.net

*

If you’re dealing with subject matter that is unique or unfamiliar to your audience, the opposite strategy may apply. Choosing an established format or pattern might balance the scales. Example: The Mangrove Tree by Cindy Trumbore and Susan L. Roth is about an environmentalist that many children will not recognize. Although it is not a rhyming book, they use a familiar pattern (The House that Jack Built / cumulative style) to make the text itself recognizable and/or predictable.

Mangrove copy

2. Consideration of audience
Along the lines of #1, some of my favorite nonfiction titles are brilliant in the way that they take a complex subject and make it engaging for children, or bring depth and wonder to a seemingly simple topic.

We often choose our subjects based on what we’re interested in—at least, I know I do. But the key for me is to take that concept or subject and ask what I’d be interested in about that topic if I were between the ages of four and eight. I also consider what I would already know, and what I wouldn’t.

Some books that find the balance between simplifying the complex and layering the simple in ways that engage children are:

rock copy

A Rock Can Be… by Laura Purdie Salas, illustrated by Violeta Dabija

Eggs copy

Eggs 1, 2, 3: Who Will the Babies Be? by Janet Halfmann, illustrated by Betsy Thompson

African Animals copy

African Animals ABC by Philippa-Alys Browne

Nest copy

Mama Built a Little Nest by Jennifer Ward, illustrated by Steve Jenkins

*

*

3. Re-Readability
This is my favorite quality of well-written rhyming books or poetry. The ease with which a child can memorize a text are part of what render a story successful, at least to me.

While things such as illustrations and an adult-child bond will inevitably contribute toward whether a book gets re-read, there are other factors that help a book’s chances of being loved until it’s spine is worn.

-Economy of words
If you can say something in fewer words, do.

Green copy

Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

-Impeccable rhythm
Make the adult reader a rock star with meter and rhyme that’s obvious, infectious, and smooth.

Do you know copy

Do You Know Which Ones Will Grow? by Susan A. Shea

-Forward motion

Consider page breaks and the order of concepts/events to build anticipation.

Island copy

An Island Grows by Lola M. Schaefer, illustrated by Cathie Felstead

-Layers
Conscientious writers take care with details, making the story appreciated more and more over time. Word choice, back matter, and the overall presentation elevate a simple story to one that touches readers, reaches wider audiences, or invites further study.

Cookies copy

Who Put the Cookies in the Cookie Jar? by George Shannon, illustrated by Julie Paschkis

*

What do you think? Can any nonfiction subject be explored through poetry? Written about in rhyme? What other elements have made nonfiction picture books successful? Which titles are your favorites?

Feel free to leave a comment below!

*

*

About Miranda:

Miranda Paul is a children’s writer who is passionate about creating stories for young readers that inspire, entertain, and broaden horizons. In addition to more than 50 short stories for magazines and digital markets, Miranda is the author of several forthcoming picture books from imprints of Lerner, Macmillan, and Random House. Her debut, One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia, and her second book, Water is Water were both named Junior Library Guild selections. She is the Executive VP of Outreach for We Need Diverse Books™ (www.diversebooks.org) and the administrator of RateYourStory.org, a site for aspiring writers. Miranda believes in working hard, having fun, and being kind.

*

One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia – illus. Elizabeth Zunon – Lerner, now available

Water is Water – illus. Jason Chin – Macmillan, May 26, 2015

Helping Hands – illus. Luciana Navarro Powell – Lerner, Spring 2016

10 Little Ninjas – illus. Nate Wragg – Knopf/Random House, August 2016

Are We Pears Yet? – illus. Carin Berger – Macmillan, Spring 2017

Learn more at http://www.mirandapaul.com.

Water is water                  One plastic bag

Buy Here                 Buy Here

 

 

 

RhyPiBoMo 2015 Optional Writing Prompt: 17

*
This is NOT part of the pledge. It is an option for a writing exercise for those interested. You will not publically share this as part of RhyPiBoMo but may keep a journal of your writing this month for your own review.

*

Today’s writing prompt is to write a rhyming poem about a non-fiction subject.

For example:

*

Une Soldier de France

 

The visions came of victory sought.

When seventeen, he bravely fought.

Though never trained to ride a horse,

his knowledge brought strategic force.

His battle standards fit quite loose

and led France to an English truce.

He proudly stood to honor France

but hadn’t learned their song and dance.

The French Commander asked to see

the George who set French captives free.

His ‘nom de plume,’ George Sand appeared.

His physique was small and sans un beard?

None could deny he’d left his mark.

Then proudly said, “I’m Joan of Arc.”

She spoke with courage beyond her years,

convincing all to calm their fears.

France had been saved by this young lass

who was born beneath their higher class.

How could George be a soldier girl?

The French folk’s oyster’s magic pearl.

With her little education learned

this saintly soldier soon got burned.

The commander shamed by a female’s grace

praised her to save his royal face.

Some said her mysterious, witchy, ways

would bring France shame in future days.

They questioned her with sneaky hooks

and demanded answers with tortured looks.

The flames erased her sketchy past.

T’was too late…when her name was cleared, at last.

Joan sacrificed to help her fellow man

who couldn’t do what a woman can!

© 2012 Angie Karcher

 

 

RhyPiBoMo 2015 Bird with Feather

Congratulations to Week 3 Prize Winners

*

Monday Copy of THE BOAT OF MANY ROOMS Donated by J. Patrick Lewis
Winner – Ann Magee

Tuesday Copy of GROUNDHOG’S DILEMMA (Dec/2015) Donated by Kristen Remenar
Winner – Aimee Haburjak

Wednesday Manuscript Critique by Kristen Remenar
Winner – Kenda Henthorn

Thursday Manuscript Critique by Iza Trapani
Winner – Kristi Veitenheimer

Friday Manuscript Critique by Tim McCanna
Winner – Caroline Twomey

 

Winners, PLEASE message me your information on Facebook

or email it to Angiekarcherrpbm@gmail.com

 

**

*

Golden Quill Poetry Contest

The Golden Quill Poetry Contest is open for submissions.

The deadline is this Saturday, April 25th midnight Central Time.

And…did I mention the prizes?

1st place – A Manuscript Critique by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen

2nd place – A Scholarship for Non-Fiction Archeology by Kristen Fulton

3rd place – A Scholarship for Pacing Picture Books to WOW! Class by Agent Jodell Sadler

*

PLEASE make sure you read the contest rules and follow them exactly. Unfortunately, due to the number of poems we will receive, a poem will be disqualified if it does not follow the guidelines exactly. This is only fair to those who did follow the rules and is good practice for us as writers because editors expect those guidelines to be followed to the letter.

*

Contest Rules:

First and Last name included in the body of the email at the top left

Email address included in the body of the email at the top left

Phone number – top left

Space down 5 spaces

The Theme is: Freedom

Title of poem – centered with no by line or name here

8 line limit

Must be a rhyming poem

You will be judged on clever title, rhyme scheme, rhythm, scansion, perfect rhyming words, internal rhyme, alliteration, consonance, assonance, onomatopoeia, and clever ending.

Email poems to Angiekarcherrpbm@gmail.com

by April 25th midnight central time

*

*

*

Writing in Rhyme to WOW! class logo

Do you enjoy writing rhyming picture books?

Do you find rhyme challenging?

Do you want to pep up your prose with poetic techniques?

Then this is the class for you!

image

Writing in Rhyme to WOW! is a 4 week course,

M-F with daily lessons, writing prompts, rhyme journaling, creating tools you will use, group poetry readings, webinars and critique groups, and a one-on-one webinar critique with Angie.

Each class begins on the first Monday of the month and the weekly group webinars are on Thursdays at 8:00 p.m. Central Standard Time, (Chicago Time) or at a time that best suits the group due to time zones of those involved.

I am beginning to sign people up for June and July!

If you register now for June or July, I will give you the $99.00 price!

Contact Angie with questions.

Sign up now before the classes are full!

Click here for more information!

*

*

*

Need a critique?

Angie is now offering

rhyming picture book and poetry manuscript critiques.

A One Time critique is ($25.00) or a Twice Look critique is ($35.00)

See the tab above or click here for more information.

*

*A

RhyPiBoMo Gift Shop is Open!

Cafepress notebook

http://www.cafepress.com/rhypibomogiftshop

Please stop by and see what’s available this year. There are notebooks, mugs, buttons and more. All proceeds will go to WE NEED DIVERSE BOOKS!

Thank you Tanja Bauerle for these gorgeous images!!!

*

*

Official RhyPiBoMo 2015 Registration ended on April 8th.

If you are not officially registered you will not be able to participate in the Golden Quill Poetry Contest, in Rhyming Critique Groups or will not be eligible for daily prizes.

To see if you registered in time go to the Master Registration List on the drop down menu under the RhyPiBoMo Blog tab above.

*RhyPiBoMo 2015 Pledge

Please comment below. You MUST add your FIRST and LAST names

to be eligible for today’s prize!

RhyPiBoMo 2015 Day 17 Miranda Paul

Aside

Welcome to

RhyPiBoMo 2015 Day 16

Dianne White

RhyPiBoMo 2015 Guest Blogger Badge RPBM 15 Dianne White

*

Today’s guest blogger is a wonderful author with whom I’ve had the pleasure of meeting last summer at the L.A. SCBWI Conference.  She has had great success early on as her debut picture book, BLUE ON BLUE, had received much national attention. I was a judge for a Mock Caldecott award ceremony in my area and Diane’s book was on my list to read and vote on…SO cool! I wish her the best of luck and can’t wait to see what she gives us next.

I am so happy

to

introduce

Dianne White

*RhyPiBoMo 2015 Bird with Feather

The Sound and The Feeling and How to Get There

 *

*

Each syllable, each line break, each sentence’s placement on the page … the rhythm, the word choice, the repetition (and maybe even the rhyme, if it’s done well) — all of these are massively important… The read-aloud experience should be so extraordinary that practically as soon as the book is closed, everyone just wants to open it up and do it again.

–from “Why We’re Still in Love with Picture Books (Even Though They’re Supposed to Be Dead),” May/June 2011 Horn Book

One of the first things a picture book writer learns is that each word must earn its place. So how does a writer know which words to choose and how to arrange those words to add to the sound and feeling of a piece? How does a writer get “there” – that undefined but immediately recognizable story place that captures not only the voice and structure you aimed for, but the emotional feeling you intended to leave with readers?

And how does a writer know if the words should rhyme?

Perhaps the easiest answer is – it depends. On the story. On the writer. On the ways the tools of poetry – those very syllables, line breaks, words, rhythms, and sentences – are put together.

According to Oliver Sacks, M.D. noted neurologist and author, our brains are wired for sound. It’s such an effective way to remember and learn new things, that it’s not surprising that young children are taught rhymes and songs at an early age. But the powerful connection between music and words isn’t limited to rhyme. Prose needs to sing, too. And it can. With the tools of poetry.

In Awakening the Heart: Exploring Poetry in Elementary and Middle School, Georgia Heard divides these tools bluetoolboxinto Meaning and Music.

First, MEANING:

* A WORD reflects not only its denotation or literal meaning, but also its connotation, or implied subtext. Choosing the best words means looking for words that do double duty. Words that shed light not only on character or setting, for example, but also mood or tone.

Kevin Henkes is a master at this. Take CHRYSANTHEMUM. She’s an over-the-top mouse in love with her name.

Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes“She loved the way it sounded when her mother woke her up.

She loved the way it sounded when her father called her for dinner.

And she loved the way it sounded when she whispered it to herself in the bathroom mirror.

Chrysanthemum, Chrysanthemum, Chrysanthemum.”

Longer sentences, repetition, and the rule of three help convey the voice of the entire piece and something of Chrysanthemum’s own exuberance for life.

* The ORDER, or arrangement and length of the words, affect a reader’s response.

Characters can skip, dash, or marchsaunter, shuffle, or waddle. The latter three not only describe a slower pace, but are two syllables long and take longer to say or read. In other words, the words themselves embody the slower pace they describe.

Next, MUSIC:

The link between Meaning and Music is simply that the SOUND of a carefully chosen word can amplify meaning and deepen the emotional layers of story.

Think of the alphabet as families of sounds, each conveying something slightly different. For example, some letters in English produce a harsh sound, others a soft sound.

Now, consider how letter/sound combinations work in the context of words, phrases, and sentences. Mary Oliver writes:

The following three phrases mean exactly the same thing:

  1. Hush!

  2. Please be quiet!

  3. Shut up!

The first phrase we might use to quiet a child when we do not want to give any sense of disturbance or anger. [The “sh” sound at the end of the word “hush” is soft, though slightly abrasive.]

The second phrase is curt, but the tone remains civil… [In particular, the “t” at the end of “quiet” is a harsh, hard stop.]

The third phrase indicates … impatience and even anger. [In this case, the “t” and “p” at the end of both words produce two hard stops.]

(adapted from A Poetry Handbook, 23-24)

And finally, consider how the Music of individual phrases and sentences supports Meaning through another tool – the up and down patterns of speech known as RHYTHM. A boisterous or silly story deserves a rising (iamb or anapest) rhythm. A story about childhood fears might use falling (trochee or dactyl) rhythms.

In my book, BLUE on BLUE, when the rain is at its strongest, a falling trochee rhythm mirrors the endless heaviness of the storm.

BlueOnBlue cover

/ – / –

Pounding, hounding,

/ – / –

noisy-sounding.

/ – / –

Dripping, dropping.

/ – / –

Never stopping.

You can learn more about the sounds of letters and letter combinations in Mary Oliver’s A Poetry Handbook (“Sound,” chapter 4) and Ann Whitford Paul’s Writing Picture Books (“Making Music with Your Prose,” chapter 14).

So how does a writer get to the “sound and the feeling” of the best of the best picture books? By studying and using the tools of poetry. Picture books don’t always rhyme and they don’t have to. But look closely and you’ll find the author – consciously or unconsciously – has used many of a poet’s tools to place the best words in their best order.

*

*

About Dianne:

DIANNE WHITE has lived and traveled around the world and now calls Arizona home. She holds an elementary bilingual teaching credential and a master’s in Language and
Literacy. In 2007, she received her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults
from Vermont College of Fine Arts. After teaching students of all ages for 25 years, she now writes full-time. Her first picture book, BLUE ON BLUE, illustrated by 2009 Caldecott winner, Beth Krommes, was published by Beach Lane Books (S&S) in 2014.

 

RhyPiBoMo 2015 Optional Writing Prompt: 16

*
This is NOT part of the pledge. It is an option for a writing exercise for those interested. You will not publically share this as part of RhyPiBoMo but may keep a journal of your writing this month for your own review.

*

Today’s writing prompt is to write a poem about rain with the best words in their best order.

For example:

Happily Damp

*

A drop

             a splash…then two, then three.

Where shall I go?

                                   Where shall I be?

The drops are dampening my hair

            I stop, then run…without a care.

It’s water falling from the sky.

Why did I run?

                               I’m not sure why.

‘Cause when I’m wet I feel …not dry.

But, it’s okay…

                              because I see

the  happy girl I’d hoped to be.

© 2015 Angie Karcher

Okay, these are spur of the moment poem examples…can you tell?  = )

 

RhyPiBoMo 2015 Bird with Feather

Congratulations to Week 3 Prize Winners

*

Monday Copy of THE BOAT OF MANY ROOMS Donated by J. Patrick Lewis
Winner – Ann Magee

Tuesday Copy of GROUNDHOG’S DILEMMA (Dec/2015) Donated by Kristen Remenar
Winner – Aimee Haburjak

Wednesday Manuscript Critique by Kristen Remenar
Winner – Kenda Henthorn

Thursday Manuscript Critique by Iza Trapani
Winner – Kristi Veitenheimer

Friday Manuscript Critique by Tim McCanna
Winner – Caroline Twomey

 

Winners, PLEASE message me your information on Facebook

or email it to Angiekarcherrpbm@gmail.com

 

**

*

Golden Quill Poetry Contest

The Golden Quill Poetry Contest is open for submissions.

The deadline is this Saturday, April 25th midnight Central Time.

And…did I mention the prizes?

1st place – A Manuscript Critique by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen

2nd place – A Scholarship for Non-Fiction Archeology by Kristen Fulton

3rd place – A Scholarship for Pacing Picture Books to WOW! Class by Agent Jodell Sadler

*

PLEASE make sure you read the contest rules and follow them exactly. Unfortunately, due to the number of poems we will receive, a poem will be disqualified if it does not follow the guidelines exactly. This is only fair to those who did follow the rules and is good practice for us as writers because editors expect those guidelines to be followed to the letter.

*

Contest Rules:

First and Last name included in the body of the email at the top left

Email address included in the body of the email at the top left

Phone number – top left

Space down 5 spaces

The Theme is: Freedom

Title of poem – centered with no by line or name here

8 line limit

Must be a rhyming poem

You will be judged on clever title, rhyme scheme, rhythm, scansion, perfect rhyming words, internal rhyme, alliteration, consonance, assonance, onomatopoeia, and clever ending.

Email poems to Angiekarcherrpbm@gmail.com

by April 25th midnight central time

*

*

*

Writing in Rhyme to WOW! class logo

Do you enjoy writing rhyming picture books?

Do you find rhyme challenging?

Do you want to pep up your prose with poetic techniques?

Then this is the class for you!

image

Writing in Rhyme to WOW! is a 4 week course,

M-F with daily lessons, writing prompts, rhyme journaling, creating tools you will use, group poetry readings, webinars and critique groups, and a one-on-one webinar critique with Angie.

Each class begins on the first Monday of the month and the weekly group webinars are on Thursdays at 8:00 p.m. Central Standard Time, (Chicago Time) or at a time that best suits the group due to time zones of those involved.

There are now 2 spots left in May!

I am beginning to sign people up for June and July!

If you register now for June or July, I will give you the $99.00 price!

Contact Angie with questions.

Sign up now before the classes are full!

Click here for more information!

*

*

*

Need a critique?

Angie is now offering

rhyming picture book and poetry manuscript critiques.

A One Time critique is ($25.00) or a Twice Look critique is ($35.00)

See the tab above or click here for more information.

*

*A

RhyPiBoMo Gift Shop is Open!

Cafepress notebook

http://www.cafepress.com/rhypibomogiftshop

Please stop by and see what’s available this year. There are notebooks, mugs, buttons and more. All proceeds will go to WE NEED DIVERSE BOOKS!

Thank you Tanja Bauerle for these gorgeous images!!!

*

*

Official RhyPiBoMo 2015 Registration ended on April 8th.

If you are not officially registered you will not be able to participate in the Golden Quill Poetry Contest, in Rhyming Critique Groups or will not be eligible for daily prizes.

To see if you registered in time go to the Master Registration List on the drop down menu under the RhyPiBoMo Blog tab above.

*RhyPiBoMo 2015 Pledge

Please comment below. You MUST add your FIRST and LAST names

to be eligible for today’s prize!

RhyPiBoMo 2015 Day 16 Dianne White

Aside

Welcome to

RhyPiBoMo 2015 Day 15

Charles Waters

RhyPiBoMo 2015 Guest Blogger Badge  RPBM 15 Charles Waters

*

Today’s guest blogger is a very talented poet and actor who has been fortunate enough to learn and act out hundreds of classic poems by some of the best poets in the world. He is  busy spreading his love of poetry with kids who have no idea what treat is in store for them!  I would say he is on a mission to spread the word…poetry opens doors. In his words he is “spreading the gospel of verse and free verse because I don’t want anyone to feel left out of this life changing art form.”  How wonderful!

I am pleased

to introduce

Charles Waters.

RhyPiBoMo 2015 Bird with Feather

PUTTING IN THE WORK

*

I wrote my first children’s poem called “The Fly in My Eye” in April of 2004 while on tour with Poetry Alive.  The poem is crummy but poetry itself is not, so therefore I stuck to it, and it’s never let me down.

Poetry Alive is a company that hires two person troupes to perform poetry in schools and universities across the country.  You have to learn them by heart, you only use two chairs, and you never use props or wear costumes.

It took me almost 9 months of performing the poem anyone lived in a pretty how town by E.E. Cummings before I understood its meaning, but when I did it hit me like a thunderclap.  I adored performing the poems of Jack Prelutsky, Ogden Nash, and Langston Hughes as these gave me a gateway into this world of metaphors and similes.

It was with this new knowledge I picked up from performing that I started thinking about writing poems of my own.  I had no prior experience of poetry in school, zero.  I don’t have a way of backing up this statement but I feel the reason so many children’s poets canvass the world spreading the gospel of verse and free verse is because they don’t want anyone to feel left out of this life changing art form, like a certain man I know who found out about it just before reaching the cusp of 30.  I’ve been making up for lost ground ever since.

My journey has been one of reading, absorbing might be a better word, any children’s poetry books I could get my hands on. Reading the poets I mentioned above, as well as anthologies by Lee Bennett Hopkins and Paul B. Janeczko and books by Nikki Grimes…if you haven’t read BRONX MASQUERADE, get thee to a bookstore! Valerie Worth’s small poems, and Barbara Juster Esbensen’s nature poems, among others, shifted my spirit; I was never the same afterward.

Reading and writing poetry should be a sweet obsession with words, phrases; you’re a court reporter of life in all its pain and glory.  I feel I received a head start because I was acting out poems by the world’s greatest writers for 3 years and almost 225 poems with Poetry Alive.

*
This brings me back to writing.  It is work, make no mistake, but it’s honorable, it should be looked on as joyful, at least to me.  When time races past as you work on your scribbles and you look up at the clock and hours have passed by, you’re putting in the work. If you applied your trade in another profession all day and can only squeeze in a limited bit of time to write, you’re putting in the work. If you feel a poem or manuscript isn’t firing on all cylinders like you thought and you have to start over, and then, to quote the British, “get on with it,” you’re putting in the work.  There’s no secret to any of this except your constant effort to learning, improving, submitting your work and reading at least one poem a day.

In an effort in getting to know others in children’s poetry I found myself joining the community of poetry bloggers by not only blogging myself, but by participating in their community writing exercises.

Laura Shovan http://authoramok.blogspot.com/2015/03/2015-sound-poem-project-wrap-up.html conducts one every February.   This past February she would post a sound clip and we’d have to write a poem about it.

Heidi Mordhorst over at http://myjuicylittleuniverse.blogspot.com/2015/03/forwardlaunch.html has an exercise where she posts words that end with the letter ch. You, the poet, write a poem using that word.

Then there are weekly cyber writing get-togethers.

Tricia Stohr-Hunt’s blog http://missrumphiuseffect.blogspot.com/ posts a weekly poetry form that you can participate in.

Laura Purdie Salas’ Writing the World with Kids http://www.laurasalas.com/blog/ has a 15 Words or Less exercise where she’ll post a picture and you write about it.

I’ve gotten many, many poems out of these exercises; one has even been published so far. I’ve also gotten to know the poetry community and they’ve gotten to know me. If you show up to do the work with a humble heart and a willingness to learn, word spreads and maybe you get asked to write for anthologies.

In 2010 NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) held its annual conference in Orlando, FL where I use to live.  I took the initiative of setting up a dinner at Café D’Antonio in nearby Celebration, FL with as many children’s poetry educators and writers as I could rustle up.  From that dinner I finally met face to face with those I had only corresponded with online.  It was a lovely meal filled with a heartfelt sense of community, old friends catching up; new friends huddled together, nattering about poetry to their hearts content.  News of family, pets, work, manuscripts and reading, among other topics wafted through the air in a steady hum of togetherness.  I asked reading and writing advice from everyone, got a manuscript idea that turned into an, as of now, unpublished manuscript that I still have great hopes for, and got to know anthologists who would later ask me to submit for their books.  What I took away from that dinner was realizing how much work it takes to make it as a children’s poet.  It was an overwhelming, exhilarating and humbling fireball of a night.

Since that evening, so far, I’ve had 21 poems published in over 10 anthologies edited by current and former Children’s Poet Laureates, a Guinness Book World Record holder for poetry, and critically acclaimed writers/educators in the field of children’s literature.  In the meantime, I continue to write and submit manuscripts; I learn by heart my own poems and perform them, as well as conduct workshops professionally.

Jane Yolen, has said in her blog, http://janeyolen.com/telling-the-true-a-writers-journal/ which is a fountain of advice about what it takes to make it as a writer, that it’s all about BIC (Butt in Chair).  In order to put in the work, you have to sit down and put in the work.
I wish you all the best on your reading and writing journey, it’s a lifelong and noble one. 

*

P.S. Always carry a notebook and pen or a cell phone that has an application on it where you can type out random thoughts that you find on your travels.  You’ll thank me for it.

*

*RAP

About Charles:

Charles Waters is a Children’s Poet, Actor and Educator who has performed in schools and universities across the country. His work has appeared in various textbooks and anthologies including: Amazing Places, edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins, The National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry and The National Geographic of Nature Poetry, both edited by J. Patrick Lewis and One Minute Til Bedtime (2016) edited by Kenn Nesbitt.

 Poetry Time

For more information please visit:

Website: http://www.charleswaterspoetry.com/

Blog: http://www.charleswaterspoetry.com/#!blog/c16qh

Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/CharlesWatersPoetry
Twitter: @waterscharles
Instagram: charleswaterspoetry

RhyPiBoMo 2015 tiles with bird

RhyPiBoMo 2015 Optional Writing Prompt: 15

*
This is NOT part of the pledge. It is an option for a writing exercise for those interested. You will not publically share this as part of RhyPiBoMo but may keep a journal of your writing this month for your own review.

*

Today’s writing prompt is to write a free verse poem on any topic you like.

For example:

*

It falls like

leaves.

It leaves

like spring.

It springs like

water.

It waters like

tears.

It tears like

trails.

It trails like

**************memories.

 

© 2015 Angie Karcher

 

RhyPiBoMo 2015 Bird with Feather

Congratulations to Week 3 Prize Winners

*

Monday           Copy of THE BOAT OF MANY ROOMS Donated by J. Patrick Lewis
Winner – Ann Magee

Tuesday          Copy of GROUNDHOG’S DILEMMA (Dec/2015) Donated by Kristen Remenar
Winner – Aimee Haburjak

Wednesday    Manuscript Critique by Kristen Remenar
Winner – Kenda Henthorn

Thursday        Manuscript Critique by Iza Trapani
Winner – Kristi Veitenheimer

Friday             Manuscript Critique by Tim McCanna
Winner – Caroline Twomey

 

Winners, PLEASE message me your information on Facebook

or email it to Angiekarcherrpbm@gmail.com

 

** 

*

Golden Quill Poetry Contest

The Golden Quill Poetry Contest is open for submissions.

The deadline is this Saturday, April 25th midnight Central Time.

And…did I mention the prizes?

1st place – A Manuscript Critique by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen

2nd place – A Scholarship for Non-Fiction Archeology by Kristen Fulton

3rd place – A Scholarship for Pacing Picture Books to WOW! Class by Agent Jodell Sadler

*

PLEASE make sure you read the contest rules and follow them exactly. Unfortunately, due to the number of poems we will receive, a poem will be disqualified if it does not follow the guidelines exactly. This is only fair to those who did follow the rules and is good practice for us as writers because editors expect those guidelines to be followed to the letter.

*

Contest Rules:

First and Last name included in the body of the email at the top left

Email address included in the body of the email at the top left

Phone number – top left

Space down 5 spaces

The Theme is: Freedom

Title of poem – centered with no by line or name here

8 line limit

Must be a rhyming poem

You will be judged on clever title, rhyme scheme, rhythm, scansion, perfect rhyming words, internal rhyme, alliteration, consonance, assonance, onomatopoeia, and clever ending.

Email poems to Angiekarcherrpbm@gmail.com

by April 25th midnight central time

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Writing in Rhyme to WOW! class logo

Do you enjoy writing rhyming picture books?

Do you find rhyme challenging?

Do you want to pep up your prose with poetic techniques?

Then this is the class for you!

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Writing in Rhyme to WOW! is a 4 week course,

M-F with daily lessons, writing prompts, rhyme journaling, creating tools you will use, group poetry readings, webinars and critique groups, and a one-on-one webinar critique with Angie.

Each class begins on the first Monday of the month and the weekly group webinars are on Thursdays at 8:00 p.m. Central Standard Time, (Chicago Time) or at a time that best suits the group due to time zones of those involved.

There are now 2 spots left in May!

I am beginning to sign people up for June and July!

If you register now for June or July, I will give you the $99.00 price!

Contact Angie with questions.

Sign up now before the classes are full!

Click here for more information!

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Need a critique?

Angie is now offering

rhyming picture book and poetry manuscript critiques.

A One Time critique is ($25.00) or a Twice Look critique is ($35.00)

See the tab above or click here for more information.

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RhyPiBoMo Gift Shop is Open!

Cafepress notebook

http://www.cafepress.com/rhypibomogiftshop

Please stop by and see what’s available this year. There are notebooks, mugs, buttons and more. All proceeds will go to WE NEED DIVERSE BOOKS!

Thank you Tanja Bauerle for these gorgeous images!!!

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Official RhyPiBoMo 2015 Registration ended on April 8th.

If you are not officially registered you will not be able to participate in the Golden Quill Poetry Contest, in Rhyming Critique Groups or will not be eligible for daily prizes.

To see if you registered in time go to the Master Registration List on the drop down menu under the RhyPiBoMo Blog tab above.

*RhyPiBoMo 2015 Pledge

Please comment below. You MUST add your FIRST and LAST names

to be eligible for today’s prize!

RhyPiBoMo 2015 Day 15 Charles Waters