1000 Picture Books in 2016~January

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If you are an aspiring picture book writer chances are you are familiar with 12 x 12, PiBoIdMo, Revimo, and ReFoReMo. Reading, writing, and revising challenges help motivate kid lit writers. We hear time and again how important it is read A LOT of books in the genre you write.

I recently watched the January 12 x 12 webinar with Julie Hedlund and Tara Lazar. Tara offered great advice on improving craft: read 500-1000 picture books. Then I discovered the Read 1000 Picture Books in 2016 reading challenge. Coincidence? I think not! I joined the Facebook group and the Goodreads group. The groups share reading lists so you will never run out of books to read. I encourage you to join the challenge! Here’s my January reading list with Goodreads links to get you started. Happy reading and writing!

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  1. Louise Loves Art by Kelly Light
  2. Little Elliot, Big City by Mike Curato
  3. Nellie Belle by Mem Fox
  4. Monkey: Not Ready for Kindergarten by Marc Brown
  5. Zora’s Zucchini by Katherine Pryor
  6. Creepy Carrots! by Aaron Reynolds
  7. Thankful by Eileen Spinelli
  8. The Pigeon Wants a Puppy! by Mo Willems
  9. Leopold by Ruth Westheimer
  10. Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watt
  11. Pete the Cat’s Groovy Guide to Love by James Dean
  12. Wish by Emma Dodd
  13. The Red Hat by David Teague
  14. Sheep Go to Sleep by Nancy E. Shaw
  15. Strictly No Elephants by Lisa Mantchev
  16. Cat Nap by Toni Yuli
  17. What Does it Mean to Be Kind? by Rana DiOrio
  18. Rufus the Writer by Elizabeth Bram
  19. A Perfectly Messed-Up Story by Patrick McDonnell
  20. Michael Recycle and Bootleg Peg by Ellie Bethel
  21. Liplap’s Wish by Jonathan London
  22. I Don’t Want a Posh Dog by Emma Dodd
  23. Skunkdog by Emily Jenkins
  24. Shoe Dog by Megan McDonald
  25. A Small Brown Dog with a Wet Pink Nose by Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen
  26. This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen
  27. Ninja! by Arree Chung
  28. Uni the Unicorn by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
  29. Wolfie the Bunny by Ame Dyckman
  30. No Yeti Yet by Mary Ann Fraser
  31. So Many Days by Alison McGhee
  32. Chicks and Salsa by Aaron Reynolds
  33. Sleep Tight Anna Banana! by Dominique Roques
  34. Where’s the Baboon? by Michael Escoffier
  35. Igor Spot Champion by Guido Van Genechten
  36. By Mouse and Frog by Deborah Freedman
  37. Chooky-Doodle-Doo by Jan Whiten
  38. This is Sadie by Sara O’Leary
  39. Snowy Bear by Tony Mitton
  40. Pete the Cat: Five Little Pumpkins by James Dean
  41. Click, Clack, Ho! Ho! Ho! by Doreen Cronin
  42. Anna Banana and the Chocolate Explosion by Dominique Roques
  43. Claire and the Unicorn Happy Ever After by B.G. Hennessy
  44. Grandma’s Gloves by Cecil Castellucci
  45. Grandma’s Purple Flowers by Adjoa J. Burrowes
  46. Boats for Papa by Jessixa Bagley
  47. Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs by Tomie dePaola
  48. Anna’s Corn by Barbara Santucci
  49. I Remember Miss Perry by Pat Brisson
  50. Never Ask a Bear by Louise Bonnett-Rampersaud

 

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Reading, Writing, and Revising Challenges

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I participated in Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo) for the first time last year. I met so many motivated writers and learned about more, and more, and more challenges. I am excited to participate in the Dive Into Diversity reading challenge, 12×12 writing challenge, and ReviMo revising challenge.

What is Dive Into Diversity?

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The Dive Into Diversity reading challenge is hosted by Rather Be Reading and Reading Wishes.

Dive Into Diversity officially kicks off on January 1, 2015 and will run through December 31. Each month Reading Wishes and Rather Be Reading (RBR) will publish a diverse post  with a Linky. Simply add a review or post you wrote about diverse books to the Linky, and that’s it!

What does diverse mean exactly?

We loved this explanation from the We Need Diverse Books Tumblr: “We recognize all diverse experiences, including (but not limited to) LGBTQIA, people of color, gender diversity, people with disabilities, and ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities.”

The good stuff.

There are no numbers of books associated with this challenge. Nope. (Though we do hope you challenge yourself to reading at least one diverse book a month.) There is an incentive for those of you who participate each month and also use our hashtag #DiversityDive to spread the word. You know what this means… giveaways and more.

A little help from our friends.

Don’t know where to start and want some suggestions to get you started? No fear, we are here to help! Be sure to check out The Diversity Book Club (they are awesome), Dahlia Adler’s Quiltbag Compredium, and Rebecca’s Diversity Bookshelf on Goodreads.


What is 12×12?

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12 x 12 is a year-long writing challenge where members aim to write 12 complete picture book drafts, one per month, for each 12 months of the year. A draft means a story with a beginning, middle, and end – NOT a submission-ready piece. Founded by picture book author Julie Hedlund, 12 x 12 is going into its fourth year in 2015.

All 12 x 12 members get access to an amazing community of 750+ picture book writers at all levels from absolute beginner to multi-published. 12 x 12 offers motivation, support, and accountability to help you write more (LOTS more!) than you would on your own.

Each month we feature a guest post from a talented, multi-published picture book author. These authors generously give away fabulous prizes to help you with your craft.

You’ll get access to members-only 12 x 12 Facebook group, which serves as a support network, a question and answer pool, and a place to share resources. PLUS, 12 x 12 includes a robust online Membership Forum where members can receive feedback on their work and find critique partners. And that’s only the beginning.

*Click here to learn about the 2015 12×12 team of authors and agents!

General membership registration begins on January 14, 2015.

*Click here to sign up for 2015 registration information


What is ReviMo?

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2nd Annual ReviMo – Revise More Picture Books Challenge

*January 11th-17th, 2015*

Got picture book drafts piled up collecting dust? Have critiques for your story, but haven’t done a SINGLE thing to improve it? Need a jumpstart to revise? ReviMo is for you!

Each ReviMo, you will be encouraged to REVISE those picture book manuscripts. There will be blogs, graphics (and perhaps vlogs) encouraging you to take out that poopy first (second, third, fifteenth) draft and breathe new life into it. I hope you will join us!

How do you ReviMo, you ask?

Register for ReviMo:
You must (to be eligible for prizes):

1. Register by commenting below (once only please!). Registration closes 10 pm CST 1/11/15.

2. Keep track of how many days you REVISE a picture book manuscript (you are on the honor system) January 11-17th. Those of you who revise 4+ days will be eligible to win fabulous prizes!! There will be a blog post with Rafflecopter on 18th, you can enter to win. There will be daily posts to motivate and inspire you, you can subscribe to my blog to receive the posts by email!

3What counts as REVISING? Making significant and thoughtful changes to a Picture Book Manuscript. If you go through and change a few words that doesn’t count! I want you to stand your manuscripts on their heads, twirl it around and get that outstanding story out!

4. Comment on the daily posts, thank our guests and let us know how your revisions are going!

And for fun:
1. Join ReviMo Facebook Group, click here.
2. Add a twibbon to your Twitter avatar, click here for bug, ReviMo pig coming soon!
3. Check out the previous ReviMo interviews and posts!
4. Add the Official ReviMo Button (link to http:megmillerwrites.blogspot.com) to your blog.

*Click here to sign up

Reading Teaches Children About the World

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Reading teaches children about the world. Reading encourages children to use their imaginations. Reading leads to meaningful conversations with children.

Reading is awesome.

November is Picture Book Month so I’ve been reading a ton of picture books with my children. November is also Picture Book Idea Month so I’ve been working hard to come up with some spectacular picture book ideas. I also discovered the We Need Diverse Books campaign, which I feel is extremely important.

Our family always reads a lot of books, but this month I have made an extra effort to discuss the books with my children. I have also tried to include a nice mix of fiction and nonfiction books because we definitely read more fiction than nonfiction. We have had some pretty inspiring and fascinating conversations after story time.

These are some of the children’s books my family has read this month:

A Gift for Abuelita: Celebrating the Day of the Dead by Nancy Luenn * illustrated by Robert Chapman

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Big Jabe by Jerdine Nolen * illustrated by Kadir Nelson   

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Bridget’s Beret by Tom Lichtenheld

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Busing Brewster by Richard Michelson * illustrated by R.G. Roth

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Courage by Bernard Waber

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Dinosaur Farm by Frann Preston-Gannon

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Food Trucks! by Mark Todd

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Frederick by Leo Lionni

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Frida by Jonah Winter * illustrated by Ana Juan

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Goyangi Means Cat by Christine McDonnell * illustrated by Steve Johnson

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Henry’s Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad by Ellen Levine * illustrated by Kadir Nelson

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Hugs from Pearl by Paul Schmid

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I Like Myself by Karen Beaumont * illustrated by David Catrow

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Just the Two of Us by Will Smith * illustrated by Kadir Nelson

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King & King   by Linda De Haan * illustrated by Stern Nijland

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Little Cloud by Eric Carle

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My Friend Rabbit by Eric Rohmann

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My Name is Yoon by Helen Recorvits * illustrated by Gabi Swiatkowska

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Otto the Book Bear by Katie Cleminson

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Stuck by Oliver Jeffers

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The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat

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The Adventures of Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey

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The Boy Without a Name by Idries Shah * illustrated by Mona Caron

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The Heart and the Bottle  by Oliver Jeffers

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The Hula Hoopin’ Queen by Thelma Lynne Godin * illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton

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The Keeping Quilt by Patricia Polacco

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The Lion and the Mouse by Jenny Broom * illustrated by Nahta Noj

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The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson * illustrated by E. B. Lewis

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The Patchwork Quilt by Valerie Flournoy * illustrated by Jerry Pinkney

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The Recess Queen by Alexis O’neill * illustrated by Laura Huliska-Beith

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Thomas and the Shooting Star by W. Awdry * illustrated by Tommy Stubbs

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Thumb Love by Elise Primavera

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Yoko Finds Her Way by Rosemary Wells

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Use your mighty imagination!

Mama's Purse Poster

  • What children’s books have you read this month?

 

  • Do you read fiction and nonfiction children’s books?

 

  • Which diverse titles do you recommend?

 

  • What techniques do you use to encourage children to discuss books?

 

We have a ninja, a kangaroo, and a Weimaraner puppy

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Thinking of a picture book idea every day during November for PiBoIdMo has been a piece of cake so far, but it’s only November 4th and I know the challenge will become more difficult.

My six-year old son is a purple belt in taekwondo and my two-year old daughter loves to hop around pretending she’s a kangaroo. After watching Mason show off his moves and Sophie hop around the house, my friend Robin told me, “Your kids are great. One’s a ninja and the other is a kangaroo. It doesn’t get any better than that!”

I laughed and said, “That’s a great idea for a picture book!”

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Mason with his medals at the City of Trees ATA tournament.

There’s never a dull moment at our house. We have a ninja, a kangaroo, and a Weimaraner puppy. I think many of my ideas during PiBoIdMo will come from the crazy stuff Charlie Blue does on a daily basis.

She howls when my son plays the harmonica. She brings back stuff to recycle almost every time we walk. She pulls the kiddos on their sled in the winter. She rolls in smelly stuff. She jumps in the back of the bike trailer when she gets tired. She swims in the river, but she’s afraid of sprinklers. She’s a furniture hog. And the queen of stealing hats . . .

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Ian and Charlie fighting over the chair.

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One of my favorite Charlie moments happened when my daughter was crying hysterically on my lap. Charlie (the biggest food thief in the world) gently carried a graham cracker in her mouth over to Sophie and pushed the cracker up to Sophie’s hand with her nose. My husband, Ian, and I sat dumbfounded for several seconds. Did that really just happen? Wow!

Charlie is my quiet companion on our daily walks. I often come up with my best writing ideas when I take her to the river near our house.

Charlie retrieving the Ninkasi frisbee.

Charlie retrieving the Ninkasi frisbee.

We find cool stuff together like Idaho rock art.

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And for being a big spazzy puppy, she sure is sweet and gentle with Sophie.

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I can’t wait to see what kind of mischief Charlie gets into this month. She might come home smelly with a dirty diaper or a dead squirrel in her mouth (yes, this has happened), but who knows  . . . she might do something that leads to another PiBoIdMo idea in my notebook!

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Juke Box Hero

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This is my first year participating in Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo). PiBoIdMo is a writing challenge that encourages picture book writers to develop 30 picture book ideas in 30 days.

My son, Mason, and my daughter, Sophie Ann, inspire me every day. What they say and do keep my writing flame burning bright.

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  • PiBoIdMo Day 1: I completed my first PiBoIdMo idea with ease and worked side-by-side with my six-year old son on some art projects.

This is what I created.

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Mason made this.

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I think it’s pretty clear he is the artist in our family! My favorite part about this project was his explanation of his color choices. “Brown is boring, Mom. Red is my favorite color.” He also let his little sister design the roof :).

Tiny moments in our days have triggered some pretty surprising and fun picture book ideas. Sometimes all it takes is a car ride with music playing on the radio to spark a new idea. I never would have imagined a song by Foreigner would lead to a manuscript idea.

  • PiBoIdMo Day 2: Mason sang “Juke Box Hero” with such gusto, but the best part was his version of the lyrics. Boom. PiBoIdMo idea #2 was born.

My friend keeps a journal of all the funny things his daughters say. I think I am going to start doing this as well. Mason and Sophie have certainly said some hilarious things that I wish I would have written down. Oh! I just thought of one! Mason passed gas at the dinner table one night. “Excuse me,” he said, “my butt is making music.” I don’t think I will turn that one into a picture book, but it still makes me chuckle.

On a sweeter note, he put his head to my chest one time and said, “I can hear your heart, Mom. It’s pumping love.”

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Painted trees. Scarves. Hot tea.

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My grandmother recently passed away. I wrote this farewell letter a few days before she passed. I read it at her service.

Dear Grandma Jeanne,

I’m walking on a path beneath a tree tunnel of yellow, orange, and red. It’s your favorite season and your story is nearing the end. Tears slide under my sunglasses and skip off my chin. You loved fall the most. Painted trees. Scarves. Hot tea.

I don’t get much time by myself these days, but this is my third walk today. I had to stop and sit on this bench by this golden tree under this blue sky and write . . .

Thank you for teaching me it’s okay to be silly. Thank you for showing me the beauty of books. Thank you for inspiring me to write. Thank you for your life-long example of compassion and joy for life.

I will always remember our trip to Victoria, BC. I will always treasure our bedtime stories. I will always cherish the memories we made each summer in Montana.

This fall I will drink hot tea. This fall I will write and write and write. This fall I will dance under falling leaves. This fall I will act as silly as can be with your two great-grandchildren.

This fall, and every fall for the rest of my days, I will celebrate you—your light, your love, your life.

Love always,

Amanda Jean

 

Being silly with Grandma Jeanne and Aunt Georgie.

Being silly with Grandma Jeanne and Aunt Georgie.

One of my favorite books that Grandma Jeanne and I read together.

One of my favorite books that Grandma Jeanne and I read together.

The service truly was a celebration of her life. When it was over, we went outside and released balloons into the big blue Montana sky. I couldn’t take my eyes off them.

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One of my grandma’s life-long goals was to be a published writer. She accomplished this goal. Grandma Jeanne wrote two books, and was working on her third when she passed. I developed my love for writing because of her passion for the written word. I will keep my promise to drink hot tea and write, write, write.

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November is the perfect month for me to start blogging and journaling again. November is Picture Book Month and Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo). This will be my first year participating in PiBoIdMo. I look forward to challenging myself to come up with 30 picture book ideas in 3o days.

I am going to let go and have fun with my writing. I will think of Grandma Jeanne—her silliness, her compassion, her joy. I already have many ideas inspired by her brewing inside of me. Sometimes I think we create the most beautiful word strings when we experience intense emotions such as grief. I will transform my grief into something special. I will celebrate her and honor her each and every time I write.

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