With the start of Write Club, at my school, there is no better time than the present to brush off my story short skills by entering Susanna Leonard Hill's 3rd Annual Valentiny Writing Contest.
Details: Valentines story should be appropriate for children (cages 12 and under) maximum 214 words in which someone is hopeful!
The Valentine Cookie Fiasco
by Rena Traxel
Lily iced the sugar cookies, writing each guest’s name in bright red icing. She hung streamers, loaded the stereo and laid out games. This year’s Valentine’s Day party would be the best one yet!
Spindle, an orange tabby, happily meowed at the arriving guests.
The music boomed. Guests bobbed and twisted and sang along.
“Time for cookies,” Lily announced.
But when Lily went to the kitchen, she discovered a cookie had disappeared—Sela`s cookie.
Lily searched for clues, but found only crumbs and drool.
“Did you get a cookie?” Lily asked Sela.
“No. I can`t wait to dig in.” Sela helped hand out cookies.
Lily counted and recounted the cookies. There were no extras.
Screams erupted from the corner of the living room.
What now? Lily ran over to her guests.
Spindle knocked around an object to the amusement of the crowd. Lily bent down. Between Spindle’s paws was a part of a cookie with an S on it--Sela’s cookie!
“I’m so sorry, Sela. My cat ate your cookie,” said Lily, holding up the cookie piece. “But…” Lily bit her lip. “You can have my cookie.”
“That’s okay,” said Sela.
“I don’t mind sharing,” said Drew. He broke his heart-shaped cookie in two.
Lily smiled. “Happy Valentine's Day!”
And done!!!! Almost….To bring this full circle, back to our first guest author Marcie Colleen, let us borrow a page from Marcie’s chapter book series SUPER HAPPY PARTY BEARS, and do a little celebratory dance (super happy party bear style!!!!).
I know this challenge was HARD. Next year I’m changing the format to a bingo style reading challenge (details to come).
If you completed 50% of the challenge I’m offering a free critique of your work (up to 1500 words and must be for children).
If you completed the entire challenge (read in 62 spots) then you qualify for a free critique and will have your name entered into a draw to win picture books from our guest authors.
Please comment below with your NAME and EMAIL if you:
Thanks for playing! (Below are some of my favorite reading spots).
I can't believe week 9 (the FINAL week) of PBHOT62 is here!!!! What a magical summer it has been acting like a child and soaking up picture book after picture book. So tt seems suiting to have Jodi Moore on the blog today, as her debut WHEN A DRAGON MOVES IN is filled with magic (the kind of kid magic filled with the impossible turned possible). Take it away Jodi!
As a child, my favorite place to read was in my mom’s lap. Like many parents, my mom worked outside the home. Each night, she’d bring a book home for us to share. Early on, I associated books with love.
Choosing my favorite place to read now is a tough one, as I’ll read anything, anytime, anywhere! But since my favorite place to be (other than anywhere with my family, that is!) is the beach, I decided to share a picture of Dragon and I sharing a favorite book, feet – and tail – firmly planted in the sand.
Thanks Jodi. A nice beach vacation sounds nice right about now! WHEN A DRAGON MOVES IN (or the sequel) will be up for grabs at the end of this challenge.
Week 9: PBHOT62 Reading Spots
The the theme was wild. I was freshly hired to run the summer reading program at my public library. Tara's debut THE MONSTORE was one of the first books I ever read to a group of eager kiddos. I knew Monstore had built in character voices, lyrical prose and was sweet and funny story. Tara's story made a stressful moment entertaining. Thank you Tara! Now take it away.
My favorite place to read as a kid was in my bed. I had hung a mosquito net on a circular bamboo frame above the head of the bed and I could close it with string ties, making it feel like a secret getaway. I felt cozy and protected, ensconced in my own little wonderland.
Today I also love reading in bed, HOWEVER, this might just be my NEW favorite place to read: a hammock chair in my side yard. My daughter found it while flipping through the ridiculously large and diverse LTD Commodities catalog THAT HAS EVERYTHING YOU DIDN'T KNOW YOU WANTED.
The way the chair wraps itself around you reminds me of that mosquito netting. Except now I *do* need the netting while I am reading outside!
I need one of those chairs! Tara's latest book 7 Ate 9 will be up for grabs at the end of this challenge. Stay tuned!
Street magic performer. Hog-calling champion. Award-winning ice sculptor. These are all things Tara Lazar has never been. Instead, she writes quirky, humorous picture books featuring magical places that everyone will want to visit. Tara's books include THE MONSTORE (Aladdin/S&S, 2013). I THOUGHT THIS WAS A BEAR BOOK (Aladdin/S&S, 2015), LITTLE RED GLIDING HOOD (Random House Children’s, Oct 2015), NORMAL NORMAN (Sterling, March 2016)
Week 8: PBHOT62 Reading Spots
* Reading bonus read using different voices.
I met Mary Jo at my very first SCBWI conference. Although the Canada West chapter conference was small, I was beyond nervous. But then I met Mary Jo and her company helped me to feel like a I belonged. Take it away Mary Jo!
When I was in elementary school, my favorite place to read was in a little reading nook my sister and I made in my bedroom behind a tall chest of drawers. We filled it with mounds of pillows and stuffies and we stashed junk food under the chest. The nook was my sanctuary and I lived in so many worlds back there.
As much as I’d like to recreate that nook in my adult life, I know if I tried, it would be completely overrun with my two kids. And I shudder to think what kind of festering, hidden scraps of food I’d find in it. So, I have two rather grown-up spaces that I’ve claimed for my “leave me alone” time.
My absolute favorite place to read is on a red Adirondack deck chair at our cabin on Pender Island off the coast of Vancouver. I spend every morning there, tea in one hand, book in another and our dog on my lap. I hear nothing except birds, lilting waves and rustling leaves (except when my dog’s yelp cracks the air because he sees imaginary things) and the satisfying whoosh as I turn a book’s page. I could NEVER use a Kindle. And with the early morning sun warming my face, it’s just magical. I often meditate there as well.
(By the way, I am totally not bored reading I’M BORED)
However, until I retire––do writers ever retire??––I only get to enjoy Pender and my red chair on weekends and holidays. So when I’m home, my favorite place to put butt in chair is a big, comfy black one that I call my “peace chair.” It’s where I commit to my “First 10”, my 10 minutes of meditating and setting my intentions for the day every morning. And it’s where I always go when I want to snuggle up to a book. I love how I can sink in to it, I have room to curl my feet under me and the reading light gives a warm glow. It’s also in a more quiet part of the house so I’m less likely to be disturbed.
Wonderful! Thank you Mary Jo.
Mary Jo has been a freelance writer and editor for nearly 25 years, but she’s often mistaken for the Mary Jo Wagner, the NPR reporter. Sometimes she doesn’t correct peoples’ mistake. She began writing picture books, as well as an adult memoirgraphy (she just made up that word), about five years ago and hopes to have a book published before she’s incontinent. In the meantime, you can find her on Twitter at @mj_wagner or on Instagram, where she features beautiful book covers at @bookcovart. Her personal Instagram is @wagner_mj.
Week 7: PBHOT62 Reading Spots
*Reading bonus, read while in the company of others
WEEK 6: PBHOT62 Reading Spots
Day 33 & 34, PBHOT62
My reading pillow may be ugly but it sure is soft and the best reading pillow around! #AmReading BOUNCE by Doreen Cronin and Scott Menchin.
I was torn between reading under my table or under the deck, but since under my table has less spiders I went with it. #AmReading LOVE IS by Diane Adams, art by Claire Keane.
Day 32 & 33 PBHOT62
I have clay. I have CLAYMATES written by Dev Petty, art by Lauren Eldridge. I think you know what is about to happen.
Continuing on with my art themed reading day, I took some me time to create and read SCRIBBLE by Ruth Ohi, ISH by Peter H. Reynolds and MIX IT UP by Herve Tullet.
Day 31 PBHOT62
This challenge is all about fitting reading into your life. So in my case, I was waiting for my new reading chair to dry so I figured I might as well do some reading. THE BOOK OF MISTAKES by Corinna Luyken.
Day 30 PBHOT62
Grass time for my rabbits equals #amreading time for me. UNDER A PRAIRIE SKY by Anne Laurel Carter, art by Alan and Lea Daniel. Followed by BUNNIES!!! by Kevan Atteberry.
Hello, I'm Rena! I'm a writer, poet and librarian.