Celebrate by welcoming the newest member of our Monster family: “Are You My Monster?” – a board book companion for babies and toddlers!
Help Ethan compare his drawing to an assortment of amusing monsters. Do the colors match? Are their tails long or short? Are their nails pointy or round? Are their teeth big or small? Children will be thrilled when Ethan finds the perfect match – which turns out to be his beloved stuffed monster toy – just in time for bed.
“Little ones will enjoy the parade of silly creatures…while also learning colors and matching.The sweet ending shows that even those with sharp teeth and scratchy claws can be cuddly,turning the monster-under-the-bed trope on its head.” – School Library Journal
Guest blogger: Amanda Noll, author of I Need My Monster and Hey, That’s MY Monster! and two more upcoming monster books!
In January, I had the unique opportunity to participate as an author at the ALA Midwinter Conference in Seattle, Washington, The number of vendors and professionals was staggering, and the whole experience was tremendous. I was hosted by IPG (Independent Publishers Group), the awesome, hardworking team who distribute my books and the entire Flashlight Press line to bookstores.
Librarians began lining up even before it was time for me to start autographing the free copies, and that line didn’t end until we ran out of books, all 100 of them! I’ve never had people queue up to meet me; I almost felt famous! I credit IPG for creating the buzz: they promoted my signing front and center at the Friday night opening session, and that’s when the excitement started to build. Cynthia and the rest of the IPG team kept the line moving and made sure books were ready for the enthusiastic librarians awaiting them.
It was thrilling to be at an event where peers and professionals knew and loved my books, and were excited to meet me. I connected with many local librarians, and had a chance to greet and speak with librarians from as far as Brazil and Asia, and from all around the world.
The librarians shared countless stories of reading my books to their young library patrons or students, and to their own children at bedtime. They told me they were absolutely thrilled to see the upcoming board book Are You My Monster (July 2019) as well as the upcoming picture book prequel, How I Met My Monster (October 2019). Flashlight Press prepared gorgeous sell sheets, which the librarians eagerly snatched up.
Signing my books at an ALA conference was a defining moment in my journey as an author. I’m grateful that this milestone can now be checked off my bucket list.
Amanda’s monster books are available through IPG, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and your local bookseller.
Written by Jason Lefebvre for Kids’ BookBuzz
My first attempt at writing a picture book came in 1998.
I thought the story was amazing. It wasn’t.
Fortunately, I was twenty-two years old, I had just completed my Bachelor’s degree in English, and I knew everything. I spent the next year of my life making all the wrong moves, trying to get my story published. I submitted on my own to large houses that only accept agented materials, wrote stories that I labeled as picture books, but were five thousand words long, and put together ridiculous query letters daring publishing houses to pass on what was sure to be the next great work in children’s literature.
Almost immediately, I had a need for actual employment. I began working in a preschool surrounded by picture books that were actually good and got a part-time job as a Children’s Librarian to make ends meet. Slowly, I began to realize something awful. My stories weren’t good, and my way of getting them published was even worse. The twenty-two-year-old who knew everything had become a twenty-three-year-old who knew nothing. It was the perfect starting point.
The next few years were spent taking the business of writing and publishing seriously. There were groups to join and books to read. I joined SCBWI or the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. It was an amazing resource putting me in touch with people and organizations that understood from experience what it took to get something published. I read any picture book that I came across and borrowed from the limitless imaginations of the kids in my class and the ones that came through the library. If you want to write picture books, find a job working with children. It’s basically cheating.
While writing picture books was starting to make a little sense, the submission process was still frustrating. At a time when most houses still only accepted submissions via snail mail, a writer could wait six months to a year for a form letter response that basically said “thanks, but no thanks.” I had begun to receive a few personalized rejections. In the world of submissions, a “no” that is personalized is viewed as a positive, so I kept at it. Continue reading “My Long Journey to Becoming a Published Children’s Book Author”
The release of The Day I Ran Away has given me some wonderful opportunities to connect with students. While I’m not sure it’s deserved, the students are usually a bit wide-eyed that they are meeting an author. In turn, I am inspired by their questions and their belief that they too CAN be an author! While I often receive a thank you after the visit, I don’t get to see the student’s stories. Until this year, when a unique opportunity was presented to me.
Denise Phillips, owner of Gathering Volumes and mother of 2nd and 4th grade students at Woodland Elementary in Perrysburg OH, was putting together a pilot Young Author program for the school and asked if I would be one of three (two authors and an illustrator) to speak to the 4th and 5th grade excel classes. In May I would return to hear the student’s stories and do an author signing at her store.
So in February one author spoke about getting ideas, I presented on picture book construction and creating a “page turner” and an illustrator talked with the classes. The students began writing…
Meanwhile, a second grade teacher was interested in having an author visit via Skype. When I “appeared” on the big screen in the student’s classroom their faces were priceless. They quickly positioned themselves on the floor so we could all “see” each other. In spite of a few frozen screen moments, it was a success with students asking great questions. The teacher summed it up:
Thank you for meeting with us Holly. The boys and girls were so excited to Skype! With all of the technology available to us, that is one thing they do not do. It was a lot of fun and your conversation with them was perfect! They heard things from a REAL AUTHOR that their boring, old teacher has said. 🙂
Then on May 6 I returned to Perrysburg where a wonderful day of celebration was planned for the young authors. Throughout the day 30 of the 40 students read their book to family and friends and then signed copies for their families and a party for all followed in the evening. It was a wonderful example of partnership between an independent bookstore and its community.
It was a treat to speak with these young authors and their families and to hear them read their stories. I was impressed by unique story lines, wonderful illustrations and soaring imaginations. While the future is uncertain in many ways, rest assured there will be wonderful stories to transport you, created by the next generation!
Kelsie Vanwyck rated it
Simon Van Booy – a contemporary, award-winning author of adult literature (The Secret Lives of People in Love, Everything Beautiful Began After) – is also the author of the children’s picture book, Pobble’s Way.
Here are some other little-known children’s books by beloved authors of adult literature.