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”
Hidden in the pages of books are extraordinary worlds and characters that can spark creativity and imagination, and unlock the potential that lies within each of our children. Reading is the foundation upon which all other learning is built, and on Read Across America Day, we reaffirm our commitment to supporting America’s next generation of great readers. Cultivation of basic literacy skills can begin early and in the home. It is family who first instills the love of learning in our future leaders by engaging children in good reading habits and making reading a fun and interactive activity. Regardless of language or literacy level, every adult can inspire young people to appreciate the written word early in life. Parents and mentors can help build fundamental skills by reading aloud to children regularly, discussing the story, and encouraging children to ask questions on words or content they do not understand. By passing a passion for literature on to our sons and daughters, we prepare them to be lifelong, successful readers, and we provide them with an essential skill necessary for academic achievement.
–From President Barack Obama’s proclamation marking yesterday as Read Across America Day.
This week is Anti-Bullying Week in the United Kingdom. The motto for this year’s week-long campaign is “Taking Action Together.”
Just in time for Anti-Bullying Week, an annual U.K. event aimed at raising awareness and preventing harassment, a new study reveals that 43 percent of Britain’s 11- to 16-year-olds say they’ve witnessed another student being bullied on the way to school or coming home, with 1 in 10 saying they’ve been victims of bullying themselves this past year. This kind of intimidation could potentially affect as many as 370,000 U.K. kids in this age group, the study says.
Similar statistics have been shown in the US and other countries. Flashlight Press is a devoted to spreading the message that bullying needs to end now, and we believe that education needs to start young. Our books Carla’s Sandwich and Alley Oops contain strong anti-bullying themes and have been selected by the National Center for Youth Issues as Elementary Education Anti-Bullying resources.
Anti-Bullying Week in the UK is a great start, but we believe every week should be anti-bullying week everywhere.
In honor of Veterans Day, we asked Flashlight author and US Army Major Thad Krasnesky to share some of his thoughts on being a children’s author and on serving in the military. This is the first in a series of posts from our authors, illustrators, and other Flashlight folk on the holidays.
by: Thad Krasnesky
Veterans Day is a wonderful time here at West Point. Although any holiday celebrating the soldier cannot be far removed from the more serious side of the occupation, it is a much less solemn occasion than Memorial Day. Veterans Day is a celebration of life and a remembrance of victory. More importantly for the soldier, it commemorates the end of war. Although some people think that soldiers long for war, this is simply not the case. There are violent people in any occupation. Certainly there are some among the ranks of the soldier. The true soldier however, the one who practices the profession of arms and is not simply a hired gun, longs for peace. Douglas Macarthur, a West Point graduate and a leader of character once said, “The soldier, above all other people, prays for peace, for he must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.” Dwight Eisenhower, another West Point graduate and distinguished leader said, “I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its stupidity.” Veterans Day remembers that moment in time, when soldiers on both sides of the line in WWI were able to lay down their weapons. The day that they said, “This many deaths, but no more.” Continue reading “Veterans Day: A Soldier and Children’s Author Celebrates”
An antique shop is the perfect setting for a story about a girl and her grandfather, and Antique Week is a perfect place for a review of that story.
Grandpa for Sale is a front page feature article in this week’s edition of Antique Week, the top national newspaper of all things antique. The article includes excerpts from the book, interviews with the authors, and other rave reviews our book has gotten.
For a link to the online copy of the feature, click here.
Flashlight’s Grandpa for Sale is featured as Childhoodreading.com’s “Pick of the Week.” Childhoodreading.com focuses on classic stories for kids with classic illustrations, along with recommendations for modern books with timeless themes.