INTERVIEW: Lesléa Newman

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See my interview in this month’s Story Monsters Ink Magazine!

I had the amazing opportunity to interview Lesléa Newman, author of Heather Has Two Mommies and her latest title Sparkle Boy. Come on, you remember Heather Has Two Mommies – it was the second most controversial topic of the 90’s. Falls in right there with the O.J. car chase fiasco.

Her latest book, Sparkle Boy, is a story about choosing what makes you happy, sticking with it, and being loved for it. We watch the main character interact with his family over his decisions to wear sparkly clothes and accessories. Each character illustrates another layer of acceptance that diversity needs to wipe away to allow its shine to come through. The main character’s older sister, is an example of any kid (or adult) struggling with what it means to let go of a stereotype. But once  gone, acceptance makes way for something much bigger. Love.

Can you tell me a bit about your new book Sparkle Boy as a stream of consciousness? 

I am the type of author who takes a long time to get an idea, but once I have an idea and it “takes” inside me, I write pretty quickly. That’s because I get obsessed. Once I have a solid first draft, I pester the book endlessly until I feel that I’ve gotten it right. Usually this takes at least 20 drafts. Then the book is shown, first to my beloved spouse who is an excellent reader, then to the brilliant women of my writing group. And finally I send the book to my agent and we discuss where to send it. SPARKLE BOY took three years from idea to publication, which is actually pretty fast. I’ve had picture books take up to seven years to journey from idea to publication. I have a sign over my desk that says, “The reward of patience is patience” (and underneath I’ve scribbled, “But who wants to wait that long?”)

I read in your May 11th LA Times interview that Heather Has Two Mommies was in the top 10 most challenged books of the 90’s!  With gender identity being such a hot topic, are you feeling any stir around Sparkle Boy taking the same path from controversial to collectable? 

It’s too soon to tell, since the book is just coming out now. But I sure hope it becomes a classic! I think of SPARKLE BOY as Heather’s little brother. (though believe it or not, if Heather was real, she’d be about 30 years old now, maybe even with a child of her own!).

How are your responses so far from Sparkling families? They must be pretty relieved that the work is out there and available!

I recently heard from a family of two dads and a daughter. The book made one of the dads cry—in fact, I have been surprised to see many grown ups tear up while reading the book—and the little girl has asked to have the book read at bedtime for five nights in a row! Almost everyone I’ve shown the book to has told me, “I know a sparkle boy who is going to love this book.” It’s definitely a book whose time has come.

I wanted to write a book in which the adults in the family are open-minded and accepting, as Casey’s parents and Abeulita are. And I wanted to show that sometimes, it takes a while for a family member to come around, as in the case of Jessie, Casey’s older sister, who has somewhere along the way picked up the (incorrect) message that shimmery, glittery, sparkly things are only for girls. By the end of the book, Jessie is Casey’s biggest advocate. Love conquers all!

With Sparkle Boy being a very visual character, I imagine the choice of illustrator had to be very important. Can you say a few words about working with illustrator Maria Mola?

My editor and the art director worked with the illustrator, and I have to say they did an amazing job. I absolutely love the illustrations. The sparkles on the book jacket were my idea, and I have to say they add just the right touch!

As an incredibly accomplished author, I’m sure you’ve had a rollercoaster of ups and downs working in the field. Do you give your school groups any words of wisdom personal to your experiences?

Ah, words of wisdom: read, read, read. Write every day. Be kind to other writers. Believe in yourself. Never give up. I think that just about covers it.

…And any words for the wonderful Sparkle Boys out there and the people who love them?

Be yourself. (Everyone else is taken). Keep shining. The world is a brighter place because you are in it.

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This book is a great way to put value on acceptance, tolerance, diversity and family, but it also opens a dialog with children about what ideas they have already come to accept as truth. My own daughter had a real problem with Sparkle Boy at first. It opened the door to a discussion I didn’t even know needed to happen. She had already begun drawing very real lines in the sand about gender, and my inner Mama Bear wasn’t digging that at all. We had a wonderful discussion about what girls and boys were expected to be vs. what the could be. I’m thrilled to have had the moment accidentally thrust upon me before her judgements cemented over time.

Sparkle Boy is a difficult subject made into a feel-good moment, and perfectly timed with current events and the struggle for our ever changing society to find common ground. As a primer for young minds to grasp the ideas of difference and inclusion, Sparkle Boy is pure gold.

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Get Sparkle Boy here!

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Lesléa Newman is the author of seventy books for readers of all ages. She has received many literary accolades, including poetry fellowships from the National Endowment of the Arts and the Massachusetts Artists Foundation, and has served as Poet Laureate of Northampton, Massachusetts, from 2008 to 2010. In addition to creating her own books, Newman teaches writing for children and young adults at Spalding University’s low-residency MFA in Writing program. She wrote this book to celebrate all the “sparkle boys” she knows. Newman lives in western Massachusetts, with her spouse, Mary Vazquez. www.lesleakids.com

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Julianne Black has written and illustrated several books,  including Sleep Sweet the multi-award winning Augmented Reality picture book.  She is an internationally recognized graphic artist, fine artist and author. She can be reached at www.julianneblack.com

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Review: The Hug Who Got Stuck

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The Hug Who Got Stuck by Andrew Newman (Author), Alexis Aronson (Illustrator)

Mom’s Choice Award-winning The Hug Who Got Stuck is an amazing visual telling of what happens in our hearts when we withhold love.

In a totally fresh allegory, The Hug Who Got Stuck creates a visual narrative for our emotional reactions to that moment we are too upset to apologize, forgive or just love who we want to love.

When the hug gets stuck in the icky web of negative feelings, the whole hug factory shuts down, and the heart grows dark. But when the hug lets go and releases itself from the negativity it can fly out to love up its intended recipient and the hugs factory starts to whirr back into business.

The illustrations are as unusual as the story itself, full of detail and meaning wrapped up in a gorgeous layered and multimedia collage. Complete with a hug meter tucked thoughtfully at the end, The Hug Who Got Stuck is another big winner from The Conscious Book Club!

Available on Amazon here!

Happy Reading!

Julianne Black

Hi! I am the author and illustrator of over a dozen children’s books, including the Augmented Reality enhanced Sleep Sweet, exhibited at BookExpo 2017 in NYC and being used nationwide in children’s hospitals for relaxation and distraction therapy. I’m the recipient of multiple awards for my writing and artwork, most recently the 2017 Jack London Award from the California Writers Club. My work as an internationally recognized graphic designer and digital/print promotion specialist with clients including Sears, Mitsubishi, Fujitsu, and Quebec’s Place Des Arts can be viewed worldwide. I’ve been published several years in a row in ComicCon International’s Souvenir book, Art 278, Story Monsters Ink Magazine, and multiple travel and trade publications.

I started BookTurnip because I am passionate about children’s literature! Reviewing new releases and interviewing the amazing minds behind them fires up my own creativity and helps fuel my passion for spreading the word on great books keep up with me by subscribing to the www.BookTurnip.com blog and check out my own site at www.JulianneBlack.com

 

 

Review: How to Make Friends with a Ghost

 

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How to Make Friends with a Ghost by Rebecca Green

Ever wonder how to score a ghoul bestie?

How to Make Friends with a Ghost is everything you need to get started!

Snack recipes. hiding techniques, game suggestions, exercise ideas, even bath time care – this book is your one stop shop for all friendship related advice when it comes to your new GBFF (Ghost Best Friend Forever)!

Special guest author Dr. Phantoneous Spookel – a leading ghost expert as well as beautiful illustrations copied directly from the archives of the Department of Paranormal Classification at the Society of Supernatural Studies give readers an up close and personal account of exactly what to expect.

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Written and illustrated by Rebecca Green ( myblankpaper.com ) , How to Make Friends with a Ghost is as informative as it is delightful! Just don’t skimp on the Pickled Boogers!

Get it here on Amazon

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Watch for my interview with Rebecca Green! 

 

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Happy Reading!

Julianne Black

Hi! I am the author and illustrator of over a dozen children’s books, including the Augmented Reality enhanced Sleep Sweet, exhibited at BookExpo 2017 in NYC and being used nationwide in children’s hospitals for relaxation and distraction therapy. I’m the recipient of multiple awards for my writing and artwork, most recently the 2017 Jack London Award from the California Writers Club. My work as an internationally recognized graphic designer and digital/print promotion specialist with clients including Sears, Mitsubishi, Fujitsu, and Quebec’s Place Des Arts can be viewed worldwide. I’ve been published several years in a row in ComicCon International’s Souvenir book, Art 278, Story Monsters Ink Magazine, and multiple travel and trade publications.

I started BookTurnip because I am passionate about children’s literature! Reviewing new releases and interviewing the amazing minds behind them fires up my own creativity and helps fuel my passion for spreading the word on great books keep up with me by subscribing to the www.BookTurnip.com blog and check out my own site at www.JulianneBlack.com

 

 

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Review: The Chalk Rainbow

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The Chalk Rainbow

by Deborah Kelly (Author), Gwynneth Jones (Illustrator), published by EK Books

The Chalk Rainbow is a pure celebration of co-creation, love, acceptance and triumph through dedication and appreciation. The story centers around a family experiencing some of the totally naturally occurring challenges of ASD and the ripples it creates in daily routines.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is so different from family to family, but The Chalk Rainbow does a great job of expressing common situations without drawing any specific conclusion. Zane’s character is exactly who he is, the challenge is how to work together to make a brighter situation for everyone.

Told by the sister in the family, her challenge to engage and comfort him becomes a game that transforms into an adventure – eventually becoming a situationally-unique and brilliant solution.

Each member of the family represents common reactions to ASD trials and in the end, patience and empathy are the big winners.

A staple for families, friends and schools to teach insight, understanding and creative problem solving, The Chalk Rainbow is both an important communication tool and story time treasure.

Available on Amazon here: http://amzn.to/2uq2Ncq

Happy Reading!

Julianne Black

Hi! I am the author and illustrator of over a dozen children’s books, including the Augmented Reality enhanced Sleep Sweet, exhibited at BookExpo 2017 in NYC and being used nationwide in children’s hospitals for relaxation and distraction therapy. I’m the recipient of multiple awards for my writing and artwork, most recently the 2017 Jack London Award from the California Writers Club. My work as an internationally recognized graphic designer and digital/print promotion specialist with clients including Sears, Mitsubishi, Fujitsu, and Quebec’s Place Des Arts can be viewed worldwide. I’ve been published several years in a row in ComicCon International’s Souvenir book, Art 278, Story Monsters Ink Magazine, and multiple travel and trade publications.

I started BookTurnip because I am passionate about children’s literature! Reviewing new releases and interviewing the amazing minds behind them fires up my own creativity and helps fuel my passion for spreading the word on great books keep up with me by subscribing to the www.BookTurnip.com blog and check out my own site at www.JulianneBlack.com

 

Review: Zip! Zoom! On a Broom

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Zip! Zoom! On a Broom

by Teri Sloat (Author), Rosalinde Bonnet (Illustrator) Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

A delicious Halloween treat, Zip! Zoom! On a Broom counts up to ten and back while racing through anights adventure for ten crazy witches.

One goes zip,

two go zoom.

Three witches glide from room to room.

Just try to keep up with these gory gals, as they go on an adventure with skeletons, monsters, bats, haunted castles, volcanoes,eagles, frogs, rainstorms, lightening, dragons… this is one wild group! While the story and illustration are amazing,

I think what sets this one apart is that it counts both up to and back from the number ten, and with all the witches trying to stay on the same broom, the visual component of addition as well as subtraction is present.

Fast paced and fun enough to hold an audience but consistent enough to get the fundamentals across, Zip! Zoom! On a Broom is a wonderful addition to your October bedtimes or school’s seasonal reading routine.

Available from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, this book is also available in Kindle for travel by broomstick!

Find it on Amazon here: http://amzn.to/2uq6oXM

Happy Reading!

Julianne Black

Hi! I am the author and illustrator of over a dozen children’s books, including the Augmented Reality enhanced Sleep Sweet, exhibited at BookExpo 2017 in NYC and being used nationwide in children’s hospitals for relaxation and distraction therapy. I’m the recipient of multiple awards for my writing and artwork, most recently the 2017 Jack London Award from the California Writers Club. My work as an internationally recognized graphic designer and digital/print promotion specialist with clients including Sears, Mitsubishi, Fujitsu, and Quebec’s Place Des Arts can be viewed worldwide. I’ve been published several years in a row in ComicCon International’s Souvenir book, Art 278, Story Monsters Ink Magazine, and multiple travel and trade publications.

I started BookTurnip because I am passionate about children’s literature! Reviewing new releases and interviewing the amazing minds behind them fires up my own creativity and helps fuel my passion for spreading the word on great books keep up with me by subscribing to the www.BookTurnip.com blog and check out my own site at www.JulianneBlack.com

The Elephant Who Tried To Tiptoe

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The Elephant Who Tried To Tiptoe 

by Andrew Newman (Author), Liesl Bell (Illustrator) Published by: Conscious Stories LLC 

Mom’s Choice Award winning The Elephant Who Tried To Tiptoe is an adorable story about a sweet and curious elephant that worries that she isn’t enough because she can’t do some of the things other animals can.

It is only after recounting her many positive attributes and blessings that she finds peace and happiness with being who she is.

Calming yet fun illustration and rolling rhythm seem to float the reader through this one and it makes a great pick-me-up bedtime story after a rough day or a reminder to love ourselves and appreciate our own unique abilities at school story hour.

Andrew Newman’s The Elephant Who Tried To Tiptoe is everything we’ve come to expect from The Conscious Book Club series (www.consciousstories.com) – a time out and regroup with ourselves and each other through a meaningful and inspirational story.

On Amazon here: http://amzn.to/2usMoC5

 

Happy Reading!

Julianne Black

Hi! I am the author and illustrator of over a dozen children’s books, including the Augmented Reality enhanced Sleep Sweet, exhibited at BookExpo 2017 in NYC and being used nationwide in children’s hospitals for relaxation and distraction therapy. I’m the recipient of multiple awards for my writing and artwork, most recently the 2017 Jack London Award from the California Writers Club. My work as an internationally recognized graphic designer and digital/print promotion specialist with clients including Sears, Mitsubishi, Fujitsu, and Quebec’s Place Des Arts can be viewed worldwide. I’ve been published several years in a row in ComicCon International’s Souvenir book, Art 278, Story Monsters Ink Magazine, and multiple travel and trade publications.

I started BookTurnip because I am passionate about children’s literature! Reviewing new releases and interviewing the amazing minds behind them fires up my own creativity and helps fuel my passion for spreading the word on great books keep up with me by subscribing to the www.BookTurnip.com blog and check out my own site at www.JulianneBlack.com

REVIEW: AFTER THE FALL

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After the Fall (How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again) Hardcover – October 3, 2017

by Caldecott Medalist Dan Santat and New York Times–bestselling and award-winning author and illustrator Dan Santat (Author, Illustrator)

This book is absolutely beautiful. We follow Humpty Dumpty’s rest and recovery after his fall, his transition back to the wall and the strength it took to get back on top. With an added bonus of an unexpected ending that will surely tweak your view of Mr Dumpty from this point forward.

Deliciously textured illustrations, emotionally impactful layout and design choices paired with a fresh view of the nursery rhyme bring it all home. Older children will especially adore it due to its graphic novel-style story telling and behind-the-scenes feel on the character. Great gift book full everything we have come to expect from the fantastic Dan Santat. See it here: http://amzn.to/2t8n8zM

 

Review: My Busy Green Garden

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My Busy Green Garden (Tilbury House Nature Book)

by Terry Pierce (Author), Carol Schwartz (Illustrator), released January 31, 2017

There’s a surprise
In clever disguise,
That hangs in my busy green garden.

 

MBGG takes place in the tiny details of daily life in a garden. Each illustration creates a vacation from human perspective and gives you an intimate look at all the garden creatures as they interact with each other. The story seems to zoom in a spiral of lyrical dance, closing in tighter with each page around the main star of the book, a chrysalis.

The action of the creatures interacting, disturbing, parading dials up and up until – we hang at the precipice of the chrysalis’ debut and remove ourselves from the ground-level hubbub into an ethereal flight up and away looking down on the scene from above.

The beautiful pairing of rhyme and image have made it a frequent bedtime read at our house, and more than once it’s been found under the covers with the book light in the morning. 4-6 year olds will especially enjoy the science aspect, but younger children will be delighted by the images as well. See it here on Amazon.

 


 

Julianne Black has written and illustrated several books,  including Sleep Sweet the multi-award winning Augmented Reality picture book.  She is an internationally recognized graphic artist, fine artist and freelance contributor to Story Monsters Ink Magazine. She can be reached at www.julianneblack.com

Interview: Terry Pierce

 

I got a chance to catch up with superstar Terry Pierce about her new release My Busy Green Garden! Terry has several published books out, two coming soon and  (fingers crossed) another manuscript going through the acceptance process right now. Her contact links are below the interview – definitely check out her work!


 

MBGG (My Busy Green Garden) is full of wonder! The intricacies of all the critters going about their routines plus the engaging rhythms of the story make it a joy to read at bed time. When creating it, do you ever read the work-in-progress text aloud to children?

First, thank you for the interview, Julie! It’s always a pleasure to talk about children’s books and writing. And what a great first question to answer. While I’m writing a picture book I always read the story aloud (as I write it) because picture books are meant to be read aloud. It’s an important part of the picture book writing process to read my work aloud so I can hear how the text rolls off my tongue, especially when I’m writing in rhyme! In fact, I often walk while reading my story aloud to check the rhythm. If there’s a stumble or glitch in the rhythm, I’ll feel it in my feet.

But you specifically asked if I read my work-in-progress to children. When I first started writing I did, but I soon realized that with picture books, reading my manuscripts to children didn’t quite work because I had no illustrations to accompany the text! (I’m an author, not an author-illustrator). As you know, picture books are a collaboration of text and art, with the art typically telling half the story. It took me a while to figure out that whenever I would read a manuscript to children I was only giving them half the story. So now, I rely on my own experiences and judgement regarding how my work will appeal to kids (I’m a former Montessori teacher so that helps).

The text has such a sense of rhythm, like a dance or a fun hike on a spring day. Do you remember where you were and what you were doing when the idea first started to take hold of you?

 Initially, I wanted to write a cumulative story (meaning, a story with building text, like the old favorite, The House That Jack Built). I already had one cumulative picture book published (Blackberry Banquet, Arbordale Publishing) and I had so much fun writing it! You see, my most favorite part of writing is playing with words and puzzling through the challenges of writing with rhyme and rhythm. I started reading many cumulative picture books to reacquaint myself with what was already on the market (so important to do when you get a new story idea!). When I read Arnold Lobel’s, The Rose in My Garden, I decided to go with a garden setting but I wanted a different focus—specifically, insects! (because what kid isn’t curious about bugs?).

 I remember sitting in my favorite worn writing chair (very likely with my cat on my lap), closing Lobel’s wonderful story, recalling how much my students loved hearing it, and decided I would write a story with a focus on insects and other small animals coming into a garden. But being a former teacher, I wanted to include some “science” so I decided to make the focal point achrysalis, hanging quietly in the garden, amidst all the other busy activity.

The illustrations are just gorgeous- bright, fun, so fresh and garden-y! How much influence did you have in choosing and guiding the art?

 I’m so glad you asked. One of the biggest misconceptions about writing picture books is that the author chooses his/her illustrator and submits their story to a publisher with the art. That is NOT the case. Typically, the author doesn’t have a say in who illustrates the book (especially in the trade market). However, I was fortunate in that my publisher, Tilbury House, sent me a list of five illustrators’ websites and asked me for my thoughts. They wanted to know if any of the illustrators’ styles matched the vision I had for the story.

Of course, I was thrilled they did this, because as I said, it’s not typical. And as soon as I saw Carol Schwartz’s rich, detailed, colorful illustrations, I knew she was my only choice (and luckily, she was my editor’s first choice, as well). Seriously, visit her website for a visual treat—her work is stunning! (www.csillustration.com).

Once they signed Carol on, I had little input on the illustrations, but honestly, I’m not an illustrator so I trusted the process, believing my editor and Carol would create something amazing. And they did! My editor did ask for thoughts on the cover font’s style and color, but I trusted the professionals to make the final decisions. As you say, the artwork is gorgeous, bright, fun, fresh and garden-y!

I read in a previous interview that you had submitted it several times prior to landing a deal with Tilbury House, and that it came down to tweaking just one line to give it more intrigue. Do you find in your process that this is a reality? That it just isn’t done until it is accepted and tweaks along the way are part of the process?

Absolutely! A manuscript isn’t “done” until the publisher has accepted the revised work (which in my experience, comes after I’ve signed a contract and my editor gives me a revision deadline). But I’m getting ahead of myself a bit. Usually, after putting a lot of work (weeks, months, even years) into a polished draft (which includes getting feedback from other writers), I’ll submit the manuscript to my agent (or an editor, if I’m submitting it myself to the educational market). If I receive a handful of “declines” (a nice way of saying “rejections”), then I will step back and take another hard look at the work.

 Sometimes, editors will give feedback, which I try to assimilate. For example, one editor told me she really liked My Busy Green Garden, but felt it was missing something, “a spark.” That single comment was what got me thinking that MBGG was close but needed one final “oomph!” So, after considering any editorial feedback, I’ll do some more tweaking and tinkering before sending a manuscript out for another round of submissions. This could go on for months or even years (sometimes I put a story away for a few months to gain a fresh perspective). And the reality is that some stories never make it to book publication (I call those my “learning stories” because they help me practice my writing). And others might make it other places of publications, like magazines.

 But the ones that are accepted for publication almost always require more revision after acquisition because editors have a vision for the manuscript, as well. They want the manuscript to reflect their publishing house. Sometimes it’s a rewrite, other times it’s minor edits, but either way, there is always more tweaking before the publisher accepts the final draft.

 I know you have several upcoming books making their ways to shelves soon, can you give us some hints as to what to expect from you next?

 Thank you for asking! I have three more books “under contract” (Pinch me! One picture book and two easy readers) but I can only publicly speak about one at this time (with my trade market publisher, I have to wait until the publisher announces the deal—hopefully, my editor will be announcing one of them in the next couple of months!).

The book I can share is another picture book with Tilbury House titled, Mother Earth’s Lullaby.The amazing Carol Heyer is going to illustrate it (this will be my second incredible illustrator named Carol!). The book is a rhyming lullaby story about endangered animals. It’s another one that I worked on for years, but it wasn’t until I shared it with my picture book adviser at Vermont College of Fine Arts, Kathi Appelt, that she suggested the endangered animal theme. I put a great amount of time and attention into creating a soothing, gentle text and I know Carol’s art is going to take my words to another level (visit her website at www.carolheyer.com). I believe the book is slated to come out in late 2018, and my soon-to-be-announced easy readers will be released in spring 2018 and summer 2019.

Any words of wisdom for aspiring authors and illustrators?

 This is an important question so my apologies in advance for droning on a bit. First, I always recommend to new writers to join the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators(www.scbwi.org) and become active in your local events. Doing so will help you make connections and educate you to world of children’s writing and illustrating, and help you learn how children’s publishing works.

 Second, I’d warn people that the road to publication is not easy. It takes a tremendous amount of learning, practice and grit to get published (mind you, I’m speaking of traditional publishing, not self-publishing of which I’m not familiar). That said, I’d also say Never Give Up. If you work hard, remain open-minded, develop your writing and/or illustration skills, and persevere, you’ll find success. But saying to persevere is sometimes easier to say than do.

Last year, on the EMU’s Debuts blog, (https://emusdebuts.wordpress.com/2016/09/01/the-pit-of-despair/) I wrote about what I call The Pit of Despair—that dark, hopeless place where all writers sometimes find themselves when they feel they can’t go on, cannot take one more rejection and think it’s time to give up their dream. I think it’s important to know that, 1) we all have serious setbacks, and 2) we’re not alone when we experience them. Connecting with other writers is vital to one’s survival in this business. We really do need each other (another great reason to join the SCBWI!).

And one last bit of advice. Don’t be afraid to take a writing course to hone your skills. I love retreats, workshops and conferences, but when you take a writing course, you dive deeply into the craft. Doing so helps you develop a stronger understanding of the genre and usually provides an opportunity for professional feedback on your work. It’s so important to learn the craft before you learn to market (trust me, doing so will save you many rejections!). While I’m partial to the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program because I teach for them, there are many other writing courses available today, both online and on-site. Just Google it!

Check out Terry’s books here:

Website: www.terrypiercebooks.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/TerryPierce/Author

Amazon Author Central: https://www.amazon.com/author/terrycpierce


TERRY PIERCE is the author of twenty children’s books, her most recent works being MAMA LOVES YOU SO (Little Simon) and MY BUSY GREEN GARDEN (Tilbury House). Her other books include BLACKBERRY BANQUET, TAE KWON DO! (Random House Step-Into-Reading, 2007 Bank Street College Best Children’s Books), and MOTHER GOOSE RHYMES (Picture Window Book, AEP Distinguished Achievement Award), and books for young readers about Hawaii. A former Montessori teacher, she now writes full-time, teaches children’s writing workshops and is a visiting author to elementary schools. She also teaches children’s writing courses for the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program.


Julianne Black has written and illustrated several books,  including “Sleep Sweet” the multi-award winning Augmented Reality picture book.  She is an internationally recognized graphic artist, fine artist and freelance contributor to Story Monsters Ink Magazine. She can be reached at www.julianneblack.com