(Sing to the refrain from Another One Bites the Dust by Queen)
Another year bites the dust!
Another year bites the dust!
With another post aired and another post aired
Oops, I meant to read that too!
(Phew! There’s still time before…) Another year bites the dust!
2022 brought a marvelous array of posts to inspire, inform, teach, and delight Writers’ Rumpus readers, but don’t fret if you missed one here or there. Each December, it’s my honor to highlight one post from each of our talented contributors with an image, a link, and a brief summary. So kick back with your favorite beverage and cuddly blanket while you peruse the 2022 Writers’ Rumpus Review. If any posts tickle your fancy, click on the date links and you’ll be magically whisked to the complete posts. Enjoy!!
HOW DO LIBRARIES CHOOSE BOOKS? INTERVIEW WITH LIBRARY DIRECTOR NOELLE BOC
Have you ever wondered how public libraries curate their collections? Author Amy Amberg is a children’s librarian herself, and her insightful questions to Noelle Boc, Head Librarian of the Danvers Public Library, reveal illuminating information about the collection development policies that SHOULD be in place to ensure libraries offer books that represent the communities they serve. Within this post, Amy shares two heartening ALA guidelines designed to protect libraries against censorship!
BRINGING UP A WRITING FAMILY: A KIDLIT JOURNEY WITH AWARD-WINNING AUTHOR JANE YOLEN
September 23, 2022
If you have anything to do with kidlit, you know Jane Yolen, whether you’ve read one or more of her 400 + books or had the privilege to meet Jane in person. This beautiful interview by René Bartos reveals how Jane was introduced to writing, her family’s deep connection to nature, and how much she treasures co-authoring with family members and interacting with the kidlit community. As if that weren’t enticing enough, the writing tips Jane offers are priceless! If you weren’t a fan already, you will be after reading this inspiring and revealing post.
In this adorable post, Kirsti Call shares the evolution of the THE BIG SCREAM, starting with its roots as WILMA AND THE BIG SCREAM, the very first picture book she ever dreamed up. I remember that earlier rendition, and I’m so impressed with Kirsti’s perseverance and vision in trimming from 500 words down to 72! That was no SMALL feat, and the result is this LITTLE book with BIG emotions!
I can’t imagine a better Valentine’s Day post than Kim’s, which invited readers to add their support to a campaign petitioning The New York Times to add three children’s nonfiction categories to their Bestseller’s list. Sadly, the petition was rejected! But don’t let that stop you from reading and sharing the amazing nonfiction kidlit offerings available today.
Laura Fineberg Cooper
PAST OR PRESENT? LEARN WHICH TENSE IS BEST FOR YOUR NARRATION
March 15, 2022
We have countless choices when creating MG and YA novels, but one that causes a great deal of angst is determining which tense is best for our narration. By reading this post, you’ll learn the possibilities and limitations for each tense and hopefully, feel empowered to play around with tense afterward. Three mentor texts are highlighted: Shadow Magic by Joshua Khan (creepy, fantastical, and thrilling – past tense), Golden Boy by Tara Sullivan (terrifying and realistic – present tense), and Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper (a masterful and realistic mish-mash of tense).
In each monthly post for writers and illustrators of middle grade and YA, Lexi shares a reflection on her previous month’s progress and her game plan for the month ahead; she also invites us to share our experiences, too. Within this post, Lexi includes a link that will bring you to a list of opportunities that span the entire year.
CULTURALLY RESPONSIVE TEXTS IN CLASSROOMS
January 21, 2022
In this enlightening post, Keri raises the critical point that skin comes in much wider range of colors than merely black and white and books for kids in the classroom (or at home) should reflect this diversity. The post centers on a remarkable book called ALL THE COLORS WE ARE by Katie Kissinger that celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2014! Whether you’re a writer, a teacher, a caregiver, or anyone interested in providing culturally appropriate books to our kids, Keri includes incredibly helpful links.
Carol’s wonderful interview with Rebecca Gardyn Levington shares the genesis of Rebecca’s writing career and is chock full of tips and links to inspire writers to write from the heart, practice patience, and participate in writing contests. Rebecca’s picture book, aptly titled BRAINSTORM!, offers a delightful introduction to brainstorming for young children, perfect for homeschooling families or the elementary classroom.
KEEPING A SERIES FRESH WITH KID-FRIENDLY CONFLICTS AND CHANGING GENRES
November 8, 2022
The Great Caper Caper is the 5th entry in the popular Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast series that launched ten years ago. If you’ve read any of these books, for yourself or a young child, you can appreciate how original and clever each of them is. To find out how Josh keeps coming up with fresh ideas, read this surprising and inspiring post. You’ll never look at your fridge in quite the same way afterward.
Marti discusses a topic that all or most novel writers can identify with – and does so with humor! In this very helpful post, she offers concrete tips on how to reveal the issue of redundancy, the main culprit that leads to a saggy middle. But she doesn’t stop there! Marti then lists a number of thought provoking questions to help us FIX this issue. I can almost guarantee you’ll want to print out this post and hang it by your computer.
DECEMBER PICTURE BOOK OPPORTUNITIES
November 29, 2022
Marianne offers a HUGE service to picture book writers and illustrators by rounding up a plethora of opportunities, some free and some with a fee, every single month! If you failed to take advantage of December’s opportunities, it’s not too late to give this one more look, because Marianne includes a “Register in December for Later” link and another link called “Repeat Every Month.”
INTERVIEW WITH BOOK REVIEWER AND PODCASTER…..E TRAIN!
November 11, 2022
I almost skipped this post because I thought E Train was someone I would know if I were way cooler. But imagine my surprise, awe, and delight when, giving it a quick peek, I discovered that E Train is a sixth-grader who reviews middle grade books and interviews authors and others in the children’s book industry for his wildly successful “E Train Talks” podcast. After reading this post, I dare you not to become a follower of this amazing young man!
In this inspiring post, Rebecca invites novelists to reach outside our comfort zones and experiment with different genres and forms of writing. She shares information about flash fiction, short stories, poetry, and scriptwriting, and maintains that exploring beyond our preferred form of writing will make us all better novelists. So take off your blinders and read this post! I bet you’ll be inspired to try a new form.
Is your novel running away from you? Are new characters highjacking your plot from the established main character? If any of this rings a bell with you, this post proves you’re not alone. Honestly, whether it’s your first novel or your tenth, this post is an engaging read and provides encouragement to streamline your plot.
Audrey Beth Stein (Alumni and Guests)
SELF-PUBLISHING A PICTURE BOOK: A PRIMER FROM THE AUTHOR OF THE DAY MY BEST FRIEND AND A MIGRAINE SLEPT OVER
October 25, 2022
If you’ve ever thought about self-publishing your picture book, this post by guest author Audrey Beth Stein provides concrete information about how to go about it. Using her personal experience with the book in this post’s title, Audrey clearly explains ALL that goes into the process, including feedback, proofreading, finding an illustrator, layout, cover design, crowdfunding, production, distribution, and reviews.
With snow, ice, and sleet on the horizon for many of us, it’s a joy to return to Marcia’s post that showcases four adorably water-splashed picture books. Her focus is on how water is portrayed in these books, and as a librarian and author, Marcia always does a beautiful job highlighting books! From the covers alone, you can see that each of these books are illustrated in a delightfully different style.
In this wonderfully engaging post, Joyce shares the incredible story of how three ingenious, passionate, and creative individuals combined their talents to create Beacon Hill Books and Cafe, a home fit for a cultured squirrel, and this charming book. The real-life story of this bookshop’s conception and creation is awe-inspiring. If you’d like to experience it in person with me, let me know!!
Danna introduces us to Amy Makechnie, author of the MG novels Ten Thousand Tries and The Unforgettable Guinevere Sinclair. Danna contacted the author after being blown away by Ten Thousand Tries, and Amy shares details about her writing style, finding balance, and how she became an author for children. Amy has new book geared toward younger readers coming out in June 2023 – and it looks hysterical!
That’s a wrap! I wish all of our Writers’ Rumpus readers a wonderful holiday season and a New Year filled with exciting adventures, boundless creativity, and good health.