Three Picture Books Recommended by a Child (plus one more)

Woo hoo! I won a book at the Grog launch party! I got my prize book in the mail this week.

The prize is a signed copy of “Hot Rod Hamster” by Cynthia Lord. Since I am participating in RhyPiBoMo this month, this rhyming picture book came at a perfect time.

The hamster of the title is going to participate in a race and so has a junkyard dog help him outfit a hot rod.

Not only are the rhymes beautiful, but the book is interactive too. The child is asked to participate by indicating which parts of the car he/she would choose.

I tested it out on my daughter, and she wanted me to read it again, and then informed me that it is her fourth favourite picture book.

I thought I would share with you her other three favourite picture books, the ones that she asks me to read over and over again.

3. “The Three Ninja Pigs” by Corey Rosen Schwartz
This is a twist on the three little pigs fairy tale. The three little pigs decide that they are going to learn martial arts in order to defeat the big bad wolf. However, the first two little pigs don’t study long enough, leaving it up to their sister to protect them.

2. “The Library Mouse” by Daniel Kirk
Sam is a library mouse who reads and reads and reads. One day he decides that he is going to start writing books instead, leaving them out for the library patrons to read. But when the librarian puts out a note that they want to meet the mystery author, Sam must find a way that the patrons can do so.

3. “Hooway for Wodney Wat” by Helen Lester
Rodney is a rat who is teased for his inability to pronounce his r’s. Because of this he is the shyest rodent in school, even hiding himself in his coat. But when bully Camilla Capybara shows up, Rodney surprises all the rodents.

The bonus is that I don’t mind reading these books over and over to my daughter. So these books are not only enjoyed by a child, but by the adult reading them, which is so important.
What are your children’s favourite picture books?

Three Reasons You might have Writer’s Block

I have been feeling overwhelmed lately, so I have not been doing as much writing (including blogging) as I would like. So this post seems to come at a good time.


Some people may say that there is no such thing as writer’s block, but I have lived it, and so I disagree with them. They may say, just sit down and write. Fine, I can do that. But what if I put off writing what I really need to be writing, thus avoiding necessary deadlines.

I have found that there are some very real reasons for writer’s block. And I have some solutions too.


1. You are angry about your writing and its reception by the world.

Let’s face it. We writers are creatives, which makes us sensitive and not necessarily open to the mounds of rejection we will receive if we become serious at our craft.

Those constant rejections do start to sting after a while.

You look at your story and think, but I have tried so many different things. Why is it not going well?

The thing is you probably haven’t tried everything. So try something totally different. Something that you would have never thought of doing.

If you write in prose, try writing in rhyme. If you write fiction, try your hand at nonfiction. If you write picture books, go ahead and write a middle grade novel instead.

At the very least, you will come back with some different techniques that you can incorporate into your once failed writing. At the most, you find out that you have simply been writing the wrong genre.

This month is picture book rhyming month, RhyPiBoMo. Writing in rhyme is intimidating, especially because we are told that it is no longer wanted. But actually rhyme is always desirable in a picture book, just not bad rhyme.

I decided to join this challenge. At first I was intimidated. But as I sat down to write my first rhyming picture book, I discovered that it’s fun! Playing with language is not stressful, it’s stress relieving.


2. Something else is sucking away at your energy.

There could be some experience going on in your life that is taking a lot of your energy away from being able to create. There may be serious illness in your family. It may be a recent death. Even a move will put you out of sorts.

These days people talk about being overwhelmed (see above), and I think we all feel it. Life gets so busy, and that can be draining.

In this case, you need to step back from your writing and examine if you need to take a break from it, even if it is only a temporary one. And don’t be too hard on yourself if you need to!

Then find out what it is that can get you going again. Even if it’s spending the afternoon cleaning out your clutter, because you need some change in your life.

If you need to and are able to take a longer period of time, then focus on some other area of writing. Read that stack of books that has been waiting for you for a long time.

This month I have started to read some of the chapter books I have put on hold. Two I can highly recommend are “Sarah, Plain and Tall” by Patricia MacLachlan and “The Boxcar Children” by Gertrude Chandler Warner.


3. You are exhausted.

Your muse may be crying out to you that you are not taking care of yourself. If you find yourself blocked, then examining your habits is also a good idea. When was the last time you exercised? Even taking a walk will help. Stop stuffing yourself with junk food every time you get stressed. Put out the fruit and carrots and popcorn instead. Make sure that you are getting adequate sleep.

This month I am participating in Mama Scout’s wellness challenge of “drink more water”. Drink more water, you say? How will that help me? Actually, chronic dehydration will do a lot of negative things to your health.


What things have you tried that have helped you through writer’s block?

A Two from “Rate Your Story”

The very first story I sent to “Rate Your Story” got me a mark of a 10, the worst possible. I sent that out in August of 2013. After I licked my wounds for a few months, I sent out another that got an 8. The judge did say that the story had merit, and so I decided that I would keep at it. The next story got a 7. Hey, at least I am working my way in the right direction, I thought.

So I was really pleased to receive a mark of 2 this morning on my latest story!

00Number 2 badge

Now as many people point out, the judging is subjective. Still it is always nice to receive such a positive response to any of your stories. It made my day.