2012 Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market

It’s clean. It’s pristine. And it’s mine, all mine. (Well, actually I bought it for my daughter and myself, but that kind of takes away from the mental picture of me sitting in front of my computer rubbing my hands together and laughing sinisterly.)

My daughter is illustrating her first children’s book and would like to make a career of writing and illustrating. I knew this would be a good resource to have in our library.

It is my goal to get my picture books and chapbooks into the marketplace as well, and ordering a copy of the 2012…Market seemed like a good place to start.

Purchase of the book includes a one-year online children’s subscription to That plus the almost 400 pages of articles and markets make it a wonderful investment, especially if it leads to work.

How I wish I could order all the 2012…Markets. If I could, they’d include the 2012 Writer’s Market, and those for artists and graphic designers, photographers, poets, novel and short story writers, as well as the …Guide to Literary Agents. (Have I mentioned I’m eclectically-interested?)

If you’re new to freelancing, market guides are an invaluable tool. They list possible homes for your work, some you may never have heard of. They teach you which markets accept unsolicited work, which publish the kind of work you do, what the submission process is…

So, whether you’re a novice or have years of experience, I recommend ordering your market guides today…


The Reading Promise

If buying new books isn’t in the budget, I best stay away from bookstores. If I don’t want to come home with a stack of books I don’t have time to read, I best stay away from our public library.

When I go to the bookstore, I gravitate first to the sale items. When I go to the library, the new release shelves call my name.

It was no different last week when I took a friend to pick up a book. There they were; the pristine new editions were beckoning. So, despite the facts that I have several books on the go and many more I haven’t gotten to, I signed out five books. While I’m pretty sure I won’t read them all, I do intend to complete The Reading Promise by Alice Ozma.

“She is passionate about literature, education, and working with children.” Sounds like an author I want to read.

I’ll admit I don’t usually bother with the Acknowledgments. However, I’m glad I did in this case. Ozma has a charming, conversational style. I love it.

Ozma refers to The Streak. It began as either a 100-night or a 1000-night commitment – depending on who you believe has the better memory, Ozma or her father. At any rate, it lasted over 3200 nights, until the author headed off to college.

The commitment? Dad read aloud to his daughter for at least 10 minutes before midnight every single day.

So, what good does this do after a child can read for him- or herself? The Commission on Reading declared, “The single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children.”

As a homeschooling mom, I read, “Teach your children to read. They can, then, teach themselves everything else.”

I remember standing outside my children’s rooms at night reading to them. We read through The Chronicles of Narnia – well, except for The Last Battle. I thought that was a little scary for bedtime. I also read several of John White’s books. (OK, I’m sure they were even more frightening.) And I’m certain there were many others.

My mom instilled a love of books – and reading – in me from a young age. I still remember her reading aloud to me. (And that was at least four decades ago.)

The Reading Promise is about so much more than the books Ozma and her father read together. It’s about the bond that grew stronger with each passing year, with each passing book. So, if reading is important to you…if the special bond it can create between parent and child interests you…if spending time with an engaging, young author appeals to you…then pick up a copy of The Reading Promise.

I’d love to hear about what you’re reading these days.

So You Want to Write a Children’s Book

Peter Carver’s book is a mere 124 pages. It could easily get lost on the bookstore shelves, but that would be a shame.

So You Want to Write… overflows with practical information for both writers and illustrators.

Carver’s bite-sized chapters for writers include Why are You Writing for Children? and Waiting for the Reply. (His advice…keep writing.) For illustrators: Working as an Illustrator and Getting Hired. For both: How to Find a Publisher and Should You Get an Agent?

While it is most appropriate for the novice, beginners and experienced professionals alike will benefit from the lists of organizations, government cultural programs and grants, etc.

I glanced at So You Want to Write… at the Write! Canada conference in June. Although I was there to pitch my idea for a children’s chapter book, I decided against purchasing the book.

I reconsidered, however, when the leader of a workshop I attended recommended it. As an acquisitions editor, she had given us a lot of practical advice on writing for children. When she recommended Carver’s book, I knew it would be a good idea to take a second look. And I’m glad I did. I’ve read it and am now looking forward to checking out many of the resources.

If you’re looking for an easy read that makes the industry of children’s books more accessible, this is for you.

When I’m Gone

We’ve all lost someone close to us. And often it makes us think Am I ready? My youngest is 21. Yet my will still names a guardian for her. Would my loved ones know where to find the important papers? Do I know where they all are? Would those left behind know who to contact in the event of my death?

Kathleen Fraser address these issues as well as many others in her book When I’m Gone. It contains not only useful information, but space to fill in personal details. Fraser covers the topics you’d expect–documents and records; health and medical care; finances–but she also touches on things that might never cross your mind–pets; computers, TVs and other electronics; your favorite things. And that is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

Most of us are too busy living to think much about our death. Plus, we don’t want to dwell on the inevitability. When I’m Gone makes it easy to gather our information and our thoughts without becoming morbid. It assists readers to think about what’s important to them and determine what arrangements still need to be made.

The lighthearted, whimsical illustrations help when dealing with such a sensitive subject. It will also help your loved ones…when the time comes.

I purchased my copy some time ago and am just now getting around to filling it out. I hope my family doesn’t need the information for many, many years, but I do want to know I’ve done my part to make it easier on them.

And now, back to the topic of living…

A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider

I must lodge a complaint. Just how was I not supposed to buy this book? The more often I attend the Write! Canada conference and the more guild members I get to know, the more it would be like saying no to a dear friend…several of them actually.

To begin with, I haven’t been a big fan of anthologies. Don’t ask me why because I have no rational explanation. And I may even submit something for A Third Cup… (N.J. and Wendy should just ignore that comment. I’m sure they don’t even want to think about editing another in the series–not yet anyway.)

But here I sit with A Second Cup… beside me. I have already read the poetry selections and am working my way through the others. Is it too cliche to say “There’s something for everyone” and “It will make you laugh; it will make you cry”? Cliche or not, there is and it will.

So, what have I discovered about anthologies? Sh, don’t tell, but I think I might just like them after all–especially when the stories are engaging, thought-provoking, and written by those who are willing to work hard to make their contributions the best they can be.

So, if like me, you want to read the work of skilled Canadian writers such as Heather McGillivray, M.D. Meyer, Paul M. Beckingham, and Les Lindquist, pick up a copy of A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider. I also suggest checking out the Hot Apple Cider Anthologies page on facebook.

All kidding aside, I do want to thank N.J. Lindquist and Wendy Elaine Nelles for the hours they spent editing A Second Cup… I also want to thank the 37 writers of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry who shared their talent and their heart with us. Kudos to each of you.

Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Children’s Book

Is it OK to review a book I haven’t read yet?

I sure hope so.

Everything… caught my eye when I was at the bookstore today, and I just had to bring it home.

When I babysat, I would go to the library and bring home stacks of picture books. I came across some that were brilliantly written, books I was sure I enjoyed and appreciated far more than the children did. I would still love to have a collection of my favourites, despite the fact that my youngest is 21 and I haven’t babysat in years.

Obviously, I am not alone in my belief that children’s books have much to teach us. Many, from Roger Ebert to Stan Lee to Beverly Cleary, agree. These are only three of the “notable people” whose comments appear in Everything…

Not to worry if you haven’t read the books they refer to. In most cases, an excerpt and a biography of the author appear next to the readers’ comments. It’s great. I especially like the fact that they also include a picture of most of the book covers, many of which I recognize even if I haven’t read the books.

Burnet’s The Secret Garden, Seuss’s Horton Hatches the Egg, and Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe are among the books that have taught lessons about imagination, morality, and wonder.

Some I haven’t even heard of, books like Taylor’s Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, Rylant’s Waiting to Waltz, and Burton’s The Little House. They make me want to tuck myself away in a corner of the children’s library and read for an afternoon. I just may have to do that.

If you love children’s books–or are willing to at least give them a chance–Everything… may be just the book to launch you into the wonders awaiting you in their pages.

Natural Hospital Birth

Cynthia Gabriel’s Natural Hospital Birth has made it to the top of my if-you-only-read-one-book-on-childbirth…list. It caught my eye in the bookstore because my current clients want the most natural birth experience possible yet will be giving birth in hospital, where achieving their goal is often difficult.

As a doula, I have been encouraged to include one book in my bag that will prove helpful when I attend births. For me, this is it. Whether I’m attending a home birth or a hospital birth, this resource will prove indispensable.

As a PhD in medical anthropology, professor, researcher, doula, and mother, Gabriel is uniquely qualified to write on the subject. Though highly educated, the author writes in a way that is accessible to all readers.

NHB is divided into three parts: Preparing for Your Baby’s Birth; Giving Birth; and the last section, Pulling it All Together, which includes only one chapter, Birth Your Way.

Gabriel says, “Your feelings about safety are the single most important factor in how your baby’s birth will unfold.” She devotes an entire chapter to the topic. And in reality, the whole book serves the purpose of dispelling fear. Readers are taught what occurs in each stage of labor and childbirth. They also learn how the support team can best help the laboring mom.

Too often hospital staff are not taught the natural options for pain relief and common concerns such as encouraging the baby to change positions should he or she be facing “the wrong direction.” It is important for moms, dads, and others to learn these options–and when appropriate, discuss them with their midwife or doctor–before labor begins.

Gabriel does not recommend being confrontational. After all, the medical team is there to ensure the safety of mother and baby. However, there are options to those measures commonly used in hospital births, and it is up to expectant mothers to educate themselves and choose what is best for them. As Gabriel says, it’s possible to have “the best of both worlds.”

In my opinion, who should read this book? Expectant parents. Members of their support team. Those who plan to have children in the future. Midwives. Nurses. Doctors. Even those who are simply interested in the topic.