Brian Gehrlein’s #PBCritiqueFest
Today I’m taking a break from my usual book reviews to highlight a contest that’s perfect for aspiring picture book authors, illustrators, and author-illustrators—Brian Gehrlein’s #PBCritiqueFest. Why would you want to enter this contest? I can think of lots of reasons, but two stand out in my mind.
One: The picture book industry is very competitive. Many would argue more competitive than adult publishing or even other kid lit genres. With so many people aspiring to have their picture book stories published, they must first catch the attention of agents and editors. And even before that, they need to write and/or illustrate an outstanding story. You can write a decent story on your own, but getting feedback from other writers can help you turn a good story into a great one. Getting a critique from a professional in the industry (a published author, agent, or editor) can help you write a story that really shines. There are opportunities to purchase professional critiques like this, often available when you attend a webinar or conference, but sometimes someone hosts a giveaway for a chance to win one. That leads me to reason number…
Two: The kid lit community is very supportive. If you’ve ever been to an SCBWI or other kid lit conference or just browsed social media posts written by kid lit folk, you will feel the love! You can find advice, a shoulder to cry on, someone to jump up and down with, encouraging posts, book promotions for fellow author/illustrators, positive book reviews, blog posts, giveaways, querying and pitching tips, writing and illustrating tips, virtual and in-person book launches, ask-the-author sessions, interviews with authors, illustrators, agents and editors, adorable character illustrations, portfolio displays, contests and more. Many children’s book creators volunteer their time to help the greater kid lit community. One of those people is Brian Gehrlein. Not only is he an up-and-coming children’s author himself, but he’s a cheerleader and supporter of the kid lit community. He offers inspirational posts and features informational interviews with authors, illustrators, and agents on his Picture Book Spotlight blog, he sometimes offers his own critiquing skills in giveaways (I’ve won a fantastic and very helpful critique from him myself), and he hosts an annual “giveaway” he calls #PBCritiqueFest!
You can read more about #PBCritiqueFest here, but in a nutshell, you fill out a brief form and you are entered for a chance to win a critique with one of 36 authors, illustrators, and agents. If you promote the contest in various ways (guidelines can be found here), you can earn additional entries into the contest. BUT this year’s #PBCritiqueFest is almost over! You only have until 10 AM today (Eastern time 10/30/20) to enter. What are you waiting for?
REVIEW: HAPPY CURIOUS EVENTS DAY!
What is a curious event? If something is curious to one, is it curious to all? This book puts that question to the test.
A red sphere flies through the air, lands in a garden, and the veggies all ponder what it might be. They quickly decide it must be an alien tomato! But Gopher knows better. The problem is, no one listens to him. Kristen Schroeder's humorous text is matched with Mette Engel's bright, cheery illustrations. Gopher's expressions are hilarious & the twist ending is just right. What a fun read!
Read this review on Goodreads and Amazon.
What a wonderful group of people to honor today. I love having a clean house, but I hate cleaning. It’s hard work and the rewards are pretty fleeting. Whether someone spills something or walks across a just vacuumed rug or dust instantly appears again, that clean doesn’t last long. Custodial workers do all that hard work for someone else, only to do it all over again. Let’s take a moment to show our appreciation for all those custodians, today and every day. Here is a picture book that tells the story of a boy who accompanies his parents on their night janitor job and, with their help, transforms what could have been a dull night into one of adventure:
Not all children can relate to having to accompany their parents on a night shift job, but most can remember at least one time they had to wake up in the middle of the night or the wee hours of the morning (I know I don’t like getting out of my bed, especially when the sun hasn’t risen yet!). That’s enough to make one person a little grumpy. Then tired Daniel has to go to his parents’ job in an angry-looking building. A dirty building. One his parents have to clean. Where’s the fun in that? But Daniel’s parents invent stories about a King who rules the Paper Kingdom and the night does become fun. This book is full of imagination and color and emotion and a subtle, but important message to appreciate others’ hard work. Overall, a lovely read!
Read this review on Goodreads and Amazon.
Heather is a busy wife and mom of five rambunctious children and one lovable pup They all provide lots of distractions, but oodles of inspiration. Sometimes the pictures and ideas in her head turn into her own children's stories, but she always makes time to read other people's books. Sometimes she reviews them here.