Sunday, October 2, 2022

#Fallwritingfrenzy time - The Costume Contest Winners by Wendy Greenley


After twelve power outages this morning (it's only raining here??), I'm chancing a moment to post this.

Even if you don't win a prize, writing contests are a fun way to explore imaginative writing prompts!

If you've been suffering from writer's block, or just want to practice writing to a specific theme or word count--give a writing contest a try. In the #kidlit realm, there are several no-fee gems to try. The Kidlit411 blog has a good list of options.

Today's spooktacular contest is being hosted by the dynamic crew of Lydia Lukidis and Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez and Alyssa Reynoso-Morris. Using picture prompts, the challenge is to write a story, poem, mood piece--whatever strikes your fancy--as long as it's 200 words or less (including any art notes). 

Those of you who know me know that if there was a picture with a dog--I was probably going to pick it! Let me know what you think in the comments below!

The picture prompt I chose: Credit: Sarah Pflug for Burst

And--drum roll please--my slightly subversive picture book styled Halloween story:

The Costume Contest Winners - 197 words


Billy wanted to win the pet store prize.

His costume was perfect.             [vampire]


But no one would vote for him because his Mom worked in special effects.

“It’s not fair.” Billy sulked.


Everyone knew this—except Vance and Wendy. They were new to town.          

[real vampire and witch]


 “Need a tissue? Your fangs are bloody,” Vance whispered.

Billy waved his tube of goo.

“It’s fake?” Vance asked.


“Duh! That’s funny!” Billy poked Vance.

Vance growled.

“Calm down!” Wendy grabbed Vance’s arm.


“My mom could add sparkles.” Billy tapped Wendy’s hat.

“Don’t touch!” Wendy warned. Her cauldron moaned eerily.


“What’s in there?” Billy reached for Wendy’s pot.

“Don’t reach in!”


Too late.




“HEY!” Billy woofed.

“You were carrying a live potion?!” Vance shook his head.

“He wasn’t my first choice, but you wanted a pet.” Wendy shrugged. “Let’s go.”

“I wanted to pick my own puppy,” Vance’s voice quavered.


“Oooh! Cute doggie!” The other kids crowded around. 


Vance and his mini-me pet won best costume!

“You want two dogs, don’t you?” Wendy asked.

Vance smiled.


So Billy won the contest after all, and got a dog to play with.

“I love Halloween,” said Vance.

Woof! Billy agreed.

I hope you enjoyed reading! If you want to find more terrific entries, go to Lydia's blog or google #Fallwritingfrenzy! 

Friday, April 1, 2022

THE LIBRARY BUS by Bahram Rahman, illustrated by Gabrielle Grimard

 When I was young, the library was far away and my mom worked and didn't have time to drive me. But the bookmobile came to our neighborhood and I checked out as many books as I could carry! 

The books I read were knowledge, but also good friends. So this book recommendation speaks to my heart:

Title: The Library Bus 

Author: Bahram Rahman

Illustrator: Gabrielle Grimard

Publisher: Pajama Press (2020)

Themes: Books, Girls, Refugees

What I liked about the book:

I have a personal connection to bookmobiles and the author's own connection deepened my appreciation for the book. The author grew up in Afghanistan--where the story is set--and wrote the story to tell children about the struggles of girls, like his sister, who were forbidden to go to school. While things improved in this region for a short period of time, now the restrictions have returned and the book is more relevant than ever.  Warm illustrations depict the happiness, and leave the struggle for later discussion. The Library Bus is a love letter to literacy for all.

A Teaching Guide for The Library Bus can be downloaded from the publisher's website.

If your area has a bookmobile--go see it! How does the selection compare to the library's?

Meet the author:

Author's interview about equality, literacy and collective memory.

Youtube video after author won 2021 Middle East Book award

The author has a new book released Nov 2021 : SKY BLUE BENCH which I haven't read yet.

This review is part of Perfect Picture Book Friday where author Susanna Leonard Hill curates a selection of recommended books for kids for parents, teachers, writers, librarians and gift-givers.

Saturday, March 26, 2022


 In researching comparative titles for a new manuscript I wrote, I came across Lori Nichols books about Maple & Willow. The two sisters relationship rang true and it's a two thumbs up book!

(Aside from having two sisters, the story is *phew!* nothing like what I've been working on)

Title: Maple & Willow Together             

Author/Illustrator: Lori Nichols

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books (PYRG)

Year: 2014

Themes: Siblings, disagreements

Sibling dynamics are unlike any other friendships. It makes it both easier and harder to love each other at times! My sisters and I certainly had our moments of both.

The Teaching Resources website  and writer Joanna Marple's website have activities to accompany the book.

This series began with just Maple, and now Maple and her sibling Willow have a whole series I somehow missed. I will be at the library looking for the others later today!

This review is part of Perfect Picture Book Friday where author Susanna Leonard Hill curates a selection of recommended books for kids for parents, teachers, writers, librarians and gift-givers.

Sunday, March 6, 2022

50 Precious Words (Thank you vivian Kirkfield!)

I decided to enter the #50preciouswords contest hosted by the amazing Vivian Kirkfield for the first time. And yes, that means a story with a beginning, middle and end in 50 words or less. Here goes:

Where’s Mom?

by Wendy Greenley

(49 words)


Empty bed

Gravel crunches

Where’s Mom?


Lights on

Packed lunches

Where’s Mom?



Hand-me-down clothes

Where’s Mom?


Radiator rumbles

Toasty toes

Where’s Mom?


Library books

Tree daydreams

Next door friends

Future schemes

Where’s Mom?


Gravel crunches

Packed lunches

Hand-me-down clothes

Toasty toes


Future schemes


Feel Mom everywhere.

Thanks to Vivian for the inspiration and thanks everyone for reading!