Mr. Joao and Dindim the Penguin finds a home with Kids Can Press, plus writing contests and why you should enter.

In March of this year, I entered Vivian Kirkfield’s 50 Precious Word Contest with Mr. Joao and Dindim the Penguin and I am thrilled to announce that it will be published by Kids Can Press ( and illustrated by the incredible Mr. Pierre Pratt (  I cannot wait to see how he will bring this story to life!

Dindim announcement

What I love about writing contests is they give you an opportunity to dig through your ideas notebook, research a little or a lot, share your writing with our wonderful Kidlit community, and most importantly get your precious words onto paper!

My vignette was based on the true and remarkable story of Dindim, the Magellanic penguin, and Mr. Joao Pereira de Souza. Joao found the bird washed up on the beach covered in oil near his home in Rio de Janeiro, he saved him, their bond grew and Dindim regularly makes the long trip back to visit his best ‘penguin’ pal.

Vivian’s fifty word limit allowed me to really focus in on the bones of my story, which later grew into the story that will find its home in book form in fall 2020.

In 2016, I was lucky enough to win Vivian’s contest! The prize, a critique from the wonderful Essie White of Storm Literary Agency, gave me my biggest wish of finding an agent. I cannot thank Essie enough for believing in those first 50 words and making a dream come true.

So, to all of you aspiring children’s book authors…make sure you get that idea book out and get your stories on to paper and out into the world, because you just never know where that story may lead.

Here are a few places to check out:

Thanks for stopping by and happy writing!


One thought on “Mr. Joao and Dindim the Penguin finds a home with Kids Can Press, plus writing contests and why you should enter.

  1. You are definitely a sweetheart, Julie…and definitely a fabulous writer! I fell in love with Little Tiger the first time I read it as an entry to my #50PreciousWords writing challenge…and each time I read it over, I loved it even more…the hallmark of a great picture book! I didn’t know who ‘Julie Abery’ was…you weren’t active in my kidlit circle…but I knew your story was fabulous! I’m so thrilled to have you as a Storm sister…so thrilled to see Little Tiger and your other work, like Mr. Joao and Dindim the Penguin getting book deals…and especially so thrilled to get to hug you in person next year when we go to the Bologna Book Fair together!

    Liked by 1 person

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