Book Babies #50 PreciousWords challenge 2019

Everyone knows how much I love Vivian’s #50PreciousWords contest. It’s fabulous!!


Here is a little background information for you all. March 2nd is the birthday of Theodor Geisel, better known to young readers as Dr Seuss, who was challenged by his publisher to write a story using only 50 words. Not so easy! Once again Vivian(www.viviankirkfield.com) is hosting her own 50 precious words challenge!

The goal is to write a story appropriate for kids ages 12 or under, using only 50 words…they can all be different words, or you can use some of them over and over…just as long as the total unique word count for the story is 50 or less. For more information pop over to Vivian’s website https://viviankirkfield.com/2019/03/02/the-50preciouswords-writing-contest-is-open/

My entry this year is for mama’s and their little ones. READING is SHARING is LOVE!



by Julie Abery (41 words)

Book babies


on mama’s knee.


Book babies


the colours they see.


Book babies


a nursery rhyme.


Book babies


one page at a time.


Book babies


a corner to chew.


Book babies


a flap – peek-a-boo!


Book babies

laughing –

the world is so new.


Book babies


sweet moments with you.


Thanks for popping over to read, and don’t forget there are lots more over at https://viviankirkfield.com/2019/03/02/the-50preciouswords-writing-contest-is-open/



The Holiday Show – Susanna Hill’s 8th Annual Holiday Contest

Crackling crackers! It is time for Susanna Hill’s 8th Annual Holiday Contest…


The contest: Write a children’s holiday story (children here defined as age 12 and under) about A Holiday Hero! You’re hero’s act of heroism can be on a grand scale or a small one – from saving Christmas to leaving a fresh-baked load of Challah bread for a homeless person to something like Gift of the Magi where two people give up the most important to them to be sure someone they love has a good holiday. Your hero can be obvious or unlikely. Your story may be poetry or prose, silly or serious or sweet, religious or not, based on Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or whatever you celebrate, but it is not to exceed 250 words. Your entry can be posted on your own blog or over on Susanna’s between this very second and Saturday December 8 at 11.59 PM EST. https://susannahill.com/2018/12/06/ho-ho-ho-the-eighth-annual-holiday-contest-is-here/#comments

So without further ado, here is my entry…

The Holiday Show

The children were ready, the show was tonight.

The curtains went up to great gasps of delight.

The bobble-hat reindeers pranced up and down,

when on danced the fairies in tutus and gowns.

The littlest fairy with bells on her wings,

wiggled and jiggled like she was on springs.

A curly-shoed elf with a big voice decreed

“The littlest fairy is busting to wee!”

A teacher rushed over and led her stage right.

Her mum, in first row, hoped that she’d be alright.

The flutter of fairies all froze in a ring…

The littlest fairy was up next to sing!

Crackling crackers!

What are we to do?

The littlest fairy has

gone to the loo!

The fluttering fairies bumped into each other.

An ice-skating polar bear fell on his brother!

Crackling crackers!

Can this get much worse?

The polar bear’s being

propped up by the nurse!

The fairies stopped dancing! The reindeer quit prancing!

The polar bears stared, and the teachers did too,

Then up popped the elf in his curly-toed shoes.

He marched to the flutter of fairies and said

“I know the words, so can I sing instead?”

The music began and Elf’s singing was bright.

The littlest fairy ran on from stage right.

The audience cheered at their Christmas duet,

Tonight, was an evening they’d never forget!

Crackling crackers!

Well, what do you know?

The curly-shoed elf

saved our Holiday show.


Thanks for popping by, and don’t forget to hop over to Susanna’s to read all the other wonderful entries.

Happy Holidays!!



It’s Susanna Hill’s 8th Halloweensie Writing Contest!


Aaahhhrrroooooo!  Yippee and tee-hee-hee! It is Susanna Hill’s Annual Halloweensie Contest and my Teensy-Weensy Witch is back for another adventure!

The challenge: Write a Halloween story suitable for children (under 12) in 100 words or less, making sure you use the words shiver, cauldron and howl. Easy right!!

Since 2015, my Teensy-Weensy Witch has been causing havoc and mayhem in The Little Red Story Shed at Halloween, and she is back for another instalment this year! So without further ado, here is…

Potion Commotion

(100 words)

A candy munching monster helped the Teensy-Weensy Witch

to mix up a concoction when his nose began to twitch.

The sticky, steamy vapours started conjuring a sneeze,

that burst through doors and windows and howled upon the breeze.

The cauldron took a wobble and the gooey gloop took flight,

splashing trick-or-treaters who were lurking in the night.

The witch looked through her fingers, gave a shiver, then a wink.

She shouted “Happy Halloween, we’ve turned the night bright pink!”

She leaned into the kettleful to try a little lick,

“We’ve spun up cotton candy, now all we need’s a stick!”


Don’t forget to rush over to Susanna’s blog (susannahill.com) to read all the wonderful entries, and there is still time to enter, deadline is Wednesday 31st October at 11.59 PM EDT.

Thanks for stopping by.




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 (www.kidscanpress.com) and illustrated by the incredible Mr. Pierre Pratt (www.pierrepratt.com).  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!



My Bologna Book Fair Diary 2018

Monday morning started early! As I boarded the train for Bologna, coffee in hand, I was excited to finally be heading to the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, a mecca for illustrators and book lovers alike. My illustrator friend, Fiona Halliday (SCBWI Austria/Germany) and I had been talking of this for months!

After joining the queues of people entering the Fiere, we headed for the Bologna Illustrators’ Exhibition. The 77 chosen finalists’ work was showcased in rows of glass cabinets for everyone to enjoy and will be published in the 2018 Bologna Illustrators Annual to be shared across the publishing world— what great exposure!

Next were the illustrator walls! WOW! Business cards, flyers, and postcards of fabulous art adorned walls and doorframes everywhere! The walls oozed creativity, and so much talent! There was even one creative attracting lots of attention by wearing a hat dangling with business cards.

There were six halls to visit so comfy shoes were a must! Dotted through the fair were workshop spaces like the Illustrators Survival Corner, Illustrators Café, Authors Café, and Translators Café as well as approximately 1,300 exhibitors and 26,000 visitors! The Guest of Honour country this year was China, so there were displays, exhibitions, and stands promoting China’s publishing houses.

Fabulous books were everywhere and in every language! Publishers raced from one meeting to another and illustrators queued patiently to share their portfolios and new projects with potential publishing houses. A great tip for illustrators and authors is to sign up for meetings in advance, wherever possible. Some publishing houses required artists interested in reviews to connect with them a few weeks prior to the fair, but they had to act quickly as time slots filled fast. Other publishers had open sessions that were advertised on the day and the queues were long. For those whose timetables clashed, many stands had business card drop-off boxes.

I was delighted to meet with my US/Canadian publishers. It was great to connect faces to the people I had been emailing for many months, and begin to build more personal relationships. I also had the opportunity to meet with Suzie Mason, the illustrator of my board books Little Tiger and Little Panda, which will be released by Amicus Ink in spring, 2019.

photo 2 (2)(Suzie Mason and Julie at the Amicus stand)

The SCBWI booth was a welcome hub, and friendly faces greeted EVERYONE! The Duelling Illustrators competition took place here, as did some portfolio reviews and of course the BIG (Bologna Illustrators Gallery), in which one of my agency sisters was a finalist. Congratulations Cheryl Pilgrim!

But I mustn’t forget my ‘fangirl’ moment . . . the Drawing Masterclass with former Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell! He talked with great humour while drawing pictures on an overhead screen to a mesmerized crowd. He shared his books, his love of music, and the importance of daily sketch diaries—and he gave me an idea! I had an empty notebook with me, so I hung around afterwards and asked if he would like to be my first doodle. He willingly obliged and honoured me with his trademark mouse in a raincoat and my Doodle Diary was born . . . and what a great birthplace! There were super-friendly illustrators EVERYWHERE! I met them in queues, on crowded public transport, in restaurants, and on the stands—so watch out SCWBI illustrators . . . next time I see you I will surely have my Doodle Diary with me!

(Special Thanks to Chris Riddell, Roberto Innocenti and Elizabeth Dulemba for their doodles).

It was wonderful to see that children’s book publishing is thriving. Fiona and I spent two fabulous days at the fair. It was inspiring and exhausting, but we would definitely go again—and next time we’ll make sure we are there on the last day to take home a whole pile of books!


Mister Joao and Dindim the Penguin #50PreciousWords Challenge 2018

Everyone knows how much I love Vivian’s #50PreciousWords contest. It’s fabulous!!


Here is a little background information for you all. March 2nd is the birthday of Theodor Geisel, better known to young readers as Dr Seuss, who was challenged by his publisher to write a story using only 50 words. Not so easy! Once again Vivian(www.viviankirkfield.com) is hosting her own 50 precious words challenge!

The goal is to write a story appropriate for kids ages 12 or under, using only 50 words…they can all be different words, or you can use some of them over and over…just as long as the total unique word count for the story is 50 or less. For more information pop over to Vivian’s website https://viviankirkfield.com/2018/03/02/50preciouswords-2018-writing-challenge-is-open/

My entry this year is based on the true and remarkable story of Dindim the penguin and Mr Joao Pereira de Souza, who saved him from an oil slick. Every year for the last four years, Dindim has made the long journey back to spend time with his best ‘penguin’ pal. Photo credit TV Globo.

Fisherman Mr Joao Pereira de Souza and Dindim


Mr Joao and Dindim the Penguin
by Julie Abery

on submission…


Thanks everyone for stopping by. And see you all over at http://www.viviankirkfield.com


When your Llama needs a haircut by Susanna Hill


Good morning Perfect Picture Book Friday bloggers!

I am delighted to be able to participate in PPBF today with Susanna Hill’s latest board book When Your Llama Needs a Haircut…and boy does he need a haircut now! He arrived in the mail yesterday, tightly stuffed into a padded envelope! It is a long journey from Blueberry Hill to Switzerland and although he doesn’t look too bad, he does not look his best!

So, ever prepared, we have exactly what he needs!


A hairdresser’s kit! Perfect on such occasions!

And, just to make sure he doesn’t feel too self-conscious, I have found a few other friends that need a bit of a make-over too! We can turn the nursery into a hairdressing salon today! How about that kids?



Now, I have locked the scissors in their box for this activity, otherwise we may find the Barbies will have buzz-cuts too! But, what fun the children had with a baby bath, some bubbles and a few towels!

When Your Llama Needs a Haircut

Written by Susanna Hill

Illustrated by Daniel Wiseman

Little Simon, January 2018

Age 2 – 4 years

When Your Llama Needs a Haircut is a laugh out loud read! The children loved the vibrant, simple illustrations. We loved poor llama’s expressions, all the different haircuts, styles and colours and the fabulous twist at the end. Such fun! Congratulations Susanna and Daniel!

This is the third book in the series that the children and I have read and used in the classroom! It was another hit!

I hope you all enjoy the book as much as we did!

Thanks for popping by!




It’s Susanna Hill’s 7th Annual Halloweensie Contest!



Aaahhhrrroooooo!  Yippee and tee-hee-hee! It is Susanna Hill’s Annual Halloweensie Contest and my Teensy-Weensy Witch is back for another adventure!

The challenge is to write a 100 word Halloween story appropriate for children under the age of 12 (title not included in the 100 words) using the words candy corn, monster and shadow (candy corn will be counted as 1 word).  More details can be found at https://susannahill.com/2017/10/27/the-7th-annual-halloweensie-contest-aahhhrrrooooooooo/

Remember…you have until 11.59 PM EDT on Tuesday 31st October to get an entry written and posted!


The Teensy-Weensy Witch’s Trip and Treat (99 words)

The Teensy-Weensy Witch was leaving town at Halloween,

for a New York City weekend filled with fun.

She packed her best, long shadow in her pointy purple hat,

feeling sure her costume wouldn’t be outdone!

She spied the cutest monster munching sacks of candy corn,

but that’s when things got tricky, I’m afraid.

She coyly sauntered over, tripped and landed on his belly,

sending candy corn all over the parade.

Her teensy-weensy shadow tangled tightly round her legs,

what an absolutely funny looking sight!

The monster disentangled her, they danced the Monster Mash

and stayed to watch the moonset at daylight.


Thanks for popping by!

Happy Halloween!










Little Tiger and Little Panda to be published!


In March 2016, I entered Little Tiger into Vivian Kirkfield’s 50 Precious Words contest. To my delight, Vivian fell in love with the story and awarded it first place! My first contest win! I was over the moon!

This contest led to signing with my wonderful agent Essie White (www.stormliteraryagency.com). She had offered a prize to critique a story. I jumped at the opportunity and she loved Little Tiger and offered representation.

A good few months passed and an editor showed interest in Little Tiger. She suggested I write another ‘Little’ story. I gave it some thought and decided on a snow based setting, to differentiate a little from Little Tiger’s jungle home. I looked into panda behaviour, made my notes and Little Panda was born. In the end the original editor passed, but she kindly sent the stories onto a colleague. When Amicus Ink approached my agent to ask if I would consider publishing Little Tiger and Little Panda as board books, I could barely control my excitement. “Yes” I replied to Essie! “YES, YES, YES!”

Here is the announcement which appeared in Publishers Weekly a couple of weeks ago.

I am thrilled that Suzie Mason will illustrate these books. Please take a look at her amazing artwork here http://thebrightagency.com/artists/view/690?page=1

And keep an eye on http://www.viviankirkfield.com. She has wonderful picture book reviews every week and, of course, the third 50preciouswords contest will be coming up next spring.




The Road that Trucks Built by Susanna Leonard Hill #trucksontour


Hi Everyone,

Yippee! I am the first stop on Susanna Leonard Hill’s #trucksontour!

The incredible Susanna Leonard Hill has been on a whirlwind blog tour these past few weeks. Firstly with When your Elephant has the Sniffles and When your Lion needs a Bath and now The Road that Trucks Built.

Based on the classis nursery rhyme “The House that Jack Built”, this adorable book is a truck fan’s delight! Published by Little Simon with an age range of 4 to 7 year olds, a team of happy, hardworking vehicles created by Erica Sirotich, work together to shove and forge, smooth and even, spread and flatten, paint and create a new road. A handy key of all the vehicles concludes the book.

As I have a few truck fans in my class, I decided to create an activity based on the book to share with you all today.


Ta – dah!

This is what we did…

We used different sized plastic trucks to paint the tracks on the roads.


Then I attempted to draw the trucks (thank you Erica for making the trucks as cute as pie, and apologies to you for my less than perfect drawing skills)! Finally, the children coloured them to complete our road – and a bright and new display!


Don’t forget a prize will be given for sharing on social media. Every time you share a post on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using #trucksontour you will get an entry into a raffle where 3 winners will each get a $25 Amazon gift card.

Thanks for stopping by!

Happy #trucksontour, Susanna!!