Calling all elementary school teachers and librarians! FREE game and prizes for your classroom, mailed directly to you. No purchase necessary.
Here's how it works: I will send you a package containing my Trivia questions or Two Truths and a Lie cards plus an assortment of charm necklaces and swag (as shown on the picture above, including signed postcards with inspirational messages) so you can play the games with your students. Are you in? Simply contact me to request your shipment and it'll be in the mail within three business days. That's it!
Ready to have some fun? Contact me today!
(Please read the fine print :))
Fine print: Trivia questions and Two Truths and a Lie will be about me or my books. No purchase necessary to participate, but please consider my books for your school library. Follow me on Twitter @RosiePOV to be eligible. Game will be active until supplies last, USA only, one package per school.
Use the contact form at the bottom of this page.
The wait is finally over and we have the results! Yes, it's time to announce the winners.
But before I do, I'd like to thank every child who wrote a story and participated ― you are brave, creative, and you took action! You should be proud of yourself. It might seem like a small step, but it's a really important one because "Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try." ―Gail Devers
The judges and I had a great time reading each and every story! We all pulled for our favorites, arranged and rearranged our choices, discussed and reconsidered the submissions according to the evaluation criteria.
As a reminder, the stories were judged based on the following: connection to the theme (Pets), originality, twist, use of literary devices, creativity and overall appeal of the story/writing.
We saw strong writing, imaginative plots, and we really loved the twists! So picking the winners was not an easy task, but we had to stick to the rules. (We still couldn't help it and threw in some extra recognition in the end.)
Once again, thank you all for entering the KWEST Contest and a special thank you to all the teachers and librarians who assisted the students in sending their submissions. We hope you'll participate again next year when we'll make the competition even bigger and better!
I know you're all impatient to find out who the winners are. Just one more announcement before I reveal the results.
In April, which is poetry month, I am opening a poetry contest called Haiku Hype. I'll be giving away a kids Kindle e-reader plus a bunch of other cool prizes! Teachers will have a chance to win something, too. So stay tuned for guidelines when I announce the opening of the contest and be ready to jump in. It'll be fun!
Participate in Haiku Hype in April
for a chance to win a Kindle for kids!
Teachers and Librarians who submit their students' poems
will be entered in a drawing for a chance to win
a Starbucks gift card. Don't miss this amazing contest.
And now...Drum roll, please!
Sprinkler by Parker N. (3rd Grade, Van Elementary, IN)
Once upon a time I had a hamster named Sprinkler. I build hamster tubes they ran all over the house even outside! Sooner or later he was loving the tubes. Rumble! Rumble! Crash! Crack! Boom! The hamster tubes broke and Sprinkler got out. We looked everywhere he wasn't anywhere. Until I heard Spat! A truck just came by red was on the road. He's gone. He couldn't be gone he couldn't. Two days later I heard rustling in the bushes then a small hamster comes out Sprinkler your back Mom Sprinkler is back!
Life by Chloe L. (3rd Grade, George H. Mitchell Elementary, MA)
My name is Jack. I live on the streets of New York. You might feel bad for me. Nothing to eat, being shivering in the cold in the winter, but life is not that bad. Enough hot dog carts to steal food from. Enough rain water to drink. Enough love from pigeons when they purposely drop poop on your head. On winter nights I sleep in the dumpster because there might be some leftover coffee. Life was good. One day my life changed. I woke up to the sweet smell of hot dogs. I followed the smell as dawn began to rise. All of a sudden, I was in a van. A girl named Megan was taking me to her apartment. She is the most kind girl I know. I know what you are thinking, "Why wouldn't I run away from a stranger?" I was a street dog. I could now imagine being a pet. Now I like it. Life is good.
Yes pet No pet by Braelynn Jones (3rd Grade, Van Elementary, IN)
Pets. Pets pets pets. A lot of people have pets. They come in all shapes and sizes. They come from all over the world. Also they come in all kinds of different breeds. Dogs, cats, birds. You name it. "Mom dad!" "I want a pet." Yelled Suki. "But you're to young." Mom said. "No I'm not." Replied Suki. "Tell you what." Dad said. "You have to show us you can take care of a robot first then we'll make a decision." "Yay." Suki yelled. So Suki and her parents went to pick up the robot in the shop. When they got home Suki went to work with the robot. She played with it fed it led it on a walk. Also dad wasn't very happy when he found out Suki fed the robot his nails and bolts. After Suki's trial with the robot her parents made the decision. "Can I please have a pet." Suki pleaded. "No!"
The Blue Fox by Alaina N. (3rd Grade, Van Elementary, IN)
Once there was a blue for he lived in a small cave house on the east side of foxvill. So let me tell you how I feel about being the only blue fox in the world yup it's me the blue fox. When I was born my mom thought that I was sick so she took me to the doctor he said there was nothing wrong with me so I went home. When I got older I went to school it was horrible everyone made fun of me. When I was walking home one day a giant grabbed me and brought me to there house. They put me in a cage in a big room. Then another giant came in and looked at me the held me and hugged. I was a pet now and it was weird. Then I noticed that the giant that was hugging me was blue too! I live with the giant now. I love it.
Doggy Daycare Blues by Kristin W. (3rd Grade, George H. Mitchell Elementary, Bridgewater, MA)
How is a little Chihuahua like me supposed to survive in Doggy Daycare with a dog like Max? He's the meanest German shepherd in Daycare. Minding my own business, I went to lie down on the dog bed. Max pushed me out of the way and jumped on the bed while laughing at me. Later on at lunch, Max's food fell into the water and was no good. Even though Max isn't very nice to me, I pushed my food over and offered to share. Max was surprised by my offer but happy to have some food to eat. After realizing how mean he was to me, Max apologized for the way he had been treating me. That afternoon Max and I played together will all the toys. I said to Max "It was a good day, see you tomorrow." I guess Doggy Daycare wasn't so bad after all. Max and I are now best friends.
~ ~ ~
(*No edits have been done―stories typed as received ** None of the judges had any affiliation with the schools or teachers submitting and judging was done blindly.)
Macy the Lazy Cat by Hope H. (3rd Grade)
A Cat's Tale by Jillian K. (3rd Grade)
Toy Animals by Braeden S. (3rd Grade)
Note to the teachers and librarians from the winning schools: Please have children who placed in 1st through 3rd place pick their choice of prize from the appropriate box in the prizes chart (find it here) and send me their preference, i.e. Amazon or Toys R Us gift card, choice of book etc. Also, please send me your school's mailing address and name of teacher/librarian recipient. If I don't hear from you in the next three days, I'll just pick for the students and mail the prizes.
Prizes and special certificates will be on their way to the winners soon!
Thank you all again! A huge shout out to the wonderful judges for their time and contribution.
Kids, keep writing, reading, and creating!
The KWEST contest is now open! I am happy to introduce this new feature on my blog for elementary school students in grades 3-5 that will run periodically (no set schedule for now). This is a nationwide competition for creative writing with a theme, a twist and , of course, PRIZES!
Teachers and librarians will have 30 days from the contest opening date to submit the best entries that they select to send me (see rules for the stories below). Please use the contact form at the bottom of this post and include the following with your submission:
--The student's first name & last name initial
--What grade they are in
--The name of your school
--The city and state
Prizes awarded will be for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place. UPDATE: We are adding 4th and 5th place prizes as well! (Check below for the current list.) Speaking of prizes . . .
Third place will get one of my books of their choice (valued between $10.99-$16.99). Second place prize is a boy or girl Lego set (valued between $15-$20). First prize is a $25 Amazon or Toys R Us gift card (winner's choice)! The three winning stories will be posted on my blog and bragging rights awarded with a special certificate :)
UPDATE: Author and Contest Judge, Jenna Grodzicki, will also donate a copy of one of her books to each of the first three winners!
Are you excited yet? Here are the story crafting rules:
1. Write a short story of no more than 160 words with a title, a beginning, middle and end. (Title not included in the word count.)
2. The story MUST have a twist of some kind (like a surprising ending).
3. The story must be related to the theme announced for each competition.
It's time to announce the theme for this installment . . . and it is . . . PETS! Any type of pet -- real or imaginary. You can make your story funny, sweet, scary, clever, gross etc. Just remember to have a twist at the end.
Judging will be handled by our panel of professional writers and educators (listed below). Stories will be evaluated based on craft, execution, originality, use of literary devices, and how clever and surprising the twist is.
The contest closes on 2/16 at 11:59 p.m. If you have any questions, please ask me in the comments. There's a PDF file attached with the contest rules for teachers and librarians to print and distribute to students, just add the date you'd like the entries turned in, then submit to me no later than 2/16/18.
I can't wait to read your submissions. Good luck!
Now, ready? Set! Go!
*By submitting, you agree to allow me to post the winning story on my website and use excerpts for promotional purposes.
The contest is now closed.
The judges are reading and evaluating submissions. Results and winners will be posted soon!
Check out the list of cool prizes!!!
Last week, I suddenly felt in such a giving mood that I started something I call #MissionJoyGiveaway. I'll explain in a moment, but let me first say this. This idea has been circling in my mind for quite a while now – every time I think about my calling, my purpose, my mark in the world and the ripple effect I want to create through what I love doing most, which is writing and creating books for children. But I haven't been able to fully grasp the "how" in executing it.
How can I speak the right words at the right time to the kids who desperately need them? How will I find my audience? How will I deliver my message?
When I was little, I was very sensitive to words spoken to me. I often longed to hear words of encouragement, understanding, validation . . . from the people closest to me. But I never did.
So when I became an author, I knew that I wanted to make an impact. I knew that words were free while they were priceless, and that the right words could be powerful enough to affect a life. At the same time, I felt stuck and bummed by not reaching enough people or not reaching the right people, because I was somehow restricted by outside circumstances (or so I believed) or personal limitations: lack of marketing skills, not enough time, not enough resources etc.
How can I have my message heard if it's not reaching people?
And then came divine intervention. It all clicked. Words are free. They're priceless. Asking gives you the answers you need. I got it! I can spread joy through my words without worrying about resources or marketing skills or overwhelming tasks.
Sooo . . . #MissionJoyGiveaway was born! Forget about the fancy-schmancy gadgets as gifts. Let's go back to "the sticks and the stones" (they're still around, even after all this technology that surrounds us). So are the words and the handwritten letters. I can send those gifts out – personal, meaningful, inspiring. And I know who to ask in helping me find the recipients.
I reached out to a group of elementary school librarians and asked them to message me if they could think of any needy student or one who wishes for a book, but might not get one, or a child going through a tough time who could use a personalized card/letter of encouragement from a children's author. Or perhaps a whole class that might need to get excited about reading, books or writing. Anything that I can do to make a difference with a note, a kind word, or a book.
Soon after I posted, I got my first message. It was about a first grader who had just lost her mom to cancer, lives in poverty and will be moving in with her grandma. Heartbreaking.
I have just the right book for her, Sarah's Song, to accompany my letter and I hope those give her some small joy or a bit of peace as she's going through this painful time.
When I shared my idea for #MissionJoyGiveaway with a writer friend, she told me about another family in need – a single mom of four who recently lost their house and all their belongings in a fire and are now living in a hotel. My friend said, "The kids can sure use a book to read as they are getting bored in that hotel room."
They will be getting some books from me, as well.
Books are also going to Inova Life with Cancer in Virginia and I will keep writing notes and letters throughout this month.
'Tis the season and it makes me jolly to be able to help in some small way.
I'd like to extend an invitation to anyone who'd love to be a part of this, especially my fellow authors: Please join me in #MissionJoyGiveaway and reach out to your communities and beyond to seek kids in need and send them notes, letters or books.
Brighten a child's holiday this season!
Let's spread the word and the joy with #MissionJoyGiveaway
If the classic picture book structure is your favorite and you want to stick with it, make sure you hit all the important points when drafting your story. Here's an easy model to follow – apply it to your manuscript spread by spread, find what's missing or where your pace is disturbed, then modify, mold, and master!
[For a 32-page picture book, you'll have fourteen spreads in which to fit your story.]
1. Introduce your main character (MC) and show us something interesting or special about him/her: skills, quirks, relationships etc. This is also where you set the expectation of tone, type of story, and voice.
2. Establish the MC's normal world. What's the setting? Does the setting play a special role in your story?
3. Develop MC even further. What does he/she want? You might introduce a secondary character.
4. Inciting incident: something happens that disturbs the "normal" and prompts the MC to take action. The MC needs to do something about it, either to restore the balance or to take a step toward their goal/desire that they've had at the beginning.
5. First try: MC fails and the situation gets worse. This failure also brings a little change in him/her. It helps the MC learn more about the world or himself.
6. Second try: MC fails again. Tension escalates. MC has a bit of a different perspective. He learns something from this failure, too.
7. Third try: MC fails once again. This time it seems like all is lost and there's no way out of the mess.
8. MC reflects on the situation and contemplates his next move. MC gets past the defeat, finds hope, and the motivation to try again.
9. MC gathers his/her strength and skills learned from previous experience and makes a decision to solve his/her problem in a different way.
10. The preparation: does the MC need to gather supplies, resources or dig deeper to ensure success this time?
11. Final battle. The MC makes the biggest effort here, using all of his/her previous lessons learned and new resources.
12. MC wins! He/she solves the problem. You can use a twist, a surprise, or a clever solution here. The most important thing is that no one else solves the problem for your MC. It should not feel like a coincidence, either. The more original this part is, the more of the "golden factor" your book will have. Don't use the first idea that comes to mind. Search further and think outside-the-box.
13. A satisfying ending. MC might not get exactly what he/she wanted, but what they need. Tie it back to the beginning.
14. MC is changed as a result of his journey. Show the "new normal" for your MC with a hint of what the future might look like for them. Finish on a positive, hopeful or humorous note, depending on the tone and type of story. Make sure it matches what you've established for the story's world from the get-go.
That's it! There's some wiggle room here and there, but overall this model should give you some guidance on how to develop your classic structured picture book.
This is only the frame to get you started with your draft. As for the rest of the elements that make for a great picture book, like an original idea, vocabulary, voice, literary devices, imagery, page turns, illustration potential etc., those are subject to future posts.
Leave a comment and share your biggest challenges, advice or thoughts on crafting your classic structured picture book.
About Rosie J. Pova
Rosie J. Pova is a multi-published, award-winning children's author and kid lit Writing Coach. She's the creator of Picture Book Mastery System™ that is proven to help emerging children's writers advance their career and get closer to their publishing goals.
Rosie's latest picture book, Sunday Rain, was featured in The New York Times and recommended by Parents magazine. Her upcoming picture book, The School of Failure: A Story About Success will be released in the spring of 2022 in both China and the USA.
Rosie also loves to visit schools and her interactive workshops empower students to unleash their creativity and grow in confidence through reading, writing, and creating. Teachers and librarians love Rosie for her bubbly, upbeat personality which captures students' attention, encourages them to think creatively, and motivates them to pursue big dreams.
She has been featured on TV, radio, podcasts, and print media, and also speaks on women's and moms’ topics, sharing her journey from a Bulgarian immigrant to a published author.
Find out more about Rosie's online courses, mentorships, and her work by visiting her website: RosieJPova.com
Check out her Critique Services here, her Workshops here, and her school visits page here.
Rosie is represented by Jennifer Herrington of Harvey Klinger Literary.