The Writer Mama Back-to-School Giveaway 2009, Day Twenty-Seven

CWIM2We’re in the home stretch. What a fun month this has been!

Welcome to day twenty-seven of The Writer Mama Back-to-School Giveaway!

Children’s Writer & Illustrator’s Market by Alice Pope (Writer’s Digest Books) is the most trusted guide to the world of children’s publishing.

If you write or illustrate for young readers with the hope of getting published, 2010 Children’s Writer’s & Illustrators Market is the resource you need. Whether you create picture books or young adult novels, fiction or nonfiction, books or magazine articles—the 2010 edition tells you who to contact and what to send them. You’ll find:

  • Complete, up-to-date contact information for hundreds of book publishers, magazines, agents and art reps, as well as listings for organizations, contests, and conferences that offer important networking opportunities.
  • Interviews with and articles by industry insiders including prominent editors; National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr; Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist author Rachel Cohn; bestselling author of The Spiderwick Chronicles Holly Black; authors Lisa Yee, Ellen Hopkins and Mitali Perkins; plus interviews with four debut authors who share their stories and offer advice.
  • Nearly 200 pages of informative and inspirational articles on children’s publishing topics like getting through your first draft, revision, naming characters, writing humor, the acquisitions process, writing GLBTQ books, graphic novels, and more.
  • And—new this year—access to all Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market listings in a searchable online database!

Alice-PopeAuthor Bio:

Alice Pope has been the editor of Children’s Writer’s & Illustrators Market for more than a decade. She is a former Regional Advisor for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, a frequent speaker at children’s writing conferences, and a collector of picture books.

If you are new to the giveaway, please read “Da Rules.”

Especially since folks have been getting, ahem, a little long-winded lately. This is funny because at the beginning of the giveaway folks weren’t writing long enough. Now I can’t get them to stop writing. 🙂

Please keep it between 50-200 words. Do you best!

Today’s question is…

What were your favorite children’s books when you were a very young child, a pre-schooler, a grade-schooler, a tween and a teen? Pick the age of the audience for your future children’s book based on the age you still identify with the most (a smart agent recommends this, so I’m borrowing her idea for this question). Have fun!

Give me the goods in 50-200 words, please. :)

Before you go! WE HAVE A CAUSE TO RAISE MONEY FOR THIS YEAR! Please read the story about the Applin family here and consider making a small contribution at some point during the giveaway. We’re aiming for $100/day collectively. Please help us help the Applin family adopt two beautiful children from Russia. :)

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29 Responses to “The Writer Mama Back-to-School Giveaway 2009, Day Twenty-Seven”


  1. 1 Cara Holman September 27, 2009 at 8:21 am

    Favorite childhood books. Ah, where to begin?

    My favorite read-to-me books were Where the Wild Things Are, Harold and the Purple Crayon, The Story of Babar, Wally the Wordworm and Ellen’s Lion.

    In grade school, and as an independent reader, I turned to The Phantom Tollbooth (imho, one of the best children’s books ever written), The Pink Motel, The Trouble with Jenny’s Ear, and A Wrinkle in Time.

    As a tween and teen, my tastes were all over the place. I dipped into the world of adult literature, but also stayed firmly grounded in young adult book offerings. I discovered Jane Austen and Louisa May Alcott at this time, with Pride and Prejudice, Little Women and An Old-Fashioned Girl. I also read sci-fi and mystery voraciously.

    If I were to write a children’s book right now, I’d have to stick with young adult, as it’s been years since I’ve shared picture books and beginning readers with my children, and my knowledge of young children’s interests and tastes is a bit rusty. But that could change. If I should have grandchildren some day, then it would be right back to the delightful fantasy world of writing picture books for me!

  2. 2 Renee Roberson September 27, 2009 at 8:27 am

    When I was very young, I really enjoyed the Little Golden Books, Dr. Seuss, and many other children’s classics like Richard Scarry. When I was a grade schooler, you could usually find me with any books by Judy Blume, Beverly Cleary and titles from the “Choose Your Own Adventure” series. I also dug Encyclopedia Brown then, too. As a tween I moved on to “The Babysitters Club” and the “Sweet Valley High” books. For mystery, my grandmother gave me an old set of the Trixie Belden books and I loved those. For fun, I tackled “Gone With the Wind” when I was recovering from the flu during my tween years and became quite proud of myself for that. As a teen, I moved on to thrillers by Lois Duncan and Christopher Pike. Right now I most identify with the preschool and elementary ages because those are the ages of my kids, but I also love mysteries and thrillers so much that I might find myself one day covering that genre for a YA audience. I can’t wait to read everyone else’s answers.

  3. 4 Meryl K Evans September 27, 2009 at 9:11 am

    Hannah Is a Palindrome (maybe this was the first sign I was going to be into grammar and words?), Encyclopedia Brown, Judy Blume (of course) and Choose Your Own Adventures. I can’t remember the books I loved in the youngest years. Neither can my mom.

    I’d love to write a children’s book that resonates with the early elementary years, but I probably would have better success in writing a nonfiction in a fun way for the older elementary-aged kids. The books for early age is a very competitive field and tricky to come up with a new twist that stands out.

    I discovered Phantom Tollbooth and Wrinkle in Time as a mom reading them to kids. I never read them as a kid because the covers were a turn off. Wrong impression. Cover matters for kids.

  4. 5 Jessica Varin September 27, 2009 at 9:11 am

    From my own childhood:

    Very young child/pre-schooler: Have You Seen My Cat by Eric Carle
    Grade-schooler: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, Summer of the Monkeys by Wilson Rawls.
    Tween: Bat 6 by Virginia Euwer Wolff, anything about astronauts.
    Teen: To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey.

    Today, I would recommend:

    Very young child/pre-schooler: The Olivia series by Ian Falconer
    Grade-schooler: The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron
    Tween: Running Out of Time by Margaret Peterson Haddix
    Teen: Make Lemonade series by Virginia Euwer Wolff

    Barely under 100.

  5. 6 Laurie T September 27, 2009 at 9:54 am

    As a little kid I loved Dr. Seuss books, especially Put Me in the Zoo (the leopard who can change his spots). From there I moved on to the typical fairy tales but I liked the darker versions of Hansel and Gretel and Snow White. I have a fondness for Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile and The House on East 88th Street by Bernard Waber.

    As I tween I whipped through Nancy Drew books and was amazed how Judy Blume’s stories sounded so much like me, my thoughts and feelings. I enjoyed school-related titles such as The Yearling and The Lord of the Flies.

    In high school I was the only freshman to have read the entire list over summer. I was glad I did. I loved Pearl S. Buck’s The Good Earth, Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre and anything by Jane Austen. Around junior/senior year I discovered Stephen King’s Carrie and Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire and that began my love of paranormal and fantasy books.

    The audience age of my kid’s books is late tween/teen (and their moms) since most of my main characters are 16-17.:)

  6. 7 Carrie Ure September 27, 2009 at 10:24 am

    My favorite book as a preschooler and the one with which I learned to read was called Go Dog Go. I also adored Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham. I read so voraciously from the age of four that I can’t remember picking favorites until grade school when I adored the Nancy Drew series. I was obsessed and spent many overnights finishing an episode from cover to cover, under the covers with a flashlight. As a tween my pick has to be The Diary of Ann Frank. Perhaps that book inspired me to write.

  7. 8 Brandy September 27, 2009 at 11:07 am

    In grade school I loved both the Little House series and Ramona Quimby series. As a tween to early teen I was mesmerized by Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables books. I am trying to remember my preschool years and what my mother read to me, I remember her reading A.A. Milne’s, Winnie the Pooh, the Babar books, and Paddington Bear books, but aside from that I am drawing a blank. Now that I am a mom, for the preschool age in our house we love books by Mo Willems…Knuffle Bunny, Leonardo the Terrible Monster, and Edwina the Dinosaur that Didn’t Know She was Extinct. If I wrote a children’s book I would target ages 8-13 yrs. I am more comfortable writing chapter books, and that age sticks out very vividly in my mind. That is when I developed my own love for reading.

  8. 9 Amy Simon September 27, 2009 at 11:31 am

    My favorite books were the Narnia series that my mother read aloud to me as a child. I also loved the “Lord of the Rings” books as a teen. I also remember my grandmother reading “Make Way for Ducklings” because they lived in the Boston area where the book takes place.

    I don’t know if I identify with teens the most, but that’s who I tend to write for. Those are the books I remember loving the most. I still like reading YA historical fiction, which is incidentally what I enjoy writing the most!

    Amy

  9. 10 Jaymie September 27, 2009 at 11:45 am

    The first book I ever read on my own was Bears in the Night. I also loved Grover in The Monster at the End of this Book. As an older child, I liked The Phantom Tollbooth and The Westing Game, and mystery series (Bobbsey Twins, Trixie Belden, Nancy Drew). As a teenager I liked a book called P. S. I Love You.

    Now I like to read books in the 4-8 and 9-12 age groups – Roscoe Riley, Stink, Judy Moody, Sisters Grimm, Captain Nobody, Red Blazer Girls, Frindle (really, anything by Andrew Clements), etc. These are the age groups I aspire to write for.

  10. 11 Brianne A September 27, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    My favorite books as a kid were Mooncake, by Frank Asch, Harry the Dirty Dog, by Gene Zion, Corduroy, by Don Freeman, Millions of Cats, by Wanda Gag, and the Lorax, by Dr. Seuss. I get so nostalgic when I pick up these books, and I still love all of them. Millions of Cats was kept at my grandparents’ house, and I can still remember sitting in the corner of the dining room, next to the heating vent, reading that book.

    During my early teen years, I was really into the Babysitters Club series, by Ann M. Martin.

  11. 12 Beth Cato September 27, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    I was an early reader and always passionate about books. I was horse-obsessed for many years, beginning with C. W. Anderson’s books and then working my way up to Walter Farley, Marguerite Henry, and the Linda Craig Mysteries. Oh, and I loved the Berenstain Bears. When I was about eight, I found Laura Ingalls Wilder and then discovered Patricia Beatty and Rosemary Sutcliff when I was 11; thus began my continued interest in historical fiction.

    It’s hard for me to choose a favorite age for children’s books. It brings me so much joy to see my four-year-old son love books, too. Despite (or because of) his autism, he is a very advanced reader. He adores the Berenstain Bears. It does get tiresome to read the Santa Bear book every single day for weeks on end, but my mom tells me that it’s justice.

  12. 13 Mar Junge September 27, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    I love this question because I get to pull out my dog-eared copy of “Misty the Wonder Pony” (By Misty, Herself) It’s a 1954 Rand McNally Elf Book about a young pony who gets separated from her mother during the annual herding of the horses across the channel from Chincoteague. Misty is adopted by a nice lady who writes children’s books from her farm. That book inspired me to be a home-based writer.
    A few weeks ago we were cleaning out our vacation home as we’ve now decided to rent out. I walked through the empty rooms for the last time, remembering 20 years of kids learning to swim, my mother’s wake, pea-soup thick fog on Christmas Eve. As I ran my hand over one of the empty closet shelves, I felt something. There was the Little Golden Book with an illustration of my first crush – Gene Autry.
    I was a voracious reader as preteen and young adult, but I can’t remember those books as well as my childhood inspirations. I never before considered writing children’s books because the market is so crowded. But maybe I should…

  13. 14 Karen M. September 27, 2009 at 1:26 pm

    As a young child, I escaped the pain of emotional abuse with a clandestine tour of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, with the help of E.L. Konigsburg’s From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. A few years later, I lived in a little house on a prairie, built by Laura Ingalls Wilder. During these years, my friends were a pig named Wilbur and a trumpeting swan named Luis. Human beings – well, they could be scary. E.B. White must’ve known this when he populated my world with mild and loyal creatures who were seeking ways to survive – just like I was. As a tween, J.R.R Tolkien took me on a magical quest with furry-footed companions, who were still safely non-human. And when I grew into a teen Holden Caufield told me I wasn’t the only one who felt surrounded by “phonies.”

    For me, the most difficult in a stretch of difficult years occurred between the ages of 12 and 16, which is why I write for children of that age. I try to create worlds they can visit and creatures they can befriend – as was done for me.

  14. 15 Carol J. Alexander September 27, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    Remembering from my childhood, the only book I remember reading is Charlotte’s Web. I remember laughing so hysterically and I remember crying. That book really touched my young heart.

    Now, as a homeschooling mom, I have lots of favorite children’s books. But I have to say that my hands-down favorite is When I Was Young In The Mountains. I think this book speaks the essence of my childhood growing up in the mountains.

    Even though I write mostly non-fiction for adults, I do have a children’s book rolling around in my head. It is a picture book for younger elementary aged children.

  15. 16 Joyce Lansky September 27, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    When I was very young child and preschooler, I loved anything by Dr. Seuss. “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish” was my favorite and “Are You My Mother?” by P.D. Eastman. As a grade schooler, I remember loving a book called “Follow My Leader” and “The Secret Language.” Somewhere between grade school and being a tween, I fell head over heals in love with Madeline L’Engle’s, “A Wrinkle in Time.” I didn’t read much as a teen (only books they forced me to read in school) but picked up a love of reading when in my twenties that hasn’t quit.

    Interesting enough I like to write teen and middle grade fiction and have read many YA / MG books as an adult. Maybe I like to write these because nothing interested me as a teen or because that age is exciting. I have three kids & have seen the middle school and teen years with all.

  16. 17 Krysten H September 27, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    As a young child I liked the Frances and Gloria books. My middle grade years I read a lot of Judy Blume and series books like the Baby-sitters club, Sweet Valley Twins, Sleepover Friends. As a Tween I was also into series books like Kelly Blake Teen Model, Sweet Valley High, and All That Glitters. As a teen it was as acceptable then like it is now to keep reading YA books, so I read a lot of star and model biographies when we had reading period in school. I like to write stories for middle graders and I have also worked on stories for a teen audience. The middle grade stuff flows a lot easier for me tho–lots of memories from those days!

  17. 18 Kristen R Murphy September 27, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    Book favorites from when I was a very young child, I only remember having the “Little Golden Books” stories around. My mom remembers reading another series of books to me, but cannot recall the name of them.

    As an independent reader, my mom signed me up with a book club. I still have every one of them. Some favorites were “My Horrible Secret” by Stephen Roos; “Encyclopedia Brown Shows the Way” by Donald J. Sobol and “Ramona Forever” by Beverly Cleary.

    As an 8th grader, my teacher introduced me to Lois Duncan’s “Locked In Time.” I remember reading that book and loved it. I had forgotten about it over time and have recently solved my mystery. I found an online vendor who had a first edition, and now I can read it any time I want.

    As a teenager, I can tell you some books I had to read for English, but none of them were a favorite. I did enjoy reading the “Class of ’88” and so on series. I still have those too.

    If I were to write for children, keeping in mind the age I most identify with, I would most likely write for tween and teen.

  18. 19 Kelli Perkins September 27, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    I could definitely be long-winded with this question but I will try my best to keep it short and sweet!

    Favorite books growing up included the Berenstein Bears, Mercer Meyer’s porcupine series, Beverly Cleary’s Ramona books, The Boxcar Children, A Wrinkle in Time, Sweet Valley Twins series, Babysitter’s Club series, Christopher Pike mysteries, To Kill A Mockingbird…I could go on.

    Currently I’m working on stories for preschool to early elem picture books and starting a story outline for a chapter book for upper elementary kids. I loved elementary school and have fond memories of that time in my life. I’m also a former elementary school teacher and have worked with that age group for more than 12 years so I’m really drawn to writing for this audience.

  19. 20 Karrie Z Myton September 27, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    It’s funny that Carrie Ure mentioned Go Dog Go. I don’t remember that as a child (could I be older than her?) but I did so enjoy it with my own son.

    My favorite little kid books were Richard Scarry and a story about a puppy that I can’t exactly remember. I also struggle to remember faves. My mother says that when she was pregnant with my sister she discovered in her insomnia that I was up at night in my crib paging through books that I then slept with.

    Later came Nancy Drew and a biographical series with famous women that I worked my way through in the elementary school library. Laura Ingalls Wilder kept me up at night and the Secret Garden stands out in my memory. Good times!

    And the ones I still re-read over and over are C.S. Lewis as well as the Hobbit that I read in my teens. Of course I read many adult books then, too, and had never heard of YA (again with the getting older thing).

    I most identify with the middle grades so I guess that’s where I land for now although I lean into YA.

    What a fun question, Christina! Thanks for the trip on the memory.

  20. 21 L Ringler September 27, 2009 at 5:07 pm

    If I were to write YA, I would remember: My Sister Mike (loved the strong independent main character, even if she was boy-crazy for awhile), Just for Girls (short stories, I re-read them many times), and A Wrinkle in Time (seemed complicated instead of dumbed down and had intriguing ideas, plus I learned about mitochondria). I think there wasn’t nearly as much good YA then. After middle school, I read books for adults. And the ones that made an impression were the ones my parents took away from me when I was 13: Jaws (for violence) and The Thorn Birds (sexual situations).

  21. 22 Janel September 27, 2009 at 5:26 pm

    I loved Dr. Seuss when I was a kid. All of those crazy creatures and wild illustrations fascinated me. Then I progressed to Laura Ingalls Wilder. After that I fell in love with Nancy Drew. I believe I had at least two shelves full of that series. As a teenager I remember reading a few teen romances that were quite a bit more graphic than my beloved Nancy Drews. I vividly remember feeling like I was getting away with something since my parents had no idea what I was reading. I squirreled those books away and made sure they never did know!

  22. 23 Judy September 27, 2009 at 6:20 pm

    My favorite as a very young child was Little Black Sambo (yep) which has now become Little Babaji, resurrected by Fred Marcellino. It turn’s out it was my oldest daughter’s favorite when she was very young. Then I loved Wind and the Willows. I still love it. It was very magical for me. When I was a tween I went through a horse phase, particularly Marguerite Henry books. Teen – To Kill a Mockingbird, Steinbeck, F.Scott Fitzgerald, Robert Ludlum, and Tom Clancy. I still have all of my books, much to my husband’s dismay and kids’ delight. They bring back very visceral memories.

    The age I identify with most is probably the young adult, eight and up, that give me things to talk about with my kids. My daughter just finished Tangerine and The Giver and is onto the Book Thief (one of my all-time favorites).

  23. 24 karen k September 27, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    I was so fortunate and found some of my childhood books recently. They are still my favorites. The Dr. Suess clasics one fish two fish, put me in the zoo, babar, peter rabbit and a poetry collection called hailstones and halibut bones. My children love poetry. Reading throughout childhood was a challenge to me, I didn’t find out I had a reading disorder until late in high school. If I were to write a childrens book now, it would be aimed at the third to fifth grade level, what fun!

  24. 25 Fawn September 27, 2009 at 8:09 pm

    I was always (and still am) a huge Dr. Seuss fan. The other half of my childhood bookshelf was taken up by the bearenstein bears. I also loved the PD Eastman books. Before my children were even born, they had a bookshelf full of all my most familiar and loved titles. In a way, I feel guilty about pressing all of my childhood lit. on them. My son’s first birthday cake was the dog party tree from Go Dog Go.

    Later on in my reading career, I loved anything I could get my hands on, really. Nancy Drew, Judy Blume, a sci-fi series called The Tripod Trillogy. I imagine that my children’s literature writing career would progress along the same timeline as my children’s literature reading career…picture books first, the an easy reader, then on to young adult!

  25. 26 Maribeth September 27, 2009 at 8:35 pm

    As a young girl I loved the Golden Books. Friday nights were a big deal for my younger sister and I. We would each pick a library book and take it home for our nights with Daddy. It was the one night my mother would go out and my sister and I would spend the night watching the Dukes of Hazzard with our father. When it was over he would read our chosen books to us over and over until we fell asleep. I always loved the nursery rhyme books and imagined Humpty Dumpty as a real person who broke to pieces, I was captivated and a bit scared at the thought.
    As I grew older I loved the Sweet Valley High books and would imagine myself as a young pretty blonde just like the girls in the series. I read these books until I came across ghost stories and found a new love. My favorite was a book titled The Ghost next Door-(it is now out of print) it was about a girl who moved to a new house and met a ghost that lived in a well in her backyard. I would love to find that book now. My favorite favorite one was Behind the Attic Wall by Sylvia Cassidy. It was the first six-hundred page book I ever read and I remember not being able to put it down.
    I just got done writing my first middle-grade novel and it involves a group of young teenage friends. My fondest memories are with my friends from the age 13 to 15 so I naturally gravitate to this age group when I write.

  26. 27 Sarah Lindsey September 27, 2009 at 11:20 pm

    When I was only four years old, my mom taught me to read, using Professor Phonics. So for about a year, I thought that Professor Phonics and Dick & Jane books were amazing, considering the fact that they opened up a whole new world for me. As my reading abilities grew, so did my love for books. I read everything and anything that I could get my hands on. The books that I remember most and with the fondest memories are Winnie the Pooh, the Little House collection, the Nancy Drew mysteries, and some of the Trixie Belden and Robin Kane books. If I were to right children’s books, I would probably attempt a new mystery series similar to Nancy Drew.

  27. 28 Donna September 28, 2009 at 5:48 am

    My favorite book as a child was The Little Train That Could. I was the middle child of seven, so I heard the book read to and then by my older sisters. By the time I got to read the book it was tattered, but I knew the story by heart. Little Black Sambo is also a book I remember reading as a youngster.
    The Fun With Dick and Jane books are treasured memories from my first school adventures.
    Later on I fell in love with the Bobsey Twins, Nancy Drew, and the Hardy Boys. When I was a little older, I loved: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Red Shoes for Nancy, To Kill A Mockingbird, and Silas Marner.
    I’m working on a YA novel and have chosen that age group for my main character because that’s the age of my granddaughter, who lives with me. It’s such a wonderful age–full of promise and surprise.
    Donna V.


  1. 1 Day 27: And the Winner is… « The Writer Mama Riffs Trackback on September 28, 2009 at 9:03 pm
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