ArtistaDonna Nata

ArtistaDonna Nata

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Box by Jo Linsdell

The Box
Written and illustrated by Jo Linsdell

Contact: Jo Linsdell

"Because a box is just a box, except when it's not."

Join in the creative fun as a little boy explains why his box is his favourite toy.

Book Details:

Publication Date: mar 15 2014
ISBN/EAN13: 1497344646 / 9781497344648
Page Count: 44
Binding Type: US Trade Paper
Trim Size: 8.25" x 8.25"
Language: English
Colour: Full Colour with Bleed
Related Categories: Juvenile Fiction / Imagination & Play

Purchasing links:



Author website:

Author Bio:

Jo Linsdell is  a best selling author and illustrator and internationally recognized marketing expert. She is also the founder and organizer of the annual online event "Promo Day" ( and the Writers and Authors blog ( To find out more about Jo and her projects visit her website

Author Photo: 

Contact details:
Social Media Links:

Click to tweets:


Tell us a bit about "The Box"
The Box is a story about a young boy and the fun he has playing with a cardboard box.

My own kids love creative play and we've made several things out of left over cardboard boxes. When ever we have some boxes around they never get thrown out without first being played with. The Box provides inspiration for easy creative play that will keep kids busy for hours. Whether they just imagine that the box is a pirate ship or if you actually turn the box into a castle for them, they will enjoy themselves.

In a world that is more and more about high tech, expensive, toys I think it's important to show kids that they can have just as much (if not more) fun using their imagination.

What formats is the book available in?
Print 8.25 x 8.25 and kindle.

Where can the book be purchased?
The book is available in print and kindle formats from Amazon.

How did you get the idea for this book?
I actually got the idea for this book during PiBoIdMo in November last year but as I was also taking part in the NaNoWriMo challenge too I decided to hold off developing it until January.

We had recently bought some new furniture and ended up with loads of empty cardboard boxes. It seemed like such a shame to just throw them out so the kids and I had some creative fun with them. I built a cardboard castle and a cardboard sword and shield for each of my boys. They had great fun playing with it. In the past I'd also made them a cardboard kitchen from left over boxes which resulted in weeks of fun. They used it to play house, and chefs. They even set up their own little restaurant and used smaller pieces to make menu's.

It was playing with our left over cardboard boxes that sparked the idea for the book. When we were deciding what to make ours into we had loads of ideas. 

How much of a role do your own children play in the creation of your children's books?
I try to include my boys as much as possible. They both love drawing and reading so we often play together whilst I work. For The Box they helped come up with ideas for what the box could become. They always let me know what they like and don't like too so I can get my books just right.

What do you hope readers will take away from The Box?
The Box is all about being creative and using your imagination. It also shows that kids don't need all those expensive toys out there in order to have fun. I hope it will stimulate both the children and their parents to have more creative fun.

You also work for hire as an illustrator. What projects do you have coming up?
I'm currently working on Jasmine the Chef, which is the second book in the Jasmine Dreams series by author Maria Rochelle. The book is scheduled for release April 2014.

When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
When I'm not writing or illustrating I spend most of my time with my family. My kids make sure I never get bored ;) I also enjoy reading, shopping, doing Zumba, hanging out with friends, and watching TV. I don't do the latter very often but I do enjoy watching shows like Castle, The Finder, and CSI.

Where can people find out more about you and your books?
On my website

Anything else you'd like to add?
I organize an annual online event called Promo Day which is dedicated to promoting, networking, and learning. This years event will take place on Saturday 31st May at Registration is now open and everyone is welcome to take part. It's completely free to attend.

This year I have a great line up of presenters and there will also be live pitch sessions with publishers during the event as well as loads of opportunities to promote and network.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

We're Throwing a Party and You Get All the Prizes!

We're Throwing a Party and You Get All the Prizes!

Why are we doing this? The answer is simple. It is for YOU – the writers, librarians, teachers, and lovers of books -- especially books for young readers. The GROG is fueled by writers who collaborate to bring you information and resources which will enable you to maneuver the “writing world.” Our GROG will  help you grow and become  a better writer. We are sharing with you what we are learning, and we are learning from some of the best – Tara Lazar, Kristen McGill Fulton, Dianna Aston, Nancy I. Sanders, and others.
Our team:
  • Jan Godown Annino: wrote the award winning book, She Sang Promise: The Story of Betty Mae Jumper, Seminole Tribal Leader.
  • Tina Wheatcraft Cho:  is the author of 25 guided reading books, a coloring book, and has three forthcoming books from Legacy Press Kids.
  • Christy Mihaly: has published articles and stories in children’s magazines, is a lawyer and volunteer educator, and is writing books for children, from picture books to middle grade.
  • Sherri Jones Rivers: is a former English and drama teacher who has published children’s poems and puzzles. She loves rhyme and has written over two-hundred personal poems.
  • Patricia Toht: is a former children’s bookstore owner, author, and poet.
  • Marcie Flinchum Atkins: can teach you all you need to know about using Mentor Texts in your writing.
  • Leslie Colin Tribble: is our on-staff “Nature Expert.”
  • Pam Vaughn: Pam is our staff sports specialist. Leader, team builder, motivator, writes PB and MG.
  • Suzy Leopold: is an educator who reads and writes with students everyday.  She is a writer and a creative painter.
  • Janie Reinart:encourages everyone to experience the joy of writing. Her publications include educational and adult nonfiction books, articles, and preschool workbooks.
  • Todd Burleson: is one of our resident children’s librarian and technology wizard.
  • Kathy Halsey: is our other children’s librarian/writer who can help you find the right book or direct you to great online resources.
  • Cheryl Mansfield: loves writing middle grade books and picture books.
  • Jackie Wellington: loves writing and researching.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The March Madness Writing Contest

The March Madness Writing Contest Is Here!!!


Spring is here!

And so is
The MarcMadness Writing Contest!

The Contest: Write a children's story, in poetry or prosemaximum 400 words, that is a fractured fairy tale.  Feel free to add a theme of spring, or mix in one of the spring holidays if you like - St. Patrick's Day, April Fools Day, Easter or Passover, Arbor Day, Earth Day...  Have fun with it!  The madder* the better! :)
*as in wild and wacky, not angry :)
You do not have to include spring - that is optional.
The story can be a picture book or a short story - whatever you like.
If it's a picture book, you may NOT include art notes, because we get into a weird area of whether that's fair in terms of word count and added description etc.  So if you write a picture book that's wonderful, but make sure art notes aren't necessary to understand it.
"Fairy Tale" apparently turned out to be a very debatable term, so my fellow judges and I will do our best to handle whatever you've come up with.
Title not included in word count.
Post:  Your entry should be posted on your blog between right now this very second and Monday March 24 at 11:59 PM EST, and your post-specific link should be added to the link list below which will remain up through Wednesday March 26 so we can all take our time reading and enjoying everyone's stories!  (No PPBF on Friday March 21, no new post on Monday March 24, no WYRI on March 26).  If you don't have a blog but would like to enter, please copy and paste your entry into the comments below.  (If anyone has trouble commenting, which unfortunately happens, please email me and I'll post your entry for you!)

The Judge:  My lovely assistant and I will narrow down the entrants to 6 finalists (or possibly a couple more depending on the number of entries :)) which will be posted here on Thursday March 27 for you to vote on for a winner.  The vote will be closed at 5PM EST on Sunday March 30 and the winner will be announced on Monday March 31.  (No PPBF on Friday March 28.)

The Prizes!:  
 - 1st Prize is a read and critique by Karen Grencik of Red Fox Literary!!! (Unless for some reason you don't want a read and critique by an agent, in which case you may swap for any of the other prizes)
 - 2nd Prize is a picture book manuscript critique (for rhyming mss only) by Lori Degman, author of 1 ZANY ZOO and the forthcoming COCK-A-DOODLE-OOPS! OR a picture book manuscript critique (for non-rhyming mss only) by Cori Doerrfeld, author/illustrator of LITTLE BUNNY FOO FOO and PENNY LOVES PINK as well as illustrator of many others.
 - 3rd Prize is personalized signed copies of THE THREE NINJA PIGS and GOLDI ROCKS & THE THREE BEARS by Corey Rosen Schwartz PLUS a $25 Amazon Gift Card
 - 4th and 5th Prizes are your choice of any two of the following picture books PLUS a $20 Amazon Gift Card:
     - LITTLE RED WRITING by Joan Holub
     - THE PRINCESS AND THE PEAS by Caryl Hart

 - 6th Prize (which just skated in under the wire - thank you Sudipta!) is a personalized signed copy of hot-off-the-presses SNORING BEAUTY by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen

And don't forget, all you illustrators, that this will be followed by a related Illustrator Contest in April!!! (to be announced and elaborated on as soon as the writing part of the contest is over! :))

And now, so that everyone will feel happy and confident about posting their stories, I will share my sample, a Wild West twist on The Gingerbread Boy at exactly 400 words (phew!):

The Cornpone Cowboy
     Once upon a time (because that is the way all good fairy tales begin), Farmer Bubba and his lovely bride ThunderLily had the most beautiful ranch in the Wild West.
     The grass was emerald green.
     The rivers were pure as morning dew.
     The cattle were sleek and fat and gave such rich, creamy milk that all the ice cream makers in the world fought over who would get it.
     But even with all this beauty and excellent ice cream, Bubba and ThunderLily were sad.  For though they were surrounded every spring by velvet-eyed calves and stilt-legged foals, fluffy chicks, pink piglets, and wooly lambs, they never had a child of their own.
     Luckily, ThunderLily was not one to sit around moping.  "If I can't have a child, I'll make one," she told her darling Bubba.
     She got cornmeal and buttermilk, eggs, salt, and bacon drippings, and quick as you like she whipped up a sturdy little Cornpone Cowboy.
     "We'll call him Charlemagne," she said dreamily as she plucked the skillet from the barbeque pit.
     "You'll have to catch me first!" snorted the Cornpone Cowboy, and off he rode as fast as his cowpony could carry him.
     He passed the pigpen and the piglets grunted, “Oh, Charlemagne! Come be our friend!”
     “Don’t call me that!” said the Cornpone Cowboy, and he galloped on his way.
     He passed the sheepfold and the lambs baahed, “Oh, Charlemagne! Come be our friend!”
     “Don’t call me that!” said the Cornpone Cowboy, and he galloped on his way.
     He passed the cow barn and the calves mooed, “Oh, Charlemagne! Come be our friend!”
     “Why does everyone insist on calling me that?” said the Cornpone Cowboy, and he galloped on his way.
     And so it was at the hen house…
     . . . the horse pasture…
     . . . and the goat shed.
     Along about sundown a voice called, “Hey, Cowboy! Won’t you come set a spell by the campfire?”
     “Don’t mind if I do,” said the Cornpone Cowboy, tuckered out from galloping. He hopped down from his pony, spurs a-janglin’, and came face to face with…
     . . . COYOTE!
     Quick as a wink he twirled his lariat. . . 
     . . . hog-tied Coyote . . .
     . . . and lit out for home!
     When Bubba and ThunderLily heard his story, ThunderLily said, “That’s our boy! Lightning fast!”
     Which is how he came to be called LightningCharlie instead of Charlemagne (because really, who could live with that?) and they all lived happily ever after!

The End


  Little Flying Wings
By Nata Romeo

Once upon a farm, a little pig lived with her mama. Little pig always wore wings, and was called Little Waddling Wings by everyone who knew her.
           One day, Little Waddling Wing’s mama squealed, “We have run out of food! Take my secret cupcake recipe and sell it to the bakery in exchange for money.”
            Little Waddling Wings flapped her wings and said, “Mama, I won’t run, but I will fly to the Bakery!”
            “Pigs can’t fl…” mama began to say as Little Waddling Wings interrupted.
             Little Waddling Wings said, “I can fly mama!” she waddled and flapped her wings, “I know I can!”
            “We don’t have time for games,” mama said sternly, “you must run and do not talk to strangers.”

            Little Waddling Wings ran through the farm, past a wolf and all the way to the bakery.
The hungry wolf took a short cut, got to the bakery, locked the baker in the closet and dressed into a chef's coat, hat, pants and clogs.
Little Waddling Wings skidded into the bakery.
“Can I help you?” said the wolf.
“Mama said to sell her secret recipe for money,” said Little Waddling Wings.
“Come a little closer my dear, my ears don’t work like they used to,” said the wolf.
“What big ears you have,” said Little Waddling Wings.
“Better to hear you with, come a little closer,” said the wolf.
“What big eyes you have,” said Little Waddling Wings.
“Better to see you with, come a little closer,” said the wolf.
“What sharp teeth you have,” said Little Waddling Wings.
“BETTER TO EAT YOU WITH!” said the wolf.
Little Waddling Wings dashed faster than she had ever sprinted before. Her feet lifted off the ground, she fluttered all the way to the farm police.
            “I’m flying!” hollered Little Waddling Wings, “I knew I could!”
The farm police arrested the wolf, and freed the baker.
The baker loved mama’s secret cupcake recipe. He gave Little Waddling Wings enough money to feed her and mama for many years to come. Little Waddling Wings was then called Little Flying Wings by everyone who knew her.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Weekly 411 (2/28/14) - Giveaway

The Weekly 411 (2/28/14) - Giveaway

© David Diaz

Feb. 28, 2014 Issue 8

The Weekly 411 gathers all the links added to this site each week. To receive this post by email, sign up for our updates. If you have news or links to share, please email them to


We're running a contest to celebrate the launch of Kidlit411! Enter to win the chance of a magnificent picture book critique from author Susanna Leonard Hill or the opportunity to submit a PB, MG, or YA manuscript to agent Mira Reisberg of Hummingbird Literary (which is currently closed to queries!) 

Go to the bottom of this page to enter! The giveaway ends on Friday, March 7, 2014.


We couldn't be more excited to announce that we have the very talented author, Beth Coulton is in our Author Spotlight today! We are also thrilled to feature the multi-award winning illustrator (Caldecott! Pura BelprĂ©!) David Diaz in the Illustrator Spotlight. 

New MG and PB wish lists on Pitch Smart Kid Lit

3 Agents Wish Lists  (Jen RofĂ©, Debora Warren & Ammi-Joan Paquette)

A big list of agent wish lists from Thriller Fest IX (a conference for thriller fans in July in NYC)


Kate Messner's Plot Intensive Handouts

Do You Prefer to Write Character Driven or Plot Driven Stories? Checklist.

Surviving Rejection

50 Tools that Can Improve Your Writing


"Links and Tips for Storyboarding and Illustration" - long list of links on how to storyboard

"Just Enjoy the Pictures: Handcrafted versus Digital Pictures" article in the Horn Book about choosing your medium


"Layer upon Layer: Building a Nonfiction Manuscript" by Melissa Sweet 


Questions to Ask Your Prospective Agent- Writer Beware rounds up excellent links for questions to ask a prospective agent


When to Self Publish, a publisher's perspective

Raising Book Monsters- Cindy Williams Schrauben - A go to blog for helpful hints about children and books.

The Blabber Mouth Blog- Linda Epstein, DiChiara Literary Agency A peek inside an agent's world.

Check out our newly listed contests and awards (details are on the Contests & Awards page)

March 12   Lucy Cavendish Annual Fiction Prize

March 20 - 24  March Madness Writing Contest with Susanna Leonard Hill
How to Become Fearless!

Quotes on Writing