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by guest blogger Julie Falatko

JuliefalatkoIn 2011, after several months of taking picture book writing seriously, I heard about PiBoIdMo and thought, “Sure, why not?”

If I’d realized how much Picture Book Idea Month would change everything, I might not have been so glib about it. But at the time I didn’t realize that the work done during PiBoIdMo would get me an agent and a book deal.

That year, I came up with 48 ideas, one of which was good. I didn’t realize that at the time. At the time I thought they were all good. But as I wrote them up, I learned that sometimes what seems like a good picture book idea…maybe isn’t. Or at least not for me. I thought a story about a stalk of depressed broccoli would be great (spoiler: it wasn’t). A girl who puts on ridiculous clothes every morning? Snore. How about a kid who wants to be a writer? How about I bonk the reader on the head with boring bricks?

But PiBoIdMo 2011 took a wrench to an Idea Faucet that was rusted shut in my head, loosened it up, and oiled it with a big can of Pay Attention.

After that November, the ideas kept coming—drip, drip, drip—slowly, and, in most cases, terribly. But I like my brain. And I trust it enough to listen to it. So when it told me an idea, no matter how ridiculous, I wrote it down.

On November 1, 2012, I started my second year of PiBoIdMo. What I didn’t know was that my brain had gotten a much bigger wrench for the occasion. And instead of opening up the Idea Faucet a little more, my brain clean knocked the whole faucet off—THWACK!—and let the ideas spurt up like a fountain at the park.

November 2012 I got 30 ideas. Four were good. One I wrote up immediately and it was better than anything I’d written before. Something was happening.

And then one night in late November I was making dinner, thinking about how I like books that let kids know we trust them and think they’re smart. And FWOOSH there it was, an idea, but more than an idea, the entire story, not just the plot, but the words, dumped into my head.

I ran. Bolted from the kitchen, so afraid of losing the sentences swimming in my head. I yelled to my husband that he had to finish dinner, and typed up my story as fast as I could. It was exhilarating and maybe a little scary.

When I was done, I had SNAPPSY THE ALLIGATOR (DID NOT ASK TO BE IN THIS BOOK). Snappsy was the story I sent to Danielle Smith at Foreword Literary. She liked it and asked for more—I sent her the story from the one good idea from PiBoIdMo 2011 and the other good one I’d written during PiBoIdMo 2012. She became my agent. And SNAPPSY was my first book deal, on July 16. It’ll be published by Viking Children’s in the summer of 2015.

AccidentalOctopus (1)

Snippets from Julie’s idea notebook

Since November, the ideas have kept coming. None have come out as quickly as SNAPPSY, but some have been close. I keep notebooks and pencils everywhere. And I still write down everything my brain tells me to in my PiBoIdMo notebook. Because while some may seem like a random string of words (“accidental octopus/Georgie, oh Georgie”), or just my brain having fun (what am I supposed to so with “Mr. Codfish is quite pleased with his new trousers,” exactly?) those ideas pave the way for the ones that become good stories.


Well, Julie, hat stories have been very popular lately

Writing is practice. Preparing for writing takes practice too. PiBoIdMo forces you to play. Thirty ideas is a lot of ideas. Not all of them are going to be brilliant or fully formed. Probably very few of them will be. But you write down what you can, and you teach yourself to look for ideas in the world around you and to listen to your brain when it whispers in your ear. PiBoIdMo is fast, but writing well can take time. Keep at it. Don’t give up. Take yourself seriously, and trust in the process.


Highlights submission?

Thanks for sharing your success, Julie, and congratulations on SNAPPSY, which I cannot wait to read!

I hope many of you will join us for the 5th Anniversary of PiBoIdMo this November! 

Julie Falatko lives in Maine, where she works tirelessly trying to bribe her four children into doing housework so she can spend more time writing. In the end, they just bake cookies and call it a day. She blogs at, tweets @JulieFalatko, and reviews picture books for Katie Davis’s Brain Burps About Books podcast. She can often be found transcribing her brain’s random word association games into her PiBoIdMo notebook.

nuggetandfangDudes, it’s new Tammi Sauer! YES!!!! *Jersey fist pump*

Ya know Tammi, right? She’s the most prolific picture book author this side of the Atlantic! (And that side, too.)

An annual contributor to Picture Book Idea Month, Tammi has dispensed invaluable picture book pointers about story structure, celebrating the weird stuff in life, and putting a twist on the familiar. She’s also a regular PiBoIdMo participant, and NUGGET AND FANG is her success story from the November 2009 event!

So the unlikely underwater duo are here today to chomp away! (Don’t worry, Tammi’s here, too. Fang didn’t gobble her up.)

Tammi, what about unlikely friendship stories makes them so fun to write?

If two characters are at odds in some big way, that immediately builds in tension and offers real deal conflict. This can provide great opportunities for humor, too. That’s fun stuff! Some unlikely friendships deal with issues such as neatness versus messiness or quiet versus loud. The quandary that my characters face is clear–sharks and minnows aren’t supposed to be friends because everybody knows sharks EAT minnows.

Sharks are popular characters these days! What makes FANG stand out in the world of storybook selachimorpha? (Yes, that is a real word. I looked it up. Honest.)


Michael Slack’s first sketch of the carnivorous chums.

I love that I have a contender in storybook selachimorpha. It sounds super sophisticated. As for Fang, he stands out among regular sharks because he has a huge heart. Yes, he’s toothy, but, holy mackerel, my guy is irresistible. If I were a minnow, I’d be honored to be his friend.

What are some of your favorite unlikely friendship stories/books?

My Favorite Unlikely Friendship Story of 2012 was BOY + BOT by Ame Dyckman, illustrated by Dan Yaccarino. That book is brilliant in 2,465 different ways. Plus, Ame has blue hair. (Tara’s note: sometimes it’s pink or purple, or even rainbow leopard.)

A fun and endearing unlikely friendship story that just came out this past February is WOOBY AND PEEP written by my oh-so-fabulous critique partner Cynthea Liu, illustrated by Mary Peterson. (Hey, WOOBY AND PEEP are coming soon to a blog near you. Umm, this one.)

If NUGGET and FANG could endorse their book personally, what do you think they would say?

Nugget: Holy mackerel! Get your fins on this book. It’s FANG-tastic!

Fang: Sink your teeth into our book. It’s a total NUGGET of awesomeness!

Well, I’ve got a nugget of awesomeness for you, dear blog readers: a “NUGGET AND FAN” (not a typo–you’re a fan already, right?) prize pack, including a signed first edition, a teacher’s poster, and adorable tattoos you can slap on any fin (or bicep). Just leave a comment or question for Tammi to enter and a winner will be chomped up later this month! In the meantime, go visit these seaworthy sidekicks!


Last November this blog hosted “Picture Book Idea Month,” a daily exercise for picture book writers. The object was to create one new picture book idea a day. (As an added benefit, it kept us from having NaNoWriMo envy.)

When I tried PiBoIdMo on my own the year prior, I came up with the concept for THE MONSTORE, which became my first book to be purchased. It’s set for release with Simon & Schuster in 2012. And, this week, my editor is meeting with the art director to talk about illustrators. Oh yeah, it’s a fun time.

Then this week I got word that Diana Murray won the 2010 SCBWI Barbara Karlin grant with one of her PiBoIdMo 2009 ideas! Wow! So I asked her to tell the story…take it away, Diana!

When Tara announced PiBoIdMo on the blueboards, I was thrilled. One idea per day was something I could handle time-wise and I was looking forward to an excuse to ramp up my picture book writing. It was more challenging than I expected, but the best part was, it helped me figure out my main problem: I’m a compulsive writer. As soon as I think of an idea, I run for my laptop and I can’t stop writing until I get the whole story out of me. I literally find myself waking in the middle of the night to jot things down. In other words, I’m completely nuts. In many ways, this can be a good thing. Motivation has never been an issue for me. But participating in Piboidmo forced me to delay my compulsion to write about anything that popped into my head, and for me, that ended up being more efficient.

I came up with most of my ideas during little “holes” in time throughout the day, like while pushing the stroller or putting my kids to sleep. Some of these ideas were pretty awful, like: “Tabby Moves to Dogtown” and “Mabel’s Amazing Hat,” about a do-everything hat with a remote control. Ha! That one still cracks me up. Some of the ideas were worth investigating and I kept getting tempted to drop everything and start writing. But I held back in the interest of coming up with at least one new idea each day. I knew that if I started writing, I wouldn’t be able to stop and move on to thinking of other ideas. I held off as long as I could.

Finally, on idea #23, I couldn’t take it anymore. The idea of a stubborn, messy witch who keeps losing things resonated with me (Gee, I wonder why?). It’s a very personal experience, of course. An idea that works for one person may not appeal to somebody else. But for me, it just clicked. For a few days, I thought about it and planned it out in my head. Actually, idea #23 had been brewing since idea #1 (to borrow a metaphor from my MC, Grimelda). That’s the good thing about ideas: even the bad ones can ultimately lead to something that inspires you. By the time I started writing, I was overflowing with creative juices and the whole manuscript just poured out.

So, long story short, I’m a PiBoIdMo loser! My compulsion got the best of me, and I didn’t get past idea #23. But the good news is, I won the 2010 SCBWI Barbara Karlin Grant and learned something in the process.

For the record, I announced my participation on the blueboards but not on Tara’s blog. Let’s just say I was a little new to the concept of blogs at the time. Luckily, I was able to read all the inspiring posts after the event.

Congraulations, Diana! I hope you’ll let us know when your manuscript gets purchased!

Do you have a PiBoIdMo success story to share?

This is the second art gallery by illustrators who participated in November’s 30-picture-book-ideas-in-30-days PiBoIdMo challenge. You can see ideas taking shape–in the form of characters. (If you didn’t already know, editors are keen on character-driven picture books these days.) And just think, once these stories are published, you can say “I knew them when…”

Loni Edwards

“This is a sketch from my story about going to Nana’s house. I’m entitling it ‘Two Kids in a Sandbox’ until I evolve the story more. I sketch, then I ink using a light table. I scan the piece into Photoshop where I color with a Wacom Tablet.”

Lynn Anne Bemis

“I have not taken lessons as an illustrator. I am a ‘wannabe’ and this is the first year I started adding drawings to my story ideas. So as simple as they are, I am showing them to you. I am, you could say, ‘A work in progress.'”

Debbie Ridpath Ohi

“Regarding the first sketch, this is how I brainstorm sometimes and I figured I’d try it for PiBoIdMo. As you can tell, um, my sketches are VERY rough.

“I’ve always been fascinated by the juxtaposition of cute and scary. The monster guy in the second drawing was inspired by Little Nightmares, which I’d eventually like to include in a picture book. The girl is a character I came up with for my Snarkface cards and she demanded to be included in the drawing as well.

“The third sketch looks drawn on paper, but I actually did it in Corel Painter. I find that experimenting with different virtual media is fun, plus I enjoy trying out different styles. I did this sketch to accompany a text picture book idea. One of the reasons I enjoyed PiBoIdMo so much was because it not only inspired me as a writer but also as an illustrator.”

One more gallery to come, kidlit fans! Stop back soon for more insight into the illustrative process.

Drawings and sketches and art, oh my! Several children’s illustrators participated in November’s PiBoIdMo challenge by moleskining their way through the month. Below you can see what makes an artist’s brush tick…err, I mean flick.

And…this is just Gallery #1 in a series of 3. More illustrators and galleries to come!

Courtney Pippin-Mathur

“I’ve had these ideas bouncing around in my head for a while now, thanks to PiBoldMo, they are now on paper where they hope to grow into picture book dummies one day.”

The Bodyguard


Erin Nowak

“Attached is a sketch of the two main characters I got from this little sketch session: Warm & Toasty. Warm is a sweet cup of hot cocoa, and Toasty is her buttery wheat bread buddy. The VERY rough idea is that they’re used to being served up together on cold winter days, but the problem they’re having is that neither wants the other to shine too brightly. A friendship dealing with a little jealousy I guess. I also included my entire sketchbook page from that day as well, complete with scribbles and misspellings, just to give insight into the different ways illustrators work.”

Bonnie Adamson

“The working title is “Robot Rodeo,” made up this summer while illustrating the bookshelf of the main character in Heather Burnell’s picture book, Bedtime Monster. It popped back into my head when I was trying to come up with an idea for day three of the PiBoIdMo challenge. The title was about all I had until I started sketching, and then the robot steer with his knobs and levers began to take on a sort of gentle steampunkish look, which gave me a bit more of a hook for the story. I’ve got a very rough first draft down, featuring a showdown between one of the battered old cowboy robots, Piston Pete, and the ‘shiny stranger,’ who’s, um, not from around here.”

More galleries to come, kidlit fans! Stay tuned…

Thanks to illustrator Bonnie Adamson, everyone who completed the 30 ideas in 30 days PiBoIdMo challenge has a winner badge to proudly display on their blog or website. Pick it up here!

If you’d like, link the badge back to the first PiBoIdMo post, so curious visitors will know what it is. This isn’t a requirement, just a suggestion.

Onto the Naoko Stoop print winners.

The winners of the prints were not drawn by random. Rather, I chose two people who were, in my opinion, the two most enthusiastic PiBoIdMo supporters. They commented frequently during the month and they both ended the event with nearly twice the number of ideas they were supposed to create.

Congratulations KELLY FINEMAN and JEWEL SAMPLE! You’ll receive an email to arrange delivery of your prizes.

The random winner of the signed Karma Wilson book Don’t Be Afraid, Little Pip is BETH COULTON! You’ll receive an email asking for an address.

The random winner of the signed Jennifer Swanson Penny and Rio book is LORI DEGMAN! An email’s coming your way, too.

Congratulations again to all the winners! You all deserve thanks for making PiBoIdMo a success!

And…stay tuned for a PiBoIdMo Art Gallery, brought to you by the many talented illustrators who sketched their way through November.

Without further ado (I know you’ve been waiting all day), here are the PiBoIdMo Grand Prize winners! With the help of, winners were selected from the eligible pool of 51 picture book writers who signed the PiBoIdMo pledge.

Grand Prize Winner #1:

AUNTIE FLAMINGO! You have been assigned to agent Jill Corcoran of Herman Agency Inc.

Grand Prize Winner #2:

AMBER ALVAREZ! You have been assigned to agent Lauren E. MacLeod of Strothman Agency.

Grand Prize Winner #3:

LONI EDWARDS! You have been assigned to agent Elana Roth of Caren Johnson Literary Agency.

Congratulations to the three winners! You’ll receive an email soon with instructions asking you to contact your assigned agent by December 7th. So start picking out your 5 best ideas!

Congratulations to everyone else who completed the month with 30 ideas. It was quite a challenge and YOU DID IT! Please come back next week! There will be a winner badge for your blog and more prizes: the Karma Wilson signed book, Jennifer Swanson signed book, and the Naoko Stoop prints.

Thanks again to everyone for making PiBoIdMo a success! See you next year! (Um, well, I hope I see you before that! Lots more kidlit goodies to come!)

OK, time’s up! Do you have 30 new picture book ideas? You do? Excellent! Time to take the PiBoIdMo pledge to qualify for one of our keeno-Yaccarino prizes. (Sorry, there are no Dan Yaccarino books to give away. I just like that phrase.)

I do solemnly swear that I have faithfully executed
the PiBoIdMo challenge, and will to the best of my ability,
parlay my ideas into picture books from the list of 30 I have created.

Now I’m not saying all 30 ideas have to be good. Some may just be titles, some may be character quirks. Some may be problems and some may create problems when you sit down to write. Some may be high-concept and some barely a concept. But…they’re yours, all yours. Small seeds that may sprout into a story.

You have until December 3rd at 11:59:59PM EST to sign the pledge. Remember, this is an honor system pledge. Those who sign will be entered into the random grand prize drawing: review of your best 5 ideas by a literary agent. There are three grand prizes! Thanks to Jill Corcoran of Herman Agency, Inc., Lauren E. MacLeod of Strothman Agency, and Elana Roth of Caren Johnson Literary Agency for volunteering their time and expertise to PiBoIdMo.

In addition, I have two adorable kidlit prints by illustrator Naoko Stoop to give away–something to keep you inspired throughout the year.

Winners will be drawn and alerted on December 4th. Grand prize winners must contact their assigned agent no later than December 7th. Winners will be given full instructions…when they win!

If you’re an illustrator who participated and want to display your artwork, when you sign the pledge, please let me know that I should contact you to collect images. I’ll create a special PiBoIdMo art gallery to showcase your sketches.

Illustrator Ryan Hipp, who so generously created the PiBoIdMo logo and participator badge,  is busy making you an “I did it!” badge to proudly display on your blog. Everyone’s a winner, so it will be posted when the grand prize winners are announced.

Finally, a ginormous THANK YOU to everyone who participated in PiBoIdMo, from the guest bloggers to the aspiring writers and illustrators to the authors and agents. This has been a inspiring month full of creativity and imagination and, not to sound corny, but I couldn’t have done it without your support and enthusiasm!

*Sniff, Sniff*

So enough of the sappy stuff, go sign the pledge. When you leave a comment, be sure to put your email address in the email field so I know how to contact you. You do not have to put your email address in the comment itself. And, you do not have to submit your 30 ideas–they are yours. Treasure them. Just your name and “I did it!” will suffice. Let everyone see your virtual John Hancock. Or maybe that should be a virtual Jon Scieszka?

Paula Yoo photo courtesy Jennifer Oyama, Audrey Magazine

30 picture book ideas in 30 days?

Are you CRAZY?

Oh wait. You’re a writer. OF COURSE you’re nuts! 🙂

And I’m a writer, too. Which means we’re both in the same boat.

Tara asked me to give you some words of advice as you hunker down for that final idea for Day 30 of the 2009 PiBoldMo–Picture Book Idea Month!

I thought I’d talk a bit about my “other” job to give you some ideal inspiration! In addition to my YA novels and picture books, I am also a TV writer. I’ve written for NBC’s The West Wing, FOX’s Tru Calling, and currently The SyFy Channel’s Eureka.

As a working TV writer in Hollywood, I have to come up with ideas every single day. In fact, I have to come up with DOZENS of ideas every single hour of every single day when I’m working on a TV show.

Here’s how most scripted TV shows work: several writers are hired to literally sit around in a room called “The Writers’ Room” all day long and come up with ideas for episodes. Each show is run differently, but the basic day usually involves the writing staff discussing what storylines should happen in each episode, along with in-depth dialogue about character development and themes. It’s a really fun job when you think about it–you’re getting paid to make up stuff!

At the same time, it’s also a really TOUGH job. You can get burned out very easily when trying to brainstorm episode storylines and figuring out which character does what and why. It’s often like solving a puzzle–there’s a ton of logic and plausibility that you have to consider when pitching ideas.

I’ve learned a lot from having worked in TV about how to brainstorm effectively when it comes to ideas. Of course the sky’s the limit when it comes to brainstorming–anything from a pebble on the beach to a squirrel running across the street to the cranky lady standing in front of you in line at the bank can lead to an amazing story idea for your picture book.

But a cool image, compelling character, or interesting conflict isn’t enough to create a fully-fleshed out idea. You have to combine all three areas–image, character, conflict–into one idea in order to have a viable story for a potential picture book.

As a TV writer, I was constantly told that story equals intention plus obstacle. Memorize this formula!


In other words, your main character has an INTENTION. But there is an OBSTACLE standing in your character’s way. This creates CONFLICT… which is another way of saying STORY! Ah ha! So STORY EQUALS CONFLICT! And how that character overcomes that obstacle reveals his or her journey towards that end goal.

As long as you can make this equation work, you’ve got yourself a viable story idea! It’s actually a fun formula to apply to published books, movies, and TV shows to break down a completed project to its very essence–the idea. Sometimes working backwards and analyzing published books and figuring out their basic idea can help you as you brainstorm your own ideas.

In other words, try this formula on published books or movies etc. as a “warm up” exercise before you begin your own brainstorming. For example…

In Mo Willem’s Knuffle Bunny, Trixie and her dad go to the laundromat. Trixie accidentally leaves her stuffed toy, Knuffle Bunny, behind. She is unable to speak in full words yet, so complications arise when her father has no idea what she’s talking about when she tries to convince him to take her back to the laundromat to rescue Knuffle Bunny.

So Trixie’s INTENTION is that she wants to return to the laundromat to get her toy!

The OBSTACLE is her inability to speak in words yet to communicate her thoughts!

INTENTION (Trixie wants Knuffle Bunny back) + OBSTACLE (can’t speak inwords yet) = STORY (Trixie must figure out how to communicate to her father that they must return to the laundromat to rescue Knuffle Bunny!)

And how Trixie overcomes this obstacle shows her delightfully feisty personality and inventiveness.

See how that works? Try seeing if you can simplify your favorite picture book down to this formula. It’s a lot of fun and a good warm up exercise to jump start your own imagination!

Then apply this formula to your own original ideas–if you can create a compelling character who has to overcome an obstacle to reach his or her goal, then you’ve got your 30th picture book idea for this year’s PiBoIdMo!


And now that you have your 30 ideas, please join me this May 1-8, 2010 for the second annual NaPiboWriWee event sponsored by my website at!

For more information on NaPiBoWriWee, check out this link:

NaPiBoWriWee is short for National Picture Book Writing Week where I challenge writers to write an entire picture book every day for a whole week–7 picture books in 7 days!

See, I told you we were crazy! 🙂

Paula Yoo

Paula Yoo is the author of the YA novel GOOD ENOUGH (HarperCollins ’08) and the children’s non-fiction picture books SHINING STAR: THE ANNA MAY WONG STORY (Lee & Low ’09) and IRA Notable SIXTEEN YEARS IN SIXTEEN SECONDS: THE SAMMY LEE STORY (Lee & Low ’08). She is also a TV writer, whose credits include THE WEST WING, TRU CALLING, and SIDE ORDER OF LIFE. She is currently a co-producer on The SyFy Channel’s series, EUREKA.


Tara’s Note:

Thanks, Paula! No one could have summed up PiBoIdMo better.

Everyone, stay tuned tomorrow for the PiBoIdMo pledge.

What’s the PiBoIdMo pledge? It’s your word that you have 30 ideas. I’ll ask you to leave a comment letting me know you’ve completed this month’s challenge. (Please note you do not have to submit your 30 ideas. Those are yours to keep!)

You’ll have until December 3rd to take the pledge, then on December 4th I’ll announce the randomly-selected PiBoIdMo prize winners.

Good luck!

I loved Tara’s post from Day 22 because I get a lot of my ideas in the opposite way. Re-read your favorites and examine what you love about them? I like doing this too, but it completely freezes my creativity. I end up thinking I could NEVER write anything THAT wonderful and I go eat a pint of chocolate ice cream instead.

I would LOVE to be inspired by good books, but (sadly) I’m not. My biggest-ever writing epiphany (next to understanding rhyme) was learning this about myself: good books are bad for me.

No, what I need to feed my creativity is bad books. Nothing gets me more fired up than a book/story/idea that I think could be improved. Books that I read which annoy me in some way that I recognize instantly, or the ones that gnaw at me weeks later, asking me, “Why…? Why…? Why…?”

Books with ill-conceived plots that obviously should have gone This Way instead of That Way (obviously to ME, anyway–ha!) Books with poor structure. Books with over-worn themes that bring nothing new to the world. Characters that should be funnier. Characters who do things I don’t understand. Settings that don’t matter, but could–or should! Why did the author set it there when here would have been so much better?

Wasted opportunity–that’s what basically gets my creative juices flowing. It plays into re-tellings and re-interpretations and parodies very nicely (and I write a lot of those), but you can also use the ideas you come up with in original stories.

When I grew tired of singing Hush, Little Baby to my twins several times every night, wondering at the wisdom of giving breakable (a mirror), small (a diamond ring) or potentially stampeding (a bull and cart) items to a baby who’s screaming, wondering at the lack of funny lullabyes to entertain the parent AND send the child off to Sleepyland with a laugh in their heart, those cogs in my brain just started grinding away.

Most versions I could find at the time were built around a human baby (although several others have proliferated in the last five years), but what if it was a baby… dragon? What would his mother bring him that both made more sense AND was funny? When I thought of a princess to eat, I laughed and started writing.

Most versions of the song Over In The Meadow center on animal communities. And there are so many different versions, every ecosystem on earth! Geesh- nothing new there. But wait. What about all the people at a busy place… like a castle! I did some research, and Bingo! Book #2.

I wrote a twin manuscript because I was tired of picture books that only showed the twice-as-nice, double-the-love side of twins. If you have twins, you KNOW this is only half of the story. Where are the twins who love each other but ALSO shove each other because they’re tired of 24/7 sharing? Mine DO that! So I wrote it.

When I’m stuck, I go to books. I read good ones and say, “Oh, that’s lovely. I wish I could write like that!” And I put them back on the shelf. Then, I find books that I don’t like and say, “Wow, I know how to take an idea/character/plot/theme/whatever like that and make it better.”

Bad books–I love them!

Boni Ashburn lives in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan with her husband and four kids. Her first book, Hush, Little Dragon, was called “Sweeney Todd for the sandbox set” by the San Francisco Chronicle and she can now die happy. First, however, she’d like to publish a whole shelf-full of children’s books. Boni’s next book, Over At The Castle, comes out in March, 2010, and she has two more picture books under contract for 2011.

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