Sunday, April 13, 2014

Silly Song Sunday!

This is the church
And this the steeple.
You can go in,
Just don't fall asleeple.

In the mid 90's, the late, beloved CHARLOTTE ZOLOTOW read— as a friend, not as a Harper honcho (vulgar word vis-a-vis Charlotte)— our Silly Songs. Famous genius editor Charlotte called them verses, not poems, so we do too, never having asked the difference. Charlotte noted our good ear and playfulness throughout (phew!) and commented specially on This is the church. Unlike many Silly Songs, she wrote, it has a true emotional center. We filed the letter under Writing Is Hard.

Thursday, April 10, 2014


Wouldn't you know it, the new kid in school is undead. Uh-oh, here come the angry parents: "No Zombies in Our School." And now the bullies are starting in on him, too. True, the Zomboy is not too brainy, and his body does in fact drop pieces, but his staunch alliesBob and Evil-O (Olive spelled backwards) have him covered— kinda. HarperCollins Canada just pub'd this bright, even sparkling, middle grade title. Richard Scrimger is nearly the most entertaining writer we know.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


WE   (heart image here) THE SIMPLES LOVE A PICNIC + Julie Philipps!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Silly Song Sunday!

I'm a Little Tea Pot
I'm a little tea pot
In a snit.
Folks call me hothead
When I have a fit.

If your water boiled
You would, too!
So tip me over
And pass the moo.

** This one is best when sung, like the song, adding a good deliberate pause before mooing the "moo".

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


This (these?) just in, and excellent buzz is a-building. Ryan Gebhart's debut also got a tip of the Tyrolean hat last month— German rights sale. We expect THERE WILL BE BEARS to enable many translators to ply their trade before 2014 ends.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Silly Song Sunday!

Little Jack Horner
Little Jack Horner
Sat in a corner
Eating his poor mother’s pie.
He stuck in his thumb—
And Mum struck him dumb:
Children! said she, with a sigh.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

a new GAIL GILES novel!

We add with delight that Gail's first review— GIRLS LIKE US pubs May 28— is . . .  drumroll . . . a PW *STAR*. We love Gail! (And PW.)

Gail Giles. Candlewick, $16.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-7636-6267-7

Following graduation from their high school's special education track, two girls become wards of the state and are placed in an apartment where they live independently and cook and clean for their neighbor/employer, an older woman named Elizabeth. Sharp-tongued and aggressive, Quincy is defensive about her learning difficulties and the physical scars left by the source of her brain damage, "when my mama's boyfriend hit my head with a brick." Sensitive Biddy, who describes herself as having "moderate retardation," overeats to mask past traumas, which include having given up her baby. Giles's (Dark Song) background teaching special education students informs this blunt, honest, and absorbing story about two young women overcoming challenges that have less to do with their abilities to read or write than with how society views and treats them. In short, alternating chapters, the girls narrate in raw and distinct voices that capture their day-to-day hurdles, agony, and triumphs. The "found family" that builds slowly for Quincy, Biddy, and Elizabeth-with no shortage of misunderstandings, mistrust, or tears-is rewarding and powerful. Ages 14-up. Agent: Scott Treimel, Scott Treimel NY. (June)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

from BAD SCHOOL, a Collection

"Show and Scold"

Suzy stood for show and tell
And raised an empty hand.
After sixty seconds passed 
Teacher said, "Expand."
Suzy, stupefied, wondered 
What could she do more?
So to save her presentation
She stared straight down at the floor.

Teacher wagged her finger
And told Suzy, "You have failed,"
Whereupon beleaguered Suzy
Took her seat kerplop! and wailed.
"Oh, ho!" cried crafty Teacher,
Who then heaped on praise galore.
Suzy, Teacher said,  
Showed the class the perfect bore.


Here is one of our fav-fav-favs of the season, not pub'g until Apr 8 but is available for pre-order. We implore you to shell out seventeen smackaroonies. You will delight again and again at this lovable family's going-on. WE ADORE THIS BOOK! so much so we are posting outside the lines.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

A Full-Novel Workshop!

We love discovering talent! And we are open to new clients. So we were sad to close STNY's open-submission chute. We pledged to step-up our participation in public programs, to be at least a little accessible. Soooo...
Attention Intermediate and Advanced Novel Writers!

Scott Treimel is joining Knopf Associate Publishing Director Melanie Cecka at the 2014 Pacific Coast Childrern's Writers Workshop and Retreat in October. This is a super intensive weekend workshop. Hardcore critiques are promised! Craft cultivated! Techniques taught! AND guess what— the whole shebang is smack dab on the Santa Cruz-Monterey Bay!

Silly Song Sunday!

"The Queen of Hearts"

The Queen of Hearts
She made some tarts
All on a summer's day.
The Knave of Heart
He stole the tarts
And took them to Bombay.

He hawked the tarts
From ox-drawn carts,
Which locals thought plain loopy—
That kind of sweet
We do not eat—
How can he make a rupee?

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Introducing ERIC SAILER

We discovered Eric at an SCBWI conference in New Jersey a couple years back. Since, we have worked (and worked and worked) (Eric has too) to develop his craft. Eric's ability to convey movement— not particularly evident in these pics— is what struck us, in addition to our simpatico sense of humor.

Of interest, we should think, to prepub'd creators, was Eric's reaction to our initial critique. He was astonished by the exactitude we demanded in his work. It was not the first time a new client

was startled to learn how very, very high the bar is set at the big houses we work with. (Why the big houses? Because they pay more and have money, if they choose to spend it, to promote their books.)

Now, as Eric is teetering on the brink of formal STNY submissions (pretty exciting for us!), we want to share him with our discerning readers. These pictures are from what we decided to consider a warm-up project, LARRY BEAR AND MARY.


And we are not talking about the creepy Tea Party— not them! We mean Ame Dyckman's TEA PARTY RULES, illustrated by K. G. Campbell, where cookies (not wrongheaded hegemony) motivate the action. The book is apolitical: we clarify the title only for the opportunity to impugn that anti-intellectual "party" sabotaging the country— they probably can't read, anyway.

So, today's lesson: Don't be dumb! Read TEA PARTY RULES!

MONKEY ONO by J.C. Phillipps

TEA PARTY RULES by Ame Dyckman

Silly Song Sunday!

The Three Little Pigs
In the tale of the Three Little Pigs
We study straw, wood, and brick digs.
Would you not rather care
To learn how they dare
By mere chinney, chin-chin thingamajigs?

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The thing about a blog is. . .

. . . you have to keep posting and posting or people will not, need not, ought not visit. But then those longing for our insight, humor, or their own spiritual awakening— yes, our hungry public, YOU, well, you would be left wanting. We dare not neglect our friends. We dare to care!

So, um, for today then. . . um. . . how about this dusty old riddle probably used before, making us a party bore. (Rhymes are a-poppin today.)

Q: Where do publishers buy their Oxfords? 
Or, to put it differently,
Q: Where do editors buy their Espadrilles?
A: At Simon and Shoestore.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Joyce Carol Oats, our hero

Here it is, right from the master's keyboard. 

Nothing in the world— the universe! the history of the world! is as influential and downright brilliant as ALICE IN WONDERLAND. But good lord, do not try it at home. And if you do, certainly do not submit it to us! ALICE IN WONDERLAND cannot be topped or even half-equalled. If anyone can name even a weak challenger, we want to know. Talk among yourselves. Questions? Comments?

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Silly Song Sunday!

There was an Old Woman
Who lived in a shoe.
She had so many children
She didn’t know what to do.

In fact, she had two.

Great big brats
The Old Woman had.
They vexed her and perplexed her
And they drove her fairly mad.

They tell us she beat them
And sent them to bed—
Not that she woke up
Next day with no head!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Tweet Inbetween

Helen Zax wins* an STNY phone convo!
 Don't you wish you had tweeted inbetween?

*See Feb 7 post

Love this pic!

From Julie Phillipps, crack-up extraordinaire.
Who does not think this is funny? No one!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Billy-Troll Affair

Hey, folks, look! Jeff Crosby transforms the famous recalcitrant brothers into 1950's beboppers. 

The trouble is that darn troll. Is he ever squaresville. He hates rowdy rockin', and he says the kids can't cross his bridge— no way, no how! 

But the Billys have a gig to play at the Shimmy Shack. They gotta cross that bridge to get there.  What a predicament! 

Jeff Crosby's The Rockabilly Goats Gruff grabs ahold of you and won't let go! From page one straight through to the triumphant conclusion, this thrill-ride will have you on the edge of your seat. 

Monday, February 24, 2014

You write. We judge.

Contest ends Feb 28 at midnight
Remember, the best entry in our TWEET INBETWEEN contest/game (see Feb 7 post) wins an oh, so valuable private phone convo. The winner gets to ask about children's publishing anything— editorial, career, contract, editor, agent, market. Rule: write a story in 140 characters. The winner will be announced Mar 1.
Who Wants an Appointment?

A Silly Song!

                   Pussy Cat, Pussy Cat,
                   Where have you been?

                   To London town
                   To visit the queen.

                   Pussy Cat, Pussy Cat,
                   What did you do?

                   Ate fish and chips
                   And said tootle-oo.

                   Pussy Cat, Pussy Cat,
                   What did she say?

                   Lemon juice or vinegar,
                   Try them either way.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Bad School, Table of Contents

Since you asked, to our delight, here is an unordered list of the verses that constitute our DANG CLEVER ms. Those in red were posted here over the past year.

  • Math
  • Lesson Plan
  • English
  • Science
  • Teacher's Pet(tish)
  • Terse Nurse
  • Cafeteria Siberia
  • The Library Area
  • Parents Night
  • Chorus
  • Odd Man Out
  • Substitute
  • The Cure
  • Homework
  • Show and Scold
  • Auditorium Uproarium

Those Damn Kindles!

They break and break and break. Sure, sure, Amazon sends a replacement (new or refurbished; same model) quickly, even next day.

No jubilation here.

First, the phone call is forty minutes, then you have to 1) repackage faulty product; 2) take it to the post office; 3) register new Kindle; and 4) re-load the quantities of mss Amazon cannot transfer, Kindle-to-Kindle for you— and you have to re-pay fees for the file conversions, too.

We are on to Amazon's game.

Amazon's customer service is better than most company's. So look at it this way: Amazon calculated it is cheaper to replace a Kindle than to make a better product. (Not very green.) We can hear the executive, clutching focus group test results, We'll give them luxury personal service; we will even get props for appearing to be a responsible/caring corporation.

The truth: Amazon saves money and gets a gold star as a customer-minded corporation. Consumers, however, lose one or two days of reading and additionally lose the time needed to secure the replacement.

This is not advantageous to Amazon's Kindle users. It is, however, a clever cost-savings for Amazon.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

ing news•••EZRA JACK KEATS AWARD•••breaking

Ame Dyckman Wins!


Who got the EZRA JACK KEATS 2014 New Illustrator Award? Who got the honor awards?
click here for the fancy press release.

See that, TWO Award stickers? That's because Keith Campbell won an Ezra Jack Keats Iluustration Honor. TEA PARTY RULES is one decorated book! Order it! 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

From BAD SCHOOL, a collection

"Teacher's Pet(tish)"

When Suzy was plant monitor
She planned to get in good.
Teacher said, "Now, water well."
The girl misunderstood.
The fern turned dry as paper.
The ficus just went brown.
When Suzy stood for line leader
Teacher said, "Sit down!"

Monday, February 10, 2014

SCBWI's Mid-winter Meeting Ground

Attention: All yee bemoaning STNY's shuttered unsolicited chute 

We promised to be available when attending venues like SCBWI's Mid-winter Conference. We are not presenting this year and so will be hanging around. Now's your chance!


We are attending Friday night's V.I.P. party (look for the midnight blue velvet blazer) and shuffling about by the check-in tables Saturday. Find us! See what you've been missing!

We are open to meeting worthy attendees and discussing work, careers, contracts, whatever. If you do show us work, be prepared to hear the truth. We are constitutionally unable to talk otherwise. Not to worry. We are 100% on your side, aways; our premise, our belief is we are all friends, working to create books for kids and teens. We want to help improve your work. We want you to succeed. Talk to people who have met or know us, they can explain our style. It is a good deal more direct that the cagey comments often offered as critiques. But we like people and are friendly: don't worry.

STNY looks for original, focused, disciplined, talented (!) creators. We crave talent, like an addiction.

Friday, February 7, 2014

A Contest! A Game!


Are we wasting time keeping this blog?

Our posts are read by dozens and not hundreds, fair enough, but what is with the zero interaction? Never a question or comment? That sounds to us like Who Cares?

TWEET INBETWEEN will help determine our blog's future. Here is how to play.

EVERY SINGLE PERSON reading this now must write something Twitter length, not over140 characters, which includes spaces. Of course a story would be the most fun to read, but you decide. 

PRIZE!! We will judge these (and maybe offer individual comments!) and choose a winner who will get.... get ready for it...  a phone convo! Use it how you like, to pitch a ms or ask a thorny question in confidence or solicit career advice, whatever.

Now remember, this is a game for you but a test for us. Is STNY's bloggery worth continuing?

UPDATE 2-19-14 

Dozens and dozens of you read this and ONLY ONE entered the contest? People! We understand blogs are not places for interactivity. But 140 characters? Here we are, asking pre-published authors to show us their writing; and only one entry? HUH? Imagine this recalcitrance in the context of unsolicited mss. Imagine an agent asking to see your writing and then not sending it. That simply does not happen. So........

What's the prob?


Who likes our different look? No one?! 

Okay, we admit, we do not know templates— but we know everything else!  We enjoy keeping items light-weight, a passing record of the vicissitudes of publishing, publishers, editors, authors, books, and of course we love putting up our rhymes.

What do you want? Do you want info or stories or opinions or just booksbookbooks?

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


"Terse Nurse"

Her door decor a bright red cross;
Her name, Ms. Nurse: First Aid Boss.
The tidy station draws no mob,
Not since Ms. Nurse got the job.
Say you enter coughing, wheezing—
"Stop!" she snaps. "I take no teasing."
But it's true, I skinned both knees—
Her eyeballs roll around, "Puh-leez".
Don't try— oh, my—sneezing! sneezing!
Or Ms. Nurse gets worse displeasing.
Try a cough—
"Knock it off."
If you pout—
"Cut it out."
And don't let OUCH!
Be what you say.
She'll sigh "Good Night" then bark "Good Day!"

Monday, February 3, 2014

We heart Julie!

By the same illustrator?

Yes, the same illustrator

Sunday, February 2, 2014


People (most of them) think children's verse is Dr. Seuss, full stop. Pre-pub'd and pub'd authors would submit (when we took unsolicited submissions, namely always until a few months back) Dr. Seuss-style silly verses at a rate of, let's say, a dozen a week. Every week. All year long. We bet most of these writers do not know where they got their sense of rhythm and rhyme and do not know that they are mimicking. They may even think the singsongy galloping quality in their verse is simply the universal sound of kids' rhymes.

It is.

But do not try it.

Why? You will not best Dr. Seuss. And that is how we see these manuscripts, as ill-advised competition. Dr. Seuss was original and a grand mater. And he illustrated his books, so his vision of silliness exists as a thorough integration of word and pictures. His oeuvre is large, and Random House keeps his book line bright and fresh. One Dr. Seuss is plenty.

The second stanza of THE CAT IN THE HAT, the last two lines, display the ubiquitous quintessential Dr. Seuss sound

I sat there with Sally.
We sat there, we two.
And I said, "How I wish
We had something to do!"

The meter is ANAPAEST, two short or unaccented syllables followed by a long or stressed syllable. Anapaest makes a lively platform for humorous verse— LIMERICKS are written in Anapest—and its structure presents rhyme well.

An "adult poem" might be easier to hear. Listen to the anapest in Tennyson, whose poem nearly sings.

There has fallen a splendid tear
From the passion flower at the gate.
She is coming, my dove, my dear;
She is coming, my life my fate;
The red rose cries, "She is near, she is near;
And the white rose weeps, "She is late";
The larkspur listens, "I hear, I hear";
And the lilly whispers, "I wait."

We do not recommend writing in a single meter. You lose the textured sound and meaning possible when you mix in some IAMBIC (one un-stressed, then one stressed syllable) or a potent little SPONDEE (two stressed syllables: never is a Spondee). His rhythms, rhymes, and cadences make Dr. Seuss's verse compelling. The fact that he is copied unknowingly testifies to that.

Much more can said on this topic, but we will venture only this advice on word choice. Eschew tired words and tired rhymes! No excitement results from rhyming play with day or sun with fun. These are deadweight hackneyed rhymes: they suck energy from your verse and dull your readers' engagement.These couplings are too, too familiar: they do not emit f-u-n. Part of the work of a poet is to make fresh rhymes. Look at Jack Perlutsky and Shel Silverstein—both, just like Dr. Seuss, make up rhyme words all the time. The goal is lively rhymes.

Now, of course Rhyme is a bigger topic than this little lesson. And we are not experts, either, just perceptive, we hope, readers and writers who learn as we go.

Next time, maybe we will write about the trials of the COUPLET, to writer and reader.

Questions? Comments?

p.s. Think Reader is a slogan to tape to your keyboard.

from BAD SCHOOL, a collection


Johnny was in chorus,
Though for talent he had none.
When he practiced vocalizing
Friends would wince in unison.
And they whispered to each other
Can't the Chorus teacher hear?
To which the Spring Assembly
Answered sadly loud and clear.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Another BAD SCHOOL verse

"Lesson Plan"

Tommy went to summer camp
And caught a naughty habit.
Back in school when Tommy saw
Any toy he'd grab it.

Tommy's teacher knew to head off
Classroom wide d-i-s-a-s-t-e-r.
She taught Tommy's classmates to
Pull their toys back faster.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

What is High Concept?


Scholastic launched Comic Guy author TIMOTHY ROLAND's new series this month. Premise: a boy eats a radioactive banana and whenever he is over-excited he turns into a monkey. Voila: high concept! In MONKEY ME, the narration moves from prose to graphic storytelling when Clyde, the afflicted, turns monkey. MONKEY ME is part of Scholastic's new early reader program Branches.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Youth Wants to Know!

Is the ornery gender issue that compels using the plurals THEY and THEIR when referring to a single HE or SHE, is it solved? We notice women using SHE and men using HE. Is the problem neutralized?

We love reading watching Ask the Editor on Merriam Webster dot com. Listen to what the professional usage arbiters think. You have to click the tiny image below to make it readable. Twitter's usage sounds wrong to us.

Questions? Comments?

Dear Teen Me

Read the accumulated wisdom debut author Christopher Long delivers to his teen self. Check it out.

And buy HERO WORSHIP. See why we are interested in Chris.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Sharon Biggs Waller— Who?

with debut author Sharon Biggs Waller.

The 2014 ALA Awards!

Has it always been called Youth Media? We never use the phrase. Anyways, we say the awards look well balanced— and we are not adding for a change— this year. And look at all the non-fiction! Follow this link to see the ALA's choice of last year's most glorious books.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

from BAD SCHOOL, a collection

"Odd Man Out"

A ruckus at the kickball game 
Cut recess time in half.
It ended when the principal
Let loose a belly laugh.

The students had been battling
About the kickball score.
The principal said, “Children,
Shall I call an auditor?”

Astonishment understates
The look the students had,
As cautiously they lined to leave,
For plainly he’d gone mad.

*ditties on this blog are ST copyrights, if you are wondering....

Saturday, January 25, 2014

From the Department of It's Always Something

We are asked How can I follow this blog? Our answer: dunno. We still took action. We added a gadget to the panel of options, on the right. Hit the bottom button +1. You now are follower— either that or you just gave us a thumbs up. One or the other. No matter: STNY thanks you.

MONKEY ONO and Its Publisher

Here is a VerY FunnY book by J.C. Phillipps's— Julie. Viking inexplicably pub'd it oh, so quietly last year. (Why, Penguin, why?) Early sales reflected the inattention and it is struggling to catch up.

Now what?  

It's a race against time, that's what! Will the rate of sales pick up fast enough? Or will the Penguin bean counters show MONKEY ONO the indignation of a remainder sale? 

That only slightly overstates the dynamic at the big houses— the shrinking timeframe a book has  to prove itself. MONKEY ONO is Julie's third Viking picturebook,  (none remaindered!) and her best— so far, that is (just wait until April!)— and it is confounding sales do not reflect it.

Check out, MONKEY ONO's trailer. And buy the book! It's a keeper!

Take Note People!

We found Christopher Long in the slush pile! Of course, STNY no longer accepts slush but pre-pub'd authors take heart: discoveries happen.

We liked Chris's original view of hero-hood and his teen-like, contemporary regard for his renegade principles (they refuse to register their powers with authorities and must hide out in a shelter beneath a highway underpass and scrounge out a living). HERO WORSHIP required more revisions than we like. Chris had to learn how very high the bar is set; but he did and we got what we wanted. Several editors rejected the ms. (Darn anti anti-hero Editors!) Brian Farry at Flux saw what we see, Chris's promise for a sustainable career. That is what we look for. Chris's new manuscript suggests we picked right. Check back here when we are ready to make an announcement. In the meantime, read HERO WORSHIP. It is dang exciting. And fun!


Yikes! We may have tripped into a LinkedIn situation.

This week, we invited colleagues and cohorts to become connections (like FaceBook's friends) and also accepted several dozen longstanding invites.

Well, yikes! 

Either we goofed or LinkedIn went haywire— because acceptances are running 300% above invites. 


While it may be embarrassing to be supposed to have come calling, unbidden, with what must seem hat in hand— Honey! There's a literary agency at the door. Did you invite them? What should we do?— we are happy folks want to connect with STNY.

Welcome new connections! Even you wondering Literary agency? Are they staying for dinner?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

A whopping Discount!

The ebook edition of John's second and very, very good novel is on sale within Candlewick's E-Volt site for $2.99 or less! until Jan 31. You'd be a fool to miss this smart, contemporary, original YA with a fierce protagonist who cusses up a storm. And makes pals with an A-list Hollywood starlet.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Extra Clever Cinderella!

Extra clever Cinderella
Slips a heel and gets a fella.
My, my but those two step sisters—
Mad as hornets, both with blisters!

*this is copyrighted*


How we have longed to brag about our Ame Dyckman's TEA PARTY RULES (with pictures by K. G. Campbell), new from Viking. But our efforts to share the fab trailer were thwarted. You can see it on Ame's site. In the meantime, look at this good attention it is getting.

a Publisher's Weekly STAR!

a Kirkus STAR!

a Booklist STAR!

and is a Junior Library Guild selection. 

And TEA PARTY RULES sold in Hebrew, too— because bears in the backyard is a big problem there....

Vicky Darling is the rebellious, artistically talented daughter of a wealthy plumbing magnate, coming of age in Edwardian England at the height of the women’s suffrage movement.

Capitalizing on the Downton Abbey trend, Viking is publish our terrific historic novel by debut author Sharon Biggs Waller. Sharon's title comes from Queen Victoria's sour comments on the suffragette movement, which supplies the novel's backdrop and, increasingly throughout, its protagonist's concerns. 

A MAD, WICKED FOLLY is pub'g tomorrow. A whole lot of buzz is brewing (if buzz may be understood to brew). SLJ *starred* its review. USA Today is featuring the book today. Check it out now! Buy this book! 

Search This Blog