Last week, I took a vacation from BookEnds to relax, recharge and spend a little time with my own writing. As part of that week, I also made a couple of guest blog stops and I wanted to share them here as well.

For readers:

Over at Kate Narita’s 100 Book Trailers, the trailer for Chicken Wants a Nap was shared!

Kate said, “The colors in this book are absolutely gorgeous! Your kindergarten and first grade students will absolutely love it.” Included in the post is an activity and some printouts for your Kindergarten or first grade classroom. (You can also find activity suggestions on the Chicken Wants a Nap book page here.)

For picture book writers:

I stopped by Nathan Bransford’s blog to share “How picture books work (a very brief primer)”. From the post:

“…picture books are meant to show a child that they have their own power, or agency. The protagonist is a stand in for our child reader (be the protagonist an actual child or – say – a chicken) and that’s why it’s so important in your picture books to make sure that the protagonist solves their own problem instead of having another character do it for them.


And while not all picture books follow this pattern, a good structure to internalize while you’re writing your first picture books is the “try three times and fail” method. Your character is introduced with a problem, they try three times to get what they want using a logical progression, and on the fourth try they’ve put together all they’ve learned and solved the problem themselves.”

For writers and those interested in the industry:

On Justin Colón’s blog I talked about what I’m looking for as an agent, and a bit about what publishing can do to be more inclusive:

What are some ways you feel literary agents can increase diversity in publishing?

I would love to talk more about class when we talk about diversity and inclusion across agencies, publishers and who/what is published. The truth is we’re still very much an apprenticeship industry, and plenty of us had to intern for free for six months to a year before we could find our first paying job. So already that’s going to cut out a segment of the population that can’t afford to work unpaid – or whose parents can’t afford to be their safety net. Because once you get that first job, it still pays significantly less than a lot of other professions. Entry level in publishing tends to be in the low 20’s to low 30’s – and New York is one of the most expensive cities in the world.


I am happy to say that the tide is turning towards paid internships – and BookEnds now offers one too! But there’s still that barrier to stay, when wages are so low and rents are so high. I honestly don’t have a great solution to that, but I think it’s worth discussing.


The difference in class also plays into what’s in the submission box, too. There’s a clear advantage to being able to afford writer’s workshops, conferences, critiques, graduate programs, etc. And while there’s a number of fantastic initiatives out there, perfecting the craft of writing takes years. So I hope that sort of financial and mentorship support increases as we work to create more opportunities for those with the drive but without perhaps the financial means and/or the luxury of time.

Finally, I also shared an updated #mswl list on the BookEnds blog!

Chicken Wants a Nap by Tracy Marchini

"A surprising gem." -- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Chicken Wants a Nap is available at Amazon, Barnes & NobleTarget and your favorite independent bookstore!

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