Posted by: Kathy Temean | November 22, 2013

Free Fall Friday – Kudos & Odds and Ends

chana head shotI had the pleasure of critiquing Chana Stiefel picture book, Daddy Depot at the June SCBWI Conference where she also met agent John Cusick during one of the pitch sessions. This week Chana sent me a nice note thanking me for the critique, advice, and how I helped her get one step closer to her dream of being published. She just signed the contract with John Cusick for him to represent her. There is already an offer on the table from a major publisher, so stay tuned for that fabulous news. It is great to see a success in progress. Congratulations Chana! John is a great agent.

Then yesterday I found out that Kim Pfennigwerth signed a contract with agent Liza Voges from Eden Street Agency after having a critique with kimpf150her at the New Jersey SCBWI Craft Day Weekend – another success for the NJ-SCBWI! Kim submitted a rollicking picture book manuscript that Liza loved and they talk during the weekend about other things Kim had written.

Then they hit it off over dinner on  Saturday evening and Kim really liked her. Sunday afternoon as Kim was getting ready to leave, Liza offered her representation. Kim says, “I couldn’t have asked for a more fairy tale weekend”.

I love hearing success stories in general, but it is even nicer when the person is a friend. Congratulations, Kim!

Jerry Spinelli’s STARGIRL HAS BEEN NOMINATED BY ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY AS ONE OF THE BEST YA NOVELS OF ALL TIME. A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guins ended up winning. It was published in 1968.



Daniel Nayeri will join Workman on December 18 as director of children’s publishing. He has been digital editorial director at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, prior to which he was an editor at Clarion. He comments: “I am thankful, of course, for this wonderful opportunity and honored to be following Raquel Jaramillo–in whose giant footsteps I could probably swim laps. In addition to upholding the award-winning and bestselling list already at Workman, I look forward to creating quirky and joyful nonfiction for children, game books, inventive board books, and books you can only describe as ‘objets d’art pour les enfants génial et terribles,’ art objects for great and terrible children.”

At the Crown Publishing Group, Chris Brand has been named art director, for Crown, Hogarth, Broadway, and corporate identity.

Author of the Junie B. Jones series and creator of over 50 books for young readers in all Barbara Park, 66, died on Friday following a lengthy battle with ovarian cancer. Random House says the Junie B. Jones series has sold 55 million copies in North America alone. With her husband she founded Sisters in Survival, a charity that supports women with ovarian cancer, and donations are invited to the organization in her honor. She once said: “There are those who believe that the value of a children’s book can be measured only in terms of the moral lessons it tries to impose or the perfect role models it offers. Personally, I happen to think that a book is of extraordinary value if it gives the reader nothing more than a smile or two. In fact, I happen to think that’s huge.”

A Call for Donations: KidLit for the Philippines: Michelle Cusolito over at Polliwog on Sarfari is putting together a KidLit auction to help raise money for the people in the Philippines and looking for donations. They will be made available in an on-line auction. (Bidders will leave their bids in the comments). Winning bidders will donate to one of two organizations: Mercy Corps or Unicef. I chose these two organizations because they allow donors to designate their contributions to specific relief efforts and they each are highly rated based on the percent of the money that goes directly to those in need (as opposed to going toward administrative or fundraising costs). Michelee will not handle the money.

All donations must be received by midnight EST Saturday, November 23rd via the online form. Only accepting donations from the KidLit writing/illustrating community.
Follow the twitter account @KidLitPhil  Use the hashtag #KidLitPhil

I am happy to announce that Erin Black is our Guest Critiquer for November. Erin is an assistant editor at Scholastic Press, where she’s edited the forthcoming Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott and Revenge of the Flower Girls by Jennifer Ziegler, as well as A Dog and His Girl Mysteries series by Jane B. Mason and Sarah Hines Stephens and The Haunted Museum series by Suzanne Weyn.

She’s looking for YA and middle grade novels with voices and characters with staying power, excellent world-building, and which ask interesting questions.

CALL FOR ILLUSTRATIONS: Please remember to send in your illustrations for November. It is a great way to get seen and keep your name out there to get noticed. Send them to Kathy(dot)temean(at) with November Illustrations in the subject area. Please submit .jpgs at least 500 pixels wide. If I didn’t use your illustration in October, I still have them and will keep an eye on a spot where I can use it. Of course, I will need a picture to use for Thanksgiving.


For writers who like using a picture prompt, you may use the above illustration by Randy Galegoes for inspiration. Randy was featured on illustrator on August 3rd 2013. Here is the link:

WRITERS: Sending in a First Page: Please attach your double spaced, 12 point font, 23 line first page to an e-mail and send it to kathy(dot)temean(at)gmail(dot)com. Also cut and paste it into the body of the e-mail.

Put “November First Page Critique” or “November First Page Picture Prompt Critique” in the subject line. Make sure you have your name on the submission, a title, and indicate the genre.

DEADLINE: November 24th

RESULTS POSTED: December 6th

Talk tomorrow,



  1. This is all such great news, but the one that truly touches my heart is Kim’s. She already knows how happy I am for her, and seeing her here with this more official announcement to “the world” really clinches it. So happy to see her dream beginning its journey 😀 😀 😀 oxox


  2. Congratulations to Kim and Chana! Looking forward to reading your PB’s in the near future.


  3. Reblogged this on Darlene Beck-Jacobson and commented:
    Here are some success stories from fellow NJSCBWI members.


  4. Congratulations Kim and Chana!


  5. Thank you everyone! Kathy for including my news and being so excited for me. Donna, you touched my heart – thank you for getting it here! Darlene – I just realized you reblogged this – thank you for your kindness. And Robin thank you for adding your congratulations! Our supportive chapter is amazing.


    • Kim, when good things happen, there’s a sort of chain reaction of happy explosions that naturally occur 😀 😀 😀


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