Posted by on Apr 28, 2016 in Colleen Rowan Kosinski, Julie Gribble, Justin Chanda, Kendra Marcus, KidLitTV, Rhyming Picture Book Award, Rhyming Picture Books, RhyPiBoMo, RPB Conference, Writing Event

Last December, as part of the Rhyming Picture Book Committee I traveled to New York for the Rhyming Picture Book Award and the RPB Conference. We spent four days in New York learning and getting excited about Rhyming Picture Books. Yup, I created the logo for the conference. 🙂

Meet the amazing committee:

Kristi Wright, Randi Sonenshine, Patricia Toht, Lori Degman, Zainab Kahn, Aimaa Haburjak, moi and our fearless leader, Angie Karcher. What an amazing group of talented and generous ladies!

First up was the Rhyming Picture Book Award ceremony that was hosted my the amazing Julie Gribble at the KitLit TV studio. Just look at everyone that shared the evening with us.

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This splendid photo was taken by Scott Wilson (Check out his incredible work at )

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The wonderful Penny Parker Klostermann won the “Best Picture Book Award” for 2015 for the picture book “There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight.”

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Here is a snapshot of her cake.

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Here are some of the older rhyming picture books that were in the running for the 2015 award. The evening was great fun and a huge success.

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Yup, that’s the KidLitTV backdrop. So neat to take in the event from these prime seats with my dear friend and critique partner, Colleen Rowan Kosinski (look for her debut picture book that she has both written and illustrated later this year.)

Dec 5, 2015 - NY Rhyming Picture Book Conference - Katya Szewczuk, Randi Sonenshine

I got to meet the most joyous person in the world, Katya Szewczuk. I wish more people in the world were as sweet and wise as this little turbo lady. Sending you a major hug Katya. Also, meet Randy Sonenshine. Having met in Georgia last Summer we became dear friends. Such a talented writer and person. Luv ya, lady!

The next day we listened to agents, editors and authors share their wisdom on crafting rhyming picture books.


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Next, Kendra Marcus talked about the importance of “story.” Even if you are writing a counting book, you need a story. The reader needs to be pulled in immediately and moved along with the story. No matter how well the rhyming elements of a book are written, you still need story and structure.

Lori Degman followed by critiquing several attendee submitted stories. She explained that your meter needs to read like prose. Once the reader trips over your writing they are immediately taken out of the story. My favorite line of the entire weekend was Lori’s admission that “she does not know anapest from Budapest.” She explained that rhyme comes naturally to her even if she does not always know the technical term for each technique and tool she uses.

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We then had the pleasure of listening to the two Rebecca’s talk about the rules of poetic techniques and lyrical language. Rebecca Davis, editor from Wordsong and Boyd’s Mills Press, and Rebecca Kai Dotlich, author of many books, advised to smooth the rhyme. They provided a huge list of do’s and don’t of tips that make rhyme successful.

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Karma Wilson (a most splendiferous lady) and Justin Chanda (yes, THE Justin Chanda from Simon & Schuster) spoke about the heart for the story. Just said that he usually suggest not to submit rhyme to him. The reason for this is that truly good rhyme is very difficult to write and he has seen too many bad, amateurishly writted rhyming books. He admitted that he actually loves rhyming books, provided that they are written well and follow the rules that make rhyme successful.

Karma captivated everyone with her reading of her book “Bear Snores On.” I believe she should teach classes on how to read picture books to an  audience. Make sure to make it to one of Karma’s appearances to experience one of her readings.

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Our weekend concluded on Sunday, at the Book of Wonder Bookstore, (18 W 18th St, New York, NY 10011, ) Faculty members Corey Rosen Schwartz, Lori Degman, Rebecca Kai Dotlich, Penny Parker Klostermann and Karma Wilson, read their books and talked a little about their creative process. What an inspiring bunch of ladies!

All in all the Rhyming Picture Book Weekend was a very inspiring and very motivating. It was a great pleasure to meet so many fellow writers and the faculty was tremendous. If you would like to listed to the conference, I believe the recording can still be purchased at the following link:

Happy creating to you.