May 2011


May is a special month for The New Jersey Children’s Writer’s Guild. This month marks the third year that we have enjoyed working together as a community of writers dedicated to promoting excellence in children’s literature.

We celebrated this anniversary at our last Bridgewater Critique Group meeting with a delicious cake baked by NJCWG member Kathi Kurz (a wonderful writer, friend, and baker!), and were joined in our celebration by our regular members, some old friends of the Guild, and new. Author/illustrator Jennifer Troulis presented us with a wonderful mixed media colláge painting that we will use for future promotional events, and nationally acclaimed poet Joseph (Joe) Heithaus (brother of Guild member Barbara Lorenzo) read to us from his upcoming book Poison Sonnets. Joe also composed a poem commemorating the artwork presented that night to the Guild, which is a lovely tribute to the creative process inspired by Jen’s artwork. That words and images came together that night was a lovely reminder of picture books–the heart and soul of children’s literature.

Thanks to all our members and guests that evening for helping to make our third anniversary celebration memorable. Jack and I look forward to the next year of growth for NJCWG and the many possibilities that lie ahead for our special community of writers.

With warmest regards,

Sheila and Jack Wright
NJCWG Cofounders

Reading on the Edge of the Moon

Out of the gray she came,
then out of the blue
like a shape from a book
of shapes, like a pair
of scissors cutting
a young girl’s hair,
a young girl like a puzzle
come from the fairies,
a child formed
out of a dragon’s breath,
formed from her own breath
reading words, whispering stories.
Soon the girl was reading,
soon the book opened
and now she was swept away
by the witch’s broom,
she slipped into the sky
like a rocket, soon her brother
was there, soon the dog,
soon the cat, all of them
reading, reading, reading.

Joe Heithaus

The NJSCBWI conference is happening next weekend, June 3rd through June 5th, and their auction to raise scholarship funds for members will be run on ebay–you do not need to attend the conference to bid on some very tempting offerings. Go to Kathy Temean’s site to get a preview (and bookmark it while you’re at it!).

Join us at the Pop-Up Gallery, 15 Division Street, Somerville, NJ, Saturday, May 21, between 12 and 1:30 pm, for fun activities for the young and young at heart to include: hands-on activities/crafts, story-making, reading circles, author signings, prizes and MORE! (signings feature authors of middle-grade to young-adult books)

(poster artwork contributed by Jennifer Troulis)

We hope to see you there, rain or shine!

Vasilisa the Beautiful
- Ivan Bilibin

The New Jersey Children’s Writer’s Guild is inviting submissions from NJCWG members for a contemplated compilation of retold folktales that will be published by our organization. We are looking for stories that come from diverse countries and ethnic backgrounds.

If you are interested in this project, we ask that you submit your retold folktale(s) no later than September’s meeting.

The Guild’s goal with this project is to showcase the talents of our members by creating a beautiful book that children (and adults) can enjoy and treasure, and to make a significant contribution to quality in children’s literature.

Our NJCWG Editorial Board will evaluate all submissions, and please be advised that submission does not guarantee acceptance.

Printing costs, etc., will be shared by the selected authors, and NJCWG will NOT participate in individual author book royalties. This is not a profit-making venture for NJCWG, but rather an opportunity for deserving members to have their work published and recognized. Further details will be shared with members as the project moves forward and the number of participants is determined.

Kathi Kurz (Editorial Board Secretary) will be the point person for submissions. If you have an idea for a retold folktale, please reach out to her with your idea. She is keeping a register of stories already reserved in order to avoid two authors working on the same story. Her email address is:

I look forward to working with all interested NJCWG members on this exciting publishing project to produce a work that we can all be proud of.

~ Sheila Wright

Member Danielle Ray wants to remind members that submissions are open for the Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories Contest

From the site:

Cheerios® New Author Contest
Cheerios is searching for the next great children’s book author. It could be you!

Just enter your original children’s book story by July 15, 2011. See contest rules below.

Meet Ron Rauss. His story, Can I Just Take a Nap?, won the Grand prize in the 2010 Cheerios® New Author Contest. He won $5,000 from Cheerios®, and will have his book published by Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing.

Quoted from a newsletter, by way of member Kathi Kurz (Thanks Kathi!) …

A note about three upcoming contests of potential interest in June:

  • Dream Horse Press National Poetry Chapbook Prize has a June 30 deadline. This contest is offered for a chapbook manuscript of 20-28 pages. The prize is $500 and publication of the chapbook.
  • Drue Heinz Literature Prize also has a June 30 deadline. This prize is offered annually to writers who have published a book-length collection of fiction or a minimum of 3 short stories or novellas in commercial magazines or literary journals of national distribution. Prize is $15,000.
  • Deane Wagner Poetry Contest has a June 15 deadline. This prize is offered for exceptional individual poems. Prize is $100 or 40% of money received from submissions (whichever is greater).

Just a quick reminder: Accounts of site subscribers who are also guild members have been upgraded to contributor status.  This privilege allows members to compose and submit content directly, such as details of events, contest announcements, articles, etc.  When you log in and click on “My Profile,” you should find several new menu options available (e.g., write, manage) that can be used to create and modify posts.

Members who feel comfortable using the WordPress blogging interface should feel free to request a further account upgrade to “Author” status, which allows contributors to immediately publish their own posts to the front page.

“[Children] write simply and naturally, and without straining for effect. They tell all they know, and then stop.”
— Mark Twain