From time to time, I will be posting outside my regular schedule, to alert you to special events and opportunities in a “Heads Up!” post. This is just such an …
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Heads Up! Picture Book Summit coming to a screen near you, October 2, 2021

Picture Book Summit Coming Your Way!

From time to time, I will be posting outside my regular schedule, to alert you to special events and opportunities in a “Heads Up!” post. This is just such an alert.

Picture Book Summit, an information-packed one-day online conference, filled to the brim with opportunity, learning, and fun, is coming to computer screens on OCTOBER 2, 2021 — just two weeks from today.

The conference, in its 7th year, is an amazing opportunity to hear from stars of the picture book world — authors, illustrators, agents and editors, all from the comfort of your own home. PB Summit was an online conference before online conferences were a “thing.”

Headliners this year are:

Yuyi Morales and Jon Klassen, superstars of the kidlit world.

Attendees will also enjoy instructional workshops from:

  • Editor/Educator Laura Backes: Rules Schmules: How to Break the Rules and Get Away with It
  • Authors Emma Walton Hamilton & Julie Hedlund: Pitch Perfect: Fine-Tuning the Voice in Your Pitch
  • Author Rob Sanders: Mind Mapping Your Way to Authentic Stories

Agent/Editor Panels will include:

  • Eileen Robinson, Executive Editor and Consultant to the Publisher, Reycraft Books
  • Helen H. Wu, Associate Publisher, Yeehoo Press
  • Naomi Krueger, Acquisitions Editor, Beaming Books
  • Adria Goetz, Martin Literary Management
  • Emily Forney, BookEnds Literary
  • Stefanie Molina, Ladderbird Literary Agency

I attended last year, had a wonderful time, was inspired, and learned so much. Although I’m not able to attend this year, I can assure you that it is worth every penny of the registration fee (and costs so much less than attending a conference in person, where you have to figure in travel costs and accommodation). You can also watch replays of all the sessions for three months after the conference — what in-person conference has that option?

It’s coming up SOON, so if you want to attend, you need to act even sooner. This year there are two options — you can either choose the option that gives you submission opportunities along with all the information in the conference itself, or choose to attend the conference without the submission opportunities. Either way, I can promise that you will have learned a lot, will have got to know new people, and will have had FUN, by the end of the day.

There’s also a delightful PJ party one night shortly before the conference, that gets you revved up for the day itself.

Want more information? Click on this link to learn everything you ever wanted to know about Picture Book Summit, and to register!


Welcome Back to “By Word of Beth”

Gopher crawling out of its burrow.
Photo by Raymond Stilborn.

*peeks out of my burrow* *looks around* *whispers ‘anybody here?’* *crawls out of the burrow and dusts off my fur*

As this gopher has surmised, it’s time to come out of the burrow and reboot my blog. Or maybe that should be rear-boot, as in boot in the rear to get me blogging again. *grin* I hope that in the coming year, I can bring you posts that you’ll find helpful, hopeful, encouraging, educational – or at least, perhaps amusing.

The first thing the gopher noticed is that it looks a bit different around here. I’ve done a revamp as well as a reboot, and I hope you’ll look around and see what the revamped By Word of Beth looks like. On the home page you’ll find an explanation of some of the new features, such as what is in the extra menu hidden behind the three-line “hamburger” icon in the top left corner.

Wander around. Explore. Make yourself at home. I’m glad you’re here.

In coming weeks, I plan to tell you about some excellent books I’ve read since last we met, some helpful writer’s resources I’ve discovered, some websites that have got me thinking, some inspiration I’ve experienced.

Until then, for those of you who are writers like me, and for those who aren’t, as well, I want to encourage you to live by the words of Sara Bareilles’ song BRAVE, and

“Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out…”


*click the word BRAVE to see the video of this wonderful song.


From the Desk of Zoe Washington (MG)

Ahhhh — that was time well spent on this dreary late-October day. How did I spend it, you ask? Reading. Voraciously. As if the book were a scrumptious cupcake I couldn’t wait to devour.

Cupcake? Yes. If you read FROM THE DESK OF ZOE WASHINGTON by Janae Marks, you’ll quickly learn that cupcakes are very important to Zoe. As is baking, and especially getting a chance to be a young baker on the Kid Bake Challenge on the Food Network.

But something is even more important than that. When she hears from her biological father, who has been in jail all her life, she finds herself wanting to know more about him. And more.

When she comes up against a double wall of her mother’s refusal to talk about Marcus and the suspicion that there’s something wrong about his conviction, she has to act.

How she does that is truly the icing on the cake.

I highly recommend reading FROM THE DESK OF ZOE WASHINGTON, published in 2020. You might want to have some cupcakes handy. (I am imagining some.)

Don’t just take my word for it. Here’s the Kirkus Review, and an interview with Janae Marks on Literary Rambles.

If you want to buy this book, I urge you to check with your local independent bookstore, or order online from any independent bookstore — like The Dot Central, connected to The Blue Bunny Books and Toys.


I AM ONE by Susan Verde, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds

The wonderful and creative Susan Verde and Peter H. Reynolds, who have brought us such books as The Museum, I Am Yoga, and I Am Peace, among others, have collaborated on another inspiring book — and I think this may be their best yet!

In the wake of the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, many people have been inspired to take action, but some, especially children, may be thinking, “I’m just one person. What can one person do?”

This book, about the simple actions one person can take that can build into great change, can help answer that question for us all.

Through Susan’s simple and inspiring text, and Peter’s heartfelt and down-to-earth art, we see just what one person can do — that “beautiful things begin with just One, and that “One by One, we can make a difference.”

This is a lovely, timely book. I highly recommend it. You can find it at your local independent bookstore, your library, or you could order an autographed copy from Peter’s bookstore, Blue Bunny Books & Toys.


KidLit Distancing Socials — THE place to be on Tuesday evenings

Since March 2020, when we all had to retreat to our homes and could no longer meet in person, the wonderful Laura Backes Bard and Jon Bard of the Children’s Book Insider have been hosting weekly online meetups for writers and illustrators called KidLit Distancing Socials. NOTE: As of summer 2021, they are now known simply as KidLit Socials.

Each week at 8 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, 5 p.m. Pacific, Laura and Jon host a Zoom mini-webinar featuring a different special kidlit guest, and it is completely FREE and open to anyone who wants to attend. You don’t even have to register ahead of time. Just find the link on the CBI website, or sign up to receive info and get the links sent to your email every week.

Past guests have included children’s poet, David Harrison; Bad Kitty creator Nick Bruel; Helen Wu, who talked about writing for the international market; Eileen Robinson, who has a publishing imprint geared toward books for boys; Josh Funk, who writes hilarious and delightful picture books; editor Emma D. Dryden of drydenbooks; Gabriela Periera, the creator of the DIY MFA; Julie Hedlund, founder of the 12×12 Picture Book Challenge; and many more.

Not only that, but each week, Laura gives updates on developments in the publishing industry, we celebrate fellow socialites’ successes, and we have FUN!

You can watch all the replays at THIS LINK, and you can also sign up to get notification of future KidLit Distancing Socials. These events are one of the highlights of my week, and I have learned so much.

Hope you’ll join us!