This has been a year of unusual challenges for all of us at 24 Carrot Writing. Three of us sent kids off to college in the fall. Two of us broke our wrists (we’re healing nicely, thank you). All of us are navigating multiple extended family health issues. We’ve seen employment changes, for ourselves and spouses, and have had unplanned travels, some fun and some - well - not.
It is normal, during such times of transition and adjustment, that we take a step back to reevaluate our writing- and career-goals. As a result of such self-assessment, Francine has decided to retire from 24 Carrot Writing in order to focus on her writing projects.
Francine, we are deeply grateful for the innovation, energy, momentum, and comradery you have contributed to 24 Carrot Writing. Your voice will be greatly missed. We want to wish you the very best for your writing future, and for doors that will open, because you are making space for them in your life. We cannot wait to spotlight your books on 24 Carrot Writing in the future.
Annie, Kelly and Amanda
Meetings, writing retreats, book launches, and laughter.
By Annie Cronin Romano
October is well under way with leaves of amber and crimson, cool, crisp evenings, apple cider, winding corn mazes, and, of course, Halloween! Whether it’s carving pumpkins or choosing what costume to wear trick or treating, most families have traditions they enjoy throughout the fall season. As you embrace Halloween preparations, don’t forget to visit your library or bookstore to snag a few Halloween and seasonal books, and add some new favorite reads to your October rituals. This list contains just a sampling of the entertaining spooky and autumn-themed kidlit books to be discovered. Included are both older classics and newer releases. Most I have read and enjoyed myself. A few were suggested by other avid readers. Pick one or all of them, and dive into these stories of pumpkins, scarecrows, and things that go “Boo!” in the night!
MR. PUMPKIN’S TEA PARTY by Erin Barker
ROOM ON THE BROOM by Julia Donaldson, Illustrated by Axel Scheffler
THE SCARECROW by Beth Ferry, Illustrated by the Fan Brothers
LOS GATOS BLACK ON HALLOWEEN! by Marisa Montes, Illustrated by Yuyi Morales
SAMURAI SCARECROW: A VERY NINJA HALLOWEEN by Rubin Pingk
OAK LEAF by John Sandford
BIG PUMPKIN by Erica Silverman, Illustrated by S.D. Schindler
THE LITTLE OLD LADY WHO WAS NOT AFRAID OF ANYTHING by Linda Williams, illustrated by Megan Lloyd
THE NIGHT GARDENER by Jonathan Auxier
THE JUMBIES by Tracey Baptiste
WATCH HOLLOW by Gregory Funaro
THE GRAVEYARD BOOK by Neil Gaiman
TOOK: A GHOST STORY by Mary Downing Hahn
SCARY STORIES FOR YOUNG FOXES by Christian McKay Heidicker
GHOST: THIRTEEN HAUNTING TALES TO TELL, a collection by Illustratus
And a few YOUNG ADULT…
MARY’S MONSTER: LOVE, MADNESS, AND HOW MARY SHELLEY CREATED FRANKENSTEIN by Lita Judge
MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN by Ransom Riggs
PUMPKIN HEADS: A GRAPHIC NOVEL by Rainbow Rowell, Illustrated by Faith Erin Hicks
Please share some of your favorite kidlit Halloween/fall season books in the comments.
And HAPPY HALLOWEEN!
By Kelly Carey
Every month, according to the 24 Carrot Writing philosophy, I dutifully set both writing goals and craft goals. Every month I hit most but not all of my goals. That’s okay! We have warned against using goals as weapons. Goals are there for motivation.
When I miss a goal, I push it over to the next month. Sound strategy right? I thought so, until I took a look back over the past few months and realized that the same goal kept getting pushed. Why?
The truth is a bit embarrassing.
I’m avoiding the hard goal.
Yup. That’s what I’m doing. I’m feeling proud and organized when I sit down to work, but as a scan through my monthly goals, I’m picking off the easy targets and leaving the more challenging tasks to languish and carry over from month to month.
The goals that keep getting moved to another month are ones I’m most unsure of – much like I put off doing house chores I don’t like. Laundry or vacuuming? I’ll choose laundry every time. You’ll always have clean socks to wear in my house, as long as you don’t wear them shoe-less on my very dirty floors! I was applying this same dodge and avoid technique to my 24 Carrot Writing goals.
This has to stop!
I can’t keep clicking off the easy tasks on my goal list. Every month I set a goal to read mentor texts. I love that task and so every month without fail (and sometimes surpassing my objective), I was able to put a nice thick check mark next to that goal. But the monthly intention to draft a new picture book? Pushed! But I’m a writer? I love writing! Writing should come before reading mentor texts! But the blank page, the self-doubt, the internal critic all made reading a lovely book that you all have already written seem like a much nicer (aka easier) task.
Time to address this blatant goal slacking.
This month I’m picking one super writing goal and one super craft goal and I’m going to underline them – maybe star them – perhaps circle them with a gold pen – and I’m not going to attack anything else on my list until I have hit my super goals every month. I’m actually hoping that those easier, friendlier, can’t-wait-to-do-them goals, which will sit lower on my list, will act as extra motivation. I’ll want to get to those happy place goals, but I’ll have to tackle my super goal first (aka my do-not-pass-go, go-directly-to-them goals!).
I’m a little nervous, but I think it will make me more thoughtful when I make out my monthly goals and I’ll be leaning on my 24 Carrot Writing crew to keep me motivated. I bet I’ll feel fantastic when I hit those super goals and that will be worth tackling the hard stuff first!
Take a peek at your own goals. Set solid, measurable, and challenging goals. And make sure that you are not hiding behind the easy targets on your list like me! If you were, consider highlighting a super goal, a must do goal, and don’t let yourself avoid it.
And now I’m off to do some laundry – just kidding! I’m off to vacuum! Hard stuff first! I’ve got this!
To celebrate October, and to whip our writing efforts into a productive fourth quarter frenzy, you are cordially invited to
The 4th Annual 24 Carrot Writing
Trick or Book Treat Party
Join the Writing Trick or Book Treat Party by sharing your favorite writing trick or tip, or treating your fellow writers to a book recommendation. Share your writing tip, or a recent children’s book that you have
loved and/or used as a mentor text on our Facebook page
or in the comment section below.
When you share, we will enter you in our October 31 drawing for signed copies of children's literature. We are keeping some of our titles masked! But our book prizes include a signed copy of Padma Venkatraman’s The Bridge Home, Stephanie V.W. Lucianovic’s The End of Something Wonderful, Josh Funk’s It’s Not Hansel and Gretel, Kris Asselin’s Falling for Wonder Boy, and Brian Lies’ The Rough Patch!
You don’t need a costume, but you do need to be a part of our 24 Carrot Facebook group and you need to sign up for our email updates. If you haven't joined yet, what are you waiting for? You'll get an update every time we post a new blog or book pick! To join, just click the "Join Our Facebook Group” and fill out the “Get Email Updates” on the right.
Don't Miss Out on the Writing Trick or Book Treat Party!
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