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#FirstDraftFriday with Jocelyn Watkinson

#FirstDraftFriday 2022 is drawing to a close, but we've got one more day—today—to chat with a great author and learn from their success! And of course, we'll keep things going in 2023 too...more on that to come so stay tuned. But first, let's welcome author Jocelyn Watkinson, who's here to share how her fun, fractured fairytale set in the Great White North came to be! Jocelyn Watkinson’s debut picture book, THE THREE CANADIAN PIGS: A HOCKEY STORY, illustrated by Marcus Cutler

#FirstDraftFriday with Stephanie Wildman

It's the second-to-last #FirstDraftFriday of 2022 (Can you believe it?), and we've got author Stephanie Wildman here to talk about her new book...which actually didn't start out as a picture book at all! Read on to be inspired by her story. Stephanie Wildman’s new book, TREASURE HUNT, illustrated by Estefania Razo, released just a few days ago from Lawley Publishing. She is also the author of BRAVE IN THE WATER, illustrated by Jenni Feidler-Aguilar. To learn more about Stepha

#FirstDraftFriday with Matt Forrest Esenwine

Author Matt Forrest Esenwine is here this #FirstDraftFriday with "Pro Tips" on drafting picture books and with a new book, which coincidentally offers "Pro Tips" on being human! Matt’s new picture book, A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO BEING HUMAN, illustrated by André Ceolin, will be out later this month from Beaming Books. Matt is the author of several other picture books and his poetry has been featured in a variety of anthologies. To learn more about Matt or order his books, visit:

#FirstDraftFriday with CK Malone

Author CK Malone is today's #FirstDraftFriday guest, and they have—as Jane Yolen would say—put "heart on page" with their debut picture book. Check out how their story came to be and get inspired...then get writing yourself! CK is generously offering a manuscript critique as a prize for someone who completes a draft today! Details at the end of this post. CK Malone’s debut picture book, A COSTUME FOR CHARLY, illustrated by Alejandra Barajas, will be out in just 4 days (on Sep

#FirstDraftFriday with Shirin Shamsi

Shirin Shamsi is here this #FirstDraftFriday to share how her forthcoming picture book, THE MOON FRM DEHRADUN: A STORY OF PARTITION, came to be. Read below, then get writing about something that inspires you. Shirin is generously offering a manuscript critique as a prize for someone who completes a draft today! Details at the end of this post. Shirin Shamsi’s picture book, THE MOON FROM DEHRADUN, illustrated by Tarun Lak, will be out early next month from Atheneum Books for Y

#FirstDraftFriday with Rebecca Gardyn Levington

Rhymer extraordinaire Rebecca Gardyn Levington is here this #FirstDraftFriday to share about her debut picture book and how she "plays" rather than "drafts." Read below, then play with some words yourself! I can't be online today, but guest host Margaret Aitken is filing in on Twitter to cheer you on. You've got this! Rebecca is generously offering a manuscript critique as a prize for someone who completes a draft today! Details at the end of this post. Rebecca Gardyn Levingt

#FirstDraftFriday with Stephen Briseño

Debut picture book author Stephen Briseño is today's #FirstDraftFriday guest, and he has an amazing story to share that just proves you never know where inspiration will come from! Check it out, get motivated, and then get writing yourself! Stephen is generously offering a manuscript critique as a prize for someone who completes a draft today! Details at the end of this post. Stephen Briseño’s debut picture book, THE NOTEBOOK KEEPER: A STORY OF KINDNESS FROM THE BORDER, illus

#FirstDraftFriday with Debbie Zapata

It's #FirstDraftFriday!! We've got guest author Debbie Zapata here to dish on her just-released debut picture book, UP AND ADAM, and to share her tips on getting those first drafts done! Read on, then get writing! Debbie is generously offering a manuscript critique as a prize for someone who completes a draft today! Details at the end of this post. Debbie’s debut picture book, UP AND ADAM, illustrated by Yong Ling Kang, just came out on May 3rd from Kids Can Press. To order,

#FirstDraftFriday with Chelsea Lin Wallace

It may be April Fools' Day but this is no joke...it's #FirstDraftFriday! Read on to be inspired by guest author Chelsea Lin Wallace, then use her tips and tricks to help yourself draft a new picture book today! Chelsea is generously offering a manuscript critique as a prize for someone who completes a draft today! Details at the end of this post. Chelsea Lin Wallace’s debut picture book, A HOME NAMED WALTER, illustrated by Ginnie Hsu, is due out this month from Feiwel & Frien

#FirstDraftFriday with Harshita Jerath

Woohoo, we're marching toward spring! And what better way to welcome the new season than with a new picture book draft during #FirstDraftFriday. Guest author Harshita Jerath is here to share her process and new book to get you ready to write! Harshita is generously offering a manuscript critique as a prize for someone who completes a draft today! Details at the end of this post. Harshita Jerath’s debut picture book, THE LEAPING LADDOO, illustrated by Kamala Nair, is out this

#FirstDraftFriday with June Smalls

Thanks for joining us for another #FirstDraftFriday! February's a short month so let's waste no time jumping into things with guest author June Smalls! June is generously offering a manuscript critique as a prize for someone who completes a draft today! Details at the end of this post. June Smalls’ picture book HE LEADS: MOUNTAIN GORILLA, THE GENTLE GIANT, illustrated by Yumi Shimokawara, will be out in March with Familius. It is the second title in the LEADS series, followin

#FirstDraftFriday with Jocelyn Rish

#FirstDraftFriday 2022 is here, and I'm so excited for another great year of inspiration and encouragement! We're kicking things off with guest author Jocelyn Rish and her hilarious-yet-fact-filled book, BATTLE OF THE BUTTS: THE SCIENCE BEHIND ANIMAL BEHINDS. Jocelyn is generously offering a manuscript critique as a prize for someone who completes a draft today! Details at the end of this post. BATTLE OF THE BUTTS, illustrated by David Creighton-Pester, released in November f

#FirstDraftFriday 2022

I was blown away by the response to #FirstDraftFriday in 2021, and I'm so excited to keep it going for 2022. It's been wonderful to see it help many of you write new picture book drafts and learn from published pros along the way via their interviews and, for a lucky few of you, critiques! I'm beyond grateful to all the people who've said yes to being guest authors for #FirstDraftFriday! Including the amazing authors who will be joining us for 2022! (More on them below!) So m

#FirstDraftFriday with Dane Liu

It's the last #FirstDraftFriday of 2021! Wrap the year up right by drafting a new picture today! Guest author Dane Liu is here to share the story of how her debut came to be and help you get writing! BONUS! Dane is generously offering a manuscript critique as a prize for someone who completes a draft today! Details at the end of this post. Dane Liu’s debut picture book, FRIENDS ARE FRIENDS, FOREVER, illustrated by Lynn Scurfield, will be out later this month from MacKids Book

#FirstDraftFriday with S. K. Wenger

Today's #FirstDraftFriday guest author is S. K. Wenger, whose debut picture book is hot off the presses and who is sure to get you inspired to do some writing of your own! BONUS! S. K. is generously offering a manuscript critique as a prize for someone who completes a draft today! Details at the end of this post. S. K. Wenger’s debut picture book, CHICKEN FRANK, DINOSAUR!, illustrated by Jojo Ensslin, came out last month from Albert Whitman & Co.! To order, visit: https://www

#FirstDraftFriday with Brian Gehrlein!

It's the first #FirstDraftFriday of fall, and we're in for a treat with guest author Brian Gehrlein! In his own signature style, he's sharing the nitty-gritty on how he wrote his debut picture book. You're sure to be inspired to write your own future best-seller today! PLUS...Brian is generously offering a manuscript critique as a prize for someone who completes a draft today! Details at the end of this post. Brian’s debut picture book, THE BOOK OF RULES, illustrated by Tom K

#FirstDraftFriday with James McGowan!

Woohoo, you made it to another #FirstDraftFriday! It's been hectic lately with school starting, summer ending, and so much happening in the world...but this is a chance to slow down a bit and CREATE! To get you inspired to do so, we have guest author James McGowan here to talk about how he wrote his debut picture book! And for one lucky winner, James is generously offering a picture book manuscript critique! You don't want to miss your chance at that!! Details on how to enter

#FirstDraftFriday - Make Today a New Draft Day!

Another #FirstDraftFriday...another chance to write your new favorite manuscript! Guest author Tracy C. Gold is here to inspire you with the tale of how her second book came to be! Then, it's your turn to draft a brand-spanking new picture book! You've got this! BONUS! Tracy is generously offering a manuscript critique as a prize for someone who completes a draft today! Details at the end of this post. Tracy is the author of EVERYONE’S SLEEPY BUT THE BABY, as well as the just

Summer's First #FirstDraftFriday

It's summer!!! A wonderful time to kick back, relax, and...WRITE! OK, so maybe the writing sometimes takes a backseat to fun in the sun. All the more reason to seize the day (that would be today) and knock out a new draft before the summer shenanigans shift into high gear. #FirstDraftFriday is here with guest author Adria Karlsson to help you do just that! BONUS! Adria is generously offering a manuscript critique as a prize for someone who completes a draft today! Details at

The #FirstDraftFriday Fun Continues...

It's been awesome to see so many people take part in #FirstDraftFriday thus far in 2021 and to host six wonderful guest authors who shared their insights and gave away critiques! Let's keep it going! Join us on the first Friday of each month to get a picture book first draft written and maybe win a prize! I'm excited to share the line up of guest authors for the second half of the year. I was thrilled when each of these wonderful creators said yes to being featured! I hope t