A Call for Feedback from Children's Author Jennifer Phillips

I've totally made up this month just for the fun of it. Thanks for taking a few minutes to rank these picture book story openings. Your fresh eyes input is invaluable as I keep revising! Leave your contact information if you'd like to be included in a prize drawing - your choice of a $25 Amazon card or a review/critique from me of one manuscript draft (up to 20 pages). It could be your own set of story openings. (I will not collect names for future communications.) I also posted a short journal entry on this topic here on my website if you're interested.

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I absolutely must have a cat. He will sleep in my room and help me study.

I wish Dad wasn’t so allergic.

That’s okay. I’m used to solving problems.

And my idea is brilliant.

(Art note: A tent pitched in the back yard, filled with supplies.)

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* 2. TOO MUCH!

Nellie saves Aunt Mimi’s birthday present for last. It’s sure to be something crafty.

With much ado, she tears into the box.

Yes! (art note: a knitting kit)

Her heart races. Her body trembles.


She feels that feeling creeping up again. The feeling she won’t be able to stop.

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My new bird is Jessica. We will be best friends. 

I get busy making her feel welcome.

I hang out by her cage to keep her company. But she ignores me. 

I dance funny dances and sing funny songs to keep her entertained. But Jessica just stares. 

I take pictures. I want everyone to see her pretty colors. Jessica hisses at the click click click.

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* 4. I CAN

My life is a gigantic list of things I can't do.

I hate it.

I want to read without someone helping me.

I want to play soccer. Real soccer.

I want to be a crossing guard. I can't because I have to leave school early for doctor appointments.

I try to stay in a good mood. It's hard.

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I like exploring Grandpa’s farm with my brothers.

Today, we stomp across the dirt fields in our winter boots. All is quiet, except for the crows.

Cawwww! Cawwww!

A scary sight surprises us.

The ground bubbles and shakes. Then the spot moves in circles, rippling and cracking the stiff dirt.

We watch, afraid to budge.

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Rock was supposed to break scissors. He didn't want to.

Scissors was supposed to cut paper. She didn't like that.

Paper was supposed to cover rock. He refused to make it happen.

Wherever they went, it was the same old game. Why couldn't people just let them be friends?

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On a pleasant May day in 1796, Horace Mann was born on a humble farm outside Boston. It was a time when good schooling was rare, especially for families with little money.

The odds were stacked against Horace catching his dreams.

And yet, he did. 

Years later, he fought for other children to have their chance to learn and make their lives better. Many people didn’t think he could succeed.

And yet, he did. 

Unshakable Horace was born ready to battle the odds.

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* 8. OPTIONAL - Contact information for prize drawing. Your choice of a $25 Amazon card or a review/critique from me of one manuscript draft or a bunch of story openings (up to 20 pages). (I will not collect names for future communications.)

Thank you! Contact me through my website with questions or suggestions.  And follow me on Facebook or Twitter to keep in the loop.
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