IWSG & 2013 Favorite Kidlit through YA

Hi, all, Sher here in freezing January. Even if Florida, it’s so cold that the water I dumped from pet dishes yesterday stayed frozen all day.  Needless to say, I brought the cats inside for the night. So what does all this have to do with writing? I’ll tell you as soon as I give my due to Alex J. Cavanaugh, grandmaster of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.

Thanks, Alex!

Back to the cold weather. Obviously, it’s perfect weather for writing. But I don’t have time or energy to write while in what seems like perpetual itinerant status, searching to find a new permanent home. It seems like life always gets in the way of writing. I don’t even have time to edit, so now I have writing and editing insecurities. Bad luck is supposed to come in threes, right? Well, the most recent house we were trying to buy is the third offer that went south, so to speak. That’s a Florida joke. There isn’t much farther south you can go without falling off the land. Anyway, the house didn’t have clear title, so instead of moving in before Christmas, we’re still stuck in a tiny rental. Bummer. We waited 30 days for the title defect to be cleared, but it hasn’t happened yet, and we can’t wait forever because of numerous reasons, including health problems and our schedules.

What now? Maybe trying to stay in Fort Walton Beach wasn’t such a good idea even though hubby’s commute time would be shorter here. We’re looking farther north, in Crestview–Crestucky, as some people call it. With any luck, we’ll get a house with a yard big enough to plant new fruit trees to replace the ones we’ve left at houses we sold over the years.

Wait. What does this have to do with writing? Well, think of writing as planting, and a published book as the fruit. Being in the military, I didn’t often enjoy the fruit of my own labors before it was time to move on. But a whole bunch of other people enjoyed the fruit from the trees I planted. I never stopped planting trees. On rare occasion, a tree bore fruit before we moved. Yummy apricots, apples, pears, peaches, and even a mulberry tree. And if I keep planting, someday, I will enjoy the full bounty myself.

So it is with writing, I hope. One day I’ll enjoy the fruits of my labors.

As for now, not having the time or energy to write isn’t all bad. In fact, I’ve been enjoying the fruits of other writers while in the passenger seat as hubby drives us to look at houses. Reading takes my mind off the stress. It’s as delicious to my mind and satisfying to my soul as a juicy Georgia peach. So I thought today would be a good time to share some of the most delectable books I read last year in the realm of children’s books. Kidlit is what I read most often because it’s what I blog about because it’s what I write. . .whenever I write.
The super cold weather also factored in to my choosing to share these books in case anyone wants to warm up with a good read. Better than chocolate to chase away the January blahs! Even better if you read with someone else and drink hot chocolate too. If you click on any of the books pictured in this post, a new tab will open the Amazon purchase page. Note that not all are available yet as ebooks, but that’s coming soon.

My Favorite Kidlit of 2013:

Picture books:

Almost anything by Julia Dweck. She has clever ideas and has gotten so good at metered rhyming that I rarely trip. Different illustrators make each book look fun and fresh. Here are a couple of my favorites from early and late last year, and you’ll find plenty of others on Julia Dweck’s Amazon Author Page.

Chapter books/Early Middle Grade:

Norm and Burny by Jay Hosler and Peggy Harrison:

Middle grade:

Seven Moon Circus by Randy Morrison


Upper Middle Grade:

The Jack Templar series. I read book one in 2012, but you can visit Jeff Gunhus’s Amazon Author Page for books one and three, the one I read most recently. In book three, you really start to realize the depth of Jeff’s writing. No wonder his books turn reluctant readers  into ravenous readers!



Daynight series by Megan Thomason. I read books one and two last year, and they both blew me away.

That’s all for me, the most impressive of what I read in 2013. I also asked for favorites via Google+ and received the following answers, minus my replies:


Holly Bryan

Dec 29, 2013

Personally, my favorite YA books were SPLINTERED by AG Howard and ALL OUR YESTERDAYS by Cristin Terrill. My son’s and my own favorite picture book read is probably UNICORN THINKS HE’S SO GREAT by Bob Shea 🙂 (but we’ve read TONS of books this year, so I know I’m leaving some out!).

J.J. Hartly

Dec 30, 2013

I’m partial to the classics and I’ve been reading a lot of Dr. Seuss lately … perhaps it’s the holidays and How The Grinch Stole Christmas? :-)

Lu Ann Worley

Dec 30, 2013

I enjoy all of Sherrill Cannon’s & Donalisa Helsley’s childen’s books. Linda Weaver Clarke just released a wonderful children’s book.

Jessica Haight

Dec 30, 2013

Hi Sher- Brightness Sailors by Gueh Yanting Claudine is a wonderful children’s book- here’s the link to our review: http://thesecretdmsfilesoffairdaymorrow.blogspot.com/2013/03/margos-musings-bright-light.html#comment-form

Happy New Year!

Jodi Desautels

Jan 6, 2014


Just saw this… “Clarinda Cloud,” “Clarinda Cloud Activity Book,” and “Johnny’s Adventure Makes Reading Fun”…by yours truly are good ones!  ;-

Now for some favorites offered by Facebook readers:

Disclosure: I now edit for Julia Dweck and Jeff Gunhus only because I loved their books from the first ones I read. Even though I have an Amazon store, I’ve never received a payment. It’s safe to say I won’t make anything if you buy a book here. Same goes for any book I edit. Bottom line, I only edit books if I like or love the story, and I don’t receive any royalty or any other form of continuing payment.

Before you go, I hope writers will tell me how you’ve been coping with your writing insecurities. Have you been reading too? And whether or not you’re not a writer, does reading help you escape your worries as much as it does me? Also, thanks for stopping by!

Share A Heart

Indie author-friendly freelance editor, children's book blogger for picture books through YA, kid lit, SF/fantasy lover with special fondness for middle grade, pun-loving SCBWI member, meter-maid for poetry and rhyming picture books.


  1. My insecurities right now all revolve around editing. I’ve sort of unofficially been taking a break as well. You’re right, it’s not all bad. Sometimes it’s good to have a little distance then come back with fresh eyes. I have been trying to read more to motivate myself. I like to read books that are similar or in the same genre as mine.

    (January IWSG Co-host)

  2. Sher, sorry to hear of your continuing problems with buying a new house. I can’t imagine how painful it must be to continue in a holding pattern like that.

    I took a break from writing over the holidays — assuming it can be called a break if I wasn’t getting all that much writing done “before” the holidays — and spent a lot of time reading. But now I’m all fired up and ready to plunge back into that manuscript. Good luck.

    • You know, I’d be happy as a clam to read and critique your next chapter, whichever book you send. Don’t wait for me to send mine though. It might be a while. But we did get the real estate cancellation form and letter ready to deliver tomorrow, and we put a contingent offer on the next house.

  3. Just keep believing you will enjoy that fruit!
    I was a military brat and we moved so often when I was young, I don’t think we even planted a tree.

    • Thanks, Alex! Yeah, some people get transferred every year. We almost always got to stay three. And when hubby taught ROTC at the U of U, we moved into a house in Bountiful with two apricot trees and an apple tree we enjoyed for 3 years. Too bad the people who bought the house from us cut two of the three down. Maybe I’ll plant a nut tree at the next house when I finish writing my middle grade book–because the book is nutty, ha-ha.

  4. I read before I fall asleep each night because it helps me relax after the stress of the day. It is total escapism, but I am glad to have it. I was glad to hear that reading has helped you with all you are battling. Good luck finding that new house so you can get back to putting words into your stories.
    Leanne ( http://readfaced.wordpress.com/ )

  5. Sorry to hear about your housing situation. I hope things ease up for you later in the year.
    I love reading as a way to wind down, not to mention that it’s a great way to refuel. They do say that good readers make good writers, after all. So enjoy your reading and consider that “homework” for your writing. =)

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