January 11, 2012

Would You Read It Wednesday - The 22nd Pitch

I love Wednesdays because they bring Would You Read It, and Would You Read It means chocolate for breakfast :)  (In case you're new here, Something Chocolate is the official snack for Would You Read It.  Pretty much anything qualifies - chocolate chip muffins, chocolate donuts, chocolate croissants, chocolate cereal, hot chocolate or, for the purists, just a good old-fashioned chocolate bar :))  Right now, I'm thinking brownies, although some would say they are not technically breakfast food.  Still, they do have eggs in them... :)

In case you missed it, yesterday was National Clean Off Your Desk Day.
(google images)
I didn't end up observing it... (see above)... which is why I'm still working at the kitchen table...  I have a small problem keeping my desk visible clean.  I think it has something to do with creative chaos...  That's the story I'm going with, anyway :)

But enough about chocolate and chaos!

Today's pitch comes to us from Jane, a 75 years young pastoral care worker from Ontario who taught for 28 years, 5 of them in Malaysia.  She has written 10 books, mainly for children, which you can see on her website.  She blogs at Life Story Writing and has written 15 life stories, some for Hospice patients.  Welcome, Jane!

And here is her pitch:

Working Title:  Nana, I Miss You
Age/Genre:  Picture Book
The Pitch:  Jamie, who wants to spend time with his nana, is upset because she becomes seriously ill.  But her thoughtful gift, when she finally goes into a hospice, reveals her love and gives him a new interest.


So what do you think?  Would You Read It?  YES, MAYBE or NO?

If your answer is YES, please feel free to tell us what you particularly liked and why the pitch piqued your interest.  If your answer is MAYBE or NO, please feel free to tell us what you think could be better in the spirit of helping Jane improve her pitch.  Helpful examples of possible alternate wordings are welcome.  (However, I must ask that comments be constructive and respectful.  I reserve the right not to publish comments that are mean because that is not what this is about.)

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on the Would You Read It tab in the bar above.  Pitches are currently queued through March 7, but there are lots of openings after that, so send your pitch for a chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Jane is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!

And don't forget to join us Friday for Perfect Picture Books and a special celebration!

Reactions:

47 comments:

  1. Why do I have a feeling I'll be crying while reading that book???? Great pitch.

    My son sneaks chocolate for breakfast. And he has enhanced senses that enable him to sniff it out whenever we hide it. :(

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  2. I think the book has potential to be very poignant. It's the sort of book that you would read to your child to help them understand if they have a grandparent going through a similar situation, or just to explain to them that sometimes bad/sad things do happen. Perhaps not a happy read, but maybe a necessary one?

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  3. YES. I'd really like to know what the gift is and what Jamie's new interest is. I would be very sad to read this book (I'm a weeper -- I shed anticipatory tears just from the pitch), but I think it could be a very comforting book for a child going through a similar situation. The pitch itself is tight in terms of the info included, but could perhaps be restructured a tad to help the pacing: "Jamie's upset because he can't spend time with his seriously ill nana. But the thoughtful gift she gives her grandson before she finally goes into a hospice reveals her love and sparks a new interest for Jamie."

    In other news, brownies are absolutely a breakfast food, and don't let anyone tell you differently. Also, since I'm in Italy, I don't get your posts until after lunch...so I'm digging right into the ice cream cake.

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  4. Personally I think I would "maybe" read it. It does sound like a tear jerker! I think the pitch could grab me more, give me a little more insight on the book which would leave me wanting more. I don't quite feel that intensity with this pitch. I am not sure on suggestions for mixing it up a bit since I have not read the story.... but maybe something about her sharing her passion with him as a way to connect them and for him to carry on a family tradition, again I am not sure since i have not read the story. I think this is a great start! Good job!

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  5. YES, I would read this, partly because of the pitch and partly because of the subject matter. The pitch sets just the right tone, giving a feel for the way the book is likely written, in a gentle, caring and lyrical manner. The last line gives me just enough information that I want to read the story to find out what gift Nana gives.

    As for the subject matter, after both my parents spent their last two years in nursing homes (separate nursing homes) this is a topic dear to my heart. Such circumstances can be very scary for children, and I'm glad someone is addressing it in what seems like a caring and sensitive way.

    I'm also pondering writing for nursing home patients, so will definitely check out Jane's blog! Thank you for the link!

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  6. Have you tried the freezer in a bag marked "turkey gizzards"? :)

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  7. I'm a maybe. Right now I think it sounds so sad. However, I will probably feel differently when my husband's grandparents or our parents get older and I am looking for a way to talk about it with my kids.
    Good luck!

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  8. Ah, a girl after my own heart! Perhaps I'll have icecream cake for lunch - dairy, calcium, protein... healthfood!

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  9. Beth and Rachel Mary, thanks for your comments. You are right; the book came out of the sadness of my grand daughter's Nana dying of cancer a few years back. I sort of digested some of Mayia's comments then and took ages to get ideas right. I also volunteer on oncology floors to do pastoral visits for Hospice so I have some idea of many situations where the need to talk with little ones comes about. I have had to talk with children

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  10. Jodi I was limited in 2 sentences but her passions were sharing about the beauty of the world with him. They went for walks and did puzzles together. I show that she still tried to do this but her energy level cut the walks short. She called him,'my best boy' and involved him in her life by watching insects with him and commenting on flowers.
    Her gift is related to that love of creation.Hope this helps. Thank you so much for your interest. I am a 75 year old grandmother and this is sad but hopeful as children are remarkably resilient and often because they are young, they can move on.

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  11. I would read it, because of a similar manuscript on my desktop.
    I typically don't do this, but I would write the second line something like this:When she goes into hospice, she reveals her love and gives him a new interest.
    I think you can lose some of the adjectives like "seriously"because hospice says this.
    While I'm making wild suggestions - first line:
    Jamie becomes upset when he can't spend time with his ill Nana.
    I'm going to check out your site.
    I think while death and serious illnesses often make adults nervous. Children want to visit their loved ones. My young niece was a frequent visitor when my late husband lived in a nursing home. Adults feared coming, but she never did.

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  12. Renee, how wonderful to live in Italy. Florence is one of my favourite cities! Thanks for the rewording. I may hint more at the gift later but it's to do with Jamie's interest in insects. When our Richard was four, he loved moths, beetles and butterflies and I considered this. Another hint we live in S.W. Ontario and can get to Niagara Falls in 5 hours.

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  13. Sarah and Stina, it does bring on tears for some The head of Hospice cried through it, she said but loved the end. This Nana is thoughtful ( I hope) and forward looking. The children draw pictures for her as Jamie has an older sister Emma( brought in just to show another reaction)
    The book is also written in honour of the work of Hospice of Windsor which now has a village of 3 houses to help patients and their familiesat this difficult time.

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  14. Thank you so much for the opportunity to share my book. I hope a local publisher will pick it up now. I know there is interest out there.
    I am a chocolate lover too so I'm trying not to buy it! Back to porridge today.

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  15. Yes. I want to know what the special gift is to see what special interest she sparked in him. Is it connected to something they've shared or talked about in the past? Is it completely new to him?

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  16. You are most welcome, Jane! I hope it's helpful.
    Good luck with the publisher!
    And maybe porridge with chocolate sprinkles... :)

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  17. Heather, Stacy, Rachel, Beth, Jodi, Renee, Sarah, and Stina - thank you all for your comments to Jane so far. All you readers are so wonderful about stepping up and helping out with the pitches!

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  18. Absolutely. I want to know what the gift was and the interest it sparked in her grandson.

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  19. YES, I would read this: the subject, the tone and wondering what the thoughtful gift is, all hook me in. I really like some of the rewording suggestions you have already had, jane, so I won't repeat them. Good luck with finding a publisher!

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  20. Yes, I WOULD read it! On a train, in the rain, in a tree, with a bee... etc. My son is not quite five (it doesn't hurt that his nickname is Jamie) and we don't live close to his grandparents, but he is devoted to them both. And because he is a later-in-life child for me and his dad, this is a subject we may indeed be facing at some point. It's lovely to have a frame of reference for the big topics, like end of life. Also, I am seriously wondering what the gift of the new interest will be... and I'd read on to find out. Very nice.

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  21. It promises to pull at heart strings but I'm not sure if a picture book age is the correct age for this type of story. It may be that the terminology is different in the UK but generally picture books are for 3 to 5 year olds. This topic has the potential to be written up into a story book thereby suiting a slightly older child and giving the writer more opportunity to tackle the issues and build up the relationships. Hope that helps. This author sounds like an amazing lady by the way :-)

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  22. Lots of nice comments here and I think it is very kind of you to respond! I give 'plus 1' to Stacy's editorial suggestions. I'd offer one also - title the story as "Nana's Gift' perhaps - since that seems to be a strong interest from these readers.
    I'm a weeper like Renee (don't ever make me watch a Hallmark commercial!) so I might not pick this up unless I specifically needed a book re: hospice care for a child. Fills an important role though, so do carry on!

    Susanna - is there a place at the breakfast table for Nutella here? I don't even think twice about adding that to my non-Wednesday breakfasts!!

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  23. YES - want to know what the gift is!!

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  24. I am definitely curious about the gift!

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  25. HA! Yeah, Hallmark is a killer. There was once a GM truck commercial that sent me running from the room in tears, too...

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  26. Yes I'd read it for sure. This is universal story. Thanks for the chocolate, afternoon snack though (how late am I?)

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  27. You are fashionably late which is the exact right amount and any time is a good time for chocolate :)

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  28. Do you know, I have never actually tasted Nutella! Clearly an oversight I will have to correct :)

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  29. Del, Joanna, Melissa, Rosalind, Cathy, Miranda, Coleen, and Catherine - thank you all so much for your helpful comments to Jane. You guys are all terrific :)

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  30. I think it sounds like a good story kids would need. But I would work on the pitch. You have nearly the same length with both sentences and the comma placing is nearly identical. "Jamie is excited about seeing her Nana until their usual fun time (maybe something more personal to them--knitting time--baking cookies time) gets cancelled when Nana gets very sick (think of word choice. Get the voice of your character here)." I'd also be more specific and look at voice in the last sentence.

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  31. This_Kid_Reviews_Books_ErikJanuary 11, 2012 at 5:00 PM

    Yes I would read it! I really want to know what Nana gives Jamie.

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  32. Yes! I think too often the relationship with grandparents develops too late and if there is a great gift coming from Nana that can last a lifetime.

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  33. I would definitely read it! I love family/life stories and believe young children need to be reassured that while they might be sad when "bad" things happen, ultimately, they'll be fine...and that good things can come out of seemingly sad events.

    I do, however, agree with some of the other comments that your pitch would benefit from specific details. What does Jamie love to do with his nana? Why is she special to him? Does he give anything back to her?

    Best of luck with your story, and thanks for sharing.

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  34. So good! Tastes like delicious frosting...

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  35. Theresa, Erik, Tracy and Dede - thanks so much for you comments for Jane! You are awesome :)

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  36. Sounds like a good book about aging and losing a loved one. I'd read it. But, the words "new interest" through me -- I think I expected perspective. I wanted to know a little more.

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  37. Yes, I would read it because
    You made me curious about the gift.
    It sounds like it would have a positive message for child readers/listeners.
    I imagine she is passing on something important to their relationship and fond memories help all of us get through the death of a loved one. Sometimes kids forget as time passes, but it sounds as if Nana has found an endearing way to pass on a part of her and give Jamie the gift of fond memories, too.

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  38. Yes, I would read it. I think it would be a special book for a certain situation, although I don't know if I'd pick it up until that situation arrived. I love the personal feel to it and the "special gift" intrigues me. Maybe one more sentence with more detail on the gift or the outcome may prompt me to pick it up earlier! :)

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  39. I am intrigued, but I would love maybe one or two more sentences that give me more information on the gift and the outcome. It has been my understanding that when an author "pitches" a story to an agent or editor they are not to sound like the jacket cover. I was told not to leave anything mysterious. So I would give a little more here.

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  40. Marcie, Abby, Penny and Pat - thank you so much for your thoughtful comments for Jane!

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  41. I wish I would've known about National Clean Off Your Desk Day sooner! This picture looks a lot like my husband's office. I agree with Rosalind that this may be more appropriate for older children. My boys have always called my mom "Nana," so it would have sentimental appeal for me. Best of luck Jane!

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  42. Yeah, well, I KNEW about it, but you'd never know it to look at my desk! :)

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  43. I found it difficult to reduce my ideas to 2 sentences. Jamie loves walks with his grandmother as he discovers new insects and the names of plants; he also enjoys her reading to him and doing puzzles. I realize I should perhaps have not said new interest- it was more a 'blossoming' of an old interest.

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  44. Thanks for your suggestions. I don't have a real bloggers site about books and my website does not have any thing about this book. I am 75 and technically challenges so I blog separately about life story writing and make some comments in another blog about books I've liked. This one came out of personal experience with Hospice. I believe children get over a death better if they are involved with the person who is sick. I will reveal the gift below.

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  45. Thank you to all you wonderful writers. Now about the gift received in a letter. Nana wrote each child a letter to read after they left the Hospice one day. Jamie was given a gift token for a butterfly garden. I bought one and then we had 5 caterpillars to watch their stages of life to butterflies. I gave it to my grand daughter who loved it.
    Jamie's sister Emma was given money for the family to visit the Butterfly Conservatory in Niagara Falls. We did not go there but we did visit one in Cambridge. I imagined that Jamie's interest in insects would be enlarged by this new experiment with the butterfly garden.

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  46. MAYBE. I would have to see the pictures and see how much text there was. A book of this type, for me, needs to be on the shorter side (less than 1,000 words) vs. the longer side. If my family were going through a somewhat similar situation, then I would definitely read it.

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