June 5, 2013

Would You Read It Wednesday #91 - The Backpack Secret (PB)


You will not believe this, but I almost missed the fact that Friday is National Donut Day!

I know!

Quel horreur!

Thank goodness I found out in time to celebrate!  (Where would I be without the helpful Dunkin' Donuts commercials on my car radio?)

In honor of the fact that Friday is National Donut Day (but today is our Something Chocolate day) let's have some delectable Boston Creme Chocolate donuts this morning.  As a kind of a warm-up for Friday :)


Yummyummyum!!!  'Sheverymnone mreadymmfor mwouldmyoureadit numnum?

Sorry!  I know it's rude to talk with your mouth full but I couldn't help myself :)  Is everyone ready for Would You Read It?

Today's pitch comes to us from Andrea, who was actually our very first pitcher for Would You Read It way back on July 27, 2011 with a MG pitch for Wild (Girl) Genius!  Isn't that amazing?  When she’s not working on her middle grade novels, Andrea is inescapably drawn to writing picture books, possibly because of all the wonderful ideas and questions she hears in her job as a Kindergarten teacher. She has written many stories and articles for educational publishers and blogs about writing over at That’s Another Story (www.andrea-mack.blogspot.com) and with her writing group the MiG Writers (www.migwriters.com). She recently joined Twitter (@ AndreaL_Mack) and would love to connect with other writers.

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: The Backpack Secret
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-7)
The Pitch: When Amani starts school and notices that one of her classmates won’t take off his backpack, she’s determined to find out why. After she finally convinces Mason to open up, Amani has an idea that will help the entire class feel better about coming to school.

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 Andrea 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.  There are openings in July so we're about ready for some new pitches!  Send yours in for great feedback from your peers and your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Andrea is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to another donut... or two :)

Ooh!!!  And I'm looking forward to something else too!  I am running a writing contest the first week of July (details and official announcement coming next week!) and boy oh boy is there a good prize for the winner!!!  I'm looking forward to sharing all the details with you! :)

Have a wonderful Wednesday! :)

Reactions:

76 comments:

  1. disqus_xkUvROpuwpJune 5, 2013 at 6:47 AM

    I would definitely read it but I guess I am wondering why everyone is nervous about coming to school. Is it a kinder class? First week jitters? If so, I'd mention that so that you can understand why the class would be nervous and it would tie into the plot. Great job, Andrea!

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  2. That is very intriguing, Angela. I would definitely read it. Just mention the grade. Great job, Angela!

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  3. This_Kid_Reviews_Books_ErikJune 5, 2013 at 7:21 AM

    I would read it, I just want a couple more details. Like, how old is Amani? What does a classmate not taking off a backpack have to do with convincing the class to come to school? Aren't they already in school?

    Thanks for the note Ms. Hill, about Friday! (YAY! You have my favorite donut!) Om-nom-nom MMMM... thith ith awth-thum Mith Hill! :D

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  4. disqus_bENDymTlMvJune 5, 2013 at 7:57 AM

    Intriguing! I would read it. I agree with Elaine, might be good to have a few more details about why kids are nervous about coming to school maybe because it's kindgergarten? Nice job Angela! Yummy donuts Susanna! :)

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  5. That pitch gave me an early morning "Awwww" moment. I would certainly read it. I would also like to know the age of the students but I suspect knowing that would add to my "Awwww!"

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  6. Happy (early) donut day! It was fun to see Andrea's pitch here. I've read the story and it's great. The only thing I would tweak is to start off saying that all the kids in class are nervous to come to school because...and then it makes Amani and the new kid the hero when they help everyone. But, I also wonder if that's the best hook because in the story Amani and the new kid overcome bullying and end up helping the class, which might be an even stronger pitch if you could mention that theme.

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  7. Julie Rowan-ZochJune 5, 2013 at 8:25 AM

    I want to know what's in the backpack! Hopefully not a plate of Boston Creme donuts to share - lol! But, yeah, the grade would fill us in to the kind of jitters we're to comprehend. I think the beginning could be tightened to give more room for details: Amani wonders why Mason won't take off his... And if this is Kindergarten, I doubt a KGer would use 'open up', maybe there is a bit of dialogue from the ms that would clue us in to the flavor of the story and age level. Good luck, Andrea!

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  8. delores @ thefeatherednestJune 5, 2013 at 8:35 AM

    Friday is donut day? You're kidding. EVERY day is donut day lol.

    I do believe I would read it....my curiosity is raging about what's in that backpack....and about the next great contest.

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  9. I'll skip the donuts, but not the pitch - am intrigued about that backpack! definitely would read it.

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  10. Rachel SchieffelbeinJune 5, 2013 at 8:43 AM

    I would read this. I love the mystery of why he won't take it off. I want to know! :) (My 6yo and 8yo sitting with me say they'd read it, too.) :)
    Thanks for telling me about Friday! We will definitely have to get some donuts. :)

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  11. The pitch is as intriguing as that plate of donuts. I don't know which to reach for first. :D

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  12. I would read it! I like this kind of true-to-life story. There are a lot of "anxious about starting school" stories, but not so many where the MC is confident and helps an anxious classmate, so I think that would make this book stand out.

    I thought the pitch worked pretty well. I wonder if you could add a little bit at the beginning that would show us that Amani and/or the other kids are anxious about school. As it is now, the ending comes as a bit of a surprise since it wasn't stated that being nervous about school was a problem.

    Also, you might want to make it specific and say "the kindergarteners" instead of "the entire class." That would gives us more of an idea as to the age level.

    I liked "open up" for the double entendre.

    The ending was good - I wish there was a punchier way to say "feel better about coming to school" but I can't think of anything at the moment. But I did like how you hinted at what might happen without giving away the whole story.

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  13. I'm so curious about the backpack...do the contents wiggle? Smell? Make a noise? A little hint would add fun if possible!

    Yay donuts!

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  14. pennyklostermannJune 5, 2013 at 10:19 AM

    I would read it. I am curious about what's in the backpack, too. You've had some excellent suggestions for improving your pitch. I have nothing else to offer. Sounds like a great story.

    Speaking of great...those donuts look devine!

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  15. Thanks for your helpful comments for Ms. Mack, Erik. And my goodness are we a bunch of mannerless heathens today, all stuffing our faces :)

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  16. Thanks for your thought-provoking questions for Andrea, Elaine!

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  17. Thanks for chiming in for Andrea, Catherine! :)




























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  18. Thanks for your comments for Andrea, Elaine! And help yourself to as many donuts as you like - they're calorie-free and I've got plenty :)

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  19. Thanks for your comments for Andrea, Angela! I confess, I had a similar reaction :)

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  20. Oh, wow! How helpful that you've read the story (and lucky you! :)) I'm sure Andrea will find your comments especially useful, Pam! Thanks so much for chiming in.


























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  21. I say reach for both simultaneously, Nancy - it may be rude to speak with your mouth full, but you can certainly read with it that way :)


























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  22. Thanks so much for your comments for Andrea, Rachel (and your 6yo and 8yo comments too! :)) Enjoy your donuts Friday :)

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  23. Thanks so much for pitching in your 2 cents for Andrea, Sue! And sorry if you're not a donut fan... I should have served some blueberries too :)

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  24. Ah, you are so right, Delores - a girl after my own heart :) But I guess donuts are supposed to get extra special attention on Friday :) Thanks for your comments for Andrea, and stay tuned about the contest :)


























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  25. Thanks so much for your comments for Andrea, Penny, and help yourself to the donuts - there are plenty MIK (More In Kitchen as my grandma used to say, as opposed to FHB - Family Hold Back :))

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  26. Thanks for your excellent suggestions for Andrea, Julie. And I hope there aren't donuts in the backpack too - it would be a crime to smush perfectly good donuts into a kid's backpack :)


























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  27. Thank you so much for your very helpful, thoughtful suggestions for Andrea, Carrie! I'm sure she will appreciate them! :)


























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  28. Thanks for your insightful comments for Andrea, Pam - very helpful :)



























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  29. Thanks so much for chiming in, Sidney :)

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  30. Great point, Cathy - thanks for chiming in. And help yourself to as many donuts as you like :)

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  31. Thanks for your comments for Andrea, Mike. And yes, it's good to be able to eat donuts whilst knowing you are performing your National Donut Day celebratory duty :) - really, a service to society :)


























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  32. I'm definitely curious about the backpack! :)
    So glad there are more donuts in the kitchen--I'm gonna want seconds!

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  33. Donuts! Yom. Am curious about the backpack but also why the kids don't feel good about going to school? Most 4-7 yr. olds love school unless it's the first day of school? If that's the case then being afraid would make sens. Revise that last sentence so to be crystal clear. I like the concept very much. and would definitely read it. Thanks for sharing, Andrea.

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  34. I was going to comment, but the brilliant Carrie pretty much covered it all! She is the pitch-whisperer.

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  35. Of course I would read it. I want to know what's in that backpack!

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  36. Yes, I would read it, it sounds like a great story :) Like others I think that last sentence needs a tweak - why are they worried about school? Other than that it sounds like fun.

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  37. Thanks for your thoughts for Andrea, Sian! :)



























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  38. I know! Me too! Thanks for chiming in, Rosi! :)



























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  39. She totally is! :) I think she should set up a business :)

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  40. Thank you so much for your thoughts for Andrea, Linda, and for being so complimentary about my donuts :) Have another :)


























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  41. FOr you, Coleen, I would always gladly go make more :)

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  42. Sure, I’d read it. Others had some great suggestions about beginning with the bullying (the main conflict) and adding tantalizing details. I’d love to know what “secret weapon” hides in the backpack—great cliffhanger.

    Thanks to everybody for their comments. I’m learning so much.

    And now I want donuts. Sigh.

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  43. Thanks for your thoughts for Andrea, Stacy, and glad if your finding the comments helpful. Everyone is so wonderful, aren't they? And these donuts are the guilt-free kind - you can have as many as you want. Although I know it's not quite the same as the real thing :) Have a raw carrot :)

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  44. yes, i would read it. my curiosity piqued by backpack, but thought it strange that the class didn't like coming to school...why?

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  45. It is intriguing! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts for Andrea, Belinda!

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  46. Donuts and a contest?! Are we the luckiest blog readers on the planet or what? ;) I've always wanted to try making Boston cream pie but never have for some reason; looking at those donuts make me want to again.


    I would read Andrea's pitch, for sure. She has really honed her pitching skills. It is practically flawless, IMO. Who doesn't love a secret after all? The only thing...and a minor one at that...that she might want to change is use a more exciting verb than "has" in the "has an idea" line.


    Some commenters mentioned wanting to know the age of the MCs, but I feel that knowing the targeted age range already lets me know or lets me guess. Plus, even those who aren't kindergarteners get first day (or first week!) jitters. I got them every year I went to school.

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  47. Wow! Thanks for all these great comments. It's so good to get different perspectives. I'm so grateful that you all have taken the time to share your thoughts.

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  48. Stina LindenblattJune 5, 2013 at 6:22 PM

    *stomach grumbles at sight of picture*


    I know Andrea from blogging, not that it influences my opinion on the pitch. Yes, I'd read it. Even though I don't write PBs, I've read a lot of them, and this idea seem fresh.

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  49. Thanks for your comment! Yes, it's a "starting kindergarten" story.

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  50. Rena Traxel BoudreauJune 5, 2013 at 6:30 PM

    SImilar to what's been said, I wasn't really sure how the backpack and the kids not wanting to come to school were related. But I was intrigued by what's in the backpack. What if you mention the reason why people don't want to come to school. So something like The kids were scared of school (I don't the reason so you could put that here instead) until Amani discovers a secret hidden in a classmates backpack. I love the name Amani.

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  51. Haha! I love when you talk with your mouth full!
    Yes, I am totally intrigued to read the story. Just WHAT is in that pack? I do agree that the mention of school not being enjoyable could be clarified . Otherwise, a great pitch- nice and succinct and hooks the reader.

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  52. Thanks so much for your helpful suggestions for Andrea, Rena! :)

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  53. Thanks for chiming in, Iza! Have another donut :)



























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  54. Thanks for sharing your unbid-by-knowing-Andrea-from-blogging thoughts Stina! You may have as many donuts as you like :)


























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  55. Yes, Teresa, donuts and a contest! It boggles the mind, doesn't it? I feel downright giddy :) Thanks so much for your comments for Andrea - very helpful!

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  56. Hi Stina! (waves)
    Thanks for your thoughts!

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  57. Chocolate-covered carrot? Ew.
    Cherry-sauced carrot? Gross.
    Nope. Gotta have the donut.

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  58. Ew! is right! Stick with the donuts :)

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  59. I'd read it!

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  60. Vivian KirkfieldJune 5, 2013 at 11:21 PM

    First of all, I'll take several of those luscious Boston Creme donuts...hurray for chocolate!!!


    On to the picture book stuff.:) Yes, I would definitely read The Backpack Secret (love the title!). Andrea, you really have me wanting to find out what is going to happen.


    I love the first sentence of the pitch. Not sure about the second...is this a class that is especially hesitant to come to school. Maybe: After persuading Mason to reveal his secret, Amani has an idea that will help the entire class. But either way, it is a GREAT pitch and an intriguing story idea.

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  61. Vivian KirkfieldJune 5, 2013 at 11:25 PM

    I totally agree!

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  62. Oh - someone else knew the FHB rule!! LOL

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  63. Oh yes, that's a good pitch! I'd read it.

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  64. Thanks so much for chiming in, Lauri! :)

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  65. You know about that, Cathy??? I always thought it was my Grandma's idea! :)

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  66. Thanks so much for your helpful thoughts for Andrea, Vivian! And help yourself to as many donuts as you like :)

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  67. It's probably NYC in origin - learned it from my Italian BFF who grew up just outside the city.

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  68. My grandma came from northern California :)

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  69. Whoo hooo! Those look scrumptious. I'm going out first thing tomorrow morning and buy me some!

    I love the first line of the pitch. The mystery intrigues me. Now, how about ... Convincing Mason to open up isn't the only problem. There's her class....

    Best of luck!

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  70. Thanks for your comments for Andrea, Sharron! And enjoy your donuts tomorrow morning! :)

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  71. Great pitch. I would read it! Well-written! :)

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  72. Thanks for your encouragement for Andrea, Pat! :)



























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  73. Thanks so much for chiming in for Andrea, Rachel! :)



























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  74. Wow! I'm overwhelmed by the kindness and thoughtfulness of everyone! Thank you so much for your feedback and suggestions!!! This is going to be so helpful for my revisions - not just for the pitch but for the story too.

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  75. Aren't they all lovely?! :) I'm glad it was helpful!




























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