Children's Books

I write Children's books as Susan J Berger

Mom, Is There A Santa Claus? Illustrated by K.C. Snider.
Like many parents, I shared the magic of Christmas with my children.But I knew the day would come when they might ask if it was true. And I wanted an answer that would allow them to enter the magic in a new way. My publisher and illustrator handed me a wonderful surprise with the final illustration in the book. It’s much better their way.

Jamie's Dream, written with my son, Christopher Corbin  when he was nine and published when he was twenty five.
Here's a link to the trailer beautifully done by Kim Chatel
Earthquake  Illustrated by Eugene Ruble

Trailer by my son, Jim Corbin

The Revised Second  edition of Earthquake came out in 2016. It includes an experiment for kids on understanding what the Richter Scale number mean by counting grains of rice.
Earthquake's Website has Emergency Supply lists, teaching activities and tips on how to prepare your home.
WWW.earthquake-book.com
Earthquake won HONORABLE MENTION n the Wild Card Category at the 2009 GREEN BOOK FESTIVAL www.greenbookfestival.com


Growing Up Dreams, illustrated by Samantha Bell

All of these are available from Guardian Angel Publishing as PDF's for your e reader for $5.00 

 Jamie's Dream

Earthquake

Growing Up Dreams 

Mom, Is There A Santa Claus?

 

Sigh. . . And Someday Log on Log will hit the market.

 

 My great American novel, Log on Log will be published by Beach Lane Books in the future. I'm not sure they have found an illustrator.
Here's a copy of the post I wrote on that for Pen and Ink in September, 2011


I just signed a contract with Beach Lane Books! 


“Hooray!” you say.  “How did this happen?”

I’m so glad you asked. 
Last year, after doing a number of posts on first line/paragraphs, I decided to bring an older picture book out of my file cabinet.  The Undertoads was a manuscript. that had the benefit of too much wonderful advice.   I’d rewritten it so many times that I’d lost impetus. After I read The Quiet Book and All the World, I thought perhaps there might be room for The Undertoads as a mood piece.  
I showed it to Pen and Ink.  They gave me more excellent advice.  Armed with three wonderful critiquers at my back, I polished the rhyme and rewrote it both as a story and as a mood piece.  I wanted to submit it to Allyn Johnston at Beach Lane Books. I composed my query letter and the Pen and Inker polished it.  Hilde is the final polisher on all things query.

Allyn rejected it. 

After the usual dialog Of course, it’s not any good.  Why do I think anyone would want to read what I write. I perked up and concentrated on the fact that it was a beautiful rejection letter. It was hand written AND it had stickers on it.

I decided I wanted to send Allyn a gift for sending me such a nice letter.  I decided to send her Log. 

Log is the only picture book I ever wrote and illustrated.  I didn’t think anyone would understand it without illustrations, so I drew one log, one hog, one frog, one bog and one dog. I scanned them into the computer and printed several copies of each and then moved them around on the dummy pages.  I scanned the final result into a PB manuscript.

Here’s the letter I wrote Allyn:

November 24, 2010
Dear Allyn,
In honor of the Holidays, I am submitting to you my version of the Great American Novel.
Log has everything: The Circle of Life, The American Dream, The eternal struggle of Sentient Beings vs Nature.
AND it can be read in ninety seconds. (I mean who has time to read these days.)
With  Joy
Susan J Berger

I sent it off without an SASE because it was a gift. I never expected to hear back.  I wanted to make her laugh.

Six days later I got a phone call.  “This is Allyn Johnston.  You didn’t send a SASE.”

I didn’t answer right away because I was pretty sure I was hallucinating.  Then I said something lame, like, “You have to give me a minute  to get my heart back to normal.”
She said I’d made her day.  She’d been sitting on the floor feeling crappy.  “I opened your envelope and saw the query and grumbled ‘I don’t want to read anyone’s Great American Novel.’”  Then she said she started reading and laughing. She read it to her son and he thought it was hysterical. 

Allyn didn’t like my illustrations and I couldn’t say, “I’m fine with that.” fast enough. Then Allyn said the magic words. “I think we can do business together.”

 As soon as she hung up, I keyed her name to the phone number.  I couldn’t wait to get to Hilde’s and show them my phone.  The amount of joy in that room could have been used to light Los Angeles.  I know we are all going to get published. It’s just a matter of when.

I email Allyn as she requested.  And…Nothing.  December…January….In February I mailed her a revised ending for Log.  I thought she might have changed her mind, so this time I sent an SASE.  Nothing….

On St Patrick’s Day, I got an email from Allyn:
Hello there, O Patient Susan!
 Many apologies for the delay in making things official with you for your very promising and funny picture-book text. We would indeed like to buy it.

What followed was the deal memo which amazed me in its completeness. (Theme Park rights were covered.)

Of course I said “Yes!” and added a request to come to La Jolla to sign it. I offered to bring Hilde’s cookies. 

And then….May…June…July…

August 4th.  The SCBWI conference started on the 5th.    Hilde and I planned to ambush Allyn with Hilde’s cookies before Allyn’s first breakout session.  (As soon as Hilde’s novel Wet Foot Dry Foot is revised to her agent’s satisfaction, it will be going to Allyn.  Allyn is the one who encouraged Hilde to write it after a manuscript consultation at the 2008 SCBWI.)  I decided to email Allyn before she left La Jolla.

Dear Allyn,
I'm looking forward to seeing you at the conference and hoping Andrea is coming too.  I'll be the one with the log on my shoulder at the Saturday night party.  Pen and Ink decided to come up with a Tshirt for the pajama party. I think you'll like it.
I guess I'm not supposed to pitch you again till after I sign the contract for Log, which is too bad cause i want to query you with War and Peace For Challenged Readers (alternate title: Cat and Rat) and The War of the Noses,  (alternate title: Monks and Skunk)
Blessings,
Susan

And she replied!
And I have the contract for you--haha! Will be e-mailing it for you to print, review, sign, and then return for you advance due on signing!

The ambush was successful, if you discount Allyn’s shock at being approached by two strangers with cookies.  When we saw her after her Sunday session, “What the heck is a Picture Book?” Allyn said that Marla Frazee saw the cookies and tasted one and said, “Where did you get these? They’re divine.”  Hilde’s promised to give Marla the recipe.
The contract arrived by email on August 19th. I printed out three copies and returned them by mail. I signed the I-9 form and faxed it back.  Any day now I will get a check for the first part of the advance.  I’m waiting for the editorial letter or email from Allyn so I can make the changes she requests. After that I will be eligible for the second part of the advance.

It’s hard to wait. I want everything to happen much faster. I want to know who the illustrator will be. I want to see the finished book. 

I also know that Allyn’s the conductor of this symphony called Log on Log and I’ve become a member of the orchestra. And, Ms. Johnston, I’m very happy to be under your baton.
 

 

2 comments :

  1. What a joyful, albeit long journey. Fun stuff with the cookie ambush. Big congrats on landing the contract!

    I have several picture book drafts (three published) and need to get back on them. Writing for kids is so much fun!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey Susan!
    When your book goes to print, let me know and I'll buy a copy and read it to my preschoolers:)
    Congratulations!
    Anne:)

    ReplyDelete

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