Wednesday, May 7, 2014

First Lines from Crystal Kite Finalists

by Susan J. Berger
Congratulations to all the Crystal Kite Finalists.
The Crystal Kite is a rather odd award in that there are no Categories. Therefore a picture book may be competing against a young adult novel.  From the SCBWI Website: The Annual Crystal Kite Award is a peer-given award to recognize great books from 15 SCBWI regional divisions around the world.
This post covers the finalists in California and Hawaii and the West.  I was surprised to find that many of these books were available both in hardback and in Kindle form. I will be covering all the districts in future first line posts.

California, Hawaii

Fill the page.
They tell my story.
I promise every word is true.
Some Days you just need pie.
The creeping realization that this was a pie day began at breakfast for Gregory Korenstein Jasperton As he made his way toward food, he could hear conversation in the dining room, and while his brain told him that meant it was a day to go straight to the breakfast drawer in the kitchen, his nose smelled bacon. The nose won.
The 14 Fibs of Gregory K. by Greg Pincus
 (This one's on my Must Read list.)
Chapter one
Things (that seemed to have nothing to do with me, but did, and) that changed my life:
My destiny was decided in a second hand bookstore the day before I was born when my mother, Isabella found a book of proms. She’d been searching for a name for me, something that would set my life’s direction. She was a free spirit and poet herself, having sold a few poems to Hallmark that got made into cards. The saleslady suggested Juliet from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet,  but my mother said absolutely not; did she want me to end up a star crossed lover who dies too young, for heaven’s sake?
Destiny, Rewritten by Kathryn Fitzmaurice

Russia, 1910
On the eve my beloved Ryczar was born, under a bright full moon, the north wind whistled and howled. Like a forest spirit gone mad with merriment, it ripped through the Woronzova Kennel and sprawling grounds of Count Vorontsov’s grand country estate. All night long, icy flakes of windswept snow drummed against the stable windows until the last pup was born at dawn.
Lara's Gift by Annemarie O'Brien

Winner California Hawaii Division

Whenever the wind lifted off the river, and sent the trees to dancing, I itched to fly a kite.
I’d race to the great Niagara, plumes of mist rising from plunging waters, wind licking at my face.
 A boy like me knew, just knew which day would be perfect for flying kites.
The Kite That Bridged Two Nations by Alexis O'Neil, Illustrated by Terry Widener
I bought The Kite That Bridged Two Nations at the 2013 SCBWI Summer Conference and loved it.

West (Washington, Northern Idaho, Oregon, Alaska, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota)

June 3, 1947
“I know you will make us proud, Tariq” Master Ahmed calls to me as I step onto the dusty sidewalk outside the school gates.
                I lift my palm to my face, fingertips to my forehead, bow, “Khuda hafiz.”
                “And may He guard you as well,” Master Ahmed replies. “Give my best to your parents.”
A Moment Comes by Jennifer Bradbury
I was unable to find the first page of Bedtime in The Meadow. Here is the Goodreads Description:
It's time for the animals in the meadow to find their way back home to sleep. Butterfly rests on a cattail, dragonflies settle on leaves, and bees gather in their hive. Families of foxes, ducks, and rabbits cuddle close for slumber. The soft padded covers, rounded corners and sturdy board pages make this title a perfect fit for preschoolers!
Bedtime In The Meadow by Stephanie Shaw
1 A year the devil designed.
Portland Oregon –October 16, 1918
I stepped inside the railroad car, and three dozen pairs of eyes peered my way. Gauze masks concealed the passengers’ mouths and noses. The train smelled of my own mask’s cotton, boiling onions, and a whiff of something clammy and sour I took to be fear.
                Keep moving, I told myself.
In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters
Inside the museum of truly old things, past the food court, the woolly mammoths, and the wheel exhibit, the last Dinosaur Tooth Fairy polishes her collection of fangs.
(I love this line! I must have this book!)
The Dinosaur Tooth Fairy by Martha Brockenbrough, Illustrated by Israel Sanchez




Winner West Division

Does a feather remember it was once a bird?
Does a book remember it was once a word?
Once Upon A Memory by Nina Laden, Illustrated by Renata Liwska
Any favorites? Did you find any Must reads? Write on!


  1. My to-read pile just keeps growing and growing and growing. Thanks for highlighting these.

    1. Mine too, Margo. Thanks for commenting.

  2. I'm with Margo - thanks for some more great reads and must own! The lists do keep growing!

    1. I may never finish mine, but I keep hoping

  3. In the Shadow of Blackbirds sounds scary. I like it.
    Mr. Sneeze

    1. It's definitely your kind of book, Mr. Sneeze

  4. Thanks for sharing these beginnings, Susan. And I agree that it is a bit odd to have novels competing with picture books for this award.

  5. (Okay, this is the second time I'm typing this comment--hope it doesn't mean it will appear twice.)
    Thanks for sharing these, Susan. And I agree--it IS a bit odd to have picture books competing with novels for this award.

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed them, Carmela. I will do first line pats until I make it through all the finalists.


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