Monday, June 2, 2014

More First Lines from Crystal Kite Finalists

By Susan J. Berger 

Congratulations to all the Crystal Kite Finalists. There are finalists in fifteen SCBWI districts. This post covers the Southwest and the Midwest. I have no first lines for three of these books, but it felt wrong leaving out any of the finalists. I used the SCBWI Blurb in place of first lines on those books. All links are to the SCBWI page. You can follow the page links to purchase sites.

Again . .

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. The annual Crystal Kite Award is a peer-given award to recognize great books from 15 SCBWI regional divisions around the world.

Southwest (Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Southern Idaho, Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico)

All Through My Town by Jean Reidy

Rising, waking.

Bread is baking.

School bus honks its horn

Backwards by Todd Mitchell

To anyone ever lived backwards, you are not alone.

Saturday November 15th

Bright red tulips. That’s the first thing I remember. Only they weren’t tulips. Their petals were drops of crimson, sinking into bathwater. It hit me that the drops must be coming from somewhere. Then I saw his wrists and I realized the red was blood.

Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle

This 2014 Caldecott Honor Book is a wordless story.
In this innovative wordless picture book with interactive flaps, Flora and her graceful flamingo friend explore the trials and joys of friendship through an elaborate synchronized dance. With a twist, a turn, and even a flop, these unlikely friends learn at last how to dance together in perfect harmony. Full of humor and heart, this stunning performance (and splashy ending!) will have readers clapping for more!

Openly Straight

 by Bill Konigsberg

If it were up to my dad, my entire life would be on video.

Anything I do, he grabs his phone. “Opal,” he’ll yell to my mother. “Rafe is eating cornflakes. We got to get this on film.”

A Summer of Sundays by Lindsay Eland
I like the middle of brownies and the center of a chocolate cookie. The gooey middle of a just-out-of-the-oven cinnamon roll is as close to heaven as you can get.
 But being the middle child is no gooey-cinnamon roll center, that’s for sure. And if someone tells you anything different, well,, he’s either a grown-up who wants to make cooked broccoli sound oh-so-delicious, or he’s a grown-up and he was an only child. And an only child has no idea of what it’s like to be third in line for the bathroom.
But I do.

Winner is Tea REX by Molly Idle

No preview available This blurb is from the SCBWI Bookstore.

Some tea parties are for grown-ups. Some are for girls. But this tea party is for a very special guest. And it is important to follow some rules . . . like providing comfortable chairs, and good conversation, and yummy food. But sometimes that is not enough for special guests, especially when their manners are more Cretaceous than gracious . . . Introducing Tea Rex, a guest that just about any child would love to have to tea!  

Midwest (Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio)

45 Pounds (More or Less) by Kelly Barson
I long for the roof to cave in at Keehn’s department store. For a bomb threat. Or even a simple power outage. Anything to stop the torture of swimsuit shopping with my mother.

Boom! Boom! Boom! by Jamie A. Swenson, Illustrated by David Walker
One stormy night I jumped into bed.
Safe with a book and my bear named Red.
Flash! Crash! Boom! Boom! Boom!

Carnivores by Aaron Reynolds, Illustrated by Dan Santat 

The Lion is known throughout the animal kingdom as the “King of Beasts.”
The Great White Shark is the most feared predator in the ocean.
And the Timberwolf’s howl strikes terror into the hearts of fuzzy woodland creatures everywhere.

But even SAVAGE CARNIVORES get their feelings hurt.

Doggone Feet! Written and Illustrated by Leslie Helakoski

No preview available This blurb is from the SCBWI Bookstore

A dog's point of view from under the table about life with a growing family.

Here is the Book trailer.

Penguin Cha-Cha Written and Illustrated by Kristi Valiant

Julia was wild about everything at the Romping Chomping Park and Zoo, especially the shows. Every weekend she shimmied up a tall tree and watched the performance.


Sophie's Squash by Pat Zietlow Miller
One bright fall day, Sophie chose a squash at the farmers' market.
Pat Zeitlow Miller kindly sent me the first line, but I'm leaving the SCBW Bookstore blurb in because I love the idea of this story and can't wait to read it.

Here's a story that celebrates the special love between a child and her favorite toy — only in this case it's a butternut squash! On a trip to the farmers' market with her parents, Sophie chooses a squash, but instead of letting her mom cook it, she names it Bernice. From then on, Sophie brings Bernice everywhere, despite her parents' gentle warnings that Bernice will begin to rot. As winter nears, Sophie does start to notice changes ... What's a girl to do when the squash she loves is in trouble?
This is Pat Zeitlow Miller's debut book.
Note: From Random House.The recipient of four starred reviews, an Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Honor, and a Charlotte Zolotow Honor, Sophie's Squash will be a fresh addition to any collection of seasonal books.
More first line posts to follow.

Happy Writing!

You Might be interested in First Lines from the Crystal Kite -California, Hawaii and the West


  1. Hi Sue, I always enjoy these "First Line" posts! Thanks for sharing. Have a great week!

  2. Wonderful, as always, Sue. These are such fun to read!

  3. Thanks Nancy and Penelope, I love finding these.


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