Monday, December 6, 2021


I've started work on a new picture book that's been floating around my head for some time. I've heard authors talk about writing books where you can tap into your own emotions or things you are familiar with. Some of the strongest emotions I felt in recent years came from the death of family members, specifically my dad's. 

So, that's where I decided to start. My dad was an avid photographer and famous for taking us for rides or on walks to explore the sights around us. He was also passionate about his Lithuanian heritage and even more so after visiting relatives who still live there. I decided to combine all of these things into a picture book so I could draw on real places, events, and emotions. 

It began as a "dump" or "vomit" of places, words, scenes, memories. And the more I typed, the more the memories came flowing back to me. But I still didn't have a story. I had photography, heritage, and eventually a key word that I knew I wanted to incorporate. 

When starting any project, I begin my search for mentor texts. Other picture books about family memories, traditions, or a relationship between an older family member with a younger family member became my focus. 

The book WATERCRESS by Andrea Wang immediately came to mind. A moving autobiographical story about connecting with heritage and new watercress memories. 

 I also recalled FRY BREAD: A NATIVE AMERICAN FAMILY STORY by Kevin Noble. Told in verse, the story features family and friends gathering, creating, and enjoying fry bread together. In the end, it's really about keeping old traditions and memories alive as well as new ones. 

Since my story focused on my dad's photography it was easy to connect the theme of photographs with memories. I added our nature walks and drives, the county fair, a photography contest, grandchildren, and a Lithuanian word my dad told me his mother repeatedly told him growing up. It just so happened that word tied in beautifully to my story. 

At the same time, I came across Betsy Bird's interview about her new book LONG ROAD TO THE CIRCUS. I wasn't aware that the story was based on family stories and historical details. Basically, she described it as "weaving together your family stories with a story that you really enjoy writing". That struck a chord with me and I was encouraged to keep working on my story. 


Soon after I had a story with a beginning, middle, and a satisfying end.

Linda Bozzo has published more than 50 nonfiction books for the school and library markets. For more information about Linda and her books, or to book an author visit, you can visit her website. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram.

Copyright 2021 Linda Bozzo

Sunday, October 3, 2021

#FallWritingFrenzy Contest Entry: GOULISH GUESTS

 What better way to start October than with a Fall Frenzy Writing Contest!

We were given thirteen pictures to use as inspiration. I chose  #11, a group of children trick-or-treating and the challenge is to write no more than 200 words on whatever comes to mind for any KidLit age. This photo took me back to when my children were young and we enjoyed hours of trick-or-treating with friends and family across various neighborhoods not returning until well after dark. 


                                               (Halloween- Credit: Bing)


by Linda Bozzo

Whistling October winds rattle the shutters on the crooked mansion. 

Echoes of groans escape the cracked panes of glass.

The cast of characters creep up the dark winding driveway, pausing briefly at the craggy iron gate. C-R-E-A-K 

Leaves crunch under their feet as they float up the sidewalk. 

Skeleton leads the way, pointing his narrow beam of flickering light on this moonless night.

Spider scampers up the uneven steps leading to the front door. 

The others follow closely, desperate not to be left behind.

Dangling ghosts and the smell of rotted pumpkin greet the strangers. 

Before they can knock, the paint-peeled door moans and creaks open as if inviting the ghoulish guests inside. 

The green-horned creature is the first to scream . . .


Winners will be announced by October 31st but, in the meantime, if you'd like join or read all the entries, you can check them out here. Thank you to the generous prize donors and our hosts and facilitators, Lydia, Kaitlyn, and Ameera who are responsible for making #FallWritingFrenzy happen!