Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Back Story of Babysitting SugarPaw: How a short story became a picture book


VS Grenier is an award-winning children’s author, the founder and owner of Stories for Children Publishing, LLC., the award-winning editor-in-chief of Stories for Children Magazine, and the chief editor for Halo Publishing, Int..  Ms. Grenier also runs her own editorial and critique services. In 2007 and in 2008, VS Grenier was voted one of the Top Ten Editors in the Preditors and Editors Reader’s Poll.  She  won 2nd place for her article “Yes, Virginia, There IS a Santa Claus” in the Preditors and Editors Reader’s Poll for Best Nonfiction of 2007 and won 7th place for her article “Dinosaur Tracks in My Backyard” in the Preditors and Editors Reader’s Poll for Best Nonfiction of 2008.   VS Grenier learned how to hone her writing skills at the Institute of Children’s Literature and is a member of the League of Utah Writers (HWG), Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and Musing Our Children. 

Today, she guest blogs about her book Babysitting SugarPaw. 

I get a lot of positive feedback on my picture book Babysitting SugarPaw, which is always followed by, “Did you babysit a few kids like SugarPaw when you were a teen?” The answer is no. In fact, there are two back-stories to my picture book. One tells where the story idea came from and the other…how a short story became a picture book.
So let’s start with: where did the story idea come from? Babysitting SugarPaw is in fact based off my childhood, but not from the point of view of the babysitter, Bonnie Whiskers. The truth is SugarPaw is based off me as a kid. I was one of the worst kids you could be called to babysit. It wasn’t because I was afraid of babysitters like SugarPaw is in the book. I hated babysitters because it seemed I was always with them. My mom was a single parent and so…I was left with babysitter after babysitter. Over time, it became a game to see which babysitter I could get to leave and never come back. I even went as far as putting PJ’s on backwards and licking all the yummy snacks in the house so my babysitter wouldn’t eat them. Not very nice and something I would never let my own children do today. Of course, my mom wasn’t too happy about it either when she found out.

As I sat to write Babysitting SugarPaw, I thought about why kids act the way they do when mom and dad leave the house. Most of the time it’s for the same reason SugarPaw acts up. They’re scared of a stranger coming to stay with them or they don’t want to be left alone with some who isn’t their mom or dad…or some other family member. Children don’t always tell adults what they feel, but their actions certainly do. However, it doesn’t make it okay for children to act out. Therefore, my book helps show children it’s okay to be scared, not happy and even sad they are being left with a babysitter, but it’s not okay to hurt or be mean to others by telling lies or playing tricks on them. Babysitting SugarPaw helps open the door so kids and adults can talk about what they are feeling and how they should act when they are left with a babysitter or caregiver.

Okay, I’m sure now you want to know what short story Babysitting SugarPaw came from. Well back when I first started writing workshops and classes, I was asked to write a short story about something from my past or a picture. The first draft of Babysitter SugarPaw was actually a short story for this assignment titled, “The Best Babysitter in Town.” I ended up showing the short story to illustrator and friend Kevin Scott Collier. He really liked the storyline and so I revised it a few times to make it publication ready. The title changed as well and now my little short story assignment back from 2006 is a published picture book for children of all ages to enjoy, especially those who like to create mischief.


You can become eligible to win a copy of Babysitting SugarPaw by simply leaving a comment. A winner will be randomly selected at the end of the month.


VS Grenier’s website:    http://vsgrenier.com/BabysittingSugarPaw.aspx   

5 comments:

  1. Thanks for hosting me on you blog. And if anyone has any questions, please feel free to ask. I would love to answer them.

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  2. Great insight into the story. Thanks for sharing.

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  3. As a current ICL instructor and former student, I commend you for publishing your book after taking the course! Well done, Virginia :-)

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  4. Thank you Terri and Renee. It's be a fun adventure these past few years.

    Come follow along during my June 2011 World of Ink Tour and one lucky Blog Hopper will Win a FREE autographed copy of my book "Babysitting SugarPaw."

    The rules are easy. Leave a comment and your name will be put into a random drawing. The more blogs you visit and comments you leave, the more your name will be entered.

    One comment per blog equals One Entry!

    If you ask a question at a blog, I'll give you a bonus entry.

    Good luck! Contest ends June 30th.
    VS Grenier's World of Ink Tour Schedule
    http://storiesforchildrenpublishing.com/BabysittingSugarPaw.aspx

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