Billy’s Booger

billys-booger-9781442473515Billy’s Booger: A Memoir (sorta)

William Joyce (and his younger self) Author and Illustrator

Athenum Books for Young Readers, Fiction, Jun. 2, 2015

Suitable for Ages: 5-9

Themes: Imagination, Books and reading, Authorship, Memoir, School, Contest

Opening:Once upon a time, when TV was in black and white, and there were only three channels, and when kids didn’t have playdates — they just roamed free in the “out-of-doors” — there lived a kid named Billy.”

Synopsis: Billy has a huge imagination and thinks about class rooms in tree houses, gravity shoes, jet packs and automatic page turners. He likes to draw on his math tests and homework, read comic books, study the newspaper “funnies,” watch monster movies and invents his own sports. His teacher and principal find Billy the most challenging student — ever. The librarian announces a contest to see which student can create the best book. Billy is excited and researches, writes and illustrates his masterpiece. He is living his dream! Perhaps this will be Billy’s chance to show his talent.

Why I like this book:

This inspiring and highly entertaining picture book is about the young William (Billy) Joyce. Readers are given a peek at the man Billy will someday be. Joyce’s richly painted and expressive illustrations give readers a sense of life in the 1960s.

This book is about Billy’s childhood.  Children will fall in love with Billy’s overactive imagination, unconventional antics and his determination to march to his own drum beat. It is also a story about Billy’s first attempts to write his first book, Billy’s Booger: The Memoir of a Little Green Nose Buddy. Who would have ever thought that his journey as an author would begin with a quirky book about a booger.

The original fourth grade book is inserted inside the book on manila paper. Billy’s story is packed with spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors which adds a certain charm to reading about the super booger that gives Billy amazing super powers in math. Children are going to cheer Billy’s wacky imagination and pour over the details of his book.

Joyce’s book carries a very strong message for children not to give up on their dreams and be true to themselves. It also emphasizes that not everyone will like your work (especially teachers and librarians,) but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t an audience out there. There’s a great ending to this story, but you’ll have to read the book to find out.

Resources: Parents and teachers check out the suggestions and Activity Sheets for using Billy’s Booger in the classroom. I’d love to see this book in every school library.  I hope teachers and librarians use Joyce’s book in their lesson plans to encourage students to write a book about anything that inspires them. What a wonderful way to encourage children to dream big.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books (PPB) with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.

Little Ghost — Halloweensie Contest

Courtesy of Google Art

It’s Susanna Leonard Hill 4th Annual Halloweensie Contest!

All you have to do is follow the simple rules I copied from Susanna’s website.  Make sure you check out all the entries.

Write a 100-word Halloween story appropriate for children (title not included in the 100 words), using the words pumpkin, broomstick, and creak (or a variation of creak, creaked, or creaking.)  Your story can be poetry or prose, scary, funny or anything in between, but it will only count for the contest if it includes those 3 words and is 100 words (you can go under, but not over!)

My entry is 98 words. Happy Halloween!

Little Ghost

Little Ghost shuttered and shook. It was his first Halloween.

He hovered over a pumpkin and watched as other ghosts darted after trick-or-treaters and bellowed their names. “Nan—ceeee.” “Bob—beeee.” “Jos—seeee!” Kids scattered with fright.

Little Ghost hid near a creaky porch and ambushed a little witch with his loudest “BOOoooooo!” She slammed him with her sack of candy.

“You’re not a convincing ghost” yelled the gutsy witch. She summoned her broomstick.

“Yes, I am,” he moaned. “I don’t like scaring children.”

“Neither do I,” cackled the little witch. “Candy?”

Little Ghost puffed up his chest. “Sure!”

Susanna Hill’s Thanksgiving Contest

They were supposed to go to Grandma’s for Thanksgiving, but the blizzard came in fast.  The wind howled.  The tree creaked.

Papa stockpiled wood inside the burrow.  He stomped his feet and bolted the door.

Papa looked at his shivering brood of three.  “I know you are disappointed, but we are safer in our burrow.”

“What about Grandma’s acorn pie, ” asked Sammy.  His pudgy cheeks quivered and is large glossy eyes brimmed with tears.

“We have plenty of nuts, berries, fruit, seeds and grains to feast upon,” said Mama.  “Why don’t you do your chores.  Be thankful that we’re together.”

Sammy, Teddy and Rose tidied up their nests and swept the burrow.  Sammy wondered what they could do to make Thanksgiving special.

Then Sammy spied a twig resting against the wall inside the burrow.

“Hey Teddy and Rose, I have an idea,” said Sammy.  The three siblings huddled and whispered.  Rose jumped up and down.   The rest of the morning they worked in a corner of the burrow on their idea.

Mama worked all morning preparing their feast.  Papa tended to the fire so that the burrow remained warm.

Sammy carefully placed their centerpiece on the table.

“It’s beautiful!”  Mama gasped.

“It’s our thankful tree,” beamed Sammy.  Tied to the branches were acorns, pine cones, and dried leaves bearing the names, Mama, Papa, Grandma, Sammy, Teddy and Rose.

They heard a rustle in the tunnel and a voice called out,  “Acorn pie anyone?”

“Grandma,”  they chirped.  “We’re thankful you’re here!”

Susanna Leonard Hill is sponsoring a Thanksgiving Writing Contest.  Here are the rules: Post your 250 (or fewer) word kids’ Thanksgiving story, beginning with “They were supposed to go to Grandma’s for Thanksgiving, but the blizzard came in fast…” and add your link to the link list.  The last day to submit is November 24th!  Add your own entry at


Copyright (c) 2011,  Patricia Howe Tilton, All Rights Reserved

Third Platform Builder Campaign Challenge

This is the final Platform Builder Campaign Challenge, and it has been great fun meeting new writers and making new friends.  Thanks you Rachael Harrie for this wonderful opportunity to connect with writers of all genres.

The Challenge: Show not Tell

Write a blog post in 300 words or less, excluding the title. The post can be in any format, whether flash fiction, non-fiction, humorous blog musings, poem, etc. The blog post should show:

  • that it’s morning,
  • that a man or a woman (or both) is at the beach
  • that the MC (main character) is bored
  • that something stinks behind where he/she is sitting
  • that something surprising happens.

Just for fun, see if you can involve all five senses AND include these random words: “synbatec,”  “wastopaneer,” and “tacise.”   (NB. these words are completely made up and are not intended to have any meaning other than the one you give them).


A sliver of orange appeared over the horizon, as if the clouds were pulling the sun out of the sea.  She jogged down the empty beach for many miles, her breath steady and even.  She stopped when she reached the rocky shoreline.

She leaned over and breathed deeply, taking the salty sea air into her lungs.  Her bare feet sank into the sand as the waves  lazily lopped over her ankles.  She already felt free from the demon that imprisoned her.  A grin crept across her face.  She was grateful she had been so thorough in her planning.

From behind her a strong odor stung her lungs and made her eyes water. She jumped and turned to look.

“Red tide again,” she coughed.  “I must stay calm, and leave no sign.”

Her eyes scanned the shoreline until she spotted the marker she had left in the rocks.  She started climbing and yanked a bag from its hiding place.  She opened it and removed a long silver rod.  She pointed the shiny rod at the cliffs above and hissed “tacise…synbatec.”   She landed with a thud on a bed of pine needles high above the water.  She smiled as she tightly grasped her escape route.

Rapidly, she slipped into a pair of khakis and a navy  shirt.  She shoved her feet into a pair of loafers.  The sun was a nice rosy glow, as it climbed into the sky.  She glanced at her watch and tapped her foot.

“It’s time to leave this world,” she thought.

She carefully made her way to the large boulder.  She stood looking out over the sea.  A dark mist rushed towards her as she cried out, “wastopaneer – home.”

“That’s a wrap for today,” yelled the director.  He looked up, but she was gone.

I entered the contest late, so my number is #99 .   According to my count, I am at 300 words.

Copyright (c) 2011,  Patricia Howe Tilton, All Rights Reserved


Writing and Art Contest for Teens and Adults with Downs Syndrome

Woodbine House is holding a contest for talented  teen/adult writers and artists  with Downs Syndrome.   Woodbine House says that “many teens and adults with DS are incredibly talented and don’t always receive the recognition they deserve.”   Winners will receive an award and have the opportunity to see their work published in a high quality, full-color book.

Participants must be over 12 years of age, residents of the U.S., Canada or Mexico.  Entries may be submitted in many different categories that include fiction writing, poetry, song lyrics, cartoons, painting, sculptures, embroidery, weaving and other mediums.     For details on contest submission go to    The deadline for entries is Dec. 31, 2011.

If you are a parent, teacher or an interested teen/adult with DS, please pass along the contest formation.

I became familiar with Woodbine House after reviewing a special series of books titled Off We Go!  last April.   I discovered that Woodbine House is a leading publisher of books for children with special needs.  Many of their employees have a personal connection to someone with special needs — a winning combination for all involved.  You can view their books for children, parents, teachers and professionals at: