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Welcome

Thanks for being curious about me and about children's books.  A great book can transport us anywhere.  A great children's book stays with a child for a lifetime.  As a Mom of 3 (two of them are in the picture at the top of the page, having a blast with friends), I read tons of picture books. I watched my kids eyes fill with wonder each night as I turned each page.  But back in the early 80's, there weren’t many books with brown, curly haired African-American characters, or stories with BIPOC families. So I read a lot of books with animals as the main character.  But that was only a partial solution to the problem. What was and still is needed is more diversity in children's books. 


I am committed to writing stories with little brown children having fun in the world around them. Flying kites, making friends, figuring out how to be brave.  All the things that every child experiences, no matter where they live or what they look like. And all children deserve to see characters who look like them. My books will add diversity to the magical world of children's books. I am excited to share my stories and my journey. I truly believe there is room for us all in books and in the world.

I am not a published author yet,

but I am elated to announce that my picture book, “Double-Dutch Queens of Amsterdam Street” just won the 2022 SCBWI “Tapestry of Voices/Equity and Inclusion Award.” I feel one step closer to my goal of getting my stories published! In the meantime, you can check on my “Upcoming Books” Tab for a sneak peek at other WIP picture books. Also, click on my "Resources" tab for suggestions about books and other tips that will help keep the imagination juices flowing. 


In addition to pictures books, I am working on a Middle Grade chapter book and my first novel. The novel is a story inspired by my own experience as the first person in my family to attend college. I also have written two full-length plays. Though none of my plays have been produced, I placed 43rd in the 1983 Writer’s Digest (WD) Competition (Scripts), 75th in the 1985 WD Competition (Scripts), and received an Honorable Mention in 2017 WD Competition (Scripts). I am excited to keep writing and hope to get all of my projects into bookstores, libraries and theatres one day soon!


​Scroll down to my "Contact Me" page to send an e-mail.  And you can find me on Twitter @ceejay10039. Thanks for stopping by! 

Welcome: About

Story of Caron Jo Parker

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I grew up in Harlem, New York and woke up each day with a whirlwind of diverse people and stories. I loved to climb trees and I loved summers in Connecticut with my sister and cousins.  That's 10-year-old me with the pink curler in my hair, holding Bingo and ready for fun (ha ha, where was I going??).  I am wearing my favorite blouse- my Mom made it (she was a seamstress and an artist). My Dad was a big reader and like him, I was a bookworm from the start. I loved mysteries, poetry and folktales. The story I remember loving most was "The Story of Icarus".  I used to beg my Dad to read it to me and I remember being mesmerized by Icarus' flight.  Of course, it didn't end well for poor Icarus, but I was still captivated by his curiousity and his determination to fly higher and higher.  There were no pictures, but I could actually SEE Icarus take flight in my mind.  As I got older, I remember the lazy days of humid New York City summers, lying on my bed with a book like Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, and any Agatha Christie Mystery. 


I never really thought about being a writer because when I wasn't reading, I was immersed in science.  I was lucky enough to have a microscope and felt like a real scientist preparing slides of dust and bugs.  I went off to college and earned a biology degree.  But with so many science books to read, I didn't have much time for my beloved fiction books.  Time went on and in the blink of an eye, I was a Mom of 3 and books were back in my life again!  Between being a Mom and a pre-school teacher, I read tons and tons of books.  The more I read, the more I wanted to write my own stories - to add my voice to all the great books my kids loved. 


My kids are all grown now and I'm retired.  I'm excited that I finally have time to write!  I hope you continue on this journey with me.  Starting with my first completed picture book, "Jabari Saves Storytime".  Little Jabari must hatch a plan to keep his dad from falling asleep in the middle of story time! And yes, the story was inspired by far too many sleepy story times of my own!  Click on my "Upcoming Books" tab for a sneak peek! Check back again for updates on publication. 


Thanks for visiting my website!

Welcome: About

"If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must be the one to write it"

-Toni Morrison

Welcome: Quote
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Upcoming Books

What if baseballs were really this BIG?  That's the kind of question I ask when I'm exploring ideas and stretching my imagination for a new story.

Sneak Peek #1: "Jabari Saves Storytime"

Six-year old Jabari must think of one plan after another to keep his Dad from falling asleep while reading bedtime stories.

Jabari brushed his teeth lickety-split and grinned wide.

“All aboard for story time!” Dad said, with a fist pump. 

He marched down the hall with Jabari on his shoulders, tossing him on the bed. PLOP!  Jabari snuggled up with his stuffie and listened as the bedtime stories came alive with Dad's epic sounds.

His Dad SQUEAKED like a mouse and QUACKED like a duck.  He could even CLICKETY CLACK CLACK like a train. 

But then one night, things changed.  Dad’s eyes looked droopy sleepy.  Jabari waited and waited for epic sounds, but his Dad just read the words.    

The next night things got even worse.  In the middle of the story, Dad rubbed his eyes, yawned a MONSTER MOUTH YAWN and... KERPLUNK, went the book, right on his face.

Jabari knew his Dad was tired from working hard, but bedtime stories were just boring stories without the epic sounds.  So the next night, Jabari was ready-- he had a plan!

Stay tuned for more...

Sneak Peek #2:  "A Very Own Book Of My Own"

All this child wants is one small thing....


All I want is a book of my own,
my very own book of my own.


A book that will be my days-long friend, propped up on my knees
in my big cozy bed.

Just me and my book--
day after night after night after day.

And I'll read my book at recess,
and any old time,
‘cause it’s my book, just mine…and nobody else’s.

All I want is a book of my own,

my very own book of my own.


A book with real paper,
not a board book for babies--
I don’t scribble with crayons
or mangle the pages.

I know how to hold books just like the teachers--

No bending

No tearing

No eating while reading.

Stay tuned for more...

Sneak Peek #3: "My Big Brother is Always Mean to Me"

Sara tries to stick up for herself when her big brother Ollie teases her.  

My big brother Ollie is in second grade.  He reads books with no pictures.  He can add numbers without using his fingers.  Even the third graders think he's cool.  But at home, Ollie is not cool.  At home, Ollie shouts "Kindergartners don't know anything."

But I'm in kindergarten and I know lots of things.  Like how to spell my name S-A-R-A with no "H" . And I can add all the dots on both dice.  So I scream "STOP IT OLLIE!" But he doesn't stop.  

At home, Ollie laughs when I dangle upside down on the monkey bars.
He says, “That’s sooo easy.”
But it was NOT easy.  I practiced every recess.  I fell off the bars sometimes.
So I scream, “STOP IT OLLIE".
But he doesn't stop.

Can't you feel Sara's frustration? Ah, but Ollie has his own complaints about his little sister.  

Stay tuned for more...

Sneak Peek #4: "Double-Dutch Queens of Amsterdam Street"

Can three best friends finally prove they can jump fast enough to win the double-dutch contest?

Skinny me,

scraped up knees.

Curly afro poof hairdo

High top sneakers, knotted twice.

I’m struttin’--

ready to face the beat.


I’m ready to prove I can jump

as fast as the big kids…

who can jump a W-H-O-L-E  TWO minutes long…

at the park on Amsterdam Street.


First stop--

Gettin’ my friends

Jamilla and Jess.

“Come on ya’ll…let’s go!”

Coiled ropes in hand,

we run down to the park on Amsterdam Street.


Jamila and Jess stand like soldiers,

feet steady.

Sleek cornrows trailin’ down.

Arms (ashy elbows and all)

start turnin’

              thrashin’

ropes slappin’

              scrapin’

on old cracked cement.


  Slap

    Swoosh

  Slap

    Swoosh


Buildin’ a beat…

at the park on Amsterdam Street.

The girls are having fun while they try hard to jump faster.  Will they win?


Stay tuned for more...

Sneak Peek #5: "A Titmouse Tale"


Can little Titmouse finally convince people that he's NOT a mouse? 

In rhyming couplets, Titmouse tells you exactly how he is different from mouse. He is determined to find a new name.

The birch tree hollow is my house.         

Some people ask, “Are you a mouse?”

 

A Titmouse yes, but soon you’ll see. . .

It’s not the proper name for me.

 

I am a bird, with tufted crest.

No tail, no whiskers, no hairy chest.

 

I preen my feathers – blue and yellow,

the mouse is such a dull, gray fellow.

 

I flit and fly with wind on wings.

No mouse could ever do such things.

Stay tuned for more...

I am working hard to find the right publisher for these stories and hope to have them flying off the shelves and into your home soon. In the meantime, I continue to work on other picture book stories.  Maybe even a chapter book series! Check back again for more sneak peeks!  And feel free to send me comments too.

Welcome: Latest Work

Contact Me

Have a question?  Maybe you're starting your own writing career?  Or maybe you'd like to tell me about your favorite children's book? Just fill out this form and send me an e-mail. I'd love to chat with you!

Thanks for submitting!

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Welcome: Contact

Resources for New Writers

"You can't use up creativity.  The more you use, the more you have."

-Maya Angelou


Well said!  But sometimes we need help.  So, first things first.  If you’re not already a member, join the Society of Children’s Book Writer's and Illustrators (SCBWI). I’ve learned so much from this organization! They host educational webinars and have tons of resources. Check out their website. 


For inspiration, I read lots of children’s books and visit author’s websites.  Like Dianne White, who is an amazing lyrical author.  Check out her book “Blue on Blue” and many others.  For Chapter books, check out “The Clubhouse Mysteries” by Sharon M. Draper, or the Jada Jones series by Kelly Starling Lyons.  Add your own favorites to this list.  Also, Renee LaTulippe offers a poetry class that will change your life! It is a 10-week online class that teaches you about meter and rhyme for sure, but in the end, you come away with an invaluable awareness of the nuance of words and sounds, and how to place them on the page so that ALL of your writing (not just poetry) shines bright. Also, check out rhymezone.com for definitions and a thesaurus. And don’t forget to keep reading the old “tried and true” books you loved as a child. I would recommend starting or joining a writing critique group.  Collaboration is important and helps to stoke the creative flames.


Last but not least is the business end of things - publishers and agents.  Off comes the creative hat and on goes the business hat. I’m just putting my toe in the water on the business side.  I do have a completed query letter and I am currently shopping out my two picture books to publishers and agents. The site “Manuscriptwishlist.com” is an excellent place to start a search for agents.  Also, if you’re an SCBWI member, then you can use their publication called “The Book”, which lists publishers, agents and has lots of tips.  And I am embracing social media too by gearing up to try participating in a Twitter “pitch party”.  Stayed tuned!  I’m learning the tools of the trade so keep checking my website because I will definitely add new information as I experience it.  Thanks for sharing my journey.

Telling a story is an organic process for sure. You have to be willing to go where the story takes you. Of course, sometimes your story idea hits a wall.  And neither coffee nor cookies can help. Those are the days you can give yourself permission to put your story aside and work on something else.  Sometimes you just need to let the story simmer without you.  On those days, I simply take a break.  I read a few books in the genre I'm working on, or I re-read a book about the craft of writing, or pick a book I've been itching to read for myself, or just go for a walk.


Don't worry and don't force yourself to write.  Even if the words escape you, when you come back to your laptop, your imagination will still be there...right where you left it.  

Books

Helpful Books and Suggestions

Here are my suggestions for books and strategies that will help educate, inspire and support you. Books that helped me keep going when my own words "ghosted me" and I was all out of cookies!  

1. Writing Picture Books, Ann Whitford Paul

2. The Writer's Guide to Crafting Stories for Children, Mary Lamb

3. A Poetry Handbook, Mary Oliver.  Even if you don't like poetry or don't see yourself writing poetry, exploring poetry can open your mind to a world of possibilities to the words you choose in telling your stories.  

4. The best class to get exposed to poetry and lyrical language:  Check out Renee La Tulippe's "Lyrical Language Lab" course.  She offers it once a year.  It will change your life as a writer, making you more aware of the interplay of words on a page more than you can possibly imagine. Go to  renee@reneelatulippe.com for more information.  Renee also has tons of helpful tutorials on YouTube.

5. You Can Write Children's Books (Second Edition), Tracey E. Dils

6. Relax and re-read one or two or three of your old favorite children's books.

7. Explore a new genre:  I didn't think I'd like writing Chapter Books, then I read "The Clubhouse Mysteries", by Sharon M. Draper.  I also read several books in the "Jada Jones" chapter book series, by Kelly Starling Lyons.  Both have BIPOC characters and have what it takes to catch a child's imagination. Now I'm inspired to try writing a chapter book too.  

8. Sign up for an educational writing webinar through Society of Children's Book Writer's and Illustrators (SCBWI), Children's Book Insider (CBI) or Highlights Magazine.  These organizations cover all topics and all children's book genres.

9. Manuscript Critiques:  It is beyond super important to get feedback on your stories. It can also be scary. But as a writer, we have to be brave enough to seek feedback from our family, friends, and a professional.  I was lucky enough to attend an SCBWI webinar where author Dianne White was presenting.  She offered her critique services to the participants.  It was amazing to collaborate with her on my story.  I call her the "story whisperer" because of her supportive critique style.  She tells you over and over, "this is your story to tell." But at the same time, she asks you questions about your plot/characters and gives you suggestions on ways to improve on the story. And her Picture Books are amazing- my favorite is Blue on Blue.  Check out her website diannewrites.com

I will continue to update this list as I discover new things.  And please send me an e-mail with any resources you found helpful to your own writing journey, and I'll add them to the list!   

Now let's smile, grab our laptops and keep writing what we imagine.  Good luck!

No matter where you are, you can dive into a book and see the whole world.

Welcome: Services
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