Nancy's Books

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Funny Business of Writing Humor for Kids, Part II, Calls for Submissions/Contest

I’m pleased, make that thrilled, Woohoo!! to announce that my latest picture book, Trouble in Troublesome Creek, has been selected to represent Kentucky at the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C. this fall. The National Book Festival is organized and sponsored the Library of Congress. One book per state is selected for this honor.

Since most students are out of school for the summer, I will not post student activities until September.

Today’s blog features part II of my article, The Funny Business of Writing Humor for Kids.

As children develop language skills, the humor of rhymes and nonsense words make them laugh. Preschool aged kids are attuned to the sound of words. They enjoy the playful sound of repeated variations of a word—catty, batty, fatty. Calling a familiar word by the wrong name, such as referring to the nose as an ear, is just downright funny to them. They also find misplacement of a body parts comical—a dog with two legs up and two legs down or a donkey’s head on a turtle’s body. Exaggeration is laughable to this group—a car that is too long or too tall, oversized eyes, or a basketball for a head. They also find impossible behavior funny—a cow jumping over the moon, a talking dog, or a snake that wears underwear. Rhymes, alliteration, and rhythmic text please them.

When kids enter school, they still love wordplay, exaggeration, and physical or slapstick humor. They also enjoy simple riddles and jokes, especially potty humor, and rhyming and nonsense words. Dr. Seuss books are a hit.

Older kids, seven and up, have a better grasp of the language. They love jokes, riddles and other brainteasers, puns, and potty humor. This is the age when chapter books and middle-grade novels are devoured on various subjects. By age eleven, children gain a better understanding of complex literary devices and appreciate humor in irony and sarcasm.

Part III will be posted in next week’s blog.

Calls for Submissions and Contest:

Chicken Soup for the Soul: New Moms
Becoming a new mom is the most amazing experience. From the moment, that baby is placed in your arms; there is an incredible feeling only a new mother can know. This book celebrates the physical, emotional, and spiritual experience of having a child and creating a family. We are looking for heartwarming, insightful, and humorous stories about raising babies and toddlers that share with our readers the wonders of early motherhood. Stories should not extend past the toddler years. Written in the first person of no more than 1,200 words. If you have already submitted a story to our New Moms database, please do not submit it again. We have it. You will retain the copyright for your story and you will retain the right to resell it.
Pay: $200 plus 10 books
Deadline is July 31, 2010.
Submissions go to

Nature Friend
Perhaps your children or family are doing something nature-related. If so, write the story and tell us. Fiction is also okay. We need stories about nature, as well as article and essays. The stories are the fewest, so we are glad when stories come.
Details at

Highlights has posted a list of current manuscript needs.
Details at

Knock Our Hats Off Contest
Submit up to 3,000 words of fiction or 1-3 poems. $250 for the winner in each category and publication in Mad Hatters' Review. All winning entries will be published in a print anthology called “Knock Our Hats Off: A Little Book of Curious Delights.” Each winner will receive a copy of this deluxe collector’s item.
Deadline: June 30.
Details at


  1. Thanks for sharing part II and all the contest information. I'll stop by next week for part III.