The Weekly 411 (1/19/24)


© Maryam Khalifah

Jan. 19, 2024 vol. 3

The Weekly 411 gathers all the links added to Kidlit411 each week. To receive this post by email, sign up for our email updatesAre you on Facebook? Join our Kidlit411 group for conversations and camaraderie. This week's illustration is by Maryam Khalifah.

Picture Book Giveaway

We are excited to host a giveaway of the picture book, Imagine You and Me, written and illustrated by Benson Shum (Penguin Random House/ Dial Books for Young Readers), out on Jan. 23. Enter to win a copy via the Rafflecopter below.

About the Book: A gentle story—with a surprise twist!—about the bond between an imaginative bear and his best friend.


Randall and Parker are the very best of friends—they do everything together, from building elaborate sand castles to swimming with mermaids. One day while they’re playing, they see another group of bears nearby, and Parker urges Randall to ask the bears to play with them. But there’s one problem: None of the other bears can see Parker. And the more time Randall spends with this new sloth of friends, the less he sees Parker too. Until one day, she disappears, and Randall must dig through his memories to find her. This gentle story celebrates the beauty and magic of adventures with friends, both imaginary and real.


About the Author-IllustratorBenson Shum is an award winning children's book author and illustrator. He uses watercolor, ink and digital tools to create his illustrations. His books, Anzu the Great Listener and Anzu the Great Kaiju were selected as Kid's Indie Next List Recommended by American Booksellers Association (ABA) and was also awarded for Outstanding Achievement in Social Emotional Literature by the Children's Literature Council of Southern California (CLCSC).


Aside from writing and illustrating, Benson is also an Animator at the Walt Disney Animation Studios, where he was a part of such films as Frozen, Big Hero 6, Zootopia, Moana, Frozen 2, Encanto and Wish. Originally from Vancouver, BC, Benson now lives in sunny southern California.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Middle Grade Giveaway

We are excited to host a giveaway of the middle grade novel, The Curse of Eelgrass Bog, by Mary Averling (Razorbill/PRH) out now. Enter to win a copy via the Rafflecopter below!


About the Book: Dark secrets and unnatural magic abound when a twelve-year-old girl ventures into a bog full of monsters to break a mysterious curse. Nothing about Kess Pedrock’s life is normal. Not her home (she lives in her family’s Unnatural History Museum), not her interests (hunting for megafauna fossils and skeletons), and not her best friend (a talking demon’s head in a jar named Shrunken Jim). But things get even stranger than usual when Kess meets Lilou Starling, the new girl in town. Lilou comes to Kess for help breaking a mysterious curse—and the only clue she has leads straight into the center of Eelgrass Bog. Everyone knows the bog is full of witches, demons, and possibly worse, but Kess and Lilou are determined not to let that stop them. As they investigate the mystery and uncover long-buried secrets, Kess begins to realize that the curse might hit closer to home than she’d ever expected, and she’ll have to summon all her courage to find a way to break it before it’s too late.


About the Author: Mary Averling grew up across England and Canada, never far from the woods. She has degrees from the University of Victoria and Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge. Since she can't stay away from libraries for very long, she is currently working toward her PhD in Ontario, where she lives surrounded by all the magical, spooky, heartfelt books she can find. The Curse of Eelgrass Bog is her middle grade debut.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  • What: submit your picture book manuscript to win tuition to the Los Angeles SCBWI annual conference  
  • Who: each year the contest alternates for picture book or MG/YA. For 2024, picture book authors; must be SCBWI member over 18 years old
  • Prizetuition to the Los Angeles SCBWI annual conference and a phone consultation with an agent/editor
  • What: two $1,000 grants 
  • Who: SCBWI member, one pre-published, and one published, who is working on a portfolio or picture book manuscript
  • Prize: $1000 to help complete your illustration project

Roaring 24s - debut picture book authors and illustrators

Jan. 26, 11:00 a.m. CST Building an Emotional Connection with Readers with Kristina Sutton Lennon. In this webinar and discussion participants will examine how authors can hook a reader's attention and build an emotional connection that will keep the reader invested in your story, whether they are a child or adult. Plus, LIVE first page critiques! What’s working, what’s not working, will the agent keep reading or stop reading and why… This will be an incredibly insightful experience to help you go deeper into the craft and marketability potential of your stories. Special above-the-slush submission opportunity for registrants as well. 


  1. Such a cute picture book idea. Children have wonderful imaginations. I always wanted an imaginary friend but could never find her, seriously I searched for one.

  2. Ooh I desperately want to read The Curse of Eelgrass Bog!!!

  3. Benson's books are excellent and I adore his artwork. I can't wait this one too. I love middle grade mysteries and The Curse of Eelgrass Bog sounds amazing!

  4. I have been looking forward to The Curse of Eelgrass Bog for weeks...can't wait to read it!

  5. Gayle C Krause here. Wouldn’t let me sign in with my Google account. Would love to win a copy of Eelgrass. 😉

  6. Both of these sound fantastic! Congratulations!!

    1. Oh bother. That last reply was me. Both of these books sound fantastic! Congratulations!! Angie Quantrell

  7. I've heard so many good things about The Curse of The Eelgrass Bog! Here's hoping I win a copy!

  8. Cant wait to read Benson's book. Such a cute cover and fun premise.

  9. These both sound fabulous! I can think of readers at my school who'd love to read them.

  10. I look forward to this post every week. Thanks.

  11. Just ordered Ben's book for library.


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