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The Building Blocks of Adam Blackman, Cardinal Rule Press

This month, we'll be highlighting the Donors from Our Rate Your Story *Build-A-Story* Contest (August 1 - 31st). Each will share a little bit about themselves and the building blocks of their career, tell you about their latest project and leave YOU a building block to help build your stories! Be sure to check them out! AND don't forget to enter our contest (more info here) to be eligible for prizes! INTRODUCING ADAM BLACKMAN:

I am a picture book writer and Acquisitions Editor at Cardinal Rule Press, which publishes realistic, representative books for socially thoughtful children.

I am currently seeking SEL and positive social messages told WITH HUMOR!


I had the lower bunk as a kid and would wake up in the middle of the night to the sound of my older brother turning pages, the reading light casting a haloed glow through the wedge between bunk and wall, and think, that’s how you hold someone’s attention!


My son chose beautiful rainbow rhinestone light up shoes the summer before kindergarten. He wore them proudly until the fall, when he was told they were girl shoes.


The most recent Cardinal Rule Press release, IT'LL BE IRIE, a fun, funny, and poignant immigrant story.

Also, LOVE THAT DOG. Sharon Creech just nailed the voice and experience of my 9 year old. And it was just so smart and sweet!

My favorite book as a child was The Giant Jam Sandwich. I simply loved seeing a little English town transform into a giant bakery, and was captivated by how everybody came together for the cause of driving out an infestation of wasps.


As an editor, I am working to connect with agents to build on our new policy of accepting agented submissions year-round. (Don’t worry, we will always have at least one month of open submissions!)


No means not yet.


The Importance of a Query Letter - It’s necessary and informative. I read manuscripts first then if I’m interested will look at the query letter. I’m looking to see how connected the writer is - to the market, to writing communities, to subject of the work (for instance if they are from the culture they are writing about).

The Importance of Social Media - It helps if you have, but isn’t a deal-breaker if you don’t.

First Pages - For picture books, you want the first page to establish the tone, setting, and character. You don’t have to have the main conflict appear on the first spread, but you want to really ground us in the situation so when the conflict appears we accept it and are off and running.

Trends - I do not feel qualified to identify trends. But I do feel qualified to say DO NOT WRITE TO TRENDS!!!

Common Mistakes - Underdeveloped characters and plots. The cure is to remember that character IS plot. How does your character respond to a disruption in their world? Do they change? Double down?


Close your eyes, let your pencil roam around the page for 15 seconds, then close your eyes and write about what you see.

ADAM'S PRIZE: 3 Above the Slushpile Submissions!

We can't thank Adam enough for three (3) fabulous prizes, all the generous building blocks and for being a valuable part of the KidLit Community!

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