Oct 11, 2019


For fun, I decided to participate in Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez’s Kidlit Fall Writing Frenzy Contest this year. For this contest, participants were asked to choose one of ten fall images and write a 200-word (or less) story or poem about it. The piece could be happy, scary, beautiful, grotesque—whatever the writer feels like—for any kidlit age group, preschool through teen.

The photo I chose as my inspiration is below, followed by my entry. I hope you enjoy reading it! To read more entries, visit Kaitlyn’s website here (scroll down for links).

·        Name: Becky Shillington
Twitter: @BeckyShillingtn
Image: #7
Word Count: 195
Age Level of Prize: YA
Country: USA

Hi, it’s me!
I brought you a present. And I even wore a costume! I know it’s your favorite holiday.
You would’ve rolled your eyes at school today. The entire junior class dressed up as Disney characters, except for me and a few other rebels. Chloe Paxton sat in your seat in Chemistry (sorry!) wearing the full Cinderella getup—including the glass slippers! Even Mr. D. dressed up. Imagine the genie from Aladdin directing the band. Yep. It was interesting.
I was trying to remember all of our Halloween costumes today; Thing 1 and Thing 2, the twins from The Shining, a hotdog and ketchup. I gave our idea for this year to the Thompson twins from church. I hope you don’t mind—it was too good of an idea to go to waste.
Mom called on my way here, trying to sound excited. “Pumpkin pancakes for dinner tonight, Avery!” I guess we’re keeping up our old tradition this year, too?  
These dried-out flowers have to go. How did this get dirty so fast?   
There. I can see your name again. And our birthday.
Now I’ll set this right…here.
I miss you, Anna.
Happy Halloween. 

Oct 10, 2019


Our poetry anthology THANKU: POEMS OF GRATITUDE came out on September 3, with contributing poets everywhere holding book signings and events celebrating its release. My contributor friends and I in the Charlotte, NC area participated in several events, as well!

On Sunday, August 25, Vanessa Brantley-Newton, Chrystal Giles, Megan Hoyt, and I had a pre-release book signing event at Main Street Books in Davidson, NC. And on Saturday, September 7, we held a book signing at Park Road Books in Charlotte. At both events, Vanessa, Chrystal, Megan, and I each read our poems from the book and led an interactive activity. Audience participation was terrific, our hosts were amazing, we signed SO MANY BOOKS, and we all had a wonderful time! 

Vanessa, me, Chrystal, and Megan

Vanessa talking about her limerick poem

Then on Saturday, September 28, Megan and I signed books at our regional SCBWI Carolinas conference, Stories in Pictures and Prose, in Charlotte.  

I am so very grateful to my editor, Miranda Paul, for selecting my poems to be a part of this beautiful anthology. Each time I read through this book, I get a little thrill (again!) to see my work alongside these wonderful poems written by such illustrious and brilliant poets. And the illustrations amaze me anew each time I come back to them—Marlena Myles is stunningly talented!

If you do not already have a copy of THANKU, get one as fast as you can—you won’t be disappointed!

(To read more about THANKU: POEMS OF GRATITUDE, click here.)