NAPIBOWRIWEE 2014: Day Seven – Our Last Day! Let’s Make the Most of It! (May 7)

napibowriweelogo3-300x284-200x200(NOTE: For this entire week, I will post a new blog every day by 6 AM PST here. So check back daily! Also – I will post fun Tweets live each day! Follow me on Twitter @paulayoo)


THIS IS IT, GUYS! Welcome to the 7th and LAST day of NAPIBOWRIWEE! Can you believe we made it?

For those of you who are behind, do NOT panic. You’ve got 24 hours left! And even if you cannot finish 7 picture books in  7 days, I’m still proud of you for sticking with us! Remember, we are ALL winners! 🙂

Today is NOT the last blog. We have TWO more blogs. The blog schedule for the final days of NAPIBOWRIWEE is below.


May 7, 2014: You are reading our Day Seven blog right now! 🙂

May 8, 2014: I will post a wrap-up blog with a list of the winners of our giveaway prize contest! Winners will be picked at random for fun prizes – they will include souvenirs from our NAPIBOWRIWEE STORE, autographed books from our Guest Authors (Don Tate, Kelly DiPucchio, Greg Neri, Ken Min, and Erin Eitter Kono) as well as autographed books from ME including my latest book, TWENTY-TWO CENTS: MUHAMMAD YUNUS AND THE VILLAGE BANK, coming out later this year from LEE & LOW BOOKS! (Stay tuned for a beautiful illustration by Jamel Akib to be posted in this May 8th blog, too!)

May 9, 2014: Announcement blog of our 2015 NAPIBOWRIWEE schedule

SPECIAL NOTE: Starting May 10, 2014, please return to my REGULAR blog where I post lots of fun stuff about writing, cats, TV, cats, books, cats, music, cats… 🙂 The link is here:

(Keep reading after the break about my Day Six update plus some updates for our final day and the upcoming contest…)

MY DAY SIX UPDATE: I write long non-fiction picture books for LEE & LOW BOOKS. My books are biographies with a ton of text. They’re quite long – 1700 words and longer. So another reason I started NAPIBOWRIWEE was to see if I could try and write different types of picture books. Poetry picture books. Super short books for younger readers. And so on. So today, I wanted to do a WORDLESS picture book. This is where SCAPPLE, the new software I was experimenting with, turned out to be a lot of fun! 🙂

Here’s a video that explains how SCAPPLE works:

It’s basically like having a notebook on your computer. Instead of me doodling and clustering ideas on a legal pad, I can do it on my computer and then save it to my SCRIVENER file. So I really enjoyed doing this! Did anyone else try it?

I now need to research how wordless picture books are “written” but I wrote mine with just descriptions of what I wanted to happen. It was a fun experiment. I hope everyone has had fun with their drafts, too. NAPIBOWRIWEE is a way to experiment with different styles of writing, too!

Because it’s the final day of NAPIBOWRIWEE, I’m going to keep this blog on the short side because I know everyone’s panicking and wants to get writing as soon as possible. So some housecleaning reminders…

1. If you have already emailed me or signed up to post comments on this blog, you are automatically included for our Prize Random Drawing Contest. I will be putting everyone’s names into a hat and picking winners at random. Winners will receive a complimentary souvenir from our STORE (coffee and travel mugs, tote bags, journals, and T-shirts).

2. The contest winners will be announced on MAY 8, 2014. So please come back tomorrow to find out if you won!

3. Next year’s NAPIBOWRIWEE will take place May 1-7, 2015. Mark your calendars!

4. Our NAPIBOWRIWEE Souvenir Store is open all year round for your shopping needs here:

This whole week, I’ve been posting interviews and statistics on diversity in children’s books and throughout the media. I hope our guest authors and their thoughts plus statistics and thoughts from my publisher LEE & LOW BOOKS helped enlighten everyone on how important diversity is in children’s literature.

Another reason I wanted to focus on DIVERSITY and MULTICULTURALISM as themes for NAPIBOWRIWEE this year is because I’m actually TIRED of reading “Woe is children’s literature for its lack of diversity” blogs and articles.


Because there are already so many books out there that DO celebrate and focus on diversity! From my friends’ books to mine and so many more! Please find them in your public library, in your schools and at your local bookstores. Celebrate the books that DO exist and share them with your young readers.

DEMAND that more diversity be included in future books. We have to be pro-active in promoting and encouraging more diverse voices and characters and stories in children’s literature.

Finally, this is our last day so please make the MOST of it. I know a lot of you are tired and burned out or even suffering writer’s block. But hang in there. To inspire you, I would like all of you to take FIVE minutes of your day to treat yourself to something special – a favorite cookie or treat at your local bakery, a favorite coffee or tea concoction at your local coffeehouse, or just meditate for five minutes, or put on your favorite song on your stereo and dance for five minutes ! 🙂 Remember, this is hard work but it also should be FUN! So celebrate how hard you worked this week. I am SO proud of you that I’m going to BURST with happiness! 🙂


As always, please comment below on how your Day Seven went. 

I will post tomorrow’s contest winners and some wrap-up thoughts for tomorrow’s May 8th blog. Until then, remember… HAPPY WRITING! WRITE LIKE YOU MEAN IT! 🙂


  1. Partial credit goes to my Dunkin Donuts Latte Lite for giving me the energy to whip out my last two very rough drafts. Yay! Partial credit also goes to my children who would not sleep last night leaving me closer to my emotional center due to exhaustion, so my drafts might be deeper than usual. Yay! And partial credit to Paula who encouraged me to try a diverse perspective book, and I’m pretty happy with what I came up with. Yay!

  2. Whew – wrote fast under pressure today! Just a half day of school for my kids so I flipped through my 2013 PiBoIdMo notebook for a ripe idea. Got it outlined and drafted (rough!!) just before the bus arrived. Woo hoo!

    Good luck everyone!

  3. I’m with you, Paula. Yes, we’ve got a long way to go when it comes to diversity in children’s literature–but look how far we’ve come! When I was a kid, no one gave a thought to multiculturalism. Heck, it wasn’t even a word. 🙂

    Thanks for the encouragement and fun this last week. I have an idea I’m getting ready to tackle–I’ve given up on the wordless PB idea. (Yep, I thought and thought and thought about trying a wordless PB but just couldn’t get there. Good on you!)

  4. Great post, Paula. Thank you for NAPIBOWRIWEE! It ALWAYS spurs me onward. It shows me I can write a picture book draft everyday. Today was a diverse story. Wish me luck on revising these drafts. And you’re right. There are already A LOT of books out there that are diverse. But let us make more. 🙂 Congrads on your book that’s coming out. Cannot wait to read it. I’m going to buy Scapple.

  5. #7 is DONE! thank you so much paula!!
    and, totally by accident, it ended up being about race. (like laurimeyers, above, I think that a lack of sleep may have helped this quirky little piece find its way out my fingertips and onto the screen — but if that’s what it takes, sobeit)
    i really can’t thank you enough for taking the time to organize and manage this week; i’ve learned so much.
    i can’t wait, now, to go back and read through your last 7 blog posts without the distraction of the ticking clock.

  6. I already treated myself yesterday to cheesecake and iced tea with a new illustrator friend of mine whom I met at a recent local SCBWI conference, so today, it’s whip-cracking time instead. LOL! And how did you know about the panicking? 😉

    I actually have what I think is a great idea (multicultural too!) for today. I just have to sit down and write it now. How is it possible that half the day is gone and I’ve not started writing yet?

    Hope you’ll get your draft in today, too, Paula!

  7. The week has flown by. Happy to have seven drafts (well, I rewrote a second version of one, so maybe I have 8). Thanks for the challenge! My treat will be to work on a revision I’ve been letting sit for a few weeks. Happy Writing.

  8. Thanks again everyone for all your awesome comments. I just posted pics on Twitter here to tease everyone about our contest! Winners announced tomorrow at 6 AM EST on May 8th! My cats Oreo Beethoven and Charlotte helped pick the winners randomly from a bowl! 🙂 xo P.

  9. Wow, this week went fast. I have 7 drafts. Some lots more rough than others…..just saying. But, they are on paper in black and white@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

    Gotta again thank Paula:)


  10. I’ve written three drafts, and I doubt I’ll finish four more in the few hours left of the day–but I wrote three drafts and had fun! Thanks again for sponsoring this, Paula! And now that I think of it, one of my stories is multicultural (while the others could be any culture). I think, growing up in Chicago with a multicultural circle of family and friends, I tend to automatically assemble multicultural casts of characters. I was surprised when I read recently how non-diverse children’s literature is–so again, thanks for emphasizing the importance of diversity!

  11. I have a question regarding writing with a multicultural cast of characters. I’ve been taught to only mention someone’s ethnicity when it’s important–or to only mention a character’s ethnicity/race if I’m mentioning everyone’s ethnicity/race. But sometimes that gets tricky; I want to indicate that the cast is multicultural without labeling people! Any suggestions? Also, when submitting a picture book, when is it appropriate to indicate to the illustrator how the cast is multicultural? Thanks, Paula!

    • Hi! Thanks for participating again. Someone else asked this question, too. My two cents: yes, it’s best NOT to mention race or ethnicity unless it is important to the story or is a detail that pushes the plot forward. If it has nothing to do with race or ethnicity or diversity issues, then yes, you don’t mention it. BUT if you want your picture book to have a diverse group of characters, you can always indicate it in the art notes, like “Art Note: Classroom is filled with a diverse group of students.” and let the illustrator and art director interpret what they will from that. But also – most times editors and publishers and artists already know that they should be illustrating with diverse characters, so they’re already mindful of it. In our interview with Kelly DiPucchio, she made no mention of any of the child characters’ races or ethnicities, nor did she indicate in the art notes that she wanted a diverse group of children. It was already implied/understood that her publisher Disney/Hyperion was pretty self-aware about the importance of diversity so in the end, that book was wonderfully diverse without being preachy or cliched. I hope this helps.

  12. Well, I shouldn’t be commenting, because I haven’t finished my seventh draft yet, but I had the same idea – to treat myself to something for a few minutes. That something was catching up on your NaPi posts. Hooray, it was the right choice! I feel rejuvinated.

    Update: I’m up to four ms and two half ms, so I’ve got an hour and a half to knock them out. This was the first year I made outlines of a couple of the ideas I planned to write. Thank God. It’s going to make drafts seven much easier. Don’t count me out yet! More caffeine!!!

  13. Thank you for doing NaPiBoWriWee every year, Paula. I really look forward to taking some of my ideas that I came up with during PiBoIdMo and turning them into rough drafts!

    Sorry that I haven’t kept up with posting but I have been writing every day and have 4 more rough drafts finished, which brings my total up to 10.

    Still haven’t heard from the agent who asked for a full back on February 13 th, but that’s not stopping me from submitting manuscripts to other agents.

    Again, thank you, Paula for doing this!!

  14. Paula, Thanks for doing NaPiBoWriWee! This was my first time and I was able to complete 7 drafts! I am so excited and motivated.

  15. Hugs and thanks again for everyone’s wonderful comments. SO excited to see veterans and newbies joining us for our 6th annual event. Also touched by people’s interest in diversity in kid lit and how you applied it to your own writing. Very moved by that. I hope everyone has written a lot and learned a lot. Stay tuned for May 8th’s blog posted tomorrow at 6 AM EST with our contest winners, my gift to you! I wish everyone could win but I hope contest or not you have walked away with new drafts – the best prize of all! xo P.

  16. I did it! 7 drafts! That 7th one is pretty much junk, but it has information and foundation, which is workable. I can revise junk; I can’t revise nothing! So I’ll call that progress. 🙂

    This was my first year for NaPiBoWriWee, and I’m so glad I joined in. Now to get to revising!

  17. I didn’t finish all seven manuscripts, but I’m thrilled that I did complete a few first drafts. I’ve been taking care of a sick child for almost a month, and probably would have only squeaked in revisions…but your challenge inspired me to find the time to write a few new picture book drafts. I had to write late at night, and didn’t have as much time to flesh my ideas out as I would’ve liked…but they’re done and ready to mold into something wonderful.

    Thank you so much for the motivation!

  18. Hooray! I did it and there’s still an hour left in today.
    Now – on to revision.
    Thanks for the challenge. Also – thanks for taking the time to focus on diversity and introduce us to some terrific guest authors.

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