Arrrr…Beth Ferry Talks Like a Pirate + Free Donuts!

Ahoy landlubbers!  Tomorrow – September 19 – is TALK LIKE A PIRATE DAY! If you’ve never heard of such a thing, sit back and larn a thing or two about how to talk like a pirate.  Author and pirate expert-in-training Beth Ferry is here to set you straight on pirate lingo.  At the end, thar be donuts!

International Talk Like a Pirate Day happens every September 19th.  Every single September 19th!  That thar be the hornswagglin’ truth.

It is a day that is: a little odd,  a lot of fun,

and a great time to talk about pirate books.

International Talk Like a Pirate Day was invented in 1995.  Which means it is now 21.  And can celebrate with a glass of rum punch.

It was founded by two friends, John Baur and Mark Summers of Oregon, known as The Pirate Guys.  They were playing racquet ball with a cannon ball.

No, not really. (Although that would make for a better story)  When one of them got hit with the regular old racquet ball, he yelled “Arrrr”, and this genius idea was born.

International Talk Like a Pirate Day is the perfect day to be talkin’ about Pirate’s Perfect Pet, which was published in August 2016 by Candlewick Press.


Thar be lots of fun pirate-speak in the book as Captain Crave sets off to find the perfect pet.

Which I bet you guessed from the title.

After reading it, ye’ll be dyin’ to talk like a pirate.

And get a pet.

And write a note to yer mum.

And learn about homophones.

And become a big fan of Matt Myers, because his art be absolutely’ amazin’.

When talking like a pirate, don’t be forgettin’ the 5 As. The Pirate Guys explain it beautifully here:

The 5 As are:

Ahoy – use to greet others, friend and foe alike.

Avast –  use to called attention to something, like a whale or a sale on ice cream.

Arrrrr – use to express frustration, happiness, unhappiness, confusion, or basically anything ye be feelin’.

Aye – use instead of “yes” or when agreein’ to something.

Aye-Aye – use when meaning “yes, sir” or in response to a command, such as “Parrot, please nibble me ear.”    parrot-nibbling-crave

To summarize, a landlubber might say, “I want to read Pirate’s Perfect Pet”, but a pirate would say “I be needin’ to read this merry yarn about swashbucklers.”


For further fun, try this Pirate translator:

There’s a great glossary of pirate terms in the back of Tom Lichtenheld’s Everything I Know About Pirates.  It be a jolly fun book with lots of silly explanations about why pirates do what they do. And I’m a huge Tom Lichtenheld fan.     tom-pirate-book


Another favorite pirate book of mine is How I Became A Pirate by Melinda Long. It is such an awesome read aloud!



Don’t be forgettin’ to visit Krispy Kreme on September 19th. If you talk/dress like a pirate, they’ll be sure to give ye a free donut.  (I told you there were free donuts!)

Google and Facebook both be havin’ “pirate” as a language choice, so go crazy.

I hope ye learned loads from this here blog.  I hope ye had fun.

I hope ye be plannin’ to Talk Like a Pirate on September 19th!!

bethFerry Headshot 500

Beth Ferry is the author of Stick and Stone, a NYT bestseller. She is also the author of Land Shark, Pirate’s Perfect Pet and the upcoming A Small Blue Whale, swimming into print Fall 2017. She lives with her family by the beach in New Jersey. 


Musings on Ice Cream and Picture Books

Musings on Ice Cream and Picture Books
by Beth Ferry                     beth Ferry

I’ve been thinking a lot about ice cream lately.
Maybe because summer is finally more than a distant memory or enticing dream.
Maybe because dream rhymes with cream.
Or maybe because Tom Lichtenheld sketched this adorable scene of Stick and Stone.

s&s ice cream


(For more of Tom’s brilliance, check out: or his website:

But whatever the reason, there it is – ice cream.
At the forefront of my brain.
I am a little amazed by the sheer variety of ice cream flavors that exist.
Over 1,800 according to The Committee for the Analysis and Debate of the Various Aspects of Ice Cream.

Some are tart; some are sweet.
Some are creamy; some are crunchy.
Some are rich; some are light.
My favorite is mint-chocolate chip.
It is sweet, yet refreshing.
Creamy, yet crunchy.
But I also like soft chocolate with chocolate sprinkles.
And vanilla with almonds and peanut butter.
And root beer floats.
It all depends on my mood and the weather and if pumpkins are growing in my garden.
Sometimes their names appeal to me almost as much as their taste.

Blondies are a Swirl’s Best Friend
Monkey Wrench
Pumpkin Praline Pecan
Twixx Fixx
Winter White Chocolate
Witches Brew

There’s alliteration
and word play
and rhyme.
So, of course, my mind wanders to picture books.
The sheer volume and variety.
The intriguing titles that make me want to dive right in.
And of course, their deliciousness.

Picture books are pretty delicious.
Bite-sized books that satisfy and refresh.
Different books for every palate.
Books that make us laugh.
Books that touch our hearts.
Books that teach us something.
Books we can’t forget.
We each have our favorites.
You know what you like, don’t you?

I like the bite of a surprise ending.
And the crunch of some good word play.
I like the creamy smoothness of alliteration.
And a sprinkling of internal rhyme.
A drizzle of Ooohh.
A splash of Ahhhh.
All topped off with the swirl of brilliant illustrations and my perfect picture book sundae is made!
There’s only one word needed: YUM!

Now writing this ice cream dream of a picture book is a whole Nutter Butter Batter.
I mean – A Whole Other Matter.

I might just have some ice cream while I try!

Beth Ferry is the author of Stick and Stone, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, available April 7, 2015.      2014-01-30 07.32.40She is also the author of Land Shark, coming August 4, 2015 and Pirate’s Perfect Pet setting sail in the Fall of 2016. Her latest picture book, Swashby and the Sea, will be released in 2017. Beth writes and lives by the beach in New Jersey with her family and two lazy land sharks. You can learn more at

My Path to Publishing by Beth Ferry + PB Give-away!

I am especially excited today to bring a post by my friend and fellow children’s book author BETH FERRY.  Her debut PB, STICK & STONE ( is being released this month to starred reviews.  “Stick” around, because one lucky reader will have a chance to win a signed copy of this endearing story of friendship.  Here’s Beth with how it all came about:

I’ve always loved reading.
I read while brushing my teeth.
I read while eating breakfast.
I read while walking to the bus stop with my older sister steering me clear of rocks and trees and fast moving vehicles.
I read anything and everything – cereal boxes, shampoo bottles, recipes, and of course, books, books, books!
I became an English major in college because I loved to read.
But I never actually thought of becoming a writer.
I scribbled stories now and again.
I once wrote a story about a “rich, extra body” appearing to a girl who was washing her hair.
That’s what you get when you read shampoo bottles.
But it wasn’t until my kids were well on their way to becoming teens that I decided to commit my time to writing.
I joined SCBWI in 2008 and began writing long, rhyming stories about pirates and pumpkins.
Who knows why?
Then I began learning.
Attending conferences.
Receiving rejections.
Writing and re-writing.
It was a long road.
Full of queries and questions.
Disappointments and disasters.
Until finally I wrote Stick and Stone.
I had challenged myself to write a story under 200 words.
What would it be about?
Something universal and timeless.
At first I decided not to write it in rhyme.
But that was painful.
And no fun.
So I did it anyway.
I wrote Stick and Stone in April 2011.    2014-01-30 07.32.40
135 words.
I brought it to the June NJSCBWI conference.
Got positive feedback.
Thank you, Steve Meltzer!
Sent it to Pippin Properties in August.
Received an offer of representation in September.
Thank you, Elena!
And sold the story to HMH in December.
Thank you, Kate!
Stick and Stone will be released on April 7, 2015.
It is illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld.
Thank you, Tom!
It has been a long journey.                                   beth Ferry
An interesting one.
An exciting one.
A beautifully illustrated one.
And one paved by Stick and Stone.

Beth Ferry is the author of Stick and Stone, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, available April 7, 2015. She is also the author of Land Shark, coming August 4, 2015 and Pirate’s Perfect Pet setting sail in the Fall of 2016. Her latest picture book, Swashby and the Sea, will be released in 2017. Beth writes and lives by the beach in New Jersey with her family and two lazy land sharks. You can learn more about Beth and order her books at:

If you’d like a chance to win a FREE copy of STICK & STONE (HMH Books April 2015), please post a comment below. If you’d like to increase your chances of winning, tweet about this post on Twitter, share it on Facebook, and reblog it. For each additional “shout out,” another entry will be added with your name on it. Just let me know what you did so I can add the correct number of names. Deadline for this great give-away is April 13, 2015.

What’s On Your Picture Book Plate? by Beth Ferry

My Picture Book Plate
by Beth Ferry

Did you know that the food pyramid has been replaced by something called My Plate?
It shows what a plate should contain for a nutritious, filling meal.       640px-USDA_MyPlate_green

This got me thinking about what my Picture Book Plate would look like. What fills my plate and pleases my palate?
What is necessary to make a picture book nourishing and fulfilling to me?
This is basically what it would look like:

my PB plate

You will see my plate is filled with the things that satisfy my particular picture book palate.
I like puns.
And pets.
I love rhyme, especially internal.
I love unexpected endings and unlikely friendships.
Funny and warm, sweet and silly – these are the types of books I like.

Most of these themes, styles, and devices are common in picture books, but the specific books that I would pile upon my plate might be very different than someone else’s.
Here is a small sample of some of the books that inspire me:        my PB plate2
Learning what I like in other picture books helps me become a better PB writer.
It might help you too.

So identify the ingredients that please you.
Then seek out the books that use them successfully.
Devour them!
Taste the words.
Savor the ideas.
Feast on the funny.
Partake in some puns.
Sample different styles.
Every palate is unique.
Every plate is different.
What fills yours?

BETH FERRY is the author of the soon-to-be-release picture book STICK & STONE illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld.   Visit her on Twitter @bethferry   stick and stoneCheck out the webpage and trailer for the book: