The First Annual Peanut Butter and Jelly Invitational is The Great British Baking Show for picky eaters who happen to be PB&J connoisseurs. Stay-at-home dad Simon has made at least 10,000 PB&Js for his three kids, earning him a spot in THE FIRST ANNUAL PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLY INVITATIONAL. The problem is he’s only ever made plain sandwiches. There’s no way he stands a chance against trained chefs who not only make their own jam but also have excellent food presentation skills. That is, unless his daughter, Winifred, can make sure the competition is a fair one.

I got the idea for this 586 word picture book when I tried—and failed—to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for my kids. All I heard from them was how their dad did it so much better. I took that idea and put it in the context of a reality cooking show. My husband has been lucky enough to stay home with our three children for the past several years, and I have witnessed how hard his job is. I want to empower other stay-at-home dads who often feel invisible, unappreciated, or ostracized.

I am a graduate of the USC Master of Professional Writing Program, active member of SCBWI, and volunteer for WriteGirl. I live in Los Angeles with my husband (also a writer), three young kids (who are all really into books), and an adventurous cat. I have had several poems published both online and in journals such as Phoebe. In addition to picture books, I am currently writing a contemporary OwnVoices middle grade novel set in New Mexico. Working on craft is important to me, and I am a member of two critique groups. Also, I have been lucky enough to be a WriteMentor mentee this year for the book I’m querying.

And even though I am a dedicated writer, I make terrible peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Just ask my children.

Thank you for your time. I am excited about the possibility of working with you.

Warmly,

Brenda Miller

 

 

The First Annual Peanut Butter and Jelly Invitational

 

            Dad stood at his cooking station and looked out into the audience at my sister, brother, and me.

Someone yelled, “Action!”

I sat on my hands—I was so excited!

“Welcome! I’m your host, Alex. We’ve brought in some exciting chefs to showcase what taste bud shattering possibilities can be found in this classic dish—peanut butter and jelly.

“There’s Tonya, youngest chef to win a Michelin Star. Seasoned chef, Umberto, from acclaimed kitchens in Madrid and Portland. Claudia, inventive pastry chef whose intricate creations have graced royal tables. And finally . . .

            We have, um, what’s your name again?”

“Simon.”

“And what exactlyare yourqualifications?”

Poor Dad. I wanted to give him a hug.

“I’ve made over 10,000 PB&Js for my children.”

I did the math in my head. Dad was right.

“Hmm . . . Let’s get started. You each have 30 minutes to plan, prepare, and plate the perfect PB&J to wow our secret judge. On your marks, get set, go!”

            “What’s this?” Alex asked Umberto.

“I’m grinding my own peanut butter with these Valencia peanuts and this beautiful sea salt.”

That sounded fancy. Too fancy.

“How about you?” Alex asked Claudia.

“I’m making a quick jam with these perfectly ripe organic raspberries. I just hope it sets in time!”

Fresh raspberry jam. Yikes! Dad had to up his game.