Wednesday, March 20, 2024

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! Celebrating GROG Blog’s 10th ~ By Julie Phend

Happy Tenth Anniversary, GROG!

The GROG Blog has been offering support, information, and encouragement to members of the children's writing community for ten years! To celebrate this milestone, we're going to review GROG's history and mission and highlight some of the people who have made this wonderful resource happen. And for you, our readers, we're offering gifts and prizes as a thank-you for spreading the word. 

Intrigued? Read on.

The GROG Mission:
To provide:
    G: Guidance and support
    R: Resources on the craft of writing
    O: Opportunities to expand our skills
    G: Great folks who support readers and writers of all ages.
That spells GROG!

How Did GROG Get Started?
2014 WOW Retreat
The GROG origin story began in the mountains of Georgia in the summers of 2013-2014 when a group of writers who didn't know each other bonded at the Week of Writing (WOW) nonfiction writing retreat. GROG evolved out of their desire to gather a group of writers to form a new blog about children's literature. Being energetic, intrepid souls, these writers made their vision a reality.

Kathy Halsey & Christy Mihaly

Two of the writers at that original event, Kathy Halsey and Christy Mihaly, are still writing for the GROG blog. GROG grew by inviting writers from all over the world through online forums.

One of the original online recruits is Tina Cho.  
"In 2014, I was living
Tina Cho
in South Korea with my husband and kids," she said. "I had started writing in 2008, so when we moved to Korea, I participated virtually in critique groups, blogs, and social media groups. I started with the GROG blog when I took Kristin Fulton's nonfiction picture book biography class online. Todd Burleson was in the class, and he asked if we'd like to continue together and write a blog. I joined and have been submitting blog posts ever since."

Let's give a SHOUT OUT  to original Groggers Tina Cho, Kathy Halsey, and Christy Mihaly, who have been contributing great information for TEN YEARS! 

Watching the GROG Grow

The first GROG post came out on February 24, 2014. At that time, there were fourteen contributing writers. GROG came out daily, with a different focus each day. Talk about ambitious! 

Here's a quote from one of the first posts on March 22, 2014: "Why are we doing this? The answer is simple. It is for YOU--the writers, librarians, teachers, and lovers of books--especially books for young readers." That's still true today.

The post listed the fourteen original bloggers: Jan Godown Annino, Tina Cho, Christy Mihaly, Sherri Jones Rivers, Patricia Toht, Marcie Flinchum Atkins, Leslie Colin Tribble, Pam Vaughn, Suzy Leopold, Janie Reinart, Todd Burleston, Kathy Halsey, Cheryl Mansfield, and Jackie Wellington. I'm sure many of their names are familiar. (You can read the full post here.)
An early WOW Retreat
With some of the original Groggers

Over the years, the GROG blog has evolved and changed. Some bloggers moved on, and new voices were added. We now post weekly instead of every day. But our mission is unchanged. GROG remains a great place of enlightenment and support in the children's writing community.

Did You Say Something about GIFTS and PRIZES?

You bet! Keep reading to learn how. (Even that has roots in the past.)

How does a new blog get readers?

With a Blog Launch, of course. GROG's launch ran from March 24-April 7, 2014. Bloggers conducted a raffle, giving away free books and services. Readers could enter by visiting the blog and leaving a comment, signing up to subscribe, and re-posting about GROG on social media. The more you did to spread the word, the better your chance of winning a prize.

It worked, too. In its first year, the GROG blog had over 59,000 page views and 16,732 visitors from all over the world. (See the whole post at Happy One Year Anniversary )

As of today, GROG has 851, 244 views with 13,483 comments on 814 posts. Well done, Groggers!

Happy Ten Year Anniversary: 
GROG Giveaway!
In celebration of our tenth anniversary, we're doing another giveaway. Here's your chance to be part of our story and win some fabulous prizes.

How to Enter the Raffle:

We're giving away 10 prizes over 10 days! To enter, you need to comment on a blog post and follow the GROG Blog. For an extra entry, reblog a post on another form of social media and share the link.

What Can You Win?

Here are the prizes and the date entries will open for each one, as well as link to follow:




Day 1

3/20 Tina Cho, My Breakfast with Jesus


Day 2

3/21 Sue Heavenrich, The Pie that Molly Grew


Day 3

3/22 Eileen Meyer, The Superlative A Lincoln and swag bag


Day 4

3/23 Christy Mihaly, three-book package: Little Golden Book about Mel Brooks; Patience, Patches; and choice of Free for You and Me or The Supreme Court and Us


Day 5

3/24 Julie Phend, D-Day and Beyond: A True Story of Escape and POW Survival


Day 6

3/25 Tina Cho, God's Little Astronomer





Day 7

3/26 An Ask Me Anything Zoom chat with author, speaker, former librarian Kathy Halsey (For more information, see Ask Infowoman: A Library Consult )


Day 8

3/27 An Ask Me Anything Zoom chat with author Sue Heavenrich


Day 9

3/28 A nonfiction manuscript critique from author, editor, and agent Fran Hodgkins (1500 words, max. )


Day 10

3/29 One ten-page fiction manuscript critique by author Julie Phend



THANK YOU for being a GROG reader and helping us spread the word about this great resource. Sign up to follow us each Wednesday for informative new posts and Blasts from the Past, where you'll find previous posts that are still relevant today. 

Look for a post on May 29, when I'll interview some long-time Groggers about what's changed in the world of children's publishing over the past ten years.

And good luck with the RAFFLE!




  1. Happy Anniversary to us! It's been fun blogging with you all over the years!

  2. What a tribute to friendship and the endless possibilities in writing for children!

  3. Sorry - I made the above comment!

  4. Happy Anniversary GROG team! I understand how much time and energy goes into years of blogging.

    1. Ty, Manju! Yes, you are boss blogger, too. Ty for what you do for the community!

  5. Happy Happy Anniversary to the amazing GROG!!!

    1. Ty, Mona, fro being a part of it. I hope you'll guest blog again!

  6. Congratulations on your anniversary! Ten years is a HUGE accomplishment!!

  7. Happy Tenth Anniversary, GROGgers! You have created an amazing resource for writers and readers. Congratulations!! Here's to ALL of YOU!

    1. Because there are fifty-zillion Beths out there, I thought I'd clarify which Beth is this Beth.

  8. Thank you all for being part of the GROG story! Keep reading and spreading the word. Hope you'll all enter the raffle.

  9. I’m so proud of all of the writers who have put so much heart into this blog over these ten years! Congratulations!

  10. Congrats on TEN YEARS, Groggers! I'm happy that I was part of the team for a few years. I enjoyed getting to know all of you and working together. (I'm still blogging, just with the Rhyme Docs and I couldn't keep up multiple blog assignments. . . LOL!) Best wishes for another TEN years of insightful posts!

  11. Happy Anniversary! I've enjoyed reading your blog down through the years. I've tweeted your post.

  12. Happy happy 10th Blogoversary to all the GROGGERS!! Very impressive. Daily posts originally! Holy moly. Thanks for all the info and inspiration over the years.

    1. This comment made me laugh. Holy Moly, indeed. Such an ambitious group of Groggers!

  13. Above comment from me ;) Lindsey McDivitt

  14. That is an amazing feat to be blogging together for 10 years! Congratulations!

  15. Congrats on 10 years. That is a wonderful achievement.

  16. I loved being part of the GROG. Y’all are awesome!

    1. This is Leslie, by the way. I’m really not anonymous!

  17. How wonderful and amazing - 10 years of blogging! Congratulations to all and Happy Birthday! 🎂🎉

  18. You were one of the first blogs recommended to me when I began writing for kids 10 years ago...I have loved you ever since. You all provide such great information to those passionate about writing and learning the craft. THANK YOU! I'm also honored to have been featured here a couple of times. Also, ten years of blogging is AMAZING! Well done!

  19. What a wonderful endorsement, Annette!