Name: Nia Alavezos

Twitter Handle: @aloofness

YA or MG: MG

Genre: MG Children’s Book/Fantasy

Title: The Misadventures of Oliver the Penguin

Twitter Pitch (140 characters max): A penguin must face his insecurities and fears of the outside world in order to fulfill his dreams of becoming a wildlife biologist

1st 250 words of opening: My name’s Oliver and one day I’m going to be a wildlife biologist.

Mr. Murphy, one of the scientists here in Antarctica, told me to start writing my own journal, just so I can practice my observational skills and note taking for when that big day finally comes.

He’s here with a group of scientists who are studying the different types of animals that live in Antarctica.

OK, wait a second, no one told me it would be this hard holding a pen with my flipper! Maybe I should try writing with my beak instead? How do the humans do it?

Oops!

Did I mention I’m an emperor penguin? I probably should have said that to begin with, sorry.

Honestly I’m still getting used to calling myself a penguin, I’ve always been a penguin, but I don’t go around calling myself one every single day. I don’t see humans shouting to each other, “Human! Look I’m Human!” all the time either.

Anyways, I’m going to be just like Mr. Murphy one day: the first penguin wildlife biologist, thank you very much. That is, if I ever become brave enough to leave Antarctica.

I’m still working on that bit.

You probably think life’s a breeze living here from all those nature programs and funny animated movies humans seem to love. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but there’s no dancing in my colony, penguins hate dancing; but when you’re only born with one flipper, life’s really not as fun as it looks.

Synopsis (200 word max): Oliver has always dreamed of becoming a wildlife biologist. His only problem? He’s an emperor penguin and was only born with one flipper. Oliver has gone through most of his life without much confidence; he’s been bullied by other penguins in Antarctica and he’s afraid of even dipping his flipper in the water around his home. Instead Oliver takes refuge with human scientists who’ve come to study in Antarctica and finds comfort with his beak nose deep in books.

Everything changes when Oliver discovers a message in a bottle that’s frozen off the shores of Antarctica. Inside is a photograph of a couple, a love letter, and a necklace. The only clue Oliver has about the owner of the bottle is a Welsh address on the back of the photograph and the date 1943.

This is what Oliver’s been waiting for his whole life – the chance to do something meaningful and his first real opportunity for a proper exploration. But Oliver must now face his insecurities and fears of the outside world in order to not only deliver the contents of the bottle back to the original owner, but to also fulfill his dreams of becoming a wildlife biologist.

Feedback tips (any areas where you specifically want people to focus?): Anything about the voice, characterization, and tone would be awesome. Thank you!