Liza Rose

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Writing for picture books

Some time ago, I posted about the poem that my son and I wrote together. I started to recite it two days ago out of curiosity, and found to both my delight and horror, he was word perfect, despite having really heard it only three times when we originally came up with it. He obviously liked it and it must have resonated, but I don't really see it making it into the annals of history as one of the best loved Children's Poems.

It got me to thinking - I know what the publishers are looking for, but what are the kids looking for in a book? I took a tour through his bookshelf, which admittedly I have stocked in the main and found three books by Nick Bland, three by Sandra Boynton, and three Octonauts books by meomi. Generally he has one or two books each by a large number of other authors, none of which are as dogeared and well loved as these nine. Is it that he recognizes the pattern or common elements that run through these books, is it that I read them to him in a more enthusiastic manner or is it that the publishers have a good handle on what is needed?

I have always been a great believer that any children's programming and reading that appeals to adults will provide both a better level of education, and an encouragement to parents to share their child's interest (thus promoting that education as a positive experience). On the other hand I am also a great believer that reading is just fun too and want to instill that of books and reading in my son, a task that is more difficult every day in this age of TV.

Also, what ages like picture books? And when is a picture book not a picture book! Good job I'm taking that course. When I consider the three authors named above, their styles are completely different, their vocabulary equally so, and yet for different reasons, my son loves each one of them.

Still, I am going to take a fresh look at my current project "Ant in My Wellies" (from which this blog gets its name) and am thinking a gutting and rewrite is in order. I want to produce a book that not only a publisher likes, but that becomes a favoured dogeared book by at least one child out there!

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