This is the blog home of #kidlitart, a live Twitter chat Thursdays at 9:00 pm Eastern, for children's book illustrators, picture book authors, author/illustrators and friends. Check back weekly to read transcripts, comment on previous chats and suggest topics for upcoming chats.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Writing wrap-up

We've talked about some of the "rules" for creating a picture book, heard from a debut picture book author on her path to publication, and shared examples of favorite picture books. So far, we’ve concentrated on story text, but there are other categories of picture books which accommodate text in a different way--or not at all:

1) Nonfiction
Biography, how-to, clever investigations of topical or offbeat subjects—parents, teachers and librarians are always looking for fresh ways to deliver information. These books often expand the traditional picture-book age range and may be used in classrooms well into the middle grades.

Examples: The Man Who Walked Between the Towers, by Mordicai Gerstein; Pop! The Invention of Bubble Gum, by Meghan McCarthy.

2) Concept books
Actually a subset of nonfiction, these books introduce children to the alphabet, numbers, colors, seasons, daily routines, etc.

Examples: Mouse Paint, by Ellen Stoll Walsh; The Racecar Alphabet, by Brian Floca.

3) Minimalist word-pictures
These books contain spare, lyrical text describing a scene or action.

Examples: Rain Rain Rivers, by Uri Shulevitz; Freight Train, by Donald Crews.

4) Wordless picture books
These contain true stories, told without text.

Examples: Chalk, by Bill Thomson; Flotsam, by David Wiesner

Here’s a fun exercise: take the story you’ve been working on and imagine how you might expand your idea into a different picture book treatment: did you do research about vintage tractors to get the details right about your barnyard setting? That could be the basis for a nonfiction book about farm equipment, or the invention of the tractor. Maybe you could use some of your secondary characters for a counting book—how many chicks hatched today? Or you could focus on the cozy sounds of the animals settling in for the night. If you had no words at all, how would you structure each scene to clearly show your original plot?

Join us on Thursday, February 3, to discuss how exploring different picture book treatments may help you discover that unique perspective only you can deliver to your dummy project.

Time: 9 pm Eastern

Topic: Who needs a plot? From “One, Two, Three” to “Goodnight, Moon”

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