Extract from Bailey’s Writing Tips podcast episode 009 (Oct 2010) – younger children

  • Picture books are obviously designed for younger children and there are many types available including board/cloth/padded baby books, pop-up books, flap books (where the child pulls tabs to reveal something), books with holes in the pages (revealing something exciting on the next page), pictorial consequences (pages cut horizontally in several places so you can make different pictures by turning one or more horizontal strip), picture books with minimal or longer text and wordless picture books. A good trick is to make a book educational without the child realising.
  • Things to watch out for when writing a picture book text include: dialogue – too much dialogue it’s said is tedious to read aloud and dull to illustrate because there is no action. Cultural differences – certain details may cause problems for the illustrator when co-publishing and overseas sales are considered: food varies so much from country to country; vehicles drive on different sides of the road; typical pets, landscapes, buildings and so on vary. Rhyming verse: there are mixed views on rhyming verse with some editors having reservations about verse-written stories as they can trivialise the story by making it sound humorous but the same story in prose may be revealed as flat and mundane. For the illustrator, a formal verse structure is bound to be reflected in a formalised layout, which will need to be varied by ingenious means if the book is not to look too repetitive. So the best advice really would be to write it, if you can in both formats, and see how it feels to you.
  • The Children’s Laureate, currently sponsored by Waterstone’s, is a position awarded in the UK once every two years to a distinguished writer or illustrator of children’s books. Anthony Browne is the current Children’s Laureate and Michael Rosen held this position from 2007-9, taking over from author Jacqueline Wilson (2005-7), Michael Morpurgo before her, Anne Fine (2001-3) and initially Quentin Blake (who illustrated most of Roald Dahl’s children’s books) 1999-2001. The idea for the Children’s Laureate originated from a conversation between Poet Laureate, Ted Hughes and prolific story teller Michael Morpurgo. The main website for reference is www.childrenslaureate.org.uk but http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Children’s_Laureate also makes an interesting read and details other children’s awards including the Blue Peter Book Award, Nestle Smarties Book Prize and the Carnegie Medal.
  • The British Library released a CD around the £10 mark called ‘The Spoken Word: Children’s Writers’ which includes the only known recording of AA Milne reading ‘Winnie-the-Pooh’ as well as contributions from JRR Tolkien, Roald Dahl and Philip Pullman amongst others. Order reference number is 0712315182.

We'd love you to leave a comment, thank you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.