I celebrate March 4th every year. To me, it feels like the true beginning of spring. March forth! Read all about it in this post I wrote last year.
Besides being my favorite date, today is the final day of Baby Says, “Moo!” Week at Teaching Authors.com—but the Book Giveaway continues! To celebrate the publication of my new rhyming picture book, we’re giving away an autographed copy. Entry details below!
As my contribution to the picture book topic the other Teaching Authors have already addressed, I’m sharing some lessons I learned by looking back at the writing and publishing process for each of my five picture books. I’ve posted one each day this week.
Baby Says “Moo!” (Disney-Hyperion Books, illustrated by David Walker) is a cumulative story with the most complex structure I’ve ever attempted. Baby's parents, in an effort to teach animal sounds, ask, "Baby, what do birds say?", "Baby, what do cats say?", and so on, and Baby answers, "Moo!" Each time Baby's parents provide the correct answer, all the previously encountered animals are repeated. In reverse order. In rhyming stanzas.
Before she offered a contract, my editor asked me to make the story flow in a more logical way by reconsidering the order in which the animals appeared. I agonized. I tried to get away with a moderate revision because I was afraid to attempt what I knew would be a really difficult process. I finally had to give in, tear the whole thing apart, and start over.
What surprised me was that the process—like solving an elaborate puzzle—was not only challenging but also tons of fun! The final version was much more satisfying and well worth the effort.
Lesson #5: Don’t be afraid to work hard.
I’ve been inspired by all the different approaches to writing picture books described in this series of Teaching Author posts. I hope some of our comments are helpful to you, too. Maybe the most important things to remember are that we each have our own way of working and that each book might require a unique approach. Discovering the method that works is a necessary and exciting part of the process.
Baby Says “Moo!” Giveaway
To enter the drawing for an autographed copy of Baby Says “Moo!”, follow these steps:
1. Post a comment on any post this week and tell us about a learning game you’ve played with children. Enter only once, please!
2. Include your contact information in your comment. If you are not a blogger or your e-mail address is not accessible from your online profile, provide a valid e-mail address in your comment. Feel free to disguise your address by spelling out portions, such as [at] and [dot].
3. Post your comment by 11 p.m. (CST) Monday, March 7, 2011.
• must have a mailing address in the United States.
• will be determined using the random number generator at Random.org.
• will be announced on Tuesday, March 8.
• automatically grants us permission to post his or her name on our Teaching Authors web site.
• will also be notified by e-mail.
• must respond to the notification e-mail and provide a mailing address within 72 hours, or the prize will be forfeited and an alternate winner will be chosen.
JoAnn Early Macken