Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Thumbs Up for Ann Whitford Paul's Writing Picture Books! , and Another Book Giveaway!

Thumbs Up for Ann Whitford Paul’s right on, write on (!) Writing Picture Books: A Hands-On Guide from Story Creation to Publication (Writer’s Digest, 2009).

I confess upfront: I admire Ann Whitford Paul’s picture books; I value her Writing Workshops; I’m an ardent fan of this talented children’s book writer.
However, even if I didn’t treasure this fellow Teaching Author, I’d recommend her text to all who write – and want to write – picture books.

In fact, for the first time ever in my upcoming Picture Book Workshop at Chicago’s Newberry Library beginning late September, I’ve listed Ann’s book as required reading.

The Truth is: Ann gets this singular art form.
She understands its grounding and place in children’s literature.
She knows only too well, there’s first the story, then the telling.

Both the book’s content and its organization reflect Ann’s knowledge and experience as an award-winning picture book author and as a much-respected teacher.

The need to know children’s books published today.
Characterization’s role in creating flawless stories.
Structure. Plotting.
Beginning, middle, end.
Scenes and Show, Don’t Tell.
Stories in rhyme.
Word choice. Rhythm.
Tight writing.
How to submit and keep keepin' on.

For each teaching point, Ann offers not only supportive titles and authors to read and know; she also offers up her personal experiences.
Each chapter concludes with a preview of the coming chapter, then content-related exercises titled “Before You Go On.”
And throughout, writers are encouraged to apply what’s learned to two selected picture books chosen at the start (one loved, one hated), to their own work and to the work of others.

The first page of Writing Picture Books says it all.
Ann wrote the book in loving memory of Sue Alexander, a beloved teacher, friend and SCBWI stalwart who modeled by sharing her love and knowledge of the picture book.
Ann dedicates the book to “anyone who has ever written or dreamed of writing a picture book.”
She notes a portion of the book’s proceeds will help fund SCBWI’s Barbara Karlin Grant that recognizes and encourages the work of aspiring picture book writers.

Ann Whitford Paul gets - and loves - the picture book.
But even more important?
Ann Whitford Paul gets - and loves -the picture book writer.

For more information, you can read an excerpt for yourself or visit Ann's website.

When we hosted Ann's blog tour for Writing Picture Books back in July, we promised a second-chance drawing for another of her books. So, if you haven't won any of our previous giveaways, now is your chance! Ann is providing a free, autographed copy of her picture book Word Builder, illustrated by Kurt Cyrus, for one lucky reader. To enter our drawing, you must post a comment sharing the title of a favorite book on how to write for children and/or teens. Be sure to include your email address, and please read our complete giveaway guidelines before you post. To be eligible, you must post your comment by midnight (CST) on Friday, September 18, 2009. The winner will be announced Saturday, September 19.


JJ said...

Favorite book? Hmmm....

Writing Magic: Creating Stories That Fly by Gail Carson Levine


Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Hmm. I don't have a favorite writing book. There's no need to enter me, anyway. I'm just dropping in to say thanks for the e-mail. I've got this posted over at Win a Book for you.

Sarah Campbell said...

Picture Writing by Anastasia Suen.
This book helped me sort out the differences between different types of picture books. It helped me put a name to what I was writing.
(Make sure you include the "c" between Sarah and Campbell or it won't get to me. Thanks.)

KR said...

Ann's book of course. Please count me in!


Myra said...

One of my favorites is Jean Karl's How to Write and Sell Children's Picture Books. She discusses everything from basic writing skills to living the life of a writer (ahh, the thought of it).
Myra Sanderman

Corey Schwartz said...

I like Heidi Bine-Stock's series How to Write a Children's Picture Book. (I own two of the three volumes)

Margo Dill said...

My favorite writing book of all time is Stephen King's ON WRITING. It might not be geared specifically for children and teens, however, I am constantly quoting it at my critique group. (If any of them are reading this comment, they are nodding their heads right now.) He has two great pieces of advice that really pertain to children's writing (among many): Watch your adverbs--don't use them. And when writing descriptions of characters, leave out the clothes description unless really important. King doesn't want to feel like he is reading a JC Penney catalog--he wants a description of the person--physical and mental characteristics. Good advice! :)

Read these Books and Use Them

Leanne Pankuch said...

Hello: Picture Writing by Anastasia Suen(already mentioned) is definitely my favorite, but How to Write a Children's Book and Get It Published by Barbara Seuling was very helpful regarding some of the more pracical aspects of the business--a fun and very informative book. :)

Leanne Pankuch said...

Ooops, I didn't follow the rules! :) This time I posted my contact email. :)

Hello: Picture Writing by Anastasia Suen(already mentioned) is definitely my favorite, but How to Write a Children's Book and Get It Published by Barbara Seuling was very helpful regarding some of the more practical aspects of the business--a fun and very informative book. :)

Anonymous said...

I bought Ann's book the other day and am absolutely immersed in it. What a wealth of great advice! After a dozen novels, I'm trying to write a PB. SO much harder than writing than a novel! (Like writing War And Peace on a matchbook cover, somebody once said.)

Katie said...

I think my favorite book to use when teaching writing with children is Katie Rae Wood's, About the Authors: Writing Workshop with Our Youngest Writers. I would love to win this giveaway - one can never have too many writing resources!

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

This sounds like a wonderful book. A book I have that's good is The Children's Picture Book by Ellen E. M. Roberts. Also, even though it isn't just for picture books, Tracy E. Dils You Can Write Children's Books has a chapter on picture books.


Esther Hershenhorn said...

Thanks to all who took the time to share - their - favorite writing books.
I'm busy placing books on hold and utilizing my bookstore discounts.