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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Everything you need to know about picture books!

Tons of celebrities have written them, and just about everyone you meet thinks they can write one. What am I talking about? Picture books! Although you see picture books just about everywhere you go, finding a quality one is not easy. Too long. Too short. Terrible art. Too confusing. Too busy. Too cliché. Ugh.

But they don't have to be.

Here's a basic definition of a picture book: a picture book is a book in which the illustrations play a significant role in telling the story. Traditionally, picture books are 32-page books for ages 4-8.

Here are a few helpful tips for writing a picture book:
-Know your audience. Children under 3 may miss the humor, and children over 8 may feel too old. Usually prek-1 is a good age range for picture books.
-Most picture books are 32 pages, so do not submit a 15-page picture book to editors.
-Check your word count and edit, edit, edit. There is nothing worse than a super long picture book. Keep the story under 1,000 words (500-750 is ideal).
-Picture books are meant to be read out loud, so read your story out loud and make sure it flows.
-Be original.
-Make a memorable character.

There you have it. If you want some good examples, check out Picture Window Books's two new picture book series: Little Boost and Monster Street.

--Christianne Jones
Managing Editor


Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Christianne--I didn't realize you guys published picture books. I thought most of your books were early chapter books and graphic novels.

Nice post! I'll link it to one of my posts this week. :)

Amy Houts said...

Christianne, Your informative summary of a picture book is very helpful! I'm going to post the link on my Facebook page. Thanks! ~ Amy

Pragmatic Mom said...

I haven't heard of these books and I will look for them. Nice to know. Thanks for post!

Pragmatic Mom
Type A Parenting for the Modern World

I blog on children's lit, education and parenting