Nancy's Books

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Let’s Talk Picture Books, Part 4

Our stories should entertain, first and foremost, but they should also give readers something to think about, both as they read the story and after the book is finished—maybe a question about courage or friendship. The theme of the story is the underlying message, the big idea, of the story. We should never go overboard with teaching or hammering our message. A subtle guide is all that is needed. Consider ideas that you would have enjoyed reading about or what you needed to know when you were the age of the targeted audience. Did you lose a pet that left you heartbroken? Did your best friend move away and you grieved over the loss? Did you have to deal with a bully? Reflect on events in your childhood and how reading about characters who dealt with similar situations resonated with you emotionally. Kids identify with characters and in doing so learn more about themselves.
Kids relate to book characters and want to learn more. That’s the reason series are so popular. When writing, think in terms of the child character. How will the child relate to this situation? What would a child say and how would a child say it?
Try this exercise: Choose a situation: lost pet, best friend moving away, or a bully. Write a few paragraphs as an eight-year-old. Rewrite it from the perspective of a five-year-old. Use narrative and dialog.
Reading books geared toward both age groups will give you a good understanding of the differences in the writing.
Call for Submissions for Young Writers:
Guardian Angel Kids. A children's Ezine designed for healthy and safe entertainment for children. Includes stories, poetry, video, audio, games, free coloring pages, and more. Submissions accepted from young writers and artists up to 12 years old.
Call for Submissions for Adult Writers:
Humpty Dumpty Magazine (ages 2-6)
FICTION: Short stories 450 words or less.
BUILD-A-BOOK: We are accepting short mini-stories of 70-125 words. These should be positive and light-hearted; often humorous. Characters can be children or animals. We welcome material that deals with kindness, love, good manners, friendship, holidays, and seasons.
NONFICTION: We accept short articles of 300 words or less on science and nature, as well as age-appropriate how-to projects.
POETRY: We accept poems 4-12 line poems. Please remember the age of your audience.
CRAFTS: We accept fun crafts of 250 words or less that young children can make with a bit of adult help. Crafts can celebrate holidays or seasons. Materials should be inexpensive and easy to obtain. Include easy-to-understand steps and directions and, if possible, include a photo of the finished craft.
Submission guidelines at


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