Saturday, February 6, 2021


This month, the Judges are sharing the Book Love with our Readers (and the world). Click on the links to buy books and support both our authors and our book chat through the Amazon Associates program. #Ad

Brenda Sturgis: Author of STILL A FAMILY. I would have to say my most favorite picture book of all time is John Lithgow’s MiCawber. It is a visual feast, and the word choices are sublime. It teachers the readers about art and famous artists while using fabulous words like peregrination. Rhyme is incredibly difficult, but Mr. Lithgow creates a read that is spectacular on every level. I never get tired of reading it and learning from it, any time we can sprinkle new words in front of children, is in my opinion, a way to expand their vocabulary palate giving them a more voracious appetite for language, but as far as the craft of writing, I would have to say Lisa Wheeler taught a class that I hosted and I learned so much from her about picture book writing, how a character has to earn their name, and leaving lots of white space in your manuscript.

Lynne Marie, Author of LET'S EAT! MEALTIME AROUND THE WORLD, is absolutely *head-over-heels* for Blake Snyder's Save the Cat 6-Book Series! I love the art of story conventions and these books are absolutely brilliant for understanding log-lines (pitches), characters we can identify and root for, structure, plot beats, and MORE! Best, his wonderful examples bring what he is saying to life.

Katie Frawley, author of TABITHA AND FRITZ TRADE PLACES. The first book I read on the craft ofwriting picture books was Ann Whitford Paul's aptly named WRITING PICTURE BOOKS! It is a wonderful book for beginners. Writing picture books is very different from any other form of writing. There is a lot of PB-specific knowledge you need before you can really start honing your manuscripts. If you're a newbie in the world of picture books, I highly recommend it.

Kirsti Call, Author of MOOTILDA'S BAD MOOD. I first read WRITING DOWN THE BONES: FREEING THE WRITER WITHIN by Natalie Goldberg when I was a teenager. It's still one of my very favorite books for writing exercises, motivation and inspiration in my writing. This book helps me understand my compelling reason for writing and makes me a better writer as well!

Laura Roettiger, author of ALIANA REACHES FOR THE MOON. I’ve been studying Cheryl Klein’s THE MAGIC WORDS at the suggestion of a mentor and dear friend. The main reminder I have posted is characters need to DO THINGS. I’m using this for writing MG.

Linda Elovitz Marshall, author of ANNE FRANK: THE GIRL HEARD AROUND THE WORLD. Successful picture books need a BIG story - something universal, something that deals with a truth about life, about the world around. I find that Ann Whitford Paul's WRITING PICTURE BOOKS: A Hands-On Guide From Story Creation to Publication is helpful for both new and experienced picture book authors.

Amy Houts, author of MAYE'S MARCH FOR WOMEN'S VOTES, highly recommends reading Lisa Cron's book, WIRED FOR STORY, which using brain science to hook readers. Each chapter focuses on an aspect of the brain and how it relates to story. While Ms. Cron's examples feature novels, screenplays and short stories, her amazing revelations and strategies can be applied for any age group. This book will make your ability to write grow by leaps and bounds. 

Rosie J. Pova, author of SUNDAY RAIN. It's hard to pick just one book on craft because I have several that I really like and have been very helpful to me in the past, but since I'm supposed to mention just one, I'll go with CREATING CHARACTERS KIDS WILL LOVE, by Elaine Marie Alphin, because a strong, well-rounded character is a must, and this book's main focus is to help writers create those characters. The book has lots of practical advice and exercises with every chapter, and also explores every aspect of the character through multiple angles. And for a full list of some other craft books that I recommend, visit the About/Resources page on my website:

Lauren H. Kerstein, Author of HOME FOR A WHILE, loves WRITING WITH PICTURES: HOW TO WRITE AND ILLUSTRATE CHILDREN'S BOOKS by Uri Shulevitz. I love the way Shulevitz sheds light on the visual process of storytelling. This book truly helped me look at my picture book manuscripts through visual eyes.

We hope that everyone will find these books helpful while you navigate your craft. If so, please let us know! And please feel free to take advantage of our "Ask An Author" Feature in the Rate Your Story General Newsletter. 

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