"An Itty Bitty Column on Writing" by Mindy Phillips Lawrence
From Sharing with Writers (Carolyn Howard-Johnson)
July 21, 2009
Writing books for children is a special market, one that determines a child’s love of words early on. It’s also challenging. Do you write books for children to read on their own or to be read to them by an adult? What about vocabulary and length? What about content? What about art?
Kids’ stuff in writing combines the delight of art and the magic of words in combination in order to paint a word-image picture for children. It’s a hard balance.
One of my favorite books for children is Maurice Sendak’s WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE. When it first came out in 1963, people questioned the drawings in it, a series of monsters. By 1964, it had won the Caldecott Medal for its original artwork.
Historically known children’s writer-artists such as Kate Greenaway (1846-1901), depicted an idyllic life for children in her books using words and soft watercolor artwork. Her famous drawings of little girls caused parents to dress their daughters in the high-waisted frocks and pantaloons of the characters.
Modern children’s writers write about problems that children face as they grow up–-like divorce and moral issues. Children’s writers have to know how far to go in these books and how to present the material to a young audience.
Below, you will find some links that will help you with writing kids’ stuff. Good luck in carrying the love of words to the next generation.
WRITING FOR YOUNG READERS, Eugie Foster
WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE, Maurice Sendak
Children’s Writing – Writer’s Write
Stone Soup – A magazine for children
Writing Multicultural Children’s Books
Writing for Children
Kathe Gogolewski – Writer/Book Illustrator