Books about writing books

Those of you that know me, know that I am a sucker for a good resource book. Often, I am guilty of buying way to many, much to the chagrin of my husband. Now that I am fully entrenched in the 12 by 12 picture book challenge a new world has opened up to me through the many posts of the ultra-talented 12 by 12 challenge participants. Here are just a few of the writing resource books that focus on writing for children been part of some of our forum discussions that I have found really useful.

Writing Picture Books: A Hands-On Guide from Story Creation to Publication

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Author: Ann Whitford Paul
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582975566

Writing picture books is not easy. Picture books are a unique form of writing  with a large audience of 2- to 8-year-olds, and they must appeal to both the  adult purchaser and the child listener/reader. They are generally 32 pages long  and must be tightly focused and told partly through illustrations. And novice  picture book writers make a lot of mistakes- and get a lot of rejections from publishers flooded with inappropriate manuscripts. From this book these writers will learn the writing and revision process that will lead them to creating more salable picture book manuscripts. Ann Whitford Paul covers researching the picture books market, creating characters, point of view, plotting, tips on writing rhyme, and more?all the lessons writers need to write great picture books that will appeal to both editors/agents and young readers/parents. She uses a mix of instruction and hand-on exercises, often asking readers to cut, color and paste their way through revision.

The Writer’s Guide to Crafting Stories for Children (Write for Kids Library)

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Author: Nancy Lamb
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582970523

You dream of writing stories that children respond to–the kind they come back to again and again. Nancy Lamb can help you achieve that dream. She mixes insightful advice for mastering storytelling with dozens of examples that  illustrate a variety of plot-building techniques.

The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide To Character Expression

  • Paperback: 172 pages
  • Author: Angela Ackerman
  • ISBN-13: 978-1475004953

One of the biggest problem areas for writers is conveying a character’s emotions to the reader in a unique, compelling way. This book comes to the rescue by highlighting 75 emotions and listing the possible body language cues, thoughts, and visceral responses for each. Using its easy-to-navigate list format, readers can draw inspiration from character cues that range in intensity to match any emotional moment. The Emotion Thesaurus also tackles common emotion-related writing problems and provides methods to overcome them. This writing tool encourages writers to show, not tell emotion and is a creative brainstorming resource for any fiction project.
Of course then there is this old standard. It’s been in my personal library for years and is stil one of the best resources on children’s books that is available today.

Writing with Pictures: How to Write and Illustrate Children’s Books

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Author: Uri Schulevitz
  • ISBN-13: 978-0823059355

Shulevitz, a well-established children’s author and illustrator, uses discussion and more than 600 illustrations to convey principles he follows in his work. He covers story writing briefly, but gives most of his attention to the drawing of illustrations. Shulevitz makes his points slowly and completely and starts at a very basic level. He covers technical questions of how actually to proceed in developing ideas into books, as well as aesthetic and ethical issues.

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