“With remarkable economy, they excel at the twin arts of visual and textual storytelling. Anyone who has ever read a picture book to a child has witnessed this magic firsthand. You’ll be reading along aloud and the child will laugh, not at anything you’ve read but at something she has read in the pictures. While you are reading one story, told in words, she is reading another, told through art. The illustrator doesn’t merely reflect the words on the page; she creates an entire narrative of her own, adding details, creating secondary story lines.”
Mind you, I think the literary world can hold many different types of wizards and wizardry. Yet along with other genres, I have deliberately kept picture books of my past, just as deliberately bought others as an adult (or had them gifted to me), and I write them, myself. The allure is real!
In my own personal history, I don’t recall learning how to read. I don’t remember any transition from the world of picture books to the ones with casual illustrations, or any subsequent transition to books with images just on the chapter headers or none at all. Books were just there to consume.
But since I retained some of my own childhood books, I’d like to think that while there was some adroit guidance of my reading, it was also allowed to unfold on its own. (About the only thing I do remember is my dad steering me away from the Large Print books in the children’s section of the library, telling me, “You don’t need those.” Nowadays, I do, ha.)
What are your favorite picture books? Do the ones you loved as a child still resonate with you today? What new ones spark your interest?
I won’t pretend to know what I’m doing, but as I’ve recently re-entered the querying gambit, I have gone in deep with researching what other people say who do know what they’re doing. Hopefully one day I’ll be one of them!
This quick list includes tips and threads that range from kidlit to novels to nonfiction. I think there’s great insight to be found from all genres:
I’m more confident about my queries. I honed the heck out my queries and synopses. If there was a chance that an agent would leave a heart on my pitch, I didn’t want anything standing in the way of sending off my work, especially myself! So in the weeks leading up to #PBPitch, I researched (and puzzled over) the differences between queries and synopses, realized I’d been mostly doing things incorrectly (!!), and worked at capturing the essence of my stories and providing the hook.
I met a lot of writers. The #WriterCommunity is not a consolation prize. It is a prize, no qualification about it! There are so many great people out there all working toward the same thing, and taking time to help each other along the way. I had a lovely time feeling and giving back the love.
I found agents open for queries. I do use QueryTracker, but seeing agents out in the wild yesterday was extremely helpful. Some agents took the time to pin a tweet saying that even if they didn’t ‘heart’ you, to query them anyway. That’s super cool.
If you did get a heart or hearts, congratulations! I hope your queries go all the way to publication.
If, like me, you didn’t get a heart this round, I hope you still found the experience useful, learned something, and met great people.