Thursday, September 3, 2009

Thoughts on a Thursday

Books on Writing for Children

Hi all!

Yesterday, I was rummaging around my bookshelf and noticed I had accumulated quite a few titles on writing for children. So I thought I'd list them. Now those of you who've been writing for some years probably already own many of these. But for the newer writers out there, I hope these books will offer the same hope, direction, and inspiration that they have provided (and still provide) me along my writing journey.

Here they are (in no particular order):

1) The Writer's Guide to Crafting Stories for Children by Nancy Lamb

2) Writing Magic by Gail Carson Levine

3) How to Write a Children's Book and Get It Published (3rd ed.) by Barbara Seuling

4) Creating Characters Kids Will Love by Elaine Marie Alphin

5) How to Write and Sell Children's Picture Books by Jean E. Karl

6) Writing Fiction for Children by Judy K. Morris

7) Writing for Children & Teenagers (3rd ed.) by Lee Wyndham

8) Writing & Publishing Books for Children in the 1990s; the inside story from the editor's desk by Olga Litowinsky

9) The ABCs of Writing for Children; 114 children's authors and illustrators talk about the Art, the Business, the Craft, & the Life of Writing Children's Literature; compiled by Elizabeth Koehler-Pentacoff

10) How to Write a Children's Picture Book; learning from The Very Hungry Caterpillar . . . and other favorite stories by Eve Heidi Bine-Stock

11) Origins of story; on writing for children; edited by Barbara Harrison and Gregory Maguire (NOTE: this is a collection of lectures presented at various symposiums sponsored by Children's Literature New England, by such authors as Ursula K. Le Guin, Katherine Paterson, Maurice Sendak, Susan Cooper, Sharon Creech, Margaret Mahy, Tom Feelings, Jill Paton Walsh, and Virginia Hamilton)

And, of course, the ANNUAL directory no children's writer should be without: the Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market (CWIM). I believe the 2010 edition is now available!

And if you have any particular book(s) on writing for children, or writing in general, that you refer to often please feel free to share them here. Thanks! :)


Tess said...

Wow, that's quite a list. Have you read them all? Which was your favorite? I have general craft books, but none specific to children's writing.

MG Higgins said...

I share one of Tess's questions: Which are your favorites? I have only a couple of books on children's writing and would like to add to my library.

Crystal said...

Hi Tess & MG Higgins!

No, I haven't read them all straight through, mainly just a couple of chapters at a time as it pertains to whatever I'm into writing at that particular moment (i.e. a PB, or MG novel, or chapter book). I like all the titles because they all address writing for children from slightly different perspectives. But the ones I find myself referring to time & time again are:

1)The Writer's Guide to Crafting Stories for Children by Nancy Lamb
--for story structure & plot-building techniques

2) How to Write a Children's Book and Get It Published by Barbara Seuling
--this book, written by a former children's editor (for major publishers)who is also an author as well, really gave me my first overall explanation of the various categories within children's literature (picture books, easy readers, chapter books, middle grade novel, & YA) & the factors that distinguished them

3) The ABCs of Writing for Children; compiled by Elizabeth Koehler-Pentacoff
--I find this book so interesting every time I pick it up because you're getting direct pieces of advice from a multitude of such established authors as Karen Cushman, Richard Peck, Cris Crutcher, Patricia McKissack, Jane Yolen, Rosmary Wells, Johanna Hurwitz, Marilyn Sachs, Stephen Mooser, Kathleen Duey, Gennifer Choldenko, Patricia Polacco, Eve Bunting, and many, many others. It's filled with countless anecdotes of what they go through daily as a children' writer; they talk about research, writing, rewriting, submitting, rejection, where their ideas come from, the best (and worst) advice they ever received, their author/editor relationship, and so much more.

4) The Annual Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market. I started buying this back in 2003 (though I didn't start writing FOR REAL till 2004)when I was just starting to think about the possibility of writing for children. Through CWIM, I learned how to format submissions. But the articles were what really got my attention, especially the profiles of new authors; I found them so inspiring. And I think that's why I still get it now.

Hope this helps in your selection . . . :)

Tabitha Bird said...

That's a great list. I might just print it. Somewhere in the back of my mind I have this idea that I will one day write a children's book. Maybe...

MG Higgins said...

Thanks Crystal! Your recommendation list is really helpful.

Crystal said...

You're welcome, MG!

Yes, Tabitha, I think that's how it really all starts: with an IDEA.
You can do it! :)

Tess said...

Yes, a wonderful and helpful list here. Thanks.

And, shout out to Tabitha (who is likely saying 'who is this Tess girl?') But I want to say

Go for it!

Sliding on the Edge said...

A nice collection of resources to have on hand. I'm sure we'll be seeing you on the shelves in the future.

Crystal said...

Thanks, C. Lee! Glad you stopped by!