In order to do a job well, one must know the industry. For instance, if you are a chemist then keeping up with the newest chemistry discoveries and happenings is a must! Being a children’s book author is no different; it is not as simple as writing down a couple of sentences and slapping some illustrations onto the page. There is a lot more that goes into a children’s book. Researching picture books teaches what works and what doesn’t - this includes reading them.
One of the biggest things that a children’s book author has to consider is what children want and need. In addition to knowing what children want and need, you also have to consider adults as they are the ones buying the books. The picture book must be something that adults will want to read to children, and also something that children want to read and listen to.
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What is popular is always changing, which is why it is important to keep reading and see what the current trends are in the industry. Reading picture books is a great source of inspiration to see what other authors are doing. Keeping up with publishers and organizations and seeing what they want is also great to keep track of the industry. However, there is no formula; a popular book could be one that is about current topics or something completely against the trends.
Being able to communicate lessons, messages, emotions, and more is highly important in picture books. Children’s books nowadays cover hard topics. Doing this is no simple feat as you can’t use complex paragraphs full of advanced vocabulary. Instead you must communicate in a way that children will understand. Using picture books to help children navigate hard topics, in a positive way, are helpful tools for parents, caregivers and educators. Social and emotional learning books are popular as they teach them important skills and knowledge while keeping children entertained. Adults want to buy these books because they teach children important skills and children want to read them.
Reading picture books is important for many reasons, and they can be read and enjoyed by all ages. Being a picture book author is no easy feat, these books are quite complicated beneath the surface. There is a lot that goes into creating them and in order to write good picture books, you should read them too!
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Sovann Hyde is an intern at Cardinal Rule Press and studying at Michigan State University. She enjoys writing and reading in her free time as well as gaming with friends. Jetta, Gryffin, and Bella, her family’s dogs and cat, keep her energetic and curious.