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This might sound strange coming from me, but PiBoIdMo is my favorite writing challenge. Yes, I know I am the founder and host of 12 x 12, but let’s face it—writing picture book drafts is work. Fun, but also work.
PiBoIdMo—just letting your creativity run wild and capturing every little flutter and fancy of your imagination is just plain FUN. Freeing. Fabulous. (See how I used the rule of three there???)
For those of you who ARE planning to do 12 x 12 in 2014, I almost consider participating in PiBoIdMo a mandatory first step. Where else are you going to mine the ideas for 12 picture book drafts?
I made this little video for the sole purpose of reminding everyone to lighten up, have fun, and ENJOY fishing for those awesome ideas—some of which will one day turn into picture books! Many thanks to Tara for bringing us the joy of PiBo each year!!
One of the things I love best about being a member of the children’s lit industry is the spirit of community with which we support one another. Unlike many other businesses, almost everyone who writes, illustrates, edits, publishes, markets, sells or otherwise works with children’s books puts their love of kids and reading first. This makes for an environment in which everyone encourages everyone else, and all in the interest of getting more kids reading – and loving – books.
This was something Katie Davis and I chatted about this week, when she invited me to be a guest on her terrific podcast series, Brain Burps About Books. (You can listen to the interview here: http://katiedavis.com/emma-walton-hamilton). Katie and I had a great time talking about various aspects of writing for kids, and she was enormously generous in putting the word out about my various creative efforts, such as The Children Book Hub, my Just Write for Kids online course in writing picture books and the Southampton Childrens Literature Conference. In return, I offered her listeners a special introductory rate to join the Hub (you’ll have to listen to the interview to access it!) and invited her to be an Expert Interviewee on the Childrens Book Hub in March. I’m really looking forward to that, since Katie has just published a fabulous resource for childrens book authors and illustrators, How to Promote Your Childrens Book. It’s chock full of invaluable information, and a thoroughly enjoyable read, being written (and illustrated!) in Katie’s fun, accessible style. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Call him the Tupac Shakur of children’s books. Or maybe that title should go to Margaret Wise Brown. In any case, it seems that every ten years or so we get a new Shel Silverstein book or collection of poems entirely out of the blue (I’m counting Falling Up, and Runny Babbit when I say that). At some point this will inevitably lead to an Elvis situation, wherein folks will start claiming that Silverstein never actually died and is currently holed up somewhere in Amherst, MA, biding his time, releasing his books on his own schedule. This is, of course, wishful thinking on my part since Silverstein is the author who was alive during my lifetime that I would have most liked to have met. Watch out, Steven Kellogg. You’re #2. In any case, here’s the scoop on the newest Silverstein. The man’s still got it / had it.
Sometimes you want to unlearn something you have learned. Beware then, my readers. Once you read this you can never go through life not knowing about it.
Now that is how it is done! Over the Atlantic the British blog Playing by the book has posted a quite remarkable little piece on an exhibit currently showing at the Imperial War Museum in Britain (where I once bought this poster). In the blog post How to explore war with children?, we are told that, “Once Upon a Wartime, an exhibition which opened earlier this month at London’s Imperial War Museum, takes five children’s novels about war and conflict and uses them as a starting point to explore what war can mean for children.” The five books in question include War Horse by Michael Morpurgo, Carrie’s War by Nina Bawden, The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier, The Machine Gunners by Robert Westall and Little Soldier by Bernard Ashley. Of these I am ashamed to say I have only read Carrie’s War (which is brilliant). The post then goes on to talk about the exhibits and shows copious photographs. It’s enough to make you pine, once again, for England. Thanks to Sara Lewis Holmes for the link.
I have this fantasy that someday I’ll conduct a video conversation with Travis Jonker where we converse entirely by holding up the titles of children’s books (after all, we know he’s ace with a video cam). I think of such things when he makes similar projects look easy. Take, for example, his latest book spine cento. It’s all in preparation to get you guys excited about making your own book spine poems for Poetry Month. I know I’m tempted. Spine it up!
I don’t normally do a week-in-review post but this past week was such a celebration of literacy (with Share A Story and World Read Aloud Day), I wanted to highlight some things as well as thank a bunch of people for helping make it a great week.
First off, if you didn’t get a chance to check out Share A Story please visit when you have the opportunity. Thanks to Terry Doherty for helping organize this amazing blog tour. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the posts as well as having the opportunity to serve as one of the hosts.
Thanks also to Dawn Little of Links to Literacy for hosting Book Dads on Day 2: The Gift of Reading. I had so many responses from dads for our post, I had to break them up into three separate ones: Dads Share Their Story Part 1, Part 2, Part 3. Thanks to all the dads, authors and bloggers who took the time to share their gift of reading with me.