For anyone who thinks writing a picture book is easier than writing a novel, picture book creator Kelly Canby suggests you first write that novel, then condense it into 500 words without undermining its meaning or leaving out key plot points. Then get your pen and ink out and draw the illustrations as well!
Lots of people want to write picture books. Fremantle Press receives almost 600 picture book submissions a year, and we only publish up to five. In this episode of the Fremantle Press Podcast, Rebecca Higgie takes you into the studios of creators Kelly Canby, Tracey Gibbs and Katie Stewart to talk about how picture books are made. From the first idea to the first illustration to the storyboard, design, publication and promotion, this amazing chat unpacks the whole process. There are lots of pro tips from all three creators on giving your manuscript the best chance of success.
They also discuss the benefits of picture books for kids – mindfulness, vocabulary and visual literacy are all good reasons to read to your kids. They talk about the very special bond that kids and parents create with one another when they undertake the ritual of choosing a book and reading it together.
Kelly Canby told listeners that research indicated kids who were read to daily turned up at kindergarten with 1.4 million more words in their vocabulary than those who weren’t. Read more about this on ScienceDaily.
SCBWI West Free Resources Hub: created by the WA branch of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Western Australian writers and illustrators have uploaded activity sheets, videos, drawing sessions and more for anyone to access free of charge.
Katie Stewart mentioned the poem about explaining death to young children ‘Waterbugs and Dragonflies’ by Doris Stickney. She also quoted Ursula Le Guin as saying: ‘Sure it's simple, writing for kids. Just as simple as bringing them up.’ – Ursula K. Le Guin and Susan Wood. The Language of the Night: Essays on Fantasy and Science Fiction, Ultramarine Publishing, 1980, p. 54.
Music: ‘Letter to a Daughter of St George’, from the Meat Lunch EP: Songs from Floaters. Written by Alan Fyfe. Performed by Trevor Bentley (guitar and vocals – @trevormb) and Chris Parkinson (harmonica). Produced by Blake Carnaby of Nuglife studios with impresario work by Benjamin P. Newton.
Producer: Claire Miller
Mastered and edited by: Aidan d’Adhemar
Sponsor: This show was made possible with a grant from the Copyright Agency's Cultural Fund