Writing a children's book

Pamelad1June 5, 2003

A dear friend (who has written a political book) has asked me to work on a children's book with her. I have done some writing (short stories and poetry--none published), but never anything geared towards younger kids. She keeps insisting that it is the illustrations that sell children's books not storyline. For some reason, I can't believe that. I have four children of my own and while the cover might have drawn us to a book, it was usually the storyline that made us want to read it. So I would like your opinions on the topic so I can share my "research" with her. Also, are there certain topics (smoking, drinking, drug use, etc.) that you feel 3-5 year olds may not be ready for.

Thanks so much in advance for all of your help.


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I have a 3 yo. He likes the books that relate to him. Some of his favorite books are the "No, David" books by David Shannon. The character, David, in the books acts like DS, but has the same name as one of DS's friends. DS thinks these books are great.

DS is also at a stage night now where books without a storyline appeal to him. My fil introuduced DS to magazines that sell big construction equipment like bulldozers, backhoes, etc. These magazines were just ads for selling the stuff. No storyline. DS can sit and look at these magazines for hours.

DS also likes the books that rhyme. Right now he likes books that only have about 4 lines per page, but he is getting better about paying attention to the longer books.

As a parent reading a book to my child, I prefer a storyline. Regardless of what my child picks out, I have to find the book interesting. If I don't like the book, that book may not get read again. Books I don't like...disappear.

As far as certain topics like smoking, drinking, etc., I would never let my child read those books. I would probably ask to have them removed or placed in a seperate section if I saw them in the kids section of the library.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2003 at 6:06PM
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Thank you so much for your input. I just reread my original post and I think I need to clarify the topics. My friend suggested we do a series of books. Each one would address a social issue (smoking-why it is wrong). They would be like public service announcements for toddlers.
Is this too much information for the 3-5 year old age group?
Thanks again,

    Bookmark   June 6, 2003 at 2:01AM
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I have a problem with this for that age group. I have found that age cannot separate a "bad" behavior from the person doing it. That is, if smoking is bad, then the person doing the smoking is bad. The 4 year old is apt to say that Granny is bad because she smokes. That's not the message you are trying to get across. It would be very difficult to come up with any behavior that would not show some very nice people in a bad light.

I have found that children that age are attracted by bright simple line pictures rather than beautifully drawn pictures. If the pictures don't draw their eyes, the book is not looked at. No matter how great the story line is, if the book isn't good to look at, they soon lose interest.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2003 at 7:05AM
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