Thinking About the Common Core

On a recent school visit, a Media Specialist asked how I thought the Common Core State Standards have affected children’s authors. Mmmmm … interesting question. As most everyone knows, the Common Core State Standards emphasize the importance of students reading nonfiction books (called “informational text,” which includes biographies and autobiographies, …

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Those Fascinating Facts: Keep or Cut?

A few weeks ago I was invited to be part of the 35th Annual Children’s Literature Conference at Northern Illinois University. This year’s conference topic was “A Celebration of Picture Books For All Ages.”One of the main speakers, Melissa Sweet, shared how she wrote and illustrated her award-winning picture book, BALLOONS OVER …

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The Dazzling, Amazing 104-Page Picture Book!

My last post discussed ideas to shorten the text of a picture book manuscript. But today I’m thinking about longer picture books–particularly recent nonfiction biographies which go beyond the regular 32-page format. For example, my new picture book FRIENDS FOR FREEDOM was expanded to 40 pages, and two of my upcoming pictures books are slated for 40 and 48 pages.
It seems they’re not that unusual. More and more nonfiction picture books are bumped into the 40s, often due to back matter pages which might include a myriad of items such as a bibliography, timeline, source notes, and other notes.

And then there’s JOSEPHINE: THE DAZZLING LIFE OF JOSEPHINE BAKER by Patricia Hruby Powell, a picture book biography that clocks in at 104 pages. Now that’s a BUMP! If you’ve read this award-winning book, you know the text is energetic, emotional, and exquisite. And Christian Robinson’s illustrations are outstanding.

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FEATHERS: A Picture Book That Really Flies!

Hi! I’m excited to be joining the merry band of picture book writers and illustrators on Picture Book Builders. Writing nonfiction is my thing, so I’ll be chatting about inspiring nonfiction picture books in my posts. And here we go! Last week I was excited to find the new picture …

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