A Macro Pondering of Picture Books

Picture books are wonderfully crafted books by authors who are very gifted word smiths. The reason for this is that a picture book is very short, and it has to portray a concise and cute story line with rising and falling action. This is hard enough even for a novelist of a middle grade book to do. But for a picture book this is much harder. I have now written over ten picture books for kids 3 to 8 years old. I have been trying to craft the story lines for each of these stories very carefully. I am currently writing a nonfictional picture book about a much more serious issue for children. And I am finding it really difficult to write about serious issues for children. Most picture books are written for adults who will be reading for young children who are non-readers. So, the audience is multi-layered. To that end, picture books combine words and pictures. The pictures are there to entice the non-reader to listen and to help construct meaning from the words. Picture books are traditionally directed toward young children. Picture books are divided into two categories. First, there are books that are aimed at the non-reader. Second, there are picture books which are written for either the emergent, or newly established reader. Published picture book, whether hard or softcover, are usually thirty-two pages long. However, when you are typing your picture manuscript, it will be considerably shorter since it is always double spaced with one-inch borders all around. Therefore, you could probably fit thirty-two pages into about 3 or 4 pages. Most beginning picture book writers overwrite. Some tend to submit 1,000 words manuscripts to editors. This makes most picture book editors stand back and almost automatically reject a manuscript. So, it is very important for picture book authors, especially beginning ones, to really watch how they use words in their manuscripts. Every word counts. So, make it really precise and vivid! ~ Happy Writing. ~ Irene