Tag Archives: Children’s literature

Books that Stayed with You – Second Verse, Close to the First

Posting “ten books that have stayed with you” started going around facebook again. I resisted for a bit, but decided to try again, knowing I might have a few of the same answers and a few different. Depending on the day and your mood and your memory, you can answer the same question a thousand different ways.

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones — I believe this was on my list before. Yes, it was a book first. A perfect humorous fairy tale with a Shakespearian Comedy-type ending. Also, read the Chrestomanci series. Also, anything else by her.

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein – Because I thought it was going to be as funny and lighthearted as his poetry, and it broke my heart.

Remember Me by Christopher Pike – A ghost has to track down her own killer. I loved the views of the afterlife in this one. The story was also relatively not-weird compared to his usual fare.

Peter Pan by JM Barrie – Didn’t read this until college, which made the reading experience excellent. You can read Peter Pan as someone not quite human, and the ending is that Peter comes back for a Darling child to spirit away every generation.

Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maude Montgomery – I loved the idea that the family mistakenly adopted a girl when they wanted a boy to help them with hard farm labor. Also features hilarious underage drinking. It’s like a Canadian pre-teen “I Love Lucy.”

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis – This is obvious. I still wish I had my own writing pocket dimension where you can visit for years and no time passes in the “real world.”

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens – One of the only classics I read independently as a child. The reason it stayed with me was the image of an old woman in a bridal gown dancing by herself as her house burns down around her.

Hole in my Life by Jack Gantos — A recent read, but I’ve known the story for a while. A Boston children’s author’s memoir of his time in prison.

Cradle and All by James Patterson – When I was ten, my gram told me this book was too mature and I shouldn’t read it. So I waited until she returned it to the library and checked it out. Now I have a thing for religious horror thrillers.

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett – I love Mary and Dickon, but Colin was the one I was most fascinated with. Colin’s father was so grief stricken by his wife’s death that he protected his son fiercely. So much so that Colin hardly ever saw the sun and couldn’t walk on his own, though there was nothing physically wrong with him.

Also, be proud KidLit writers: Almost all the books people said influenced them were written for children. Keep doing good work for young people. 

Book Rec for Traditional Publishing

My friend, fellow YA writer and book blogger Ellie, won a giveaway on Marissa Meyer’s blog recently and shared the bounty with me.

I had heard of the Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market before, but assumed I didn’t want a copy before I was ready to sell. I was so so wrong as it is great inspiration fodder. I read through much of it at the gym that night and poured over the lists. I can already tell it’s an invaluable resource, so I ordered my own hard copy, despite my vow to wait. I have very little discipline.

The book includes inspirational interviews with NYT bestselling authors on their process, ways to keep your submissions organized, and a comprehensive list of literary agents, editors, and magazines that except and repped and unrepped submissions. Great for freelancers. Continue reading

Library of the Early Mind

I was ecstatic last month to learn that my new favorite documentary “Library of the Early Mind” was available to purchase on DVD. After ten days of impatient waiting it arrived, after a particularly bad day at work.

Today, I had my mother and brother sit down with me to watch, framing it as a film that would help them understand the industry and community I am trying to be a part of.

I first saw “Library of the Early Mind” screened at the NESCBWI conference in Fitchburg in 2011. The documentary’s framework is formed through a series of interviews of industry professionals and bestselling children’s authors. Each of them provided their thoughts on how children’s literature affects our psyche or an anecdote from their own careers. Continue reading

Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators

Why You Should Become a Member, if You’re not Already

I have a few friends who are just beginning to write for children, and I am going to reiterate to them that joining this organization was the best thing I could have done, even just starting out in my career as a children’s writer. I’ve been a member for two years and if you are serious about writing for children, or even just interested, the membership is so worth it.

Reasons to Join

1. Regional Conferences: I would argue this is the number one reason. Although they are a definite expense for me in my current economic class, it’s worth every penny. It’s a full weekend of writing workshops whose faculty include authors and publishers alike. Going to one of the regional conferences per year can get you feedback on your writing from your peers, agents, editors, and published authors. You could also be having lunch next to an agent. (Seriously. I thought that was a line they fed you. That actually happened to me last month.)

2. Resources: Being a member of SCBWI gives you access to grants for children’s writers, published and unpublished. If you’re looking for fellow writers to pow-wow with, they also have a listserv of open critique groups.

3. Networking: Every year, I come back from the NESCBWI conference with contacts for a lot of friendly folk to commiserate and celebrate with online until next year. I’m friends with a lot of writers, but there’s nothing quite like the chance to network with other writers in your specific genre.

You know who you are. You should join up.