Since I was a child, words flowed from my brain to the page. No… they gushed. I was a geyser of words. Much like Lio Lionni’s Frederick, I gather words, colors and sun rays, for the winter days are long, gray and cold.
I work with young children. The books they ask to hear over and over feature rhythm and repetition. As a writer, I love the structure of rhyme. It suits my perfectionist nature, working to get each syllable right while finding the most imaginative way to tell my story.
Classic authors MaryAnn Hoberman, Susan Varley, and Nancy Van Laan hooked me on rhyme. I have learned so much from colleagues in Michigan: Shutta Crum, Rhonda Gowler-Greene, Nancy Shaw, Hope Vestergaard, Lisa Wheeler & many others. I enjoy picture books in prose, too. Arnold Lobel’s Frog & Toad stories are my all time read-aloud favorites .
My own children have moved on to Young Adult novels. In fact, they often ask, “When are you going to write a REAL book?” They aren’t alone in underestimating the difficulty in writing a picture book. Today’s picture books top out at 500 words; most are less than 200. Picture book authors have to make every word count, while novelists can spend words freely.
Check out my posts to learn about my inspiration for Farmers’ Market Day, Giddy-Up Buckaroos!