50 Picture Books

owlreadingHere is some of what I learned reading 50 picture books. 

  • Obviously, short sells.  I ran into very few longer books.  I don’t think this was a product of my sample — all I checked before dropping a book into my bag was the publication date.  Most of the longer books were folktales, such as One Potato, Two Potato by Cynthia DeFelice (Farrar, Straus, Giroux), or historical fiction, such as Tenth Avenue Cowboy by Linda Oatman High (Eerdman’s Books for Young Readers).
  • But publishers are also doing shorter historical fiction for younger readers.    See Wind Flyers by Angela Johnson (Simon & Schuster).
  • Most books had only one action or scene per spread.  Only in the first 1/3 of Fine as We Are by Algy Craig Hall (Boxer Books) did I notice that several spreads had more than one possible action to illustrate. 
  • I adore lush illustration.  That hooks me faster than anything else.  But how to explain what I mean?  Something that is full of color and detail.  Something that pulls me in to the point that I’m turning pages, mooning over the illustrations and forget to read.  That’s how I react to David Wisniewski’s Golem and Ducky.  I didn’t find anything like this.  Hmmm. . .
  • I also found a possible publisher for one of my own manuscripts.   This isn’t a publisher I normally submit to so I’m glad I found them this way.

What did you learn when you did your own reading?


2 thoughts on “50 Picture Books

  1. Hey! What new publisher did you find?
    Where did you do most of your reading?

    It’s time for me to do this again!

    1. I gathered my books at the library and then read at home. I can’t read much in the library. The children’s section is by the front doors. Lots of activity. Plus, if I take the books home, I get to see what my son likes too.
      Strictly speaking, I didn’t “find” FSG but I guess I hadn’t read many of their picture books lately. After reading these, I realized they might be a good fit for some of my own work. We shall see!
      While I was doing my reading, I forced myself not to count beginning readers as picture books although they are shelved together. Now I’d like to go back and read 50 beginning readers. But it is going to have to wait until my to-read pile goes down a bit. Ahem.
      How often do you make a point of reading 50 new picture books?

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