One Writer’s Journey

February 3, 2014

Originality: What I learned in my January reading

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:47 am
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During the second week of January, I took part in a picture book rewriting challenge.  Perhaps this is why I read so many picture books this month.  Wow.  There are some amazing books out there.  I have to say that the ones that really stuck out in my mind are the ones that took a chance.  

One of the picture books I rewrote was an attempt at changing a manuscript from standard narrative to a cumulative tale.  This was the suggestion of a very wise critique buddy but I’ve been avoiding it for . . . let’s just say something over a year.  Why?  Because so many cumulative tales bore me to tears.  I’m not going to name names but the repetion that so many young readers love drives me batty.  Fortunately, many cumulative tales published today (see Don’t Slam the Door and Baby Says “Moo!” build like a cumulative tale but don’t have that word for word repetion that loses me.  Hurray!

Then there was Lemony Snicket’s The Dark.  It is a picture book about a boy’s fear of the dark but this book is unique in two ways.  First, The Dark is a character.  Yep.  It actually speaks.  Talk about taking a chance and Snicket pulls it off.  Secondly, the main character solves his fear of the dark without it being something he’s trying to do. He’s just going about his daily life when he takes the steps that get rid of his fear.

Aaron Reynold’s Carnivores is a picture book that takes chances.  The carnivores have a support group and try to help each other through the emotional turmoil of being so darn unpopular.  How do they solve it?  By being truly themselves.  Admittedly, it is a bit twisted but it is so funny!   This is definitely a picture book my son would have latched onto.

Finally, there is Kathy Stinson’s The Man with the Violin.  It is unique in that illustrator Dusan Petricic illustrates the sounds of the violin playing, and he does an amazing job.

In short, don’t write something ho hum and been there.  Take a chance.  Stick your neck out.  Write something that absolutely no one else has the guts to write.  Do this, and you’ll stand out.

Here is my reading list for January.

  1. Ashburn, Boni.  Over at the Castle (Abram Books for Young Readers)
  2. Chaconas, Dori.  Don’t Slam the Door (Candlewick)
  3. Dallas, Sandra.  Fallen Women (St. Martin’s Press)
  4. Dean, Anna.  A Woman of Consequence (Allison and Busby).  I ended up with the British edition vs the American edition this time around!
  5. DeCristofano, Carolyn Cinami, A Black Hole Is Not a Hole (Charlesbridge)
  6. Fagan, Cary.  Mr. Zinger’s Hat (Tundra Books)
  7. Geringer, Laura.  Boom Boom Go Away! (Atheneum)
  8. Graham, C. S.  The Solomon Effect (Harper)
  9. Konigsberg, Bill.  Openly Straight (Arthur A. Levine Books)
  10. Laden, Nina.  Once Upon a Memory (Little Brown and Company)
  11. Mackan, JoAnn Early.  Baby Says “Moo!” (Disney/Hyperion)
  12. Madison, Ada.  The Quotient of Murder (Berkley Prime Crime)
  13. Munsch, Robert.  Mud Puddle (Annick Press)
  14. Norman, Kim.  I Know a Wee Piggy (Dial Books for Young Readers)
  15. Preston, Douglas and Lincoln Child.  Reliquary.
  16. Reynolds, Aaron.  Carnivores (Chronicle Books).
  17. Reynolds, Aaron.  Pirates vs. Cowboys (Alfred A. Knopf)
  18. Snicket, Lemony.  The Dark (Little Brown and Company)
  19. Stinson, Kathy.  The Man with the Violin (Annick Press).
  20. Sullivan, Mary.  Ball (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Children).
  21. Ward, Jennifer.  What Will Hatch? (Walker Books for Young Readers)
  22. Yep, Laurence. The Dragon Prince: A Chinese Beauty and the Beast Tale (HarperCollins)



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