As writers, we are constantly on the lookout for ways to connect with young readers. Even if we have a social media presence we may not be sure what to include on our web sites, blogs or Twitter feeds that might appeal to our readers themselves vs. their parents, teachers or librarians. This can be especially tricky if you write for preschoolers or other young picture book readers.
Recently, my library system, the St. Louis County Library, included a piece in a newsletter about “Rhythm and Tunes” video. My being nosey – yes, I can say it – I clicked through and found a host of videos. Each features a simple song, something rhythmic, and hand motions to bring the rhythm to life.
The video that I included above features Jennifer Ilardi, a librarian at the Florissant Valley branch. That’s my branch. Not only is it my branch now, it is the branch I grew up with so I’m admittedly biased. Jennifer also still carries on over my son although he’s no longer a precious kindergartener and now towers over her at 6 feet.
But anyway, in this video, Jennifer uses simple hand puppets that she made from gloves. In another she rhythmically waves a scarf. You could so something similar with nursery rhymes and folk songs that somehow link to your book. Truly the possibilities are endless.
I am currently working on a picture book about a patriotic theme. That leaves out nursery rhymes but I could do Yankee Doodle or This Land Is Your Land. Maybe You’re a Grand Old Flag.
Something that really struck me watching this and a few others. The background is super simple. So are the props. If you click through and watch several you’ll note that everyone wears a similar shirt and they do a series of videos with each background – blue, red, green and orange.
Just a little food for thought as we all work on our various picture book manuscripts.