How to Write Like a Professional

How to Write Like a Professional
6 Surprising Writing Mistakes That Make You Look Like an Amateur Author... and How to Avoid Them

Friday, September 24, 2010

Picture Books Are Powerful

My daughter, Samantha, is learning to go to sleep without me. She sometimes says she's afraid of the dark. She's almost four. The other night, I put her in her bed and told her to not get up or her door would be closed for one minute. Later on, hubby tells me that she said, "Be brave, Samantha, be brave." I said, "She said that? Really? That's from a picture book! That is so funny and cute!" It comes from A Net of Stars by Jennifer Richard Jacobson. Etta tells herself in the beginning, "This year I'll be brave." And in the middle, "Be brave, I say." And near the end, "I AM BRAVE."

I read a book to my son, Shawn, the other night that he didn't particularly want, perhaps because he did not choose it. He was positive it would be a "dummy-dumb one." But he still listened. When I tell you what book it was, you're gonna gasp. Weslandia by Paul Fleischman. On the first two pages, my son repeated, "it's just a dummy-dumb one," until I read, "Fleeing them was the only sport he was good at." My son loves to run. He loved the page that talked about the juicy purple fruits that tasted "of peach, strawberry, pumpkin pie." He loves juicy fruits. He especially loved the page where Wesley "sold small amounts to his former tormentors at the price of ten dollars per bottle." My son tries to sell me rocks every week. I bought one today for five cents. And finally he loved the eighty-letter alphabet, especially the picture in the back. He tried pointed out the S's, E's, G's, among others. I told him our alphabet has only 26 letters. He asked how there could possibly be 80. I said maybe there's a letter that makes the "SH" sound in your name, but it only uses one letter. We had a conversation that talked about lots of other sounds. We only came up with about 50 letters, or sounds. Anyway, hooray for Weslandia and how it transformed from a "dummy-dumb" book to a book that encouraged imagination and thoughtful exploration. No wonder it was awarded the PARENTS' CHOICE HONORS award. So read your child a book, even if they don't want it. They just might love it.

Happy reading! Oh, and of course, happy WRITING! Keep on keepin' on...

6 comments:

  1. Yes, picture books ARE powerful. My kids will listen to just about anything at least once, and rarely do they not draw something from it that's relevant to their own lives.

    Also, I always learn more about them based on the comments they make about the story. So it's a win-win.

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  2. That's funny about the door closing thing, someone just told me about that yesterday and the threat to turn the hall light out. Don't think they'd work with Hannah but Matthew will have his door shut now and go to sleep in his own bed so nicely. It's a real breakthrough. One thing that did it for us was a magazine that suggested the dream fairy. He still remembers about it and even told his friend's parents (so glad they went along with it!).
    I agree about reading even if they're not in the mood for it. Matthew would not go to sleep in his bed, had to watch tv and fall asleep watching (I know, I know) but now he will have a book read to him in bed and a little chat, its lovely. I read the other day that an emotional connection is really important to help them sleep. Not a connection with the tv! Yikes, it's not like we haven't tried a thousand things. Now just to work on Hannah Banana.
    I've never read Weslandia, must look that up, thanks.

    Have a great weekend Christie, see you on the forum :)

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  3. What wonderful stories, Christie! Tonight, I read The Giving Tree to my oldest. I asked him why the tree was happy at the end, and he said, "Because she gave the boy something." I said, yes, but she was happiest because they were together. He thought about that for a long time. There is tremendous power in picture books. They're the books that help shape children's lives. :)

    I'm not sure how to respond to your poll. Published (not worth mentioning) vs. Published with significant pay... I'm published (with no pay) for the educational market, so there's potentially a big impact there. Where do I put that?

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  4. Catherine, The door closing progresses each time from 1, 2, 3, 5, 5, 5. That's for the first night. She had to have it closed 4 times! The "Be brave" day was about a week later. It's the "Ferber Method."

    Alison, I love The Giving Tree, too! As far as the poll goes, maybe 'not worth mentioning,' maybe. I had a poem published in the local paper when I was a Senior in high school (no pay, of course). I guess that's what I was thinking. Of course, being published in the educational market IS significant (even though w/out pay).

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  5. Hannah slept through last night yay! I'll try the Ferber method if it wasn't a one off, fingers crossed!

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