RESOURCES FOR WRITERS AND ILLUSTRATORS of CHILDREN'S BOOKS

WEB RESOURCES

The Purple Crayon. www.underdown.org. A really terrific website by a former editor, Harold Underdown, that is full of all kinds of information – excerpts from his book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Publishing Children’s Books, and other basic information about writing children’s books and getting them published; interviews with authors, editors, and agents; book reviews; publishing news, and other topics. A great place to begin…

SCBWI: Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. www.scbwi.org. An organization of over 19,000 members worldwide, which is open to published and UNpublished writers and illustrators of children’s books. The SCBWI sponsors regular conferences, and publishes a bi-monthly newsletter and other publications on the art and business of children’s writing. SCBWI can also help connect members to writing groups. They have some general information and helpful links available for nonmembers as well. If you are serious about writing and/or illustrating for children, you really must join SCBWI.

Children’s Book Insider. write4kids.com. A good website to start out with and worth subscribing to their e-newsletter, if you are committed to improving your writing. Lots of articles about writing children’s books and tips about submissions. And take a look at their blog, the Children's Writing Web Journal.

Verla Kay's "Blue Boards". www.verlakay.com. If you are looking to connect with others, author Verla Kay hosts an active message board, where both the published and unpublished talk about about all things related to children's writing and illustrating. Browse the many topics for the inside scoop, and then go ahead and jump in!

Publishers Weekly. www.publishersweekly.com. A good way to keep up with current trends. You can sign up to receive PW's Children’s Bookshelf, a weekly email newsletter that is free.

The Horn Book. www.hbook.com. Since 1924, a bimonthly journal of Children’s Literature. Book reviews, columns, articles, editorials, and several interesting, informative blogs. A selection of articles and other resources are available to read on the web, and you can sign up to receive Notes From the Horn Book, a monthly electronic newsletter that is free.

Children’s Book Council. www.cbcbooks.org. The CBC is a non-profit trade association of U.S. publishers of trade books for children and young adults. They have a list online of current CBC members, with links to their websites.

A Fuse #8 Production. www.schoollibraryjournal.com/blog. The world of children's literature blogs is always changing; here is a good place to begin, by a librarian in the Children's Center at the 42nd Street branch of the New York Public Library. Daily posts, with regular book reviews and lots of links and tips about children's literature.

Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. http://blaine.org/sevenimpossiblethings. By a self-described "illustration junkie", this is should be the first stop for anyone who, like me, is also addicted to picture books. Interviews with illustrators, book reviews, and tons of art.

(This page is updated periodically, so check back! Last update on 9/1/12.)

MORE LINKS here...

including my favorite blogs about picture books.


BOOKS ON WRITING AND PUBLISHING CHILDREN'S BOOKS

  • Joan Aiken, The Way to Write for Children
  • Treld Pelkey Bicknell and Felicity Trotman, ed., How to Write and Illustrate Children’s Books and Get Them Published
  • Olga Litowinsky, It's a Bunny-Eat-Bunny World: A Writer's Guide to Surviving and Thriving in Today's Competitive Children's Book Market
  • Uri Shulevitz, Writing With Pictures: How to Write and Illustrate Children’s Books
  • Harold Underdown, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Publishing Children’s Books
  • Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market: The complete guide to the children's publishing world including book and magazine publishers, agents and reps, conferences, contests, and more, updated every year

Other books on writing and publishing:

  • Francine Prose, Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them
  • Betsy Lerner, The Forest for the Trees: An Editor's Advice to Writers

READ READ READ!

Learn what makes a good picture book: go to the library and read read read! Start with the oldest, most tattered books. Librarians usually have limited shelf space and deaccession books regularly; try to figure out why they have kept these oldies in their collections. Look at the newest books on display to see what they are buying now. Look at everything in between. Keep reading!

...and a few other books, about children's books:

  • Alison Lurie, Boys and Girls Forever: Children's Classics from Cinderella to Harry Potter; also, Don't Tell the Grown-Ups: The Subversive Power of Children's Literature
  • Leonard S. Marcus and Maurice Sendak, Dear Genius: The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom
  • Leonard S. Marcus, Ways of Telling: Fourteen Interviews With Masters of the Art of the Picture Book, Minders of Make Believe, and others
  • Philip Nel, Tales for Little Rebels: A Collection of Radical Children's Literature, and others
  • Maurice Sendak, Caldecott and Co: Notes on Books and Pictures
  • Maria Tatar, The Annotated Classic Fairy Tales, and others