RESOURCES for WRITERS & ILLUSTRATORS of CHILDREN'S PICTUREBOOKS
My top 4 suggestions:
- Read, read, read and don’t stop reading children’s books in your genre!
- For a bit of kidlit history and sheer brilliance, read Dear Genius: The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom, edited by Leonard Marcus, with an introduction by Maurice Sendak.
- Learn all you can about the children’s publishing industry and how to navigate it, starting with Harold Underdown’s Complete Idiot’s Guide to Publishing Children’s Books.
- Connect with other writers and illustrators of children’s books, by joining SCBWI.
Want more? Here you go…
The Purple Crayon. 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 info 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. An organization of over 19,000 members worldwide, which is open to published and UNpublished writers and illustrators of children’s books.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 puts out 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. If you are serious about writing and/or illustrating for children, you really must join SCBWI.
Children’s Book Insider. 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.
Kirkus. Reviews, blogs, and profiles of authors.
The Horn Book. 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. The CBC is a non-profit trade association of U.S. publishers of trade books for children and young adults. They have industry news and a list online of current CBC members, with links to their websites.
School Library Journal. School Library Journal reviews all new books written for children. They host a selection of blogs with daily posts, with regular book reviews and lots of links and tips about children's literature. My favorites are A Fuse #8 Production, by librarian Elizabeth Bird, and 100 Scope Notes, by school librarian Travis Jonker.
Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. By a librarian who is 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.
Twitter. There is a huge community of authors, illustrators, teachers, librarians, and other picturebook lovers on Twitter. Go on over and join the conversation!
Scroll down for even more links I like...
Last update on 11/2015
READ READ READ!
Need some recommendations? Check out these lists:
Every writer has her favorite books; here are a few of mine:
BOOKS FOR WRITERS
- Lynda Barry, What it Is
- Annie Dillard, The Writing Life
- Anne Lamont, Bird by Bird
- Kendra Levin, The Hero is You
- Leonard Marcus, editor, Dear Genius: The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom
- Francine Prose, Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them
- Maurice Sendak, Caldecott and Co: Notes on Books and Pictures
- Strunk & White, illustrated by Maira Kalman, The Elements of Style
BOOKS for ILLUSTRATORS
- Writing With Pictures, Uri Shulevitz
- Picture This: How Pictures Work, Molly Bang
- GO: A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design, Chip Kidd
- Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art, Scott McCloud
- Making Comics: Storytelling Secrets of Comics, Manga, & Graphic Novels, Scott McCloud
- Harold Underdown, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Publishing Children’s Books
- Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market
- Betsy Lerner, The Forest for the Trees: An Editor's Advice to Writers
BOOKS ABOUT CHILDREN’S BOOKS
- Elizabeth Bird, Julie Danielson, Peter Sieruta, Wild Things! Acts of Mischief in Children's Literature
- Megan Dowd Lambert, Reading Picture Books With Children
- 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, 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
- Maria Tatar, The Annotated Classic Fairy Tales, and others
MORE LINKS I LIKE
(last update 5/2016)
PODCASTS: Interviews with authors and illustrators
- All the Wonders, with school librarian Matthew Winner
- The Yarn, with teacher Colby Sharp and teacher-librarian Travis Jonker
- Horn Book Podcast, with editor Roger Sutton, Siân Gaetano, and guests
- Literaticast, with children's publishing agent Jennifer Laughran
- The Nerdy Bookcast, from Nerdy Book Club and Teacher Learning Sessions
RESOURCES FOR WRITERS AND ILLUSTRATORS
- Editorial Anonymous: Huge blog archive by a children's editor, demystifying the publishing process
- Cheryl Klein: Children's book editor talks about writing and publishing
- Mem Fox: Author gives terrific advice about writing, and reading aloud
- The Least You Need to Know: How to Write a Picture Book and I Wrote a Book. Now What? at Jacqui's Room
MORE PICTUREBOOK BLOGS!
- All the Wonders
- Art of the Picture Book
- Children's Illustration, by illustrators Shelley Davies & Julie Fortenberry
- Curious Pages, by illustrators Lane Smith and Bob Shea
- Design of the Picture Book, by teacher-librarian and author, Carter Higgins
- A Fuse #8 Production, by librarian Elizabeth Bird
- Let's Talk Picture Books, a close look at picture book design & illustration
- Librarian’s Quest, by teacher-librarian Margie Myers-Culver
- Number Five Bus Presents… by author illustrators Erin and Philip Stead
- Picture Books Blogger
- Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast, by librarian Julie Danielson
- Sharpread, by teacher Colby Sharp
- This Picture Book Life, by Danielle Davis
- Vintage Books My Kid Loves
- Watch. Connect. Read. by teacher-librarian John Schumacher
- 32 Pages: A Passion for Picture Books, by illustrator Donna McKinnon
OTHER STUFF I LOVE