RESOURCES for WRITERS & ILLUSTRATORS of CHILDREN'S PICTUREBOOKS
My top 5 suggestions:
Read, read, read and don’t stop reading children’s books in your genre!
Read Ann Whitford Paul’s comprehensive book on craft, Writing Picture Books; for illustrators, Writing With Pictures by Uri Shulevitz is a classic.
For a bit of kidlit history and sheer brilliance, get inspired by Dear Genius: The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom, edited by Leonard Marcus, with an intro 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 An organization of over 19,000 members worldwide, which is open to published and UNpublished writers and illustrators of children’s books.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.
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.
Scroll down for even more links I like...
Last update 2/2019
READ READ READ!
Need some recommendations? Check out these lists:
Every writer has her favorite books; here are a few of mine:
ON THE CRAFT OF WRITING PICTURE BOOKS
Ann Whitford Paul, Writing Picture Books: A Hands-On Guide From Story Creation to Publication (Revised and Expanded Edition)
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 2/2019)
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
Kidlit Women* Podcast, hosted by author-illustrator Grace Lin, and others
RESOURCES FOR WRITERS AND ILLUSTRATORS
Picture Books 101: From Author Alison Hughes
Editorial Anonymous: Huge blog archive by a children's editor, demystifying the publishing process
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
Picture Book Math (and why you should write something new): Kate Messner
MORE PICTUREBOOK BLOGS!
Children's Illustration, by illustrators Shelley Davies & Julie Fortenberry
Curious Pages, by illustrators Lane Smith and Bob Shea
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
Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast, by librarian Julie Danielson
Sharpread, by teacher Colby Sharp
This Picture Book Life, by Danielle Davis
Watch. Connect. Read. by teacher-librarian John Schumacher
32 Pages: A Passion for Picture Books, by illustrator Donna McKinnon