Here’s an interesting article in the School Library Journal blog by Patti Lee Gauch, a former editorial director at Philomel Books about the “state of the picture book.” She mentions in one of her talks “how books that introduce chaos into a controlled environment and that are characterized by fun and playfulness tend to resonate with young readers.” Her comments on e-books: “acknowledging that electronic versions do have their place. Gauch, however, stressed that a physical book is in and of itself an art form …”
I had the pleasure of attending one of Ms. Gauch’s talks when I journeyed to the Highlights Writers’ Workshop at Chautauque a while back. I got my binder out just now and looked over the notes that I took during Ms. Gauch’s talk. “Move out of your comfort zone,” she said. “A reader doesn’t want to travel where he’s been before. Make your book different. Write an unexpected story. You as a writer have the stage. What do you want your reader to see?”
Going back over my notes brought back so many fond memories of Chautauqua. I actually met and talked with Pam Muñoz Ryan of Esperanza Rising and Carolyn Coman of the Newbery Honor book, What Jamie Saw, plus a host of other famous writers. What a treat that was for me.
So listen to Ms. Gauch’s advice. Write the story that only you can write. Happy writing and Happy Holidays!
Get your first draft done any way you can. Then the real work starts: revision." -- Harold Underdown
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