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Writer's Room => Picture Books (PB) => Topic started by: kathryn-howes on February 16, 2014, 09:15 AM

Title: What category is it?
Post by: kathryn-howes on February 16, 2014, 09:15 AM
I'm new and just getting used to definitions in this writers/agents/editors world.  I'm seeing a lot of comments about how short and concise a picture book needs to be - and that it should be aimed to a certain age group (3-7?)  What would a book with illustrations but more text (say, text page with facing illustration page or longer text across a 2-page spread) be called?  My current project is more in line with the amount of text in Mirette on the Highwire, for example.  Still a "picture book" - but more text and a topic appealing to the higher end of the age range (6-8 more than 3-7).  Is this a separate category?  Is there a place for it?  (and yes, it does for a 32-pg spread beautifully). 
Title: Re: What category is it?
Post by: Betsy on February 16, 2014, 09:43 AM
They used to call picture books with more text on the page--storybooks. However, there's very little interest in longer picture books these days. Pbs and storybooks are both intended to be read to the child by an adult. These days pbs are concise with only one or two sentences on each page because...

1. Parents often read picture books to children at night. An exhausted parent wants a book that is concise and can be read quickly, if necessary.
2. Children's attention spans are shorter than they used to be.
3. Children six and above often are starting to read beginning readers and chapter books, which they peruse by themselves. So picture books are mostly for younger children.

Agents report having little success in selling longer picture books in the last few years.

Of course these are generalizations that don't apply to any specific child or book--there ARE exceptions, but not many. In addition, nonfiction picture books can be more text-heavy, as these are often read by older children for book reports, etc.
Title: Re: What category is it?
Post by: HaroldU on February 16, 2014, 11:40 AM
Yes, as Ellen said, that sounds like a "picture storybook" and yes, there's not much demand for them. However, they still do get published, though you may need to look beyond the big houses.


For a good guide to the different kinds of picture books (and different kinds of children's books more generally), I always recommend A Family of Readers (http://www.underdown.org/family-of-readers-review.htm) -- it is presented as a guide for parents, but it's a very useful reference for writers as well.
Title: Re: What category is it?
Post by: Mara on February 16, 2014, 02:19 PM
Katey, I did a guest post for Cynsations a while back about "Writing the Longer Picture Book":

http://cynthialeitichsmith.blogspot.com/2012/04/guest-post-mara-rockliff-on-writing.html (http://cynthialeitichsmith.blogspot.com/2012/04/guest-post-mara-rockliff-on-writing.html)

I don't know what your book's about, but you might find some titles for comparison that are a little more recent than MIRETTE ON THE HIGH WIRE.
Title: Re: What category is it?
Post by: erin-ball on February 16, 2014, 04:09 PM
Thanks Mara for sharing! There was a lot of good information in there, that I will be using.  :)
Title: Re: What category is it?
Post by: sydney-oneill on February 17, 2014, 10:03 AM
Mara, your guest post was helpful to me, also. Thank you.
Title: Re: What category is it?
Post by: Mara on February 17, 2014, 01:31 PM
Glad it helped!  ;D
Title: Re: What category is it?
Post by: kathryn-howes on February 17, 2014, 05:00 PM
Thanks to all for sharing!  I've had a few  "I really like it but I'm not sure I can sell it" style responses from agents - and now I know why.  Will try to refocus into the current trends.  Mara - the post is very helpful.  Thanks a lot!