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Genres & Age Categories => Picture Books (PB) => Topic started by: jennifer-mone on February 04, 2019, 09:09 AM

Title: Question re PBs and "sidebars"
Post by: jennifer-mone on February 04, 2019, 09:09 AM
Hi all,

I'm a new author with professional experience in the mental health profession.  I've been writing a PB for very young children, their siblings, and parents about a specific medical issue (a non-fiction, informative book).  As I write, the more it's clear to me the book has a dual focus: 1-simple education for children about the medical issue and 2- recognition and support for parents dealing with this medical issue.  My overarching question is this: How do I effectively portray the 2 different foci in the bookWhen the info is directed at parents, not children, should it be considered a "sidebar?"  In my manuscript thus far, the audience/point-of-view alternates regularly between child-focused info and parent-info, so I'm not quite sure how to delineate this in the manuscript.  Has anyone seen this type of dual focus before? I realize I'm stretching the typical bounds of a PB here...
Thanks in advance for your guidance and suggestions!  This is an amazing group of people to be in touch with as I proceed down this winding, unfamiliar path! :bewildered
Title: Re: Question re PBs and "sidebars"
Post by: Pons on February 04, 2019, 09:57 AM
I think you need to decide who your primary target audience is. If it is the child, then write the story for the child. Because you have so much information that would be valuable for the adult - which would also benefit the child - find a way to incorporate it that doesn't intrude on the child's story. Sidebars are an option, and I often like them, but in this case with very young children, you might want to opt for a glossary or information page at the back of the book. I'm not sure if your story will be fiction or nonfiction, but I find sidebars in fiction annoying. That could very possibly just be me.  :star2
Title: Re: Question re PBs and "sidebars"
Post by: Vijaya on February 04, 2019, 10:54 AM
Jennifer, sidebars are typically for the child--fun facts and such. I think what would be more useful is a section at the back titled: For Parents. You can also have a separate, companion book for parents. Good luck!
Title: Re: Question re PBs and "sidebars"
Post by: anastasia-suen on February 04, 2019, 01:44 PM
Jennifer, sidebars are typically for the child--fun facts and such. I think what would be more useful is a section at the back titled: For Parents.
I agree! Save the text for adults for the BACK MATTER. The main text and the sidebars are for the children. 

Title: Re: Question re PBs and "sidebars"
Post by: Debbie Vilardi on February 04, 2019, 05:46 PM
I agree! Save the text for adults for the BACK MATTER. The main text and the sidebars are for the children. 



I agree also. Consider the developmental stage of your young readers.  Clutter from sidebars and sections that break the forward flow of the text may confuse them. Once that happens, you'll lose their attention. Adults who need support will happily look at the back matter.
Title: Re: Question re PBs and "sidebars"
Post by: JulieM on February 04, 2019, 07:28 PM
I was going to say the same too. Young children would likely not find adult-oriented text on the pages of "their" book very attractive. Also I think it would be hard to sell a book that has such disparate audiences on each page to publishers. I have seen picture books dealing with particular issues with For Parents pages at the back. They seem to work well by not interrupting the flow of the children's text while still presenting very important and relevant info for carers.
Title: Re: Question re PBs and "sidebars"
Post by: jennifer-mone on February 06, 2019, 08:17 AM
Thanks to each of you for responding!  It's helpful, so incredibly useful, to have your feedback!

Jen