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Transitioning from Adult to Children’s Fiction

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I am new to SCBWI but not new to writing. I’m wondering if anyone has advice or can point me to resources as I transition from writing novels and short stories to picture books. Any must-read books on writing for children you would recommend? What’s the equivalent of Bird by Bird, Writing Down the Bones or On Writing for the children’s market? I’m hoping to find a critique group to join as well and get involved in my regional chapter.

Thanks in advance for any advice. I’ve browsed these boards for the past few weeks and find it to be a very supportive community!

#1 - January 08, 2015, 02:07 PM
Lisa Katzenberger

I don't  have any recommendations, but I'm interested in this question too -- really good craft books about language, imagery, voice for picture books. I can think of books that are oriented towards the business of children's literature but not to the specific writing process.
#2 - January 08, 2015, 02:32 PM
Kell Andrews

THIS OR THAT, Tilbury House, 2021
THE BOOK DRAGON, Sterling, 2018

Veni Sancte Spiritus!
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My favorite books on this topic are writing books by Ann Whitford Paul, Linda Ashman, and Barbara Seuling.

But the best way is to read lots and lots of PBs and typing up your favorites in ms format to see how they look on the page without the art.

There are also some blogs devoted to dissecting PBs. is one of my favorites.

Good luck. I love working on shorts -- it's how I got started in children's lit.
#3 - January 08, 2015, 02:56 PM
Little Thief! Max & Midnight, Bound, Ten Easter Eggs & 100+ bks/mags

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Welcome, Lisa! :welcome2 I don't write PBs, but a couple general kidlit books are Cheryl Klein's Second Sight and Mary Kole's Writing Irresistible Kidlit. Both mention PBs at least a bit.
#4 - January 08, 2015, 02:57 PM
Learning to Swear in America (Bloomsbury, July 2016)
What Goes Up (Bloomsbury, 2017)
The Constitution Decoded (Workman, 2020)
Twitter: KatieWritesBks

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I have "Writing Picture Books" by Ann Whitford Paul as it was highly recommended, but haven't read it yet, so can't give a personal review. But it's been said AWP's book is a must read for aspiring pb writers.

Besides these boards, you might also try Harold Underdown's Purple Crayon site. He has a ton of current information, especially useful to someone starting out. It's - good luck!!

#5 - January 08, 2015, 03:19 PM
« Last Edit: January 08, 2015, 03:22 PM by Mrs. Jones »

Holiday House 2021
Holiday House, 2015, 2016

Mike Jung

The Ann Whitford Paul book has been recommended to me by a bunch of people whose opinions I trust, including my editor. It's well worth a look.
#6 - January 08, 2015, 03:27 PM

Creator of Mootastic Art and Children's Books
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Another vote for WRITING PICTURE BOOKS by Ann Whitford Paul. It's a great resource.

I'd also suggest WRITING WITH PICTURES by Uri Shulevitz (even if you're not an illustrator - the sections on writing the book are excellent and writers need to learn about page turns too).
#7 - January 08, 2015, 08:35 PM
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picture book: EWE AND AYE (now available as an ebook!)


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