To celebrate the release of On Bird Hill by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Bob Marstall (5/10/16), blogs across the web are featuring exclusive content from Jane, Bob, and Brian Sockin (CEO and Publisher of Cornell Lab Publishing Group), plus 10 chances to win a copy of On Bird Hill and a window bird feeder!
by Jane Yolen
My five basic writing tips for picture books (On Bird Hill is a classic 32 page picture book) are these:
1. Sit down and write. Not being snarky here. I am approached everywhere I go by well-meaning folk who say, “I have a great idea for a book, if I could just find the time. Note: There is no such thing as “finding” time. No one has dropped it by the wayside or stashed it in a treasure chest. A writer makes time, takes time, grabs time, steals time.
2. Read a lot, and I mean a LOT of picture books, and not just the classics from your childhood. A good start is to get ahold of the Caldecott winners and honor books of the last ten years. Sit down and read them, first silently, then aloud.
3. Learn what makes a good picture book. First of all, they are almost always (if they are not board books or novelty books) 32 book pages. There has to be something illustratable on each page. Do NOT write instructions for the illustrator. Do NOT find a neighbor to do the illustrate it unless that person is already a well-known children’s book artist. That’s the editor’s job. Get a copy of Uri Shulevitz’s brilliant book Writing With Pictures. It’s really for illustrators but a writer of picture books can learn an enormous amount from it as well.
4. Join SCBWI – the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, the biggest and best organization that will help you learn everything you need to know about writing for young(ish) children, will likely have a critique group in your area, lists of agents and editors and what they are looking for, etc.
5. Sit down and write. “BIC” as I like to say: Butt in chair. Do I repeat myself? Of course, it’s #1 on my list and #5. Writing is not an oh-I-have-a-great-idea kind of business. Its a learning, slogging, every-day job that is the greatest in the world. You can change a child’s life and do it in your jammies!!!
Loosely based on the old cumulative nursery rhyme/song “The Green Grass Grew All Around,” a nursery rhyme first published as a song in 1912. But in this version, it’s a boy and his dog who find the bird in a nest on a hill in a strange valley.Following in the footsteps of Jane’s highly acclaimed Owl Moon, winner of the prestigious Caldecott Award, On Bird Hill is a beautiful picture book with an enchanting story, fancifully illustrated by renowned artist Bob Marstall. On Bird Hill is sure to attract interest from millions of readers and fans of Jane’s popular classics.
About the Author: Jane Yolen has authored more than 350 books, including the Caldecott-winning Owl Moon, which every budding young ornithologist owns, You Nest Here With Me, which is a popular new favorite, and the New York Times bestselling series How Do Dinosaurs. Jane Yolen’s books have been translated into over 20 languages and are popular around the world.
Janes husband, David Stemple, was both a well known bird recordist and a professor of computer science and he taught the entire family how to identify birds. Many of Jane’s books are about wildlife subjects, especially the winged kind. Jane lives in Easthampton, MA. Visit her online at janeyolen.com.
- One (1) winner will receive a copy of On Bird Hill and a Window Bird Feeder ($28.99) to get up close and personal with the birds in your backyard! Great for blends, peanuts and safflower, this durable feeder attaches right to your window pane with suction cups, allowing you to see every bird detail. It’s easy to fill and easy to clean.
- This giveaway is open to US residents only.
- Comment below to get a free entry.
- Comment again if you like Cornell Lab Publishing on Facebook.
- Comment again if you follow Jane Yollen on Twitter.
- Finally, comment again if you tweeted about this giveaway. Make sure to mention @booksmykidsread in your tweet!