RhyPiBoMo 2015 Day 17
Today’s guest blogger is a friend with whom I had the pleasure of meeting last summer at Kristen Fulton’s WOW Retreat in Georgia. It was the best week of my writing life as I met SO many of my virtual writing friends in person and signed with my wonderful agent Kenda Marcus of BookStop Literary! Mirada taught an amazing session that week and it was full of great ideas, motivating writing tips and loads of resources. I am so happy she is here to help us celebrate Non-Fiction and Earth Day with her environmentally friendly books!
I am pleased
The Science of Poetry: A Look at
The craft of writing books for children straddles the line between science and art. When I’m working on a nonfiction manuscript, it feels like I’m alternating between a paint-by-number kit and a laboratory experiment—with an outcome I can’t fully predict.
If you haven’t immersed yourself in newer nonfiction for young readers, you’re missing out. Today’s rhythmic and rhyming nonfiction picture books and poetry collections are quite remarkable. Here are five things I’ve noticed about some of my favorite titles.
1. Clear format or pattern
When working with a nonfiction concept or historically-based story, bending and twisting facts to change the plot isn’t an option. But establishing a different way to tell the story is an option.
If you’re exploring a concept that’s been done already, you might find a fresh, new format or pattern to use. For example, I chose a very unique stanza rhythm for my forthcoming book, Water is Water, which involves a concept (the water cycle) that’s been written about many times over.
Art from Water is Water © Jason Chin 2015. http://www.jasonchin.net
If you’re dealing with subject matter that is unique or unfamiliar to your audience, the opposite strategy may apply. Choosing an established format or pattern might balance the scales. Example: The Mangrove Tree by Cindy Trumbore and Susan L. Roth is about an environmentalist that many children will not recognize. Although it is not a rhyming book, they use a familiar pattern (The House that Jack Built / cumulative style) to make the text itself recognizable and/or predictable.
2. Consideration of audience
Along the lines of #1, some of my favorite nonfiction titles are brilliant in the way that they take a complex subject and make it engaging for children, or bring depth and wonder to a seemingly simple topic.
We often choose our subjects based on what we’re interested in—at least, I know I do. But the key for me is to take that concept or subject and ask what I’d be interested in about that topic if I were between the ages of four and eight. I also consider what I would already know, and what I wouldn’t.
Some books that find the balance between simplifying the complex and layering the simple in ways that engage children are:
A Rock Can Be… by Laura Purdie Salas, illustrated by Violeta Dabija
Eggs 1, 2, 3: Who Will the Babies Be? by Janet Halfmann, illustrated by Betsy Thompson
African Animals ABC by Philippa-Alys Browne
Mama Built a Little Nest by Jennifer Ward, illustrated by Steve Jenkins
This is my favorite quality of well-written rhyming books or poetry. The ease with which a child can memorize a text are part of what render a story successful, at least to me.
While things such as illustrations and an adult-child bond will inevitably contribute toward whether a book gets re-read, there are other factors that help a book’s chances of being loved until it’s spine is worn.
-Economy of words
If you can say something in fewer words, do.
Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
Make the adult reader a rock star with meter and rhyme that’s obvious, infectious, and smooth.
Do You Know Which Ones Will Grow? by Susan A. Shea
Consider page breaks and the order of concepts/events to build anticipation.
An Island Grows by Lola M. Schaefer, illustrated by Cathie Felstead
Conscientious writers take care with details, making the story appreciated more and more over time. Word choice, back matter, and the overall presentation elevate a simple story to one that touches readers, reaches wider audiences, or invites further study.
Who Put the Cookies in the Cookie Jar? by George Shannon, illustrated by Julie Paschkis
What do you think? Can any nonfiction subject be explored through poetry? Written about in rhyme? What other elements have made nonfiction picture books successful? Which titles are your favorites?
Feel free to leave a comment below!
Miranda Paul is a children’s writer who is passionate about creating stories for young readers that inspire, entertain, and broaden horizons. In addition to more than 50 short stories for magazines and digital markets, Miranda is the author of several forthcoming picture books from imprints of Lerner, Macmillan, and Random House. Her debut, One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia, and her second book, Water is Water were both named Junior Library Guild selections. She is the Executive VP of Outreach for We Need Diverse Books™ (www.diversebooks.org) and the administrator of RateYourStory.org, a site for aspiring writers. Miranda believes in working hard, having fun, and being kind.
One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia – illus. Elizabeth Zunon – Lerner, now available
Water is Water – illus. Jason Chin – Macmillan, May 26, 2015
Helping Hands – illus. Luciana Navarro Powell – Lerner, Spring 2016
10 Little Ninjas – illus. Nate Wragg – Knopf/Random House, August 2016
Are We Pears Yet? – illus. Carin Berger – Macmillan, Spring 2017
Learn more at http://www.mirandapaul.com.
RhyPiBoMo 2015 Optional Writing Prompt: 17
This is NOT part of the pledge. It is an option for a writing exercise for those interested. You will not publically share this as part of RhyPiBoMo but may keep a journal of your writing this month for your own review.
Today’s writing prompt is to write a rhyming poem about a non-fiction subject.
Une Soldier de France
The visions came of victory sought.
When seventeen, he bravely fought.
Though never trained to ride a horse,
his knowledge brought strategic force.
His battle standards fit quite loose
and led France to an English truce.
He proudly stood to honor France
but hadn’t learned their song and dance.
The French Commander asked to see
the George who set French captives free.
His ‘nom de plume,’ George Sand appeared.
His physique was small and sans un beard?
None could deny he’d left his mark.
Then proudly said, “I’m Joan of Arc.”
She spoke with courage beyond her years,
convincing all to calm their fears.
France had been saved by this young lass
who was born beneath their higher class.
How could George be a soldier girl?
The French folk’s oyster’s magic pearl.
With her little education learned
this saintly soldier soon got burned.
The commander shamed by a female’s grace
praised her to save his royal face.
Some said her mysterious, witchy, ways
would bring France shame in future days.
They questioned her with sneaky hooks
and demanded answers with tortured looks.
The flames erased her sketchy past.
T’was too late…when her name was cleared, at last.
Joan sacrificed to help her fellow man
who couldn’t do what a woman can!
© 2012 Angie Karcher
Congratulations to Week 3 Prize Winners
Monday Copy of THE BOAT OF MANY ROOMS Donated by J. Patrick Lewis
Winner – Ann Magee
Tuesday Copy of GROUNDHOG’S DILEMMA (Dec/2015) Donated by Kristen Remenar
Winner – Aimee Haburjak
Wednesday Manuscript Critique by Kristen Remenar
Winner – Kenda Henthorn
Thursday Manuscript Critique by Iza Trapani
Winner – Kristi Veitenheimer
Friday Manuscript Critique by Tim McCanna
Winner – Caroline Twomey
Winners, PLEASE message me your information on Facebook
or email it to Angiekarcherrpbm@gmail.com
Golden Quill Poetry Contest
The Golden Quill Poetry Contest is open for submissions.
The deadline is this Saturday, April 25th midnight Central Time.
And…did I mention the prizes?
1st place – A Manuscript Critique by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen
2nd place – A Scholarship for Non-Fiction Archeology by Kristen Fulton
3rd place – A Scholarship for Pacing Picture Books to WOW! Class by Agent Jodell Sadler
PLEASE make sure you read the contest rules and follow them exactly. Unfortunately, due to the number of poems we will receive, a poem will be disqualified if it does not follow the guidelines exactly. This is only fair to those who did follow the rules and is good practice for us as writers because editors expect those guidelines to be followed to the letter.
First and Last name included in the body of the email at the top left
Email address included in the body of the email at the top left
Phone number – top left
Space down 5 spaces
The Theme is: Freedom
Title of poem – centered with no by line or name here
8 line limit
Must be a rhyming poem
You will be judged on clever title, rhyme scheme, rhythm, scansion, perfect rhyming words, internal rhyme, alliteration, consonance, assonance, onomatopoeia, and clever ending.
Email poems to Angiekarcherrpbm@gmail.com
by April 25th midnight central time
Do you enjoy writing rhyming picture books?
Do you find rhyme challenging?
Do you want to pep up your prose with poetic techniques?
Then this is the class for you!
Writing in Rhyme to WOW! is a 4 week course,
M-F with daily lessons, writing prompts, rhyme journaling, creating tools you will use, group poetry readings, webinars and critique groups, and a one-on-one webinar critique with Angie.
Each class begins on the first Monday of the month and the weekly group webinars are on Thursdays at 8:00 p.m. Central Standard Time, (Chicago Time) or at a time that best suits the group due to time zones of those involved.
I am beginning to sign people up for June and July!
If you register now for June or July, I will give you the $99.00 price!
Contact Angie with questions.
Sign up now before the classes are full!
Click here for more information!
Need a critique?
Angie is now offering
rhyming picture book and poetry manuscript critiques.
A One Time critique is ($25.00) or a Twice Look critique is ($35.00)
See the tab above or click here for more information.
RhyPiBoMo Gift Shop is Open!
Please stop by and see what’s available this year. There are notebooks, mugs, buttons and more. All proceeds will go to WE NEED DIVERSE BOOKS!
Thank you Tanja Bauerle for these gorgeous images!!!