Thursday, December 31, 2009


It's Real Kids Thursday. When you're little, and bravely facing an ordeal, it helps to have some things to hold on to. Like a couple of stuffed animals and a pacifier. And it's nice to have a treat afterwards.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Sales Numbers

It's Writing Wednesday. If we have a lemonade stand, we know how many glasses we're selling. If we get a book published, and it's out in the marketplace, we may know how many books are sold by the royalty statement, but how good are the sales? What does the publisher consider strong sales or weak sales? How will it affect their decision to buy the next manuscript from us? Check out an interesting recent blog post from Editorial Anonymous about this topic here.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

David Wiesner

It's Illustration Tuesday. David Wiesner has won the Caldecott medal three times. Read about him here. Watch him talk about his work, and then look at a trailer for Flotsam, below.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Fairy Tales

It's Monday--Picture Books Past. What seems more typical of books for children from yesteryear than fairy tales? Sure, we all know what they are, but maybe we might enjoy reflecting a little more deeply on this type of story. Reading the Wikipedia article here might be a good start.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Picture Book Party is on vacation this week. I wish for you a lovely winter week, holiday goodies, and sharing with others.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Thomas Nelson

It's Book Business Friday. Thomas Nelson is a large publishing company with a long history and a Christian focus. The first video describe the company's history. The second video shows how they can give a strong Christian slant to popular subject matter in children's books. Check their books here.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


It's Thursday, Real Kids Day. Kids really love bouncing. And dogs!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Picture Book Biographies

It's Writing Wednesday. Today seems like a good day to think about picture books which tell the true story of an interesting, noteworthy person. How to pick the subject? How to slant the story? What to leave out? Who will read the book and why? Writing a biography can be an entertaining exploration for the author. Let's hear from a couple of people with experience in the field. There's an interesting blog entry by Mark Tyler Nobleman here (read the comments at the bottom of the post, too.) And below, Kathleen Krull reflects on her process of creating biographies for young readers.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Chris Raschka

It's Illustration Tuesday. Caldecott Medal winner Chris Raschka has illustrated many books with varying styles. Scroll through some of his titles on Barnes and Noble here to see some examples. There's a brief biographical introduction to him here. When you hear him talk about how his work evolves through the process of making dummies, it's possible to get a glimpse of his creative approach.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Ludwig Bemelmans

It's Monday, Picture Books Past. Ludwig Bemelmans created the beloved character, Madeline, who lives in his colorful and energetic paintings set in Paris. The first book, Madeline, was recognized as a Caldecott Honor book in 1940. He won the Caldecott medal for Madeline's Rescue in 1954. Who was he? There's a bio on the "official" Madeline site here. Another version of his life story is here on Wikipedia. On the Barnes and Noble site, here, there's a readable first chapter from a biography of Bemelmans, written by his grandson (who has continued the Madeline books.) This interesting excerpt describes the turmoil of his childhood in Europe and life in America as a young man. Check out how the B&N site lets one browse the chapter--click on the "see inside" icon.

Friday, December 11, 2009


It's Book Business Friday. Production in the book business means the preparation for actually making the physical book. In the Random House career video, below, an employee tells a little about his job doing this in the children's book division. The second video is another employee taking about her job in marketing at Random House's Bantam Dell. They seem to be really enthusiastic about working in the book business. That's a good thing.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Mickey and Minnie

It's Thursday--Real Kids Day.
Meeting Minnie Mouse or Mickey Mouse is quite an event! Everybody's smiling and parents are hurrying to get the camera going.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Jane Yolen

It's Writing Wednesday. Jane Yolen knows so much about writing children's books. She's published in numerous genres, over numerous years. She's won many awards and enjoys many readers. Take a look here to see what advice she has for writers. Look especially at what she has to say about rejections and moving on. It's comforting to know that we can handle it, just like she does.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Winding Paths

It's Illustration Tuesday. Often our career paths are not a straight line. There may be slow starts and turns and detours. In the video below, Helen Craig, illustrator of Angelina Ballerina, describes hers. Read here more about her background, and about Angelina's author, Kathering Holabird. She did some other things, too, before writing. All those experiences enrich us. Then look at where being in a book has taken Angelina--right to the real ballet!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Golden Books

It's Monday--Picture Books Past. Most American children born since World War II have grown up with books published by Golden Books (now part of Random House.) Many fine writers and illustrators produced the best of these inexpensive books. Read the brief "Story of Little Golden Books" here. Consider getting Golden Legacy, an entertaining book by Leonard Marcus which tells the history of the company and much about the publishing business of the mid-century period. Take a look at the book here.

Friday, December 4, 2009

National Book Festival

It's Book Business Friday. One lively public component of the book business is the book festival. There are book festivals in many cities. In Washington, D.C., the National Book Festival, put on by the Library of Congress, takes place in September. Lots of authors, illustrators, and readers attend. Check the website here. Look at the YouTube channel of the Library of Congress, with lots of videos from the National Book Festival, here.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


It's Thursday--Real Kids Day. It must be nice to have a twin. Someone with the same sense of humor? Someone with the same taste in reading material, perhaps?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Mem's Advice

It's Writing Wednesday. A little while back we had a post on Australian writer Mem Fox (here.) Let's look at some advice she's got for writers. It's a page on her website called "So you want to write a picture book..." After the introduction (more for those really new to writing,) it's full of excellent, thoughtful ideas from a pro. Check it out here. We can take a little of her magic and make it our own.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


It's Illustration Tuesday. Pop-up books have been around for a long time and continue to develop and amaze. Read a recent article about Waldo Hunt, an influential entrepreneur, who helped revive this art form. The website of artist Robert Sabuda has lots of info and examples to explore here. And here's an article about the history of these movable books.