Monday, September 21, 2009

Keeping up With Kids...a Necessity!

Thinking back to memorable moments in your childhood can certainly trigger ideas for stories, but that isn't enough if you hope write for the children's market today. Keeping up with kids is a necessity. Here are some ways to do it:

  • Read newspapers and collect clippings of stories about, or that apply to kids. These can be great idea sparkers!
  • Read children's magazines. Libraries and bookstores provide a good selection. You'll learn about trends and topics that interest kids today. I subscribe to a magazine that I frequently write for.
  • Explore websites geared for children on books, science, nature, etc. Fascinating!
  • Talk with teachers and librarians. They know what kids are reading and asking for. Ask a teacher if you can be quiet observer in class.
  • Spend time with kids---not just your own or your grandchildren. There are often volunteer opportunities in a community which allow you to work with children. Visit a park, mall, bookstore, zoo, or theme park. Watch kids interact. It's a kick!
  • Watch television programs geared for the age you want to write for. You're never too old to watch children's programming like cartoons and Sesame Street. FUN!
  • Visit websites created by children's book authors. They seem to be innumerable!
  • Read the announcement issues of Publishers Weekly. These special issues come out twice a year. Ask a bookstore employee when they expect to have them. These issues give reviews about upcoming children's books. You'll also read about changes in the publishing industry. Here are more trade magazines recommended for children's book authors:
    • Horn Book Magazine [6 issues annually]
    • School Library Journal
    • Children's Literature Review
    • Booklist [22 issues annually]
    • Five Owls [a quarterly publication]
    • Kidscreen [about reaching kids through entertainment]
  • I HIGHLY recommend subscribing to The Children's Writer. It's not an expensive subscription. It will teach you and list publishing opportunities. Join the SCBWI [Society for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.]
  • Read, read, read, and never stop reading CURRENT children's books. Sure, enjoy the classics but be familiar with what's being published NOW.
Admit it. If you write for children then you never really grew up. That means keeping up with kids won't be that tough---just a whole lot of FUN!


Anonymous said...

Sherri, great suggestions!


Janet, said...

These are great suggestions. Sometimes I'll turn PBS on and watch the children's shows. I've got tons of childrens books, but I find that the older ones are quite different than what they are publishing today. For some reason, your blog site on my home page has your last post as two weeks ago, I was beginning to worry about you.