What to write...what to write...what to write? I asked myself this question over and over again when I decided to jump into this writing thing. I quickly realized I wanted to try to write for children's magazines. I mean, who hasn't loved Highlights all their life? Was there anything better than finding an unmarked-up copy of Highlights in the dentist office? Actually, that is still the best part of going to the dentist office. And magazines often reach large numbers of children in ways that books may not. Plus it involves getting mail. I still do the happy mail dance each day when it arrives and my kids run to me and ask, "are there any magazines for me?" What could be better than being a part of that joy?
So, that decision was easy. The hard part was deciding to focus on just picture books. As soon as I started looking into "kidlit" I found out that it encompasses board books, picture books, early readers, middle grade and young adult. Frankly, I have ideas for all these genres. But it became apparent that each genre has its own style, rules, challenges, and learning curve. I figured I needed to focus on one. That way I could educate myself as much as possible on that one style and take a stab at it.
I chose picture books. Not because they seemed easier. In fact, the mere idea of trying to create a memorable story that can touch children's hearts and imaginations in less than 500 words is terrifying. When your standards are Maurice Sendak and Dr. Suess, the bar is WAY high.
No, I chose picture books because I love them. I love finding a good one. I love reading them out loud. I love reading them to myself. I could flip through picture books all day. And I believe a good picture book can define parts of your childhood. Some of my favorite memories involve reading "Go Dog, Go" to my kindergarten class and Frank Asch's "Popcorn" over and over in my room.
Picture books are precious in so many ways. And I cherish the opportunity to try to create one!