Saturday, June 30, 2007
While I am primarily focused on young adult novels, I have also sold illustration in the past. A brief sampling of mostly small children. I love the body language of toddlers, with their full cheeks, heavy heads, and spindly bodies.
All images copyright Rose Green. Please do not use without permission!
Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators
Editor Cheryl Klein's website and blog
Agent Rachel Vater's blog
Agent Kristin Nelson's blog
Editorial Anonymous, children's editor
Blue Rose Girls
Fuse #8, blog of a NYC children's librarian (lots of book reviews)
Deliciously Clean Reads (more book reviews)
Asimov, Isaac. The Best New Thing
Bang, Molly. The Grey Lady and the Strawberry Snatcher
Bulla, Robert Clyde. The Moon Singer
Cole, Joanna, and Bruce Degen. The Magic School Bus books
David Wisniewski, Golem and others
De Bruhoff, Laurent and Jean. The Babar books
Fox, Mem and Helen Oxenbury. Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes
Glen, Maggie. Ruby
Hamilton, Virginia. The Girl Who Spun Gold
Henkes, Kevin. Weekend with Wendall and all the Lilly books
Ian Falconer, the Olivia books
Ludwig Bemelmans. Madeline
Marla Frazee. Everywhere Babies, Roller Coaster, and others
McCloskey, Robert. Blueberries for Sal
Perkins, Al. Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb
Raven, Margot Theis. Circle Unbroken
Ravensburger (publisher), Wieso, Weshalb, Warum series
Say, Allan. Grandfather's Journey
Sendak, Maurice. Where the Wild Things Are and Chicken Soup with Rice
Seuss, Dr. One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish and Hop on Pop in particular
Shannon, David. The David books
Sis, Peter. The Three Golden Keys
Smith, Lane. The Happy Hocky Family
Velthjuis, Max. The Frog books
Wiesner, David. Sector 7 and others
Fairy tales collected by Andrew Lang and the Grimm brothers
I also like the following illustrators:
Trina Schart Hyman
Chris Van Allsburg
Favorite graphic novels:
Hale, Shannon and Dean and Nathan Hale-no-relation, Rapunzel's Revenge
Tan, Shaun, The Arrival
Favorite novels (midgrade and YA):
Alexander, Lloyd. The Chronicles of Prydain
Anderson, M.T. Jasper Dash and the Flame Pits of Delaware.
Anderson, R.J. Ultraviolet
Barber, Antonia. The Ghosts
Birdsall, Jeanne. The Penderwicks
Bloor, Edward. London Calling
Bowler, Tim. Firmament
Boyce, Frank Cottrell. Cosmic
Bracken, Alexandra. Brightly Woven
Bunce, Elizabeth C. A Curse Dark as Gold, Starcrossed
Burnett, Frances Hodson. A Little Princess
Choldenko, Gennifer. Al Capone Does My Shirts
Clements, Andrew. Things Not Seen
Crossley-Holland, Kevin. Arthur series and especially Gatty's Tale (Crossing to Paradise in the American edition)
Cushman, Karen. Midwife's Apprentice.
Dahl, Roald. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach
Dolamore, Jaclyn. Magic Under Glass
Dixon, Heather. Entwined
Duncan, Lois. A Gift of Magic
Eager, Edward. Half Magic
Fagan, Deva. Circus Galacticus
Farmer, Nancy. House of the Scorpion
George, Jessica Day. Tuesdays at the Castle
Gier, Kerstin. Ruby Red
Hale, Shannon. River Secrets. Also Rapunzel's Revenge
Hoffman, Mary. Stravaganza series.
Ibbotson, Eva. The Star of Kazan and also Journey to the River Sea
Jean Ferris, Love Among the Walnuts
Jones, Diana Wynne. Fire and Hemlock and Howl’s Moving Castle and the Dalemark Quartet
Langton, Jane. The Diamond in the Window
Law, Ingrid. Savvy and its sequel Scumble
Leavitt, Lindsey. Sean Griswold's Head
L'Engle, Madeleine. A Wrinkle in Time.
Levine, Gail Carson. Ella Enchanted
Lewis, C.S. The Chronicles of Narnia
Lord, Cynthia. Rules.
McDonald, George. The Princess and Curdie and The Princess and the Goblin
McKinley, Robin. Beauty, The Blue Sword
Meyer, Stephenie. Twilight
Montgomery, LM. Anne of Green Gables
Moss, Jenny. Winnie's War
Murdock, Catherine Gilbert. Dairy Queen.
Nesbit, E. The House of Arden
Oppel, Kenneth, Airborn
Pope, Elizabeth Marie. The Perilous Gard
Rex, Adam. The True Meaning of Smekday
Rowling, JK. Harry Potter
Sachar, Louis. Holes
Sanderson, Brandon. Alcatraz versus the Evil Librarians
Schröder, Rainer M. Abby Lynn: Verbannt ans Ende der Welt
Sonnenblick, Jordan. Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie
Speare, Elizabeth George. The Witch of Blackbird Pond.
Stiefvater, Maggie. The Scorpio Races
Stork, Francisco X. Marcelo in the Real World.
Temple, Frances.The Ramsey Scallop
Turner, Megan Whalen. The Thief
Vande Velde, Vivian. Now You See It
Van Draanen, Wendelin. Flipped.
Webster, Jean. Daddy Long-Legs
White, Robb. The Lion's Paw.
Wilder, Laura Ingalls. Little House on the Prairie series
Williams, Sarah DeFord. Palace Beautiful
Wrede, Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer. Sorcery and Cecelia, or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot
Zusak, Markus. The Book Thief
Books for adults:
Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre
Collins, Wilkie. The Woman in White
Enger, Leif. Peace Like a River
Fforde, Jasper. The Eyre Affair
Gogol, Nikolai. Dead Souls
Haddon, Mark. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
Henderson, Zenna. The People short stories
Hugo, Victor. Les Miserables
Kean, Sam. The Disappearing Spoon and Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from The Periodic Table of the Elements
Meyer, Stephenie. The Host
Peters, Ellis. Never Pick Up Hitchhikers! and other mysteries (especially the modern ones)
Pratchett, Terry. Discworld series.
Sayers, Dorothy L. Gaudy Night
Tey, Jacqueline. Brat Farrar
Nonfiction by the Leakeys
Tolstoy, Leo. Anna Karenina
Willis, Connie. Doomsday Book and To Say Nothing of the Dog
Winspeare, Jacqueline, Maisie Dobbs
First, a quick word on what children's/YA books are not. They are not
Preachy sermons (Struwwelpeter doesn't fly these days, sorry)
Excuses for giving kids guilt trips (How Tommy Conceded His Mom was Right, and Cleaned Up His Room)
Long, badly-metered rhymes about Timmy Teapot and Patsy Potholder
Condescending, because after all, kids are "dumber" than adults
(If you don't know what's wrong with these examples, you should definitely a) spend more time with actual children, and b) read some books published in the last five years)
So what makes a good book?
That is a subjective question! For me, it's a book that has
interesting, complex characters I can relate to
who DO something
which has a palpable effect on themselves, others, or Life in General
and has a conclusion
(that gives hope).
(It's a given that the book is written in clean, strong prose.)
How do you write a book?
That varies per person. Generally the writer sees or hears something that sparks an idea, and from there the story unfolds. I ask a lot of "what if?" questions about my characters. What if these two people were together in a room? What would they do? What if this happened to my main character? What choices would s/he make? And eventually a storyline starts to emerge. Then you write a first draft.
That's first draft. As in, the first of many. Every book goes through numerous revisions until the prose is just right and the story tells only what needs to be told, and no more. Editor Cheryl Klein has some excellent resources on revision once you have that first draft. Most writers show their writing to trusted friends to help them catch parts they may not have explained well enough, or places that are confusing, or wording that's unclear. It's important to find someone (or some-ones) who will both see where you are trying to take your book and can explain where you're going off course.
After you and your critique buddies have done your best, the book is ready to go out into the world and be seen by editors and/or agents--and once it's acquired, it undergoes the same process all over again, until it's ready to be printed and distributed to bookstores. (Moral: critiques don't go away, so develop that dragon hide!)
How do I get an agent and/or editor?
Check out the links below to find agent/editor listings, or look in the yearly Children's Writers and Illustrators Market. Follow the directions for the house/agency you are interested in. For picture books, you often send the whole text (typed straight through onto a couple pages) and a cover letter. For longer works, you most often send a query letter (see www.agentquery.com for how to do that) and sometimes sample chapters. If they like it, they'll ask to see more.
When submitting a query and/or manuscript, be sure to follow industry standard formatting. (The Children's Writers and Illustrators Market can help you there.) Trust me, no agent or editor will be impressed by the following:
A manuscript bound up like a "real book"
Anything in weird fonts on colorful paper (Times New Roman and Courier are standard)
Anything encased in paper mache sculpture
A submission accompanied by letters from your lawyer or glamour pictures of yourself
So, I can get rich quick if I write some children's books, right?
Uh, no. Publishing works at a glacial pace, and has few monetary returns, especially in children's books. Also, writing children's books is NOT easier than writing for adults.
All the same…
Keep in mind that money flows to the author. If you ever encounter an "agent" or an "editor" who wants you to pay them to do their job, run. They are not legitimate. Yes, an agent gets a commission--on books they've sold. Not before.
Some excellent links for children's writers:
http://www.absolutewrite.com/ (Not just for children's. Check out the forums for researching agents/editors.)
www.publishersmarketplace.com for agent research
www.ala.org to see what books have won awards lately
http://mysite.verizon.net/vzeqjo1w/ (Cheryl Klein's site)
http://www.chavelaque.blogspot.com/ (Cheryl Klein's blog)
http://raleva31.livejournal.com (agent Rachel Vater's blog)
http://pubrants.blogspot.com (agent Kristin Nelson's blog)
Read every day, write every day, and enjoy the process!