Sunday, February 10, 2008
I spent the weekend in New York City at the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators winter conference. It was enlightening, inspiring, and otherwise exhausting. I'm a little star struck with meeting such authors as Tomie DePaola, Susan Patron, and Carolyn Mackler. It was an amazing weekend. One of the big questions was: is the picture book dead (or dying)? The answer was a resounding NO. But the picture book (particularly the rhyming picture book) is the most difficult to sell. And it's one of the hardest things to write because every single word must be essential to the story. The level of the reader must be considered with every word, and the patience of the parent to read the story (usually over and over) must also be considered. So, the question becomes, why on earth would anyone choose to write a picture book, given all these strikes against it before it's even finished? I believe the answer is simple. The writer does not choose the story; the story chooses the writer. And the writer must write the story that has chosen him.