Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Picture Book University

I have been reading and following along on the first lesson in Pam Calvert's online Picture Book University. For Week Number 1, we were given an assignment to go to our library and pick out at least 20-25 picture books, read them and analyze them in terms of genre. In doing so, I found two very delightful books.

The first is called LOOKING AT LINCOLN by Maria Kalman. A little girl visits the Lincoln Memorial and tells the reader a story about him as she goes along. It's a biography of Lincoln from a child's perspective. It was a fun book to read and it gave me an idea of what to do with a picture book biography I'm working on about Frank Lloyd Wright.

The second book is called JAZZMATAZZ. It was written by Stephanie Calmenson and illustrated by Bruce Degen. The text is written in rhyme, which is done very well (which, as many of you know is hard to do) and is truly a delight. The rhythm and the word play are fun to read and the illustrations just make it so much better.

There’s a note in the back of the book where the author explains the idea for the story. She was emailing the illustrator, discussing the cold weather. Bruce mentioned that the field mice were coming into the house to get warm. The previous night one had walked across his foot while he was washing the dishes and then it ran under the piano. Stephanie said, “Train the mouse to run on the piano – and play jazz!” That’s where the idea for the book came from. The story starts with a mouse coming into the house, walking across the peoples’ feet and then jumping onto the piano where it starts playing jazz.

Isn’t that a great way to be inspired to write a picture book?!?

BTW, if you want to learn how to write children’s picture books, Pam Calvert’s online Picture Book University is FREE! Yes, I said FREE! The course is eight weeks long and covers several aspects of writing such as the different genres for picture books, storyboarding, and character driven picture books. Check out her website! You’ll be glad you did!


Julie Flanders said...

How awesome that the course is free! Sounds like a great opportunity. I've thought about writing a picture book based on a crazy situation with my silly dog but have always put it on the backburner. Maybe I should start thinking about that again.

Fun post! :)

Christine M. Irvin said...

Hi Julie,

Thanks for stopping by. Yes, the course is FREE, it's online (you can just print it out), and it's loaded with tons of useful info. Of course, you don't get graded, and you don't get "credit" for it (but you should give yourself "credit" for doing it as there are activities to complete at the end of each lesson), but it's well worth your time.