I’m a poet at heart, so it isn’t surprising that my picture books have grown from my poetry. But what did surprise me was the realization that three (of four) are basically “how to” books!
What is a “how to” book?
• It is NOT usually character-driven. While it contains characters, they are not richly developed.
• Its storyline is situational and the text follows a progression and/or consequences.
• It has an arc, but not the traditional climb-the-mountain-with-three-attempts-at-solving-a-problem story arc.
• Its title may start with the words “How to…” “If you…” or “When you…” Or it may have none of these words at all.
For example, my book PICK A PINE TREE might easily be titled HOW TO MAKE A CHRISTMAS TREE. It begins with selecting a plain pine tree, and it culminates with the transformation into a Christmas tree.
When exploring “how to” books, I pay close attention to the authors’ use of:
• Concise text
• Specific word choice
• Page turns
• Humor or heartstrings or both
Here are some great examples:
Can you “how to”? Please do!
Patrica is giving away a copy of her book, Pick a Pine Tree! To be eligible for prizes throughout the challenge, you must comment on each post, be registered, and consistently read picture books throughout the challenge.
Patricia Toht is a poet, picture book author, and school library associate. She once owned a children's bookstore called Never Never Land, before turning a love of books into a love of writing. She is the author of ALL ABOARD THE LONDON BUS, illustrated by Sam Usher, and PICK A PINE TREE, illustrated by Jarvis. She has two upcoming books: DRESS LIKE A GIRL, illustrated by Lorian Tu-Dean (March 2019), and PICK A PUMPKIN, illustrated by Jarvis (July 2019). Find her online at www.patriciatoht.com or @PatriciaToht on Twitter.