Happy March 5th, everyone! Not only do I have the privilege of being a guest educator today, but I’m also celebrating the release of my debut picture book, When Grandma Gives You a Lemon Tree, illustrated by Lorraine Rocha! Woo-hoo!
In many picture books, including my debut, second person POV is used to teach, guide or instruct the reader how to (or how not to) do something in a fun and interactive way and often (but not always) includes humor to help tell the story and engage readers. The first draft of When Grandma Gives You a Lemon Tree was written in second person and although I tried writing it several different ways (which I’d recommend doing before committing to a POV), the second person version was always my favorite.
In my book, the narrator (author) speaks to “you” (character in the book). As you continue to research picture books written in second person, you may also notice books where the narrator (author) speaks to you (the reader) or the character in the book (narrator) speaks to you (the reader).
While doing research for my book, I noticed that a growing number of authors, who were using second person POV and humor to tell their stories, were coming out with sequels or a series. One of the authors I studied was Jean Reagan and her series, illustrated by Lee Wildish, which started with a grandpa book and continued to include books featuring Grandma, Santa, a teacher, and a ghost.
How to Babysit a Grandpa (2012)
How to Babysit a Grandpa (2012)
How to Babysit a Grandma (2014)
How to Catch Santa, How to Surprise a Dad (2015)
How to Get Your Teacher Ready, How to Raise a Mom (2017)
How to Scare a Ghost (2018)
(Jean announced on her website that she has another book in this series coming soon!)
I was inspired by Jean’s series and since I already had a grandma book, I thought it made sense to have a grandpa book, too. Luckily, my editor and the team at Sterling Publishing agreed! My second book, When Grandpa Gives You a Toolbox, will be out in 2020!
Here are five more authors who have written humorous picture books in second person and have either added a second book or created a series. As you read these books, think about what makes them so appealing to kids and/or the adults who have continued purchasing them over an extended period of time.
Books by Elise Parsley:
If You Ever Want to Bring an Alligator to School, Don’t! (2015)
If You Ever Want to Bring a Piano to the Beach, Don’t! (2016)
If You Ever Want to Bring a Circus to the Library, Don’t! (2017)
If You Ever Want to Bring a Pirate to Meet Santa, Don’t! (2018)
Books written by Jason Carter Eaton, illustrated by John Rocco:
How to Train Your Train (2013)
How to Track a Truck (2016)
Books written by Tammi Sauer, illustrated by Goro Fujita:
Your Alien (2015)
Your Alien Returns (2016)
Books written by Julie Glassman, illustrated by Andy Elkerton:
Do Not Bring Your Dragon to the Library (2016)
Do Not Take Your Dragon to Dinner (2017)
Books written by Tom Fletcher, illustrated by Greg Abbott:
There’s a Monster in Your Book (2017)
There’s a Dragon in Your Book (2018)
Now, I’m not saying that every humorous picture book written in second person needs a sequel or a series, but it can’t hurt to keep an open mind about where your first book might take you. What? You want me to give you five more picture book titles that are excellent examples of stories written in second person and use humor to engage readers? Good thing I came prepared. Enjoy!
Be Glad Your Dad is Not an Octopus (2016) by Matthew Logelin and Sara Jensen, illustrated by Jared Chapman
If Your Monster Won’t Go to Bed (2017) by Denise Vega, illustrated by Zachariah Ohora
And a here's a bonus: Dragons Get Colds Too by Rebecca Roan, illustrated by Charles Santosa
Jamie is offering a signed copy of her debut book, When Grandma Gives You a Lemon Tree. To be eligible for prizes throughout the challenge, you must be registered by March 4, comment on each post, consistently read mentor texts, and enter the Rafflecopter drawing at the conclusion of ReFoReMo.
Jamie L. B. Deenihan is a teacher and picture book author who lives in Suffield, Connecticut with her husband, two children, and a growing collection of lemon trees. Her upcoming picture books include, When Grandma Gives You a Lemon Tree (Sterling/March 5, 2019), When Grandpa Gives You a Toolbox (Sterling/Spring 2020), The New Bird in Town (Avenue A Books, June 2019), Tooth Fairy VS. Santa (Penguin Workshop, Fall 2019), and Tooth Fairy VS. Easter Bunny (Penguin Workshop, Spring 2020). Connect with Jamie on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @jlbdeenihan, or through her website www.jamiedeenihan.com