By Carrie Charley Brown and Kirsti Call
How does that look, you say?
A Personal Example from Carrie
After researching the cumulative approach that many different ‘...built’ books utilized (9 books), I now turn my eyes to other concepts that gradually build with variations of repetition.
“Mentor-texting”, or the practice of learning from mentor texts can branch off in many directions. My research also included picture books that feature the same type of character and setting that I have. Being intentional with research is key. What will help your story specifically? Are you always willing to learn more? Are you willing to dig deep into revision by researching?
Next spring, my book COW SAYS MEOW comes out with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. The story breaks the 4th wall and has a narrator who uses wordplay and idioms to comment on the mixed up onomatopoeia. Here are several books where the narrator and the characters in the story disagree. Although I wrote COW before any of these books came out, they are stellar mentor texts that helped shape my revisions of the story.
SNAPPSY THE ALLIGATOR DID NOT ASK TO BE IN THIS BOOK, Julie Falatko and Tim Miller
This funny book’s interchange between the narrator and Snappsy is a rollicking read that ends with a surprising yet satisfying twist.
In this comical book the narrator and Jack disagree about almost every aspect of the story. In the end, Jack takes charge and completely changes the story in a way that satisfies the narrator and the readers.
In this book, the little girl narrator has a tough time dealing with Norman and his abnormalities. As she tries to prove how normal he is, Norman proves otherwise. Another book filled with surprises and humor!
This story is a rambunctious meta story of Mac as the narrator and writer, Adam as the illustrator and their main character, Chloe. The conflict begins when Mac says a lion comes out of the forest, but Adam draws a dragon instead. Filled with humor and chaos, this is the kind of story that surprises and delights all ages.
“Moose does not start with D. You are on the wrong page.” This hilarious story stars Moose who can not wait for his turn in the alphabet book! He interrupts, ruins and makes a mess of every page until the end when his friend Zebra makes a kind choice.
My mentor-texting always involves two questions:
1. What do I love about this story?
2. How can incorporate what I love into my manuscripts?
How will you personalize your reading list?
Carrie Charley Brown is the founder and co-coordinator of ReFoReMo. She eats, sleeps, and breathes picture books as a writer, professional critique mentor, and elementary educator. Carrie serves as a 12 x 12 Critique Ninja, and contributed as a 2014/2015 CYBILS fiction picture book panelist and regional advisor for SCBWI North Texas. She enjoys blogging, reviewing books, and spreading mentor text love to students and adult writers. Her publications include ghostwritten projects and teacher resources. Carrie holds a masters of education in School Library Media, with an endorsement in Literacy.
Kirsti Call is the co-coordinator of ReFoReMo. She reads, reviews, revises and critiques every day as a 12x12 elf, a blogger for Writer's Rumpus, and a member of critique groups. She's judged the CYBILS award for fiction picture books since 2015. Kirsti's picture book, MOOTILITA'S BAD MOOD (Little Bee) debuts fall 2020. COW SAYS MEOW (HMH) and COLD TURKEY (Little Brown) release in 2021. Kirsti is represented by Emma Sector at Prospect Agency.