Today’s average-length picture book contains a sparse 500 words. This condensed format gives authors about six minutes to make their audience care about the characters. My favorite picture books use that time to take readers on a journey into the emotional core. This is where audiences simultaneously hear and feel the depth of common story themes, such as love, kindness, and friendship. This is where a picture book becomes the favorite of a child—requested again and again.
But what is it about the emotional core that creates this effect? Hidden here is the golden nugget of many well-loved picture books—vulnerability. Authors can strategically polish it up and place it into their picture book text to hook audiences while the clock is ticking. It can be found in the story tone, setting, a character’s lack, a single line, or a through-line. Here are some books that sizzle with vulnerability:
Can I Be Your Dog – by Troy Cummins
Escargot by Dashka Slater
A Different Pond by Bao Phi
Take a Picture of Me James Van Der Zee by Andrea J. Loney
Julian is a Mermaid - by Jessica Love
Sue is donating three of her picture books, That Monster on the Block , Now I'm a Bird , and Planet Kindergarten, one to 3 different lucky winners! To be eligible for prizes throughout the challenge, you must be registered by March 1, comment on each post, consistently read mentor texts, and enter the Rafflecopter drawing at the conclusion of ReFoReMo.
SUE GANZ-SCHMITT is an award-winning children’s book author, musical theater producer, and philanthropist. She holds an MFA degree from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and a Bachelor of Science degree from San Diego State University in Business Marketing.
She has traveled to China to help medically challenged orphans and has set up a birthing clinic in rural India. She has performed on Broadway, run marathons, and swum with sharks. Sue has also served as a NASA Social correspondent, a volunteer for The Planetary Society, and as a space advocate to congress.
Sue’s books include: That Monster on the Block, Now I’m a Bird, Planet Kindergarten, Planet Kindergarten 100: Days in Orbit, The Princess and the Peanut: A Royally Allergic Fairytale, and Even Superheroes Get Diabetes.
You can find her at: www.sueganzschmitt.com and on Twitter: @sueganzschmitt