Monday, March 29, 2021

ReFoReMo Day 21: Author/Librarian Kathy Halsey Gives Illustration Insights for Writers


The Caldecott prize criteria states that a picture book “essentially provides the child with a visual experience.” How can writers leave space for illustrators? My mentor texts focus on illustration techniques that add to the story with design layout and composition. 

In Candace Fleming’s Cubs in a Tub: The True Story of the Bronx Zoo’s First Woman Zookeeper, illustrator Julie Downing designed art around text to alleviate dense text blocks. 

·   She broke the action into multiple images for more eye engagement.

·  On the spread when the main character says goodbye to the cub, Candace conveys plot while Julie’s setting emphasizes emotion with a rainy day.


Compelling characters hook readers. If writers delete adjectives, illustrators will describe characters as Isabella Kung does in No Fuzzball.                                                       ·      Fuzzball dominates the cover, a visual suggestion of her prima donna demeanor portrayed in the plot.             ·      In interior spreads, Fuzzball’s tail directs the reader’s eye, creating movement and page turns just like words do.

Writers can partner with the illustrator to magnify theme, too. Lindsay Bonilla’s Polar Bear Island humorously highlights acceptance of others. Illustrator Cinta Villalobos intensifies the theme with end papers showing the island’s transformation.

·      The lack of color on the beginning end papers contrasts with the vibrancy of the island in the back end papers.

·      During read alouds, kids usually notice the change that penguin Kirby brings to a polar-only island by “reading” the end papers.-- 




Back matter matters more when illustrators get creative. Timelines can become features when reimagined with art.

·      In Keila V. Dawson’s Opening the Road: Victor Hugo Green and His Green Book, illustrator Alleanna Harris recasts the timeline into an actual road with period car models to mark the dates.


The road map timeline could become a classroom poster under the direction of the publisher’s publicity department.



Dive into Megan Dowd Lambert’s
Reading Picture Books with Children: How to Shake Up Storytime and Get Kids Talking about What They See.

·      Meant as practical guide for reimagining storytime, it will revolutionize the way you use words.

·       Use it for how story is woven together with art. Learn how to “think with your eyes.”

·       Peruse the "Glossary of Book and Storytime Terminology" for design terms that illustrators, editors, and other use.


I hope these books help teach how to “think with your eyes” as well as your words by inviting the illustrator into your writing. 


Kathy is giving away a picture book critique (F or NF) or an "Ask Me Anything" phone chat via her perspective as a K-12 school librarian. 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.



Kathy Halsey is Storyteller Academy’s Community Manager and Ambassador. She enjoys writing picture books, humor, and nonfiction. She received a PBChat Twitter Mentorship in 2019. Kathy’s active in SCBWI and blogs with other kid lit writers on the GROG. She serves on the Choose to Read Ohio Advisory Council and speaks at educational and literary conferences. Kathy’s a former K-12 school librarian and children's bookseller. Her passions include reading, gardening, music, OSU and the arts. Kathy lives in Columbus OH with her husband and silly Corgi Wiley. She writes monthly author studies for the Reading for Research Month along with Keila Dawson.

236 comments:

  1. What a great look into these picture books. Thanks, Kathy.

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  2. Great post. Can’t wait to check out these titles.

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  3. I especially love Julie Downing’s and Isabella Kung’s illustrations. Megan Lambert’s book sounds interesting. I would love to read it. Thanks for your insight.

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    1. Hi Marty, Megan's book will transform how you read and write PBs.

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  4. Loved all these recommendations and the illustration insights you shared. Thank you, Kathy!

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    1. Rebster, thanks for the feedback! Get your read on!

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  5. Great post Kathy! I loved looking at the differences in the end pages of Polar Bear Island. I need to check out Alleanna Harris's back matter. Thanks.

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    1. Hi Maria, it's such fun when kids notice things like end pages on their own.

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  6. Illustrations certainly show the story. Thank you for this varied genre list of mentor texts and a discussion of their visual appeal and importance.

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    1. Carole, by being mindful of what the illustrator does best, we write better!

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  7. Thanks, Kathy, for these great mentor texts that help writers leave room for the illustrator.

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    1. Hope you enjoy them and how artists can do their part to make the book even better.

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  8. I took note that the illustrations in CUBS IN THE TUB conveyed action. The backmatter revealed more details of how Helen took care of her babies.

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    1. Yes, Candy Fleming knows story comes first in riveting NF. Facts can be woven into the storytelling and put in the back.

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  9. Thank you Kathy for such a wonderful list of books! This certainly helps in Learning how to leave space in the writing for the illustrator to play too!

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    1. Yes, Catherine. We play together, writer and illustrator, to make a great book.

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  10. Thanks for sharing these great examples of how illustrators can enhance the story, Kathy.

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    1. My pleasure, Cathy. The librarian in me loves sharing stories.

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  11. I found the ways illustration function in Cubs in the Tub and Polar Bear Island particularly compelling. And the ones in No Fuzzball! crack me up!

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    1. I agree. Fuzzball is too cute and Cubs has so much emotion via illustrations.

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  12. Thank you so much! Interesting looking at these books again.

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    1. Rereading books we love always reveals more. TY, Mary Jo.

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  13. As a sister librarian, these are great engrossing books! Hope they fly off the shelves. Thanks.

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  14. Perfect choices. Thanks for sharing.

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  15. So excited to see you Kathy Halsey featured on ReFoReMo Day #21. You have shared your wonderful perspective as both librarian and author in the mentor texts you have chosen. You focused on the author's role of providing text that is expressive, yet sparse enough to allow the illustrator freedom to bring a deeper understanding of story through their artwork. The diverse mentor texts allow us to understand the writing and illustration connection as you focus on characters, theme and back matter. Finally, as a great educator, you provide a how to guide that is inspirational for both authors and educators! Thanks Kathy!

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  16. I’m very interested in reading all of these. They all look like great books.

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  17. I’m very interested in reading all of these. They all look like great books.

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  18. I’m very interested in reading all of these. They all look like great books.

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  19. What a nice reading list. The books were spot on and after reading your overview Kathy I revisited the books and I understand now how to read with my eyes...im halfway through Lambert's book and it has given me a refreshed perspective. Thank you

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    1. Wow, Beth, such a great book Megan Dowd Lambert wrote. Big thanks. Is this you, my friend Beth Stillborn?

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  20. Thanks for all the great titles.

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  21. Thanks for the great look at the partnership between author and illustrator. And having worked in a children's library, I own Megan Dowd Lambert's book- it's a great resource for story times and more.

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    1. Yes, being a former school librarian made this book a game changer for me, too, dkgottier.

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  22. Such perceptive insights - as I recall Megan stating at a long-ago, in-person conference, the words and illustrations work together to create a larger read-aloud experience. You've chosen some wonderful examples to show that! Thank you!

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    1. Patricia, I think that's the convo where I met you!

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  23. Thank you, Kathy! An aspect of writing I can always use more help with.

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    1. Me, too, David. We're students of the art & words.

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  24. Great selection of book, Kathy. I’ve read most of h the hem and will be sure to read the remaining few. Thanks!

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  25. I love the concept of thinking with your eyes. Thank you for the great texts.

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    1. Karin, that's the amazing Megan Dowd Lambert!

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  26. Thanks, Kathy! Lindsay’s Polar Bear Island is a great example. I just received a copy of PEACE by Babtiste Paul and Miranda Paul. Their words allow the illustrator to create a whole magical world.

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    1. Manju, thanks for that rec. I need to put that on the TRB pile!

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  27. I love when non-text features change and kids clue into this! It starts a great conversation about why that might be the case. I'm anxious to read, OPENING THE ROAD. Thanks for pointing these out-must go look!

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    1. Megan, that back matter of a creative timeline is the bomb in Keila's book.

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  28. Thanks for the mentor text suggestions. One of the reasons I love picture books is because of the visual experience they offer. One thing I wondered about in the back matter of Opening the Road was the illustrator's choice of cars used. I think the idea of using a road and period car models to mark dates along the timeline is a brilliant one, but I wish the cars depicted in the earliest dates (1892, 1896, 1913, 1921) were representative of cars that existed during those dates. Children (and adult readers) notice these things!

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    1. Yes, Heather, you dove deeper than I did w/the cars. Nice deatil to point out.

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  29. I love the concepts you shared on the illustrations for each of these texts. Reading Picture Books With Children is a wonderful resource. It's appealing to take a slow walk through a picture book so children can enjoy the view. Thank you.

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    1. Bea, yes, we all need to slow down and savor what a picture book offers kids and adults.

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  30. Lots of new techniques and insights in this texts. Looking forward to a further study of thinking with my eyes. Thank you!

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    1. Ty, Susan. The eyes and brain work together, but sometimes we forget the eyes.

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  31. This marriage of words and art is one of my favorite things about picture books and picture book writing!

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  32. Monday, March 29, 2021
    ReFoReMo Day 21: Author/Librarian Kathy Halsey Gives Illustration Insights for Writers


    The Caldecott prize criteria states that a picture book “essentially provides the child with a visual experience.” How can writers leave space for illustrators? My mentor texts focus on illustration techniques that add to the story with design layout and composition.

    In Candace Fleming’s Cubs in a Tub: The True Story of the Bronx Zoo’s First Woman Zookeeper, illustrator Julie Downing designed art around text to alleviate dense text blocks.

    · She broke the action into multiple images for more eye engagement.

    · On the spread when the main character says goodbye to the cub, Candace conveys plot while Julie’s setting emphasizes emotion with a rainy day.


    Compelling characters hook readers. If writers delete adjectives, illustrators will describe characters as Isabella Kung does in No Fuzzball. · Fuzzball dominates the cover, a visual suggestion of her prima donna demeanor portrayed in the plot. · In interior spreads, Fuzzball’s tail directs the reader’s eye, creating movement and page turns just like words do.

    Writers can partner with the illustrator to magnify theme, too. Lindsay Bonilla’s Polar Bear Island humorously highlights acceptance of others. Illustrator Cinta Villalobos intensifies the theme with end papers showing the island’s transformation.

    · The lack of color on the beginning end papers contrasts with the vibrancy of the island in the back end papers.

    · During read alouds, kids usually notice the change that penguin Kirby brings to a polar-only island by “reading” the end papers.--




    Back matter matters more when illustrators get creative. Timelines can become features when reimagined with art.

    · In Keila V. Dawson’s Opening the Road: Victor Hugo Green and His Green Book, illustrator Alleanna Harris recasts the timeline into an actual road with period car models to mark the dates.


    The road map timeline could become a classroom poster under the direction of the publisher’s publicity department.



    Dive into Megan Dowd Lambert’s Reading Picture Books with Children: How to Shake Up Storytime and Get Kids Talking about What They See.

    · Meant as practical guide for reimagining storytime, it will revolutionize the way you use words.

    · Use it for how story is woven together with art. Learn how to “think with your eyes.”

    · Peruse the "Glossary of Book and Storytime Terminology" for design terms that illustrators, editors, and other use.


    I hope these books help teach how to “think with your eyes” as well as your words by inviting the illustrator into your writing.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Monday, March 29, 2021
    ReFoReMo Day 21: Author/Librarian Kathy Halsey Gives Illustration Insights for Writers


    The Caldecott prize criteria states that a picture book “essentially provides the child with a visual experience.” How can writers leave space for illustrators? My mentor texts focus on illustration techniques that add to the story with design layout and composition.

    In Candace Fleming’s Cubs in a Tub: The True Story of the Bronx Zoo’s First Woman Zookeeper, illustrator Julie Downing designed art around text to alleviate dense text blocks.

    · She broke the action into multiple images for more eye engagement.

    · On the spread when the main character says goodbye to the cub, Candace conveys plot while Julie’s setting emphasizes emotion with a rainy day.


    Compelling characters hook readers. If writers delete adjectives, illustrators will describe characters as Isabella Kung does in No Fuzzball. · Fuzzball dominates the cover, a visual suggestion of her prima donna demeanor portrayed in the plot. · In interior spreads, Fuzzball’s tail directs the reader’s eye, creating movement and page turns just like words do.

    Writers can partner with the illustrator to magnify theme, too. Lindsay Bonilla’s Polar Bear Island humorously highlights acceptance of others. Illustrator Cinta Villalobos intensifies the theme with end papers showing the island’s transformation.

    · The lack of color on the beginning end papers contrasts with the vibrancy of the island in the back end papers.

    · During read alouds, kids usually notice the change that penguin Kirby brings to a polar-only island by “reading” the end papers.--




    Back matter matters more when illustrators get creative. Timelines can become features when reimagined with art.

    · In Keila V. Dawson’s Opening the Road: Victor Hugo Green and His Green Book, illustrator Alleanna Harris recasts the timeline into an actual road with period car models to mark the dates.


    The road map timeline could become a classroom poster under the direction of the publisher’s publicity department.



    Dive into Megan Dowd Lambert’s Reading Picture Books with Children: How to Shake Up Storytime and Get Kids Talking about What They See.

    · Meant as practical guide for reimagining storytime, it will revolutionize the way you use words.

    · Use it for how story is woven together with art. Learn how to “think with your eyes.”

    · Peruse the "Glossary of Book and Storytime Terminology" for design terms that illustrators, editors, and other use.


    I hope these books help teach how to “think with your eyes” as well as your words by inviting the illustrator into your writing.

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  34. Creating a picture book is a collaborative process for the author and illustrator. The text tells a story and the illustrations show the story—two stories in one.

    “Reading Picture Books To With Children” is an excellent resource for educators, story tellers, and writers.

    Thank you, Kathy.

    Suzy Leopold

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    1. Exactly, Suzy. I know you've read Megan's books, too.

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  35. Kathy, your expertise shines through in all that do.

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  36. I really enjoyed Cubs in the Tub and am not sure I would have read it had it not been part of this. Glad I did! Thanks for this list. Great seeing you here, Kathy!

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    1. I'm so happy to share on this amazing blog and for ReFo. Amy. TY.

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  37. Thanks for sharing your insights, Kathy. Megan Dowd Lambert's book is very interesting - I feel like I need to read it a couple of times to digest it all.

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    1. I have mine all marked up. It helps. Love the glossary fo terms.

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  38. Thank you for these books. I enjoyed the picture books and am looking forward to savoring the important information in Lambert's text as well as exploring the picture books mentioned within it.

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    1. Oh, my, yes. I look at PBs so much differently now.

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  39. Your post gave me a fresh perspective on the power of illustration. Thanks for these new (to me) ideas,Kathy!

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  40. Great explanation of how the illustrator works to compliment the words in a picture book. I like how Julie Downing designed art around text to alleviate dense text blocks in Candace Fleming’s Cubs in a Tub. I absolutely loved the illustrations in No Fuzzball!.

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  41. Thank you for your thoughts on leaving space for the illustrator and teaching kids to think with their eyes. Illustrators amaze me. Good reminder to let them work their magic.

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    1. Jamie, thank you for reading this. I adore illustrator magic!

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  42. Loving these mentor texts. Makes me think a little harder about the text in my manuscripts.

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  43. Some great take-aways here. And great titles! Thanks so much for your insights and this wonderful post, Kathy.

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  44. KATHY: What a GREAT post! THANK YOU for focusing on this important topic. Through your mentor text examples, you have shown how a TRUE working partnership can occur between writers and illustrators--even without having contact with one another. Your question will resonate with me as I write: "How can writers leave space for illustrators?" THANK YOU for the INSPIRATION to "think with [our] eyes." As a visual person, I can TRULY relate to the IMPORTANCE of writing with imagery in mind. I CAN'T WAIT to further my study through these mentor texts and Megan Dowd Lambert’s book. THANK YOU!!!

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    1. Aww, shuck, thanks for this feedback. Glad you found it useful.

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  45. I appreciate your sharing these resources. They offer a different slant than the usual on the interaction of words and pictures and a useful challenge!

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    1. Claire, thanks. Feel we need to know what the illustrator CAN do.

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  46. Thank you for this great post and titles!

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  47. Kathy, when I taught I loved to read picture books “with” children and I still do whenever I have the opportunity. Thank you for this informative post teaching us writers how to think with our eyes as we study picture books, noticing the way the illustrations compliment the text. Beautiful picture books to review!

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    1. Keep on sharing these books with the kids! TY.

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  48. Thank you for the great titles and for sharing your insight, Kathy! I love Helen Martini's story that I was first introduced to in Mother to Tigers (2003) by George Ella Lyon and Peter Catalanotto. That book is also a great example of how an illustrator enhances text. Some of the illustrations are done with torn paper to simulate animal stripes.

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    1. Oh, I loved Peter Catalanotto! Will have to look that one up again.

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  49. Thank you so much. This topic is often mentioned but seldom illustrated (ironically). Thank you for the practical examples.

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  50. What a helpful list. I especially like the how-to book for storytime.

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    1. Yes, that book was a bonus I threw in as it wasn't a PB, but I felt people should know about it.

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  51. This is super helpful. I've been wondering how to best create space for illustrators. Thank you so much, Kathy!

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  52. Thanks for sharing your insight and this list.

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  53. Thank you, Kathy. These are all new books to me so I am really looking forward to seeing each one of them! I love the "think with your eyes" reference to make our writing stronger. Leaving room for the illustrator by leaving off the adjectives to describe the main character is a great tip that will be easy to look at during the revision process. Happy writing and thank you for offering a critique or 'ask me anything' opportunity for a prize.

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    1. Marty, yes, a tip for word count and stronger writing!

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  54. Kathy, I really connected with this article. I am a visual thinker, reader and writer, so illustrations or vibrant wording will immediately capture my attention when I'm choosing a new book to read. Thank you for all you do for the KidLit community.

    Great post!

    Donna L Martin

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  55. Great post, Kathy! These are wonderful suggestions for thinking with our eyes. I admit, in a few of my stories, I've had so much fun with description, there's not much room for the illustrator to play! Thank you!

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    1. Tee-hee. Then put that description to work in maybe a MG, Angie. LOL

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  56. Thanks, Kathy. So helpful
    It is challenging as only a writer to integrate an unseen illustrator.

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    1. It is, Karen. That's why I shared all these ideas!

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  57. Kathy, I appreciate your including nonfiction along with fiction when showing authors ways to leave room for the illustrators. Candace Fleming’s fabulous books can be text dense, using illustration wrapped around the text to alleviate that is fantastic. The timeline in Opening the Road sounds genius. I look forward to reading it. Thanks for this post and all you do for KidLit!

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    1. Ty, Carmela, for the kind response. Yes, that timeline and a mix of F & NF is great. I write both.

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  58. This topic is the most difficult part of writing picture books for me. I'm always studying the text and art on pages to learn the balance between words and visual story telling.

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  59. Thank you Kathy for this mentor list focused on creating space for illustration. I really needed this focus as that is something I have been struggling with. I am a beginning writer and not an illustator myself so have not been exactly sure how to leave space for illustrations and cut back on some of my description. Cubs in the Tub: The True Story of the Bronx Zoo's First Woman Zookeeper by Candace Fleming, illustrated by Julie Downing is a great example of how much the illustrations can add to the story. On many of the pages there are several illustrations that show the actions taken by Helen towards the lion cub and later the tiger cubs. You are able to see the layout of the Bronx Zoo and the nursery that Helen created there that led to her job as the first female zookeeper.No Fuzzball by Isabella Kung is a terrific mentor picture book from so many aspects but the illustrations definitely contribute to the personality of the main character No Fuzzball as self appointed royalty. The pictures also add to the actions and the way the main character destroys objects while her family is away. The story is great but combined with the illustrations it is outstanding. Polar Bear Island by Lindsay Bonilla and illustrated by Cinta Villalobos also shows how much illustrations can contribute to this story. The illustration of the sign communicates the changes in Parker's decisions on who can stay on the island. The illustrations also show inhabitants using flipper slippers, the letter writing, sled beds, snowcones, snowshoes and other important events in the story. The illustrations are a delightful depiction of the plot and characters. Open the Road: Victor Hugo Green and his Green Book by Keila Dawson, illustrated by Alleana Harris is a well written biography of Victor Hugo Green and the way that he helped black travellers to find safe places where they could eat, stay and visit while travelling at a time when many places were segregated. The pictures add sensory details to this amazing story and along with the timeline help to show how his efforts affected many black people and made travelling experiences better. Reading Picture Book with Children: How to Shake Up Storytimes and GEt Kids Talking About What They See by Megan Down Lambert is an excellent guide to involving students in the reading of picture books and also provides valuable information to would be picture book writers on the importance of both words and illustrations in picture books and truly learning to think with your eyes. I really appreciate the "whole book approach" as presented in this text from a writer's and a reader's perspective. All of these selections are valuable mentor texts. Thank you so much!

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    1. Comment Rhonda Kay Gatlin Julie I am amazed at your insight to each days' books. I get many ideas and impressions when reading your comments. I am new at this too and you help me each day.

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  60. What great guidance this morning. I'm adding some of your thoughts and key phrases to my revision checklist--a few more things to think about during that process. Thanks!

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  61. Thanks Kathy for these great mentor texts and how to use them. It's so nice to see you and all that you are doing! Appreciate your perspective and still read the GROG.

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  62. Thank you for your informative post!

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  63. I am always in awe of how creatively illustrators interpret a story and add their own insights and imaginative touches to a manuscript. Thanks for the great examples and for calling our attention to the the importance of the illustrations and how the illustrator's contributions elevate the text.

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  64. This is a great list of titles to study! Thank you for your insights into leaving room for the illustrator, Kathy.

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  65. I loved Cubs in the Tub! Each page made me smile and I could envision a child wanting to be Helen Martini and have to take care of lion and tiger cubs. I was also struck by the illustrations and Julie Downing's style. Fuzzball was entertaining. I'm not a cat person and this book reminded me of why ... although it made me consider that cat's have potential, haha

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  66. Great choices to share today. I absolutely love the back matter in Opening the Road! What a brilliant idea to use a road with cars as the timeline.

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  67. Great job, Kathy. Some new books for me to read. I like your interpretations of each book’s successful blend of art and text.

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  68. As a new writer, I do find that one of the hardest things is leaving things unwritten so as to leave space for the illustrator. Thank you for this post and the book suggestions!

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  69. Great mentor text examples and analysis, Kathy! Love your choices! It's so hard, but so important to think of how the illustrations will add to the story and make much of the text superfluous. Cheers!

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  70. I enjoyed studying the art in Cubs in the Tub. Julie Downing used full page spreads, different sized boxes for the art, sometimes five illos on a page, some with text and some without. The words and the art pair beautifully and I imagine the art director played a huge role, laying everything out for pacing and emotional rise and fall.

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  71. A strong interplay of text and illustration is essential to the picture book. Unfortunately, my library has only one of the titles you have critiqued. Thanks for your list.

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  72. I'm still on the wait list for all of your selected titles, but I look forward to getting my hands on them and then re-reading your commentary, which looks to be most helpful. Love the re-imagining of a timeline you draw attention to in Open Road and the ways that illustrations work with text -- even the positioning of a cat's tail to help direct flow and page turns. I think I may need to spend some quality time with Reading PIcture Books with Children -- very much looking forward to that one! Many thanks!

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  73. Great post! Thank you, Kathy! I especially loved reading CUBS IN THE TUB.

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  74. Thanks for this post, Kathy! I love the examples and explanations!

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  75. Thank you for sharing these wonderful books, Kathy!

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  76. Great post, Kathy! Thank you. No Fuzzball is one of my favorite new picture books. I also re-read Yes Day with my son, after seeing the movie, and loved the humorous endpapers (set up as a calendar count-down to Yes Day) and how Tom Lichtenheld set up the page turns with his illustrations. Thanks again for these mentor texts and a bonus craft book! :-)

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  77. Thank you Cindy!! Great post! I would love to participate in a webinar for writers about understanding what it's like to be an illustrator and how we can help set ourselves up for success!

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  78. Thank you, Kathy, for these recommendations! I’ve already done a mentor text study on No Fuzzball. I loved it and had to share it with all my “kitty-lover” friends who really enjoyed the illustrations.

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  79. Thank you for reminding us to leave room for the art. Great examples! We love CUBS IN THE TUB.

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  80. Kathy, these books are great examples of how the illustrator works with the text of the writer. Together, they make magic! I've read these mentor texts several times--so much to see with each read. Thank you for all you do for this amazing kid lit community!!

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  81. Great recommendations, Kathy! Thank you.

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  82. Leaving room for the illustrator is always a challenge. How much to tell, what to leave out. Anything Candace Fleming writes is golden to me. Opening the Road was quite frankly mind blowing. I haven't been able to find the other titles, but I keep looking. Thank you for this list of mentor texts.

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  83. Thank you, Kathy, for these great examples!

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  84. Thank you for introducing me to these books. I could not find the Opening the Road book but the others were new and I appreciate your bringing them to my attention. Thanks.

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  85. It's great to get insight into illustrator's perspective. It's actually an art to leave room for the illustrator in PBs and not easy to do. Thank you for these recommendations and encouraging us to study the visual piece of PBs.

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  86. Thank you for your choices, my favorite was Opening the Road :)

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  87. Great insights into what can be gained when words and pictures are synthesized into something interesting, not just to be ignored by the child and focused on by the reader. A win-win for both!

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  88. It must be fun for writers to see the surprises that illustrators add to the project.

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  89. Thank you for these great books and advice. Leaving space for the illustrator to "picture" and add to the story, is a great feat which really strengthens the story. Thank you for this reminder.

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  90. Thanks for these great examples, Kathy!

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  91. Thank you - great perspective on these texts! And I LOVE Megan's book!

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  92. Thanks so much for this perspective on the visual experience of picture books!

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  93. Must get Megan's book. Loved her webinar last year. Leaving half the story for the illustrator is so important, but not easy to do.

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  94. So important to think of a picture book as a visual experience when writing. Great post!

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  95. Thanks Kathy for a wonderful. informative post. Can't wait to read all of these mentor texts.

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  96. You've chosen some great examples! I love Polar Bear Island & No Fuzzball. I can't wait to read the other ones next! Thanks for the post.

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  97. Thank you for sharing these mentor texts that show how illustration techniques add to the story.

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  98. Thank you for reminding us to think with our eyes and to leave room for the illustrator. I love reading posts like this one that help me analyze the PB that I'm reading and learn more from it.

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  99. Illustration is one area of picture book writing I'm not that familiar with, to be honest. So I appreciate this post so much.

    I recently enrolled in Children's Book Academy's The Craft & Business of illustrating (& Writing) Children's Books in June in hopes of learning more.

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  100. It is so interesting and helpful to read about the clever interplay between words and pictures. Children are very visual creatures, as are adults!

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  101. Clever insight with No Fuzzball! I would not have thought of the tail directing the reader's eye. I also love the way the art is designed around the text in CUBS IN A TUB. A great list. Thank you, Kathy.

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  102. Thanks for this so very thoughtful list! I can't wait to dive in and study them.

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  103. Thank you, Kathy, for the great insights. Such great books!

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  104. Thank you for sharing. Great choices!

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  105. Thanks for this post! Just read NO FUZZBALL and OPENING THE ROAD. Looking forward to reading the others listed here.

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  106. Thank you for these wonderful mentors to study.

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  107. Thanks for the great mentor text recommendations!i love the phrase “think with your eyes”.

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  108. great post, my friend! Nice job approaching this topic. Looking forward to checking out these texts.

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  109. Wonderful insights. Thanks for sharing!

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  110. Great mentor texts! The combination of words and pictures are what makes the magic. Great article, Kathy! Thank you.

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  111. Looking forward to checking these titles out!

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  112. There are some books that I look through first and then actually read... I try to avoid the words simply because I can tell there's a story there as well.

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  113. Your insight into how to study the way illustration adds collaborative meaning is Write On! Loved reading this and thoroughly enjoyed your thoughts on each of these amazing books.

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  114. Thanks Kathy for this fantastic selection. Many of the spreads in, Cubs in the Tub showed how to get multiple illustrations on one page to convey several ideas. The house shape with 3 photos stuck out for me. As an African American, Opening the Road, brought back memories for me about traveling to Georgia by car as child. The simple drawings and clean color pallet represented the time period well. Favorite Writing Tip - Look for adjectives in my writing that might be better opportunities for the illustrator.

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  115. This is a challenging concept for me as a new PB writer. I loved this chance to study the way writers leave room for illustrators, and the brilliant way illustrators make stories shine.

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  116. What a great post, Kathy! I enjoyed the perspective from a librarian about what books children respond to. I just ordered my own copy of Reading Picture Books with Children: How to Shake Up Storytime and Get Kids Talking about What They See. I can't wait to read it.

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  117. I loved No, Fuzzball and the idea that the words dance across the page in Catch that Chicken (a previous ReFoReMo book!). The words also move the eye and the story which is a wonderful way to get readers involved.

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  118. Love the insights on each of these books.

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  119. Great selections today and an interesting perspective on illustrations.

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  120. This is such a wonderful post, Kathy. Definitely makes me look at these picture books in a different way. I've ordered reading picture books with children. Thank you for the suggestion.

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  121. Thank you Kathy for a great discussion. Reading Picture Books with Children really opened my eyes to just how amazing illustrators are. They are truly the unsung heroes. So many challenges and so much pressure, yet they deliver masterpieces every time. A good picture book is like a beautiful rose. The words are the scent, but it's the illustrations that make up the petals. Illustrators give those petals vibrancy.

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  122. Fantastic examples of how illustrations can shape the experience of a story. Just ordered Megan Dowd Lambert's book- thank you!

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  123. comment Rhonda Kay Gatlin
    Well No Fuzzball was my favorite. It reminded me of a cat I had for 18 years she was a No Prissy No. The illustration were creative and helped tell the story. I wasn't able to find the Reading to Children's book, but the library has it on order. I have read almost every book on the list. Now my question is how to keep this to use as comp books for later on. What's a good set up? Does anyone have a good set up in their computer?

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  124. As an aspiring author illustrator I found this post particularly interesting - and I like the sound of Megan Dowd Lambert’s 'Reading Picture Books with Children: How to Shake Up Storytime and Get Kids Talking about What They See.'

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  125. I appreciate your great information about the illustrations. They often tell their own stories.

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  126. Kathy, Thanks for this fantastic list of books. I've starred all of them to read, but I'm especially interested in "Reading PBs with Children."

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  127. I love how the illustrations highlight the text. When my critique partners say maybe I should add more description, I say I hope if the story gets picked up, an illustrator can fill in the details. Usually when they say this, it's not that they don't understand the story, they are visualizing differently, which is okay in many circumstances.

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  128. Thanks so much for sharing your insights. I loved OPENING THE ROAD!

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  129. Thanks for the wonderful reminder. Illustrators are magicians that will help to make your work shine if you let them.

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  130. Thank you for this enlightening post! Lots of great examples!

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  131. Love the use of endpapers. Didn't Mac Barnett do something crazy with the Billy whale book? Thank you.

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  132. Thanks for a great post and wonderful mentor texts, Kathy! I appreciate that you highlighted the amazing vision of these illustrators!

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  133. Thanks for including the book about thinking with your eyes. Writing while imagining the pictures can get difficult.

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  134. I love the emphasis in this post on the magic illustration can bring to a story and how writers should think about illustration. Thank you for your recommendations.

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  135. I adore Reading Picture Books with Children. It's not a writing book, but it has informed my writing. And it is my school visit bible!

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  136. Reading books to my kids, I know how they are getting a rich experience looking at the pictures while I read the words. Over the years I think I stopped looking so carefully at familiar books but as I look with fresh eyes, as I embark on my illustrator journey, I love seeing how the illustrations complement the text!

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  137. Thanks Kathy! I love how your post emphasizes that PBs are a largely visual experience. Thinking about words and pictures as parts of a greater whole makes writing more challenging, and more interesting, for me as writer who thinks more with words than pictures. I'm excited to check out Polar Bear Island--2nd time it's come across my radar this week.

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