Saturday, February 13, 2016

Elizabeth Bicknell: Writing Picture Book Text

Elizabeth Bicknell is Executive Vice President, Executive Editorial Director & Associate Publisher at Candlewick Press. She edits picture books, fiction, poetry and nonfiction. Two recent picture book projects include Mac Barnett and John Klassen's Sam and Dave Dig a Hole

and Carole Boston Weatherford and Ekua Holmes' Voice of Freedom

Liz spoke about the different kinds of picture books, using examples of 12 books she's published to, well, illustrate her points. Story picture books, concept books, biography, poetry collections...

It's fascinating that she's able to break those twelve down into six that had an author/illustrator create them, and six books that had different authors and illustrators. (Additionally, eight of the eighteen people were not agented at the time she acquired their work.)

She tells us that she's "a sucker for dog stories," and jokes that now that she's said that, "everyone feverishly changes their main characters to dogs."

Some quotes:

"I am very fond of poetry."

"I like books that are a little bit wicked."

"There are no rules you can never break."

Liz tells us more about what she's looking for, breaks down the reasons she really doesn't like rhyme, and talks about those critical first (and last) lines.

There's lots more good stuff, some handouts, and so much wisdom. Here's one last bit of wisdom:

"If the ending isn't working, really the whole thing isn't working."

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