Sunday, August 5, 2018

Kevin Lewis: The Truth About Trucks, Trains, and Toddlers: Creating Enduring Works for the Very Young

Kevin Lewis! Kevin Lewis! Kevin Lewis! I'd never heard him speak before and he's been one of the highlights of my conference. He's a former editor, current agent and author, so he really knows every facet of the market as well as cares about craft.

Run don't walk to any Kevin Lewis talk you can attend, he's also like Mem Fox in giving you a master class on how to read a story out loud.

Here're a few of my favorite things I learned from Kevin about writing for toddlers:

Keep it short.

Understand that your audience is going to exhibit their cognitive abilities. You think your manuscript can be longer than Eric Carlie’s Very Hungry Caterpillar? Think again. 



Make the reader (the parent) the star, and make it easy for them to star:

Sound it out, toddlers are just getting to know rich language, sound words are delicious and fantastic to include. Study Denise Fleming's (and Kevin's) books for great sound words and onomatopoeia.

Act it out. Give the parent actions to repeat that are fun or build anticipation during the reading, look at TICKLE MONSTER or PRESS HERE.

Clown around, let the parent/reader laugh, too. Look at books like SILLY SALLY or THE MONSTER AT THE END OF THIS BOOK.

Final thoughts from Kevin on writing for toddlers:


1. Incorporate good poetry into you, and it will spout out of you, you’ll find yourself finding good words and connecting things in your own work better.
2. Don’t act your age, lay on floor! See things from a toddler's perspective and strength.

"We get so caught up in teaching a child, that we forget we should be paying attention to what *they* want to learn."


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