Sunday, August 5, 2012

Picture Book Panel: Lee Wardlaw

Lee Wardlaw is the award-winning author of nearly 30 books for kids.

How do most of your books start?

Lee has done nine picture books. She, unlike the others on the panel, is not an illustrator. Each picture book has been a different dance for her. 

When writing WON TON, she was writing it in prose, but it wasn't working. She realized that if the cat could speak english he would speak in haiku.

Typically Lee begins with character and that character's motivation.

Should we be concerned about trends?

Even if your book does speak to the trends, if it has those elements that make it timeless, it doesn't matter.

Who is your intended audience?

"I write to entertain myself because if I'm not having fun, what's the point?" The many other audience connections come later. 

Is there interaction between the author and the illustrator? 

Lee answers with a flat-out, "no," with reasons. She says the author and the illustrator each bring their own story to the book. Lee shared the example of her book FIRST STEPS and the surprise which illustrator Julie Paschkis brought to the story. While Lee expected to see the baby taking a wobbly walk across the room, she did not know that Julie would put in the added story of the mama and baby bird taking place outside the window, which made the book even better. 

FIRST STEPS by Lee Wardlaw, Illustrated by Julie Paschkis
What makes a picture book timeless?

Authenticity that speaks to all ages. There has to be layers in it so that anyone reading can enjoy it. 

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