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Peggy's Pages Blog 

Non-Fiction in Picture Books

Since my main focus has been on writing children’s non-fiction and poetry lately, I thought I’d share the websites of a few children’s authors who write wonderful non-fiction for children. Visit the following websites to find out more about the authors, and what you can learn from them about writing non-fiction for children.

Brian P. Cleary: http://www.brianpcleary.com/
An award-winning author of non-fiction and self-proclaimed ‘word nerd, Brian’s books include SKIN LIKE MILD, HAIR OF SILK: WHAT ARE SIMILES AND METAPHORS? On his website you’ll find fun learning games for kids with sound effects and colorful illustrations.
Go to http://www.lkwdpl.org/lfiles/cleary/ for more information about Brian and his books, and for links for writers, teachers and kids.

Sue Bradford Edwards: http://www.suebradfordedwards.com/
A prolific writer of non-fiction for preschool children through young adults, Sue has had over 140 publications in the educational field and in magazines. In addition, she has written many articles about writing for children. On her website under her resume are links to some of those articles.

J. Patrick Lewis: http://www.jpatricklewis.com/scenes.shtml
Visit J. Patrick Lewis on his website to see a list of his books which include FIRST DOG’S WHITE HOUSE CHRISTMAS. Also find riddles and poems, and links to children’s literature and poetry sites. His wonderful poetry and non-fiction for children make learning fun. He has been named the third US Children’s Poet Laureate (2011-2013) by the Poetry Foundation.

Heidi B. Roemer: http://heidibroemer.com/
An award-winning author of non-fiction and poetry for children, Heidi’s books include WHAT KINDS OF SEEDS ARE THESE and COME TO MY PARTY.
Visit Wild About Nature at http://wildaboutnaturewriters.blogspot.com/ where, together with children’s authors Laura Crawford and Kim Hutmatcher, Heidi explores non-fiction books for children. Includes articles, author interviews, book reviews, a list of publishers of non-fiction for children, and more.

April Pulley Sayre: http://www.aprilsayre.com/
Award-winning author of non-fiction and poetry for children, April’s books include RAH RAH RADISHES! April’s site includes the Animal of the Month, educator links, and links for parents, kids, and aspiring authors.

Visit the following sites to find more about non-fiction picture books.

School Library Journal—non-fiction picture book reviews: http://blog.schoollibraryjournal.com/afuse8production/tag/2011-nonfiction-picture-books/

The Cybil Awards for non-fiction picture books: http://www.cybils.com/2011-finalists-nonfiction-picture-books.html  Read More 
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Missouri SCBWI Fall Conference Connections

Rich Davis, Illustrator

Do you write for children? Illustrate children’s books or magazines? If there was only one thing that you could do to help your career as a children’s writer or illustrator, my advice would be to connect with the Society of children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI). Become a member; attend programs in your area hosted by your local chapter of SCBWI, which are open to non-members as well but discounted to members.

I’m still new here in Missouri, and one of the best ways that I could think of to meet other children’s writers was to attend the MO SCBWI Fall conference. Of course there was much to offer besides meeting people. The conference featured Heather Alexander, an editor from Dial Books for Young Readers, and Quinlan Lee, a literary agent from Adams Literary Agency which represents exclusively children’s authors. Other keynote speakers were Suzanne Morgan Williams, children’s novelist, and Rich Davis, children’s illustrator.

There is much to gain by attending a conference, both from the speakers and from the people you meet there. At the best, it opens doors to publishers and agencies that are normally closed to unsolicited manuscripts. Here are just a few ‘pearls’ gained from the SCBWI Missouri conference.

Heather Alexander, editor:
The way to make your work stand out is with exceptional writing.
Writers make their writing exceptional by having a responsibility to their readers.
A writer reads, observes, imagines, interprets, listens, and thinks.

from Quinlan Lee, agent:
Agents know publishers. Her plan is to match the editor with a great story.
What to look for in an agent—knowledge of the market, reputation in the industry, passion for their work, commitment to your work.

from Suzy Williams, author:
“Writing is a journey; the road is not always straight, but the results can be surprising.”
Write what you want to know. Write from the inside out. And “Take risks.”
She gave a great workshop on revision.

Rich Davis, illustrator:
Art serves all subjects in school—we remember so well with pictures.
We are most creative when relaxed.
His ‘Pick and Draw’ card game was a great way to inspire creativity in both writing and illustrating.

Sue Bradford Edwards, nonfiction author:
Read today’s nonfiction for children, in books, magazines and online.
Connect your topic to the school curriculum.
Research your information well; use primary sources and sources published in the last five years.

I came away from the conference feeling inspired and connected to children’s writing and writers. Now it’s time to follow up, re-connect, and write!

To find out more about SCBWI and the MO SCBWI chapter, follow these links:
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