|DECATUR BOOK FESTIVAL WORKSHOPS. We had the good fortune to attend the workshops on the Agnes Scott campus with its beautiful historical buildings. My workshop with Susie Wilde was in Buttrick Hall (pictured above).(photo by Ruth Schowalter)|
First of all, here is a description of the workshop:
In over thirty years of reviewing children’s books, Susie Wilde has built a fabulous collection of really bad picture books. To set the mood of this workshop, she slices and dices a few of her best worst favorites. Then participants examine, discuss, and determine what makes children’s books succeed, or fail. Does message ever work ? What’s sure to hook young readers? Writers and illustrators will leave armed with a collaborative list of children's book criteria.
After pronouncing "I adore chidren's books!," Susie Wilde, advised us all to join the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators and to form our own writing/illustrators group as a story appears differently on paper, computer screen, image, and when read out loud. Then we started by looking at books with her while she dialogued about what worked and what didn't.
|SUSIE WILDE IN ACTION. (photo by Ruth Schowalter)|
1. Reach don't preach
2. Write the subtext of the story is knowingly and with awareness
3. Make sure the text is culturally authentic and rings true
4. Match the illustrations to the text (images should be appropriately serious or funny)
5. Illustrate the words well
6. Fit the age group the book is intended for
7. Keep the reader's curiosity
Of course writers need to have believable characters, use "verse" wisely if not at all, make smoothe transitions between fantasy and reality, and establish the tone needed for the story.
Oh we had fun! After establishing the criteria, we got to investigate the children's books she had brought and were displayed haphazardly on the classroom table top and open review copies she had been sent by publishers. Using the criteria, we voted GOOD BOOK or BAD BOOK! Wow! Hallelujah for new knowledge!
Susie Wilde concluded that the most important thing writers need to do is to find their own voice. Also, when writing a story from your childhood, make that story's ending happier for you!
"The trick is finding your authentic self," she concluded! Authenticity is one of Hallelujah Truth's #1 Values! Thank you Susie Wilde! You are one authentic woman! It was a joy spending two hours with you.
|THANK YOU SUSIE WILDE. Here I am with Susie Wilde, holding a copy of one of her books that she wrote collaboratively. (photo by workshop attendee)|
That's Coffee with Hallelujah! SOUL BLOG with me and tell me what you think about GOOD BOOK, BAD BOOK, and do you have any favorite children's books? Bad or Good!