Thursday, March 20, 2008

CCBC Choices List 2008

THIS JUST IN ... How To Be A Baby, By Me, The Big Sister has just been named a 2008 best of the year.

From the CCBC web site.
“The Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) is a unique examination, study and research library of the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The CCBC’s noncirculating collections include current, retrospective and historical books published for children and young adults. . . . A vital gathering place for books, ideas and expertise, the CCBC is committed to identifying excellent literature for children and adolescents and bringing this literature to the attention of those adults who have an academic, professional or career interest in connecting young readers with books.”

So there.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

right and nearly right

"The difference between the right and the nearly right word is the same as that between lightning and the lightning bug."

Mark Twain

Monday, March 17, 2008

tinkering til your eyes pop out

Robert Lowell (1917-1977) said "[poetry must] be tinkered with and recast until one's eyes pop out of one's head."

He also said, "Almost the whole problem of writing poetry is to bring it back to what you really feel, and that takes an awful lot of maneuvering. You may feel the doorknob more strongly than some big personal event, and the doorknob will open into something you can use as your own."

Picture books I think are a form of poetry. At least if they're good they are. If you do it right, then remove a single word and it won't work anymore. Or change the order, and the rhythm is thrown off. Or swap a word and the emotional impact vanishes.

And just like a poem, behind a picture book that looks simple, lie many drafts. And eyes that are popping out! One thing I know: you have to work hard to make it look simple.

After the 15th revision, though, the challenge, as with a poem, is to constantly be "bringing it back to what you really feel"—not what the editor wants, not what "sounds good", not what someone else did before—but what is true, the place where your heart pounds, the reason you put pen to paper in the first place.

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back to my site?
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