Three Questions For Children's Book Writers and Illustrators
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Saturday
Feb232013

In The End, It's All About Young Readers

The whole I'M BORED adventure has been amazing and continues to be amazing. Whenever things start to settle, something else happens that reminds me all over again to appreciate every moment.

I was floored about how it all began, with a rejection and a friend's encouragement. Then came the Simon & Schuster BFYR book illustration contract and the SCBWI Illustrator Mentorship program. Then the fun and immense satisfaction in collaborating with my editor and art director on the project.

Because I had been so focused on just trying to get published in past years, I underestimated how much joy I would get from reader feedback. Wow. 

Experienced authors and illustrators out there are likely much more used to this, but I'M BORED is my first children's book project and I'm still getting used to the fact that people out there -- people who aren't related to me and don't know me -- are looking at my illustrations in a published book they bought or borrowed.


From Paula Speer White, who sent me the photo above: "This book is excellent for teaching verbal irony at the secondary level and self-efficacy at the elementary level~I give it a 10! Humorous, courageous, and witty!"

I've heard from some parents whose children have learning challenges or who are slow readers, who delight in the humor and want to read the book over and over again.

Parents tell me that their older children are enjoying the book as well, reading it on their own.

Librarians tell me that I'M BORED has become a favorite with their young readers. I so love the idea of a copy of the book eventually becoming battered and dog-eared because of constant use. 

I think about a young person sitting down with a copy of I'M BORED, or perhaps having the book read to them by an adult, and try to imagine what happens as they listen to the story. Does it make them laugh out? Does it engage their imaginations? Do they identify more with the little girl or the Potato? Does the experience engage them enough to encourage a greater love of books and reading?

Does it change them for the better, even in a very tiny way?

Oh, I truly hope so.

What I've come to realize: While it's good to keep the market in mind (particularly if you want to get your work accepted by a traditional publishing house), remember that it's all about young readers. In the end, we create the magic for them, not the industry.

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For more fun photos, see the I'M BORED In The Wild reader gallery. If you'd like to submit a photo, here's how.

Teachers: if your class sends me snaimail about I'M BORED, I'll write back (with doodles!).

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