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The Way to Write for Children by Joan Aiken

The Way to Write for Children

by Joan Aiken

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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 031220048X, Paperback)

Nearly everyone who has curled up with a child and a book has had the thought that he or she, too, could write a children's book. Joan Aiken, in a revised and updated version of her Way to Write for Children, cautions that it's not so easy. While books for the youngest readers may be simple, the best ones are far from simplistic. In this slender volume, Aiken alights on topics relevant to the writing of books for tots, 'tweens, and teens. And, as Jiminy Cricket is for Pinocchio, she acts as a conscience for children's book authors. "Since each child," she intones, "reads only about six hundred books in the course of childhood, each book should nourish them in some way." And if you're writing for teens? They are under enough pressure as it is to partake in adult activities, says Aiken. "Let not the fiction they are offered add to the pressure."

Aiken is adamant about what children's books shouldn't do (they cannot be boring, they must not condescend, and they shouldn't include bridge passages or flashbacks) but not prescriptive about how they should be written. Just keep in mind, she says, that reading, for children, is serious business, and "it is the writer's duty to demonstrate to children that the world is not a simple place." As for subject matter, says Aiken, there are enough alphabet books and animal stories to go around. Instead, she recommends, try to observe small children and their interests with the same intense concentration that they employ. "Stairs, cupboards, blankets, sinks, ovens, soap, shoes, clocks, knitting, paper-bags--all these can be full of mystery, excitement, and beauty." --Jane Steinberg

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:21 -0400)

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An introduction to the craft of writing children's literature by an award-winning author.

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