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1. Go to your local library or bookstore and look over the collection of picture books. Select those designed for very young children. (for example, Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown). Sit down at a table and read them.
There are many different styles of preschool picture book that you will come across as you do your initial research. Consider how you want to present your picture book and be flexible when you approach publishers.
Board books are formatted at their most basic level and many of the most popular ones were originally published as regular picture books. Often, in the board book format, there is one word to a page and no more than 8 to 16 pages in the whole book. The pages are made of heavy cardboard not easily damaged by children who love to bite on things.
Sometimes, books at this most basic level are made of cloth. For 2 to 4-year-olds these cloth books might be interactive, with zippers and buttons and snaps. The sophistication of this type of book is aimed at the adult first reading it to the child. It’s not enough to select a list of words that have no connection to each other.
The concept book is one of the most difficult to write successfully. As simple as it is, one page of the book must connect to the next. In addition, the subject matter must be something the child will recognize. Unless you are a published illustrator and can format a dummy of your book idea, you must convince a publisher to accept your book based only on the manuscript, which shouldn’t be more than one page double spaced.
Bedtime stories are usually the first books read aloud to a small child from birth till 2-years old. After a busy day of learning new things, babies need lullabies to help them go to sleep. This is when children are introduced to the poetry of sounds and feel the impact of words with soothing rhythms. If you are a poet, you might want to see what you can do with this format. Because editors receive so many inane efforts at rhyming, avoid this way of writing unless you are already proficient in the genre.
For more information about writing for children, How-To In The Children’s Market offers lots of great resources.
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