Friday, February 3, 2012

So What Does It Mean to Me?

Week of January 29, 2012—And the Winner Is
Friday, February 3, 2012—So What Does This Mean to Me?

I’m a so-what kind of person. I try to blame it on the fact that I was born and raised in Missouri—The Show-Me State—but it’s more than that. I’m always trying to figure out how to summarize or capture the essence of what I've just seen or heard or learned. I live, work, and breathe pedagogy. I want to teach, and in order to teach you have to understand, and in order to understand you have to ask, “So what?”

Now that we’ve discovered lots of award-winning picture books, so what? Here are some of the take-away lessons I’m taking away with me . . .

1.      There’s a great big publishing world out there that publishes a greater variety of books than I ever imagined.
2.      There are people who value the work picture book authors and illustrators do.
3.      There are heroes among us—authors and illustrators whose work can inspire us, teach us, move us, and call us to be better at what we do.
4.      The rumor about the picture book market being dead is, just that, a rumor.
5.      There are many publishing houses out there and they aren’t just interested in high-energy, goofy stories. (Though they like those, too.) There’s a place for an original idea that is well written. Finding that place may be difficult, but it’s possible.
6.      Whatever your passion—fiction, illustration, non-fiction, cultural studies, poetry, folktales, etc.—you can make your passion into a great story, which can become a great picture book manuscript, which can one day become a great picture book.
7.      There is a lot more to learn.
8.      There are a lot more picture books to read, analyze, study, and enjoy.
9.      There’s never one way to tell a story, illustrate a story, or publish a story.

I started the week by saying I’d never thought of writing an award-winning picture book. But now I have. Why not? Why can’t my writing rise to that level? Why can’t yours? Who’s to say what’s on our writing horizons? But as for now, I’m going back to doing the nitty-gritty of capturing ideas in my writer’s notebook, dreaming of stories, drafting stories, revising stories, and finding homes for my stories. How about you?

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