Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Looking Deeper at the ALSC Notables

Week of June 17, 2012—ALSC Notable Children’s Books
Wednesday, June 20, 2012: Looking Deeper at the ALSC Notables

The ALSC Notables always include fiction and non-fiction books. This year thirteen of the thirty-three noted picture books are non-fiction. I’ll be quick to point out that several of the other titles actually blur the lines of fiction and non-fiction. For instance, Blackout is a fictionalized account of an actual blackout, See Me Run is a fictional story that teaches a lot about dogs, and Ten Little Caterpillars straddles the lines of fiction and non-fiction with its fictional story (based on fact) and engaging factual end matter.

The good news is that the picture-book world is a great, big place and there’s room for fiction and non-fiction.

Non-fiction ALSC Notable Picture Books
All the Water in the World
Bring on the Birds
Do You Know Which One Will Grow?
Grandpa Green
Harry and Hopper
Little Treasures: Endearments from Around the World
A New Year’s Reunion: A Chinese Story
Over and Under the Snow
Ten Little Caterpillars
These Hands
Tia Isa Wants a Car
Who Has What? All About Girls’ Bodies and Boys’ Bodies

Fiction ALSC Notable Picture Books
A Ball for Daisy
The Cazuela that the Farm Maiden Stirred
Chirchir Is Singing
Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site
I Broke My Trunk
I Want My Hat Back
King Jack and the Dragon
Little White Rabbit
Mouse & Lion
Naamah and the Ark at Night
Prudence Wants a Pet
See Me Run
Tales for Very Picky Eaters
Tell Me the Day Backwards
Where’s Walrus?

Many picture book writers still fret that author/illustrators have an unfair advantage in the picture book marketplace. Nothing could be further from the truth. No discredit to illustrators, but I recently heard an editor say, “We can find an illustrator, but finding a great story is much more difficult.” If you think selling a manuscript is difficult, image selling you’re manuscript AND your art simultaneously. While an illustrator does have the advantage of showing the other half of his/her written story, the quality still has to be outstanding to be successful. The ALSC list includes ten titles by author/illustrators. Each of the other twenty-three titles are by an author in collaboration with an illustrator.

The books by author/illustrator include:
Dot by Patricia Intriago
Grandpa Green by Lane Smith
I Broke My Trunk by Mo Willems
I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen
Little White Rabbit by Kevin Henkes
Me…Jane by Patricia McDonnell
See Me Run by Paul Meisel
Should I Share My Ice Cream? by Mo Willems
Tales for Very Picky Eaters by Josh Scheider
Where’s Walrus? By Stephen Savage

The ALSC Notables also reveal that the picture-world is a great, big place in another way. Just look at the variety of styles contained in these books and you’ll see what I mean. There are . . .

R Wordless books\
R Books that rhyme
R Books that don’t rhyme
R Books based on the familiar rhythms of other stories
R Books that emphasize synonyms and antonyms
R Friendship books
R Heartbreaking stories
R Inspiring stories
R Hilarious stories
R Quiet stories
R Books with end matter
R Books with translations
R Bilingual books
R Books based on other books
R Books based on fairytales and folktales
R A book based on a biblical tale
R A book with two poems
R A book with five chapters
R A book by a dead man (reprinted from a backlist)
R A book that goes in reverse-chronological order
R A search-and-find book

The picture book IS a great, big place and there’s room for all of us. As long as the picture books we create are notable.

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