Ever thought you’d like to try your hand at writing picture books for children? You can be sure you aren’t alone. Well, in May you can test the waters during NaPiBoWriWee. For those of you who look at all those letters in total bafflement, NaPiBoWriWee stands for National Picture Book Writing Week. Sponsored by Paula Yoo, NaPiBoWriWee is a challenge to write a picture book a day for 7 days. While you are sweating away at the keyboard, or using the time honored pencil and paper, you will find the camaraderie and support of others taking the same journey. Starting April 1st, Paula Yoo is posting daily words of encouragement, inspirational and informational writings on her blog. So far I’ve found these daily postings to be little gems which I feel I’ll need to go back to again and again to reap their full value. Guest writers offer words of experience and encouragement. Trained as a journalist, Paula Yoo includes many resources for the would-be writer. Even if you don’t participate in this year’s NaPiBoWriWee, I highly recommend that you read her blog posts.
If you are wondering why an already overbooked, overextended school librarian would get herself involved with these sorts of challenges, I’ve made a list of reasons why doing this is a good idea. So here goes:
What school librarians and classroom teachers might get out of trying NaPiBoWriWee:
1. The act of writing a picture book is likely to help one gain insight into the nature of picture books. This may help us think of new ways to introduce picture books to our students.
2. As people who are constantly asking our young charges to write and write meaningfully using correct sentence structure, taking this challenge will put us in the positions our students find themselves day after day. We may be more sympathetic to our students when they are writing.
3. After feeling the pressure of writing on demand and to a schedule, we might find that our writing prompts change in nature. We might find that we become better coaches for our students.
4. Our students will see that we, too, write.
5. Writing 7 books in one week should make us really appreciate the books we have and what went into to their creation.
6. Writing picture books may make us more aware of how the illustrations add to the book.
7. We might find ourselves delighted, transported, inspired and full of joy.
8. We might find that the process is much more difficult than we imagined. This is also good to know.
9. We might bond with each other as we tease out stories we didn’t know were lurking in the recesses of our minds.
10. Some of us harbor dreams of writing a picture book, but never take pen to paper. The doing of it challenges what we thought it would be like. We find out how it is for us.
Hope you will join me. Happy writing!