Thank goodness for the time change! I plan to use my extra hour wisely.
Today my imagination took me back in time. I thought about how important spaces are to a kid-really small spaces. Did you have a secret hide out when you were a kid? A laundry closet that you liked to hide in? I spent a lot of time when I was little playing behind a large bush that grew in the corner garden of our backyard. There was just enough room for me to squeeze behind it. The adult in me wonders why in the world I wanted to sit behind a bush. Why do our kids (my students) like to crawl under desks, chairs, and tables? Why is the most popular place in my library the reading tent? I remember why I liked sitting behind that bush. It was a secret passage into my world-a world without worries, grown-ups, or little brothers. I used to find the most interesting bugs and things back there. One day I found a pregnant wolf spider. That was just about the most amazing thing I had ever seen, (at least that day) and I watched it crawl around the garden for hours.
Something else to ponder when developing picture book ideas: genres. I LOVE historical fiction. I devour well-written historical fiction. I haven’t come across a ton of great historical fiction picture books. There are a few authors who are well known for theirs. Allen Say comes to mind http://www.houghtonmifflinbooks.com/authors/allensay/ as well as Patricia Polacco. http://www.patriciapolacco.com/ These authors don’t write historical fiction picture books exclusively, but the ones they have written are definitely worthy of praise. The problem I see most often when thumbing through a historical fiction picture book is that there are way too many words on a page. I know my students will lose interest. Illustrations can also be a problem. All too often they are pastel and drab and not attention grabbing. Allen Say’s book Home of the Brave is the perfect example of a well-written and beautifully illustrated historical fiction picture book. The prose and pictures are both haunting and beautiful. I recommend this book to older elementary students and teachers. I may have to give this genre a little more attention tomorrow. I definitely think there is a need for better historical fiction picture books-especially for younger children.