Dashka Slater Shares Picture Book Writing Advice

By Jason Boog Comment

Have you ever thought about writing a picture book?

Children’s book author Dashka Slater talked about her new picture book, Dangerously Ever After on the Morning Media Menu. She shared advice for aspiring children’s books authors, explaining how she transitioned from writing for adults to writing for kids.

Press play below to listen. Here’s an excerpt: “You really have to learn the form. A picture book is 32-pages, a very tight space in which to work. So you have to use all the tools you employ as a writer, in terms of plot, character, beautiful writing, jokes and everything you know how to do–but you have to do it in very few words. It really helps to read picture books and see how people do it.”

She added this advice: “Remember what it was like to be a child and write from the perspective of a child. There’s something that seems to happen to people when they think about writing for children. They suddenly become a terrible blowhard. We all remember what it was like to be a kid and an adult would come to give us advice or lecture us. We all remember how horrible that was.”

She concluded: “Don’t be that person. If you start out by wanting to reveal some sort of lesson for children, you’re almost always going to write yourself into a box. Start with the story, and let whatever message you want to come across come through the story.”

To learn more from Dashka, take one of her Mediabistro courses on children’s book writing.