Michelle Markel Shares Biography Picture Book Writing Advice

By Jason Boog Comment

GalleyCat prowled the halls of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators 42nd Annual Summer Conference this weekend, collecting some writing intelligence for children’s book writers in the audience.

During a special workshop, award winning kid’s author Michelle Markel shared some great advice about writing “sparkling” nonfiction for children.

Below, we’ve collected some tips from the author of Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909 and The Fantastic Jungles of Henri Rousseau.

Picture Book Biography Writing Advice from Michelle Markel

1. “Think of how to make the main character relatable to a child.”

2. “Honor the subject anyway you can.”

3. “Use a writing style that evokes the subject of the book.”

4. “Be subtle and elegant when incorporating quotes.”

5. “Write in present tense to add immediacy.”

6. “Use repetition to create emphasis and unity.”

Markel also highlighted five great nonfiction picture books that illustrated these points, plenty of inspiration for aspiring authors…

Handel, Who Knew What He Liked by M.T. Anderson

Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin

Thank You, Sarah! The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving by Laurie Halse Anderson

Duke Ellington: The Piano Prince and His Orchestra by Andrea Davis Pinkney

Annie and Helen by Deborah Hopkinson