At last! Your publisher has released your board book, “BOUNCEY BALL,” and it’s in time to provide a baby gift for a college friend’s first child. What a surprise the finished book will be for Suzanne and baby Corey. You put a copy, wrapped in bunny paper, in the mail.
Suzanne, who lives over a thousand miles from you now, has been with you (via e-mail) during the laborious process of creating the book. She has provided sympathy and a virtual shoulder to cry on while you learned that writing a children’s book can be more challenging than writing for adults, no matter how few words children’s authors work with. But now your “baby,”–and hers–are here to be loved and enjoyed!
Life goes on, and Corey grows, while you work on your next project, a book for slightly older children. In a few months there’s finally an opportunity for a visit to Suzanne and Corey as a tack-on to a business trip.
After a hug-full airport reunion and a car trip full of chatter and memories , Suzanne opens the door to her home and you see Corey and his daddy sitting on the family room floor. Corey is — Corey is chewing on YOUR BOOK and, from the looks of the poor thing, it isn’t the first time BOUNCEY BALL has been gnawed on.
What will you do? Probably depends on what Suzanne does. If she ignores it, you should, too. (But, all you parents and grandparents out there, if a baby in your care begins to chew on his or her book, best to have a chewey-safe item nearby and exchange the book for that while saying, “Books are not for chewing. Books are for reading.”)
The next children’s book you write has regular pages, and brilliantly colored pictures of a child’s visit to an animal park. Lovely! The artist your publisher found has already been honored for her illustrations and the result is — well, magic fits your feelings well. Proudly you take a copy of this book to present to your young niece, who has just mastered walking.
Package open, paper ripped off, niece Jennifer pulls out the book, opens it, and, while you wait for the magic to delight this adorable child, she begins giggling, and tearing the first page. Without thought you shriek and grab the book. Jennifer cries. Sister-in-law calmly takes the book from your shaking hands, gives Jennifer a nearby magazine, and says in dulcet tones, while pointing to an open book page, “Jenny, books are not for tearing. See the pretty pictures inside? I can’t read the book to you if the pages are torn.”
Ah, the life of a children’s author! Live and learn?
Here’s how every one of us can be a children’s author. When a baby you are eager to love comes into your life, be prepared to start his or her book. Take your camera along for every visit or, if the child is yours, take pictures of events in the child’s life. Be sure and include pictures of faces–those of the child and its family, or pictures of faces from magazines. Buy a scrapbook or make a book from paper and cardboard. Print the photographs, add scrapbooking illustrations and/or magazine pictures, and make a book, including an event in the child’s life on every page, plus a simple printed caption.
Another idea for the younger child’s special book is to use clear freezer bags without printing on them, put your pages inside the bags, and sew the resulting plastic-covered pages together with yarn.
Captions can be something like, “Sarah eats,” Sarah pets Bow-Wow,” Sarah reads with Daddy,” Sarah goes potty.” (Well, maybe not that last one. However, given the learning interests of the young child . . . . )
Voila, you, too, are a children’s author!