Flash Fiction: a complete story
in one thousand or fewer words.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Tikatok is a print-on-demand web site for kids, now owned by Barnes & Noble. The site has easy templates for creating a book with text and pictures. For those looking for help finding an idea, Tikatok has some "worlds" (StorySparks), to help generate ideas, such as animals and bugs, holidays and vacations, princesses and fairy tales, and school and family. They're also associated with Build-a-Bear, so children can write stories for that setting (although Build-A-Bear owns the copyright to those stories).

Children will need parents to set up the accounts for parent and child, and decide if the site is safe. From other sources, I believe (but am not certain), that parents will be notified by email of their children's actions. Once a book is created, it can be published in hardbound (starts at $18), softbound (starts at $15) and PDF formats ($3).

The web site could be more open with information. "Starts at $18" for hardcover books refers to additional costs, depending on the page count. The additional cost is not explained, except, presumably, once you start the publishing phase. There's little information about the control that the parent has on the process. One would hope that Barnes & Noble has or will vet this service closely.

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Friday, August 28, 2009

Children's Books about War

Publishers Weekly has an article about how some publishers are treating war in children's books, including picture books. One of the main comments from the article seems to be this:

“I don't think you can change the truth of a story to make it have a happy ending if it doesn't have one, but I think that for a picture book audience it needs to have a narrative arc,” said Allyn Johnston, publisher of Beach Lane Books....“It's really the story of one girl and her devoted grandmother, and what she's doing to try to bring her granddaughter back into the world after this loss. But then, as much in the images as in the text, you get to see the wider situation of what's happening there.”

This may be applicable to other tough problem books as well. The article gives titles and brief synopses of about 20 fiction, non-fiction, graphic novel, picture and allegorical books related to war.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Children's Books that Influenced Authors

Publishers Weekly has excerpts from a book, Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Children's Book, that answers the question asked of various public figures: what children's book changed the way you see the world? PW excerpted the comments from public figures associated with the creation of books for young people, including Maurice Sendak and Beverly Cleary.

Maurice Sendak says:

Crockett Johnson's Harold and the Purple Crayon is just immense fun. Harold does exactly as he pleases. There are no adults to demonstrate or remonstrate. The book comes out of a particular theory of children's books: Just let the kid do his own thing; let him have fun....

The children's book publishing figures excerpted include: Peter Sís, Leonard Marcus, Maurice Sendak, Beverly Cleary, Wendell Minor, David Macaulay, Thacher Hurd, Eric Rohmann, Marc Brown, and Eden Ross Lipson.

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