She builds a strong foundation for illustrations. Her just-right text is easy to read and hear. It’s all about the story and the reader.
By standing back, she stands out!
Phyllis, what’s the good news about children’s literature?
The good news in children’s literature is what it has always been: children read books. Literary books, comic books, non-fiction, graphic novels, pulp fiction—whatever the form in which the books are delivered, kids still want them and still read them. The hunger for good stories isn’t much different from when I read Little Lulu comic books and Nancy Drew mysteries and The Little Engine That Could along with anything else I could get my hands on.
What could make that good news even better?
Knowing that all of us who write for children are doing our best to give them good writing, compelling stories, fascinating information, humor and horror and stories that linger long after the last page is turned.
I confess I’ve had my doubts about writing children’s books over the years. Would ebooks turn picture book writers into the equivalent of buggy whip manufacturers? Hasn’t happened yet. Would the deluge of celebrity picture books crowd out writers committed to the long haul of giving children the best books we can give them? That hasn’t happened yet, either. Would the mega-success of Harry Potter mean that publishers will now purchase only books with huge commercial potential? I haven’t seen that happening (which doesn’t mean, of course, that it can’t, but so far so good).
Kids who want good stories, writers who want to give them good stories. What could be better news than that?
Phyllis Root lives in south Minneapolis with two cats. She’s written forty books for children. Phyllis teaches at Hamline University in their MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults. Her most recently published books are Lilly and the Pirates and Big Belching Bog.