Illustration, photo, and book by Anne Hart.
You also may wish to see my paperback book, How to Turn Poems, Lyrics, & Folklore into Salable Children's Books: Using Humor or Proverbs, published August 17, 2005. At this date it's listed at the publisher's site and also at Amazon.com.
If you're interested in writing and/or illustrating children's books, you also might consider writing, illustrating, and publishing/printing tactile books for the visually impaired using a 3-D printer. You also may wish to view my article on this trend, "You could print out 3-D tactile books for visually impaired kids Making a Concrete Story out of an Abstract Poem Capture Your Children’s Dreams."
Here's how to write books for the preschool-age child using your original poems, song lyrics, a variety of proverbs of your choice. You could start with an inspirational poem or song lyrics. You can make something out of nothing. You can make a story out of anything intangible, such as an idea with a plan still in your mind. An oral history, folktale, or story is something that comes from nothing that you can put your hands on. Capture your children’s dreams.
What children want in a book, poem, or folklore is a cave where they can go to be themselves
When suspending belief, children still want to be themselves as they navigate fantasy. The story book becomes a den or tree house where children can go inside, shut the door, and play. Introduce children to poetry by showing how you transform your poem into a children’s book by expanding and emphasizing significant events in the life story of one child.
Poems, memorable experiences, significant life events or turning points are all ways to make something out of nothing tangible. You begin re-working a concept, framework, or vision. Perhaps long ago that concept resulted in a poem.
Imagination helps you write or design books out of seemingly nothing. Make the intangible very tangible. Create your own universe by turning your abstract poems into concrete stories for children. Craft your own pop-up books or write fiction, science, or history for older children.
With illustrations in the best places of your story, you can create children’s books, audio books, or DVDs/CDs with narrated stories set to music or spoken with sound effects, music, and healing tones for your imaginative tomes.
After you have adapted your poems to children’s stories, you’ll learn to launch your stories in the media, promote your stories, and market your stories. You’ll need to find free publicity. Here is how to do it and how to start with the basics. Start with a collection of your poetry. Select one poem that you will expand to make a book for children. Page length varies with age—about 22 pages for children aged 0-4; 32 pages for children aged four to eight, or 64 pages in length for children aged nine to 12. Page length refers to the book when published. Teen or young adult novels run about 35,000 to 40,000 words.
Design your own book cover. Scan it and turn it into a digital photo with a resolution of 300 dpi saved as a .tiff file. That way you can email it or upload it to a publisher’s browser or save it on a CD. Put your story into print using publishers of your choice, including print-on-demand publishers. Narrate your stories on tape, save to your computer, and transfer to a CD or DVD. Include in your multimedia presentation illustrations or photography, video clips, healing music, and text. Let’s begin.
What Poetry Will You Choose To Turn into Children’s Books?
Take your poetry collection suitable for the age group you choose from preschool to young adult and teenage readers and match it with a proverb so you can begin to adapt and expand your poem into a story. For an example, take the concept of making something out of nothing. All over the world there are folk tales about making something from nothing. The theme begins with a creator making a universe or a world out of nothing. Only there is no such thing as nothing. Basics always seem to come in threes—intelligence, matter, and energy.
You can personalize intelligence, matter and energy into any triune entity from father, son and Holy Spirit to mother, daughter and nature, back to intelligence, matter, and energy. Or parallel universes, rebirth, and life force, and anything else that represents the triune concept of everything coming in sets of three in this universe.
Use any proverb you want to emphasize in your story. My favorite concept is that you can make something out of nothing. If you can make a purse out of an overcoat, so can you fashion a story from a proverb. Who made something out of nothing? One day an entity created intelligence. Intelligence created energy. And energy created matter. Then matter created parallel universes, all with different laws of physics. And on the farm, intelligence created the idea of life. And life could not be contained. So life expanded through wormholes to all the universes. And intelligence created gravity. And gravity leaked from one universe to this universe, creating a weaker force. So something always came from nothing, because at the root of nothing always is intelligence.
How do you show something can come from nothing? First, read the children’s book (ages 4 to 8) titled, Something from Nothing, by Phoebe Gilman. Discuss the way the author unfolds the story.
The story comes from an old folktale. A boy receives a blanket from his grandfather as a baby. The boy grows attached to this blanket. Like everything else in this universe, the blanket has a life span in the sense that eventually it wears out. As the boy grows up, his grandfather takes the worn and frayed blanket, and makes it into a jacket that also becomes special to the boy. As the jacket frays with age, the grandfather makes a vest, then a tie, handkerchief, and finally a button. Note how the item grows smaller and smaller as the boy grows older. The point is when the button is no more in sight, the grandfather, a creative man, always makes something.
When there’s no material or tangible button in sight, the grandfather still can make something from what seems like nothing but actually is imagination or intelligence because the ending of the story emphasizes that you can make a story from nothing. Actually, you get the feeling at the end of the story that the reason why you can make a story from nothing is that you don’t need a piece of cloth (matter) to create something. All you need is intelligence and energy, which you have when you create a story from so-called (perceived) nothing. Your eyes deceive you, because you can create something from ‘nothing.’ You can write or voice a story.
That’s the point you need to understand when you adapt or ‘turn’ your poems into children’s stories. You need a message, a point of view, and a proverb. Then you turn your poems into a storybook for children. The poem that has a message based on a proverb or old folktale with a point-of-view or universal value is the type of story you want to write. It’s ageless, timeless, and can be used by teachers and parents for children’s activities based on your story book.
As an activity, people who work with children can have their students guess the next item that will be sewn, grown, or built from this type of a story book. When you adapt your poem to a story, go from the largest to the smallest. Children need concrete items to handle such as story strips. You can create blocks of paper cut into strips so students can put the story in order of size or time like a puzzle. Maybe you want a fresh angle on making something small out of something big—such as a story set at a recycling machine depot. Cans are crushed and fashioned into toys or utensils.
Use your imagination to recycle these universal folk tales from around the world based on proverbs or concepts of creation. You’re taking an abstract concept of creating something out of nothing and making your concept as concrete as possible by example and detail. You’re illustrating making a button out of a blanket or a purse out of a sow’s ear, or a story out of a proverb or poem. Children like concrete examples, even repetition of rhythm to make the story memorable.
Using Repetition and Rhythm in Children’s Books for Ages 0-4 and Ages 4-8.
Children’s books read by parents or preschool teachers such as bed-time story books emphasize illustration, rhythm, repetition and cadence. The picture is large and takes up most of the page. Text consists of one or two lines in large print at the bottom third or quarter of the page. The child looks at the picture while the adult reads the story.
Note that if you write a similar story for children ages four to eight, the words would take up to a paragraph per page. Text comes after the illustration and uses two-thirds of the page.
Below are text examples of picture pre-school books designed for children age four to eight to read. Adults would be reading to four-and-five year olds as children begin to read as early as kindgergarten. By the first grade, these types of books can be used for interaction as the child reads some words and the adult helps the child sound out the words in relation to familiar illustrations.
The child soon associates the pictures with the large print words. Illustrations dominate the page, taking up two-thirds of each page or are placed on a two-page spread. Text consists of one or two sentences for younger children up to age four and two sentences to a short paragraph for children up to age eight.
Words are in the vocabulary usually used by teachers and publishers of children’s books with mostly familiar words used. New words have a rhythmic sound or beat. Repetition of rhythm and action are used throughout the story book. In a nonfiction book, questions are asked and answered in large print, two-sentence paragraphs. Illustrations take up one-third to half the page in nonfiction, informational books for children aged four to eight.
When writing fiction for children or descriptive nonfiction, use rhyme and repetition or beat, rhythm and repetition so that each sentence has the same number of syllables or beat. As this type of writing is used so frequently in poetry, using your poems as an inspiration or source for children’s story books keeps you aware of the beat, rhythm, or optional rhyme.
Use these children’s stories that describe a familiar site to inspire you to write your own stories or adapt your poems to the reading level of young children by becoming aware of how well the rhythm of poems or the beat, such as hexameter, works in children’s books, especially for the age four to eight set. Also, I’ve included some stories for 0 to age 4 children to be read by an adult.
When adapting your poems to books for children age 0 to 4, use texture, tone, and mood. The texture of the pages should be three-dimensional. Children should be able to touch and rub their fingers on the warm, fuzzy or quilted material on the cover or inside the book. Pop-up books are common.
You can also learn to design your own pop-up books by learning paper folding. Courses in adult education sometimes offer a course in hand-crafted gift book making. Using terry cloth or stuffed animals on the cover or pop-ups inside the book help to hold the attention of a child of preschool age as the adult reads the words.
Children feel and touch the texture, look at the illustrations and begin to associate the written word with the pictures. Storyline runs about one or two sentences per page for books published for children under age five. In books for children aged four to eight, text runs about a paragraph per page.
Keep paragraphs short and sentences very short—less than 10 words per sentence. Paragraphs consist of two sentences or three very short sentences that fit on the page under a large illustration that takes up at least two-thirds of the page. Text usually takes up the bottom quarter of the page with about an inch of space left under the text. These, usually hard-cover books for children aged four to eight run about 32 published pages in length. If you print your own books, be sure the cover is sturdy and waterproof.
Blank pages with textures or pop-ups, plus a hard cover increase the size and look of the book, which may be large in size, often 9 by 12 inches. The cover may have texture to touch such as a terry cloth animal or face, or may be smooth, waterproof, and colorful to hold attention. If you publish your own childen’s books, don’t put a tiny illustration at the top and a whole page of text in the middle.
You’ll find that distributers and bookstores won’t stock children’s books that have too much text. You can’t use the excuse that your book is meant to be read by adults. Books are for children to look at. And young children’s brains are hard-wired to look at large pictures and one or two sentences of text.
Children in the middle grades of elementary school enjoy books with two sentences to a paragraph of text at the bottom of the page. If the child is an avid reader at age eight, the child will gravitate toward large print books with illustrations and an impelling story line, including adventure and historic themes.
For older children, readers want to become engrossed in the story and characters that drive the story. Note the popularity Harry Potter and Goosebumps series. The storyline engrosses the reader and is back up with high media coverage and publicity reaching the circles where children are present and paying attention.
The artist has free reign to illustrate the book so that the picture describes the one-sentence text. For example in the left hand column, we see the number one. This refers to page one. The left hand, larger column contains the one-sentence of text.
The artist then knows to place the illustration for the first page above the line of text, and the publisher’s book designer knows how many pages will be in the book. In some books, a publisher may ask for one sentence or one paragraph on each page, whereas another publisher may place two paragraphs on one page. Under each page of illustration one or two lines of text may be placed.
Blank pages may be inserted by the publisher to fill out the rest of the book and include a title page with the publisher’s information. Keep the book pages containing text and illustration an even 16 to 32 pages for children aged up to four.
For readers aged four to eight, use the 32 published pages format. For children ages 9-12, the 32 page format may increase to 64 pages. Each publisher may be different in the number of pages specified as how many pages to insert text on, with instructions to the artist. Sometimes an illustration spreads across two pages.
The artist may increase the size of the book. The book designer may insert more pages for publisher’s address or the title page. If you’re publishing your own book, allow pages for the title, name and address of publisher with ISBN and/or Library of Congress number, and any illustration or textures inserted in the book. Some books may come with a CD pouch on the back inside cover of the book. Use this only if you’re including an interactive, multimedia CD or DVD with your children’s book.
If you publish your own book, obtain an ISBN and EAN Barcode. International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a number issued by the R.R. Bowker Agency that is used to classify and track a given title. The majority of bookstore chains, wholesalers, and distributors track titles solely with the 10-digit ISBN. Place the ISBN on the publications page of your book. Put the EAN Barcode on your book’s back cover. For further information on obtaining an International Standard Book Number (ISBN), see the ISBN website.
In this chapter’s story samples, observe the format of how the book pages are numbered when submitting to a publisher or printer. In one column, you see the page number. Each page contains only one sentence of text. The rest of the page instructs the artist and publisher to insert a colorful illustration on the particular page numbered in the left-hand column.
Two tabs are skipped and the sentence of text is placed in the right hand, larger column. In the story below, the text part of the book submitted by the writer for publication takes only 30 pages for the rhythmic, short text.
The first two pages are left blank for the artist and publisher’s input, totaling 32 pages for the book. You have 30 pages of actual story writing or adapting your poem, plus two pages left for publisher’s information. Page one is labeled ‘cover’ and page 2 is left blank. Page 3 begins the story or poem’s actual words. Page 3 repeats the book title and contains the sentence, “You have two eyes.” Starting with page 4, the alphabet is introduced and follows through A to Z. The book uses nonrhyming, but rhythmic text with a steady beat that can be set to music if the content were put on a multimedia CD. I adapted the words that run in alphabetical order to a children’s book format from one of my free-form poems written back in 1959.
Your own stories may be written in the form of a book or adapted to musical narration and put on a CD for interactive use as learning materials or for listening. With added video clips, a DVD may be produced. Illustration on a DVD would become animation. You’d team up with an animation cartoonist or animator, and your book format would be adapted to to animation script format.
Use branding techniques on your poems. You may wish to research any links between branding and creativity. I give poetry a mascot, the cat because poems have at least nine lives. Your poems can be adapted to at least nine formats in order to make them salable and competitive in the publishing world.
A poem has at least nine lives—
1. Text-formatted published children’s book or pop-up book (as you see below)
2. Cartoon-style animation on DVD
3. Graphic novel as in a comic book
4. Puppet theater, narration with music on a CD or read as an audio book
5. Recited publicly in a theater, auditorium or club as poetry or monologue
6. Toy, such as stuffed animal, doll, house, robot, or action figure
7. Computer or Video action game
8. Song lyrics set to music, MTVs, musical skits, rap, and advertising jingles.
9. Learning materials and interactive multimedia for school subjects such as science or even infomercials played at events, expos, trade shows, product demonstrations in department stores, and broadcasted at conventions, video-streamed online with avatars (robotic personalities online), or podcasted on the Web as MP3 files or syndicated internationally online as feel-good poems or humor on RSS feeds.
(Stories are written by Anne Hart, © 2005.)
Books For Children Aged 0-4
1. Cover: EYES
2. BLANK PAGE
3. Two eyes
You have two eyes.
4. -A-Two acrobat's eyes above an altar.
5. -B-Two bouncing baby's blue eyes brightly beaming.
6. -C-Two cold cat's eyes catching canaries.
7. -D-Two deep darting duck eyes diving.
8. -E-Two Egyptian emerald eyes enjoying eerie events.
9. -F-Two fish eyes flirting, finding frisky frogs
10. -G-Two great grandma's gray eyes glad getting good
11. -H-Two hardy hawk eyes hunting.
12. -I-Two idol's insect eyes in ivory.
13. -J-Two juicy jellyfish eyes jutting.
14. -K-Two kind king's eyes keeping knitted kittens
15. -L-Two lively little lamb eyes looking left.
16. -M-Two misty mother's eyes making music matter.
17. -N-Two nervous newcomer's eyes near noisy, nasty
18. -O-Two oval Oriental eyes overlooking orbiting owls.
19. -P-Two proud puzzle peddler's eyes peering
20. -Q-Two quick queen's eyes quietly questioning
21. -R-Two red runaway rabbit's eyes rumored roaming
22. -S-Two skinny sailor's silver eyes seeing
salty seaweed served slowly, sings simple
songs, saying, “Sandwich! Stew! Salad!
23. -T-Two twinkling teddybear's eyes trailing
twin tots turning twice.
Trim tykes trotting to toystores
to teach the teddybear's tune.
24. -U-Two unicorn eyes uniting uniquely until
ugly umbrellas untie used utensils.
25. -V-Two villager's very violet eyes viewing
vivid valley vines vanishing.
26. -W-Two weaver's eyes wandering West watching
windows, waiting, welcoming weddings,
whatever wit wills worthy work.
27. -X-Two X-ray eyes xeroxing Xmas xylophones.
28. -Y-Two young, yellow Yak's eyes yearning
yearly, yielding yonder yogi Yankee's
29. -Z-Two zigzagged, zesty zebra's eyes
zealously zeroing zoned zoos.
30. Two zany, zealot's eyes zooming, zapping
Books for Children Aged 4-8
This book builds on words and rhythm as it progresses. The story uses the popular Finnish girl’s name, Aino. Column one at the left gives the text. Column two on the right gives the artist directions on what is to be illustrated.
The numbering represents the pages. This book contains a cover page, a blank page and starts on page three, totaling twenty pages.
This Is The House That Aino Built
2. Blank page
3. This is the mouse that designed the house
that Aino built. (drawing of computer mouse)
4. This is the class that trained the lass (drawing of class of
to use the mouse that designed the house kids at computers)
that Aino built.
5. This is the school that bought the tool (drawing of school)
that trained the lass to use the mouse that
designed the house that Aino built.
6. This is the machine with its colorful screen that (Show drawing of computer.
designed the dream that Aino had when Use colorful design on screen.)
she told her dad that she needed a mouse
to draw the house that Aino built.
7. This is the dad who worked in CAD* (Show drawing of Aino’s dad at work
who found a school that bought the tool on his job drafting in CAD software.)
that drew the house with the little mouse
beside the computer where there was a tutor
to show the lass inside the class
how to design the house that Aino built.
(*CAD stands for computer-aided design.)
8. This is the dear who began her career (Draw picture of Aino’s mom sitting
drawing pictures with the mouse at her computer drawing a house.)
that designed the house that Aino built.
9. This is the store that sold the screen (Show picture of computer store
that colored the machine that used the mouse where a row of computer screens
to scale down the house that Aino built. have colorful images on them.)
10. These are the dots that join the lots (Illustrate dots on lots.)
under the house made with the mouse that Aino built.
11. These are the lines that join the vines (Show vines connected by lines.)
around the house drawn with the mouse that Aino built.
12. These are the children in the school who use the tool (Picture of school children)
on the machine to live their dream
and build a house with the little white mouse.
13. Here is the fun that Aino won (Show Aino designing.)
as she draws
foxes, and boxes.
All drawn by the computer mouse
who scales down the house that Aino built.
14. This is the machine Aino keeps clean (Show drawing of color printer.)
that prints her tints.
15. This is the scanner that copies a banner (Draw picture of scanner.)
drawn by the mouse that Aino built.
16. This is a slide that lets you ride (Computer screen shows a garden slide.)
by clicking the mouse that draws the house that Aino built.
17. This is the line that becomes a circle (Computer screen shows line and circle.)
and turns to purple by tapping the mouse
that designs the house Aino built.
18. One day Aino decided that when she grew up, (Show dog house shaped like an ape.)
she wanted to build a house for her pup.
This is the shape that looks like an ape
drawn by the mouse that designs the dog house Aino built.
19. This is the ride designed with pride (Show playground ride.)
that Aino built.
20. Draw the ride or the house (Show picture for reader to color.)
that Aino built bright as a quilt.
What will you build with your mouse?
The Spice Store is written for early readers—kindergarten, first, and second grade students. The next version of the same story is for readers aged 9-12.
The Spice Store
2. Blank Page
3. The red brick spice store
sells all you can eat and more.
4. Green peppers hang on a string
running across the ceiling.
5. Pickled melons
are served with cheese.
Spicy ice cream, all you can freeze.
6. Bread is baked crusty and soft
When you bite a hole, it opens into a pocket.
7. Stuff the bread with hot cubes of roast.
Then heat it up until to make garlic toast.
8. Chunks of peppers meet onions with spice.
Eat the sandwich with pine nuts and rice.
9. Dust with lemon pepper, sage, and thyme.
Chew it so slowly and take your time.
10. Smell that orange honey. It makes your head spin.
Walnuts in the cellar stand next to flour in the bin.
11. Music wails from a land far away.
Nothing comes in cans. All's made fresh every day.
12. Everything's in bulk, barrels, boxes, and jars.
It's all ground by hand under the stars.
13. Sugar is ground to a powder.
Chocolate is brought to a boil.
14. Ice cream in tiny cups are set around the tables.
15. Day after day, all come in to talk.
Young and old sit with sleeping babies in laps.
16. Many a problem was settled in that old country store,
a center of all life for the neighborhood.
The Spice Store (For Readers Aged 9-12)
1. Four thousand years ago in Egypt, young Mereet's whole life was her mother's sandstone spice store. It stood beneath twelve date palm trees on the banks of the river Nile.
2. Everything she ate, wore, and owned came from it.
3. Cinammon stick bells hung on a string across the ceiling and chimed in the breeze from the open windows.
4. The smell of green and red peppers drying near a rope of garlic filled the dark, wooden room. Pickled watermelon and strips of fried eggplant lay on the counter top next to heaps of wheat and barley and dried Nile fish (Nile Perch).
5. Mereet's delight was to be sent to the store's cellar where sesame seed bread was baked. The loaf was flat and crusty soft.
6. Inside, when you bit a hole, the bread opened up into a pocket.
7. When Mereet was a little girl, she used to stuff this pocket bread with hot cubes of roasted lamb. She would drop chunks of green peppers and onions inside and dust the stuffed sandwich with ground cinammon.
8. There was lemon pepper coming all the way from India, and thyme, rosemary, and sage, and cumin seed brought on donkey back from across the great Eastern desert.
9. The roast lamb had been soaked in honey and lemon to make it sweet and sour. Then it was roasted on a skewer over open flames in a round, stove made of white stones.
10. All the workers building the great pyramids of Egypt came in at sunset for their evening meal of barley, wheat, and sun-dried fish dusted with Mereet's spices. They also bought her famous pocket-full-of-lamb sandwiches on the chewy, course bread.
11. The store's cellar felt cool and dark against the hot Egyptian sun because the stone walls were very thick.
12. The cellar had a delicious smell of walnuts and cinammon that made the workmen's head spin.
Can you smell the pastry from the big ovens, the tang of lemon, and the scent of pine nuts? Do you taste the sweet orange blossoms boiled in water and cooled? Mix the orange blossom water with honey. Then dip in your pastry and eat.
13. Musicians were hired to play flutes and drums. And the music wailed delightfully around the winding passages of the big cellar. Everyone not eating began to dance, sing, and clap hands in rhythm. One, two, and-uh, one, two three! Over and over.
14. Everything came in big clay jars. Olive oil, spices ground by hand, thick sweet fermented barley brew, and grapes pressed by the feet of dancing children.
15. Rose petal tea cooled in a long-handled bronze pot. Fresh goat milk was whipped frothy. When foam appeared on top, the sweetened milk was poured into tiny cups and passed around the family tables.
16. After dark, dancing girls in white linen appeared wearing perfumed cones on top of their long, blue wigs. As they danced, the cones melted, perfuming and oiling their heads.
17. Day after day, ancient Egyptian families and laughing merchants of sea peoples from all the lands far to the north, east, west, and south would drop in for gossip and trade, or to settle the world's problems with talk.
Artists would draw on the store's walls wheat harvesting scenes and birds flying. They painted the ceiling dark blue with white stars to look like the night sky. Musicians would play their harps, flutes, and drums at the spice racks.
18. Young and old came--often with sleeping babies on their backs. Many a local problem was settled in that spice store, a center of life for the village.
The reader and story listener aged four to eight prefers repetition and rhythm. Use rhyme, rhythm or beat and repetition in your book format for children up to age eight as in the story below. These books for readers aged four to eight usually run two blank pages plus 18 pages of text and illustrations, or 32 pages (two blank pages plus 30 pages of text and illustrations).
There's An Iguana In My Sauna
1. There's an iguana in my sauna,
and her name is Iggy Wanna.
2. There's an iguana in my sauna,
and she eats fruit every dawn-a!
3. There's an iguana in my sauna
who belongs to my friend, Anna.
4. There's an iguana in my sauna
trying to drive a green Honda.
5. There's an iguana in my sauna
playing music in the corner.
6. There's an iguana in my sauna,
and my mom's trying to warn her.
7. There's an iguana on my sauna floor
who thinks she's a small dinosaur.
8. There's an iguana in my sauna spout
who rides the steam clouds coming out.
9. There's an iguana in my sauna,
and I think it's time to pawn her.
10. There's an iguana in my sauna,
green as wheat grass in the lawn-a!
11. There's an iguana in my sauna
where her babies were just born-a.
12. There's an iguana in my sauna,
with the biggest mouth to yawn-a.
13. There's an iguana in my sauna,
sleeping peacefully 'till morn-a!
14. There's an iguana in my sauna
playing with little Jack Horner.
15. There's an iguana in my sauna
mending a shirt that is torn-a.
16. There's an iguana in my sauna growing bolder
who'd rather stand on my shoulder.
17. There's an iguana in my sauna,
and I've turned the water on her.
18. There's an iguana in my sauna,
who wears old sneakers worn-a.
I Can Tidy Up My Own Room
2. Blank page
3. Teeny weeny tiny teddy,
did you get your own room ready?
4. Teeny weeny tiny monk,
skates are tidy in your trunk.
5. Teeny weeny tiny tyke,
did you hide your brand new bike?
6. Teeny weeny tiny mouse
my, how clean you've swept this house.
7. Teeny weeny tiny boys,
in a line you placed your toys!
8. Teeny weeny tiny girls
there you keep the brush that curls.
9. Teeny weeny tiny skeet
Look how straight you tucked your sheet!
10. Teeny weeny tiny pop
what will you clean with that mop?
11. Teeny weeny tiny loon,
show me how you push a broom.
12. Teeny weeny tiny bug,
put your sweeper to the rug!
13. Teeny weeny tiny snail,
lots of soap goes in the pail.
14. Teeny weeny tiny dog,
in that pot plant polywog.
15. Teeny weeny tiny cat
on the rack goes every hat.
16. Teeny weeny tiny owl,
place your towel on the dowl.
17. Teeny weeny tiny fish
see how slow you dust that dish.
18. Teeny weeny tiny crab,
is your room a science lab?
19. Teeny weeny tiny moth,
did you rinse out your wash cloth?
20. Teeny weeny tiny skink,
did you scrub your bathroom sink?
Seek Inspiration from Nature To Adapt into Children’s Books or Stories
Ask yourself and then ask children these questions. Record their feedback with their parents as well as the children’s permission. Use the variety of answers to inspire you to write poems that you will turn into children’s books and stories. Before you decide to write a book, begin by asking yourself and then other people “What if there’s another way to do it?” Instead of “picking people’s minds,” look for hidden doors to your own creativity you can open based on what you see, hear, and touch or sense in nature and all around you.
1. What if?
2. What if we wonder?
3. What if there's another way to do it?
4. What if we could invent everything all over again a different way?
5. What if we could dance to a different drummer?
6. What if we could sing a different tune?
7. What if we could grow stronger by listening to our inner selves?
8. What would we hear?
9. What if we think for ourselves?
10. What if we always ask "why"?
11. What if the real world isn't real?
12. What if we ask more questions?
13. What if we listen more closely?
14. What if we look at things in a new light?
15. What if wonder whether it's true?
16. What if we look for something more?
17. What if we make sense of things?
18. What if we explain what happened in a new way?
The reader age four to eight is especially interested in travel and learning about people from other lands. Adapt your travel and nature poems into what the reader can see, touch, and experience. Write concretely, detailing the experience using each sense.
Include tone, texture, and mood. The reader needs to hear, touch, smell, taste and ‘ride’ the forward movement of each vivid, active verb to become involved in the story. Characters drive the easy-to-understand, repetitive, and rhythmic plot in children’s books.
In this children’s book or story format below the rhythm is four syllables in the first line followed by eight syllables in the second line, then varied with two lines of eight syllables each toward the end. Keep the rhythm moving, and use rhyme only when it works well to hold the reader’s interest or move the story forward.
I Love To Travel
2. Blank page
3. Big, bright, blue tide
come travel with us far and wide.
4. To a big party full of fun,
where birthday children play and run.
5. Big, bright, red plane,
can you fly faster than that crane?
6. As that bird flies above a cloud
it sings a song so clear and proud.
7. Big, bright, gold car,
is the zoo very near or far?
8. Your picnic basket's on the seat.
Those animals will love the treat.
9. Big, bright, pink sled,
are your Alaskan doggies fed?
10. The Huskies drive us through the snow,
wearing tinkling bells as they go.
11. Big, bright, brown boat,
what big rule makes you stay afloat?
12. Your wood is full of air, you say,
and keeps you out of water's way.
13. Big, bright, mauve trike,
when can you trade up for a bike?
14. When you are big enough to ride,
my training wheels will stop your slide.
15. Big, bright, ice skates,
will they help you make figure eights?
16. When winter freezes the pond white,
skating back home will feel just right.
17. Big, bright, rocket,
which will weigh more in your pocket?
18. The meteors that cross dark space,
or stars that look like pale, stitched lace?
19. Big, submarine,
you can imagine in your dream.
20. If there's parking space in the sea,
there must be tourists just like me.
21. Big, bright, beige mule,
walk through Grand Canyon after school.
22. On your next trip to Winter Creek,
you'll wish you skied down every peak.
23. Big, bright, school bus,
where are you taking all of us?
In “The Party,” the rhythm and rhyme is used for humor, when humor is suitable as a hook or means to gather and hold the reader’s attention and interest in the story. Simplicity and writing to the reading level of the particular age group keeps the book within a framework that booksellers look for—consistency.
Make sure the illustration covers most of the page and only a sentence or two of text is placed below the illustration. In children’s books for readers aged four to eight, the realistic illustration of the characters in action is the main attraction. The story is important and essential, but the eye goes first to the drawing and then to the story. This type of humorous, rhyming story also can be adapted to an animation script.
2. Blank page
3. Hello! I'm Lucan, the Moluccan Toucan.
Let me introduce you to Lady Luck, the wonder struck waterbuck.
Lady Luck, meet Kalmuck, the moonstruck woodchuck.
4. Kalmuck, on your right there's Canuck, the awestruck lame duck. He's so stagestruck, that he earns a fastbuck from beginner's luck.
5. "Canuck, let me introduce you to Laverock. She's brought the lean chuck for our potluck. She got sunstruck and had to have a nip and tuck. They say it cost a megabuck.
6. Laverock, meet Ruck Tuck waving that sawbuck. He's so thunder-struck, that sometimes he runs amuck carrying his rubber duck.
7. "Hi! Mr. Tuck! Did you get a chance yet to talk to Miss Duck? She's got lots of pluck swinging that hockey puck at that horror-struck roebuck. So, how do you like our high-muck-a-muck potluck?
8. Buck Tuck smiled to Miss Duck. "Would you like to see a picture of my dad's big red fire truck?"
"Later," she answered with pluck. "First you have to help my friend, Chuck. He had the cluck to get stuck in the muck."
9. So Buck left the party to help Chuck dig out his bicycle tires stuck in the muck.
10. While Buck was gone, Lucan, the Moluccan Toucan spilled chip dip on the roebuck.
11. As Lucan helped clean the guck off the roebuck, there was the sound of a fire truck. "Yuk! Anybody else stuck in the muck?"
12. With a little luck, Chuck joined the party dressed as the joker in that old myth, named Puck.
13. "Guess who's here, now," said Buck. "Everybody meet Druck! He drives the fire truck that helped Chuck free the bike that was stuck in the muck."
14. "Hi! Druck!" All the party guests shouted, moonstruck. Loucan the Moluccan Toucan passed the dip chips to the new party guest. "Did you meet Mr. Gluck? He removed the guck from that truck I bought from uncle Huck."
15. So Lucan introduced Druck to Buck and Miss Duck and uncle Huck, Canuck, Kalmuck, and Lady Luck--the wonderstruck waterbuck.
16. They all smiled at one another and passed the potluck that Chuck sold to Druck to make a fast-buck.
"What misluck to get your bike stuck in the muck next to Druck's truck!" said Mr. Gluck.
17. "Took up a lot of party time to pull out that bike stuck in the muck with my fire truck," said Druck, dumbstruck.
18. "Beginner's luck," laughed Chuck.
19. "I bet you that Kalmuck, the woodchuck, could chuck that muck faster than my truck could get your bike unstuck," said Lucan the Moluccan Toucan, awestruck. "Or maybe the waterbuck can swim through that guck."
20. "Yuk!" Laverock shouted to Buck Tuck. It's raining so hard outside that all of our bikes and trikes are probably stuck in the muck."
21. "Not while I'm here," said Ms. Duck to Lady Luck holding her hockey puck. She ran into the rain, horror-struck.
22. The fluffy duck began to swim round and round in the puddle that was rising so fast around everyone's bikes and trikes. She swung her hockey stick at the puck. It was nip-and-tuck.
23. “Of all the luck,” said the duck, as she struck the puck. It ran amuck, and the all the bikes were unstuck.
24. "I'm no dumb cluck. It was beginner's luck," said the duck with pluck to the waterbuck as she rejoined the potluck.
Poems That Make Salable Children’s Stories
Simple poems with universal values make salable children’s stories. Poems with universal values allow people to make clearer choices. Readers or listeners follow and apply the steps that solved problems in the poem to make their own clearer choices.
To emphasize the simple virtue in a poem, brand the poem with your style and point-of-view. Apply branding techniques to your poems before you re-write them as children’s stories.
Branding is your mark of creativity. You create styles, brands, logos, slants, positions, messages, goals, points-of view, and concrete conclusions in your poetry before you adapt your poetry to the children’s book format.
The conclusion should be stated in one sentence. A conclusion summarizes the most important point in your poems as you emphasize your message. Write your conclusion first, before you turn any poems into stories or children’s books.
Each poem needs its own style, makeover, or outlook. Create a title, brand, and logo for yourself and your experience of living. Branding is the first step to making money from salable poetry. Sort out poems having excellent potential to be turned into children’s books.
Summarize, highlight, and select the most important messages in your poem. What would you charge for creating branding logos or ‘brand names’ from the messages hidden or self-explanatory in your poems?
Charge a flat fee or by the hour to create branding logos and themes for other writers or publishers of children’s books or songs. Use the current rate for other people who design logos and branding themes as well as publicity. About $100 an hour for creating a logo works in areas where other designers make that sum. Charging $25-$35 an hour works in other areas. It all depends on your reputation and how well you are known in the business community. There is competition with graphic designers who design logos, book covers, brochures, and press kits.
Work in an area where there is a lot of industry. You need contacts with new businesses and stores. Anywhere you can find creativity enhancement courses or practice in creating logos and branding themes. This would include courses in advertising, branding, graphic design, and logo design, desktop publishing, and typesetting.
To make your poetry salable, you’ll need graphic design software and a computer with a color printer/photo printer as well as a text printer. You might want to add a machine that binds books if you are hired to create booklets or small books for corporations.
To express creativity about the simpler life, first create your own logo, title, and plan of how you will share useful information. Will you be the next ogre of organization, curmudgeon of clutter, duke of drains, prince of plumbing, or cloisonné of clean?
Will you be the next earl of examples, marques of mothering, sovereign of simplicity, viscount of ventilation, lady of less, sultan of sources, sheik of shopping, or baron of bargains? You get the picture. Put creativity into the elbow work. Use a term that’s familiar to many or a proverb that you expand into branding.
If you’re going to show people how to use branding gleaned from salable poems—that is poems with a concrete message--start with the hidden markets for poetry such as animators, storytellers, narrators, cartoonists, and children’s book publishers.
Using branding with salable poems is about emphasizing simplicity and commitment. That’s what you market in your buzz appeal campaign to the media and to the public as your customers and clients.
Your first step would be to use branding to make a ‘brand’ or trade name or logo and slogan for yourself that represents your basic concept and message. That’s a proverb or quotation that in one sentence or less tells the public what you represent, to what you are committed. Keep it simple and short.
After you have your branding complete with slogans and proverbs, launch your poems as children’s books themes in the media. Another use of poems that have been turned into 32-page children’s books or 64-page graphic novels could be songs for children recorded on CDs. These songs could tell a story or set your poem to music, especially healing harp music. Save your poems for possible song writing workshops and team up with a musician who might set your poems to musical notes or perform the poems as songs with stories inherent in the words, suitable for children or learning situations.
To select a reporter from the media, find out by reading publications and newspapers who is writing a story similar to your concept or who has recently written a similar article. That reporter may not do another similar story, but can refer you to someone who might. Call the features editor and ask who has written similar articles or will be assigned a similar topic on bargain hunting for quality, getting what you pay for, simplifying your life, or living on less, saving, and enjoying the lifestyle more.
If your writing is honest and dramatic, it will appeal to the newspaper reporter who is writing on a subject similar to yours. If that reporter from a national newspaper or other national publication with a very wide circulation writes about your story or interviews you and incorporates passages into the reporter's piece, quoting your story--fiction or biography--you have a great chance of publishers and agents contacting you. Usually, it will be an agent who is willing to bid your story to publishers.
You see how your concrete poems can be turned into songs set to music, or children’s story books, narrated stories as an audio book on CDs, or animated by cartoon animators as a 12-minute cartoon script and used for interactive learning on computer DVDs, or submitted to Saturday morning cartoon producers or the computer video game industry. Poems can be recorded on CDs as they are and used for storytelling.
Here's a famous example of how one manuscript went through the processes from writing workshop to publication. Jessie Lee Foveaux, at the age of 98, sold her memoir for a million dollars, and she had never published before. She sold her book and movie rights. Was it luck or buzz appeal? The Life of Jessie Lee Brown from Birth up to 80 years had been written in longhand for an adult education class in writing for senior citizens writing their life stories. You may wish to check out the articles, "Jessie Foveaux, 100, Dies; Sold Her First Book at 98 - New York Times" and "Sale of the Century : People.com." Or see, "Amazon.com: Jessie Lee Brown Foveaux: Books, Biography, Blog."
When you try to sell simplicity and commitment in any item, whether it’s your diary or a gift basket of hand-made products, write down what’s different about what you have to offer? Foveaux wrote the details of how she spent her childhood, the characters who inhabited towns in which she lived, and details of her relatives.
Then she started on a narrative and got to the deeper story of her life. That’s what you have to do—get to the deeper story of how to get what you pay for. Details and information are what sells—the facts and how to apply them in a practical, yet simple way to improve. Foveaux wrote about commitment using a simple plot with lots of details of her life story.
What in this story differed from the thousands of memoirs that are written by seniors in adult education classes? It's this story that brought in a million dollars from publishers, plus movie rights. How did this story differ from the others? The visibility or "buzz" appeal began with Foveaux's writing teacher who put her writing in his newsletter that contained the writing of all the students in the senior citizen writing class.
When we analyze how the first step led to the next, we have to look at her writing teacher’s credibility adding to her credibility by publishing the writing of all the students in a newsletter. Normally, that would have been the end of the line. Except, by mailing the newsletter to a reporter from The Wall Street Journal, this reporter wrote about the author. That article published in the Wall Street Journal helped to give visibility and credibility to significant highlights of the book. The book soon sold to major publishers for a lot of money.
So you have to have a similar leap from adult education class newsletter of writing to actually being published in a national publication that has national credibility. The most important step of buzz appeal occurred when the Wall Street Journal reporter actually took a step forward to make Foveaux’s writings known to the wider world of Wall Street Journal readers.
Your approach and product or attitude needs to be the perfect forum for a particular newspaper or magazine or other media venture. There had to be a reason why the newsletter went to this particular reporter at The Wall Street Journal. After all, most people think of The Wall Street Journal as a financial newspaper full of articles on stocks, investments and mergers. The newspaper's focus is far removed from a senior citizen's memoirs of raising a large family in an unhappy marriage, yet it made the perfect forum because it has universal appeal.
The writing teacher had read a previous article in The Wall Street Journal by that reporter who wrote an in-depth article on senior citizens that attracted the interest of the writing teacher in the Midwest. He sent the article to the reporter because it emphasized the commitment to family and faith. To create buzz, your writing, product, or application of your idea must have some redemptive value to a universal audience. That's the most important point.
What you need for your idea is momentum. You need to have a practical application—details, facts, and step-by-step instruction people can follow in what you present to the public. The Wall Street Journal reporter drew close to the writings of the 98-year old woman. Those writings had such redemptive value to create buzz (universal appeal). The Wall Street Journal reporter developed more buzz (appeal) around the manuscript by writing an article about the author and the manuscript.
Momentum resulted. The momentum moved it along the pipeline so that all the right connections had access by reading the Wall Street Journal. The point is if you want to reach all the right connections for your applications of ideas, you need a pipeline, a publication or other media that is credible enough for the people in power to view.
Make sure the people you want to reach read or view the publication or media to which you send your promotional writings. Do these people you want to reach even read or watch the media that is publishing your work? Before you launch anything in the media, think about who you want to reach.
Do these powerful people actually see that publication daily? Would they be interested in your information on how to get what you pay for or how to live on less and enjoy it more? Would you be better off sharing information not on how to live on less, but on strategies that the wealthy and famous use to get richer and happier at the same time? Think about it. Two very simple values sell to the rich and poor alike. They emphasize commitment. Those two values are doing the best you can under the circumstances, and trusting in your faith. It’s like the old proverb, “You know that I care more than you care what I know.”
A front-page story ran in the Wall Street Journal on March 7, 1997. Offers from publishers immediately flooded the writer. A lawyer hired by the writer's relative helped to find a literary agent to look at all the publisher's offers and select the best one. When 20 publishers called and 20 movie producers, offering six-figure movie contracts, the power of buzz--of credibility created through visibility in the major national press--spun into action.
The point is that without "buzz" (as they say in the publishing world), would that book have gotten the attention it deserved before the author had an agent? If you sent a book manuscript directly to a publisher, it most likely would come back with a note that unsolicited manuscripts are not read.
You’d most likely be told to find a literary agent willing to send your book to publishers. That manuscript might stay on the agent’s desk for a year before you finally received it back with a rejection form letter. Who wants to spend that many years trying to find an agent who thinks your book will earn a commission or sell widely?
No matter how great your poem, book idea, or product is, unless you find someone to buzz you into the national press, you aren't going to be noticed that easily. That’s where creativity plays a role. Forget the cliché of thinking outside the box. Instead view the familiar box from a different angle.
To be more creative, find out what’s in vogue. What’s the current interest? Simplicity and commitment always are in vogue, but you need the next step—time. Look at trends. Research the trends to find out whether what you have to offer is coming at a time when people are trying to hold a family together and put bread on the table at the same time. Now get even more creative. You have buzz appeal.
What you have offers simple solutions. Focus more narrowly. Are you appealing to American women? Do the trends say that this is the time when American women are working to support families? What practical steps can you offer them to make life and work easier, less costly, and of better quality? Can you show life in a nutshell through a children’s story book based on a proverb, poem, or medieval folkloric tale? Let’s look again at the travels of a manuscript for a mainstream novel.
Foveaux's book was auctioned at more than a million dollars, and Warner cast the top bid. Think about how the author’s manuscript went through certain steps to get to the person at Warner with the power to make things happen for the author. Think of what happened in between, the lawyer who helped the auction to happen and the publishers who took an interest. What made all these people take an interest?
Look at the value of your writing or information. Is what you have simple enough to sell for a million dollars? It has to be really simple—that is concrete and vivid in detail—to make so much money. Simple means understandable, and that's buzz (universal) appeal. Writing needs to be active, dramatic, and alive in feeling rather than flat as a laundry list. Alive means fast-paced enough to move the action forward to a conclusion that is memorable because it reveals universal values.
If you want to make a living by adapting salable poems to children’s books, share what’s simple and earthy about what you have and what you do. Be yourself. Publishers can spot phoniness in a minute. Can your customers or clients do the same?
If you write, be a real person in your writing. Be true to yourself. What’s worth a million? The book emphasized morals, faith, and values. If you analyze what powerful publishers buy for universal appeal, it’s a steady focus on values. Publishers look for faith in something greater than our lives. They seek stories of commitment and simplicity of values.
Publishers who buy a book or any other item on its buzz value are buying simplicity. It is simplicity that sells and nothing else but simplicity. This is true for computers, MP3 players, books, or items that have to be assembled by the buyer. Simplicity sells in instructional manuals and in how-to kits. It's good storytelling to say it simply. People want user-friendly gadgets, stories, and information.
Simplicity means what you have to offer gives your customer all the answers everyone looks for in exotic places, but finds close by. What's the great proverb that sells anything to anyone? It’s to stand on your own two feet and put bread on your own table for your family.
Living on less and enjoying it more or you get what you pay for are moral points telling you to pull your own weight. And pulling your own weight is a buzz word that sells any product or application of an idea that teaches and reaches through simplicity.
The backbone of the media emphasizes the values of simplicity, morals and faith (or trust). These are universal values. Doing the best to take care of your family sells. That’s the buzz appeal you need to emphasize.
Consumers and publishers go through fads every two years--angel books, managing techniques books, computer home-based business books, novels about ancient historical characters or tribes, science fiction, children's programming. The genres shift emphasis, but values are consistent in the bestselling books, toys, and any other product.
You need to offer simplicity, values, morals, and commitment in whatever you want to share to make a living. Look at trends. To live on less and have more, find the highways to simplicity. Target those values. Emphasize commitment.
Buzz is universal, but you need national press to get publishers bidding. National press gives you credibility in the eyes of major publishers. The world is impressed by front page coverage in The Wall Street Journal because of what it symbolizes--stability, dependability, security, centeredness.
Find a newspaper article that relates to what information you want to share. Write to the reporter covering the feature. Query to see whether there is an interest in your story or feature. Make sure you have a new angle on your project. Does your item emphasize universal values, morals, simplicity, and commitment?
Does it span real history in a way that reads and works well? Quality is the most important trait. Visibility and credibility give your product momentum. Buzz appeal gives momentum to the practical application of your idea. Universal values and simple lifestyles sell each time they solve problems, give results, and offer benefits with balance.
Take drop-ship products from a company at no cost to you. Sell the products online, on eBay, for example. The products are stored in the company’s warehouse, not in your home.
You could have the company mail the product directly to the customer after you collect the payment, take your share or commission, and notify the company of the sale and customer’s shipping address. You also may wish to see a website on social learning.