What Is New in Children’s Books?

NewBookStickersIf you follow our blog, you undoubtedly have a sense of calling to write for children and teens in the Christian market. Today, I want to encourage you to check out what is new in children’s books. Keeping on top of that may include some things that surprise you, but they will be relatively simple additions to your writing journey.

Check out what is new in Christian publishing for children.

  • Make a list of Christian publishers and check their new releases. You can do this easily by bookmarking their websites. Usually, new releases come out once a quarter, so add this to your calendar to do four times a year.
  • Check in with your local Christian bookstore owner. She will be able to tell you what titles are new on the shelves, what titles are selling well, and what kinds of books her customers request.
  • Keep track of the new releases that win awards.

What is new for children in the general market?

I don’t want to loose you at this point! You may be thinking that you solely want to write children’s Bible storybooks or devotionals. However, it is important to know the topics and formats of popular general market books. Understanding children’s books in general will help you write engaging books that will draw children to read more.

  • Make note of the books that are in the Scholastic Book Fairs in local schools. You can do this online, by reviewing the take-home order forms that elementary schools often send, or by visiting a school book fair with a child in your family. Talk to the parents who are working at the book fair. They will be able to tell you which titles are popular with kids and have been re-ordered to fill requests during the book fair.
  • Visit general market publisher websites, checking for new releases.
  • Talk to bookstore owners. Again, what is new? What are customers looking for?
  • Spend time in the children’s section of the bookstore. Study the sections of the store and the prominent displays. Listen to the requests of young shoppers. Keep in mind that grandparents are frequently those who purchase books for young readers.
  • Visit your local library. Look at the new book display. Talk to the children’s librarian, asking what is popular and what kinds of books she wishes were available.

How do you keep abreast of what is new in publishing? We hope that you will share some your ideas with the other readers here.

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Carol McAdams Moore writes for children and youth in the Christian and general markets. A parent and teacher, she writes books that engage young readers in the Word of God. Check out her preteen devotionals from Zonderkidz – Dare U 2 Open This Book (for guys) and Just Sayin’ (for girls). Visit Carol’s blog at carolmcadamsmoore.blogspot.com

Rainy Days

As I write this, it’s raining. At least my lawn and flowerbeds are happy. Is it raining where you are? I don’t mean the weather. Is it raining on your writing?


Are you familiar with Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem, “The Rainy Day”?

The day is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
The vine still clings to the moldering wall,
But at every gust the dead leaves fall,
And the day is dark and dreary.

My life is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
My thoughts still cling to the moldering Past,
But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast
And the days are dark and dreary.

“Be still, sad heart! and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.”

Is your world bright with contracts and new releases? Enjoy the sun-filled hours, knowing the days will not always be this way.

Is your world dark and dreary? Did you just receive a one-star review? Are you experiencing a dearth of contracts? Maybe you’re engaged in hand-to-hand combat to just wrestle words onto your computer screen. Don’t be surprised. It happens. But don’t give up, either.

You’ve been called to write. The Lord who called you has not ceased His lordship over your life or your writing. The health issues, financial problems, and losses of loved ones are not bigger than El Elyon, The Most High God. The writer’s block, computer glitches, and distractions are not too small to be noticed by El Roi, The God Who Sees you. And all of it—large or small—is under the control of El Shaddai, the Almighty, All-Sufficient One.

Look again at the last stanza of Longfellow’s poem:

“Behind the clouds is the sun still shining.”

Rain is good for the soil, for the grass, for the flowers. Rain is good for us, too. If nothing else, it reminds us we can’t do this alone. We are not just called by God, we are dependent on Him. “Some days must be dark and dreary” to chase us to the Light of the world and motivate us to abide in the Son.

How do you respond to “rainy” writing days?

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Ava Pennington is a writer, Bible teacher, and speaker. Her newest book, Daily Reflections on the Names of God: A Devotional, is endorsed by Precepts founder Kay Arthur. Additionally, Ava is co-author of Faith Basics for Kids. The first two books in the series are Do You Love Me More? and Will I See You Today? She has also written numerous articles for magazines such as Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse, Today’s Christian Woman, Power for Living, and Called.

In addition to her writing, Ava also teaches a weekly, Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) class. She is a passionate speaker and teacher, and delights in challenging audiences with the truth of God’s word in relevant, enjoyable presentations. For more information, visit her at www.AvaWrites.com.

 

Creating Unit Studies

Creating Unit Studies

A unit study is a great way for kids to learn about a topic that sparks their interest. It is also a great way for writers to share their work and use all that “extra” information your research uncovered that just wouldn’t fit into your final piece.

Unit studies take one topic—anything from quicksand to horses to the Civil War—and teach various subjects through that topic. They can be short and cover only a few subjects such as reading, history, and math; or they can be long and tackle every subject of study you can imagine. The length of the unit study is up to you.

Let’s take the Civil War as an example. You have written a series of fictional stories set in the Civil War, targeted at readers ages 8-12. How could you write a unit study that connects your readers with your topic?

We’ll start with reading and writing. You could give the students three writing prompts that relate to the Civil War. You could challenge older students to write a letter from a soldier to his family back home. You could assign a short research assignment. You could ask the students to identify parts of speech by giving them sentences to work with that are related to your topic.

What about math? You can create math problems based on the number of troops present at a battle; you could explore units of measurement using the weight of a pack or the length of a firearm. You could recreate a battlefield map and explore working with scale.

History abounds in a subject like the Civil War, obviously. Explore it. Create puzzles and games; challenge them to find the answers to questions; create a timeline and allow them to fill in key facts and dates.

But the unit study doesn’t have to stop there. Ask them to create a picture of an historically-accurate dress or uniform for art study. Science could look at how gunpowder works. Home economics could share recipes from the home state of one or more of the characters in your novel or story.

The possibilities are endless. So the next time you sit down to write, consider taking five minutes of uninterrupted time and brainstorm any activity or assignment you can think of that is related to your writing project. You may find yourself holding the outline for a unit study! Be sure to stop back and let me know how it turns out!

Here are some great online resources for creating unit studies:

http://paradisepraises.com/homeschool-unit-studies/

http://www.homeschoolshare.com/

http://www.unitstudies.com/UnitStudies.aspx

http://www.crosswalk.com/family/homeschool/resources/creating-your-own-mini-unit-studies-national-holidays.html

So what can you make a unit study about?

Bonnie-Rose-Hudson-200x200Bonnie Rose Hudson lives in central Pennsylvania. Along with spending time with her family and writing, making kids smile is her favorite thing to do. Her heart’s desire is for every child to feel the love of God and know how special they are to Him. She loves creating curriculum and working for SchoolhouseTeachers.com, the curriculum arm of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, as the site’s executive editor. At TOS, she found a place where her love of God and history combine with her love of writing to bring encouraging, educational, and entertaining material to students and their families. She would love for you to visit WriteBonnieRose.com to discover how you can write for the homeschool market.

Our sad news and regrets…

28623641_sOur Write2Ignite! 2016 conference has been cancelled after many prayers and tears and our many attempts to keep it together for this year. Please read the letter that has been sent out to the people who registered for a more complete explanation:

March 22, 2016

 

Dear Write2Ignite! Conference Registrant,

 

The Team has been looking forward to our April 1-2 conference keynotes and workshops. Despite all the planning for this event, we have received fewer than half of the registrations needed to fund the conference expenses this year. After much prayer and deliberation, as well as an extra publicity push last weekend, the number of new registrations, while encouraging, still falls far short of the minimum required. For this reason, we are regretfully cancelling the W2I! on-site workshop for 2016.

 

Given the current election season and today’s news from Belgium, perhaps our God is calling us to a season of renewed prayer and preparation for the challenges at hand.

 

If you have already sent payment via PayPal or check, your registration fee will be fully refunded. If you have paid for a professional critique, those critiques will still be delivered as promised. Write2Ignite!’s critique service will continue to be offered.

 

We will continue to offer blog posts, helpful links to sources for writers and artists, inspirational materials, and other resources to help build all of us, not only in the craft of writing and illustrating for children and young adults, but in our personal spiritual walk.

 

Our hope is to present one or more webinar workshops this calendar year, with a view to long-range planning for an on-site conference in 2017, and perhaps every other year thereafter. Please check the W2I! website for future announcements and programs.

 

We ask your prayers that we will follow God’s leading as we continue this group, plan, and conduct events to help writers and illustrators grow professionally and publish high-interest and high-quality Christian-themed books and articles for the younger generation.

 

Sincerely,

 

Debbie DeCiantis, Acting Director, for the Write2Ignite! Team

 

Photo copyright: majivecka / 123RF Stock Photo

Five Benefits of Attending a Christian Writer’s Conference

Bloom at a Writer's ConferenceHave you ever considered attending a writer’s conference? Whether you are a first-time attendee, a published author, a presenter, or even the conference director, you will leave blooming with these benefits.

Fellowship – There is nothing like sitting in a room full of like-minded writers. The first time you do so, it may be difficult to comprehend. All of the people around you share your love of putting words onto paper to inspire others. Friends who you meet at a Christian writer’s conferences often become life-long friends, encouragers, prayer partners, and confidantes.

Encouragement – As you hear speakers and chat with other attendees, you will no doubt be encouraged. Others have similar questions and struggles. You will be encouraged to know that you are not alone in your writing pursuit (as it may feel when you are working alone at your computer).

Education – Learning new information about the writing craft, submitting proposals, completing a manuscript, and marketing your book are unique to writer’s conferences. You will no doubt come with questions and leave armed with information to take you to the next step in  your writing.

Affirmation – Writing in the Christian market is so much more than just cranking out words. It is a calling to serve others by putting down words to inspire. It is a calling to be transparent, so that God’s love and grace can shine through you. One of the loveliest parts of a conference, is the affirmation that God is calling you to be used for this purpose.

Challenge – A Christian writer’s conference sends you on your way with a challenge to use what you have learned to follow Christ, humbly and obediently as a writer.

Are you considering attending a writer’s conference this year? What benefits do you look forward to receiving?

Carol