GUEST POST from Childwrites.
Firstly I would like to thank Emma Mactaggart and Ainsley Shepherd for sharing their world with us. Here is the post from Childwrites a fantastic Australian company that changes children’s lives through assisting them in writing their own stories. I hope you enjoy the read. If you are thinking about writing a picture book Child Writes: Creating a Children’s Picture Book is Child’s Play step-by-step guide is a handy tool to have in your files, it comes highly recommended by myself, I will use mine over and over every time I start a new picture book. I am discovering it is child’s play and a lot of hard work, yet enjoying the process thanks to this fabulous book guiding me through the steps.
Child Writes is certainly a great example of a ‘overnight success!’ Ten years in the making and founder Emma Mactaggart believe it is just hitting its straps now. ‘We are just about to crack it, I am sure,’ says Emma, talking to the experience of sharing the process of teaching children to write and illustrate their own picture books, before being published by her small press publisher Boogie Books. ‘We have tested the methodology now for 10 years, and have over 250 titles in the Child Writes library. That is 250 picture books written and illustrate by primary school aged children. It is no longer just what I can do in a day, but now what the Child Writes team can achieve. We have a trained Child Writes Tutor currently working with one school in South East Queensland; we have a correspondence program for children available across the country; details about the competition have now been sent to every public primary school in Australia; and we are offering tutor training in October; as well as having developed a suite of products designed to help any aspiring writer. Busy, flat-out, crazy, but we are totally motivated to help people see their words in print, children and adults alike. A program like this can have a huge impact on the interest in literacy in a school, on a individual’s self efficacy and self esteem. Imagine the support from the broader community when they realise you are an author – this is what we tell our students. We are inspired by the results!”
The program is underpinned by the award winning book Child Writes: Creating a Children’s Picture Book is Child’s Play, which is available at all good bookstores and there is tonnes of information about the program and products and the competition on www.childwrites.com.au It guides you, step-by-step (holding your hand!) through the entire process of creating a picture book, from helping with the inspiration for and development of ideas, through all the phases of writing, editing and proofreading; to professional illustration tools which are accessible and manageable for the beginner illustrator. For those who are feeling inspired, there is an entire chapter on marketing the book once it is complete!
“Feedback from amazing author / illustrators like Kath is fuel for us! It just makes us want to get it into the hands of more aspiring writers.” Emma said she had accumulated the information as the Child Writes program evolved, taking into consideration what worked and certainly, what did not! “The process has to be accessible, manageable and do-able. I like to think of the methodology shared in the book as an example of making the book possible. It is by no means exhaustive and if you are lucky enough to be exposed to other methods yourself, draw upon them and include them in what will become your own style or approach to creating a picture book. The thing is about the steps set out though, is even if you followed it studiously, you will have a book at the end. This is how the primary school aged children are managing the task, on top of their normal load of being only nine to 12 years of age! Rather than be intimidated by that achievement, take solace and believe ‘I too can do this!’ There are no more excuses – the world is waiting for your book!”
Please leave us a comment, we love to hear what you are working on or what you think of this post. Thanks for reading.