Fun with Fear: Writing Picture Books
by Dr. Mira Reisberg
Some fears can be really helpful in surviving and navigating life. But then there are other kinds of fears that can be adrenaline charging, excitement generating, and just plain fun. And that’s what I’d like to focus on right now. But before I do, I just want to preface this with the fact that part of entertaining kids with children’s books, often although not always, also involves helping them learn about life as these following books to do while tickling their fear and funny bones. This is called adding another layer and is one of my favorite things to teach. But I digress.
All of the following books are written by former students who dared to study with us, and wait for it, one of them will be co-teaching in our upcoming Craft and Business of Writing and Illustrating Picture Books course. So, let’s start:
First up is Stans Frightful Halloween written by brilliant editor and publisher Sandra Sutter. It's a super charming tale about clumsy Stan’s awful accident that stops him from celebrating with his friends as his FOMO (fear of missing out) kicks in big time. Stan tries and tries different things until... most delightfully, Stan learns to overcome his greatest fear of missing Halloween and friendships with a wonderful unexpected twist at the end.
Sandra is a super smart former lawyer and counselor who now runs Gnome Road Publishing’s Little Gnome imprint, a traditional publisher with tons of integrity building their picture book list. Sandra has already published some of our former students and is publishing more. She is especially delighted with the timing of the course as it’s right when she’ll be acquiring for their next season.
Snap up this opportunity and sign up for the course with a full hour in-person critique with Sandra that will knock your socks off. There are only a limited number of these available and do use the case-sensitive PBLove discount code to save $100.00!
Next up is Ana Siqueira’s If Your Babysitter is a Bruja, which does many things including contesting the image of witches as evil ugly women, playing with humor and imagination, and exploring culture and the concept of ambiguity. Full of delightful twists, this book was recently named one of Forbes magazine’s 31 Spooky New Books To Scare You this Fall, among other accolades. We’re thrilled to say that Ana actually worked on this book during our craft and biz of picture books course, which was then acquired by one of our Golden Ticket judges at Simon & Schuster. Hooray!
Then there’s Lynn Marie’s Moldilocks and the Three Scares, which is another hilarious Halloween book that deals with fear in super-fun and pun-filled ways while exploring the underlying themes of being a foster child and adoption. It’s another delightful approach to having fun with fear at Halloween while gently navigating challenging underlying themes.
And of course, we can't forget Jorge and Megan Lacera’s Zombies Don’t Eat Veggies whose main character is ashamed of his love of veggies and fearful of his parent’s disapproval. Absolutely gorgeous with TONS of awards and accolades, Jorge and Megan also worked on this book during our PB course.
Actually, most plot-driven books involve fear of some kind or another as the main character is often “tested” on their plot-driven journey throughout the story. Kuda’s fear of change in Rock and Roll Woods, Scarlet’s fear of not being able to paint without her magic paintbrush in Scarlet’s Magic Paint Brush, Roger’s fear of falling and loss in How I Learned to Fall Out of Trees by Vincent X. Kirsch.
Finally, check out major, major award winner, Donna Barba Higuera’s award-winning El Cucuy Is Scared, Too! This book was created during our course as a direct response to one of our picture book course prompts about remembering a childhood fear and how you overcame it. Donna took a wonderful soulful approach by writing about a little boy and his monster both facing their fears together and the rest is history.
We want to launch your career or elevate it if you’re struggling in anyway. We actually want to hear about your individual struggles so that we can address them and help make your work much more wonderful and publishable. There are only 8 more days until the $100 discounts expire and I’m opening up my own critiques for only $150 extra but there’s only a limited number available. Also, the scholarships are ending in just 6 days! WOW! Please help spread the word!
Here are some more options if you want to join the magic and start some of those fantastic bonuses today!
The course with all of it's individual feedback, over 30 lessons, editor, agent and art director access and submission opportunities, optional critique groups, step-by-step worksheets, beginning and higher-level learning, and so much more - only $597 with our time and case-sensitive PBLove promo code. And don't worry, we also have payment plans. Here's the magic link!
Click here for everything above plus an extraordinary critique with Barefoot Books Senior Editor and Art Director Lisa Rosinsky who loves publishing our students. This live one-hour, in-person critique is like gold! Only $150 extra with nifty payment plans. Don't forget to save $100 with the time- and case-sensitive PBLove code.
Helen H. Wu is amazingly sharp and will help propel your work forward in innovative ways. Let this award-winning Yeehoo Press publisher and author/illustrator help you with your story or art for future publishing success. This is only $150 extra and also comes with nifty payment plans. Just click here and don't forget the code: PBLove
Brilliant Kaitlyn Sanchez has just moved to Bradford Literary Agency where she's building her PB list. And she LOVES our students because we train you so well! Grab a one-hour critique with her and see make some magic together. Only $150 extra with nifty payment plans. Don't forget to save $100 with the time- and case-sensitive PBLove code.
And then there's little old me. My awesome students have published a lot of award-winning and best selling books and I can't wait to hit 1000 (coming soon, hopefully with your books)! I LOVE doing critiques so do grab one while you can. Only $150 extra with nifty payment plans. Don't forget that time- and case-sensitive PBLove code. Just click here for that.
Let’s face it - whether you’re just getting started with your first book or desire; you’re well on your way to publication; or you’ve won awards but want to refresh your skills or tap into new markets, it can be scary!
Luckily, The Children’s Book Academy is here for you. With almost a THOUSAND (yes, 1,000) success stories from our students who have achieved the dream we share of publishing great books to help and/or entertain kids – we really can inspire that first draft, or revise an existing story, AND connect you with agents, editors, and art directors who may be looking for what only you can create. If you’re having fears around this, we encourage you to grab your little monster imagination, join us, have a ton of fun, and hopefully win some awards!
Sending much love, Mira and the CBA gang xoxox
P.S. With over 30 years of working in the kidlit industry, a PhD in the subject, and a fabulous track record of student successes (plus a few of my own), I want to help as many people I can before switching gears to something easier. I'd love you to join me while I'm still doing this.
11/18/2022 04:39:44 am
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2/10/2023 02:54:00 am
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3/1/2023 04:35:26 am
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We are so excited to be mixing things up at CBA, beginning with some delicious additions to the Blogfish. Meet our awesome bloggers!!
Here's our lineup:
1st Mondays begin with awesome multi-published former student Shirin Shamsi who will be focusing on Muslim and cultural kidlit.
2nd Mondays will feature super smart Melissa Stoller whose career is taking off with several new books.
3rd Mondays will feature Bryan Patrick Avery, published writer, man of mystery, and professional magician among other things.
4th Mondays will feature STEM, STEAM & SEL obsessed author Kourtney LaFavre sharing delightfully dorky, quirky, and fun info.
And 5th Mondays we'll be taking a break