IT’S ALL ABOUT DEDICATIONS!
by Melissa Stoller
Today, it’s ALL ABOUT BOOK DEDICATIONS!
The dedication says so much in a few short words. As you craft your dedication, reflect on what you’re trying to accomplish. Do you wish to thank someone, serve as inspiration, or allude to a theme in the book? The categories often overlap, so maybe you can do all three!
A book dedication often serves as a thank you to family and friends or anyone who helped the author along the way. In my chapter book, The Enchanted Snow Globe Collection: Return to Coney Island, I thank my grandparents, because “If they had not met on a trolley in Coney Island, I would not have written this book.” In ISH, Peter H. Reynolds dedicates to “my art teacher, who dared me to draw for myself and find my voice.” And Dashka Slater dedicates The Antlered Ship, “For my fellow voyagers....”
The dedication can offer a message of inspiration. In Vincent Can’t Sleep, author Barb Rosenstock dedicates her book “For those who know darkness and still look for light.” Drew Daywalt dedicates The Day the Crayons Came Home to his parents, “who taught me to always make room for everyone.” And Barbara DiLorenzo dedicates Renato and the Lion to her son, “who showed me that with a little bit of magic, stone lions come alive.”
And the dedication can highlight the theme or an element of the book. For example, my dedication reminded my children to “always make things happen.” This is one of my favorite sayings and also an important point in my story. My illustrator Callie Metler-Smith used her dedication to say to her children, “May you always find the magic in everything,” which alludes to the magic in the story and also in life. In Let Me Finish by Minh Le, illustrated by Isabel Roxas, the illustrator dedicates her work “For all the voracious readers of the world who believe that to love a book is to share it. And to those who love them anyway.” This clever dedication references the book’s plotline of characters sharing the ending of the book.
Finally, one other area that the dedication can venture into is the inside joke. In Dragons Love Tacos, Adam Rubin wrote “To my loving sister Bruce: smart, beautiful, and full of laughter. And in the sequel, Dragons Love Tacos 2, he wrote: “To my loving sister, Bryce. So sorry about the typo in the first book. Thanks for understanding. You’re the beast sister!”
So, spend some time brainstorming and crafting your dedication. Go to libraries and bookstores to read dedications in several areas: by authors you admire, in new KidLit books, and in your writing genres. And when your book is published, make sure you give a signed copy to the person or people who meant enough to you to be included in your dedication.
Melissa Stoller is the author of the debut chapter book THE ENCHANTED SNOW GLOBE COLLECTION: RETURN TO CONEY ISLAND (Clear Fork Publishing, August 2017); the debut picture book SCARLET’S MAGIC PAINTBRUSH (Clear Fork, 2018); THE ENCHANTED SNOW GLOBE COLLECTION: THE LIBERTY BELL TRAIN RIDE (Clear Fork, 2018); and READY, SET, GORILLA! (Clear Fork, 2018). She is also the co-author of THE PARENT-CHILD BOOK CLUB: CONNECTING WITH YOUR KIDS THROUGH READING (HorizonLine Publishing, 2009). Melissa is an Assistant for Mira Reisberg’s Children’s Book Academy, a Regional Ambassador for The Chapter Book Challenge, an Admin for The Debut Picture Book Study Group, and a volunteer with SCBWI-MetroNY. Melissa writes parenting articles, and has worked as a lawyer, legal writing instructor, and early childhood educator. She lives in New York City with her husband, three daughters, and one puppy. When not writing or reading, she can be found exploring NYC with family and friends, traveling, and adding treasures to her collections.
Follow Melissa online at
Melissa_Stoller (Instagram and Pinterest).
1/8/2018 11:12:31 pm
I wrote my first dedication and when a librarian friend read it she cried, "No! You can't write that! I love reading the dedications in books to my students!" So I rewrote it and received her approval. Wish I had read Melissa's blurb first. It would have sparked more creativity and ideas. Melissa included a terrific assortment of examples that got me thinking of future dedications. Thanks!
1/22/2018 03:55:30 pm
I'm so glad you found the dedication post helpful, Elspeth! I always read the dedication to a book first...it can really set the tone for the book! Thanks for stopping by...and good luck with your first dedication!
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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