Writing and Illustrating Children’s Books

The Encyclopaedia of Writing and Illustrating Children’s Books by Desdemona McCannon, Sue Thornton and Yadzia Williams (ISBN: 9781741755152) gives a comprehensive insight into everything an aspiring children’s writer, and particularly illustrator, would want to know. The layout of the book is attractive with many colourful examples and plenty of tip boxes filled with interesting and informative snippets. As a text editor, I found the advice on writing, particularly when it came to point of view, somewhat contradictory and perhaps a bit thin in some areas, but considering the scope of the book and the vast amount of knowledge crammed into one volume, the authors have actually pulled off an amazing achievement.

 In this book you’ll find out how to come up with an idea, how to develop that idea, how to lay out a storyboard and even how to construct a dummy book, complete with pop-outs. The narrative covers fiction and non-fiction and explores writing for toddlers as well as older children, though the focus is probably more geared to younger children who would gain most benefit from illustrated, full-colour books.

 Once you’ve gone through all the useful exercises in the book and have your dummy copy, the authors guide you on your journey towards securing a commission and explain the ins and outs of copyright and licensing.

 I found that I couldn’t wait to get started on drawing up a storyboard, writing the text and making my own book. If nothing else, you will have a wonderful handmade book to show to your children or grandchildren.

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