Books about Writing

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Rotten Reviews and Rejections edited by Bill Henderson and Andre Bernard 
How can you not feel better about rejection when you read what was said about well-known authors and their work? For example, Lord Byron might want to take back his comment, “Shakespeare’s name, you may depend on it, stands absurdly too high and will go down. He had no invention as to stories, none whatever. He took all his plots from old novels, and threw their stories into a dramatic shape, at as little expense of thought as you or I could turn his plays back into prose tales.”
 
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

This perennial favorite has some writers reading it annually. I don’t read it quite that often but it’s about time to read it again, both for the instruction and the sheer enjoyment.

It’s a Bunny-Eat-Bunny World by Olga Litowinsky
Published in 2001 for children’s writers, some of the business part is a bit dated, but this is an excellent resource for basics in children’s writing. 

Snoopy’s Guide to the Writing Life edited by Barnaby Conrad and Monte Schutz
Snoopy experiences all the frustration and angst to entertain a working writer sprinkled with wisdom from such writers as Ray Bradbury, Fannie Flagg, Julia Child, and others, giving fun and inspiration in one volume.

On Writing by Stephen King
This is the only Stephen King book I read, but it’s worth reading again and again. In spite of his huge success as a writer, he has not forgotten the lean days and hard times of starting out so the book becomes both encouraging and informative.

Two books covering the basics of any kind of good writing:

1. On Writing Well by William Zinsser
My copy is a fifth edition with a note on the cover that more than 700,000 copies have been sold. This book continues to be in print in even newer updated editions with a thirtieth anniversary edition out and estimates of more than one and a half million sold. 

2. The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E. B. White
Yes, that’s the E. B. White of Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little adding the style section to his professor William Strunk’s basic grammar. I keep this within my hand’s grasp since it is so practical and accessible. 


Websites

Click the titles below to learn more.

Children's Book Council
This site has good basic information about writing for children and discussions of current issues in the children’s book world.  

Children's Books: The Purple Crayon by Harold Underdown
His website alludes to The Purple Crayon which he did not write but loved and since his name is Harold, he thinks it fits. This site covers practically everything one might want to know about writing for children and is kept current with changes in the publishing business. 

Literary Rambles
This site has detailed information about kidlit agents.

Editorial Anonymous
This blog was written by an anonymous editor who no longer writes new material. However, the archives are worth your attention. One blog every writer needs to see is under the label: The Kitchen Full of Slush and is the March 30, 2007 entry titled “The Biggest Mistake Would-be Writers Make.” 


Magazines

The following magazines are for writers in general with only occasional articles specific to writing for children or young adults. The information they share is good for any writer. Each of them also has a website that is constantly changing with useful ideas and information. 

Click the titles below to learn more.

The Writer

Writer’s Digest

Poets and Writers


Events and Special Organizations 

I attend any event possible that will have author presentations, including book signings. Listening to other writers’ journeys feeds both my knowledge base and my spirit.

Click the titles below to learn more.

Kaigler Children’s Book Festival
A children’s book writer receives a medallion at this event each year for his or her body of work that has made a significant contribution to children’s literature. Well-known writers speak at multiple sessions, workshops abound, and the Ezra Jack Keats New Writer and New Illustrator Awards are presented. 

SCBWI Events
Some information on this Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators site is available to non-members, but much is limited to members. Membership is well worth the cost and will get discounted prices for the many regional and national conferences. Joining information is on the site.

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De Grummond Children’s Literature Collection 
This archive treasure of more than 160,000 volumes dating from 1530 to the present with original manuscripts and illustrations from more than 1,300 children’s book authors and illustrators. Collection highlights include the works of H. A. and Margret Rey and of Ezra Jack Keats. 

Ezra Jack Keats Foundation
This site emphasizes our diverse population by focusing on the life and work of Ezra Jack Keats, current EJK New Writer and New Illustrator Award Winners, and reading helps and grants to teachers and children’s book promoters. 

Highlights Foundation 
In a rural setting, Highlights Foundation runs workshops on every genre and aspect of writing for children with experts in the field along with “unworkshops” for those who just need a quiet cabin and alone time to work. Their price includes all transportation to and from airports, comfortable sleeping arrangements, and delicious food. 


Blogs

Click the titles below to view the blog.

Cynsations
Cynthia seems to know every writer and every book and keeps her readers informed with what is happening in children’s publishing. She also graciously gives space on this blog to other writers who give different slants on the process.

Read Roger
The comments on all aspects of children’s and young adult’s books by Roger Sutton, editor of the Horn Book Magazine, provide reviews, cover issues, and give new book recommendations.

Evelyn Christensen
This is the definitive site for children’s magazines. Evelyn keeps current on submissions guidelines, which ones have closed, and informational articles useful for writing for this market.