Saturday, June 27, 2015
Overview Chapter Books and Early Readers: Part Three: Subject Material
Workshop: An Introduction to Writing for Children and Young Adults
For this age group in particular the subject matter is timeless in that it always connects to the child’s heart, mind, soul, and experience. As you can see from the examples from last week, the situations can be presented in fantasy, historical, or contemporary, but each story needs to reach the heart.
Curiosity, adventure, and relationships, are key ingredients to this age. And for non-fiction authors their presentation may be the very first time a child has even heard of an animal or musical instrument or geography. Writers for this age category have both the ability and the responsibility to nugget truth to new readers without overwhelming them.
The subject matter is also timeless in that despite eras and technology, there is a growing season common to all children. When authors can tap into that stream their books are timeless. Below I’ve listed a few that children today are still attached to. Adults have been known to choke up at the Little Bear series as it touches all generations. Note how many years some have been in print. They last and meet each new generation because they connect. Note again the broad variety of subjects.
Early Readers Samples
Coerr, Eleanor. Chang’s Paper Pony, 1988.
Evans, Eva Knox. Sleepy Time. 1962.
Laurence, Daniel. Captain and Matey Set Sail. New York: HarperCollins, 2001.
Levinson, Nancy Smiler. Snowshoe Thompson. New York: HarperCollins, 1992.
Lobel, Arnold. Mouse Tales. 1977.
Minarik, Else Holmelund. Little Bear. 1957.
Osborne, Mary Pope. Day of the Dragon King. New York: Random House, 1998.
Osborne, Mary Pope. Vacation Under the Volcano. New York: Random House, 1998
Rylant, Cynthia. Mr. Putter and Tabby Pour the Tea. 1994.
Sandin, Joan. The Long Way. 1989.
1. Time for another library visit, as you did for picture books, and pick out a random number of early readers. What do you notice about the titles and first lines that draw attention to potential readers?
2. Read at least two or three in each category of fiction and non-fiction. What differences do you notice in presentation both verbally and visually?
3. Be sure to include Little Bear if you are not familiar with it. Note the difference in language with the contemporary readers and yet the timeless heart connection to every reader.
4. Again, choose one category that interests you the most and find five or six books to take home for study over the next few weeks. Make a mini chart and note the similarities and differences among them.
Share: What stories in this category have you shared, or will share, with your own children in your life because of the heart content?
Read deep, marcy