Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Tips and Trends for Picture Book Biographies

By Barb Rosenstock 


Want to know the secret to creating a picture book biography that will be published? 

So do I. After a decade writing picture book biographies, I’m not sure there’s any such thing. Instead, there are trends and tips you may consider; actions you may take to increase your chances of publication. Here are three current trends I’ve noticed for PB bios, followed by a tip and an action for each. Let’s get the scariest trend out of the way.

Trend #1:  Publishers are not buying picture book biographies.

I’d love to tell you that this is totally false. Unfortunately, I can’t. The past decade has been a “golden age” of picture book biographies. Writers found this genre in need of an update, publishers snapped them up, and phenomenal illustrators brought them to life. Some of these PB bios won awards and sold well to the public. However, most are targeted to a school and library market which is unstable right now. Many publishers consider PB bios “overbought.” In practical terms, that means that even when an editor loves your manuscript, they’re still going to have a hard time getting it through acquisitions just because it’s a PB bio.

Tip: Don’t despair, take the “hard sell” as a challenge. Ask yourself—

Can kids relate to your topic and does it tie in to school curriculum? Did you carry out in-depth primary research or can you provide unique knowledge? Is your manuscript written in scenes that focus on action? Is it fun? Is it detailed? Is it meaningful? Are you willing to revise until all these answers are a yes?

Then, of course, your PB bio can still be published! But it has to stand out as something special like  The Oldest Student by Rita Lorraine Hubbard, my favorite PB bio of 2020.

Action: It’s time to experiment with other genres. Publishing is cyclical, PB bios will come back around; but we work in the business of children’s publishing. Riding the waves of that business works to your benefit. PB bios are my first love, and I’m lucky to have upcoming titles under contract. But I’ve also contracted other nonfiction and am writing a middle grade proposal. Are there ways you could change your bio manuscript or refocus your research toward another genre?  

Also, as someone who’s interested in PB bios, you may want to help promote their reach in the classroom. Visit the new CLA-sponsored website thebiographyclearinghouse.org, sign up if you’re interested, and spread the word about this helpful resource to the classroom teachers you know.


Trend #2: Publishers are seeking stories of under-represented individuals.

Thank goodness. Publishing is finally (like many of us) realizing the impoverished perspective of focusing on mostly white, male, heterosexual people from western cultures. A current, worthy goal is to expand children’s literature, PB bios included, to be more representative of real children and their families.

Tip: Seek subjects whose stories have been ignored. We need more PB bios of women, people of color, and lives that are non-U.S. centered, among others. Please be certain you’re able to tell your subject’s story from a place of authenticity. If you haven’t experienced many (or any) of the same life challenges, if you are not of the same background or do not have express permission from the subject’s family or cultural institutions to tell that story; I urge you to reconsider. Sharing someone’s life in a book is a great responsibility; make sure you’re worthy of it.

Action: Keep a notebook of your family stories and memories. Learn as much as you can about your own cultural history and heritage. Which people, places or stories have been overlooked?  Make a list of your expertise. Are you a potter? A flight instructor? A hockey fan? The spark for a PB bio does not always come from the outside in; it can come from the inside out through personal experiences or interests. 

 

Trend #3: PB Bios of Contemporary Lives and Contemporary Topics

Those of us who write biography tend to have a thing for the past. But historical subjects, OK, dead people, are not the only ones deserving of a PB bio. Plenty of living people (including children) have accomplished amazing things. Current news stories, as well as science, technology and other STEM topics are overlooked in the PB bio realm.

Tip: Stay informed on current news. Look forward instead of backward. Who is making history now? What are today’s kids interested in? What traits do they desire? What inventions do they use? Who created the games or activities they love?

Should you choose (like me!) to still at times write about old, dead people, make room in your manuscript for young, living readers. “This person was important” is not a theme. So what? Every person is important! In particular, the child reading your book is important. So what benefit is that book providing them? Why should they care? How are you connecting past events to their current reality? A great PB bio runs on actions and feelings. Kids run on actions and feelings. When we pair the right bio with the right kid, magic happens.

Action: Start a practice to spend consistent time listening to children. Ask questions about what they’re watching, reading, and doing. What do they worry about? What excites them? Try to get a sense for what it’s like to grow up in 2021. We can’t expect kids to be curious about our work, if we’re not as curious about their lives as the lives of our biography subjects.

So, maybe there is a secret to writing a successful picture book biography after all. It’s allowing your life story, your memories, skills, interests, faults, failures and feelings, and those of children you know, to inform your writing. Know the trends, but write for children from your own curious heart.
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Barb Rosenstock is the author of the Caldecott Honor title, The Noisy Paint Box, illustrated by Mary Grandpré and the SCBWI Golden Kite title, Otis and Will Discover the Deep, illustrated by Katherine Roy, plus many more picture book biographies.  Barb loves to share her love of stories through school visits, conferences and working with pre-published writers. She is a founding member of The Biography Clearinghouse and lives near Chicago with her family. Mornings with Monet,  illustrated by Mary Grandpré, will be released by Knopf in March. For more, visit www.barbrosenstock.com.
 
 

 

ABOUT THE PRIZE

Barb Rosenstock will provide one written critique of a randomly selected PB biography manuscript, no longer than 1,000 words or 5 pages, 12 pt. type, double spaced, 1-inch margins.(Deadline for submission is Jan. 1, 2022). If you could benefit from a PB biography critique, simply comment below. Winner for this prize will be randomly selected from comments.

210 comments:

  1. Barb, thank you for this Frank discussion on picture book biographies. I submitted one yesterday and have my fingers crossed.

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  2. Your books have been a joy and inspiration to me, Barb. Thank you for this thoughtful, helpful look at PB bios going forward. P.S. I also love The Oldest Student!

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  3. Thanks for your suggestions. I especially like the thought: "Know the trends, but write for children from your own curious heart."

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    1. and make sure that curiosity shines through, Jessica!

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  4. Thanks for this post, Barb! I love the reminder to keep our nonfiction focused on "action and feelings" in order to connect with our readers!

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    1. OK really, action and action and more action, with a touch of feeling, Callie! Glad it helped.

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  5. As a fellow PB Bio lover, I really appreciated this post!!! And am crossing my fingers for a critique!

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    1. We shall see... If you don't win it, I will read for hire on occasion too when schedule permits. But let's assume you're winning :)

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  6. What a fabulous, honest, helpful post! I spent the weekend sorting through family history with my mother, and this post came at just the right time.

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    1. Yes! USE YOUR FAMILY STORIES! Somehow, someway, they bring us close to the emotional truth of topics.

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  7. Biographies have been one of my life's joys since I discovered them in 5th grade, so I write/research many of them. I'm really excited about today's topic!

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    1. Yep, Lisa, my tiny Catholic elementary school library was full of old (probably bad by today's standards) biographies, and I devoured them anyway! Write what you love to read!

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  8. Thank you for your excellent tip about focusing on contemporary lives and confirming that those who are "making history now" are important persons of interest. Thanks also for the link to Biography Clearinghouse. Congratulations on your work that makes resources available to teachers and on your new book, Morning with Monet.

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    1. Lori, if you're a teacher, I hope you use and get involved with The Biography Clearinghouse. It's just starting but will develop into an amazing classroom resource.

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  9. Thanks for this useful information, Barb. I have many hours of Ancesty research that has unearthed a thousand stories I never knew existed. My family's heritage is complicated and messy across several European cultures that killed each other over land and religion there and continued that here. Ouch. I have a lot to think about.

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  10. I love the suggestion to write about the living! I wasn't sure that was even a thing! And also to think about people who live outside of the US. That definitely broadens our scope immensely.

    Right now I am focusing on a beach mouse (as well as a fictional story), but I cannot wait to explore other options when I finish.

    Thank you for sharing your insights!

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    1. It's a thing, Colleen, and a popular "thing" at that!

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  11. You are so right about listening to our kids today, their interests, concerns, needs and activities and finding a tie in to the past and future for them. Thank you for your terrific post Barb Rosenstock. Family stories, yes, connections and sparks of light!

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  12. Your idea of making it relevant to a child has meaning for me, and I'm now looking at a major revision.

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    1. It ALWAYS must be child relevant Marilyn, all of us grownups forget that off and on. Revision luck to you!

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  13. "How are you connecting past events to their current reality?" is a great question when writing for kids, no matter the current trend(s). Thanks for a great post!

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  14. Great article! Your insights are so helpful! I've been using advice I got from you from the SCBWI IL Interactive conference in November to research & study PB bios and to help add spark to my current manuscript. I would LOVE the chance to have a critique from you! Thank you for your insightful thoughts on writing!

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    1. Glad the conference was helpful too. I wouldn't be a writer at all if it wasn't for other writers helping me along...that's how this is done.

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  16. Thanks for your honesty and clarity. Great tips on how to use research you may already have collected even if PB bios aren't the hottest thing right now.

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    1. The genre may not be "hot" but if you're writing is, it can still sell!

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  17. Thanks, Barb! I love your actionable advice. I have a biography manuscript that is close to my heart and you've given me new hope about placing it.

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  18. Wow! Great information that is a game changer for me!

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    1. Great, glad that it helped spark some ideas.

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  19. Wow! Thank you for a post packed with current trends and really practical advice! I have worked on a PB Bio manuscript for years but really don't think it is currently marketable. Experimenting with other genres is the action I need to take and your suggestion to "change your bio manuscript or refocus your research toward another genre" is probably what I need to do. Meanwhile I'm thinking of mixing genres (PB bio with a twist) and wonder what you think of that?

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    1. Depends on the "twist"...but experimentation is always good.

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  20. Thanks for this post, Barbara. I'm still in love with(and writing) PB biographies but I get what you're saying-keep up with the times, the trends. Great advice.

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    1. So am I Mona, so am I...we just have to make sure ours are really, really good so they get sold.

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  21. Excellent opening hook Barbara!! And great points for all of us to keep in mind, especially telling stories about living people.

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    1. Ha! And I always say I "hate" hooks! Just goes to show you...

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  22. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on NF bios. I'm working on one right now and am still searching for the right angle.

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    1. Can I say something here Pat? Even though I don't know you. Don't think of it as an "angle." What about the story truly drew you emotionally from the start? You are not imposing "an angle" from the outside, you are uncovering a theme from the inside. This was (and hooks!) were so confusing to me when I first started out. You will get there!

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  23. It is good see that PB biographies have changed to highlighting under-represented people from the past and present. I have one on an individual that should interest children because it is related to an event that kids are aware of happening every year. Thank you for your comments.

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  24. Barb, Love your books. So looking forward to Mornings with Monet. I have written one PB bio. Would love a critique! Thanks for taking the time to post.

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  25. I got to meet this fabulous author at a summer WOW retreat and she did a critique of an early draft of a biography. She was stern, but gave me so many good suggestions for revision and I am on #20 at present. I will never forget her words, "It's 100% marketable, but not in the rambling, too-long version you have now."

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    1. Oh Sherri, I'm sometimes too terribly honest. SO glad to hear from you and thrilled you are working with all of us on a biography manuscript!

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  26. Barb, You are going to have a lot of people with crossed fingers for your critique! That you for this inspiring post. I loved your statement - "A great PB bio runs on actions and feelings. Kids run on actions and feelings. When we pair the right bio with the right kid, magic happens." That really hit home with one I've been trying to figure out. Thank you. And I can't wait to read Mornings with Monet.

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    1. I'm so glad to see so many people reaching out to have their manuscript read, brave folks!

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  27. I really appreciated your post, especially the part about creating PB Bios of contemporary individuals.

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  28. Your love of kids and kidlit shines through, no wonder we enjoy your books so much. THanks for the insight and optimism

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  29. Thank you for your insight. I have a biography that I recently queried without any luck so far, so I appreciate your thoughts. I will put them to good use revising my story. :)

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  30. Thanks for providing some encouragement that the world of PB bios isn't dead (even if most of the people in them are!) :) Great tips and action items to find connection to our own lives and those of children today. I am working on a PB biography of a lesser-known young civil rights heroine, though it is now historical fiction and not NF, but if that still qualifies it for the critique, I'd love to be considered. Thanks for the opportunity!

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    2. I removed the comment because I was rambling Traci! Personally, I love historical fiction, though we can't really call it biography. If anyone knows what we should call it, let me know! Anyone who responds is eligible, I just don't read long form kid lit, because I can't write it, let alone critique it!

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    3. Thank you! Yes, mine is a picture book, so not long form kid lit! :)

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  31. Thank you for your frank, yet encouraging post on PB biographies, Barb. I have been working on a PB biography inspired by my own childhood interests. Your tips will help me revisit it with a 2021 focus.

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    1. It's not that they can't sell, Jill, it's that they need to be even better than ever! Onward!

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  32. Barb, I appreciate your sharing your writing insights and knowledge of the market. And I’m looking forward to reading Mornings with Monet—I worked at the Art Institute for several years.

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    1. The AIC WAS my research home for this book. What department were you in? I can't WAIT for you to read the book and please tell me what you think!

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    2. Actually, I worked at the Art Institute all through high school and college. I worked for special exhibits (like Monet) selling art catalogues and providing information about the artist and the exhibit. I also worked in the gift shop. It was a wonderful place to work, at least at that time. Being in that environment inspired me to study (language,literature,art history)in France (the Impressionists were my favorite).

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  33. Thank you for this insightful post. I have a PB bio on John Otto, the founder of the Colorado National Monument. I always appreciate another set of eyes.

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  34. Thanks for this helpful post. I'm looking forward to the Monet book.

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    1. thank you, I hope you love it, it's all about art and work and work and art.

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  35. Thank you for a post packed with current trends and practical advice! I read all your published books and loved them all. Each is a gem in its own way! Looking forward to reading your Monet book.

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  36. As someone who fell into this business with a PB bio, I'm glad to hear this advice! My hope is that my future books will be seen as important stories as much as bios. But I need to take your suggestions to heart ...

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    1. I fell in to this too Julia, isn’t it great to keep learning?

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  38. Wow, I had a hunch that bio market may have been saturated. So thanks for sharing tips to navigate this!

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  39. Barb, thank you for sharing your insights into writing PB bios. Your trends and tips are priceless! I look forward to reading MORNINGS WITH MONET. He's one of my favorite artists.

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  40. Thank you for this reminder: We can’t expect kids to be curious about our work, if we’re not as curious about their lives as the lives of our biography subjects.
    That’s such an important aspect.

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  41. Thanks for your thoughts on writing PB bios, Barb. I love your books, and am currently researching for a PB bio, so your post is timely.

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  42. So many great tips I need to remember! I love your beautiful books!

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  44. Love your opening question and response. Sums up you and your work well: engaging, heart-felt, and honest. Thank you for the encouraging words as I write a PB bio about a should-be-famous dead woman who has a lot to say about our future.

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  45. Thanks for a great post. I'm not giving up on my PB bio--I'm passionate about my subject and want the world to know about her. I'm also pursuing another biography subject but considering a different genre.

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  46. Thank you so much. I finished revising a picture book biography recently and I'm researching other possibilities. You have giving me a lot to think about.

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  47. thanks, Barb, for this informative and honest post.

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    1. You are welcome, thanks for reading!

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  48. Thanks, Barb, for putting the trends into perspective and adding context from your experiences.

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    1. Thanks for reading Sue, no ones an expert we just all keep learning.

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  49. Thank you for the truth even though it's very discouraging for the white female author who wants to publish. I love Picture book biographies and used them extensively as a teacher. It's always sad that children's literature is driven by the money to be made by publishers. Is this why so many authors are turning to Indie publishing?

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    1. Tonya, Factually, being white has nothing to do with NOT being published. In fact, white people are published at greater rates than people of color, period. To start, I guide you to this video on the scarcity myth from Linda Sue Park at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zzmDmMox04A&feature=youtu.be. Yes, children's literature is a business which means the creative work (of writers of any color/religion/culture) has to be up to the standards of that business in order for publishers to take a financial risk on it. I don't find that sad, I find it operating more like a quality control measure. Even those of us who have been published repeatedly still get rejected and learn to know that it's honestly the quality of that manuscript that is at issue. You must be able to look at your own writing and revise it until it's good enough or scrap it to write something else. And that can mean years of rejections which I realize is very hard. It's because of the high rejection rates, and the ease of self-publishing (indie publishing) that some people turn to that method. If you do, know that you are taking on all sales, marketing, award application, and distribution responsibilities which is quite a huge hill to climb. There are fewer self-publishing success stories. Either way authoring is hard work, you have to know what it is you are looking for, and the more educated you are about the business, the better.

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    1. Aww, shucks, ma'am, and your light shines pretty bright itself!

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  51. Thanks for this perspective on what is selling for PB bios now. I have something on sub and while I have my fingers crossed, these tips help me look ahead to see where I might go next.

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  52. Great points. Thanks for the inspiration and perspective, especially during a time when the PB bio market is so saturated. But there's always room for poignant stories!

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    1. Always room! Looking forward to "talking" with you soon!

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  53. I am taking a picture book biography course right now, and your post answers many questions and is extremely pertinent. I appreciate your sharing your insights and knowledge.

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  54. I appreciate your honest advice on the current market for PB biography. For five years, I have researched and rewritten the biography of an inspiring person. Your tips, trends, and actions give me insight into a re-vision for children today. Thank you.

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    1. Yes Melanie, it's about what you're interested in but also about what READERS will be interested in.

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  55. I'd love to be considered for the giveaway. Thank you for your inspiring article and advice. I'm currently working on a PB bio and your words have cranked my enthusiasm up another notch!

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  56. So much great advice and encouragement. Thank you.

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  57. Thank you for sharing. I'm thankful to know bios have flooded the market and are not selling well, but I'm somewhat disappointed because I have ideas for NF bios. This article encourages me to find a different slant/purpose for writing about my topic.

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    1. Always room for a PB bio it just has to be written thoughtful and with the current themes.

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  58. Thanks a ton for the insightful post, Barb! I like the tone of the article. There is hope at the end of the tunnel.

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  59. Thank you for the insights. This would be great.

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  60. I love PB biographies, and like you, think there is hope. You've certainly given us hope and the tips and tricks to ensure our biographies stand a better chance of being acquired. Thanks for all this helpful info!

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  61. Hi Barb, thanks for this wonderful post. I'm wondering where I could find a list of the other genres/ types of narrative nonfiction picture books? Is there an official category for books about a historical event, for instance?
    I have a manuscript that's biographical but also about an important historical event. I'm not sure how I should classify it.
    I'd also love to be considered for the critique.
    Thanks!

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    1. As far as I know there are no "official" categories of anything. Many biographies are about historical events too, it's just a matter of how the story is focused. Right now, I'd focus more on the event if possible. Good luck!

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  62. This was exactly what I needed! Thank you, Barb!

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  63. Thanks for telling us that pb bios are over-published at the moment. That is true, yet people love them. Agents/editors are still talking about them at workshops, and many of us are still writing them. We really needed to hear this! I fell in love with my subject and think there's a book in her, am currently looking for a more creative way to tell her story.

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    1. Everyone is still talking about them because they are FABULOUS pieces of literature. What is needed is for people to talk more about how to USE them in classrooms (beyond "it's biography month") That, in my opinion, is part of what's "holding biography back."

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  64. Thanks so much for your incite. Very helpful.

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  65. Listening to our kids today is the best advice! I am a librarian at an elementary school and I so enjoy getting to see what they check out and I love asking them why they chose a particular book. You'd be surprised at many of the responses I get! True story animal books are a huge draw on my campus. My current manuscript is about a special dog who has played a monumental role when visiting our campus before COVID and also during this pandemic year. He is truly amazing. I would be honored to be considered for a critique!

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    1. Elementary school librarians are my heroes (especially this year!) If you get a chance, please check out The Biography Clearinghouse website, I think you'll find it useful and great to share with staff.

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  66. Thanks for the advice, Barb! I love reading PB bios, and yours are among my favorites. Haven't yet found the person I want to write about--some day!

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  67. Barb, this is a very helpful, thoughtful post with actual tips and pointers that I can use to help me sahpe the pb biography I've been considering writing. Thanks for this great set of guidelines.

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  68. barb,
    i"m still digesting your frank advice about my PB biography at the IL Interactive Conference. experimenting with new structures and to think forward-how will this appeal to the children of tomorrow. I can't wait to spend time with my grandchildren again!
    barb, I would love to win a PbBio critique for a recent MS out on submission.

    Maria Gianferrari- two comments up, i used Coyote Moon as a comp for a new manuscript. I love that book!

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    1. Hi Sue, I guess "frank" should be my middle name :) I hope you're still working, you will get there!

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  69. Great tips, Barb! I especially like the one about spending consistent time listening to children. I mean, we are writing for them after all!

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    1. Right? And we all forget to listen to the kids!

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  70. This was a hugely helpful post, Barb! I find that most of the ideas I'm drawn to are biographies, and appreciate your pieces of advice.

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    1. I appreciate you reading them Angela, keep working!

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  71. Great post. I've always sought out the biographies/memoirs in the library/bookstore. I would be honored to have a critique by you. Thanks for participating.

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  72. Hi Barb, I agree. I've heard several editors say that PB bios are hard to get through acquisitions - especially ones about white males. I'm glad the spotlight is shining more people, from various backgrounds. And I'm looking forward to reading Mornings with Monet. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. I think if you have the right one, or find the right connection to students, anything is possible.

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  73. Love this article!
    I love reading picture book biographies as an adult because I learn so much about American history that I never learned, growing up as a child in another country.

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    1. Those of us who grew up here didn't learn our history accurately either! That's why I like reading PB bios too!

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  74. Thanks for your insights. I've got a PB biography about two artists out on sub right now, and I hope that someone picks it up! But I have other STEM-related nonfiction in the pipeline that are not bios, thankfully.

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  75. This is so inspiring and action-oriented, Barb. Thank you! I have a PB bio out on submission now. I think it has resonance for today's readers and is highlighting an under-represented story. Your post gave me hope!

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  76. Thank you, Barb for an in informative post. I love biographies - even as a child, I knew if the title of the book was someone's name it would be good. As a librarian I told my students "They wouldn't write a book about someone if they hadn't done something interesting or exciting." Loved your book about Kandinsky! I'm looking forward to your new one about Monet.

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    1. Oh I still gravitate to the "people books" too! They can be magical.

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  77. Thanks for your insights snd wisdom on this topic. I find it so exciting to learn about amazing people and the creative, exciting innovative things they have done to get us where we are today in our world. Thanks for fanning this flame!

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  78. Wow, great post! I love your advice about zeroing in on what it's like for a child to grow up in 2021. It seems we are in the midst of constant change which is affecting how children play and interact with each other.

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  79. Thank you, Barb, for sharing tips and trends for biographies.

    I love these two thoughts:
    The right bio + The right kid=Magic
    Since kids run on actions & feelings=Excellent nonfiction picture books should run on actions & feelings.

    Suzy Leopold

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  80. Hi Barb, what an amazing post! And what an honor to read that THE OLDEST STUDENT is your favorite 2020 pb bio. I'm so grateful. :D

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    1. Oh Rita I'm so glad you saw it! IT'S TRUE!!! I just LOVED it.

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  81. Thanks so much for sharing your expertise, Barb! I always enjoy hearing your perspective on the market. Great advice to consider other forms of biography or nonfiction, other genres, or different age readers. Lynn Street

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  82. Thank you for the tips, I recently started compiling information and learning about a fascinating woman and even if it turns out I'm not the right person to tell her story I'm glad to have learned about her.

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  83. That's the best reason to do any of this Katsuke!

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  84. This was so helpful to me and I especially loved the paragraph that says if we want kids to be curious about what we write, we need to be curious about them and what their lives are like!

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    1. If you stick with the kids, your book will go far!

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  85. Thank you for sharing about creating your biographies. Your comments are very helpful and realistic. I agree that it is key to find something today's kids can relate to their own lives. Put my name in the hat for a critique, please.

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  86. I tend to lean more toward historical events than people so maybe there's still room on the library and bookstore shelves for books spotlighting that?

    Thanks for sharing some trends and tips...

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    1. If it's written well, there's always room!

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  87. Narrative non-fiction has been my favorite writing subject. This has been very helpful. Thank you!

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  88. Thanks for sharing this information. Very good tips!

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  89. Barb, thank you for your post. It is very helpful as I'm writing my first pb bio and can definitely relate to the enormous responsibility involved with telling someone's story. Thank you for all of your tips and reminders.

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    1. Sorry, I meant to type my name: It's Morgan! : )

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    2. thanks Morgan, yes UNKNOWN is hard to choose! Good luck on your bio.

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  90. I'll read any pb bio you write, Barb! I loved reading your thoughts and especially those action steps. And thanks for the heads up on the Biography Clearinghouse.

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  91. Excellent tips and insightful trends. My three-year-old grandson is reminding me of things toddlers find intriguing.

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  92. Thanks for reading this, I hope it helps!

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  93. I never thought there was enough PB bios with all the amazing people there are in our world. Thank you for sharing the trends, your tips and actions. I now feel I have new tools to find the path less taken and uncover a hidden treasure to share.

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    1. Yes, Krissy, I, too, have been inspired to work on a memoir project with a focus on the topic of unsung heroes. Oh boy! This is large!

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    2. Krissy, I LOVE the way you are looking at this and you're RIGHT, there are not ENOUGH biographies since kids need to know (and WANT to know) how to live in this world, each of us unique, each of us making a contribution. I'm encouraged by the art form, it's the business that has to catch up! :)

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  94. Thank you for this direct and helpful discussion of the PB bio market, and for encouraging us to dig deep and keep at it. Congrats on your forthcoming book!

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    1. Thanks Claire, and I hope to read a book by you soon!

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  95. As a result of being inspired by an earlier post, Day 13, I compiled a really rough Dummy of a book I've been challenged for some years to write (Dad and Mom memoirs). With this posting, I now have added to the book project a notebook where, as the memory of family stories come back to me, I will be recording them; and who knows, a published work may come out of it! Thanks!

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    1. Priscilla, I'm so glad to hear this! Family stories are sources for GREAT books, and for any teachers reading this, that is true for kids writing too!

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  96. Thank you for sharing the honest stats of the current PB biography market for the suggestions about writing under-represented individuals or contemporary topics. This is very helpful to know since I am just beginning journey into writing a NF PB. I also appreciate the link to the CLA-sponsored website.

    PS- I would love to be considered for your critique prize!

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    1. Consider yourself considered! And everyone was a beginner at some time, good luck!

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  97. Barb, Thank you for this. Writing from my own curious heart is what I feel compelled to do. Thank you for emphasizing that. It's great to know the trends in the market so I can navigate them. When it comes right down to it, the questions in me and the writing about them, are what get me up in the morning.
    Thank you,
    Theresa

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  98. Thank you for sharing your views and tips. I found this post really helpful! I have a manuscript about an artist that fascinates me, so naturally I loved reading The Noisy Paintbox and can't wait to read Mornings With Monet.

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  99. You are so generous to share your expertise! We really value all of this information and the opportunity to receive feedback from you.

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  100. I know I'm late, but I wanted to chime in the picture book biographies are wonderful and it is great that under-represented people are being featured. Years ago I submitted one about a little-known woman naturalist. At the time, the editor said they couldn't market it. Several years later, I saw a biography of the same woman. The market had changed. Thanks for all you do to promote biographies.

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  101. Great post, Barb. I will certainly take your advice on this moving forward. I, too, love writing biographies!

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