Note to the Parents
Before I get started with the children I would like to make sure you as the parent knows the guidelines for entering your child in the Young Authors Contest.
The first thing I would like to address, this is your child’s project. I would like to see them complete the project with minimal help from you. You may have to help them spell a word or a few things here and there, I get that. But I want them to feel good about themselves when the project is completed. A sense of accomplishment that they did this on their own.
Every child that completes this project is a winner!
Here are the rules and they must be followed!
- One entry per child.
- Entries are accepted from children up to and including 12 year olds.
- Must be handwritten
- Illustrations can be colored with crayons, color pencils or markers only
- Each book has a cover
- Each book has up to 10 pages for the story
- Each book has an about the author page.
- Form to submit your child’s book is at the bottom of the page. Just snap a picture on your camera and submit it on the form.
- One form per child. More than one child in a family can participate.
This is a project meant to encourage imagination and fun. Please try to keep it fun for your child and stress free.
Let’s get going with the Young Authors Program
Hi, my name is Brenda Anderson and I am an author and an illustrator.
I never dreamed of being an author or an illustrator when I was your age. I liked to draw and I liked to write but it wasn’t my dream until I was older and had grandchildren.
What is an author? An author is a person that writes stories and publishes them for other people to read.
What is an illustrator? An illustrator is a person that draws pictures. The pictures can be used in books. When illustrating the book the illustrator draws pictures that go along with the words in the book. The pictures and the words in the book help people to understand and see the story.
Some authors write chapter books which may only have a few pictures or may not have any pictures at all. When an author writes a chapter books they use words that describe what they are talking about so the reader can see their own picture in their head.
Writing a children’s picture book
We are going to work on writing a children’s picture book. You the author, get to write words that create a story. You as the illustrator get to draw and color pictures that go along with your story.
I live on a farm in Idaho and I love animals. I always dreamed of owning a zoo or living on a farm with lots of horses, goats, and chickens. Well my dream came true. I have all those animals and more.
I watch my animals and take care of them every day. They do some of the funniest things that make me laugh. This is where my stories come from.
To write a story is to write about things you know and dream of. You can use life around you to write your stories or you can use your daydream and imagination to write a story. Writing and illustrating your stories can be so much fun. I really like it when I complete a book and get to sit and read it with my grandchildren and other children. To see my thoughts and my imagination on paper with pictures is really neat.
What does a story need?
A story book needs a few pages. A cover, a title page, if you want a dedication page, the story, about the author.
Here is what we will work on for your story to send to me.
- A cover
- Story pages up to 10
- About the author page
With that in mind let’s talk about each of them.
Starting your book
Cover. A cover is a very important part of your story book. Have you ever gone to the library and looked for a book to read. Have you ever picked a book up and looked at the cover and then set it back down. Why did you put it down? Was it because it didn’t look exciting? Maybe it was dull in colors and looked boring.
This is why your cover is important. If it doesn’t look like something someone would want to read, they probably won’t.
Also as you do your cover, you put a title on it. Your title just like your book needs to sound like something someone would want to read. It also needs to be about your book. You wouldn’t have your title about a fish and your story be about a bird. Do you see what I mean?
Your title and cover needs to make someone want to see what is inside. You want them to be curious about what is inside the book.
Don’t forget to put your name on it as the author and the illustrator.
Story. I love to write the story. I always think about something I would like to write about. (This is a sneak peak of something I am working on, it is about a unicorn.) Once you have what you would like to write about then start thinking of the story. What would that character do, or what could happen in the book?
For me I get a little thought in my mind of what could happen and then I build on it. It is sort of like a puzzle that is so exciting to me. As I think of my book I get excited about what that character could do and how to make it happen.
Write these thoughts down on paper as you think about them. What if? How could? Where? Write all of the things that pop into your head and then you can start putting them together like a puzzle.
Once you have thought about what you would like to write then you can start to write and put it all on paper.
Rescuing Green Bean is based on a true story. I wrote that story 3 times because it just didn’t seem right the first 2 ways I wrote it. The third time I loved it, everything fell in place and it worked. Don’t be afraid to start over if your story isn’t working like you want it to.
After you get your story the way you want it you can start to illustrate. Some of you may want to illustrate it first. I always change my story so much that I illustrate it last.
Writing the story in your book
There are some important things to remember when you are writing your book.
- Your story has a beginning. The beginning is what tells the person reading your book a little about what is going on. Think about the things you would want that person to know so they feel like they were there for the whole story. Where are your characters? What are your characters doing? Who is there with your characters?
- Your story has a middle. This is what is going on. What adventures are your characters taking? What are they doing? Why are they doing it?
- Your story has an ending. I like my endings to be a surprise. Something maybe the reader isn’t expecting. It needs to wrap up all the story and end so your reader isn’t wondering happened. In my story “Rescuing Green Bean” the story has an ending but it left everyone what happened to Green Bean. I did this because there is another book coming out about Green Bean. In my other books there is an ending and it finishes the story because there isn’t a continuation book that goes along with it.
When writing your books make sure you do a beginning of your story, a middle of your story and an ending of your story.
When I am talking to you about this the story is because you have just written a story. It becomes a book when you have put your other pages together with it like the cover and about the author.
Just a little tip to think about when writing your story. Penmanship is very important when you are writing your story. Take your time to write your words and space them apart. This is important. You may have the perfect story but if someone can’t read it they won’t. Take your time and write neatly. Use a scratch piece of paper to write your story and then copy it over if you need to.
Spelling is also important. If someone can’t tell what word you are writing they may not understand your story. So try to spell things right and if you can’t you can always ask an adult and if you need to use a dictionary.
Punctuation as you get older you will learn the importance of.
- A period means the sentence stopped. If you don’t use a period then the sentences bump into each other.
- A question mark lets the person reading your story know that the character is asking a question. Can you see why this would matter?
- It is really scary if you forget this! An exclamation point lets the reader know you really mean it. That maybe you hollered something or that you want them to take notice of what you said.
- ” ” Exclamation marks go around something your character says. This helps the reader know what the character said.
- An a comma, means you take a breath or a break in what you are saying or you pause in the sentence. It is also used if you are listing things in a sentence.
Most of you may not have learned a lot about punctuation yet and that is ok. If you know how to use it put it in your story. It is just good to practice it if you have learned it.
This part can only be 10 pages total. That is all the form will let you add so keep it to 10 pages pictures and the story.
This is a fun part of the story is the illustrations. When I wrote “The Farmers Wife Series” the first one started out as an illustration. I eventually took pictures and worked on them in photo shop because these were stories about my animals. I couldn’t see them as cartoons because they are real animals to me and I feed them everyday. In the third book of the series it is illustrations mixed with pictures.
For this story book you are sending to me they have to be illustrations. Just enjoy drawing the pictures and coloring them. Make sure the pictures and the words go together. Don’t draw a picture of a fish if your story is about a duck.
You could choose to have both in the picture, but you need the picture of the duck to complete the story.
Have fun with the illustrations. Take your time and do them so you will be proud of them.
About the author
This is all about you. Maybe what you like to do. Why did you write your story? Do you live on a farm or in a city?
Write whatever you would like to write about you.
If you would like to draw a picture of yourself and put with it that would be awesome. It all needs to be on one page because that is all the form will let you add.
I am excited to read your stories
I am really excited to read your stories and see your pictures. It is always fun when I go to the school and read my books to the kids. Afterwards the students write a book just like you are doing now. I read each of the books and I choose my favorite.
When choosing my favorite I look at the story and the way it is put together. Does it have a beginning, middle, and an ending? What do the illustrations look like? Do they match the book?
I also look at the cover and the about me page.
Something important I want you to know.
When I wrote my first book I was really nervous and I even get nervous with all of my new books, but I have realized something.
Not everyone is going to like your book. That doesn’t matter because we all don’t like the same things. What is important to me is that I like my book. That is all that matters. That I am proud of the work I have done and the way it has all turned out.
I want you to be proud of your book and the work that you have done. You are pretty special and you are not like anyone else. Your book will be different than everyone else and if you like it that is what is important. I am proud of you for finishing the project. You should be proud of you also!
I am excited for you to finish your book. Send your book here.
If you were to win a book I have written which one would you choose.
Click on this link to help you make a choice. Brenda’s Kids Book store.
Watch and maybe I will post a picture of your book on social media.
Follow me on Instagram, Brendas Kids Books
Have fun writing your stories. The deadline is April 30, 2020. I hope to see yours soon!