WRITERLY WISDOM: Diane Kress Hower



Here is another post in my WRITERLY WISDOM series I first ran back in 2013. Five years later, I’ve updated the material and made sure it still applies to today’s writers. I’ve made many friends over the years through this writing community, including my next guest blogger…

Picture Books: Too Sweet Or Magically Delicious?
By Diane Kress Hower


Writing picture books is great fun and a good deal of hard work. I often suggest to my readers and TV audience to visit my Book Wisdom by Diane blog to think of choosing books like picking a cereal for your child. What do you want for your child? What’s in their best long-term interest? Thank you, Donna for giving me the opportunity to share this analogy with your readers.

Where on the cereal isle do you see your most recent picture book manuscript? How does your story stack up? What makes a picture book desirable food for the young child? I am sure you have ideas about this. We know what sells. However, what does the child need?

When was the last time you walked down a cereal isle and looked at all the options? It’s mind-boggling. There are the classics. Oatmeal, Original Shredded Wheat, Rice Krispies, Cheerios, and Corn Flakes have stood the test of time. Will your writing do the same?

There are the sweet treats. Life, Raisin Bran, Honey Bunches of Oats, Frosted Mini Wheats, and Honey Nut Cheerios have some sweetness but still provide basic nutrition. What level of sweetness does your story bring to a child?

The poppin’ group flashes eat me from the shelf. Honey Smacks, Frosted Flakes, Captain Crunch, Froot Loops, and Lucky Charms are packaged with inviting labels and colors. They also make the top 10 list of the worst cereals for kids. Is your story all flash and color? Is it lacking something?

At the end of the isle, the small granola group is shelved, a more recent arrival providing alternatives to classics and the poppin’ varieties. Granola, Kashi Strawberry Fields, Barbara’s Blueberry Mini Wheats aim to provide the sustenance and kid appeal for discerning consumers. How does your story sustain?

Options and variety abound on the cereal isle and in the genre of picture books. Do you place limits on your writing based on fitting-in and selling? Do you write with the child in mind?




Diane Kress Hower is an author/illustrator who loves picture books. Her professional background of nearly 25 years is in education, counseling, and art. Currently, she is teaching part-time remedial reading at the middle school level in the area of special education while immersed in writing/illustrating/and photography. In her spare time, Diane reviews children’s literature on her blog http://www.bookwisdombydiane.blogspot.com, serves as local area coordinator for the West Slope of Colorado RMC, SCBWI, and is a commissioner for the City of Grand Junction, on the Arts and Culture Commission. You can find out more about her on  her website, www.dkhower.com,  Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/dkhower),  and Twitter (https://twitter.com/dkhower),


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