Tuesday, April 8, 2014

From Pictures to Words A Book About Making A Book

From Pictures to Words A Book About Making A Book

Written and Illustrated by:  Janet Stevens 
Published:  Holiday House 1995

Going with my last book I decided to look about a nonfiction book to help with the writing process.  I stumbled upon this book at the library and thought it brought a fun look at how an author would make a book.  

Janet Stevens a familiar artist that you might recognize from other children's books such as To Market To Market and Tops and Bottoms  puts herself in a story and uses her characters to show us how to create a book.  She goes through the beginning process of deciding characters and setting.  She uses speech bubbles from the characters to add humor to the story.  She also discuss' plot and problem.  When she is finished with her creative process she sends her book to her editor that makes her change some things and then send it back.  She then creates "a dummy" or practice book and she discuss' how she could use different mediums.  After her final art work has been sent to the editor she makes the final finished piece for it to be published.  She even ends the book by saying there are other ways to develop a story 

"Maybe you'd like to take one of my other characters and write a story.  Or maybe you can create your own."  

This book is a little more complex and wordy than others I have read about writing but I think that is what makes it a non-fiction book.  Janet still uses her characters voices in a fun way to make it appealing to children.  For example the cat in the story really wants aliens in the book and keeps pipping up with "Great, but no aliens."  or "I still think aliens should come."  

The illustrations in the book are a mix between color and black and white.  She draws the characters in color and herself in black and white.  She even draws the speech bubbles in color and hers in black and white.  I think this helps to distinguish between the real and the fantasy part of the story.  She also uses small pictures on one page and frames to create movement and draw our eye down the page.

I think this book would be a great addition to an upper elementary writing lesson or unit on writing a book.  It could also be read in lower grades but may be a little harder to follow.  I also think it is great to spark some interest in creating books and could show children what an author's life is like in a fun way and that even they have to edit and revise their work before they have a final draft.  

Read more about Janet Stevens at her website. 

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