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The Eric Carle Museum
of Picture Book Art
  • 125 West Bay Road
  • Amherst, MA 01002


  • Thursday, Friday 10 am - 4 pm
  • Saturday 10 am - 5 pm
  • Sunday 12 pm - 5 pm

Closed Monday,Tuesday, Wednesday

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Picture Books We Love

How To Publish a Picture Book - Pt. 1

Here at The Carle Museum, we're a magnet for book lovers of all ages. And many of these book lovers have big dreams. Whether they're six or sixty-three they have dreams of publishing their very own picture book. Believe me - I'm one of them! But how to get started?  We get that question a lot from customers in our bookstore and so we keep a section on our shelves of books that help newcomers through that tricky process.  Books ABOUT books, if you will. We have so many books on this topic, that I'll split it up into two posts. Today I'll just talk about those books for younger readers. These books are perfect for those budding authors and artists who know they're destined for big things. My favorite suggestion is an oldie, but a goodie. A 1986 title, How a Book is Made by Aliki concisely covers all aspects of how a picture book becomes published, from author to editor to designer to printer and so on. Of course, some of the printing information is now out of date, so keep that in mind when sharing with your children or students. Eileen Christelow also has a pair of wonderful books for children titled What Do Illustrators Do? and What Do Authors Do? In easy-to-read (and funny!) comic book formats, Christelow covers the challenges of going from an idea to draft to the final product, showing how little changes can make a big difference when laying out your book. Helen Lester's book, Author: A True Story, shows one author's journey toward publication. What I love is her honesty. She's upfront with the feelings of disappointment you may feel when manuscripts get rejected by publishers and the need to be strong and keep moving along with your dream. "I wrote a second book and sent it to a different publisher. The second publisher sen the book back. 'No thank you.' I decided I'd never write again. Until the next day, when I felt better. I wrote another book." Books like Artist to Artist: 23 Major Illustrators Talk to Children about Their Art offer a wide selection of artists talking about their own personal experiences with making books. Recognizable children's illustrators like Eric Carle, Maurice Sendak, and Leo Lionni talk about how they got their start in making art and offer advice and inspiration to aspiring young authors and illustrators. These books are a great start to learning about how authors and illustrators make a career out of doing what they love. They explain the process, complete with its ups and downs, and best of all, these books inspire. They're all great to use at home or in the classroom when embarking on a book making project. I still remember my elementary school's Author and Illustrator Day. We spent weeks writing and and illustrating our own stories and then the teacher laminated and spiral bound them for us. Then our parents were invited to come in and browse all our books. It was a very significant moment for me as a young child to feel so validated - I had published a book! - even if it wasn't quite the real thing. So keep those dreams alive and stay tuned for the big kid publishing post tomorrow! Do you do a book making unit in your classroom? Did you ever attempt to write or illustrate a book when you were a kid? Let us know in the comments!

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