Friday, December 7, 2012

What children’s books teach us about writing

Writer Abroad was up at 4 a.m. this morning reading Goodnight, Moon, Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?, and Corduroy to Baby M. Some of these books were read at least five times in a row. (Note: Writer Abroad usually reads on demand.) 
Children's books can teach us a lot about good writing

Most writers don't study books for very young children in order to improve their writing. But, as Writer Abroad discovered, studying the short story (the 200-word version) is possibly the best way to learn about good writing.

Writing should have rhythm.
Great example: ABC by Dr. Seuss

The story should have a forward momentum.
(The words should beg you to finish them, even after the tenth reading in a row...)

There should be a lesson.

Parallel construction is nice. Especially when it's done with humor too.

Ok fellow writers, Writer Abroad needs a nap! Anyone else have examples of what a great children's book can teach us?


  1. Good books bear a lot of re-reading! When my lot were tiny, there were some books I would happily re-read a gazillion times and others I wanted to throw across the room after one read.

  2. Couldn't agree more. There are some books Baby M has that are all gimmick and no good writing. Those we just "pet" the pages or whatever and move on to actually read the good ones!

  3. You have a pic of Five Silly Monkeys, which is a terrible book. Each page the monkey count changes. Don't try to have your kid count the monkeys cause the text doesn't match the picture. I just thought it was weird that you used this picture with an article about children's books teaching us.

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