There are some quick and easy patterns to use when writing children’s books. They can provide a jump start for getting your book going. I’ve written a half dozen books for my grandson since he was born using photos I’ve taken of him and easy to follow patterns that provided a framework for the stories. The alphabet book idea was the structure for a story about a visit to our family cabin at a Manitoba lake. I was able to come up with 26 different activities or experiences one for each letter of the alphabet. Use ‘words that start with….’ when you are stuck and don’t be afraid to be creative for example ‘x is for eXcited’ .
After my grandson had been on a wintery Christmas Day walk in Winnipeg’s Exchange District with our family I wrote a book for him using the same structure and pattern that Ezra Jack Keats did in his book The Snowy Day. It’s a favorite book of my grandson’s and I just replaced his experiences in the snow with the ones of the little boy in the book. Pick one of your favorite children’s books and try to repeat the structure and pattern in a book of your own.
I’m using the cumulative pattern to write my latest book about our grandson visiting us in Arizona. On each page I repeat the things I’ve written on the previous page and add one more. The poem The House That Jack Built and the children’s song I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly or the Christmas carol The Twelve Days of Christmas are good examples of the cumulative pattern.
The popular I Can Read genre inspired another one of my photo books. I thought of things my grandson could do and came up with twenty pages of I can…. sentences that at nearly three years old he’s beginning to read on his own. Since my grandson is bilingual I wrote the sentences in both of the languages he speaks.
Inspired by books like Mercer Meyer’s Just Me and My Dad and David Melling’s Just Like My Dad I wrote a Just like…… book in which I compared things my own son has done with similar things my grandson has done. Two photos on each page-one of my son as a child and one of my grandson illustrated the similarities.
Check out this website for other literary patterns that are easy to follow and provide a quick and simple framework to get started writing books for children.
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MaryLou Driedger is just beginning to write fiction and non-fiction for children after working as a teacher, newspaper columnist and free-lance journalist for thirty years. She also blogs at What Next?