HarperCollins India, Avid Learning, and Mumbai children’s book promoter Lubaina Tyebji Bandukwala put together an informative workshop on writing children’s literature this weekend.
As I begin the search for a home to publish my own middle grade novels, I thought I’d confirm my take on the genre with people who actually know what they’re talking about.
A few top take-aways for me about what children are looking for when they pick up a book:
Simplicity. Spontaneity. …and sophistication.
Relatability. “Children are looking for themselves in the story. Not just in setting or incident, but in finding people just like them.”
Laughter and nonsense.
Nothing didactic: “The era of the moral is over.“
None of these findings came as a surprise; rather they reinforced the past decade of reading to my sons and the books we go back to time and again, from Kate DiCamilo to Roald Dahl.
Two areas I found to work on: Title Matters! (…they said to the guy who’s first novels are titled Two Pumps for the Body Man and Patchworks). And “Never miss a chance to pitch to an editor.”
They mean in person, of course. And that day is coming. But as a writer, I’d still rather communicate the contents of my work in writing.
The workshop was led by the curator of the Peek-A-Book Children’s Festival, Lubaina Tyebji Bandukwala, and two outstanding Indian children’s authors Natasha Sharma (Squiqqle Takes a Walk and 17 other titles) and Vaishali Shroff (The Adventures of Padma and a Blue Dinosaur and more) .Harper Collins India publisher Tina Narang shed light on the publishing, marketing, and promotional aspects of the field.