The Path to a Traditionally Published Picture Book – Simplified

I’ve noticed a surprising number of comments in writing forums from people who don’t know the difference between traditional publishing and self-publishing. In self-publishing, the author controls every step of the process (including quality) and foots the bill for everything. In traditional publishing, the author writes and submits a manuscript that a publisher feels they… Read more »

Nonfiction Writers Dig Deep: 50 Award-Winning Children’s Book Authors Share the Secret of Engaging Writing

I’m honored to have contributed to the anthology, edited by Melissa Stewart, titled Nonfiction Writers Dig Deep. The essays are jam-packed with insights and inspiration. AVAILABLE NOVEMBER 2020. PREORDER NOW through NCTE here. Some of today’s most celebrated nonfiction writers for children share how their writing processes reflect their passions, personalities, beliefs, and experiences in… Read more »

Fall 2020 Picture Book Biography Class

I’ve taught two online picture book biography classes this summer. My students were so pleased with the masters-level content, their recommendations led to quite a few inquiries about my next offering. So, I’ve scheduled a fall class, beginning October 18th—perfect timing for getting a manuscript ready for a 2021 submission. I hope you’ll join me…. Read more »

Organizing a Mountain of Research

11/10/22 ADDED NOTE TO PROVE THE VALUE OF ORGANIZED RESEARCH: In 2020, four years after Step Right Up published (even longer than that since I was in active research mode), I was contacted by a Hollywood producer who wanted to chat about the story. And this year, 2022, I have given two interviews to BBC… Read more »

Book Connections & Activities In One Place

COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on educational systems. Now that kids are learning remotely and educators are scrambling to adjust to online platforms, I want to make it as easy as possible for my books to be useful. To that end, I have compiled some of the most helpful book-specific connections in one place. * Please… Read more »

Secondary Sources to the Rescue!

There’s a common belief among new nonfiction writers that primary sources are the only way to find absolute facts. Secondary sources are assumed to be inferior, less trustworthy, less valuable. I beg to differ. Don’t get me wrong, I get a rush when I find primary sources. As kids in my school visits can attest,… Read more »

Choosing a Structure for your Picture Book Biography

Are you following February’s fabulous and free Nonfiction Fest, described as a month-long crash course in writing children’s nonfiction? I was honored to contribute the following blog post about creative structures available to picture book biography writers. I hope you enjoy it. Choosing a Structure for Your Picture Book Biography By Donna Janell Bowman Dear… Read more »

Reverse-Engineering an Engineering Process from the Past

They are short and for kids, but nonfiction picture books can require the sleuthing skills of Veronica Mars, the puzzling wizardry of Sherlock Holmes, and the science chops of Bill Nye. When I set out to write about how The Great Blondin engineered his tightrope across the Niagara Gorge in 1859, I hoped to find… Read more »

For Educators—STEM Experiments & a Handy STEM Glossary/Companion

Hey, educators, I know how busy you are. Having ready-made lessons and tools can ease your workload as you make curriculum connections with your students. To that end, click here for the fabulous curriculum guide and readers theatre. As a bonus, below is a downloadable one-page STEM glossary companion and two simple balance experiments to… Read more »

Author’s Note & Afterword for King of the Tightrope

The back matter for King of the Tightrope is fabulously designed by the smart folks at Peachtree Publishing, but there’s more to the story than fit the limited pages available. In the Author’s Note and Afterword below, you’ll learn a bit more about the uncovered history of Jean Francois Gravelet, The Great Blondin. Watch for… Read more »