Picture Book Biographies

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 »

TLA, A book launch, school visits, Classes I’m Teaching, Oh My!

Abraham Lincoln’s Dueling Words Much has happened within the last month. The book launch trailer for Abraham Lincoln’s Dueling Words released, which makes me all kinds of giddy. Then, on April 1, the book itself hit bookstore shelves. I hope you will get your own copy from your favorite independent bookstore and share it with the young… Read more »

Picture book biographies—My most-viewed posts

We’re working to re-establish the blog archives and categories that got tangled up in the recent website import. For now, if you’re looking for past posts about nonfiction picture books or picture book biography (or ies), simply type those terms into the blog search box. You can also find the most-viewed posts below. *DISCLAIMER: These posts were… Read more »

I’m Teaching a NF Picture Book Class! Join Me!

Children’s nonfiction is increasingly popular these days, especially in the picture book form. Yet, it’s difficult to find relevant instruction in writing books, workshops, or classes. With ever-changing styles and creative approaches, it is important to seek out up-to-date expertise on the subject. I’m thrilled to be teaching a six-week class about nonfiction picture books… Read more »

NEW SALE! King of the Tighrope: When the Great Blondin Ruled Niagara

The announcement made by my agent Erin Murphy, of the Erin Murphy Literary Agency. I am so honored that illustrator Adam Gustavson will be working his artistic magic to bring this story to visual life. The announcement made through Publisher’s Weekly. Kids books ROCK!

Dramatic Point of Vew in Historical Fiction Picture Books

Continuing my observations about unique storytelling techniques in nonfiction and historical fiction picture books, today I’m turning to dramatic point of view (pov.) Maybe you’ve heard this referred to as third person distant, Objective, or the fly-on-the wall pov. Whatever term you choose to use, I hope you’ll agree that this technique is clever, entertaining,… Read more »

Alternating POV and Alternating Tense in Nonfiction Picture Books

Welcome to Part Three of my latest blog thread focused on craft considerations in nonfiction and historical fiction picture books. Basically, this is my private classroom where I peel back the layers and disassemble successful books to learn creative approaches to truth telling. The more I nose my way into the intracacies of these books,… Read more »

Fictional POV Characters to Introduce a True Story

This post published in 2012 If it isn’t obvious by now, I’m that grown up kid who disassembles gizmos to figure out how they work-all because I want to learn how to build my own. But, in my case, the gizmos are books. This blog thread is about sharing my observations as I dissect nonfiction… Read more »