Thursday, November 17, 2016

Illustrator for T-Rex book

So excited to have Dave Coverly illustrating HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR T-REX! It's going to be awesome!

Check out some of his award winning cartoons.
Check out the blurb about our upcoming book on PW.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Kid Boss on Amazon Rapids

Amazon Education released a new reading app today with short stories for kids ages 7-12. It's called Amazon Rapids. One of its goals is to provide another, more familiar venue to get kids reading. I think it's a great idea. That's why when they asked me to write stories for it, I happily said "yes." If you decide to subscribe to it or do the free trial, check out my Kid Boss stories. It might just get your kids reading, and hopefully laughing too.

P.S.
They should also have another story series of mine on the app before too long.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Signed contract arrived!!!

Drum roll........ Today the mailman delivered the signed contract for my next picture book - HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR T-REX. It will be published by Christy Ottaviano Children's Books, and imprint of Macmillan Children's publishing Group. More details to come. Happy dancing!!!

Friday, January 29, 2016

Getting author inspiration from Pinterest

My kids thought it was weird when they found out I was on Pinterest. But I've found it to be an invaluable tool as an author. I have boards with lesson plans that have book tie-ins. Boards about my books. Boards with book trailers. Boards with kid activities that deal with dragons, monsters and cows. And then some miscellaneous boards on other things I like.

But the board I'm lately getting the most use out of contains a variety of images that give me insight, inspiration, and ideas for the current middle grade fantasy I'm working on. If I'm trying to figure out how to describe aspects of a rainforest, I look on my board or search for other rainforest pins. If I need insight into clothes, armor and even hats worn in ancient China, I look on my board or look for more pins to add. If I need help with wildlife or plants, I turn to my board. If I need to refresh certain ideas or get new ones, my board helps me. If it's not on my board, I find other pins that might help. And when I need new inspiration, it's always waiting there for me on my board.

I also think it might be fun for others to look at my board, to just wonder and imagine what in the world this book I'm working on is going to be about. If you're curious, check it out.

https://www.pinterest.com/kenbakerbooks/inspiration-for-current-wip/

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Help Kids Deal with Fear and Have Fun

When my picture book Brave Little Monster came out, in addition to being a book that makes young and old laugh, many parents and teachers liked how it could be used to help young children deal with both real and imaginary fears. To help with that effort I created a fun puppet-making activity that can be used in the home and classroom to further help teachers and parents talk to kids about their fears and help them learn how to deal with them. Check it out and make your own "Be Brave" puppet.

http://www.kenbakerbooks.com/lessonplanmonsterart.htm

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

8 Ways Character Relationships Can Enhance Your Writing


Tonight in the night class I teach at a local university on writing children's books, we'll be talking about how the relationships your characters have can deepen your story's plot, enhance the connection between your characters and readers, raise tension, complicate conflicts, and much more.

The following are 8 ways you can use relationships between your characters to enhance the stories you write:

  1. Create resonance with your audience by putting your characters in relationships that matter most to and intrigue your readers 
  2. Use your character relationships to better reveal your characters’ personality and inner conflicts 
  3. Use character relationships to pull your readers deeper into the story and your characters’ lives 
  4. Use your character interactions to give your characters more profound opportunities to experience growth or change 
  5. Deepen your plot with character relationships that increase the conflict, tension and emotional/physical stakes of the story 
  6. Deepen your plot with character relationships that impede, thwart or help the protagonists’ success, or distract the protagonist from the end goal 
  7. Raise the emotional tension of your stories by creating relationship events or taking character relationships in a direction that terrify your readers 
  8. Increase the emotional connection between your readers and characters by creating relationship events or taking character relationships in a direction that makes readers worry, sad and/or happy

Image courtesy of arztsamui at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Insights Gleaned from Jane Yolen

A critical part of developing your craft as an author is research. Research involves a wide array of activities. It includes reading as much as you can in the genre you’re writing in. It involves attending writing conferences, networking with editors, agents and other authors. Part of it includes taking classes or reading the latest and greatest books on how to improve your writing. It also includes learning what other authors have to say on being an author.

As part of my recent research activities, I’ve been visiting the websites of some of my favorite children’s authors, one of which is the notorious and supremely talented Jane Yolen. I can’t count the number of times I’ve read one of her books only to say to myself, “Wow! That’s exactly the kind of book I wish I had written.”

In reading Jane Yolen’s “Random thoughts on writing and on children’s books” found on her website, here are a few highlights that resonated with me.

“I generally do not think out plots or characters ahead of time… I want my own writing to surprise me, the way someone else’s book does.”

“Sometimes [a work in progress] seems promising, sometimes brilliant, sometimes just plain stupid. And that may be the same piece on alternate days.”

“Intuition works best when you remember that “tuition” is part of it.”

“Know this about being published: it is out of your hands. Even if you do everything you can think of to affect that outcome, you cannot make an editor take your work.”

And perhaps my favorite;

A writer puts words on a page. An author lives in story…  Learn to write not with blood and fear, but with joy.”