EMPOWERING CHILDREN THROUGH STORY
Believing everyone has the right to see their words in print has become a slight obsession for Emma. This has inspired her latest publishing project - the 'how to' guide for inspiring writers. Child Writes: Creating a Children's Picture book is Child's Play, was published in May 2012 and it won a GOLD Best Non-Fiction Adult eBook at the 2012 IPPY Awards. Emma was a finalist in the 2014 Condamine Alliance Awards for Outstanding Contribution to Cultural Heritage and a Finalist in the 2012 QRRRWN Strong Leadership Awards.
Her latest children's picture book, Imagine, illustrated by Ester De Boer has just won a GOLD Best Children's Illustrated eBook at the 2015 IPPY Awards in New York, USA and one of the illustrations 'Lyrebird' was selected for exhibition in the Book Illustrated Gallery, for the Asian Festival for Children's Content in Singapore.
She is a regular on ABC South East Queensland, with a monthly book review with Belinda Sanders and often, happily, fulfills the role as guest judge for painting competitions and book week festivals – whatever she is asked to do!
Ainsley Shepherd is passionate about writing, her children, and all things Australian. She aims to encourage her readers to value their uniqueness and be true to who they were made to be. The experiences of her children, combined with their rural Queensland lifestyle, provides the perfect environment for creating inspirational stories that children will love. She is the editor of the award winning Child Writes: Creating a Children’s Picture Book is Child’s Play. Ainsley lives in Gayndah with her husband David and their four children.
“I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to review this book. It is a step-by-step guide to writing and illustrating a children's picture book. It could be used as the children's story book writer's bible. It is so comprehensive and covers, in plain English, all that you need to know when writing for children.
It answers all the questions that an emerging writer asks and can rarely get the answers too. As the author of over 12 children's books I have learned quite a bit from reading this book. Emma has put so much research into her books which it is shown by the multitude of knowledge she reveals to the reader. I consider this a must to anyone who wants to write a children's picture book.”
“This book has given me much to think about. I am currently the creative director for my husband’s series of children’s books, and every time I read a portion of the book, the great tips and thoughts about ways to improve the current manuscripts would make my brain run about. So it took much self control to just sit and read and appreciate this wonderful book, without wanting to jump at all the ideas flooding into my head. The beautiful formatting and graphic design of the book make an it an even more pleasureable read and again get those creative juices flowing. Practical examples for sentences, particularly "show don’t tell", were wonderful insights for me. I always felt as though I was carefully nurtured at Emma's side all the way through the book. She was ready to assist with my curly thoughts and wayward thinking! So many times just when I wanted to say out loud "How do you do that?" the answer was right there in the following text. Highly recommended resource for anyone who is currently, or wanting to be, involved with book processes, from concept to marketing, it is all there (even if you are not about children's books so many of the principles apply to other genres). As one of the quotes in Emma's book states "the difference between an author and someone who would like to write a story is simple – the author did!".”
“If only, are the first words which come to mind (I was going to say that) however, after reading Emma’s teachings, I am prone to never use THAT ever again! I said ‘if only,’ meaning, if only I had hold of this valuable Bible of information, as well as the physical help Emma provides, way back when I was a child, well I’m sure I would be the mostest read author by now!
This book is an inspiration to the maximum. It is an awakening to our selfish tendencies.
For Emma to give so much time and advice to our budding writers, journalists, artists, should be rewarded from the powers above. I feel ethereal pleasure in simply reading my books to children at school, which takes, maybe an hour out of my day. I cannot imagine how much pleasure and satisfaction Emma and Ainsley receive after giving so much help and encouragement to our future generations. I truly feel this book is a masterpiece of correct advice, encouragement and most of all inspiration. Well done Ladies.”
“If I had read your book before embarking on my writing journey, I would’ve saved myself a bundle of pitfalls” George Salib
‘Child Writes’ is not only a clear step-by-step guide to writing and illustrating a children’s picture book, it is also a practical workshop and resource book. It provides budding authors, regardless of age and experience, various perspectives and new approaches in which to explore and develop their skills. It takes you from the initial stages of typing your first word on a computer all the way through the necessary steps required for writing, be it a children’s picture book, or a novel.
‘Child Writes’ is a must for any person who wishes to take the first step in their writing journey”
“The magical effects conjured up in the mind's eye with simple words go far beyond the purely mechanical structure of the words themselves. Along with a few small shattered-looking bits and pieces of punctuation, words are made up from just twenty six oddly shaped lines and curves in the word magicians box of tricks. They allow him, with skilful sleight of hand, to put together a believable picture that can take control of a reader's imagination and link it to his own thoughts and visions, colouring images and sharing knowledge, evoking tears, laughter or even anger; a magical experience that remains unbroken by time or distance.
With "Child Writes", Emma Mactaggart has made available to aspiring writers of Children's books the knowledge to create their own magic, and to share it with others. A wonderful opportunity to create lasting pleasure in the fresh, unblemished imaginations of children. And Emma has done it with consummate sleight of hand and humour, ticking all the boxes and providing all the knowledge necessary to produce a professional, illustrated book to be proud of.
Of course, there are rules for writing any book, and Emma takes you through the simple do's and don'ts of grammar and editing, the traps of computer spell checking, and the differences between active and passive writing and re-writing (most important). The layout of the book itself is a good example of page structure, with banners and boxes with font changes that provide separate areas of special interest such as comments and asides, and which tend to break up the blocks of text but are still relevant to the subject.
As an author and watercolour artist I agree with her that, providing you have a creative turn of mind, writers and artists are made and not born. All you need is your imagination - "see it in your head like a movie" - the desire to do it , and some work. This book will show you the correct and easy way of arranging your own box of twenty six odd shapes - including the shattered bits - to mirror the movie in your head and produce your own magic. And she ends her book with the encouraging words "You can do it."
Well, having gone through the book thoroughly, I can only agree with her again that if you have the desire to write, and follow the easy instructions of this excellent book, yes, you WILL be able to do it!”
“This book is a wonderful resource for authors of all ages, genres and stages in their careers. Writing and publishing books is a steep learning curve for anyone and I wish I'd found this book a few years ago when I was starting out. I like the way Emma has used a conversational tone and humor in places to keep a child's interest. An example is in the 'head-high ratio' section: "Right, I can hear you now declaring I have gone completely bonkers ... bear with me!" LOL There are some great ideas that were new to me such as doodle drawings to wake up your creativity. I'll have to try that one.
The sections on Vanity and Subsidy Publishing where you have to pay to get your book published serve as a good warning to new writers. I have heard of several new writers who were so excited to have been taken on by a publisher, just to discovered that they have a bill of hundreds or thousands of dollars before they can even see a copy of their book.
I really enjoyed reading this informative book. I was given a free ebook copy to review, but after a few pages I realised that I NEED a copy and am heading over to Writers' Web to get one straight away. My son has expressed an interest in co-writing my next book, so we'll be devouring Child Writes piece by piece before we start. I'd recommend this book to anyone with an interest in writing or illustrating a book. Happy writing everyone.”
“When I started reading I could not put this interesting, inspiring and practical book down. I’ve just finished reading it, every word, and I had to email you straightaway to congratulate you on a book that is well over due in the writing for children’s market. This is the definite go to book for writing and publishing a children’s picture book.
The book is written in a cheerful easy to read style with helpful, practical ideas and hints. There is a lot to look at in this book with lots of short sharp thoughts that gets the mind ticking over. The variety of fonts used add interest to the overall reading experience and the quotes by the children authors at the end of each chapter gave insight into the benefits and building of self-esteem in the children. This book reeks with inspiration to tap into the reader’s own creativity and wonder where they can take it.
It is full of practical advice on how to go about creating a children’s picture book from idea to a fully published book ready to go to market. Speaking about marketing, there is great advice on how to market as well. Marketing is not easy and the information in this book will spark the author’s desire to re-assess their marketing process and take it to a whole new level.
Beware! This book sparks your creativity empowering you to want to begin your own project now. It will change your life. It is the most empowering how-to book I have read in a long time. Make your dream a reality. Follow the instruction in this book and your dreams will come true.”
I’m an early riser and the first thing I do each morning is check the e-mails, so I was delighted to see yours there.
Your book is very impressive and if I was writing children’s stories I would find it invaluable. (I know how difficult that market is to get into, having once tried with a prominent UK publisher. I sent in two submissions and received a polite rejection. The editor said she found the stories quite charming, but added; “They don’t stand out enough in what is an extremely competitive market, for me to take them on.”)
Yet after that, trawling through children’s books in the library, I was amazed by the number of what I considered to be badly written and presented books, on offer. How, I wondered, did they make it? I wish your book had been available to me at the time! I found it informative and well written. All sections, from the the birth of an idea to getting ‘your baby’ into print, were covered expertly and clearly.
I liked the presentation of each page, the ‘asides’, I thought were a nice touch, and the tips on illustrating were particularly useful. The section on, to self-publish or find a publisher, would maybe frighten some people.
Self-publishing is sometimes confused with vanity publishing, which I wouldn’t touch with a ten foot barge pole, and as you rightly said....”DON’T!” But these vanity publishers can be very persuasive and to someone struggling to get into print, seen as a lifeline. Yes, your book definitely needs to be out there. Is it published? If not, it should be. I think writer’s struggling with many issues, ‘show v Tell’, punctuation, presentation etc., would all benefit greatly from reading it.
How many would be authors are put off from ever submitting their work because they consider it not good enough? But imagine, with the help of books such as yours on offer, the number who may eventually pluck up courage to do just that. I wish you the very best of luck with it. Finally, have you seen Lorraine Pascoe in ‘The Northerly’? She has written eight children’s books and was lucky enough to find a local artist to illustrate them.
Between them they have self-published, promoted and sold in shopping malls and fairs. The libraries have now taken copies of each book and it goes to show that with determination, anyone can do it. Lorraine and her illustrator are both in their eighties. Lorraine runs the Tweed Writer’s Group of which I’m a member.
I hope you found this useful, Emma. Regards Pauline Saul”
“Hi Emma, I have just finished you latest book childwrites and found it to be really informative and useful. While I don't write Kids books, explaining your process of character building, marketing, self publishing and terms of reference can be applied to all forms of writing.
I found Child Writes very easy to understand, a helpful tool for any writer and only wish I had a copy before I negotiated the self publishing maze with my first book. It would have made things much easier, kept me motivated and confident of being able to deal with most writing and publishing problems.
Well done and thanks so much for the copy”
““Child Writes” by Emma Mactaggart is an instructive, encyclopedic work. As the sub-title explains, it’s a “step-by-step guide to writing and illustrating a children’s picture book”. It certainly does that. The book goes from the pre-inspiration stage to the completed product, including marketing. Added to this are many useful resources such as essential websites, extensive chapter by chapter references, a bibliography, glossary of terms and recommended books.
Emma Mactaggart’s writing is clear, professional and easy to understand. There is no doubt that she loves her work and speaks to the reader in a mature, nurturing voice. It is a well-structured, informative book, visually attractive with bite-size exercises to guide the reader from one step to the next with ease.
The author is clearly an expert in her field and she is generous in sharing her story of how she came to writing this book, what works and has included all this in great detail.
I particularly appreciated the simple yet evocative chapter titles to gain my interest. There are abundant questions to get the creative juices flowing as well as the cognitive side of the brain to work in unison with one’s creativity. In addition, there are many questions posed on “why” the reader wants to pursue creating an illustrated children’s book. That digs deeper and forms a strong foundation for a successful end result.
The methodology for this guide has been tested on children from nine to twelve years of age so this would clearly be a target demographic. These age groups would need an adult to facilitate the implementation of the many activities and other requirements. However, as an adult, I certainly gained from the way the guide is structured should I wish to create an illustrated children’s book. I found it very interesting, informative and entertaining. Nothing has been omitted.”
Independent review for writers’ web, Gloria Hemilton