A few months ago, after I submitted my YA Joan of Arc novelization to yet another publisher and was feeling like I was moving into a wait-and-see phase concerning all my YA novels, I decided to turn my attention to picture book texts. I had already written a few over the years, but they needed a lot of work, and so I plunged into that, and wrote a few new ones, too. After a burst of activity that surprised me a little, I had seven completed texts, which I’m currently submitting to agents.
I’ve been rejected by two agencies already, and am waiting to hear from three others while lining up more to submit to. I know this is going to be a tough sell. The pb market is soft right now, according to one agent who said No to me, and my pb texts, like my YA novels, don’t exactly imitate current models of commercial marketability!
My best hope is for an agent or editor to fall enough in love with the poetry of my writing that he or she decides to do everything possible to help make it available to the small niche of readers who might appreciate it, despite its poor prospects for a big monetary return.
This happens all the time, right?
In the meantime, here are summaries and excerpts from the seven texts for your enjoyment and appraisal:
The Long Dark Night
Why is a kindly seeming wizard turning all the flora and fauna of his beautiful valley home into stone?
The wizard walked the length of his beloved valley, turning everything he saw, furred or feathered, moving or dreaming, into stone. By the end of the day, the valley was no longer a living green fold of the earth, but a silent, rocky canyon.
The Girl Whose Name Was Wise
A girl saves her village from a cruel pirate by helping him remember his True Name.
The third day, Mara spoke with Hawk, asking him about his childhood and his life on the sea. That night, she dreamed of an owl perched on the branch of a snow-laden tree, but when she asked it for its name, it only blinked its great, round eyes.
The Rainbow Stair
A boy wakes in his bed in the middle of the night and finds himself not in his room, but a dark forest. Some adult readers will profitably interpret his subsequent adventures as “really” being a journey into Death, while their young listeners will simply enjoy the journey.
The tunnel sloped down beneath the mountains. The lower he descended, the sleepier he felt. Soon, he walked open-eyed through his own dreams.
The Day the Sun Didn’t Rise
The day the sun didn’t rise, and how for one girl, it was nothing to panic about, the way the adults were doing.
Stars filled the sky just like they did at night!
Were they always there, even during the day? Maybe they were, and you just couldn’t see them because the sun was so bright. Elanor laughed! She loved discovering the reasons for things on her own.
She opened her window so she could taste the daytime night.
The story of Joan of Arc in 450 words!
“The English are attacking the city of Orléans,” says the Voice. “You must go and save it!”
But I’m just a girl! thinks Joan to herself.
What she says is: “I will go.”
A utopian fantasy about what happens when the entire world decides to follow the ancient Hebrew law of the Jubilee, which mandates that every fifty years, all slaves should be set free, all debts forgiven, and all land revert to the common ownership of the nation.
The Jubilee told the people, “You don’t own the world. You belong to each other!”
The story of how Basho, the great Japanese poet, came to choose a traveling life, written entirely in haiku!
His roof was the sky.
The wind flowed among the trees.
His toes gripped the earth.
The strangest feeling
swirled around him like the wind.