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Phineas & Ferb Taught Me How to Write for Children

I miss Phineas & Ferb.

My children are older and I don’t watch the show alone.

But I could.

That’s how funny and clever the writing is. It appeals to kids on their level with physical humor and story silliness. Adults adore the show because it slips in pop culture references, pseudo-science, real science and witty banter.

Layered Writing

When I start a new picture book, it’s rough and not much more than notes of dialogue or scenes in a notebook, in my phone or on a napkin. The story takes form on my computer. As the story progresses, I write first for children and then consider how I can amp up the story to appeal to the adult reading it, weave in something educational (because I taught early childhood for years) and keep it enjoyable. And it ends up having as many layers as a piece of Napoleon cake from a Queens bakery.

What to Strive For

I’ve had truly great models. Some classic, some newer, some obscure. Enjoy discovering some new inspirations or rediscovering some from long past.

To show children that imagination can take you anywhere. And a reminder to adults of the same thing.

Hysterical, dark humor for the adults, the beauty of suspense for kids.

Just pure love.

Adventure awaits the child and adult who share in this three book series. Written in the middle of the last century (yikes), it still holds its charm and appeal. And there are maps. MAPS!

I used the first book in my kindergarten classroom and lessons revolved around each chapter. So pack your backpacks just like Elmer Elevator and travel to far away places together.

Delicious stanzas and iconic illustrations. From a master.

"One berry, two berry, pick me a blueberry..."

In our house, we still quote Jamberry. And how can you not with words like Hatberry & Shoeberry?

And One Last Note: Tomie DePaolo & Shel Silverstein

Study them. They are the masters in writing for children and hooking adults.

But that's just my opinion.

This is my process. Yours is probably different and that's okay because it's uniquely you.

Finally, Here’s the Why

I want my stories to be more. More for children, an escape for the adult reading them and hopefully someday, soon I hope, in their hands for repeat reads of joy, sharing, snuggle time and falling in love with the written word.

Be Fierce!

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