Have you ever spend hours and hours choosing stuff? Doesn’t matter what – clothes, shoes, a tablet, cereal for breakfast or a picture book for your kids – if you don’t like having to compare, evaluate, choose, then the whole process is utter torture. I’m one of such people. Having to choose from more than 2 options is overwhelming, confusing and frustrating to me.
That’s why if you are drowning in the sea of children picture books, here are my 10 tips on how to choose a perfect book for your child or yourself!
- Specific topic. Narrowing down your options makes the choice much easier. Instead of browsing through thousands of titles, you’d be just looking at a few hundreds.
- Preview. The amazon.com and many other platforms have the function called “Look inside”. It gives you an opportunity to sample the book before purchasing it. It’s also a great tool if you yourself are an indie writer who wants to study the competition, but doesn’t want to spend too much yet.
If the author didn’t provide you with a sample (which is a huge mistake BTW) pay special attention to the cover. Does is “speak” to you? Would you like to open such a book? Does it reflect the title well? Is it skillfully illustrated and laid out?(Check out my previous post about
what makes a great picture book cover)
- Illustration quality. You are choosing a PICTURE book after all. Your child probably can’t read or is only beginning to learn, he or she will first of all look at the illustrations. Are they skillfully done? Are they diverse in layout and composition? Do the color schemes reflect the mood of the story? Are they digital or painted in watercolor, for example? Does the illustrator have other artworks on the Web, so that you can sample his or her style better?
(For more tips please read my post on how
to tell a good illustration from a bad one)
- Readability and the font size. Remember that even though you yourself are probably going to be the first (maybe even the only) reader of this book, there might be a time when your kids will start reading the book by themselves. Or you might want to use it to teach them letters and words. Or you might invent some games based on the text of the story, like “search this word?” or “how many ….. can you find on this page?”. That’s why it’s important to pay attention to the font, it’s size, the location of the words. Are they all easy to see, easy to read, big enough, not too big, etc.
- Story. Although it is a PICTURE book, it is still a BOOK. The story is an essential part of it. It must be engaging and relevant to your child. It must keep your kid on the tiptoes. More importantly it must have a lesson or a message in it. No matter how great the illustrations and the cover are – they can never compensate for a faulty or boring story.
As my own picture book is about to be available for preoder, remember to subscribe to get a free copy:)
Thank you for reading and stay tuned for more insights into the picture book world!
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