Thursday, October 6, 2016

Surprising, Refreshing, and So Original

Every so often I come across an article which states that there are only a small handful of storylines in the world. Or a blog that reminds picture book writers to put a fresh spin on an old theme... or forever be unpublished.

While I understand the logic behind these statements, they never fail to depress me. It's as if I should be able to sit down and pull a completely original idea out of the air. But I can't. I also have a hard time plotting a story without falling back on the tried and true. What I love about writing is the magical, unexpected nature of how a story goes from an inkling of an idea to a living entity on the page. If I just relax and let my fingers fly, the end result is always surprising. And that is my way of creating something unique.

I don't know how these authors did it, but I was thrilled to discover three completely original books within the past week. Head over to your library and check them out!

The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles
by Michelle Cuevas
illustrated by Erin E. Stead
Dial Books for Young Readers, 2016

The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles takes his job very seriously. But what happens when loneliness and longing wash up on the shore just like messages in a bottle? This spare story with muted illustrations packs an emotional punch.

A Little Book of Sloth
by Lucy Cooke
Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2013

Nonfiction has never been so entertaining (or so cute)! Lucy Cooke's prose is witty and conversational. My boys and I found ourselves laughing on every page. Readers learn all about sloths while going on a photo-tour of a sloth sanctuary in Costa Rica. These "Jedi masters of the hug" are awww-inspiring at every turn.

A Child of Books
by Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston
Candlewick Press, 2016

This is a celebration of books where letters and text form the ocean waves and the mountains. Story is the path on your journey and imagination is the key. Each page is filled literary gems to discover, relate to, and build on as the reader and the book create a new narrative together.

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