Sunday, February 8, 2009

Genre Talk: Concept Books

What is a concept book?

According to a concept book is "A picture book for preschool children that attempts to teach a basic concept. Many concept books display illustrations or other art and contain only a few words per page. Concept books frequently focus on introducing children to subjects such as the alphabet, or colors, shapes, and sizes. "

The challenges of writing a concept book:

Don't assume that concept books are the easiest kind of picture books to write! There are already a gazillion books out there that teach the ABC's. What sets your book apart from the others? You must come up with a creative idea in order to sell your book.

These days, many editors are looking for concept books with storylines. "A is for Apple, B is for Ball" doesn't cut it. Also, if you can teach two concepts in one book, that's even better! Have a picture book that goes through the days of the week and colors of the rainbow at the same time? Chances are, there aren't too many books like that out there already.

Some good concept books:

The Watering Hole by Graeme Base (counting, animals, rain cycle)

Toes, Ears, & Nose! A Lift-the-Flap Book by Marion Dane Bauer and Karen Katz (parts of the body, for toddlers)

One Child, One Seed: A South African Counting Book by Kathryn Cave and Gisele Wulfsohn (multi-cultural, counting)

Shiver Me Letters: A Pirate ABC by June Sobel and Henry Cole (Alphabet book)


Janet, said...

thanks for your ideas about concept books. That holds true for any book, I don't think there's anything that hasn't already written about, you just have to find a different angle or creative way to write about it.

Laurie said...

Great post!

I really love "The Watering Hole" by Graeme Base!