Mac Barnett: Writer of children's picture books - Coggle Diagram
Mac Barnett: Writer of children's picture books
Picture books-words working with pictures to tell a story.
Barnett's mother valued reading and books. She provided him with plenty of books when he was a child, especially picture books she purchased at yard sales.
When he was child, his mother kept his picture books out on shelves so that he would have access to them.
When he was in high school, he worked with younger kids and he would share his old picture books with them.
Barnett knew from a young age that he wanted to be a writer. He just did not know what kind of writer.
He finally decided to write for children when he worked at a summer camp where he worked with four year-olds. He was supposed teach them how to play sports, but found himself telling them stories instead.
After deciding he wanted to tell kids stories, he went back to college and studied under David Foster Wallace.
Read aloud: His mother read aloud to him every night. She continued to do this even after he was old enough to read on his own.
She would finish reading to him and he would continue reading after she would leave the room. He enjoyed that quality time with his mother.
Picture books for everyone: Many people can be connected to a picture book. Barnett writes a story, an illustrator draws the pictures, a teacher, librarian, parent, or babysitter reads the book to a child/children. This is a collaboration of people whom Barnett may never meet.
Picture book levels: Barnett said that he took a voice class while doing a study abroad at an acting conservatory in London. He learned about the levels of connection which are alone, one-to-one, and one-to-many.
Barnett's inspirations and ideas: He was inspired to write The Skunk while at a school visit. He was reading a poster on a wall that contained writing prompts. One student said, "Image you're on another planet in space." Another student said, "Image that you're three inches tall." A third student said, "Image a skunk won't stop following you." He could not stop thinking about that idea. So he wrote, The Skunk.
The Extra Yarn: Inspiration for this book came from a picture drawn by Jon Klassen. It was a picture of a girl walking her dog in the snow and they had on matching sweaters. After checking with Klassen, Barnett discovered that there was no story behind that picture he wrote The Extra Yarn. Klassen drew that picture about nine years earlier.
Craft and passion connected: Ideas for writing come to Barnett at different times. Writing is a skill connected to something interesting to the writer.
The Brixton Brothers: Inspiration for this came from Barnett's love of The Hardy Boys. The Brixton Brothers is about a kid who loves a mystery series known as The Bailey Brothers.
Writer & Reader: Barnett taught writing for a non-profit called 826LA, a writing center in Los Angles. Students there were encouraged to read aloud what they wrote. Students realized there would be someone on the other end of their writing. There writing would not just be for someone to mark corrections on.
Writer's Block: Barnett advices to take breaks when experiencing writer's block. Students have more time to take breaks when doing homework than they do while taking a test in school. Breaks, no matter how short, are valuable.
Everything you do does not have to be perfect. The result you end up with may not be like the image in your head.
Picture books in the classroom: Barnett says that picture books are great to use in a lesson plan because they are short which fits into the limited time that teachers have.
Some of Barnett's favorite books: The Stupids Step Out, anything by James Marshall, Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel, But No Elephants by Jerry Smath.
Other Barnett books: Telephone, President Taft is Stuck in the Bath, Chloe and the Lion, Sam and Dave Dig a Hole, and Leo: A Ghost Story.