Thursday, February 3, 2011

Working with a young author and an illustrator

Last month I dropped Sean off at his classroom door and a couple of boys in his class asked if I would help them by editing their book. They said they were writing a book, and they want to get it published. They knew I was an editor, and wondered if I could take a look.
I promised to come back the following Monday and do just that.

These boys are in second grade. They collaborated on this book, compromised, and came up with a story. One is the author, the other the illustrator. The illustrations were images he found of clip art and photographs, but he had to do the work to search for those illustrations that would best convey the meaning of the words on each page.

They met with me after I had a chance to look at it, and I went over each page and why I made my marks. It was amazing to listen to them talk about their book and how serious they are about publishing it. They also bickered over the content, and the illustrator commented that if he were writing it he would have worded some things differently. The author said, "Yeah, but you're always asking how to spell, and that's why you're the illustrator."

They both asked me if I knew of a publisher who would publish it for them. I explained that newspapers are a little different from book publishing, and publishing can be quite expensive. I offered alternatives, like using regular copy paper and binding it with a notebook type cover, but they weren't going for it. They wanted a hard bound copy with a spine.

Then they decided they needed an agent. They asked if I knew any agents that would be their agent. I didn't, but encouraged them to keep going with their idea. They plan to make a pretty big book, and talked about how they have to finish it this year because the illustrator is moving in the summer and won't be returning to the school.

As I left they were planning the next chapter and talking about how to find a publisher.
I just love the freedom of Montessori. These boys are free to explore their passion and spend time learning and working on something they love to do. I see so many lessons in what they were doing, not the least of which is collaboration and compromise.

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