You might have heard this advice before; I know I have. A quick search on the internet finds lots of similar examples…
“Tips for writing picture books: don’t write in rhyme.”
“The editor loved the concept, but was not drawn to the rhyme.”
I admit it—I love rhyme! But I also try to challenge myself to utilize other tools in my poet’s toolbox, too:
repetition, rhythm, assonance, consonance, alliteration, and more.
I recently happened upon a wonderful example of a poetic, lyrical picture book text: A ROOM OF YOUR OWN: A STORY INSPIRED BY VIRGINIA WOOLF’S FAMOUS ESSAY by Beth Kephart, illustrated by Julia Breckenreid (Cameron Kids, 2022).
First, the concept is brilliant: talking about having a room of one’s own in which to dream and create, and then encouraging children to think about where their “room” might be, their place “to think, to dream, to be.”
Could it be under a table, in a hayloft, up a tree, or on a cool city stoop?
Second, the narrative is lyrical, poetic, and a beautiful example of a text that does not rely on rhyme yet is packed with so many other poetic elements. I now have it on my shelf to boost my creativity when I find myself leaning too heavily on rhyme!
I hope it inspires you, too, and that you have some sweet summer days ahead of you in a room of your own.
On Fridays, I love taking part in Poetry Friday when I can, where writers share resources about children’s poetry. This week, Mary Lee Hahn hosts the Poetry Friday Roundup today at her blog. Check out the celebration of poetry there today!