Posted by: nancyisanders | December 11, 2013

Nonfiction Picture Book: Build Your Research Library

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Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Alfred Whital Stern Collection of Lincolniana.

Welcome back to our nonfiction picture book journey! I know many of you are eager to get back in gear for learning more about the process you can take to write a nonfiction picture book from beginning to end.

If you’re just joining in on my site, you can start the journey at the beginning by visiting my post, Nonfiction Picture Book: Let’s Get Motivated!

And hopefully you’ve had lots of time to go to the library and gather a whole bunch of children’s books on your topic as I suggested in the last post I made about our journey together to write a nonfiction picture book, Nonfiction Picture Book: Gather REsearch Books.

I thought you’d like to know the general topic I picked to write about: Abraham Lincoln. He’s definitely a Top 100 topic that every kid learns about in elementary school. Not only was he one of the Presidents they study when they learn about Presidents, but he was also a central figure in the Civil War that they learn about when they study the Civil War.

So I have a full totebag of children’s library books I checked out that are all about Abraham Lincoln.

I hope you have a full totebag of library books about your topic as well. Plus, I hope you’ve had time to read through a bunch of them and get a good feel for your topic. If not, now’s a good time to catch up.

Here’s the next pre-writing exercise I suggest that you do:
Pick 5-10 of the best of these children’s books to purchase to build your own research library on your topic. Buy these used on Amazon.com, look for them at a library’s used bookstore, or ask for them on your Christmas wish list! You should probably be able to get a good stack for $25 or less. This is well worth that price! But try not to spend much more than that right now…you’ll have more expenses later.

To learn more about WHY I recommend purchasing books to build your own research library and HOW to do this, read Section 3.4 Your Personal Research Library on page 49 in my book Yes! You Can Learn How to Write Children’s Books, Get Them Published, and Build a Successful Writing Career.

So…look over those library books carefully and choose the core children’s books you plan to use for your research. If you’re not sure about how much you’ll need to rely on some of the titles, just make a mental note to examine them more closely as you actually delve more deeply into this writing project. You can always purchase them later.

Or if you feel the books you have don’t really seem strong enough to use as your main research for children’s references, go on Amazon or back to your library’s system to look for other potential books that can be your anchors for your research. Again, 5-10 solid references in children’s books are a good number to start with to purchase for your own research library.


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