Posted by: nancyisanders | March 19, 2020

NF PB BIO Step 3

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NONFICTION PICTURE BOOK BIOGRAPHY Step 3
Now that you’ve brainstormed ideas for potential lesser-known famous women who did a big thing, it’s time to choose which one you actually want to write about.

Here’s the litmus test I did while I was at this stage.

TEST A
I searched on Amazon to see if there were any children’s books biographies about the one woman I was most interested in. THERE ISN’T. This is good because if there were already books about her, it’s not really a breakthrough topic to write another one. It might be a good topic to pitch to your editor if you are already working with an editor and they don’t yet have a book about this woman in their product line. But it wouldn’t be a BREAKTHROUGH topic to try to break into a publisher in general.

TEST B
I searched online to see if there was ANYTHING written about this woman anywhere. THERE IS. In fact, I found lots of little documentaries from her home town and from organizations in the field she worked in. I even found lots of quotes she said! This is key, because in ten minutes of searching online, I found enough research that I could use to write a picture book. This was important to me because I want to write this book fairly quickly and not spend several years digging through dusty archives. Plus, because this woman was famous in her local/national circle, this told me she was a big enough topic to write about.

TEST C
Was her record “clean” according to today’s culture and standards? For example, she didn’t own slaves, which would have been a very touchy issue in a current picture book to feature this woman as an outstanding role model but have this controversial part of her life to deal with.

TEST D
Was her claim to fame something that could be included in today’s classroom curriculum? Fortunately, it’s not hard to pass this test because even if a topic isn’t necessarily taught in today’s curriculum (such as being a famous ballerina or being a famous scuba diver), women who overcome great obstacles to be the first in their career or simply brave women role-models, are a tie-in automatically. Just be certain that the woman you choose to write about does fit in somehow with today’s curriculum standards. And if you really want to take this up a notch, choose an unsung woman hero to write about that supports STEAM…meaning she has a career in Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, or Math.


Responses

  1. Thank you for these test methods when researching a person of interest.

  2. Thanks for these good ways to test if a topic is one to pursue!

    • So glad you’re finding this helpful!


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