SEA GIRT — “Is it easier to draw a picture or write a story?” asked best-selling picture book author, Beth Ferry, of fourth and fifth grade students at the Sea Girt Elementary School on March 10. It was not your typical book-reading by a published author. The visit, instead, was a dynamic of question-and-answer conversations and personal story-telling on the secrets to writing, illustrating and publishing stories.
The students got a chance to listen to the reading of their favorite book “The Scarecrow” by its beloved author. However, what led the visit for most of its entirety were the questions the students asked as to what made The Scarecrow, Stick and Stones or Land Shark ‘’come alive and catch on.” Here were some of these questions.
Asked how she writes her books, Ms. Ferry replied, “Conversations.”
“As a writer, I’m just writing dialogue, conversations. I’m not writing a narrative,” she added. “I don’t have to describe what anything looks like because the pictures do all the work. It [picture books] is so illustration heavy.”
Ms. Ferry pointed to fan fiction as a great way to get started in writing and drawing. “Taking a story that you know and continuing it on.” Graphic novels are another example she gave to get started with writing, where the whole story is moved by dialogues or conversation among characters.
The difference between graphic novels and picture books, according to Ms. Ferry, is that picture books are meant to be read aloud. For this reason, she said, picture books are like community books. They engage not only the child, but the parent, teachers, libraries and the school in deciding what picture books they would buy and read to their children.
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