Children and teenagers are some of the most devoted readers out there, but writing books for them is no mean feat. Popularly known as kids’ literature or kidlit, the best children’s books are grounded upon ideas that inspire and connect with them. Having a distinctive voice that sets you apart from other children’s books from the onset is a much-needed parameter. Brooke Van Sickle, author, writing coach, and children’s book publisher, teaches other aspiring authors to turn their books into reality.
Brooke decided to write children’s books at an early age but did not know how to go about it. Assuming that writing was not a lucrative career path, Brooke went to college for Fashion Designing instead of studying writing and later got a job as a retail manager. But what you’re meant to become has a way of manifesting itself. Realization hit her hard in the summer of 2018 when she decided to quit her job and take up full-time writing for children’s books. To get a grasp of things, she sought the help of a network of writers. After hundreds of hours of reading every craft book on children’s writing, attending conferences, and getting critiqued, she finally became a published author.
Journey to Publishing
In 2019, Brooke stepped into the business of writing with “Journey to Kidlit” after meeting many well-intentioned people with a story in their hearts but zero clue about how to turn that dream into a reality. They needed a platform to find answers, and Brooke set out to do just that – help writers get their children’s books written and ultimately published. She believes that even if you are a natural storyteller, there are still many fundamentals that one needs to learn to write a good book. Hence, Journey to Kidlit focuses primarily on writing techniques to churn out engaging and entertaining stories for young readers.
A book might be remarkable, but if nobody knows about it, the work is of no use. This was the underlying thought for Brooke founding BiblioKid Publishing, a hybrid publishing house that specializes in publishing children’s books. Apart from publishing, they also walk authors through the editing, illustration, printing, distribution, and marketing process to give their books the highest chance of success. To facilitate the process, Brooke has devised a 100-point checklist to ensure that the books she publishes are of a high standard.
Awards and Accolades
A three-time published children’s book author, Brooke’s first picture book Pirates Stuck at “C”: An Alphabet Adventure received a 2020 Purple Dragonfly Honorable Mention and was a finalist for the Nation Indie Excellence Award. Her second book, Humans in Training, won the Mom’s Choice Award, and her third outing, This is MY Castle, which provides young readers with important lessons on the value of sharing, playing, and working together, won the Independent Press Award for a distinguished favorite preschool picture book. Her books have received awards like the Moonbeam Children’s Awards, and the Independent Press Award for favorite children’s preschool picture books. Brooke is also the Assistant Regional Advisor (ARA) for Iowa SCBWI and a member of multiple publishing groups like IBPA, MiPA, & IPG.
Writing from the Heart
Writing requires honesty and, most importantly, vulnerability. After learning everything she could about writing children’s books, Brooke now imparts her wisdom to others. She believes that a distinct, authorial voice is what will appeal to children as they are mostly read out loud. “Like all other writing endeavors, this form also calls for practice and dedication. Having confidence in your abilities is a must. Dig deep to figure out what is special about your words and where your strengths lie. That would enable you to hone your existing skills and move forward in the right direction,” Brooke says.
To aspiring authors or those who are just starting, Brooke suggests that they get some knowledge and understand the dos and don’ts of writing. Because the structure is very important for any kind of literature for coherence. She also advises them to invest in themselves and keep growing as a person. The authors of children’s books should bear in mind that though kids only want to enjoy reading, by introducing them to literature, you are turning them into future readers. Therefore, if you want them to continue reading in life, you must give them something worth their time.
Leave a Reply