Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Rhythm and the Rhyme

Celebrated Australian children's book author Mem Fox spoke along with noted English illustrator Helen Oxenbury at the Washington Post on Monday, October 13 in honor of their newly released picture book, Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes. Talking with energy and animation, Fox discussed the secrets of writing for children, to a group of about 200 book lovers.

Both presenters gave a captivating behind-the-scenes look at the book's origins and offered insightful answers to questions fielded by the audience. Fox has written 30 picture books for children, many having sold more than a million copies.

When talking about the secrets of writing successful books for children, Fox noted that kids want to be assured that they are loved. "They love rhyme, rhythm and repetition", she said "because it's predictable. It makes them feel safe," she added. When adults write for children, Fox claims, they must get the rhythm right. One way to get it is through reading aloud. Mem Fox is the author of Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever.

The reception was sponsored by several DC area non-profits including The Children's Book Guild of Washington, DC; Reach Out and Read; DC Learns, The Reading Connection and The Women's National Book Association, who among other things supports the role of women in the community of the book.