Fun to Read, Fun to Create

Creating children’s books, especially illustrated books, requires many hands and many skills.

One of my favorite projects as a freelance editor has been Zack, You’re Acting Zany: Playful Poems and Riveting Rhymes (Standard Publishing, 2010). The author is Marty Nystrom, who wrote the worship song “As the Deer” and a hundred others. Steve Bjorkman, a talented artist with a long list of successful children’s book projects, created the illustrations.

Both gentlemen are mature Christian believers, and I enjoyed helping them team up on this wonderful book. Inside are 120 poems about New Testament people, events, and teaching–all combining wacky fun with faith and awe.

Locusts for Lunch

It’s gross enough
that John the Baptist
gobbled up grasshoppers.
But here’s what makes it even worse–
the kind he chomped were whoppers!

Steve’s kid-appealing art pairs perfectly with Marty’s laugh-out-loud poems. Everything’s planned to entice readers to dig into the Bible themselves to learn more. Like this tag line after “Locusts for Lunch”: “Read Mark1:6 to find out what else John ate.”

You can get a look inside Zack, You’re Acting Zany and read some of the poems here.

Here’s a snapshot of the process of creating this book:

After helping Marty decide on poems to add or delete and then working with him to polish the text, I sent the poems to Steve. Some illustrators want specific instructions, but Steve had great ideas of his own! I reviewed his sketches and approved his final art.

Then everything went to a designer who combined the art and text according to a basic design template they had developed earlier. I also worked with a proofreader, created the back cover and jacket text, and gave all the design files a final check. Then, off to the printer!

Marty and Steve first collaborated on Don’t Mess with Moses: Peculiar Poems and Rib-Tickling Rhymes in 2006. That one introduces kids to the Old Testament. My friend Laura Derico edited that project.

For read-aloud fun that will entice children 6 and up to investigate the Bible on their own, these books are a perfect pair!


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© 2012, Diane Stortz
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