I recently completed a writer’s course by correspondence and one of the books I enjoyed was “Writing Picture Books, A Hands-On Guide from Story Creation to Publication” by Ann Whitford Paul. The title says it all – hands on. The book is well designed and user friendly. There are short paragraphs of text with a heading that makes the book easy to reference and each chapter ends with exercises. The book takes you through the whole writing process including the process before you begin to write. One of the sections I found the most interesting involved different formats in which to write your book, for example as a series of letters back and forth or as a journal. I liked the way that this book made me think about different ways that books could be written and how to come up with ideas, for example, one of the exercises in the book is to observe something and Ms. Whitford Paul gives the example of describing your shoe. While this might seem like a mundane object, if you think about it, a shoe could have major importance in a story – after all Cinderella lost hers and it was the only clue that the prince had to find her. Shoes leave distinct prints, shoes sound different. Where I work at a senior’s home, residents often say that they know when I’m coming down the hallway because of the clickity click sound of my high heeled shoes. The book also asks questions which are helpful like “Does your book…” The use of you speaks to me the writer and I wonder does my book have this, or could I try this. This book gives good advice for any writer about the writing process. While it is geared to children’s books, understanding the writing process, story structure, good word choices and how to edit or get published is essential for all writers. The book’s use of examples, clear language and friendly style makes it a treasured reference on my bookshelf. It is also a quick read and its format makes you want to keep reading it. This is a great quality for a writing book because in order to complete the whole process, you need to know what to do and if you cannot bear to read the book, how are you ever going to get to the writing process.