How do you show something can come from nothing? First, read the children's book (ages 4 to 8) titled, Something from Nothing, by Phoebe Gilman. Discuss the way the author unfolds the story. The story comes from an old folktale. A boy receives a blanket from his grandfather as a baby. The boy grows attached to this blanket. Like everything else in this universe, the blanket has a life span in the sense that eventually it wears out.
As the boy grows up, his grandfather takes the worn and frayed blanket, and makes it into a jacket that also becomes special to the boy. As the jacket frays with age, the grandfather makes a vest, then a tie, handkerchief, and finally a button.
Note how the item grows smaller and smaller as the boy grows older. The point is when the button is no more in sight, the grandfather, a creative man, always makes something.
When there's no material or tangible button in sight, the grandfather still can make something from what seems like nothing but actually is imagination or intelligence because the ending of the story emphasizes that you can make a story from nothing.
Actually, you get the feeling at the end of the story that the reason why you can make a story from nothing is that you don't need a piece of cloth (matter) to create something. All you need is intelligence and energy, which you have when you create a story from so-called (perceived) nothing. Your eyes deceive you, because you can create something from 'nothing.' You can write or voice a story.
That's the point you need to understand when you adapt or 'turn' your poems into children's stories. You need a message, a point of view, and a proverb. Then you turn your poems into a storybook for children.
The poem that has a message based on a proverb or old folktale with a point-of-view or universal value is the type of story you want to write. It's ageless, timeless, and can be used by teachers and parents for children's activities based on your story book about nutrition or animated characters that are trees, vegetables, flowers, or fruit.
As an activity, people who work with children can have their students guess the next item that will be sewn, grown, or built from this type of a story book. When you adapt your poem to a story, go from the largest to the smallest. Children need concrete items to handle such as story strips. You can create blocks of paper cut into strips so students can put the story in order of size or time like a puzzle. Maybe you want a fresh angle on making something small out of something big-such as a story set at a recycling machine depot. Cans are crushed and fashioned into toys or utensils.
Use your imagination to recycle these universal folk tales from around the world based on proverbs or concepts of creation. You're taking an abstract concept of creating something out of nothing and making your concept as concrete as possible by example and detail. You're illustrating making a button out of a blanket or a purse out of a sow's ear, or a story out of a proverb or poem. Children like concrete examples, even repetition of rhythm to make the story memorable.
Using Repetition and Rhythm in Children's Books for Ages 0-4 and Ages 4-8.
Children's books read by parents or preschool teachers such as bed-time story books emphasize illustration, rhythm, repetition and cadence. The picture is large and takes up most of the page. Text consists of one or two lines in large print at the bottom third or quarter of the page. The child looks at the picture while the adult reads the story.
Note that if you write a similar story for children ages four to eight, the words would take up to a paragraph per page. Text comes after the illustration and uses two-thirds of the page.
Look at text examples of picture pre-school books designed for children age four to eight to read. Adults would be reading to four-and-five year olds as children begin to read as early as kindergarten. By the first grade, these types of books can be used for interaction as the child reads some words and the adult helps the child sound out the words in relation to familiar illustrations.
The child soon associates the pictures with the large print words. Illustrations dominate the page, taking up two-thirds of each page or are placed on a two-page spread. Text consists of one or two sentences for younger children up to age four and two sentences to a short paragraph for children up to age eight.
Words are in the vocabulary usually used by teachers and publishers of children's books with mostly familiar words used. New words have a rhythmic sound or beat. Repetition of rhythm and action are used throughout the story book. In a nonfiction book, questions are asked and answered in large print, two-sentence paragraphs. Illustrations take up one-third to half the page in nonfiction, informational books for children aged four to eight.
When writing fiction for children or descriptive nonfiction, use rhyme and repetition or beat, rhythm and repetition so that each sentence has the same number of syllables or beat. As this type of writing is used so frequently in poetry, using your poems as an inspiration or source for children's story books keeps you aware of the beat, rhythm, or optional rhyme.
Use these children's stories that describe a familiar site to inspire you to write your own stories or adapt your poems to the reading level of young children by becoming aware of how well the rhythm of poems or the beat, such as hexameter, works in children's books, especially for the age four to eight set. Also, I've included some stories for 0 to age 4 children to be read by an adult.
When adapting your poems to books for children age 0 to 4, use texture, tone, and mood. The texture of the pages should be three-dimensional. Children should be able to touch and rub their fingers on the warm, fuzzy or quilted material on the cover or inside the book. Pop-up books are common.
You can also learn to design your own pop-up books by learning paper folding. Courses in adult education sometimes offer a course in hand-crafted gift book making. Using terry cloth or stuffed animals on the cover or pop-ups inside the book help to hold the attention of a child of preschool age as the adult reads the words.
Children feel and touch the texture, look at the illustrations and begin to associate the written word with the pictures. Storyline runs about one or two sentences per page for books published for children under age five. In books for children aged four to eight, text runs about a paragraph per page.
Keep paragraphs short and sentences very short-less than 10 words per sentence. Paragraphs consist of two sentences or three very short sentences that fit on the page under a large illustration that takes up at least two-thirds of the page. Text usually takes up the bottom quarter of the page with about an inch of space left under the text. These, usually hard-cover books for children aged four to eight run about 32 published pages in length. If you print your own books, be sure the cover is sturdy and waterproof.
Blank pages with textures or pop-ups, plus a hard cover increase the size and look of the book, which may be large in size, often 9 by 12 inches. The cover may have texture to touch such as a terry cloth animal or face, or may be smooth, waterproof, and colorful to hold attention. If you publish your own children's books, don't put a tiny illustration at the top and a whole page of text in the middle.
You'll find that distributors and bookstores won't stock children's books that have too much text. You can't use the excuse that your book is meant to be read by adults. Books are for children to look at. And young children's brains are hard-wired to look at large pictures and one or two sentences of text.
Children in the middle grades of elementary school enjoy books with two sentences to a paragraph of text at the bottom of the page. If the child is an avid reader at age eight, the child will gravitate toward large print books with illustrations and an impelling story line, including adventure and historic themes.
For older children, readers want to become engrossed in the story and characters that drive the story. Note the popularity Harry Potter and Goosebumps series. The storyline engrosses the reader and is back up with high media coverage and publicity reaching the circles where children are present and paying attention.
The artist has free reign to illustrate the book so that the picture describes the one-sentence text. For example in the left hand column, we see the number one. This refers to page one. The left hand, larger column contains the one-sentence of text.
The artist then knows to place the illustration for the first page above the line of text, and the publisher's book designer knows how many pages will be in the book. In some books, a publisher may ask for one sentence or one paragraph on each page, whereas another publisher may place two paragraphs on one page. Under each page of illustration one or two lines of text may be placed.
Blank pages may be inserted by the publisher to fill out the rest of the book and include a title page with the publisher's information. Keep the book pages containing text and illustration an even 16 to 32 pages for children aged up to four. For readers aged four to eight, use the 32 published pages format.
For children ages 9-12, the 32 page format may increase to 64 pages. Each publisher may be different in the number of pages specified as how many pages to insert text on, with instructions to the artist. Sometimes an illustration spreads across two pages.
The artist may increase the size of the book. The book designer may insert more pages for publisher's address or the title page. If you're publishing your own book, allow pages for the title, name and address of publisher with ISBN and/or Library of Congress number, and any illustration or textures inserted in the book. Some books may come with a CD pouch on the back inside cover of the book. Use this only if you're including an interactive, multimedia CD or DVD with your children's book.
If you publish your own book, obtain an ISBN and EAN Barcode. International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a number issued by the R.R. Bowker Agency that is used to classify and track a given title. The majority of bookstore chains, wholesalers, and distributors track titles solely with the 10-digit ISBN. Place the ISBN on the publications page of your book. Put the EAN Barcode on your book's back cover. For further information on obtaining an International Standard Book Number (ISBN), see the ISBN website.
In this chapter's story samples, observe the format of how the book pages are numbered when submitting to a publisher or printer. In one column, you see the page number. Each page contains only one sentence of text. The rest of the page instructs the artist and publisher to insert a colorful illustration on the particular page numbered in the left-hand column.
Two tabs are skipped and the sentence of text is placed in the right hand, larger column. In the story below, the text part of the book submitted by the writer for publication takes only 30 pages for the rhythmic, short text.
The first two pages are left blank for the artist and publisher's input, totaling 32 pages for the book. You have 30 pages of actual story writing or adapting your poem, plus two pages left for publisher's information. Page one is labeled 'cover' and page 2 is left blank. Page 3 begins the story or poem's actual words. Page 3 repeats the book title and contains the sentence, "You have two eyes." Starting with page 4, the alphabet is introduced and follows through A to Z. The book uses non-rhyming, but rhythmic text with a steady beat that can be set to music if the content were put on a multimedia CD. I adapted the words that run in alphabetical order to a children's book format from one of my free-form poems written back in 1959.
Your own stories may be written in the form of a book or adapted to musical narration and put on a CD for interactive use as learning materials or for listening. With added video clips, a DVD may be produced. Illustration on a DVD would become animation. You'd team up with an animation cartoonist or animator, and your book format would be adapted to animation script format.
See this book's chapter 3 on writing animation scripts with animation script sample. Use branding techniques on your poems. See chapter 2 on branding and creativity. I give poetry a mascot, the cat because poems have at least nine lives. Your poems can be adapted to at least nine formats in order to make them salable and competitive in the publishing world.
A poem has at least nine lives-
1. Text-formatted published children's book or pop-up book (as you see below)
2. Cartoon-style animation on DVD
3. Graphic novel as in a comic book
4. Puppet theater, narration with music on a CD or read as an audio book
5. Recited publicly in a theater, auditorium or club as poetry or monologue
6. Toy, such as stuffed animal, doll, house, robot, or action figure
7. Computer or Video action game
8. Song lyrics set to music, MTVs, musical skits, rap, and advertising jingles.
9. Learning materials and interactive multimedia for school subjects such as science or even infomercials played at events, expos, trade shows, product demonstrations in department stores, and broadcasted at conventions, video-streamed online with avatars (robotic personalities online), or podcasted on the Web as MP3 files or syndicated internationally online as feel-good poems or humor on RSS feeds.
Start with a poem suitable for the high-school age student or younger. Look up the terms if anything is to general or abstract. Change the word to a more concrete, detail-oriented word, and expand the key idea into a 32-page children's story or storybook as practice or an exercise in using poetry with arcane or researchable words to simplify and define for a children's story or picture storybook.
Who made something out of nothing? One day an entity created intelligence. Intelligence created energy. And energy created matter. Then matter created parallel universes, all with different laws of physics. And on the farm, intelligence created the idea of life. And life could not be contained. So life expanded through wormholes to all the universes.
Intelligence created gravity. And gravity leaked from one universe to this universe, creating a weaker force. So something always came from nothing, because at the root of nothing always is intelligence.