Books by Sheryl Haft
On Becoming a Children's Picture Book Author
I received my first camera at age 8. Even as a young child, I sensed that the very best and most beautiful moments are often fleeting.
My birthday party that year was a “trick photography” jaunt in my family’s backyard, where we giggled through trying to make friends look as though they were standing in a shoe. Or cut in half behind a tree. Later, my brother and I took up movie-making, filming highly theatrical train robbery scenes on our little patch of front lawn.
Becoming a mother, I nurtured that irresistible urge to capture the beauty and wonder of my daughters’ childhoods; their wild and wonderful imaginations and silly humor. While film and photography remained a natural medium, I found I needed words and stories.to elevate and deepen my want of expression. I started writing. First to share with my own children and then as a craft that I was passionate to explore.
I enrolled in writing classes. Poetry workshops. Even workshops for illustrators, to better understand the flow and magic of a picture book. I joined writing groups. Attended conferences. Got an agent.
Most importantly, I just loved the community I became a part of and the work of capturing and creating an emotional experience with brevity. Picture books are typically only about 500 words. My first published book, I Love You, Blankie is a mere 83. But there are a lifetime of other words and feelings in there that also tell the story: Joy. Beauty. Freedom and imagination. Security and love. That’s the challenge and wonder of writing for children.