Well, consider me schooled. What a masterclass on the ins and outs of rhyming in picture books! Thank you Hena Khan for helping us think through reasons to (…and NOT to) rhyme in our stories. If you ever have wondered why agents and editors so often discourage submitting stories in rhyme, this talk has your name all over it.
Here are a few of the brilliant tidbits Hena covered:
🎶 Rhyme only when essential— if you can tell your stories without it, try that first
🎶 Hear the words sing: listen in your head, then out loud to yourself, then ask others read to you
🎶 Consider natural rhythms of language and styles of speaking, not just rigidly counting syllabics
🎶 Avoid forced phrasing, cliches, repetition in rhyme endings, and the dreaded “yoda rhyme”…!
🎶 Hena’s experiences adjusting and revising for rhyme in her own stories
Thank you for taking the time to share your expertise and heart, Hena! I’m so grateful to connect with you, especially at the close of this year. To celebrate and support Hena’s work, join me in pre-ordering her middle grade AMINA’S SONG coming out this March!
For quick reference, here are books discussed:
GOLDEN DOMES AND SILVER LANTERNS and CRESCENT MOONS AND POINTED MINARETS by @henakhanbooks, illustrated by Mehrkdokht Amini
LIKE THE MOON LOVES THE SKY by @henakhanbooks, illustrated by Saffa Khan
IT’S RAMADAN, CURIOUS GEORGE by @henakhanbooks
UNDER MY HIJAB by @henakhanbooks, illustrated by Aaliya Jaleel
A PLACE INSIDE ME by @zettaelliott, illustrated by @noadenmon
THE GRUFFALO by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Scheffler
Classic rhyming authors: Shel Silverstein, Bill Martin, Eric Carle, Sandra Boynton
(Conversation held on December 11, 2020 on IG Live @carolinepritchardwrites)