It’s funny how much…

It's funny how much there is to learn about even something as apparently simple as an alphabet book. For example, talking to Bob and looking at reviews online, here are some elements that can help make a good alphabet book:

  • each picture focuses on one large item that corresponds to a letter in the alphabet
  • other items starting with that letter appear in the picture
  • there's an implied story from beginning to end of the book, although it may be slight
  • characters and objects from one page show up on other pages through the book, creating continuity
  • humor is always good
  • an element of fantasy can be fun
  • colors probably shouldn't be too garish
Fascinating. This is an area I really know nothing about. If any of you have any additional thoughts on what makes a good alphabet book, I'd love to hear them!

Also, if I do this, I'll probably do it under a slightly different name, so kids don't accidentally run across the smut. I'm thinking Amirthi Mohanraj -- Amirthi is my middle name, and what I'm known by in the Sri Lakan Tamil community. Do you think that's too hard for Westerners to remember, though? I could also do M.A. Mohanraj, M. Mohanraj, A. Mohanraj, or something else entirely. What do you think?

Fun project! :-)

6 thoughts on “It’s funny how much…”

  1. For whatever it is worth, I think the name Mary Anne Amirthi would be good. Then there is no danger of children finding your work that you would prefer that they did not. I have been in public libraries where everything with your last name seemed to be blocked.

  2. Mary Anne Mohanraj

    Hmm…but Amirth’s not a last name — for any Tamil readers, it would be like going by the full name ‘Betsy Sue’ Painfully cutesy. I could do something like Amirthi Mohan, maybe? Hmm… Or just pick a new last name altogether. Hmm…I could even do Amirthi Whyte. (Kevin’s last name.) Now *that* would be funny.

  3. If you are publishing for little ones, I would suggest textures for the pages or even a pop-up. Really cool pop-ups are the rage amongst kids these day. Last time I went to B & N they had a section devoted to pop-ups. But that is just the school teacher in me. If your worried about parents and your “smut”, I did a google search on Amirthi Mohanraj and your journal comes up. I would recommend going with a pen name not mentioned in your journal if you are worried about what parents make think. If you do go head with this project, let me know and I would gladly use the book in my classroom to broaden the horizons of young impressionable minds!!!

  4. For your target audience, I’m guessing Amirthi Mohanraj is fine. Otherwise, I’d suggest considering Anne Mohanraj. (But then I’ve always liked the way another author’s books formed an age-appropriateness chain from Manus Pinkwater to D. Manus Pinkwater to Daniel M. Pinkwater.)

  5. Mary Anne Mohanraj

    I’m not so much worried about what parents will think as just wanting a different name for library searches. If a kid searches for “Amirthi Mohanraj” ’cause they liked my last book under that name, it’d be good if _Aqua Erotica_ didn’t come up, I think. 🙂 I’m not really worried about Google searches and the like — that’s pretty impossible to control, since it just takes one person posting that X and Y author are really the same person to make the link, regardless of what name I choose. The separate name would be just for library notation, really.

    I think if I used Kavi’s name she’d be really mad at my later if she wanted to be a writer. 🙂

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