HIYAS is OMF Lit’s imprint for children’s books. We have been encouraged by the growing popularity of the HIYAS list—books for beginning readers through to young teens, in English, or Filipino, or both.
Writers for the HIYAS list should be members-in-good-standing of Bible-believing churches.
We are looking for original and interesting manuscripts, fiction or non-fiction, written in Philippine context for Filipino—or Asian—children. These manuscripts will be written for one of the following age-groups: 4–6yrs.; 6–8yrs.; 8–12yrs.; or young teens.
We have discovered that many writers and would-be-writers assume it is easier to write for children than for adults. Please don’t make this mistake. Dig deep and bring out your best work.
Many books on the HIYAS list may teach a Christian value, trust in God, helpfulness, honesty, prayer, etc. But we hope all our books will be enjoyable to read, and not in any way preachy. Many books may re-tell stories from the Bible—but we hope HIYAS’ writers will bring their best creativity to the task—and use a variety of types and styles of writing. We will look for subjects not yet covered in our list, dealt with appropriately for the chosen age-group, and written with good choice of vocabulary, in an appropriate tone, and so forth.
The following list outlines some of the variety of books we look forward to publishing for children and young teens:
1. Stories (true-to-life or fictional) that draw children to trust God. Stories about:
- God’s love
- God’s protection
- God’s provision
- God’s power
- God’s good plans for the future
- God’s answer to prayer
2. Stories that show children the beauty of God’s creation in:
- people groups and races
3. Stories that teach obedience to the Ten Commandments
4. Stories that instill love for country
5. Stories that teach Christian values like:
- giving and sharing
- respect for elders and people of authority
- helping one another
- sacrificial giving
- acceptance of one another’s differences
- trusting one another
- value of work
- practice leads to improvement
- loving your enemies
- sanctity of life
- other biblical values
6. Stories that make children appreciate their bodies as God’s beautiful creation—so
they must take care of their bodies.
7. Stories that encourage kids to:
- discover their God-given abilities
- be curious and creative
- enrich their imagination
- learn good habits
Do contact the editors at OMF Lit by emailing publications[at]omflit[dot]com if you are serious about writing for HIYAS. Be prepared for some hard work ahead. The writer will be expected to do as much as possible of his or her own rewriting to polish each HIYAS gem.
May we encourage you to read widely and study prize-winning children’s books, especially fiction. Eleanor Trotter* suggests five elements she would expect to find in a good book:
- A good plot — conflict within a story leading to drama, or a series of dramas. Someone faces overwhelming obstacles but, after considerable suspense, manages to overcome them.
- Wide vocabulary and well-chosen words — what the French call le mot juste, with little redundancy of speech.
- Originality — the ideas are different, the story is fresh, the pages lead the reader to discover ‘pastures new.’
- Dialogue that is real and natural, not stilted. Good writers are good observers and reporters. It was said of Jane Austen that she fell silent and observed the people around her.
- Clarity of thought — A good example of this is when someone like C. S. Lewis, with a mind honed by classics training, puts into words what others can describe only vaguely.
Writing for picture books requires special teamwork between artist and storyteller. Again, please contact the editors at OMF L it to discuss your project ideas—we may be able to set up a partnership with an artist so you can plan your story together.
Obviously there is no need to speak about the Emperor’s purple coat if the artist will paint it purple—the words used to describe the coat color could be used instead to give some other important detail. However, it is also satisfying for the child reading the text to see how text and artwork combine and reinforce one another. Make the most of the partnership.
If you have ideas—sketch them out in storybook form. Remember that children’s books are often set in 32-page or 64-page format, including title and copyright page.
See also: Guidelines for Writers