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MOWMT March 5: Lauren H. Kerstein Explores Space


Taking A Look at White Space

by Lauren H. Kerstein


I absolutely love the concept of white space. 

White space is:


  • A pacing tool.

  • A way to increase emotional resonance. 

  • A technique authors can use with their writing to leave space for the illustrator. 

  • A way for authors and illustrators to offer breathing room to their readers. 


It is a powerful tool to employ when we create. The following picture books are wonderful examples of the power of white space.


Just the title alone, “No Bunnies Here,” offers so much white space! It gives our imagination an opportunity to roam. And the actual book is equally as humorous and wonderful. Tammi left SO much room for Ross: 


If you want a bunny, you came to the wrong place. There are no bunnies here.


Phenomenal, right!



Just like fiction, white space can be a very powerful tool in nonfiction. 


Carnegie Hall welcomed artists of all skin colors, religions, and wealth. Every difference melted away the moment the curtains opened and music drifted across the stage.


Megan left lots of room for Katie to turn her beautiful words into the magical illustration on this spread.


I just love everything about this spread!



I work hard to avoid overwriting my text. I want to leave lots of white space to let social-emotional moments breathe. 


Sometimes hugs were better than words.








I was blown away by Nanette’s art throughout!


Children’s Books


The space between morning and evening stretches as wide as the space between the moon and the earth. Forever and ever and ever.











Stunning!



Christine used white space as a pacing tool and a way to increase resonance as the letters shifted from: 

Dear Mr. Graham” to “Dear Mr. G.” 













What a brilliant way to show the evolution of this beautiful relationship. 


If you are still confused about white space, check out any Mo Willems book. He is truly a white space wizard! 









I challenge you to play with white space in your writing and illustrating. Let your text breathe, leave space for your reader, play with pacing, and most importantly, have fun!


Prize: A 30-minute Zoom Critique/Consultation


Lauren is an author, psychotherapist, developmental editor, and NYT bestselling ghostwriter. She is the author of the Rosie the Dragon and Charlie picture book series, Home for A While, Remembering Sundays with Grandpa, Hope Rode (2025/Union Square Kids) and another picture book that will be out in 2025. Lauren also writes books in her field. Lauren is one of the founders of #ReVISIONweek, a judge with Rate Your Story, runs a critique business, ghostwrites, and is a long-time member of 12x12 and SCBWI. Her writing goals are simple. Read voraciously. Embrace feedback. Grow each day. Work hard. Be passionate. Write courageously. Touch children’s hearts. You can visit her at www.LaurenKerstein.net, and follow her on Twitter and IG (@LaurenKerstein) and FB (www.facebook.com/laurenkersteinauthor). 






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