Picture Book Prompt 55

“In fact, the nagging (well-meant correction) of a tense parent may often increase rather than decrease the child’s thumb-sucking or nail-biting or whatever it is that you object to.”
—Frances L. Ilg, Louise Bates Ames, Sidney M. Baker


A classic conflict. Write a story or explore the subject of nail-biting, thumb-sucking, nose picking, eye blinking—or another behavior that occurs to you—from the point of the parent who is trying to stop it and/or the point of view of a child for whom the behavior is a way of managing their stress and tension.

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Picture Book Prompt 54

“There are two kinds of people in the world … and who is not both of them?”
—James Richardson


We, as humans, are nothing if not contradictory. How might those contradictions look in the life of a child? How might they play out?

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Picture Book Prompt 53

“A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.”—Roald Dahl


What does ‘a little nonsense’ look like to you? What might it look like to a 6-year-old?
Write about it!

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Picture Book Prompt 52

“I don’t wait for inspiration. I’m not, in fact, quite sure what inspiration is, but I’m sure that if it is going to turn up, my having started work is the precondition of its arrival.” —Quentin Blake


Just write! Sit down right now and write about inspiration and your relationship with it. Create a writing practice and stick with it.

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Picture Book Prompt 51

“If we want interesting characters to appear, first we have to understand them: see them through the eyes of the imaginary beings that surround them, find out what those beings think of them, explore the world in which they operate …”—Martin Solares


Invent a character. Now look at them through the eyes of other characters who people your picture book. You could also look at them from the point of view of some well-known picture book/story book/fairy tale characters. What would Goldilocks think about them, for example?

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Picture Book Prompt 50

“In this modern world, where activity is stressed almost to the point of mania, quietness as a childhood need is too often overlooked. Yet a child’s need for quietness is the same today as it has always been—it may even be greater—for quietness is an essential part of all awareness. In quiet times and sleepy times, a child can dwell in thoughts of his own and in songs and stories of his own.”—Margaret Wise Brown


Margaret Wise Brown was writing more than 70 years ago, and life has only become more noisy since then. Write a manuscript that celebrates quietness—or that questions noise.

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Picture Book Prompt 49

Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockle shells
And pretty maids all in a row
—Nursery rhyme


What does it mean to be contrary? Create a character who is “contrary” or who seems to be contrary (but isn’t from their own perspective).

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Picture Book Prompt 48

The Very Hungry Caterpillar story is about hope. You, like the little caterpillar, will grow up, unfold your wings and fly off into the future. —Eric Carle


Unfolding your wings and flying off into the future can be enormously exciting and deeply scary to a small child. Write about both the embrace of independence and the fear.

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Picture Book Prompt 47

A hero needs two things: a loyal friend and a tireless enemy.
—Fernando Savater

What might a loyal friend look like to a five-year-old? How about a tireless enemy?

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Picture Book Prompt 46

Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockle shells
And pretty maids all in a row.
—Nursery rhyme

Write about a character who is “contrary,” whatever that might mean to you.

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