will stick in your mind forever. You’ll have a nice time, then two years later you’ll be like ‘There
was a pony there? Really? And a clown with one leg?’
Write about a birthday party. See if it can become a picture book.
One that the protagonist attends as a guest, as a peer, a sibling, a grandparent—and or as the
person the party is for. One that was amazing or one that was challenging for the protagonist.
From Wobbleton to Wibbleton is fifteen miles.
From Wibbleton to Wobbleton,
From Wobbleton to Wibbleton,
From Wibbleton to Wobbleton is fifteen miles.
What happened on that journey from Wibbleton to Wobbleton?
And why was it undertaken?
Use the journey to structure a story.Read More
Tell the story of what happens one summer.
Summer camp, the period between kindergarten and first grade, the summer before kindergarten, or choose an aspect of summer that appeals to you and write about that.Read More
—John le Carré
Tell the story of a time when the cat sat on the dog’s mat.
Or tell the story of a time when the dog sat on the cat’s mat.
Or tell the story of a time when a child felt that their space had been invaded.
See if you can turn it into a picture book manuscript.Read More
1. Picture Books Aren’t Easy to Write. There’s this belief out there that picture books are easier to write than other books. But the truth is that picture books are subject—must be subject—to the same process of evaluation and creation as any other longer book. The idea has to be compelling, the characters have to…Read More
What do picture books and sonnets have in common? There are the obvious connections: wonderful language, the distillation of a concept, the rhythm, the (sometimes) rhyme. And the fact that both are made up of fourteen units. The sonnet is essentially a fourteen-line poem. That’s the important thing about a sonnet. And a picture book…Read More
You might have heard this story already. But it makes its point so beautifully, it’s worth repeating. A tourist stops a famous conductor on a street in Manhattan. The tourist doesn’t recognize the maestro and innocently asks how to get to Carnegie Hall. The conductor, without missing a beat, looks at him and says: “Practice.”…Read More
Writing from the heart is the only kind of writing that’s really worth anything. Your heart, as the truest, deepest part of you, is the source of writing that’s meaningful and valuable and transformative. And that’s the only kind of writing those of us who are in the business of making books for children should…Read More
Formatting your manuscript for maximum visibility Years ago, when I was an editor at Henry Holt and Company, a visiting author looked around my tiny, paper-laden office and indicated a pile of manuscripts. “Are those all the people who you’ve kept waiting for way too long?” He asked pointedly. “No” I replied, showing him a…Read More