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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Picture Book Prompt 45

“Sometimes all you can do is say, ‘Wow.’”
—Kevin Henkes

“Wow!” is the ultimate expression of awe and wonder. Think of some events and situations that a child might find to be worthy of a Wow! Dig deep and write about it.

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Picture Book Prompt 44

“Sometimes I don’t want to talk about it. Not to anyone. No one. No one at all.
I just want to think about it on my own.
Because it is mine. And no one else’s.”
—Michael Rosen’s Sad Book

Like adults, children sometimes need to be quiet, to feel and to process what they’re going through. Write about something that a child might not be ready to share, and what they might tell themselves about the situation.

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Picture Book Prompt 43

You can never read a poem too slowly, but you can certainly read one too fast.
—Stephen Fry

This is a reading prompt rather than a writing one! Find one of your favorite picture books and read it as slowly as you can. Stop at the end of each word. Stop at the end of each line. Read it. again. Feel the language!

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Picture Book Prompt 42

“Grown-ups do a lot of complaining!” —Dav Pilkey

Grown-ups really do complain a lot!
What is it that grown-ups might complain about? How might those complaints feel or sound like to a child?

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