Picture Book Prompt 27

At this age [3–4] children need to begin to experience that they “live in a body.”
Waldorf Games Handbook for the Early Years

What do you think could help children understand the body in which they live? Write about that.

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Picture Book Prompt 26

“Observe. Make notes. Listen carefully. Listen to how people talk to one another. A good writer is always a people watcher.”—Judy Blume

Make a commitment to take time observing the interaction between a child and an adult that you know, between two children, or between children and adults. Listen for words spoken, and watch for body language. Take notes!

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Picture Book Prompt 25

“I tell my students one of the most important things they need to know is when they are their best, creatively. They need to ask themselves, what does the ideal room look like? Is there music? Is there silence? Is there chaos outside or is there serenity outside? What do I need in order to release my imagination?”—Maya Angelou from a 1993 interview in The Paris Review

Spend some time figuring out when, where, and what you need to do your best writing. Consciously set out to create that environment for yourself.

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Picture Book Prompt 24

“I spent a number of years trying to remember what it was like to be a kid.”
—Jeff Kinney

Do you remember what it was like to be a kid?

Set a timer for fifteen minutes and mine your memory for events and for feelings.

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Picture Book Prompt 23

“Revision is all there is.”
–David Remnick

Revision, according to vocabulary.com, is “the act of revision or altering (involving reconsideration and modification).”

What is it that you have revised recently? A perspective, a belief, an activity or something more concrete. How might a child reconsider and modify something—their behavior, an activity, a creation like a block structure? Write about that.

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Picture Book Prompt 22

“EIGHT [-year-old] … thinks he knows more than he really does and often assumes a know-it-all tone of voice.”
–Arnold Gesell, The Child from Five to Ten

What are some things—both real and fantastical—that an eight-year-old might think they know but really get very wrong.

Set your timer for nine minutes and make a list.

Don’t stop until the timer goes off.

It’s okay if the list of things they think they know but don’t know gets very weird!

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Picture Book Prompt 21

“The first true storyteller is, and will continue to be, the teller of fairy tales.”
—Walter Benjamin

What is your favorite fairy tale? Re-tell it. Then check your telling against the original for both story and language.

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Picture Book Prompt 20

“Up the children went—and before they knew what had happened, there they were out in the sunshine, in a new and very strange land.”
—Enid Blyton, The Enchanted Wood

Make up a new and very strange land in which your character/s find themselves. Make sure you find an interesting way to get them into this strange land.

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Picture Book Prompt 19

“When I write I am always looking for the dramatic kernel of an event, the junctures of people’s lives when they go in one direction, not another.”
—Joyce Carol Oates

Sometimes it’s a small event that takes children in one direction as opposed to another. Write about what those might look like and about a story that might arise out of one of them.

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Picture Book Prompt 18

“There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep on rolling under the stars.”
—Jack Kerouac

What does it mean to ‘go everywhere’ from the perspective of a child? Write about it.

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