How Many Pages in a Children’s Picture Book? Printing Methods Determine the Answer


I recently watch Miss Potter, the movie based on the life of children’s book author and illustrator Beatrix Potter. It’s a fascinating look at the life of one of the all-time best selling authors of children’s books. When my children were small, I read The Tale of Peter Rabbit to them so many times that […]

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Rhyming Dictionaries


Yesterday, I was working on a picture book with rhyme in it. Now, I have two great rhyming dictionaries that I use. Yes, two. Because they are organized differently and provide slightly different answers. In addition, I use, because again, it’s organized slightly different and has slightly different answers. But my dictionaries are old […]

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Revising a Picture Book: Length, Common Core, Details and Research

Classroom reading center: Will your picture book be useful in the classroom?

I just did a quick revision of a picture book that’s in progress. Shorter. One goal was to shorten the story whenever possible. I cut out an entire page, and an entire sentence. Doesn’t sound like much? At only 700 words, the story is as streamlined as I can make it. Well, no. I just […]

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NonFiction Picture Books: Research Required

March 2014 picture book,

How much research do you need to do for a children’s nonfiction picture book? Tons! Nonfiction means that you have the facts straight, ma’am. 3 sources agree. Traditionally, writers look fora at least three sources to back up each piece of information. This means the content isn’t just a personal opinion or a poorly researched […]

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Nonfiction Picture Books: 7 Choices


I’ve written before about writing a children’s picture book in this 30 Days to a Stronger Picture Book Series and the basics remain true. However, nonfiction picture books are currently getting a fresh look, mostly because of the education reforms known as Common Core. It requires elementary students to read 50% nonfiction, 50% fiction. That […]

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The Oldest Mother in the World Wins Book Award

Wisdom and her mate prepare to begin their first shift of incubation, Photo credit: Pete Leary, USFWS

Wisdom, the Midway Albatross, the subject of my 2012 picture book has returned to Midway Island and laid a new egg. She was banded by Chandler Robbins on December 10, 1956 while sitting on an egg and presumed to be a minimum of five years old. That makes her at least 62 years old–and she’s […]

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Picture Book Idea Month 2011

Logo art by

After flirting with the idea of doing NaNoWriMo, I decided instead to do PiBoIdMo, or Picture Book Idea Month, the 30 days of November in which I am supposed to come up with 30 picture book ideas. It makes sense. I am attending the SCBWI Eastern NY Falling Leaves Master Class retreat where five picture […]

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Picture Book Revision Takes 25 Years

Writing is rewriting Guest post by Anastasia Suen For years I have been saying that writing is rewriting, and now I have a book that shows it quite clearly, my new picture book, Road Work Ahead (Viking 2011). This picture book is short, like most of my books. It’s only 120 words, but those words […]

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99 Picture Books to Study

Over at Playing by the Books, the UK blogger (bilingual Dutch/English), is talking about picture books. The UK Secretary for Education, Michael Gove has suggested that kids read at least 50 books a year. Playing by the Books took up the challenge: I approached six brilliant UK-based illustrators and asked them to contribute towards a […]

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How To Write A Picture Book: Resources

12 Updated Resources for 2011 State of the industry. First, a basic question: Are picture books dead? Not according to Karen Springen and PW. Don’t Write the Obit For Picture Books Yet, By Karen Springen, Dec 12, 2010 Writing Encouragement. Natl Pic Book Writing Week May 1-7, 2011 National Picture Book Writing Week is a […]

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STOP! Cut Picture Book Mss by 1/3

Stop! Before you send out that picture book manuscript, cut it by at least one-third. Really. Make that revision. Biggest Mistake in Picture Book Manuscripts I recently read a picture book manuscript from a novice writer and it had the usual problem: too long. In a picture book manuscript, every word counts, so you must […]

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Animals Stand in for Kids

I’m currently revising a picture book and finding it to be a bit tricky because I created animal characters. Of course, in a fiction picture book, animal characters are often just stand-ins for kids. Why Use an Animal Character in a Fictional Picture Book? Get Rid of Adults. I wanted to have two characters playing […]

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Revise: Remember the 4 Sources of Conflict

Conflict, the type that motivates and moves a plot, comes from four sources. Yesterday, an editor asked for revisions on a very short piece which was meant for a kindergarten or first grade audience. The editor didn’t like the competitiveness between siblings. But when she contemplated taking out that conflict, she correctly understood that the […]

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Simple Narrative Arcs, 2


Narrative Arc in Less Than 100 Words: Example 2 Very simple picture books still have a narrative arc, even though the word count is extremely small. Yesterday, we looked at an example of a great simple narrative in My Friend, Rabbit. Today, here’s a look at a narrative arc in 80 words (with the help […]

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Simple Narrative Arcs, 1


Narrative Arc in Less Than 100 Words: Example 1 Very simple picture books still have a narrative arc, even though the word count is extremely small. Here’s a look at a narrative arc in 80 words (with the help of some illustrations), as it appears in My Friend, Rabbit, by Eric Rohmann, winner of the […]

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