Picture Book Settings


Picturebook Settings

The setting of a picture book is important because it determines much of the illustrations. Picture Book Settings
When writing for kids, you walk a fine line between what is familiar v. exotic. Kids like the familiarity of neighborhoods, homes and schools. Yet, they also need to have their world expanded and literature is a great way to do that. Try to stretch the setting, yet keep something familiar.

Examples of Picture Book Settings

  • Where the The Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak, starts at home, sends the character out for a fantastic visit, then bring him back to the comfort of home again.
  • Think of the Caldecott-Honor picture book, King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub, by Audrey Wood, which uses the familiar ritual of a nightly bath, but turns it into something exotic.
  • Or, turn something exotic into something familiar, as in Rachel and Obadiah, by Brinton Turkle, which treats a Quaker family and a historical family as just a normal family.

Suggested Reading for Familiar v. Exotic

Visit your local library or a bookstore and study the settings of children’s picture books. Here are titles to get you started.


Combination of Familiar and Exotic

  • 19 Girls and Me by Darcy Pattison (school and imaginative play that takes the kids to exotic spots)
  • Diary of a Wombat by Jackie French (wombat interacts with humans)

Find this Helpful? Read the Complete Series as an Ebook:

How to Write a Children’s Picture Book Available Now!

The 30 Days to a Stronger Picture Book series has been collected into a Fiction Notes Ebook.

How to Write a Children's Picture Book by Darcy Pattison

Available on

Fiction Notes by Email

When a new post appears on Fiction Notes, we'll send it to you by email.
We love to make it easy for you!

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

1 Comment
  • Catherine
    September 28, 2008

    For Home, how about “The Snowy Day”?