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

5 responses to “Picture Book Settings”