In search of picture book ideas
November is a month swarming with picture book ideas. Why? Well, it’s Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo) and there are hundreds of children’s book writers focused on the single task of coming up with ideas for picture books. Often, when writing for children, writers pick up the trail of fairy tales.
Where to find picture book ideas
Picture book ideas are found everywhere from the mundane events of daily life to the vast richness of historical events. Coupled with a dose of wonder, you’ll find picture book ideas ranging as far as the planets and as close as the blade of grass under your toes.
Fairy Tales and Fables – A wealth of picture book ideas
For centuries writers have drawn from the deep well of fairy tales. Not just the Brothers Grimm but from fairy tales the world over. I remember as a child gobbling up those big books of fairy tales bound by countries. I particularly enjoyed the French fairy tales but there are many others. Take a look at Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears: A West African Tale.
History – The mother of many picture book ideas
You don’t have to go that far down memory lane to find picture book ideas but you certainly can. Look at the constant delight children find in the age of dinosaurs. Many children’s book authors have found history to be a treasure trove of picture book ideas and often add a dash of whimsy. See The Knight and the Dragon.
The Back Yard – Daily inspiration found outside for picture book ideas
Let’s face it, the backyard is the arena for children when they go outside. Exploration and curiosity fuel a sense of wonder. Look at the success of the Ladybug Girl series and read more about The Ladybug Girl series.
Stories we tell our children – Easy source of picture book ideas
There’s not a grandmother around who hasn’t told a story of some kind to a grandchild. This is an easy source of inspiration for picture book ideas. Bedtime stories often provide the kernal of great picture book ideas. George Sand’s hours of telling tales to her grandchildren led to The Castle of Pictures: A Grandmother’s Tales .
Family history – Generational stories become picture book ideas
We all grow up with stories handed down from generation to generation. Tales of our grandmothers and grandfathers, stories from the lives of our parents. All these can provide the fodder for picture book ideas. Laura Ingalls Wilder fictionalized the tales from her family to create the children’s classic A Little Prairie House.
Holidays – Plumb the well of holidays for picture book ideas
Holidays provide a great resource for picture book writers and they are attractive to publishers. After all, the holidays come around every years. Take a peek at The First Thanksgiving: A Lift-the-Flap Book
A child’s life – Life Lessons start early to offer picture book ideas
Daily family life – Nonstop source of picture book ideas
Let’s not forget the antics of our beloved pets and children. Years ago Erma Bombeck made a career telling stories on her own family. Today you’ll find picture book writers drawing on their own experiences and that of their family like that depicted in Boom! Boom! Boom!
Science and Nature – The sciences offer many picture book ideas
Not all picture books have to be fiction. Many successful picture book ideas come from a writer taking science and breaking it down for young readers. Take a look at Motion: Push and Pull, Fast and Slow and Lightning.
When it comes to nature you’ll find many books about bugs. Kids are simply fascinated with bugs. They love bugs. There are books about butterflies, of course, as well as books about those workaholic ants and, as mentioned above, even more books about the lovable ladybugs. What else in nature continues to delight small children?
Real life events – Picture book ideas are often drawn from real life.
Whether it’s your own personal story or that of someone else, real life is jam-packed full of story ideas and many can easily be translated into picture books. Twelve year-old Xan Hoffcraft did just that in his personal retelling of his life with a cheetah in How it Was With Dooms: A True Story from Africa.
My PiBoIdMo Update
Why am I fixated on picture book ideas? Well, I’m currently participating in PiBoIdMo so I’m trolling daily for picture book ideas. These ten categories for sources of picture book ideas have helped me in the past so I thought I would share them. My first three ideas this year have been culled from history. What about you? What creative wells do you draw from when you are on the hunt for picture book ideas?
Share your thoughts and ideas below as I love to hear from my readers. (You might want also want to read about the way picture book writing helps writers.