Tips and Tricks for Writing a 32 Page Illustrated Picture Book for Kids
You have a great idea for a children’s picture book, but you have questions.
Darcy Pattison, author of a dozen picture books explains the craft of writing children’s picture books. Each section includes simple tips gleaned from classic books and then applies it to your writing with practical tricks. Take your story from idea to polished manuscript, and understand the process for submitting to publishers.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
PICTURE BOOK BASICS
- Picture Book Structure: Why 32 Pages?
- Does EPUB Change the 32-page Illustrated Picture Book?
- Dual Audience for Children’s Picture Books
- Picture Book Settings: Exotic v. Familiar
- Children’s Picture Book Characters: Folk Tale or Modern Story
PICTURE BOOK GENRES
- How to Write a Children’s ABC Book
- How to Write a Read Aloud Friendly Book
- How to Write a Rhyming Picture Book, Part 1
- How to Write a Rhyming Picture Book, Part 2
- Rhyming Picture Book Bibliography
- How to Write a Poetry Collection Picture Book
- How to Write a Picture Book Mystery
- How to Write a Humorous Picture Book
- How to Write a Children’s Picture Book Biography
- How to Write a Creative Non-Fiction Picture Book
- How to Write a Metafiction Picture Book
WRITE A PICTURE BOOK
- Good Writing: The Basics
- Plotting a Picture Book
- Plan Your First Draft
- 17 Picture Book Topics to Avoid
- 10 Suggested Directions for Titles
- Did You Write a Picture Book or Magazine Article?
- Let’s Make a Dummy or a Mock-up of Your Picture Book
- From Shakespeare: 2 Ways to Look at Picture Book Structure
- Revising Your Picture Book Text
- 5 Ways to Make the Reader Turn the Page
- Phonics for Picture Book Writers
- Create a Compelling Voice for a Picture Book
- Page 32: The Last Page of a Picture Book
SUBMIT YOUR PICTURE BOOK
- The Self-Publishing Question
- The Biggest Mistake You Can Make in Submitting a Picture Book
- The Illustrator Doesn’t Tell YOU What to Do
- Titles and Subtitles Sell Your Work
- How Do I Find an Editor’s Name for Submission?
APPENDIX: BONUS WORKSHEETS are included in the pdf file.
- What is the biggest mistake you can make in submitting a picture book? Submitting with illustrations. Editors don’t want to see your illustrations unless you’re a professional artist. And then, they’d like to see your portfolio, first.
- Who is the audience of a children’s picture book? Hint: It’s not just kids. There’s a dual audience for picture books, the adult and the child-in-the-lap. You must write for both.
- Are there restrictions on the vocabulary you use in a picture book? No. Only books meant for early readers need to follow certain rules about vocabulary. And that’s a very specialized market that you’re not likely to write for.
- Do I have to write in rhyme? Do manuscripts written in rhyme sell better? No. In fact, many editors prefer books that are in prose. For one thing, rhyme is hard to translate for today’s international market.
- Do EPUB books have to the same length as printed books? No! ePubs can be of any length!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Children’s book author Darcy Pattison has written a dozen picture books, which have received starred reviews, awards, and acclaim from parents and kids.
Her picture books include:
- I Want a Dog: My Opinion Essay (Mims)
- I Want a Cat: My Opinion Essay (Mims)
- My Crazy Dog: My Narrative Essay (Mims)
- Abayomi, the Brazilian Puma: The True Story of an Orphaned Cub, an NSTA 2015 Outstanding Science Trade Book (Mims)
- Wisdom, the Midway Albatross: Surviving the Japanese Tsunami and Other Disasters for Over 60 Years, a starred review in Publisher’s Weekly (Mims)
- Desert Baths (Arbordale), an NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Book 2013
- Prairie Storms (Arbordale)
- 11 Ways to Ruin a Photograph (Mims)
- The Journey of Oliver K. Woodman (Harcourt) Irma Simonton Black Honor Book, starred reviews in Kirkus and BCCB, published in an HMH reading textbook.
- Searching for Oliver K. Woodman (Harcourt)
- 19 Girls and Me (Penguin)
- River Dragon (Harpercollins)
Forthcoming in 2016:
- Burn: Michael Faraday’s Candle (Spring, Mims)
- Rowdy: The Pirate Who Could Not Sleep (Fall, Mims)
- Nefertiti, the Spidernaut: The Jumping Spider Who Learned to Hunt in Space
Pattison teaches writers to transform an idea into a great picture book manuscript. She’s taught at the Highlights Foundation (home of the Highlights Magazine for Children), and for other writing organizations around the country. Click here for more information on inviting Darcy to teach in your area.