Posted by: nancycurteman | December 13, 2020

10 steps to Writing a Good Children’s Picture Book

As authors of adult literature, we sometimes think writing a children’s picture book would be a quick and easy task. Not true. Children are staunch critics with extremely high expectations and standards. Here are 10 steps to consider when writing a children’s picture book.

Step 1 Determine the age range of picture-book children you want to target. Picture books for 2 to 3 year-olds are different from those for 4 to 6 year- olds.

Step 2 Develop an understanding of what kinds of picture books are most appealing to the picture-book age children you wish to target. One way to do this is to survey titles of popular books on library lists. Another is to read aloud several picture books.

Step 3 Resist the idea to use a multitude of words to present the story plot. Most of the story will reside in illustrations. Write no more than 300 to 600 words.

Step 4 Write for illustrators. Give them interesting characters and simple scenes for which they can create child-appealing pictures.

Step 5 Personification of animals with kid-like problems, goals and solution strategies are popular with children. Characters the same age as your target audience are also popular.

Step 6 Open your story quickly with a problem that is very serious to the character. End your story quickly as well. The younger your target audience, the shorter your story should be.

Step 7 Write no more than three or four obstacles your character needs to overcome before she solves her problem. Make each obstacle more difficult than the previous one. Always have a happy ending to the story.

Step 8 Don’t wax poetic about the season, setting or character backstory. Remember, children have short attention spans and by the time you tell them the sun was warm and the grass was green, you’ve probably lost them. Leave the sun and grass to your illustrator.

Step 9 Experiment a bit with language. Repetition, rhyming and some nonsense words will make little children giggle.Use simple vocabulary, short sentences and lots of dialogue. 

Step 10 As a kindergarten teacher and mother, I always preferred stories written in third-person. Think carefully about mechanics like point of view, sentence structure and person.

Children’s books can be fun to create but they are definitely not simple to write.


  1. Interesting read.


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