Top 3 Ways to Find Ideas

November is a big month for writers.  It’s National Novel Writing Month or (NaNoWriMo).  And for those of us who write picture books?  This month is Picture Book Idea Month or (PiBoIdMo).

The challenge is to think of one picture book idea a day.  Daunting?  Yes!  But not nearly as daunting as writing an entire 50,000 word novel in one month.  

Tara Lazar, the founder of PiBoIdMo, told me that nearly 1800 people registered for PiBoIdMo this year.  As a community we’re coming up with a bazillion ideas!

This is my 3rd year participating in this challenge and sometimes I feel like every idea is a bust.  A sun with a fever?  A tire that gets car sick? Who would want to read about A leaf that is scared of falling off the tree?  But as Josh Funk emphasized in his PiBoIdMo post, sometimes it’s the most terrible ideas that make the best books!
Here are 3 ways to get your ideas flowing.  
  • Think about your childhood.  Try to remember what you liked as a child, experiences you had, games you loved to play etc.  These are great fodder for amazing stories! See above, a picture of 5 year old me, most likely contemplating my next story idea. 
  • Observe the children in your life.  I get most of my ideas from my 5 kids.  The Raindrop Who Couldn’t Fall wouldn’t exist if my children hadn’t felt bored at Home Depot on a rainy day. And when my kindergartener started wearing bow ties every day last week, I knew there was a story waiting to be told.

  • To read more of this post, go to Children's Book Academy

    Review of The Not Very Merry Pout-Pout Fish, by Deborah Diesen plus GIVEAWAY!

    Not Very Merry Cover
    I grew up making hand crafted gifts for loved one. After sharing this with my kids, The Not Very Merry Pout Pout Fish, written by Deborah Diesen and illustrated by Dan Hanna arrived in the mail.  Its arrival could not have been more timely.  I had just encouraged my kids to make gifts for Christmas instead of spending money, and reading this book reinforced my point.  Gifts from the heart are always the best.  In a commercial world, this delightful story encourages creativity and giving the kinds of gifts that really matter.  
    Mr. Fish’s attempt to buy gifts is filled with obstacles and he feels glum until Miss Shimmer’s optimism helps him see that making gifts will solve his problem. The message of creativity, giving gifts from the heart, and friendship are strengthened with inviting illustrations and interesting details on each page. The rollicking rhyme and repeating refrain helps kids engage and remember the message.
    “For his gifts were big.
    And  his gifts were be bright.
    And his gifts were perfect
    And they all brought delight!
    And his gifts had meaning
    Plus a bit of bling-zing,
    And his each and every friend
    loved their just right thing.”
    We’ll be reading this book again as we try to give the best gifts this Holiday season!
    Do you know of any other children’s books that encourage homemade gifts?
    To enter the giveaway, go to Writers Rumpus, here!

    Mentor Text Author Study: Amy Krouse Rosenthal

    Amy Krouse Rosenthal has always been one of my favorite picture book authors.  Her stories are clever and full of humor and heart.  As a New York times bestselling author, Amy knows how to write books that people want to read repeatedly. Little Pea, Little Oink, and Little Hoot are the kinds of books we love to read over and over again at our house. In fact, Little Pea was a mentor text for my anthropomorphic story, The Raindrop Who Couldn’t Fall.

    Amy’s 2015 books, I Wish You MoreFriendshape, and Little Miss, Big Sisare evidence of her ability to write about things that matter in a way that kids understand.  Amy’s use of anthropomorphism, wordplay, and the unexpected make her books great mentor text for any picture book writer.

    Anthropomorphism: Amy does a wonderful job of making inanimate objects come alive. Exclamation Markchronicles the life of an exclamation mark who doesn’t fit in until he figures out who he is.  Spoon and Chopsticks’ messages are similar; you need to be ok with who you are, but also stick together. 

    To read more of this post, go to ReFoReMo