A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Write a Children’s Picture Book

People may fool themselves into thinking that writing a children’s picture book is easier than writing a novel, but in reality, it takes just as much work! Writing a children’s picture book is rewarding, and you want to be able to reach their hearts the way your favorite story as a child did. Today, we’re going to teach the basics of how to write a children’s picture book!

Develop Your Idea

You may have created your idea already, and all you have to do now is polish it. To do that, you might have to research your concept a little deeper.

In the process of doing so, you might encounter similar books or stories that play out your same idea—and that’s ok! It means that your idea is a popular one, and lots of kids enjoy it! Now, your job is to add your own personal twist to make your idea original.

Perhaps consider telling the story from an unexpected perspective, such as of the villain instead of the good guy. Or give your character a unique trait, something unpredictable.

Think About Your Audience

When writing a story, you have to keep in mind the kinds of people you want to target. You have to think about what age group you want to attract and the adults that will purchase your book. Once you have determined the kind of audience you want to attract, you have to get to know them.

Spend time with parents or teachers and get their opinion. Find out what it is that the kids are into and what captivates their attention. Explore the books that the children enjoy and analyze them, such as their vocabulary or the layout they have.

All of this information will provide a basic foundation of knowledge to refine your story idea and get a better view on how to successfully target the audience you have in mind.

Create Your Characters

The best kinds of books have the most unique characters. They have quirks and traits that make them stand out, whether in their personality or appearance.

However, you don’t want to make them entirely different from everyone else. You want the children to identify with the character, or can even see them as a real person.

Choose Your Narrative

Children’s picture books are often read out loud. That’s why it’s very common for many picture books to be written in a rhyming format, to keep the kids engaged. However, there are several things to keep in mind when choosing out the narrative style you want.


Choosing the right vocabulary is crucial to creating the perfect children’s picture book. You don’t want to overcomplicate yourself and stuff the story with elaborate words since, chances are, the kids won’t be able to understand. Yet, at such a young age, it’s vital to take any opportunity you get to teach and enhance their vocabulary.

Finding the right balance can be challenging. Try sharing what you’ve come up with to other teachers and parents and see what they have to say!


One way to help children expand their vocabulary and sharpen their reading skills is to use good repetition throughout your story. This allows the children to predict what the next sentence will be and motivates them to remain engaged and follow the story.


Rhyming is also an excellent way to help children predict the following events in your story. A rhyming narrative also adds a more fun and engaging reading experience. However, as much as you may love the idea of using rhymes in your story, choosing the right kinds of rhymes is not an easy task.

The Main Plot

Now that you’ve polished your idea, created your characters, and decided your narrative style, it’s time to create the main plot of your story. In most picture books, the main plot is about how your character has to solve a problem while dealing with some obstacles.

Your job is to decide how to introduce the problem and create the obstacles your character needs to overcome. Next, there’s always a point in the stories we read where it looks like the character is hopeless and gives up before they experience a breakthrough. Try to follow the same patterns in your plot and develop an original ending where your character successfully resolves the issue.


For a children’s picture book, your word count is limited. Use this to your advantage to choose illustrations that do most of the storytelling as well. Plus, kids are more attracted to elaborate illustrations, and it keeps their attention fixed on the story.

When choosing your illustrations, you want to keep in mind the paper you will be choosing for your book as well as the printing quality. A good illustration won’t be appreciated if not printed well. Look into the kinds of children’s book printers there are, as well as the kinds of material you want to use.

Proofread and Edit

Due to the limited amount of word count your story will have, every single word counts. Go through each sentence and each word and double or triple check to see if it’s detrimental to your story. Don’t be afraid to remove anything that might seem unnecessary to your story.

Once you’ve finished polishing your storyline, go through it again and correct any grammatical issues.

Get Feedback

You have your manuscript in hand and all cleaned up. Now, all you have to do is get a second opinion. And what other opinion is better than that of children themselves!

Share your book with parents or teachers you know. Have them read your book to their kids and get their feedback once they finish. If possible, try to be present when your book is being read to the kids so that you can get a first glance at the children’s reaction.

Now You Know How to Write a Children’s Picture Book!

You now have a clear orientation of how to write a children’s picture book, so the next step is to get started! Plan it all out, get your ideas organized, and start writing. Even though it’ll take time and effort, rest assured, it’ll be worth it.

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Chris Z