Picture Books Are Fun!
(And they are not just for your little brother or sister.)
They combine words and illustrations to make an exciting story
in less than 500 words.
Want to learn more? You will need too, if you are going to
become a picture book author.
By: Sherry Alexander,
Author of Oliver’s Hunger Dragon
Reading picture books is fun, but
writing them is better!
Here are some
Picture Books written by author
Psst. Notice the
age levels. They
are not just for
What Picture Books have you read?
Come on! You can share.
Books, any books, are awesome!
Picture Books, like all
other books, can help you learn
about other cultures, different
animals, your favorite sport,
or take you to another planet.
They can be fiction or non-fiction
Fiction: Not true
They can be written in rhyme like: How High Will It Fly
I let my balloon go,
While I stood in the snow.
I wondered how high
The red orb would fly.
Rhyme: words that have the same sound
By: DC Swain
Or . . . Getting Along With Each Other
Under the dim light of the
moon a loon, a baboon, and a
Stood drinking at the edge of
Which words rhyme? Do they make sense?
By: Sally Huss
They can be written in prose like:
The Girl Who Never Makes Mistakes
For Beatrice Bottomwell,
Friday began like every other
Prose: written or spoken language in its
ordinary form, without rhyming structure.
By: Mark Pett
Or . . . Deep in the Sahara
Deep in the Sahara, sky yellow
with heat, rippled dunes slide
and scorpions scuttle.
Did you notice the Alliteration? The repetition
of the same sound?
Picture Books writers use
different language to make their
stories come alive.
• Words that denote what they really mean.
What books or stories have
you read with literal
A lion roars
His bones never
The sky is
Picture Books use figurative
language to make their stories
Metaphors . . .similes . . .hyperboles . . .
• Figurative language uses words or
expressions that do not have their
normal, everyday meaning.
• A metaphor is a statement that compares two things
that are not alike.
My room is a
Maria is a
Who can think of another
• A simile compares two things that are not alike using
“like” or “as”.
Who can think of another
As clear as
I feel like a
As light as a
• A hyperbole is an exaggeration so dramatic that no one
would believe it was true.
Who can think of a
I am so
My mom is
going to kill
• Personification gives human qualities to an object or an
Who can think of a
to a crawl.
The wind’s icy
• Onomatopoeia are sound words.
What onomatopoeia can you
and giggle; bark,
bray, buzz, and
What type of figurative language can you find in this passage?
The bubbling of the creek that seemed so loud a few moments ago,
sounded muffled like a secret shared between sisters. Some small brown
trout, shining silver in the sparkling sun, hurried upstream. Others sat and
stared at us from tiny cracks.
When we surfaced, a long-toed salamander scurried from one rock to
another, its black, brown, and yellow spotted body glistened in the light.
Anna shook my arm and pointed towards the sky. I rolled on to my back. A
red-tailed hawk screeched as it soared over us. It’s giant brown wings
blotted out the sun.
Alliteration; Simile; Hyperbole
Now, if you are going to plan,
write, illustrate, and publish a
picture book, you need a story
with . . .
It also needs . . .
A Character A Setting A Problem A Solution
Here is an example from Deep in the Sahara
sky yellow with heat, rippled dunes slide and scorpions
you want a malafa so you can be beautiful too.
When you tell Mama, she smiles. “Lalla, a malafa is . . .
What is the
Who is the
Why does Lalla want a malafa?
(this is the problem or conflict in the story)
Your sister, Selma, in a malafa glows.
Nothing but dark eyes show. More
than all the camels in the land, you
want a malafa so you can be
Why aren’t her reasons to have a malafa
enough? (This adds to the conflict/problem)
Read Deep in the Sahara
What is her
first reason? What is
What is her third
Lalla’s reasons for a malafa changed . . .
(this is the solution)
How is the story wrapped up at the end?
(Did you notice the summary?)
Did you notice the summary?
Read it together. See how all of
Lalla’s reasons are answered.
What do you
think of the
Let’s think about your story.
Will you write about an animal, a
person, an event, or a thing? Will
it be non-fiction or fiction?
Still can’t think of a
character or a story? Here
are a few ideas.
Need more inspiration?
But before you get
started, you need to
know one more thing.
Picture Books come in different sizes, and
they share the space with the illustrations.
They can be 24, 32, or 40 pages long.
• 7 pages for your story
• 8 illustrations
• An author’s page
This does not count your cover
which will be construction paper.
Your cover will contain the title, the
It means you will need 7 short
paragraphs of story. One
paragraph on each story page.
It also means that each
paragraph will need an
illustration. You will alternate a
paragraph story page with an
Hint: In Picture Books, that paragraph can be as small as
one or two words as long as it moves your story.
Check out Sherry’s blog “Writing for kids and about kids”
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