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Resources for Writers

Writing Picture Books: Really Useful Links by Ellen Brickley

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Article by Ellen Brickley ©.
Posted in Resources (, ).

Many book-lovers have fond memories of their earliest experiences with books and stories – slim Ladybird book spines, the smell of the children’s section in the library, or the words of a familiar bedtime story. Even if you came to books later in life, there’s something beautiful about the idea of creating someone’s gateway into books, the early picture books that introduce children to stories.

It’s an important job and, unsurprisingly, it’s not easy to achieve all of that with so few words to play with! But there are great resources available for picture book authors.

Fittingly, the UK organisation Booktrust, which promotes reading by gifting books to UK children in their first year of life, has some great tips from picture book author Joyce Dunbar. There’s even more advice at the blog Bookbaby.com, from Jill Santopolo. Jill brings a range of expertise to the table as an author, Executive Editor at Philomel Books (an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group), and thesis adviser at the New School in New York City.

The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators has good information in their FAQ. Many picture book authors are concerned that they will need to source an illustrator – thankfully, the publisher takes care of that!

The helpful folk at the Writers & Artists’ Yearbook have weighed in on this topic as well, with some nuts-and-bolts advice on generating character ideas.

And once you’ve absorbed all of this advice, and created your fabulous picture book, then what? Chronicle Books have written a great editor’s-eye-view post on how to maximise your chances of publishing success, including advice on characters, plot, research and even some recommendations if you want to dive further into this topic. Despite of their short length, there’s a lot to say about this rich category of books.

(c) Ellen Brickley


Ellen Brickley is a Dublin-based, chai-latte-powered novelist, essayist, and civil servant who can't believe she gets paid to write sometimes. She holds an MA in American Literature from UCD, and has provided content for Explorer Publishing and Lionbridge Technologies. Her essays have appeared in Banshee literary magazine. She is currently hard at work on revisions for a YA novel.