Posted by: nancyisanders | June 27, 2012

Let’s Celebrate Picture Books!

Earlier this year I led a 4 month picture book mentoring group in my home. We were a small group with just 5 members and each of us was a published author with a couple members of our group having over 100 books published.

Our commitment? To read 5 current picture books each week for a total of 80 books by the end of the 4 months, and to write one new picture book each month for a total of 4 new picture books. Each time we met, we discussed the best of the best picture books we’d read and then critiqued each other’s new picture book manuscript.

Wow. I was AMAZED at how I grew as a picture book writer! I produced some of the best writing I’d ever done. Seriously. In fact, I sent one of these picture book manuscripts to my agent and she replied that it was the “perfect” story!

I know there are lots of great online groups where we as writers are challenged to WRITE picture books.

But I discovered that when I took the time to READ volumes of new picture books as well, my skills as a picture book writer improved as never before.

So, to celebrate summer and reading and sunshiny days relaxing at the beach or by the pool immersed in a good book, I decided to host a picture book celebration here on my blog all summer long!

If you want to join in the celebration, there are 3 basic things you can do hop on board:
1. READ picture books
2. WRITE picture books
3. POST about picture books on your website, blog, twitter, facebook, or other social network you’re already plugged into

If you want to be part of the celebration, you can even sign up on a list I’m creating for everyone to see so we can visit each other’s sites…all summer long! Just post a comment here today with the URL of your site and I’ll add your blog to this list with links to everyone’s site.

Also, you won’t want to miss each of these posts about picture books here on my blog in the days and weeks ahead, so subscribe today to follow my blog to get it delivered in your e-mail all summer long. Here’s just a peek at what I plan to post:

* Book reviews of awesomely good picture books to read this summer to help improve your picture book writing skills

* An amazing TRUE story about a picture book writer who just got signed with an agent and landed a great contract for her picture book from a big publishing house.

* Lots and lots of tips on how to READ picture books to help you grow as a writer

* Lots and lots of tips for writing picture books

* Worksheets to help you write picture books that will catch an editor’s or agent’s eye

* Exercises and fun assignments to help you write brand new picture books that rock!


  1. I’ll be following this all summer. I do not have a working blog right now so I’ll just “tag along”, if that is OK.

    • Oh of course, Gloria!!! Welcome aboard!

  2. I’m in.. Was the pb writer who landed an agent and contract w/the big house from your small group?

    • Great, Tina! I’ll add your blog url to the list. And no, this gal wasn’t in my small group but she’s repped by my agency now. You’ll find out more about her amazing story soon in an upcoming post!

  3. I would love to be a part of this. I write PBs, MG novels, and YA novels as well as poetry, essays, and am interested in stepping into non-fiction soon. I write inspirational and informative posts for writers on my blog as well as post installments of some of my novels on Fridays. Here is my blog address:

    Thanks for the offer and I wish you much success!

    Donna L Martin

    • Oh I’m so excited you’ll be joining in on the fun, Donna!

  4. Hi Nancy,

    Wonderful post. It’s so true that when you immerse yourself in picture books, the result is better writing of picture books. And what could be more easier or more fun for a picture book writer!

    • Yes, this is going to be fun, fun, fun this summer!!!

  5. OH Nancy, Im so excited about this!!! Now I have a legitimate excuse to sit around and read picture books all day, haha! I’m definitely on board too. As Mr. Toad said, “Come on everybody! Here we goooooo!

  6. Count me in. I write nonfiction WFH books and am interested in moving into picture books. This sounds like a lot of fun and I’d love to participate.

    Thanks for doing this!

    Rebecca Hirsch

  7. Lovely! Our two year old just pulled off all the books on the shelf in her hunt for her favorite book (non-fiction) called Lizards. Although she often says “Oo, scare me” to the pictures (making me giggle)…I will make it my personal challenge to read those 100+ children’s books as they get back into the bookcase. LOL. Nice how things work out making cleaning up more fun.


    • Oh that’s so sweet about your cutie pie!!! And what a great mom you are to take this as a GOOD thing. Have fun reading!!!

  8. This sounds like fun, Nancy. I’d like to sign up, but I might be a bad participant and not do everything I’m supposed to. Do we get in trouble in that case? I also don’t have an active blog (I’ve poured all my internet energy into my website). I signed up for a blog at one point, but I never developed its design and it only has 4 posts! Maybe I could use it this summer to post about pbs though. Its address is . If I become too much of a laggard, you can erase my name from the group. How does that sound?

    • Ev, it would be wonderful to have you join in on your new blog!! And no worry about how much you do or don’t do. After all, this is summer vacation, right?! Just have fun reading and writing picture books and post when you can about it on your blog! I’ll add your link to the list. :o)

  9. What a terrific idea! I’m in! This fits in so nicely with the summer goals I’d already set for myself and now I’l have a community to share with and learn from. Just to clarify – will this run July and August? I’d love to know the time frame so I can highlight it in my writing calendar.

    My blog:
    And I’ll probably use Twitter as well: @laurasassitales

    • Glad to have you joining in the adventure, Laura! This will definitely go through July and August. Plus, there will probably be a wrap up the first couple of weeks in Sept. So mark your calendar for fun, fun, fun!

      And that’s a great idea to use Twitter, too!

  10. This sounds fantastic! I’m in!

  11. I would love, love, love to participate! Sign me up 🙂 On Twitter I’m @KatieClarkBooks, and my author page on FB is!/pages/Katie-Clark/235090733187928

    • I’ll add in your info, Katie! Glad you’re joining us. It’s gonna be an exciting summer.

  12. Thought i responded to this a few days ago but doesn’t look like it went through. Would love to be a part of this. I write picture books, middle grade and young adult.

  13. I’m looking forward to the upcoming blogs. I’ve been following you for some time and even won some great books from you.

  14. I’m a bit late to the celebration, but I’d love to participate. My blog Where can I get a listing of the participants?

    Best regards,

  15. I’d love to be apart of this. There is always time to become a better writer!

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