Posted by: nancyisanders | January 5, 2014

Nonfiction Picture Book: Back on Track

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Happy New Year and welcome back to our nonfiction picture book journey! As you can see in the photo above, my husband Jeff and I enjoyed some beautiful walks together in the crispy outdoors in between the holiday rush.

We’ve had a lot of interruptions over the holidays these past few weeks, but now those are all behind us and we’re ready to start a brand new year.

I’ve been excited to hear from so many of you. What a lot of creative and enthusiastic writers we’ve got joining in on the fun!

If you’re just joining us, or feel as if you’ve been out of the loop focusing on holiday commitments, here’s a recap to get us all on the same page. These are the 10 Steps we’ve been taking so far in our journey:

Step 1: Make a commitment to follow along in the upcoming weeks and months and write an 800-word nonfiction picture book from beginning to end. Read this post for more.

Step 2: Figure out what will motivate you to follow through and write the first draft of your manuscript from beginning to end. Read this post for more.

Step 3: Read America: A Patriotic Primer by Lynne Cheney and brainstorm ideas to write about. Read this post for more.

Step 4: Choose your own sample picture book to focus on or order in these three picture books from your local library:
The Camping Trip that Changed America by Barb Rosenstock
[Just a note: This book isn’t pure nonfiction, actually, but most of it is true so it’s a good reference to use if you opt at some point to write historical fiction rather than just straight nonfiction.]

Those Rebels, John & Tom by Barbara Kerley

So You Want to Be President by Judith St. George

Step 5: Choose a broad topic to write about. I’m choosing the topic of Abraham Lincoln. I wanted to let you know this as you’re following along in the journey. Why did I pick this one? Because it’s a topic every kid learns about in school. Read this post for more.

Step 6: Gather research books on your broad topic. Read this post for more.

Step 7: Build your research library. Read this post. Also read this post.

Step 8: Organize your research center. Read this post for more.

Step 9: Watch a movie about your topic. Read this post for more.

Step 10: If there are any steps you haven’t yet taken, schedule yourself a personal writer’s mini-retreat in the week ahead. Set aside time to have fun focusing back in on your goal of writing the first draft of an 800-word picture book from beginning to end.


  1. I am very interested in this series of posts. I used to receive your blog posts all the time, but that seemed to fall away sometime in the autumn. Glad I found you again and resubscribed. I read all the posts in this series and ordered the books from the library, but probably won’t join in the fun just now. I have some irons in the fire already. But I certainly will be using this info in the near future. Thanks for the interesting posts.

  2. I got as far as reading the individual books that you recommended. However, we have had bad weather and I was sick with a cold or flu – not sure what it was exactly. December was not the best of months! Saturday, I finally got back to the library, along with everyone else it seemed, in preparation for the current bout of bad weather. I now have a stack of books to read!

    • Glad you’re feeling better and are getting back on track, Debbie! Although with all these winter storms hitting our nation this week, some of our group might not be able to get to their library!!! Glad you got to yours and have books to read. Have fun exploring your topics!!!

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