Posted by: nancyisanders | February 12, 2014

Nonfiction Picture Book: Your Outline, The End

Now let’s spend time discussing the ending of your manuscript.

We’re going to take a closer look at each of our 3 picture book samples and focus on their endings.

For your own current project, just concentrate on the picture book you’ve chosen to follow for your format. But listen in on the other 2 books, too, so you can use this info in a future potential picture book project.

The Camping Trip That Changed America (slice of life)
On pages 26-27, Roosevelt asks how he can help. That’s the third change that signifies the close of the middle part of the story. It’s time for the ending of the story.
Pages 29-29 both men imagine a future where everyone owns the wilderness in America.
Page 30 Roosevelt passed laws to save the wilderness and created national parks.
Page 31 Both men lie underneath trees and their spirit protects our wilderness (inspirational ending)
Page 32 Back matter: Author’s note, quotes by both men, selected bibliography

Those Rebels, John & Tom (Compare and Contrast)
On page 39, everyone is finally ready to vote. This is the third change and it signifies the close of the middle part of the story. It’s time for the ending of the story.
Pages 40-41 Delegates fine-tuned the Declaration
Pages 42-43 People celebrated and cheered the delegates who met in Philadelphia
Pages 44-45 Those rebels, John and Tom (ending on an inspirational note)
Pages 46-48 Back matter: Author’s note. Image of Declaration. Sources cited for quotes (bibliography).

So You Want to Be President (Humorous Lists)
On page 42, the voice changes from “So you want to be president” to “There they are…the presidents.” This is the change in plot that concludes the middle. It’s time for the ending of the story.
Page 43 Anyone can be President even though no woman has yet become President.
Pages 44-45 Some say Presidents are greedy and proud but many wanted to serve their country and make the world a better place.
Pages 46-47 Inspirational ending saying each President has tried to do his best to fulfill the oath of office.
48-53 Back Matter: Explanation of illustrations, List of each President with short biography, selected bibliography

Now, get your short outline (the pdf file) and brainstorm three details you want to include to bring your story to an end (If you like to write out a lot of information, go ahead and use the document file.) If you’re following the format of these books, be sure to end your book on an inspirational note like they did. Educators and parents as well as kids (and editors!) often like to end on an upbeat note as these books demonstrate.

Once again, if your mind is a blank, pick up some of the children’s books or adult reference books you have on your topic. Read over the pages that tell about the parts you plan to include in your end. Spend a little bit of time digging around for ideas until you find at least three details you can add to your outline under the section for the end.

Regarding the back matter of your story. Many nonfiction picture books have a section for back matter. This is because a picture book, by nature, needs to use as few words as possible. At the minimum, an author’s note explaining some of the history behind the story is helpful to the reader. And these days with the adoption of Common Core State Standards, including a bibliography or even a glossary can be a big plus.

If you have ideas on what you’d like to include in your back matter, jot those down on your outline. But don’t worry if you don’t know yet what you’re going to say. There will be plenty of time to determine that after your first draft is done.


  1. Reblogged this on Why I Write Picture Books? (#YIWritePB) and commented:
    Did you get a satisfying ending? Check out these books and look at the suggestions by Nancy I. Sanders over at blogzone.

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