Posted by: nancyisanders | March 19, 2020

NF PB BIO Step 3

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Now that you’ve brainstormed ideas for potential lesser-known famous women who did a big thing, it’s time to choose which one you actually want to write about.

Here’s the litmus test I did while I was at this stage.

I searched on Amazon to see if there were any children’s books biographies about the one woman I was most interested in. THERE ISN’T. This is good because if there were already books about her, it’s not really a breakthrough topic to write another one. It might be a good topic to pitch to your editor if you are already working with an editor and they don’t yet have a book about this woman in their product line. But it wouldn’t be a BREAKTHROUGH topic to try to break into a publisher in general.

I searched online to see if there was ANYTHING written about this woman anywhere. THERE IS. In fact, I found lots of little documentaries from her home town and from organizations in the field she worked in. I even found lots of quotes she said! This is key, because in ten minutes of searching online, I found enough research that I could use to write a picture book. This was important to me because I want to write this book fairly quickly and not spend several years digging through dusty archives. Plus, because this woman was famous in her local/national circle, this told me she was a big enough topic to write about.

Was her record “clean” according to today’s culture and standards? For example, she didn’t own slaves, which would have been a very touchy issue in a current picture book to feature this woman as an outstanding role model but have this controversial part of her life to deal with.

Was her claim to fame something that could be included in today’s classroom curriculum? Fortunately, it’s not hard to pass this test because even if a topic isn’t necessarily taught in today’s curriculum (such as being a famous ballerina or being a famous scuba diver), women who overcome great obstacles to be the first in their career or simply brave women role-models, are a tie-in automatically. Just be certain that the woman you choose to write about does fit in somehow with today’s curriculum standards. And if you really want to take this up a notch, choose an unsung woman hero to write about that supports STEAM…meaning she has a career in Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, or Math.


  1. Thank you for these test methods when researching a person of interest.

  2. Thanks for these good ways to test if a topic is one to pursue!

    • So glad you’re finding this helpful!

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