Seven Promising Tips to Bring Out the Best in Your Picture Book

Picture books are storybooks for young readers created with a balanced combination of illustrations and text. These books help with comprehension by providing visual cues to the meaning of words, and they are often read to children who have not yet learned to read.

Picture books are for children aged 3-7. While children usually choose their own books, picture books for their children are often picked by the parents. Hence, authors must strike a balance between engaging content for children and enough substance for adults.

It sounds like a challenge, doesn’t it? Well, you can use the following tips to make your picture book stand out among the competition.

1. Keep it Simple

While writing every word for your children’s book, the most important thing to keep in mind is that you are writing for a young audience. In order to connect with them, you must use simple language and familiar words.

It is always a good idea to avoid using jargon or complex terminology that may confuse or overwhelm children. Instead, consider using language that can help your audience learn appropriate things at their developmental stage.

As opposed to complex language, use descriptive language to paint vivid images in the reader’s mind. You will naturally not need to rely on overly complicated vocabulary if you already have illustrations to count on.

2. Create a Sense of Predictability

When your readers are as young as 3-7, you do not need to worry about creating complex plot twists and character arcs. In fact, keeping it simple and predictable is the key to winning the hearts of your young readers.

If you look at the best picture books for children, you will notice the notable use of repetition and rhymes. The authors understand that predictability can comfort and assure the reader, who will be able to follow and remember your book easily.

As everyone can understand, rhyme adds a musical quality to the text, making it fun to read aloud. Using rhymes in the text can also help children develop phonemic awareness. This way, your books  can become a balanced source of learning and fun for young children.

3. Improve the Illustrations

An illustrator plays an important role in ensuring the success of your picture book. After all, illustrations hold the same importance in a picture book as the text. Hence, you must not even consider compromising on this aspect.

You must work closely with your illustrator to make illustrations a strong point of your picture book. Make sure to develop engaging, colourful, and detailed illustrations and use a variety of techniques to keep your readers engaged.

Make sure that you work closely with your illustrator to ensure that their illustration effectively communicates the story you are trying to tell and captures the reader’s imagination. This process may involve many revisions, but all this hard work can lead to beneficial results for your work.

4. Add Interactive Elements

Engaging a young audience can sound like an easy job. If you think the same way, you may be making a big mistake. Young children have a very short attention span, and keeping them engaged is a bigger challenge than you may think.
You should not take any chances on the interactive impact of your picture book. It is always a good idea to add an interactive dimension to your picture book. This can give a new direction to the reader’s reading experience to engage with the book actively.

From flaps that can be lifted to textures that can be felt, adding age-appropriate interactive elements can be fun for young readers. In addition, interactive elements in picture books also help children develop fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

5. Edit Ruthlessly

Editing plays a crucial step in refining your picture book. It helps you approach and maintain the accuracy of your picture book, through accurate usage of grammar, punctuation, and word choice. 

Editing your picture book by yourself to ensure that it catches the attention of your young readers can be a big challenge.  Just like many picture book authors, you may also want to consider hiring a professional picture book editor to help you bring out the best in your work.

Professional picture book editors can help you elevate the quality of your picture book so that it resonates with young readers and becomes a favourite among parts as well.

6. Choose the Right Themes

When dealing with young minds, it is better to stick with predictable approaches to engage them. Unlike many adults, young children have a hard time leaving their comfort zone. Any picture book writer who wants to engage young minds must focus on emotions and themes relevant to children.

One important thing to keep in mind is that children find it easier to resonate with stories that feel closer to their own everyday experiences and emotions. These experiences can come close to themes such as friendship, imagination, courage, or kindness.

These themes can help you build a strong connection between readers and your book. Take advantage of every opportunity to personalise your story for the reader. This will create an everlasting impact on your readers.

7. Revise the Page Layout

Words alone cannot make an impact on a young mind, and even the best illustrations can lose their significance if you do not pay attention to the layout and design of your picture book. The design of your picture book plays a crucial role in capturing the reader’s attention and maintaining it.

Paying attention to the placement of text and images throughout your picture book to ensure harmony can make your book visually appealing to the readers. However, since you are dealing with young readers, the visual appeal of your picture book may not be enough to ensure that it becomes a popular choice for the said age group.

You can experiment with different placement techniques to find what resonates most with your audience and enhances the overall reading experience. The strategic placement of illustrations and text works together harmoniously to tell the story and guide the reader’s eye across the page.