Read another picture book is a phrase I’ve taken away from Ann Whitford Paul’s book, Writing Picture Books. For the past 3 months I’ve been reading, analayzing, and taking notes on four children’s picture books a week. Boy do you learn a lot!!

For all budding new picture book writers,I highly recommend doing this. It really gives you a sense of what is out there and what you like and don’t like.

It’s also oodles of fun! I’ve not only chuckled, cried, and cringed, but also be inspired.

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These are the areas I’ve been focusing on:

  • Character
  • Favorite Character (If it’s not the protagonist, why do I like them?  Usually in picture books, the protagonist is the person your rooting for)
  • Story
  • Themes
  • Artwork
  • Other (This might include something about the language or the way a character has been represented. Other times is might just be me exclaiming how much I enjoyed it.)

While I made up my own criteria for analyzing these books, I also came across this helpful Children’s Book Review Guide on ReadWriteThink. 

No matter what you choose to look closely at when reading picture books, the very fact that you’re mindfully reading them is what counts. Always ask why?