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Tips for Children's Writers

Picture book authors are so misunderstood. A third of the people we meet can’t imagine what could be so difficult about writing a 500-word story. Another third ask, “Write a picture book? Isn’t it just pictures?” Then there’s the final third—the readers, the listeners, the children, the parents, the teachers, the librarians, the book sellers, the publishing professionals, and our fellow picture book writers—who truly get it, appreciate it, and encourage us along the way.


As a whole, the picture book community is an encouraging and supportive group. With that in mind, I’m happy to include some helpful tools for picture book writers on this WRITER page. Additionally, feel free to contact me with your questions, requests for additional resources, and to share your ideas. Write to me at

Critique Service

I critique hundreds of picture book manuscripts each year with the goal of helping writers get closer to the point of being published authors.


Picture This! Blog Directory

Use this directory to help you locate posts on my blog, Picture This! Help is just a click away! 


Picture Book Graphic Organizer

Need a tool to help you plan your next picture book? This graphic organizer will take you step by step through the planning process.


Picture Book Idea Gathering

Every writer needs new, fresh story ideas. This sheet can help you find ideas in your favorite books, magazines, and . . . well . . . just about anywhere!


Manuscript Submission Log

This handy-dandy sheet will help keep you organized as you send manuscripts out to editors and agents, and receive responses back. You can easily make an electronic version of the sheet for ease of use.


Character/Setting Mash-Up

Character and setting ideas can mix together in the most unusual ways to produce unique ideas for picture books. This sheet will help you mash it up!


Character/Situation Mash-Up

Putting a character into an unexpected situation can result in hilarity and a great idea for a picture book. Try your hand at mashing it up!


Steps to Growing Trouble

Trouble (or a problem) is essential in any plot. This sheet is a simple tool to help you plot out a picture book and bring up the level of the trouble in the plot.


Glossary of Writing Terms

This alphabetized list of writing crafts, industry terminology, and other important writing vocabulary will give you a leg up when it comes to understanding the terms you read in critiques, writing books, and blog posts and will help you understand jargon you may hear from industry professionals at conferences. Knowledge is power—so get ready for a power surge!

Making Your Writing Personal and Universal Video

Recorded for friends who were teaching an online class, in this short video Rob explores some of his books and how he found ways into difficult subjects so readers could find their way in, too. These stories, each personal and important to Rob, became universal through the approaches he shares. 

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