The kicker? Some of these people don’t even know they want to write a children’s book until the moment they are blessed with the perfect idea!
Luckily for the rest of us, ideas for great children’s books are not as difficult to find as they might seem; you just have to know where to look. If you’re feeling stuck, read on.
If you are used to writing—or even just reading—novels for adults, the idea of an entire book devoted to the seemingly mundane task of tying one’s shoes or making the bed might seem a little absurd. But the fact is, not only do children crave routine, parents are constantly on the lookout for ways to playfully reinforce the structure and habits they are implementing in their little ones’ lives. As you tick off the chores that come so naturally to you in your adult life, consider how you would introduce one of these tasks to a child for the very first time. How might you convince them that brushing their teeth is just as exciting as it is important?
As grown-ups, we are used to taking the world around us at face value. The garden out back needs tending and watering and produces food for our troubles. The bus we put our children on provides safe transportation to and from school. However, if you start to view your world through the eyes of a child, you’ll find you are surrounded by an abundance of ideas for your next book.
Is the garden actually a magical realm where the gnomes come to life each night, busying themselves replacing blossoms with fruit or painting the tomatoes red? When the school bus door closes behind your children, are they off to unknown and exciting lands on an adventure of learning? Once you begin to see the world with the playful imagination you once held as a child, you’ll realize ideas are lurking everywhere you turn.
We’re not talking about robots to do your chores or vacations on Mars. The future we’re thinking of here is the one your audience will one day inhabit. What hopes do you have for the lives of your young readers? Imagine the things they can be, the goals they can accomplish, the many ways they can change and shape this vast world of ours. You might even revisit your own childhood dreams and bring them to life in a book.
The next time you find yourself having a particularly bad day, stop for a moment and consider: how could I talk a child through the pain and discomfort I am currently feeling?
This might seem a little backward. After all, children’s books are meant to be happy, exciting, and carefree. While we might not like to think about it, children face many of the same unfortunate experiences and feelings we encounter as adults. Sadness, grief, loss, disappointment—these are all big emotions children are learning to cope with every day, and every day parents are looking for ways to help them navigate through uncharted waters. Your book could be the very thing they use as a guide.
Watch them. Listen to them. Let them pull you into their minds through their own stories and imaginative play. Children hold a wealth of ideas. After all, they’re the ones you are writing for! Pay attention long enough and a child will grab you by the hand and lead you straight to your next great children’s book idea—maybe even literally! The next time your child starts tugging and saying “Hey! Come look at this!”—go! You never know what story is waiting to be found.
Wherever your inspiration comes from, remember that children live in the same world as the rest of us grown-ups, as do all of your favorite children’s book authors. The ideas are hiding in the things you do, the places you go, and the people and experiences you encounter along the way.
Where have you found inspiration and what did it lead to? We’d love to hear about the children’s book idea you just couldn’t pass up! Write to us today to get in touch with an Acquisitions Editor and begin exploring the next step in the journey of your book.
Savannah Spidalieri is an Acquisitions Editor with Blue Balloon Books. A writer herself, Savannah enjoys working with authors to perfect their story ideas and is passionate about helping them achieve their publishing goals.