Nancy's Books

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Let’s Talk Picture Books, Part 1

It’s been a while since I’ve written about picture books, primarily because I’ve been so busy writing chapter books. I have a new picture book scheduled for publication in 2016 so let’s talk.

For the last few years, the picture book market has been down, but it is definitely on the rise. The word count is low, less than 500 for many of the books, but there are always exceptions. THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT is about 1,000 words, which is long for today’s market; yet it has become a best seller. Does that mean the trend for higher word counts is upon us? Trends come and go so who knows.
Some picture books are all narrative with no dialog, such as LOOK UP, the biography of Henrietta Leavitt astronomer. Some are all dialog and no other narrative, as in DON’T LET THE PIGEON DRIVE THE BUS. Usually, picture books are a blend of both narrative and dialog. In many, dialog is about one-third and narrative two-thirds. Dialog is useful in creating the character and developing the plot. It also serves as a way to keep the word count low. The dialog, “Stop!” uses fewer words than “She told her sister to stop.”
What trends have you noticed in picture books?
Next, week, we’ll talk more.
Call for Submissions for Young Writers:

Creative Kids magazine is the nation’s largest magazine by and for kids with games, stories, and opinions all by and for kids ages 8–14.

Submission guidelines at

Call for Submissions for Adult Writers:

RROFIHE TROPHY. NO-FEE SHORT STORY CONTEST. For an unpublished short story. Minimum word count 3,500; maximum to 5,000 words. Winner receives $500, trophy, announcement and publication on Deadline October 15, 2015.
Submission guidelines at

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