November is a special month for two reasons. It’s National Picture Book Month and it’s PiBoIdMo – Picture Book Idea Month – an awesome concept dreamed up by picture book author Tara Lazar: create 30 picture book concepts in 30 days.
I am super excited to be participating in the 2015 7th annual PiBoIdMo this November! I participated in PiBoIdMo last year and came up with a whopping 62 ideas! Although my original goal was to have no less than two completed picture books by the end of this year, to-date, I’ve only turned one of those ideas into a what I consider a publish-ready picture book draft. But that’s okay. Sometimes life gets in the way and unfortunately, this past year brought with it several unforeseen challenges that took precedence. So, even on the heels of setback, why am I so excited? Because I LOVE writing children’s picture books and I’m ready for new inspiration and ideas to carry me into 2016!
I’ve been giving a lot of thought lately to doing a series of non-fiction picture books so PiBoIdMo is the perfect challenge for me. Plus, I love being a part of something that celebrates and inspires a child’s curiosity, wonder, exploration, and imagination—it’s magical. And that magic ignites every time a child or grown-up reader opens up a picture book—introducing children to a lifelong love of reading. Not only that, picture books encourage a love of art, open the door to conversations between young and older readers, help children develop critical thinking skills, help children discover themselves and the larger world, build vocabulary, and teach children how to be better listeners. And I am honored to be a part of that—through my picture books.
Matthew Winner, an elementary school teacher librarian in Elkridge MD, expressed it rather perfectly in last year’s Pre-PiBo Day 1 kick-off article: “To young readers, a picture book is a mirror. Readers see themselves and the people they know in the characters and situations that inhabit the story. In this way, readers expand their experiences by reading about things they may never encounter in their actual lives. They explore worlds they’ll never set foot on. They experience perspectives that build empathy for things they haven’t actually been through. They meet people who help them understand themselves better, and, more often than not, these people are complete works of fiction. It’s important that children of all ages are exposed to these diverse experiences so that they, in turn, can become better grown-up people.”