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Monday, 15 August 2022


I am constantly finding new and useful picture book resources online, as well as websites that help me navigate life as a children’s writer. Sometimes it’s hard to keep of track of the plethora of advice, tips and book recommendations, many of which are free.

So, today’s Picture Book Den post comes to you from a picture book lover and children’s author looking for one place to keep the resources she likes and uses the most.


Without further ado, in no particular order…



1.       STORY STORM:


Previously PiBoIdMo, Storystorm has an incredible number of helpful posts featuring cover reveals, inspirations, author-illustrator processes and more! Each January, founder Tara Lazaar heads up a challenge that encourages picture book creators to come up with 30 new ideas in January. To get the creativity flowing, she invites published authors and illustrators to share prompts, exercises and posts each day of the month. I’ve yet to manage 30 new ideas but I always come away with a few new projects and the blog posts are there whenever you need a boost.  


(Lou Treleaven)


Lou Treleaven is a talented writer of books for a range of ages. In addition to running courses and offering paid critiques, she has a list of agents and publishers on her website that are accepting submissions. A useful place for those looking to query their texts.


(Amy Sparkes)


AmySparkes is truly magical. Not only is she a fantastic author, scriptwriter (..and more, I can't keep up!), she also finds time to mentor aspiring writers and runs courses for those looking to learn more. If you don’t follow Amy on social media, you should! She regularly offers free critiques, courses, mentorships in return for donations to charity. If that wasn’t enough, Amy offers free writing tips every Wednesday on Twitter – just follow the hashtags #WednesdayWritingTips.



If you’re ready to take your stories into schools, The Society of Authors has some useful advice for those looking to arrange visits, including how much to charge. If you have a contract that needs vetting, the Society of Authors also offers a free contract-checking service to its members. You can get liability insurance for an additional cost, too.  


Regarding visits and workshops, you can find useful advice on the World Book Day website. If you’re a step ahead and have already got an event booked, you could signpost people to this Book Trust article and this post from Sarah McIntyre with tips for getting the most from an author or illustrator visit.   


8 - 10.       RHYME ZONE


If I’m writing a rhyming text, I have Rhyme Zone permanently open. Other online rhyming dictionaries are available, but what I like about this one, is that you can easily search for synonyms and definitions in the event that your rhyme needs a rethink.


Rhymers might also like these resources from Catherine Emmett and Lyrical Language Lab helpful, especially if you’re unsure about meter and want to learn more about scansion.


11 - 22.      BOOK BLOGGERS


Since we’re all picture book fans here, I’m assuming – like me – you love keeping abreast of new releases. I hear about most new titles on social media (mainly Instagram and Twitter) It would be worth following your favourite bloggers to stay up to date with what’s being published. It’ll help you get a sense of the market and publishers’ tastes, but also identify the strong hooks of the books that ‘make it.’


Some bloggers also have websites that host featured authors, illustrators and cover reveals. Here are a few to get you going:



















BookBrunch and The Bookseller are other great places to stay on top of all the brilliant new titles being published and the latest big deals.

There are also teachers, librarian and lecturers sharing their passion for picture books. These sites are a must see:




(Mathew Tobin)

(Simon Smith)

23 - 27.      BOOKS FOR TOPICS

Another helpful thing to do when writing picture books is to scope out titles on a given subject to see what’s already been published and to make sure you are doing something different or something in a different way. Sites such as Books ForTopics do this brilliantly.


You could also look at Children’s Book Ireland, Little Parachutes, Booktrust, ReadingWell and who all group books by theme.


(Books That Help)



I hope it’s ok to shout out my new initiative, Books That Help Books That Help is another place you can search for books on a particular topic, particularly those that help children navigate difficult times and big changes in their lives. There will be some opportunities for teachers and writers soon, too. Keep your eyes peeled for more!


(Josh Funks)

     29.    JOSH FUNKS


If you’re looking to perfect the writing of picture books, there are some free ‘lessons’ from US author Josh Funks, covering everything from 'word counts' to 'story arcs' to 'showing not telling.' All quick reads if you’re looking to brush up on the basics in your own time.


(Jane Porter)


30.       JANE PORTER


Author-illustrator Jane Porter has some fantastic videos on her YouTube channel looking at beautiful picture books. Some videos feature Jane talking through books she loves, but most are interviews with picture book creatives including Momoko Abe, Dapo Adeola, Rebecca Cobb, Diane Ewen and many more! 



WriteMentor is a fantastic and affordable resource for writers, offering community, conferences, courses, mentorship and more. There are also some free resources available. Here are some links to blogs I write on picture books. There are more! 






Picture book builders is a site run by a group of picture books creators who post articles on everything from what goes into a picture book, to how to hook a reader, to interviews with their favourite creatives and cover reveals.



Natascha Biebow (MBE) is an experienced editor, coach and mentor, picture book expert, author and Regional Advisor for the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators in the British Isles - she really knows her stuff! On her Blue Elephant Storyshaping website there are over six years' worth of free resources on picture book craft. Definitely well worth a look!  

34.        ARDEN JONES


Arden is a newly agented writer of rhyming picture books. She is starting a You Tube channel with live and pre-recorded rhyming picture book critiques - helpful videos about how to write in rhyme, how to understand meter and the do's and don'ts of rhyme. 

Writers have the opportunity to get their work critiqued anonymously by submitting to  Do follow the submission guidelines. Sign up here! 

35.         PICTURE BOOK DEN


And last but not least, our very own Picture Book Den! A place for picture book fans to learn from writers and illustrators and to delve a little deeper in topics from accountability partners, plotting techniques, endpapers, illustration processes... there really is so much material to peruse. But of course, you knew about us already!



So there you have it!


A mega list of websites and resources for picture book creators.


I’ve almost certainly forgotten some – and no doubt there are many more I’ve yet to discover – so please do share your top websites too!


BIO: Clare is children’s writer from Devon. She writes for a wide range of ages about a wide range of themes and has over 50 published titles. She founded the #BooksThatHelp initiative that aims to create honest emotional spaces for children through a love of reading and books.  



  1. Thanks, Clare, for including Picture Book Builders in this helpful list!

  2. Thanks for this list.

    May I also introduce my blog: