“Write what you know,” is advice we commonly hear. If you have an expertise, take advantage of that and share your passion.
As a twist, I’ve heard Newberry-winning author, Katherine Paterson, say she chooses to write about what she does NOT know, but would LIKE to know. Her first step in writing is delicious research about the topic. (Granted she mostly writes mid-grade novels, but she does have a few picture books.)
As further twist, consider writing about “What you know, but wish you didn’t know.” Did you experience divorce as a child or parent? Were you ever the awkward new kid? Were you embarrassed and scared to learn to ride a bike? Has your family lost a pet? Or a family member? Conveying these difficult emotions in a picture book is tough, especially because you also need to offer realistic hope.
My first picture book, ALWAYS MY BROTHER (Tilbury House, 2009), is about the death of a brother told from the perspective of the younger sister. This story mirrors our family’s experience, so this was definitely a case of “What I know, but wish I didn’t.” But sometimes writing about your difficult experience can lend support to someone else. (Visit http://www.jeanreagan.com for the story behind the book.)
For today if you want to, write a picture book about--
What you know. (Share your expertise and passion.)
What you do NOT know, but would like to know. (Have fun researching!)