On Monday I visited my daughter’s kindergarten class for their first-ever writer’s workshop. And I’m happy to report, they started by brainstorming ideas.  They talked animals, people, places, and events. In pictures and words, they captured their ideas. One boy drew his mischievous cat, bird in mouth, along with one key word: “NOOOOOO.”

Every story starts with an idea. 

THE BEST and most enjoyable way for generating picture book ideas begins in a matter of days: Tara Lazar’s Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo). Every day of November, a fabulous array of writers and illustrators deliver inspiration for idea generation.

PiBo logo

If you participate, you will generate ideas. Boatloads of them. However, and this is important, your internal editor might try to dismiss some of them before you even write them down. Don’t.


I’m not saying every idea will shine like a cut diamond. Mine certainly don’t. But funny thing about ideas, when you let them flow freely, they keep coming. When you put the kibosh on an idea, the others get shy. Truly.

And sometimes the idea that you’re most uncomfortable with, that you want to bat away and call “stupid,” is actually the seed of a story kids need. Because it might be hard to write or it might make you uncomfortable, your instinct might be to squash it. But that story you write just might be a lifeline for a child.

Children are our first and most heart-open readers.

So let the ideas flow. Jot them down on scraps of paper and put them in a jar or type them in a Word file. They just might multiply.

Registration for PiBoIdMo opens October 25. See Tara’s website for more details: http://taralazar.com/piboidmo

14 thoughts on “PiBoIdMo: Time to Let the Ideas Flow. All of Them.

  1. Gabi, what a great post! Yes, PiBoIdMo is an inspiration. I did it last year and I can’t wait for it to roll around again. There’s no better way to get the idea juices flowing.


  2. Great post! Yes, I did the same thing with my 1st graders–that all authors start with an idea, and I had them make an idea page in their writing notebooks. It was so fun.


    1. Thanks, Tina! It’s fun seeing what they come up with. My kindergartner and 2nd grader both give me great ideas and help me see how to come at a story from a kid’s perspective.


  3. Hello Gabi…so nice to meet you over a PiBoIdMo notebook. Congratulations on getting your blog up and running…it looks GREAT! And how awesome to blog about Tara’s legendary challenge for your first post!
    Looking forward to seeing you next month in Tara’s comment section…pencils sharpened…ready, set, go!!!!


  4. Hi Gabi! You are right about the ideas flowing once you turn off the inner critic. PiBoIdMo ramps up the free association part of my brain. I’ve even managed to find gems in the highly inappropriate picture book ideas suggested by my family!

    I like to start a new notebook with every PiBoIdMo round—any excuse for office supplies. Also, it’s fun to look back at old notebooks and see how my focus has changed and notice patterns in topics or structure notes.


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