I was taken aback this week when a girl posted a comment on my blog in regards to the 365+ Things Kids Like post:

what the hell im i kid i dont like most the things on that list [sic]

OK, so we’ve got one unusual and outspoken kid out there. I mean, nearly 365 things is a lot NOT to like. Although I assume that this kid does like #21 Being Independent, #175 Ignoring Adults and #201: Knowing More than Everyone Else. And this kid may not be of picture-book age (less than 8 years old), given the language.

I add to this list periodically, to keep track of subjects that may work in a future picture book manuscript. But one thing I forgot is that kids like to be unique individuals. Not every child loves riding skateboards and roller coasters. Some are scared of clowns or think they’re stupid. And licorice? Blech. I know I hate it.

This leads me to ask–how do you know the subject of your story will appeal to a broad range of children?

Because at its heart, a picture book isn’t about a dragon or a robot. It’s about an emotional truth–friendship, family, fitting in. Carving out your place in the world. Accomplishing your goals.

So I have to add two things to the list of 365+ Things That Kids Like:

  1. Being loved and appreciated.
  2. Having their voice heard.