by Tammi Sauer

Over the years, I have shared all sorts of ways to come up with ideas for the Storystorm crowd…start with a title, celebrate the weird stuff in life, mine your childhood, play with structure….

When Tara asked me to write a post this time around, I was worried. Did I even have another idea on getting ideas?!

Then I realized that both of the books I have coming out February 2022 serve as a fresh way to come up with new ideas. Yay me for inspiring me!

LOVEBIRD LOU (Sterling), illustrated by Stephanie Laberis, is about the appreciation of self, family, and community. NO BUNNIES HERE! (Doubleday Books for Young Readers), illustrated by Ross Burach, is about not making assumptions about others. Both books are filled with humor, heart, and ridiculously adorable characters.

But these books have another thing in common! They each have a holiday hook! LOVEBIRD LOU is a perfect fit for anytime of the year—but it’s especially lovely for Valentine’s Day. NO BUNNIES HERE! is a super fun read on any day—but it’s especially wonderful for Easter.

Did I set out to write a Valentine’s Day book or an Easter book? NOPE! Do these books tie in nicely with those holidays? YUP!

**Please note the more hooks your book has, the more likely it will snag an agent/editor/book buyer/reader!**

In addition to these sorts of books landing in seasonal displays in bookstores, there’s another bonus to having a book with a holiday hook. Sometimes these very same books will get picked up by Scholastic and appear in Scholastic Reading Club Flyers. MOSTLY MONSTERLY, illustrated by Scott Magoon, was in October flyers. The monster stuff made it a nice addition to Halloween books. A LITTLE CHICKEN, illustrated by Dan Taylor, made it into March/April flyers. Why? Well, that little chicken was a nice fit for spring/Easter books.


Choose three holidays or seasons. Brainstorm characters or situations that have some sort of connection to each of those holidays or seasons.


To give your book idea even more of a hook, try not to include the mentioning of the specific holiday in the title. We want people to want your book all year long.


Have a book idea hook into two holidays and/or a season. MOSTLY MONSTERLY, for example, ties into Halloween and Valentine’s Day. Read the book to see what I mean. MY WORKING MOM, written by Peter Glassman and illustrated by Tedd Arnold, is another example. It ties into Halloween and Mother’s Day. Want another example? Okay! Check out COLD TURKEY written by Corey Rosen Schwartz and Kirsti Call and illustrated by Chad Otis. It ties into Thanksgiving and winter.

Happy holidays, everyone!

Tammi Sauer, a former teacher and library media specialist, is a full-time children’s book author who presents at schools and conferences across the country. She has more than 30 published picture books and has many others on the way. Her books have received awards, earned starred reviews, made lists, been made into musicals, and been translated into many different languages. Most importantly, kids really like her books! To learn more about Tammi and her books, please visit and follow her on Twitter at @SauerTammi.

Tammi is giving away three prizes to three separate random winners—a copy of each of her new books and a picture book critique!

You’re eligible to win if you’re a registered Storystorm participant and you have commented once below.

Prizes will be distributed at the conclusion of Storystorm.