Today we have a steam train packed with Storystorm advice rolling your way, from the authors of the Picture Book Junction group!

Ana Siqueira:

I list all important memories of my life as a child or as a parent or grandparent. For each one, I list all the problems and write all the feelings. Then I decide on one to be the inspiration for my new story—and remember, your story will be based on this memory and feeling, but it doesn’t need to repeat all that happened. To make it more kid-friendly and fun, I read at least twenty books with topics related to it. Then, I go for walks, while recording ideas on my phone. Finally, I mix some fun, humor, and fantasy to create a book with heart but also kid friendly. My book Abuela’s Super Capa is based on my mom’s and son’s relationship and my mom’s death. Still, I added a little intruder (sister) and cupcake criminales (pets) to make it less heavy, more illustratable, and relatable. And in this story, my mom didn’t die. I wish we could rewrite our real-life stories, right?

Check my bio at our website and my books and more at and follow me on Twitter  @SraSiqueira1307.

Marie Boyd:

When my son was little, I frequently told him “It’s just a worm” when he saw worms on the sidewalk. I imagined how a worm might respond if it could understand my words. This led to my debut book, JUST A WORM, which I illustrated with quilling, a cut-paper technique. I’d never seen a quilled picture book, but when I imagined Worm’s Garden it was quilled. The plants in my and my parents’ gardens inspired many plants in Worm’s world.

For craft ideas and more, follow Marie at and on Instagram @artistscholar.

Vicky Fang:

My book ideas are often two ideas mashed together. THE BOO CREW NEEDS YOU! started as a little phrase that snuck into my brain without a story to go with it: “There’s a hitch! There’s a glitch! Something’s screwy with this switch!” It sat there for two years. Then one day, I was writing a story about Halloween monsters working together and I remembered that line. Mashing these two ideas together, my rhyming, interactive picture book was born!

Visit Vicky at

David McMullin:

I often take a more mechanical approach to finding ideas than most. Yes, some ideas appear to me like little sparkling balls of light from time to time, but usually, I simply sit down and brainstorm. I go for volume and then the special ideas rise to the top. My book, Free to be Fabulous, combines a million different experiences from my growing up as a dance-loving LGBTQ+ kid.

Visit David online at and follow him on Twitter @davidmcmullinpb.

Suzy Levinson:

One of my favorite ways to spark ideas is to take two things that don’t belong together, smoosh them together anyway, and then make it all make sense. I once did this and wound up writing a poem about a cat wearing pants, which was so fun that I wrote another poem about a spider wearing pants, and so on and so on until voilà, Animals in Pants (Cameron Kids) was a book!

To find out more about Suzy, check out her website at and follow her on Twitter and IG @SuzyLevinson.

Sarah Hovorka:

The inspiration for Same Love, Different Hug was like a wildfire spark. I was reflecting on how carefully my young, enthusiastic kids had to show me physical affection after three months in the hospital and an ostomy bag on my torso… a lyrical phrase popped into my head and a couple of hours later I had a sweet book about conscientiously sharing affection with others in all kinds of situations. Inspiration doesn’t usually strike so easily as with this book, but when it does, run with it!

You can read more about Sarah’s works and connect with her at and follow at Twitter @HovorkaSarah & @authorsarahhovorka and on Instagram @authorsarahhovorka.

 Aimee Isaac:

Some story ideas spill onto the page. Others simmer in my head for years. The idea for my debut began as a cumulative story about litter but it lacked heart. Over time, I stirred in childhood memories, inspiration from a letter my father wrote, tree-planting with my kids, and a theme that drives my writing: interconnectedness. These ingredients plus time were just right for creating THE PLANET WE CALL HOME.

Connect with Aimee at and @IsaacAimee on Twitter.

A.J. Irving:

I will always remember the day I started writing THE WISHING FLOWER. I’d just had a call with my agent and was inspired to go on a hike. The first lines came to me in the Wyoming wilderness. I rushed home and wrote a draft about my first crush in my notebook. Sometimes you get this electrifying feeling when you know you’ve written something special. This was one of those moments.

Connect with A.J. at or @aj_irving on Twitter and Instagram.

Carrie Kruck:

I’m always looking for magic and possibility in everyday objects. My upcoming book WHAT FRANCINE FOUND was inspired by an ordinary fishing rod and the question: “What magic might it hold?” (Spoiler: it’s attached to the drain plug of a lake that holds the town’s secrets!) Try it yourself! Look around you now and choose an ordinary object. Pay extra attention to it. What magic might it hold? Could it be used in an unexpected way? Does it have a little-known history? Surprise yourself!

Find Carrie on Twitter @KruckCarrie, Instagram @Carrie.Kruck or

Helen Taylor:

I find that I’m drawn to unusual combinations. They have inherent tension, and you never know where they’ll lead you. The spark of inspiration for my debut picture book was an article I read about growing lettuce on the International Space Station. I started by researching that super-specific topic, then broadened my search and found tons of great info so I decided to expand the scope and that’s what became HOW TO EAT IN SPACE.

Connect with Helen at or @heyhelentaylor on Twitter and Instagram.

Lisa Varchol Perron:

I feel most creative when I step away from the computer and spend time outside. Patterns Everywhere was inspired by a family hike. My husband (who studies the formation of landscapes) was teaching our daughters about the even spacing of ridges and valleys, and I had so many questions! If I find something intriguing and want to learn more, I know I’ll enjoy writing about it and can do my best to share that sense of wonder and joy with readers.

Connect with Lisa at or @LisaVPerron on Twitter and Instagram.

Jack Wong:

Each person’s strategies for inspiration will be different—from rummaging through memory to spending time in nature to reflecting on life events at the moment (hint: mine includes a bit of all the above). Once you have your go-to strategies, though, a second challenge arises: deciding which ideas are worth your time to pursue. I try not to think about this too much at the beginning, when the birth of ideas should be acts of free play, but as I get further along the process, I try to only invest in a story if I really, really, really care about it. It’s hard to stay inspired if I don’t!

You can find Jack at and connect with him on Twitter and Instagram @jacquillo_.

Dominique Furukawa:

I have probably five different book ideas swirling around all the time! What tends to happen is that one idea will start to write itself in my head. Whole sentences will come together and then I’ll know that’s the book I need to sit and focus on! Sometimes those initial sentences don’t even make the final cut, but it gets me excited and gets me started.

You can connect with Dominique at and on Twitter @domfurukawa and Instagram @dom.furukawa.

Gabriela Orozco Belt:

My greatest inspiration comes from the experiences that I’ve had growing up. I love the feeling of reading a story and being able to connect to it on a personal level, it’s extremely validating to my experiences and feelings. I think if stories can make me, an adult, feel that way how awesome it is for kids to feel the same thing.

You can learn more about Gabriela at and follow her on Twitter and Instagram @thegreatgabsie.

Astrid Kamalyan:

My happy childhood spent in Armenia is a constant source of inspiration for me. It’s a part of me that never grew up and stayed eyes wide open, heart full. I tune into my emotions. They don’t always have to be happy, but when they are strong, I know a story is to be born. It might turn into a book or an essay, but regardless of form, it must get written down or it will keep my head noisy, writing itself. My debut BABO: A TALE OF ARMENIAN RUG-WASHING DAY is based on one of those happy memories of washing rugs with my siblings and grandmother. There’s a sense of joy, community, and childhood whimsy woven into so many of these memories, and all revolve around our traditions. And with this book, I wanted to share just that, the little beam of light, shining straight from childhood.

Learn more about Astrid at, get in touch through Twitter @astridkamalyan and IG @astridkamalyan.

There are also many prizes Picture Book Junction is giving away! A dozen, in fact!

You’re eligible to win one of these 12 prizes if you’re a registered Storystorm 2023 participant and you have commented only once on today’s blog post. ↓

Prizes will be distributed at the conclusion of Storystorm.

  1. David McMullin – PB critique
  2. Lisa Varchol Perron – Poetry bundle (3 children’s poetry anthologies: Things We Eat, Things We Feel, Imperfect II: Poems About Perspective)
  3. Ana Siqueira – PB critique (fiction and non-rhyming) or Zoom “Ask Me Anything”
  4. Suzy Levinson – Children’s Poem critique (rhyming)
  5. Aimee Isaac – picture book critique
  6. Marie Boyd – PB critique
  7. A.J. Irving – Fiction PB critique in prose
  8. Carrie Kruck – “Ask Me Anything” Storystorm edition! 30-minute Zoom/phone call to review your favorite StoryStorm ideas, discuss marketability, brainstorm hooks & pitches, prioritize & plan manuscript development…anything and everything Storystorm related!
  9. Gabriela Orozco Belt- PB critique
  10. Astrid Kamalyan – 30-minute Zoom “Ask Me Anything” focusing on the process of creating PBs, from idea generation to getting published
  11. Sarah Hovorka – “Anything Goes!” 30-minute Zoom talk and/or critique of PB, query, first five pages of CB or MG, or outlines/prep work.
  12. Jack Wong – Publisher/agent query critique (claimable March 5th onwards)