1000 Picture Books – Part 5: Final Thoughts

12 months, 1000 picture books, and 1 ton of fun! Click here to start at the beginning of this series.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but all of that listing wore me out. Now, I need to sit back and relax with a good picture book (or 1000 more).

Each time we complete an epic journey, there is always a lesson hidden somewhere, so… let’s figure this one out.

I was surprised at the number of comments I got, both here and on facebook, about this project. One comment that really stuck with me, went something like this:

When you look at these lists, don’t you feel overwhelmed that everything has been done before?

My initial thought was – Well now that you put the idea into my head, I do! There doesn’t seem to be any stone left unturned (and yes, there were even books about stones). As you browse through these statistics, everything is represented. Every format. Every character, Every plot. Every topic. Every point of view. And if something is not represented in these posts, it’s only because I didn’t share every little detail. If I had, this would have been a 10 part series.

In my own experience, I can’t count the number of times I have written an “original” story, only to see the same book released by someone else a few months later.

But think about it – of course this happens. Just look around you. In this business, we are surrounded by smart, thoughtful, imaginative, energetic, soulful, clever, industrious peers, both published and unpublished. The number of possible ideas generated by picture book writers and illustrators, each and every day, is staggering! Our combined brain energy could power a small planet.

I do not find this overwhelming. I find this thought – freeing.

The knowledge that everything has been done in some form, removes the constraints. Yes, I hope we all strive to be creative, and original, but now the pressure is gone.

This huge body of preexisting ideas gives us the drive to develop a stronger individual voice, and to work towards improving our craft. This is an opportunity to learn and grow. And we can use the work of others to help us get there.

Now, go read!

Be inspired. Learn about what you like and what you don’t like. If you find something similar to yours, that’s okay. Find ways to make yours unique.

It’s bound to be… it’s yours.


10 thoughts on “1000 Picture Books – Part 5: Final Thoughts

  1. Thanks for sharing all your hard work collecting data! It’s made for a great read. I also read 1000 books last year, but I didn’t keep such thorough records. I also found a similar ratio of rhyming books…so take heart, they do get published!! I found that 12 of the 1000 were meta-fiction. Twenty-one were about what I called a “tender topic” like the death of a pet, divorce, adoption etc. And finally, 14 were circular or cumulative, like “The House that Jack Built”. I kept track of those because I like writing in that format.

    1. Thank you for sharing those numbers with me. Very interesting. Picture books are surprisingly complex, and there are so many aspects to collect data on. I find every number informs me a bit more.

    1. Thanks, Christine. The great news is you can start any time you want. Besides, I’m sure you’ve been working on more important things.

  2. Thank you so much for this series of posts. It sheds important light and is enormously helpful to those trying to see a bigger picture, identify a need, or think outside of our own limited scopes. I can’t stop picturing this data graphically. Also, I want to recognize the effort this clearly took to compile. Thanks!!

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