Writing a Children's Picture Book

6 weeks
Start Date
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Writing a Children’s Picture Book

Popular children’s book author and illustrator David O’Connell guides you through the unwritten rules of how to write children’s picture book texts and is ideal for inspiring someone who wants to learn the fundamentals behind writing a picture book text.

Writing stories for very young children is lots of fun, and can seem very simple. But there’s great skill involved in bringing those memorable characters and colourful worlds to life – and you have just a small number of carefully chosen words in which to do it.

We will demystify the children’s picture book publishing world and help you to understand what children’s publishers look for in a submission.

I was apprehensive doing an online course but David’s video tutorials gave it a personal and more interactive feel, plus my fellow writers in the forum brought the course to life.

Janey Robinson


David O’Connell

David O’Connell is a writer and illustrator living in Brighton. He works mostly in children’s books, particularly humorous picture books and young fiction. His best known books are The Naughtiest Unicorn series, the Sunday Times bestselling How to Grow Up and Feel Amazing (both as illustrator) and The Chocolate Factory Ghost (as writer). His first book was Monster & Chips, the first of a series of funny (and revolting) adventures of ‘hooman’ Joe Shoe whilst working at the Monster Diner of friendly monster Fuzzby Bixington. He then collaborated with the brilliant Sarah McIntyre on the picture book Jampires! After illustrating the Creature Teacher series by writer Sam Watkins, he worked with illustrator Francesca Gambatesa on a series of picture books all about families, as well as illustrating Boyband of the Apocalypse books for funny writer Tom Nicoll.


  • Video modules: Work through six modules comprising teaching videos and substantial notes from David O’Connell, providing a clear path from inspiration to a finished picture book.
  • Writing tasks: Custom tasks from David to help you learn practically and designed to help you progress the planning and writing of your story.
  • Resources & notes: Comprehensive teaching notes and reference materials, include a reading list, a glossary of useful children's publishing terms, and a template showing how a children's picture book should be set out.
  • Professional feedback: An expert CBC editor will give brief written comments on several of the students’ practical assignments each week, with all students receiving 300 words of written feedback on their final task. Students are also given the option to purchase an end-of-course tutorial with an expert editor.
  • Student forum: Find your writing community on our private student forums. Upload your completed writing tasks, give and receive peer-to-peer feedback, and discuss the week’s topics with your fellow students and the CBC team.


Our online courses are designed for flexible learning. Allocate your own study time and take part from wherever you are in the world. Each week, we recommend spending at least four hours on the course.

  • WEEK 1
  • WEEK 2
    Inspiration and ideas
  • WEEK 3
  • WEEK 4
  • WEEK 5
  • WEEK 6
    Next Steps


In addition to the 400 words of written feedback that all students will receive on their final task from an expert editor (included in the course price), students will be given the option to purchase a tutorial to discuss their final task with their CBC editor.

  • CBC tutorial: For an additional fee of £95, you can have a 30-minute video or telephone tutorial with your editor to discuss your work.

Looking for our illustrating a picture book courses?

If your focus is on art work, then our Illustrating a Children’s Picture Book course with Sarah McIntyre could be perfect for you. If you would like to develop as a writer and illustrator, why not enrol now for the combined course: Writing & Illustrating a Children’s Picture Book, which brings together the teaching materials from both courses at a discounted price.