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Writing a Children’s Picture Book

Turn your ideas into fully-fledged story book texts for 2-6 year-olds with advice from a successful author.


Feb 24 2022 - Apr 05 2021

Write a Picture Book

Make great stories for young kids


Hosted on our bespoke learning platform

Course fee £210

+ includes professional feedback on your picture book

£20 New Year Discount

For a limited time only, you can get £20 off this course when you use code NEWYEAR20. This code is valid for £20 off the full price of our four-, six- and ten-week online courses. Offer excludes new courses running of the first time in January or February 2022. Not to be used in conjunction with any other offer. Offer ends midnight, 31 Jan 2022.


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. The best children’s picture book stories fire our imaginations and stay with us for our whole lives – so how do you work that magic?

In this online creative writing course, 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, teaching you how to plan your story using the forms and format that publishers like; showing you how to develop your characters and their worlds; how to sharpen your style and use language in ways that children love – and how to develop your writing professionally, so as to attract publishers. We can’t promise this course will get you an agent or a publishing deal, but it aims to demystify the children’s picture book publishing world and help you to understand what children’s publishers look for in a submission.

This course is ideal for inspiring someone who wants to learn the fundamentals behind writing a picture book text. The course is suitable for complete beginners as well as those who have already written picture book texts but want to learn more and improve their skills. It’s also suitable for people who’ve previously written in different forms (eg novels for older children or adults). The Writing a Children’s Picture Book course is the right choice if you are looking for expert advice on writing the story (ie. the text/words) for picture books for the under-6s. If your focus is on illustration, take a look at our Illustrating a Children’s Picture Book course with Sarah McIntyre. If you would like to develop as a writer and illustrator, you can either start off with one of these courses, and then take the other course at a later date – or you can enrol now for the combined course – Writing and Illustrating a Children’s Picture Book, which brings together the teaching materials from both courses at a discounted price.

This great learning package features teaching videos and substantial notes organised into six weekly modules designed for flexible study, so you can take part at times to suit you and from wherever in the world you are.

‘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, former Writing a Children’s Picture Book student


David O'Connell, Author-Illustrator

David O’Connell is a writer and illustrator living in London, UK.  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  Sarah McIntyre on the picture book Jampires, inspired by a comic they improvised together. He has also collaborated with Sam Watkins, Francesca Gambatesa and Tom Nicoll. His latest series is the Dundoodle Mysteries, illustrated by Claire Powell.


Weekly Modules

A clear path to a finished picture book text

Work through six weekly modules containing teaching videos and substantial notes specially written and produced by picture book author David O’Connell.

Dedicated Teaching Videos

Children’s writer David O’Connell guides you through the course

Watch specially filmed, informative teaching videos, presented by David O'Connell, including footage of David talking about the picture book industry and giving module specific writing advice. Each weekly module includes at least three videos.

Curtis Brown Creative learning platform forum

Student Forum

The hub of our online courses, find your community

Upload your completed writing tasks, give and receive feedback, and discuss the week’s topics with your fellow students and the CBC team.

curtis brown creative writing task

Writing Tasks

Custom tasks from David to help you learn practically

Designed to help you progress the planning and writing of your story. You'll be posting your work in the forums and we encourage students to offer positive, constructive feedback as the course progresses.

Resources & Notes

Comprehensive teaching notes and reference materials that are yours to keep.

These 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.


Get feedback from your peers and an expert CBC editor

Each week, an author-illustrator will be viewing the work posted and offering some focused comment on a few students' work – every student will get 300 words of written feedback on their final task.


You can follow the course at your own pace, but to get the best out of this course, allow plenty of time to watch the videos, read and reflect on the notes and resources, complete the writing  tasks, and take part in discussions in the forum.

You’ll undertake weekly practical tasks set by David, designed to help you progress the development of your writing techniques, the planning of your story, and the completion of your final picture book text. You’ll be posting your writing tasks in the forums and we encourage students to offer positive, constructive feedback as the course progresses.

All students receive 300 words of written feedback on their final task from one of our expert tutors/editors. For a limited period, we are also offering you the option to obtain a 30-minute video or telephone tutorial with one of our tutors/editors to discuss your final task – for an additional fee of £75.



Each week students will gain access to a new module based on a practical picture book writing topic. Our bespoke learning platform features separate forum spaces for all six teaching topics, arranged in a clear structure that’s easy to use. Our online learning space allows students to quickly find and take part in discussions and to easily locate task materials they’d like to refer back to.



Learn to read as a writer, looking at the picture books which are being published now.


Inspiration and Ideas

How to find inspiration and develop ideas for your picture book text.



Create memorable characters and settings for your story.



Picture books use minimal text, so finding the right words is crucial.



Plan your story – working to the right format.


Next steps

Professional development, and how to approach publishers and agents.


We’re excited to have you join our community of writers. Choose your preferred option from the right-hand-side and click the ‘Pay & Enrol’ button by midnight, end of day on 22 Feb 2022. Make sure that you agree to the Terms and Conditions. If you have a discount code you can input the details at payment. You will be shown a secure credit card form for payment. Once you enrol we’ll send you a confirmation email. The day before your course begins you will receive a welcome pack explaining everything you need to know about the course.

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