Children’s Book Plot Ideas to Story-tell & Write About

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What’s the hardest part about writing a children’s book? Is it coming up with the idea, the actual writing, or the illustration?

Honestly, when going through the process, each step is going to present its own set of unique challenges!

This isn’t to scare away any of you who are just getting started, because with the right motivation and mindset, the entire thing can be looked at as a learning experience, and of course, none of it is insurmountable.

I’ve recently talked about KDP using Canva for illustration (and here’s more on how to do graphic design without Photoshop), but today, the focus is on the basis of the story, or the different book plot ideas for you to explore.

There are a million different ways to generate ideas, and what I do is certainly going to differ from what someone else does, and what might even work for you. But, the goal here is to spark action, with me hoping that something mentioned here will continue to push your forward in your quest for kids book completion.

Children’s Book Plot Ideas

1. Giving Life to the Inanimate

Look around you, what do you see? A desk, a lamp. Perhaps a pen and pencil. Think about what each of those items might be experiencing if they were able to talk.

Maybe it’s the trashcan at your feet who is tired of eating garbage, and just wants a good meal. Or it could be the computer screen who doesn’t like being stared at all day. Or, the TV remote control who is tired of having his “buttons pushed” and just wants to be left to relax by sitting on the arm of the sofa (or to be lost forever inside of a couch cushion).

When you look at your book idea through this lens, opportunity awaits!

Some plot ideas that could be put into play with this approach include:

  • Garbage can on a quest to be fed a healthy meal
  • TV remote on an adventure to get owners to use voice controls
  • Pencil who is afraid to be sharpened
  • Pen who is getting older and running low on ink
  • Calculator who doesn’t get used because of new tech

2. Pick a Line

This is one of my favorites, as it provides immediate structure and guidance, which can be tough to come by when you’re writing, and not exactly sure which way you want to take your story.

So, it goes like this. Pick a general theme, let’s say animals from above, and a dog, specifically. Then, think about the overall theme of the story, let’s say friendship. Then, pick a recurring line you’d like to serve as the anchor for the story. For example:

Doggies make the best of friends
Because they always want to play
Fetch is definitely their favorite game
They can chase a ball all day!

Doggies make the best of friends
Because they always make you smile
Even when the weather is rainy
They can brighten up your day

Doggies make the best of friends…

You get the point, with “Doggies make the best of friends” being your anchor line that starts each page or verse, etc. As mentioned, this is one of the easiest ways to get rolling with your story plot in my opinion.

Some plot ideas that could be put into play with this approach include:

  • Doggies make the best of friends
  • My mom says I’m a big boy
  • At school I get a sticker
  • My brother is my hero

3. Use Animals & Insects

An old favorite, right? Animals always make for a great plot of your next children’s book. Stemming from the above, this could be from the point of view of your favorite pet, where you take the reader through different scenarios of that pet’s daily life or routine (eating, playing, sleeping, etc.)

None of this working for you? I’ll ghost write your story! You can check out my Fiverr profile and pricing here. You can also search for someone different, or for a different service altogether if you need something different or specific here.

On the other hand, it could be an animal superhero or group of friends, each of whom would carry out the story plot just as a human character would, but with their own animal quirks.

So, while you could easily write a children’s book on a group of human friends, what if the group of characters were different animals like a hippo, an elephant, and a giraffe, and the elephant was upset because at lunch, he couldn’t help his trunk from slurping down his food and drink?

Some plot ideas that could be put into play with this approach include:

  • A friendly bee who is misunderstood because bees sting
  • A  group of dogs who each wishes they had different barks
  • A high-jumping kangaroo who doesn’t want to play basketball
  • An ant who can’t figure out how to march correctly

4. Go the Riddle Route

A tradition fun plot for kids is to make your story a riddle, or provide some sort of mysterious build up as you make your way to the final page. Tjink of it like “I spy” in book form, where every page leaves them guessing as to what will happen next, or in the end.

To go about it, think of something “mysterious” kids might experience on a daily basis. Perhaps it’s what’s lurking behind the fence in their backyard, or simply, what they’re going to be served for dinner that night!

You can blend this with the “pick a line” method mentioned above for something like:

What lives behind the backyard fence?
It must be something scary.
It has big teeth and barks so loud
And oh my, it looks rather hairy.

Some plot ideas that could be put into play with this approach include:

  • What lurks behind the backyard fence
  • What is for dinner tonight?
  • Where are we driving in our car?
  • What toys are hiding under the couch?

5. Make the Setting the Star

If easier to get you going, don’t focus so much on the main subject of the story, but rather, make the setting the “star” and let that direct which way you take things.

For instance, if you think about the different areas a child might want to explore with their mind, from space to an underwater adventure, or perhaps a forest or amusement park, etc.

When you go about it that way, you might not even need a main character, and can instead tell the story through the different things that make each of those settings special.

For example, it could be all of the different things you might see in space, from the moon, shooting stars, etc. Or, it could be the forest’s chorus and the sounds of nature, etc.

Some plot ideas that could be put into play with this approach include:

  • All the fun you see in space: shooting stars, glowing moon, etc.
  • All the sounds you hear in nature: animals, leaves crunching, etc.
  • What fish might see and think looking up at the water surface

6. Solve a Problem/Teach a Lesson

With kids, they’re always learning. Many situations are new and different, and frankly hard to grasp. Stories are perfect for conveying lessons, or to help kids through problems.

And, these don’t have to be big, huge, complex, depressing issues. When young, even the smallest of things could be a problem, from learning to tie shoes, to brushing teeth regularly, etc.

I put this last because you could take any of the above ideas and fold them into a general plot of needing to solve a problem or overcome a challenge.

7. Don’t Forget Your Vegetables

Elf is a great movie for many reasons—laughs, Christmas, Will Ferrell in general. If you’ve ever seen the movie, you know where I’m going with this—a subplot is the fact that Buddy’s father in the movie, Walter Hobbs, is a children’s book publisher executive who is searching for the next big hit title.

In his chase, Hobbs’ team pitches ideas centered around vegetables, including, from Eugene:

“What about this? Uh, a tribe of asparagus children, but they’re self-conscious about the way their pee smells.”

Then of course there is mention of a young tomato, and a peach that lives on a farm, etc.

Anyway, the point is, fruits and vegetables can work! Like you can do with animals, they are like pets in that they are easy to identify, and easy to personify.

Getting Started

When it comes to getting started, we are all going to have certain approaches we feel work the best for us.

For me, I find the most success from employing any of the above, and/or, just looking around me—what do I see in my house, what are my pets doing, what challenges are my kids facing, what challenges did I face as a child.

I tend to write the best and most vividly when it stems from something I can easily conjure up in my mind, and you might feel the same is true for you as well.

Happy Writing!

And that’s not me wishing you good luck! That’s me sending a reminder, that, writing should be fun, and should make you happy. Now, there will be frustrating times, and that’s for sure, but especially when it comes to writing children’s stories, there is so much to explore. Good luck!

Still stuck? I’ll ghost write your story! You can check out my Fiverr profile and pricing here. You can also search for someone different, or for a different service altogether if you need something different or specific here.

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