The Building Blocks of Board Books


When it comes to board book ideas, they’re both incredibly simplistic and really rather hard.

Let’s start with the simplistic…

On Tuesday, I described a board book my two-year-old niece wanted me to “read” to her. Designed to teach little kids colors, it did have a number of words scattered throughout its interior, but only one full sentence per page.

The rest of it was mere labels for the images used to illustrate each color.

  • “Cat” underneath an image of a black cat

  • “Fireman” underneath an image of a fireman in yellow

  • “Rose” underneath an image of a pink rose.

No doubt, you get the point.

But that’s the thing about board book ideas. They’re not so much about the words and much more about the images. If you want to write children’s stories, then board books are probably not a category worth exploring for you.

But if you’re all about pictures doing the talking, then listen up…

Come up with some very engaging page visuals.

Since board books are for children 0-3, the stories themselves aren’t going to be the main focus. In fact, there might not be a story at all.

Board books could simply be guides on how to count to 10, how to identify colors, or how to properly use a toilet (i.e., potty training).

Since there are plenty of other board books out there on those very same topics, you need to find some very engaging pictures to make your board book stand out!

This requires a bit of baby or toddler psychology, of course. What colors, shapes, sizes and arrangements do little kids like?

How varied or similar should each page be?

And how many interactive aspects should it involve, if any?

Of course, one of the most famous board books of all times, Pat the Bunny, is very interactive.

In the case of that colors book referenced in the beginning of this blog post, it was only interactive in the sense that my niece could point to the pictures and say what each was.

Not so with Pat the Bunny though! Like childhood itself, that board book’s readers are supposed to explore it fully.

So when it says on the left page how, “Paul can smell the flowers,” the very next page will exhort, “Now YOU smell the flowers.” Toddlers can then stick their cute little noses into the illustrated bouquet and actually catch a floral scent.

How cool is that?

Even adults go gaga over Pat the Bunny. And why not when they get to flip to a page with a soft, fuzzy bunny to run their fingers over.

Of course, Pat the Bunny is an already copyrighted board book idea. It’s taken. You’re too late there.

But there are certainly other board book ideas that haven’t been snatched up quite yet.

So if you have a love for little kiddies and the arts, put the two together with some studying of baby psychology (and maybe some psychology about the people actually buying the baby books), and let your imagination frolic like a toddler on an ice cream high.

You’ll find yourself with a board book idea in no time at all – right before it’s time to take a nap.

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