Picture Perfect: Crafting a Successful Picture Book Manuscript

Session Dates: November 12, 19, 26, & December 3, 12-1pm ET

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Many people believe that it’s easy to write a book for children: type out a page or two, add a moral at the end, and voila, there’s a picture book!

But as writers, we know that out of all the genres of creative writing, picture books can be the most challenging.

The shorter text of a picture book leaves less room for error. Every word must be carefully chosen and age-appropriate. Every concept must be carved and shaped to leave the greatest impact. 

And to complicate things further, the audience for picture books is BOTH children and adults. While it’s written for children, a parent must also love the book enough to buy it for their kids, then see enough value in it to want to read it to them over and over. 

It sounds daunting, but it’s not impossible!

Learning to write a great picture book takes time, practice, and lots of revision. But how do you know what your story needs in order to make it shine?

Asmaa Hussein, Founder of Ruqaya's Bookshelf, and Hajera Khaja, Editor at Ruqaya's Bookshelf, bring you: Picture Perfect: Crafting a Successful Picture Book Manuscript

Course Schedule:

  • Week 1: Ideas & Structure (Nov 12)
    How to know if you have a strong story idea, and how to structure your picture book manuscript to build suspense and keep readers’ interest  engaged
  • Week 2: Characters (Nov 19)
    How to create strong and memorable characters in your story who readers can connect with and root for
  • Week 3: Show, Don’t Tell (Nov 26)
    How to write scenes that transport the reader off the page and into the world of the story
  • Week 4: Beginnings & Endings (Dec 3)
    How to write strong beginnings that pique the reader's interest and write endings that are surprising and satisfying.

 What's Included:

  • 4 live Zoom sessions where you’ll learn the most important craft elements of a picture book (Dates: November 12, 19, 26, & December 3; 12PM-1PM ET)
  • Recordings of Zoom sessions to watch again and refresh your learning (available until December 31, 2022)
  • Writing exercises to practice the techniques you've learned and revise your own stories
  • Membership to a Facebook group where you can connect with other writers and have the opportunity to form writing groups or critique groups



Learning how to write strong and powerful stories is not difficult. Once you’re familiar with the craft elements, it’s just a matter of patience and perseverance, and trusting that your story will come together in due time. 

This mini-course will give you the tools that you need to go back to stories that you’re stuck on. If you have stories that keep getting rejected from publishers or stories that need something more but you’re not sure what, this course will help you identify those missing ingredients. 

“Picture Perfect” will give you the tools and the motivation to finally put pen to paper and write the stories you were meant to write.




What if I’ve never written a picture book? Will I benefit from this course?

Yes! It’s best if you have already written something so you can go through the lessons and revise your picture book manuscript step by step. But even if you don’t have a manuscript, you’ll learn what it takes to write a good picture book and will have the knowledge and tools on how to revise it.

What if I can’t attend the sessions live? Will the sessions be recorded?

Yes! All the Zoom sessions will be recorded and shared via email within 24 hours. The recordings will be available until December 31, 2022.

Will you be reviewing our manuscripts and offering feedback?

No. You’ll have an opportunity to ask questions each week but unfortunately we don’t have the capacity to review manuscripts and give personalized feedback through this course.

Does this course cover everything that I need to know to write a great picture book?

This isn’t an exhaustive course as it’s not possible to cover everything in 4 weeks. For example, we don’t cover concept picture books or elements of lyrical language like rhyme and meter. But Picture Perfect will cover the most important things when it comes to making sure you have a story that is working well on the page.


The last day to register is November 10, 2022. If you have any questions about the course, please email us at editor@ruqayasbookshelf.com and we will respond within 24 hours.

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