Ideas Are All Around

Have you ever parked yourself in front of your computer, determined to write a fabulous, inspiring picture book, but you can’t come up with a single idea? Well, take heart! In Philip C. Stead’s new picture book, IDEAS ARE ALL AROUND, this talented author/illustrator shares the same struggle on his second spread –
“I have to write a story today.
That is my job. I write stories
But today I don’t have any ideas.”


As the story continues, the author describes his walk around the neighborhood with his faithful dog, Wednesday (who, by the way, doesn’t like the author to write because she’d rather be outside.) This lovely, first-person narrative reads like nonfiction, yet the title is listed as fiction. The endearing text describes the simple pleasures the author and his dog encounter on their walk–a sunflower, train, ducks, a painted turtle named Frank, and more. I loved this beautiful story because I felt like I was along on the walk with the author and his dog. And as one idea leads to another and the reader soon discovers that ideas are all around.

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The artwork in this picture book isn’t like anything I’ve ever seen. It’s unique, fresh–and simply stunning! Now I’m not an artist, so I don’t know the proper terms to describe his illustrations, but to me they appear to be a combination of collage, actual Polaroid photos, and hand-drawn art. The typewriter font adds a textured, authentic feel to the book. It’s no wonder School Library Journal calls this book “a provocative, artful journey.” I definitely agree!

So if you’re searching for book ideas (or want to share a sweet story with your precious little one) take a look at IDEAS ARE ALL AROUND (Roaring Brook Press.) This story is the perfect example of how big ideas are often found in the smaller moments of life. And perhaps like me, you’ll find inspiration and encouragement in your writing!

Suzanne Slade

Suzanne Slade is the author of more than 100 books. A mechanical engineer by degree, she enjoys writing about science topics and fascinating historical figures. Recent books include: SWISH! The Slam-Dunking, Alley-Ooping, High-Flying Harlem Globetrotters, A Computer Called Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Helped Put America on the Moon, The Daring Dozen, Countdown: 2979 Days to the Moon, Astronaut Annie, Out of School and Into Nature: The Anna Comstock Story, Dangerous Jane, The Music in George's Head: George Gershwin Creates Rhapsody in Blue, The Inventor’s Secret, and Exquisite: The Poetry and Life of Gwendolyn Brooks. Coming soon -- MARS IS, JUNE ALMEIDA VIRUS DETECTIVE! THE WOMAN WHO DISCOVERED THE FIRST HUMAN CORONAVIRUS, THE UNIVERSE AND YOU, and TBA titles from Calkins Creek, Peachtree, and Random House. Learn more about Suzanne and her books at:


  1. Angie Quantrell

    I’ve read this book as well and loved it! It’s so fresh and imaginative and full of ideas. Thanks for reminding me about this book. 🙂

  2. Thanks, Suzanne! I loved the simple beauty of this story, and the recurring image of the blue horse. It’s a very lovely meditation on being present, something I strive to do, and what comes to kids naturally :).

    • Yes, the blue horse is such a lovely part of the book. You’re so right, the book is about being in the moment. I hadn’t really thought of that before, but it’s so true! Thanks for sharing.

  3. I love the simple pleasures in life, too! Thanks, Suzanne, for the post.

  4. What a great book to share with kids before a walk around the neighborhood…

  5. You have me intrigued! I’m definitely going to check this one out!

  6. Off to the library I must go! Thank you, Suszanne. This book sounds so very inviting.

  7. Hey, Suzanne! I’m a big Philip Stead fan, and can always use some writing inspiration. 🙂 Thanks for the recommendation–can’t wait to read it!

  8. Love the cover! Fresh and new. The story pulls the reader in with the compelling element of honesty. Children of all ages will enjoy the adventure combined with companionship. Captivating and quite FUN!

  9. This looks lovely, thank you for sharing it! I love Philip Stead books, and I’m sure this will be no exception.

  10. Thank you for sharing this, Suzanne! It looks inspiring!

  11. Oh, I am always seeking new ideas. Especially GOOD ones.

    For me, finding one of those is the hardest part of the process.

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