"Give me a really good first line, 

something I can sink my teeth into, that just pulls me in and makes me want to read more. For me, a really great first line raises a question in my mind, or, better yet, two or three, where I just have to read the book to find out. 

A good first line gives me context about the story and lays a roadmap for where we're going."

Jennifer March Soloway
Senior Agent at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency
During an interview on the Writers with Wrinkles podcast

April 2024

Welcome! I'm so glad you stopped by.
I hope you find this collection of picture book first lines inspiring and motivational.

If you'd like your book included in a future collection, click here.

Elements of a great first line

When God Makes Scribbles Beautiful

words by Kate Rietma, art by Jennie Poh
published by B&H Kids
First line: Sometimes, hard things happen.

Elements used: makes the reader wonder something and uses poetic devices

Read Kate's revision journey here.

The Not-Quite-Perfect Passover

Words by Laura Gehl, art by Olga and Aleksey Ivanov

Published by Albert Whitman & Co

First line: “There’s good news and bad news,” Dad tells Ruby.

Elements used: makes the reader wonder something

The Unstoppable Jamie

Words by Joy Givens, art by Courtney Dawson

Published by two lions

First line: I’m the Unstoppable Jamie.

Elements used: introduces the main character, uses unique formatting, and make the reader wonder something

Ra Pu Zel and the Stinky Tofu

Words by Ying Chang Compestine, art by Crystal Kung

Published by Rocky Pond Books

First line: By now, you have probably heard the old fairy tale about Rapunzel.

Elements used: references a beloved classic, engages the reader, and makes the reader wonder something


Words by Winsome Bingham, art by E.B. Lewis

Published by Abrams Books for Young Readers

First line: My granny is taking me on THE WALK.

Elements used: makes the reader wonder something

Old to Joy

By Anita Crawford Clark

Published by Gnome Road 

First line: Joy’s Grandmama lived in an old house, on an old street, with old trees, and all kinds of old things.

Elements used: makes the reader feel something

A Stone Is A Story

Words by Leslie Barnard Booth, art by Marc Martin

Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books

First line: A stone is not just a stone.

Elements used: makes the reader wonder something and feel something

A Good Deed Can Grow

Words by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman, art by Holly Hatam

Published by Christy Ottaviano Books

First line: A good deed can grow like a seed.

Elements used: employs poetic devices, establishes the premise of the story, and hints at how the story ends

How to Be Brave

Words by Karl Newson, art by Clara Anganuzzi

Published by templar books

First line: In our great big world, it can feel scary to try something new without knowing how it will turn out.

Elements used: makes the reader feel something

The Spark in You

By Andrea Pippins

Published by Random House Studio

First line (over 3.5 spreads): There’s a spark in you, and whenever you have an idea, it dances in your smile, through your hands, and in your feet.

Elements used: employs poetic devises, engages multiple senses, and makes the reader feels something