"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

May 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

Love Grows Here

Words by Chloe Ito Ward, art by Violet Kim

Published by Albert Whitman & CO

First line: Flounders fly and fishmongers sing, but Aiko is focused on finding…mouthwatering makizushi, salty but sweet; fresh fuji apples, crisp and clean; and marigolds that sing like the market’s neon sign, warm and welcoming.

Elements used: introduces the main character, uses poetic devices, engages multiple senses, and establishes the tone and setting of the story

Read the story of Chloe's first line revision journey here

One Sweet Song

Words by Jyoti Rajan Gopal, art by Sonia Sanchez

Published by Candlewick Press

First line: One note trills…floating in the air.

Elements used: employs poetic devises and engages multiple senses

Don't Ask Cat!

By Maryann Cocca-Leffler

Published by Albert Whitman & Co.

First line: Cat is always quick to say what’s on his mind.

Elements used: makes the reader wonder something

The Little Tiger

By Nicola Killen

Published by A Paula Wiseman Book

First line: It was Ollie’s birthday and she had been very excited to open her presents.

Elements used: references something with universal appeal

Between Two Windows

By Keisha Morris

Published by HARPER

First line: Between two windows, a clothesline creaks and squeaks.

Elements used: makes the reader wonder something, employs poetic devices, and engages multiple senses

Professor Goose Debunks the Three Little Pigs

Words by Paulette Bourgeois, art by Alex G. Griffiths

Published by tundra

First line: Well, cook my goose—this is outrageous!

Elements used: makes the reader wonder something

When the Rain Came Down

Words by Leslie Helakoski, art by Keisha Morris

First line: When the rain came down and the water rose up…cars packed tight and thousands fled

Elements used: employs poetic devices and engages multiple senses

Love Is My Favorite Color

By Nina Laden and Melissa Castrillon

Published by A Paula Wiseman Book

First line: Love is my favorite color.

Elements used: uses unique formatting and establishes a unique premise

The Last Stand

Words by Antwan Eady, art by Jarrett & Jerome Pumphrey

Published by Alfred A. Knopf

First line: Papa has the last stand.

Elements used: makes the reader wonder something

The Ramadan Drummer

Words by Sahtinay Abaza, art by Dinara Mirtalipova

Published by Reycraft

First line: Hunger gripped Adam like a wild beast, twisting and turning for food.

Elements used: engages multiple senses, starts in the middle of the action and makes the reader feel something