Author Darcy Pattison has a great article on "Picture Book Topics to Avoid". Dial editor, Liz Waniewski spoke on this topic at an SCBWI Arkansas conference in 2007. Darcy asked Liz to update the list for 2009. Lucky for all of us - she did. Liz W. states that these topics aren't necessarily bad topics. It's simply that your writing must rise above the competition to be noticed - and ultimately acquired. Be aware that other children's book editors are probably seeing the same topics in their slush pile. Hoping to get noticed? Avoid these topics and write about something unusual. On a personal note, I'm delighted to see that Christmas stories and barnyard tales have dropped from the list. Good news for me, as Tonight You Are My Baby is a Christmas book and currently under editorial consideration is a barnyard tale! What to do if, like me, your topic is also on the popular topics list? Give it a twist, end with the unexpected, surprise the reader, give it a new voice. Put your creative hat on!