POV and Picture Books

Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Last week at #pblitchat we talked about point of view (POV) in picture books. I am going to touch on a few points during the chat and add a few of my own. If you want to read a full version of the chat transcript you can see it at the Picture Books Only Blog – Transcript 10/11 March.

Point of view, or POV for short, in books is the perspective in which the story is told. Through whose eyes we see the story. POV can be a difficult concept to wrap your head around.

Basically there are three points of view: First, Second and Third

There are finer details such as third person limited (you are ONLY able to write what one person sees/feels/hears/thinks) and third person omniscient (you can hover above everybody & see everything) but I’m not going to get into that at this time.

I believe third POV is probably the most used in picture books followed by first POV. Second can and has been used however there doesn’t seem to be as many picture books in that POV.

First Person POV
First person point of view is written with the narrator as part of the story. The words “I” and “we” are used. Though this POV brings us close to the narrator and show s/he thinks and feels, it does limit the story to the one person’s perspective. In picture books this shouldn’t pose too much of a problem since telling a story from more than one perspective can confuse a child. The other issue with first person is some younger children may get confused when being read to. When read “I went to the store” a child may think mommy or daddy really did go to the store. As KarenCollum put it in #pblitchat “There’s an element of maturity involved in kids reading a PB in 1st and understanding that ‘me’ and ‘I’ is not them.”

Second Person POV
Second person point of view is written with you being part of the story. The words “you” and “your” are used. This POV pulls the reader right into the story. You often find this POV in choose your own adventure books or self help books. This type of POV is less popular in picture books – though it has been done and done well.

Third Person POV
Probably the most popular POV to write, third person POV tells the story from a person outside the story. The words “he,” “she,” “they” and “it” are used. This POV allows for more freedom in how that story is told.

Examples of Books Written in the Different POVs

Have you ever tried to write one of your works in a different POV. What did you find? Does the story change? Did you find holes in your story?
So, there you have it. Feel free to leave your comments about other books and POVs or anything else you would like.


  1. Great post! My favorite second person POV is A Time of Wonder. It's an older one, but it's lovely. Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus is a more modern classic 2nd person POV, also amazing.
    Thanks again!

  1. Thanks for providing this lesson. I needed a language arts lesson for a group of 5th graders not in a classroom setting. Jacqui, Fort Worth, TX

Post a Comment