Some writing friends and I have been discussing the notion of going deeper, emotionally, when writing picture books. This came about after hearing more than a few editors say that they are looking for picture books that have emotional impact. So, for a writing exercise, we tried a method (not original) that we've tried before, but with the goal being to try to achieve new emotional depth to our writing. The exercise is this: Read a short story or picture book manuscript that you've already written. Then put it aside and re-write the story from memory, but this time, put the emotional impact of your story in the forefront as you write the piece. Force yourself, if necessary, to write about your main character feelings and how those feelings manifest themselves at each scene or plot point of the story.
When you are done, compare the two manuscripts. Did anything change? Did you discover anything new about the emotional impact of your story?