@smceccarelli As one who placed great stock in the technical aspects of art when in my undergraduate years I know exactly what you mean about finding that relying on them too much can actually stunt your growth in children's books. All of these concepts (anatomy, drawing, perspective, lighting, etc) are tools to be used or not used based on the needs of the image or the book.
And what are those "needs"? They are how you want the viewer or reader to feel as they look at the image(s). The trick is to know what you are trying to say, and then utilize the tools that allow you to visually express it the most clearly.
And the Wootha suggestion of creating a inspiration portfolio ( @Lee-White calls it a "Dream Portfolio") is a great idea! Only I would suggest that you take it a bit further. Many artists think of composition as something that is "intuitive". I would swap that word "intuitive" to "subconscious". The next logical step is to make that subconscious understanding "conscious". Imagine the level of understanding you could achieve if you spent 10 min a day deciding how a specific image made you feel? Understanding why you intuitively liked the image and decided to include it in your inspirational folder.
I would suggest specifically writing those observations down. Or even saying them out loud. Over time patterns will emerge.
For example, an image that makes you feel "happy" might use a specific color palette, and has an energetic eye flow thought the image.
An image that makes you feel "stressed", might use optically vibrating colors, tons of detail and has carefully considered tangents scattered throughout.
Those patterns will coalesce into more conceptually tangible tools you can utilize at will for the specific needs (feeling/keywords) of a future image.
I say this from experience. Over the last few years I've created what I call "Picture Book Breakdowns" in which I pick a book and dissect it for all the elements that go into a picture book. The PDF's I create are pretty big and it definitely takes me quite some time, but I've never learned so much about what goes into my favorite picture books!