Writing for children can be a very rewarding process. But it can also be complicated and confusing, perhaps more so than most other out there. Writing children’s books often follows certain rules that keep the book feeling fresh, new and relative to the young people who read it. Here’s how to write a children’s book without losing your sanity.

Basics of Children's Books

First, it is important to know your audience. Most publishers classify children’s books based on the age of the child. Writing for a child up to 3 years old requires creating a board book with many pictures and very simple words.

Children between the ages of 3 and 8 will appreciate coloring books, activity books, picture books, and some that have novelty content. Ages 5 to 9 are considered early readers and need books that are timely for their abilities. Ages 6 to 9 or 7 to 10 can read chapter books, a more in-depth story.

Writing a children’s book for ages 8 to 12 means middle grade books, or those with much more depth than before. Finally, children ages 12 or 14 and up can enjoy young adult books.

How to Write a Children's Book


Have a good concept

Children pay attention to what they read. Even the youngest children will become bored very quickly with illustrations or words that don’t engage them. Subjects that excite children, such as animals, dinosaurs, robots, super heroes, princesses, and more are the things that you should focus on when writing children’s books. When dealing with older kids, pay attention to what they like these days, and write accordingly.


​Keep to the page format

Most children’s books have a particular format. For instance, a book that is 24 pages isn’t all filled with text – it includes ample room for pictures and illustrations. Make sure that your page format is easy to read through, simple, and straightforward. Of course, young adult books can be much longer, and they are mostly all text. The key is to write to the length your audience desires.


​Make your rhymes make sense

Using rhyme is only a good idea if you can do it very well. Kids, but it is very easy to get tripped up with a rhyme that doesn’t quite fit. If you can’t do it well, then don’t do it at all.


​Keep it short

Stories for young children should be very short. A child in preschool wants to read something that is well under 100 words or less. Keep it to less than 500 for children who are a bit older, and keep young adult novels to a reasonable length.


​Let them make up their own minds

Don’t set out to write a children’s book that focuses on a strong message or tries to teach them something. Let them draw their own conclusions from what you write. For example, a book about family might focus on the family helping each other, and the kids can draw what they want from that.


​Read the books your audience likes

If you want to write picture books, then go to the library and read every one they have on the shelves. Pay close attention to the use of language, color and more. If you are writing for young adults, read plenty of those books, too. Get educated before you start writing!

Tips on How to Write a Children's Book

Who are you writing for? Pay close attention to who you are writing for. If you want to create a picture book, be careful of the words you choose. If you want to write a book for older kids, don’t use pictures to describe what is happening. Make sure your content is appropriate for your audience.

What do you want to say? Are you telling an important story,, or simply writing something that is fun and light? Know what your goal is before you put pen to paper. In addition, consider what parents will want to see – they are ultimately the ones who will choose to spend money on these books!

Are you being original? Avoid clichés and instead, think about your own childhood. What kind of things did your imagination bring up? What bothered you during that time in your life, and what did you want to talk about with adults? What made you happy? What made you sad? What would have helped you through it? That’s what you should write about now.

Are you talking to them in appropriate words? No one wants to feel as though they are being preached to or that the person writing to them is condescending. Even little children can quickly get that vibe if it’s there. Use rich language that encourages the children to come up with their own ideas or takes on the story.

Are you using good images? When you choose to write a children’s book that is meant for those who are much younger, make sure that your words match the images you will use for your book. Will you draw the images? If so, you know what you want – but if you will hire an illustrator, make sure they understand your vision.


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