Writing a child book:

Getting Started

It’s amazing how many people start producing a child story before really thinking about what it is they want to create or studying the market to see whether there’s any demand for their “masterwork”.

Before you set pen to paper, you should consider:

  • Who your audience is
  • The likely topic of your child story
  • Marketing constraints and opportunities
  • The skills you need to get the book written

Your Audience

This is easy, right?

It’s children. Well, is it? Although a child may be the recipient or end-consumer of your child story, the book purchaser is the one who determines whether your book is purchased in the first place. So, you need to appeal not only to children but also to parents, grandparents, teachers, and other adults.

Have you noticed how Disney movies such as The Lion King or Finding Nemo appeal equally to children AND adults? These movies often even have jokes that are meant only for adults and that go right over the heads of children...a kind of adult subtext. This is more or less what you need to do in writing your child storybook.

The other thing you need to consider, of course, is the age group of your audience. Generally, when grouped by age, children’s books fall into three categories:

  • Infants and toddlers (0-3 years old): books that they can read and enjoy are counting/ABC books; picture books; books about animals, people, and the immediate world around them; and novelty books (board books, flap books, pop-up books, and cloth books).
  • Young children (4-7 years old, preschool-second grade): picture books; early readers; vocabulary building books; storybooks; books about animals, people, and the immediate world around them; sophisticated novelty books, how-to books, craft books, activity books and coloring books.
  • Older children (8-12 years old, third grade-sixth grade): storybooks for older kids, sophisticated picture books, short novels, how-to books, biographies, autobiographies, books about history, books about animals and the human body, craft books, books about science and the natural environment, activity books, word searches, games, crossword puzzles, magic tricks.

As you can see there is some overlap between age groups, but each group requires different types of books. That’s because of their different levels of cognitive and emotional development.

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