Do your research, share your drafts, and relate to kids if you want to write children’s books.
Have you been itching to break into the children’s literature genre with children’s books of your own? Good for you! Children’s literacy is an issue that foundations such as the United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council and UNICEF have been working tirelessly to improve, and contributing to children’s literature is an admirable way to get involved.
But where should you begin? Read on for some quick tips on writing books for children!
1) Read a lot of popular children’s books from the last 25 years
Familiarizing yourself with contemporary children’s books will help you get an idea of what styles and themes kids respond to and identify with. Popular, as children’s book publisher Laura Backes explains, does mean best-selling and award- winning. However, it also includes books that may not be on these recognition lists but are simply loved by children.
Gather these books by asking a librarian or bookstore employee which ones are the most popular with kids. Reading these books will help you get a good sense of what current readers want to get out of a book; it will also help you see what type of work you enjoy yourself and determine what kind of book you would like to write.
2) Get ready to revise, revise, and revise
As any writer, published or unpublished, will tell you, one of the most important things to remember about writing is that multiple drafts are crucial to the process. Give your drafts, even when you’re confident that no changes need to be made, to many different people: your editor, friends, family, and especially children readers.
The goal is to have several people who are removed from the writing than you are look over each manuscript. It’s shockingly easy to miss small grammatical mistakes, weak character development, or unclear plot points in writing you’ve read hundreds of times.
This will also help you evaluate how a wide variety of people respond to your book. Of course you like it; you wrote it! The more people who read your manuscript, the more opinions and personal preferences you’ll be able to test it out on. This is also why it’s crucial that you have children check out your story while you’re working on it. Is this a story they can get into? If not, what changes can you make to create a more appealing book?
3) Make your book relatable
Balance the language in your book between simple and too simple. Don’t just dumb everything down. Yes, you should write in simple sentences, but this doesn’t mean that your story has to dull and boring. You can keep the themes and humor strong in your book!
You should also put yourself in kids’ shoes while you’re writing. Gain perspective by remembering what it was like to be a kid yourself. What made you happy? What made you laugh? What frustrated you and made you sad?
Another good way to make your writing relatable to kids is to spend as much time with children as possible. Get a feel for how they interact with other kids and with adults; this will definitely help you craft characters that your readers can relate to.
4) Get started!
The literary world is waiting for your book. Go ahead and start writing those books for kids! And when you’re finished, BookBaby is ready to walk you through printing and self-publishing your very own children’s book.
Image via ShutterStock.com.
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