It is not always easy to put ourselves into the mind of a child, especially as there are generation gaps. Nonetheless, children’s books often focus on timeless themes. There are also other parameters which don’t change much (if at all), which iUniverse will discuss below:
Book length: Children, like adults, derive a sense of pleasure from completing a book, though their attention spans are much shorter. They also tend to appreciate large font sizes. iUniverse recommends a maximum of 400 words if the book is for children of six years or younger.
Sentence structure and words: The shorter the words are, the better. Children want to enjoy reading, and not struggle over words that they cannot pronounce. The vocabulary should be common, with perhaps one word which is challenging.
Sentence structure should be basic, but also not sound like it was written by a child. Avoid using the same sentence pattern over and over. As the books are often read TO the child rather than BY the child, do your best to give the sentences a flowing quality. In many ways, you are writing for the parents as much as the kids.
Which level? The “Young Adult” level starts at about 13 years of age, so if you are writing for “children,” make sure your content is targeted to readers who are younger than that. Some research on other children’s books, to have an idea of what kind of writing is appropriate for which age level, will come in handy.
Upbeat tone: Children’s books can teach about the world, teach lessons about life, etc, but above all they should have a cheerful effect on the child. Characters should not be too complex, and it is okay to make them one-dimensional. The more they are smiling, the more books you will sell.
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