Writing Children’s Book
Have you ever wanted to write your very own children’s book? Writing a children’s book is probably one of the most fulfilling undertakings you could partake of. Not only are you given the chance to educate kids, you are also given the chance to entertain them with great content and lovable characters. But writing a children’s book is not as easy as it seems. This is because writing to children involves a lot of thought if the content is too mature for the child and if the story is too complicated. Here are some mistakes to avoid when writing a children’s book.
- Talking down to your audience
One of the worst things to do, when you’re writing a children’s book, is talking down to your audience. Even though your audience is predominantly composed of children, there is no reason to talk down to them. If you use baby talk, you will find out that most children really hate it when adults baby talk them. It will also annoy parents because they want their kids to learn when they read a children’s book. So remember when you are writing your children’s book try to make it a clever one. Give your audience more credit, they may be kids, but they’re not stupid. Famous children’s book writer Beverly Cleary captures this perfectly in a short quote.
“As a child, I disliked books in which children learned to be ‘better’ children.”
- Using inappropriate topics
Remember that you are writing for kids, so it is not advisable that you use inappropriate topics in your work. Imagine how your young readers will react if your book mentioned more adult like themes such as death. Although children have to learn about death and other unpleasant things as they grow, it is best that they learn about it from their parents and not from a book. This is why you should always be careful on which topics to use.
According to children’s book writer Pat Mora, one of the best ways for you to choose a topic is to look deep within yourself and remember your child-self, your feelings, memories, fears, and pleasures. This will allow you to be connected to your inner child and create a book that your kid audience can relate to.
- Using inappropriate art
Art is a truly great way for you to make an impact on your audience, just as long as it is appropriate and does not scare them. Children’s books are supposed to give kids a sense of fun and wonder and help them learn great life lessons. Thus it would be a very bad idea to use disturbing images because it will not only scare them but even traumatize them. Always remember that you are writing for kids thus the images you use should be pleasant, artistic and inspiring.
Remember that children’s books tend to be read and reread, so it is very important that your art is attractive, and captures the spirit of the book. Let’s be honest one of the reasons why kids love children’s books is because of the beautiful pictures that capture their attention.
- Don’t use complicated prose
Some writers make the mistake of using overly complicated words on their books. Young children at the age of 5 to 10 have yet to fully develop their vocabulary, thus if you use overly complicated words they would most likely be confused and even lose interest in your book. This quote by the much-loved author and illustrator Eric Carle captures this tip very well.
“[Children’s books] are deceptively simple. I admit that. But for me, all my life I try to simplify things. As a child in school, things were very hard for me to understand often, and I developed a knack, I think. I developed a process to simplify things so I would understand them.”
- Putting boring and unnecessary characters in your book
One of the problems you will usually encounter when writing children’s books is the fact that kids have a very short attention span, and you won’t do yourself any favors if your characters are boring and bland. Your characters should be unique and get the interest of your audience from the get-go. This quote from the creators of the much beloved Bernstein Bears book series Stan and Jan Berenstain captures this tip very well.
“Children are very good about finding mistakes. We get probably thousands of letters, and some of them find mistakes in our books. As some readers know, Sister Bear always wears a pink hairbow. In one book we forgot the hairbow, and we got a letter about it. That proves to us that the children are really paying attention, and that’s good.”
-Stan and Jan Berenstain
All in all when you write a children story always remember that a good children’s book comes from deep within yourself. It all really depends on how you harness your inner child and how you relate to the kids through your writing.