A Guide How to Write a Children’s Book
I Want to Write a Book – How To Start?
Writing a children’s book is a dream of many people. However, many people see it as one that is quite unattainable. This guide has all you need to know to put that incredible idea of yours into a children’s book. Perhaps you have a favorite bedtime story that you developed just for your kid, and you want to share it to others, writing a children’s book is the best platform for you.
In this article, we are going to break down all the insights you need to consider when writing a children’s book.
Here are the steps you are supposed to follow if you want to develop the best kid’s book.
- Develop an idea
Before writing a children’s story, you need to have an idea of what you will write about. The simplest way of getting this idea is through interacting with children. You then listen to them, observe what they do, then write down some notes about your observations.
These are basically what you feel interests the children. Apart from that, you can think about your childhood and come up with something that you enjoyed. At this stage, you need to come up with numerous ideas so that you have a variety to choose from.
- Identify your target age group
There can never be a children’s storybook that will cater for all the needs of all ages. Therefore, to develop a good children’s story, you must first decide which age group you want to write to so that you can decide on a story that they can relate with.
Basically, there are three broad categories of children’s age group, the first being young children aged between 2-6 years, then the middle graders aged between 8-11 years and the young adults who are 12 years and older. It is important to decide on the age group so that it becomes easy to communicate with them. For example, books for five years old should be centered on a certain game.
- Pick a relevant theme
When selecting the theme for your children’s storybook, you should first consider whether it has a wide appeal, whether it reflects the point of view of a child or it talks of an issue that has weight in the world of children. If you write something that the kids won’t understand, then they will have no business reading it. You need to come up with a theme that will make the children see themselves in the story.
This will make them gain interest in the book, and it will automatically be their best book.
- Develop a perfect flow
You need to ensure that your story has a clear beginning which shifts smoothly in the middle and ends perfectly. You cannot write a disconnected story and expect kids to follow. For example, a story about a boy who sees a grasshopper then plays in the garden and goes to bed is not a story that you will want kids to read. You have to note that ending is pretty much harder than even the start.
- Avoid being preachy
In as much as you are trying to send a message to your kids’ audience, ensure that you don’t make it look too obvious. Kids will always note the moral in the story, and they won’t like it. Do it more silently.
- Make use of illustrations
It is simple to write a kindle kids book; after all, it only consists of 32 pages with a requirement of at least 1000 words. With this simplicity there lies a difficulty, as a matter this economy of words is what gives many authors headaches. Writing a picture story is an art that involves using very few words that carry a lot of weight. Ensure that you try as much as possible to keep your story short but to the point.
- Have a different story
Don’t just write the common children’s stories that are there in the market. In as much as it might be interesting to your kid, you need to come up with a story that is unique so that the publisher you are going to approach will have interest in investing in that book.
- Invest your time in the book
No picture book can be done in an overnight that will be just considered as your first draft. Kids’ books cannot be hastily done; in fact, it takes a lot of time to write a kid’s book that even books meant for adults. This is because it involves carefully looking at the words to write the least number of words that will carry the weight of the story. Ideally, we can equate the writing of a children’s book to writing a haiku about war and peace.
- Choose an appropriate writing style
This is a variable that largely depends on your target audience, the number of words you need, the type of story and most importantly the style you are comfortable with. Once you choose your writing style, it is important to stick with it.
These are some of the writing styles you can consider:
This style is very complex. Once you settle on using this style, you have to ensure that your rhymes are very good. The lines should have the same number of syllables and rhythms. You cannot skip the rhyming or force rhymes that don’t agree. Using this style needs consistency and persistence.
- Past or Present Tense
Kids’ stories are best written in present tense. This is because it makes the children feel like part of the events happening in the story instead of experiencing something that happened a long time ago. However, if your story is centered on a specific event that took place a certain time, then you can use past tense in narrating the same since you are talking about a real event that took place at one point in time.
- First or third person
You need to consider the point of view of the story. This is a very crucial decision that you need to make as a story writer. You can decide to use the first person pronoun if the main character of the story takes center stage in every page, or if you want the main character to be the mirror of all the events in the story. However, if you want flexibility and freedom, then you can consider adopting the third person pronoun.
It is important to note that there is no convection when it comes to choosing the style to put your children’s story in, it is a matter of the story you want to tell and your audience, you only need to ensure that you are consistent with your style.
- Consider some important elements that make a good children’s book story
The way you tell your story is what will make your story the best. For a story to be good, it needs to be designed carefully and delivered in its simplest form. A story has a beginning, the middle part and the end coupled with scenes, actions, and emotions.
Your main message needs to be clear.
The following are some of the elements that will make your story stand out:
You need to develop a good storyline. You need to pose some challenges for your characters. Children have good hearts and always want to see a happy ending and a problem being solved. If you fail to have a happy ending, then they will get upset.
- Characters that stand out
Children always want to associate with good people. You should develop characters with good personalities, who make a wise decision and chase their dreams regardless of the challenges the face. You need to have characters that the children can relate with and they can be a constant reminder of the kids’ identity.
Children enjoy stories that have been delivered in a manner similar to how they talk. In writing your children’s storybook, ensure that you use a language that is familiar to the target age group. You can learn this through your interactions with the kids’. You can also learn this by going through other children’s books.
Start your story with an action that will keep your kids’ audience glued to the book. This can be a shocking event. You also need to develop this action consistently throughout the story to keep the readers following. You can also employ suspense at the end of every chapter to make the reader curious about what will happen in the next chapter.
- Something to remember
Your story should have something that will stick in the minds of your children audience. This can be a particular character that does things that interest the readers or what the kids can associate with.
You need to note that the sequence and flow of events is a very vital aspect of every story, but you also have to understand that all stories don’t follow a particular structure. This is because having a specific formula can hinder the story from achieving their full potential. However, you need to have a structure that you decide to follow, but if it doesn’t go well, you don’t have to force it.
Character development sheet
For a children’s storybook, the character development sheet does not need to carry a lot of information. It should mainly be centered on the main aspects of the character. The following are some of the things to be considered while developing the characters sheet.
This answers the question, what are the thoughts that circulate in the character’s mind.
How does the character view the future, what are the hopes and aspirations of the character?
What are the characters weaknesses? The things that hold him/her down
What are the characters strengths? The outstanding aspects of the character
What does the character care most about?
What are some of the challenges the character has gone through
What lies in store for the character as he/she, moves forward.
Popular Children’s Books
The following are some of the most popular children’s books of all time.
- Goodnight moon
- Make way for ducklings
- Madeline (Series)
- Frog and Toad (series)
- Anno’s Journey
- The Lorax
- Brave Irene
- The story of Ferdinand
- Mish Rumphius
- Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!
- I Want My Hat Back
- Where the Wild Things Are
- Blueberries for Sal
- Owl Moon
- The True Story of the Three Little Pigs.
Tips for Writing Children’s Books
Writing children’s book is very different from writing adults books. The following are some of the things you need to have in mind when writing stories for children.
- Your story should be unique from others
- Always ensure that only the good guys win and bad guys never win
- The good guys should always come out strongly in the end
- All the characters should have their points of strengths and weakness. No character should have only strengths or weaknesses.
- Ensure that you portray the extreme rules of the world
- You can write something scary but make sure it won’t have any significant impact on the kids’ life
- You can have a situation where children triumph over adults
- You can write hilarious things about children, those that they can associate with such as underwear, passing gas, burping, tushies etc.
- You can turn things upside down, this is quite funny but you need to make sure that they first make sense in their rightful position
- You can portray ordinary children with the ability to perform extraordinary things
You can incorporate magic for a logical reaction to a certain action.