How to Write for Children

Ten or twenty years ago, no one would have thought children literature as a distinct genre. In the early times – besides fables, folk tales and fairy tales – children literature comprised of “issue books” that described serious and important subjects for children, something similar to textbooks. Publishers were not interested in the “real” children literature because they thought children literature had no market. On the other hand, parents did not consider children literature important part of household expenses. Therefore, it is understandable that the first Harry Potter book was rejected six times.

Interest and necessity of children differ according to their age.
Interest and necessity of children differ according to their age. | Source

The Origin of Children Literature

The origin of children literature lies in the long tradition of folk tales, mythologies and fables in different cultures and countries. East, West, Middle East and Africa, everywhere there is an overwhelming presence of such kind of literature. Aesop, a slave who is believed to have lived in Greece around 5th century BCE, and Phaedrus, a Roman slave dating back to first century AD, were wonderful fabulists. It is believed Aesop’s fables were written by Phaedrus for the Hellenic world.

Panchatantra or Five Discourses is a book of fables very popular in India and Nepal. It is believed that the fables in Panchatantra were created by a fabulist hired by a king in India, in 4th or 5th century AD, to teach his sons.

Shahrazad (Scheherazade) tells one thousand fables, fairy tales and folklores in the Arabian Nights. The exact date and the author are unknown and the earliest reference to the Arabian Nights is the 9th century text.

Understanding a Child’s Mind

  1. Human beings are anthropomorphic by nature, even more the children. Children see themselves as animals and animals as themselves. (Think about Spiderman and Batman)
  2. Children love improbable, they love to read about larger than life events and admire larger than life characters.
  3. Children also love to glorify the people they admire, add intricacies to the events they fancy. They weave the tales in their minds

Hans Christian Anderson (1805-1875) and Jacob Ludwig Carl Grimm (1785-1863) and Wilhelm Carl Grimm (1786-1859) popularly called Grimm Brothers are best known for the tales they collected in Denmark and Germany.

The modern children literature makes use of the elements devised by Aesop, Phaedrus, Panchatantra, Shahrazad, Anderson and Grimm Brothers. Fables and folk tales may look childish in a surface glance but they reveal human weakness and wickedness. These incredible stories contain biting satire, humor, ethics and morality. Fantasy and adventure, the two basic themes in modern children literature, were burrowed from folktales, fairytales, fables and mythologies.

The early books such as Don Quixote by Cervantes (1615), Gulliver’s Travel by Jonathan Swift (1726), Trip Around the Moon by Jules Verne (1870), Treasure Island (1883) and Kidnapped (1886) by R. L. Stevenson were not apparently written for juvenile readers. Now abridged and simplified versions of David Copperfield and Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (1812-1870), and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (1835-1910) are considered good readings for children.

At present writers for children are proliferating; however, very few find success. Writing for children is more difficult than writing for adults. It is easy for an adult writer to understand his/her peer, but very difficult to fathom a child’s mind.

Children are very eager by nature. Their hunger for knowledge is insatiable.
Children are very eager by nature. Their hunger for knowledge is insatiable. | Source

Which is difficult?

  • Writing for children
  • Writing for adult
  • Both
See results without voting

How to Write Children Literature

  1. Reading age of children can be categorized into four groups: 2-3 years, 4-6 years, 7-10 years and 11-15 years. A writer for children must understand the needs of each age.
  2. Children’s needs and interests differ according to their age group. As a writer for children, you have to vary content, form and style of your writing according to the necessity of each age group.
  3. Children love fantasy and adventure. They love to escape from the realities of life into the world of magic and miracle. However, the children writer must also transmit ethics and morality in his works.
  4. Language, tone and style dictate success or failure of children literature. Children writer must be careful about vocabulary, sentence structure and grammatical correctness. He/she should always avoid verbiage and cut artistic words.
  5. Text must be accompanied by pictures and illustrations. When there are pictures, children will become interested to read the text.
  6. Children live in a fantastic world of their own as well as the world described in the stories. Even though the writer may write about improbabilities, he/she must introduce history, geography, science and general knowledge in their works.
  7. Children literature is not only a source of entertainment but also a medium to transmit moral and social values. While entertaining a child, children literature must deliver lessons for the readers.

There is a distinction between writing for boys and writing for girls.
There is a distinction between writing for boys and writing for girls. | Source

Content for Children Literature According To Age Groups

Age Group
Themes
Style/Form
2-3 years
Pictures book about flowers, plants, animals etc.
Colorful illustrations and photos, very little text
4-6 years
Fables, fairy tales, myths, legends
Lots of pictures, short and simple sentences
7-10 years
Real life stories, stories from mythologies, anthropomorphic stories, moral stories, science fiction
Simple language accompanied by suitable pictures, humor, pun, rhyming words, alliteration.
11-15 years
Adventure, fantasy, history, geography, general knowledge, science, inspirational stories about real persons and events, stories about heroic characters
Text balanced with short and long sentences, suitable pictures and illustrations, avoiding verbiage and artistic words

Children Book From the Author

Writing for Children: Points to Remember

  • Children like to read as well as to be read. They not only love words but also the pictures.
  • Children use their imagination to build the story in their mind.
  • Children are very eager by nature. Their hunger for knowledge is insatiable.
  • Adventure, fantasy, slapstick humour, interesting and dangerous situation make children want to know what happens next.
  • Ethic, morality, science, history, geography, and general knowledge can be introduced into children literature.
  • There is a distinction between writing for boys and writing for girls.
  • A good children book helps a child to develop socially, morally and spiritually.
  • A story does not interest a child until he/she is able to identify with the main characters.

Best Examples of Children Literature

Children literature refers to something written for children or written by children. If you want to learn how to write for children, you have to read children literature thoroughly. You can learn the craft of children literature by reading books for/by children.

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

According to the Time magazine, The Diary of a Young Girl is a runner up for the best non-fiction book of the 20th century. Anne Frank was a Jewish Girl who died in Belsen Concentration Camp near Hanover, Germany, in 1945, at the age of 16. Before the Nazis caught her and her family, she lived in a warehouse in Amsterdam, where she recorded her experiences, frustrations, pain and sufferings in her diary. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank is a required reading in many schools around the world.

Zlata’s Diary: A Child’s Life in Sarajevo

In the late 1991, when Sarajevo was under Serbian attack, Zlata Filipovic began writing her diary. For two years the ten years Bosian girl wrote about her life in the war zone, as she left childish innocence and grew into a sensible teen girl. Zlata’s Diary: A Child’s Life in Sarajevo has been translated into at least 36 languages and millions of copies sold worldwide. The book is a part of school curriculum in many countries.

Children Books by Hub Authors

Kylie's Blossoms by Maria Jordan

Maria Jordan, known as marcoujor on HubPages, is a writer, poet and a storyteller. Her stories, essays and poems are powerfully charged with emotions and philosophy. Kylie's Blossoms is a children book by Maria Jordan. Michael Friedman known as mckbirdbks on HubPages is the illustrator of Kylie’s Blossoms.

Kylie is a seven-year-old girl and she has a teddy bear. She and her teddy meet a new floral friend every month. During the twelve months, Kylie learns twelve life lessons: Loyalty, Constancy, Positive Energy, Hope, Trust, Love, Peace, Dignity, Protectiveness, Graciousness, Encouragement and Happiness.

Melvin. . .bad, bad kitten by Sannel Larson

Sannel Larson is a writer, poet, illustrator, animal rights activist, promoter of green living, and tea lover. She lives in Sweden all the while suffering from Chronic Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Melvin. . .bad, bad kitten by Sannel Larson is a book for the children aged 1-7 years. It follows the adventure of naughty kitten called Melvin and his master. Melvin. . .bad, bad kitten is written in verse and accompanies nice illustrations created by the author herself.

Kylie's Blossoms by Maria Jordan

More by this Author


39 comments

teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 17 months ago

Excellent suggestions and tips for writing children's books. Parents are always looking for literature that inspires, teaches, and entertains young ones.


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 3 years ago from Nepal Author

Green Art

Sueswan

thanks for sharing your views on the topic. Cheers


Green Art profile image

Green Art 3 years ago

I found this hub very inspiring. Over the years I've toyed with the idea of writing and illustrating my own children's book/s. My five year old grandson and I tell each other stories before he falls asleep when he has sleep overs at my house. He normally says, "Scary is out, and silly and funny are in." We've come up with some the best stories. I need to start writing them down. Looking forward to reading more of your hubs.


Sueswan 3 years ago

Hi Vinaya,

There is much to consider when writing a children's book that I would have never thought of.

I have read children's book's that have humor in them that only an adult would understand.

Voted up and awesome.

Hope you are doing well.


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 3 years ago from Nepal Author

Angel

Jhamann

thank you very much for reading and commenting.


Angelme566 profile image

Angelme566 3 years ago

Beautiful points you tackled here ! Learning a lot from this piece.


jhamann profile image

jhamann 3 years ago from Reno NV

Vinyana,

I would like to make my poem "Sam At the Bat" into a childrens book, but how does one go about finding an illustrator?

Well written hub. Thank you. Jamie


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 3 years ago from Nepal Author

Audrey

Rosemary

Rajan

Jainismus

Tobusiness

Thank you my dear fellow writers for leaving comments. Cheers


tobusiness profile image

tobusiness 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

This is interesting and very useful, you've mentioned many favourites and made some really valid points. Well done, parents of young children will love this.


jainismus profile image

jainismus 3 years ago from Pune, India

Very useful hubs for those who want to write for children.

Thank you for sharing the the tips.


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

Interestingly written and useful information, Vinaya. Fables, fairy tales, folk tales all play a great part in the mental growth of a child.

Voted up and useful and shared and pinned.


Rosemay50 profile image

Rosemay50 3 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

It is clear that this hub is one you enjoyed writing Vinaya. Well researched and a wealth of information, tips and advice. You are so right that the child has to identify with the main character to spark their imagination and enthusiasm. I remember the books I read in prte school while learning to read were so boring.

I'm sure this is going to be very useful to many including myself.

Thank you for this informative and easy to understand article.


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 3 years ago from California

I so love childrens lit--and you have compiled a great deal of great sources here--wonderfully done Vinaya!


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 3 years ago from Nepal Author

@Teaches,thank you for sharing your thoughts on the topic. Zlata's Diary was a required reading when I was in school.

@Jenbeach, thank you for reading and commenting.


jenbeach21 profile image

jenbeach21 3 years ago from Orlando, FL

Very helpful and useful!


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 3 years ago

I love children's books and have read so many over the years to students and my grandchildren. I have read Ann Frank's diary, but recently saw an exerpt from Zlata online from her journal. Now, I must look it up. Well done!


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 3 years ago from Nepal Author

@Sannel,

You know the craft better than me. You have written and illustrated a children book, whereas I have written only few children stories. I appreciate your inputs. Thank youy very much for reading, commenting and sharing.

@Faith, Maria and Sannel are wonderful writers and poet. They know how to please children as well as adults. You are also a wonderful writer, commentator and supporter. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

@epbooks, I have written articles and stories for children, but I have not planned to write a book. However, I still read children books. I will love to see your work.

@Tillsontitan, I was brought up in a culture that believed gods reside in children's mouth. I love children. Maria and Sannel are wonderful children authors. I'm sure children as well as adults will like their books.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York

Children are the salt of the earth. Their innocence and devotion can never be matched. I read to my grandchildren and love every minute of it.

I so admire Maria and Sannel for their beautiful books and you for this wonderful hub with so much good information. Very nice and helpful Vinaya.

Voted up, useful, interesting and shared.


epbooks profile image

epbooks 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

Very informative. I always kick around the idea of writing a children's version of my first book, but haven't done so yet. I'll be sure to refer to this hub if that comes to fruition. Have a great day!


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

Dearest Vinaya

What a very insightful hub here as to writing for children. When I began to read, our very own Maria Jordan (marcoujor) popped into my mind as a wonderful author of a book for children, as my grandchildren just love her book Kylie's Blossom's!!! And then I kept reading and there is her book, along with the delightful video! How lovely. I plan on purchasing Sannel's book, as my grands well adore her book ... I just know! Plus I had promised to purchase dearest Epi's book too, and since this day is payday ... I will go on Amazon.com first thing in the morning!

Writing for children is certainly not easy, but those who do it right, then the child has a book for life he or she will cherish always and remember on into adulthood.

You're the best! Voted up ++++ and sharing

Hugs and blessings, Faith Reaper


Sannel 3 years ago

Dear Vinaya,

What an interesting, informative and very well written hub you have put together. To write for children is not easy. They know exactly what they like or don't like. I agree, it's very important that the author of children's books reads lots and lots of children's literature. I will also add that to write for children, it requires a vivid imagination, enthusiastic creativity, good speech, and the ability to put yourself in the mind of a child.

Thank you, my friend for including me and my own children's book, "Melvin." here in your hub. I'm so honored and grateful for your thoughtfulness.

Thanks to our mutual and dear friend, Maria, I did not miss this awesome hub.

Hugs,

Sannel


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 3 years ago from Nepal Author

Nithya

DDE

Mary

thank you very much for reading and leaving appreciative feedback.

Cheers


mary615 profile image

mary615 3 years ago from Florida

I would not know where to begin to write for children, even though I'd like to try. This is a very informative article, and I voted it UP, etc. and will certainly share.


DDE profile image

DDE 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Incredible research here and so well approached, An informative and most helpful on hub How to Write for Children. Perfectly presented.


Vellur profile image

Vellur 3 years ago from Dubai

Great tips for writing for children. Thank you for sharing.


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 3 years ago from Nepal Author

@Maria,

thanks for always appreciating my work. Don't be surprised, if you see review of your books on newspaper in Nepal some day. LOL

@Mckbirdbks, thanks for your visit. Maria and Sannel are wonderful writers and their works perfectly suits to the topic of this hub.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 3 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

Hello Vinaya. You always put together such well researched articles for your many readers. This is no exception. You layout many details all in one place and someone thinking about putting together a children's book would do well to stop here first just to see what is what.

I also see that you selected two fine Hubpage authors who managed to gather enough energy to get their children's books into print. Both Maria and Sannel have done a fine job getting joy into their pages.

Thanks for the mention. I appreciate that.


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 3 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

Dear Vinaya,

I was reading along and nodding my head, smiling at your usual style...which is interesting, comprehensive and useful.

I was then honored and touched at your inclusion of Kylie's Blossoms, including the adorable video that Mike Friedman put together. To be in the company of Anne Frank, Zlata Filipovic and our own Sannel Larson is no mean fete. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Thanks also for your wonderful support of Colin. You are a good man.

Hugs, Maria


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 3 years ago from Nepal Author

Thank you my dear friends and writers for sharing your thoughts on the topic.

Frank

Koffeeklatch

LKMore

Billy

Radha

Epi

Always exploring

Midget

Eddy

Christy

Without readers and commentators like I will cease to exist.


ChristyWrites profile image

ChristyWrites 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

I loved reading books as a child. I recall many wonderful illustrations in your book. Your hub is a great introduction to how to write children's literature and is sure to motivate some readers to begin doing so! Voting up and 'useful' :)


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

Another great lesson from you Vinaya and you are indeed a great teacher.

Have a wonderful day and I vote up.

Eddy.


midget38 profile image

midget38 3 years ago from Singapore

Great tips for those thinking of starting a children's Ebook! Thanks for sharing this, Vinaya, and I'm clipping it.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 3 years ago from Southern Illinois

This was such a fun read. I was unaware of the Harry Potter rejections, teaches us to never give up. I've read ' The diary of anne Frank and loved it. I also have the two books mentioned, ' Kylie's Blossoms ' And ' Melvin bad bad kitten ' They both are wonderful books, written for children, but i loved reading them too. Thank you Vinaya..Great hub indeed...


epigramman profile image

epigramman 3 years ago

...because I am still a child myself it comes easy to me when I compose a children's fable and that is the key I think - to retain one's childlike tendencies which is not a bad thing for a creative person to have.

Better to be childlike than childish, lol

Always love your heartfelt and passionate approach Vinaya to your writing and your many different subjects in which you write about.

I like your new profile picture too (well new to me ) and do you remember when you had all of that hair on your head, lol, when I first met you.

I will see you on FB with a post and a link here -for all of the FB crowd to see and read and I hope all is well with you these days my friend.

Colin, Tiffy and Gabriel are sending to you 3 big Canadian hugs from lake erie time canada 2:05pm


radhapriestess 3 years ago

Thanks for excellent article. I have not written for children, but I do enjoy reading books to children. I would agree the 11-17 is an age group which does not have a whole lot of good books.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

I will pass this on to Bev, who is trying to write a children's book. Thanks for the great suggestions, Vinaya. Well done!


LKMore01 profile image

LKMore01 3 years ago

Vinaya,

Your HUB is not only informative for adult writers/readers but it certainly recaptured a moments of incredible experiences reading as a child. If any author can touch the mind and imagination of a child/teenager like the books I remember reading you will have opened up the world to them. The chart was extremely accurate and your recommendations are noted. Voted up and beautiful. Thank you.


KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

KoffeeKlatch Gals 3 years ago from Sunny Florida

What a terrific informative well written article. I've often thought about trying my hand at writing for the 11-17 age group, essentially the low readers. There seems to be a lack of books for this group. The books that they can read, because of their poor reading skill, are mostly for the younger set. Awesome and up.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

how to write for children.. sometimes hubs like these really do help.. they are easy to follow and well written voted useful Vin...

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working