What Every Children’s Book Author Needs to Know

If you’re thinking about writing a children’s book, take heart. You have a lot to offer children. Reading helps children enhance literacy skills, and offers advantages that extend far beyond mere academics.

Children’s literature has the power to fight racism and create understanding, fostering empathy, diversity, equity, and inclusion.

When children read it enhances literacy and creates understanding and empathy.
Children’s literature is important for child development

The best children’s literature takes into consideration the stages of language development. Prior to 18 months of age, children are considered pre-linguistic. At 18 months, children begin with one word sentences before transitioning to two-word composition, constituted by a noun and verb.  More complex grammatical structures such as conjunctions, questions, and use of prepositions of place generally occur closer to 24 months. Linguistics, phonetics, psychology, art, and creative writing all intersect with children’s literature.

According to The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, children whose parents read to them have significantly less aggression, inattention, and hyperactive behavior when entering school. Children’s books also help create quality parental time that helps kids deal with challenging situations. For example, a parent putting aside a cell phone and focusing solely on a child, stands to make them feel loved and valued.

Additionally, children’s books help nurture greater imagination and emotional awareness. As internationally renowned child and adolescent psychologist Dr. Jilian Roberts explains, “Developing empathy allows children to put themselves in another’s place and to better understand their experience. In today’s busy world, it’s important that children learn how to be deeply present to others’ thoughts and feelings. Empathy is key to social and emotional development.”


Children’s literature tackles important issues

Children are exposed to moral and ethical quandaries at critical stages in the development of their worldview. Topics such as bullying, disabilities, and religious traditions can be brought up using texts designed to reach children at their own developmental level.

Reading can provide a window into another world. As such, it can be one of the best ways to step into someone else’s shoes or point of view. It allows children and young adults to imagine other ways of thinking that might be completely foreign or vastly different from their everyday lives. In this way, children’s literature creates opportunities for discussion regarding diversity, equity and inclusion. Simply put, children’s books can provide parents and teachers an opportunity to tackle important issues.


Considerations for writing children’s books

When writing for children, it's important that authors understand the age group classifications and the content expectations for those age groups. For example, a children’s picture book is quite different from a middle-grade chapter book. Each category of children's books has recommended page counts, word counts, language usage, subject matter, and more. It's also important that authors understand what type of content will resonate with their target readers. Whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, content needs to meet your readers where they are.  Check out our collection of video interviews to learn more about specifications by age group.  


As a children’s book author you have the opportunity to profoundly shape future generations. You have the chance to encourage children’s development through the uniquely powerful combination of storytelling and imagination. In the immortal words of beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss…

“The more that you read the more you will know. The more that you learn the more places you’ll go.”

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