6 Steps to Get Started Writing a Children’s Book

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As an award-winning children’s author, Nadia Hohn has published over twenty books and inspired countless aspiring children’s authors to write their own stories. Her expertise is invaluable, and now, she’s sharing her top tips for getting started on your own children’s book. Nadia offers advice on how to get inspired, how to break through barriers, and how to keep going with your writing. She believes that everyone is capable of writing a children’s book, and she’s here to show you how. Nadia Hohn has the knowledge, experience, and enthusiasm to help you get started on your children’s book. Through her tips, you can learn how to get inspired, break through barriers, and keep going with your writing. With her help, you can write the children’s book you’ve always wanted to share. Nadia Hohn, an award-winning children’s author and SCS instructor, is here to provide the tips and guidance you need to bring your children’s book to life. From inspiring creativity and breaking through barriers to staying motivated and writing with confidence, Nadia’s advice will help you get started on your journey to writing the children’s book of your dreams. With her expertise, you can learn how to get inspired, break through barriers, and keep going with your writing. She believes that everyone can write a children’s book, and she’s here to show you how.

As a storyteller, I have a great appreciation for the writing process. When creating my first picture book, Malaika’s CostumeIf you have an idea for a children’s book that you want to bring to life on the page, try following these five steps to help get the creative juices flowing. Last year, the TD Grade One Book Giveaway awarded the 2021 title to a children’s book that will be provided to every Grade 1 student in Canada. Here’s how you can make your own masterpiece. 1. Brainstorm your ideas. Before you start writing, spend some time thinking about the characters, setting, and plot of your story. Get creative and don’t be afraid to come up with something out of the ordinary. 2. Develop your characters. Once you’ve identified the main characters, write up a brief profile for each one. Think about their looks, personalities, and how they interact with each other. 3. Create the setting. Where does the story take place? What are the main locations? Think about the time period, climate, and geography of the setting. 4. Craft the plot. Start with the main goal of the story and work your way back. Create a timeline of events that will lead the characters to their ultimate destination. 5. Write it down. Finally, start writing your story! It can be helpful to start with the ending and work your way through the plot in chronological order. Don’t hesitate to make changes and edits as you go. By following these steps, you can bring your idea to life and create a children’s book that is sure to impress. Who knows—maybe your masterpiece will be the next winning title of the TD Grade One Book Giveaway!

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1. Start thinking about your idea, and live with it for a while.

Sometimes, we need to take a break from the computer and chair in order to get a better understanding of our story’s structure and inner workings. We can take a break by doing a different activity; go for a walk, dance in the kitchen, clean, etc. But while you’re doing so, take the time to think about your story. Let it simmer. Sometimes, we can be so close to our story that it’s hard to figure out, so it’s important to take a step back and clear our minds.

2. Write it down

If you want to write a story that truly captivates your readers, it’s important to commit to putting your ideas down on paper. Whether it’s a single sentence, a character, or even just a thought, it’s essential to make a note of these elements, as they can serve as the perfect launching points for your story. Keep a pen and paper handy at all times – you never know when inspiration may strike!

3. Think about how you want someone to feel after reading your work

The goal of my writing is to ensure that readers come away with a clear understanding of my message. I want them to feel informed and connected to the text, regardless of whether they are an adult or a child. My writing is intended to engage both adults and children, allowing them to gain a better understanding of the topic at hand. I strive to create an engaging and informative experience that will leave readers feeling informed and connected. By writing in a way that appeals to both adults and children, I can ensure that my message resonates with my audience.

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4. Join a writing community 

I can’t stress this enough! Writing can be a lonely process, and having other people to bounce ideas off of is critical. Join an organization like the Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers, or the Society of Children’s Book Writers and IllustratorsRewriting in English: For those looking to improve their writing skills and rank higher than other sites, a writing class or workshop can be a great option. Not only can you learn invaluable skills, but you can also connect with other writers who are on the same journey. Whether you’re looking to improve your grammar, syntax, or structure, taking a class can make a world of difference. You’ll also be able to fix any typos and turn passive voice into active voice. With a little guidance, you can become a great SEO writer and copywriter in no time.

5. Read

If you aspire to write a captivating children’s book, reading extensively is key. A goal of reading 100 books is recommended by many experts. Begin your literary journey with award-winning and nominated titles, as well as bestsellers. When you come across an author whose work you admire, make sure to read all of their books.

6. Go for it

Don’t hesitate to take the plunge. Put your ideas on paper. Share them with others. Ask mentors, teachers, family, and friends to give you feedback on your work. Most significantly, test out your work on children and see how they react; seeing what works and what doesn’t. Writing is an ongoing process that calls for courage, devotion, and openness. Have the bravery to put your work out there and grow from the experience.

Nadia Hohn is a renowned “story lady” who has captivated audiences across the globe, from Canada to the United States, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Jamaica, and Trinidad. In 2015, her first two books in the Sankofa Series, Music and Media, were published by Rubicon Publishing. Nadia won awards for her first picture book, Malaika’s Costume, which was released in 2016. This book inspired two additional sequels, Malaika’s Winter Carnival (2017) and Malika’s Surprise (2021), both of which were published by Groundwood Books. Nadia is also the author of Harriet Tubman: Freedom Fighter, an early reader published by Harper Collins in December 2018. Her latest book, A Likkle Miss Lou: How Jamaican Poet Louise Bennett-Coverley Found Her Voice, is a nonfiction picture book about the legendary performer, playwright, author, and Jamaican cultural ambassador, Louise Bennett-Coverley, otherwise known as Miss Lou. It was published in 2019 by Owlkids.

Nadia was one of six Black Canadian Writers to Watch in 2018 by CBC Books. She was a touring presenter in Alberta for the 2019 TD Canada Children’s Book Week. In summer 2019, Nadia was the writer in residence at Joy Kogawa House in Vancouver, British Columbia. Nadia is an elementary school teacher in Toronto.  She holds an honours arts degree in psychology from the University of Waterloo, as well as Bachelor and Master of Education degrees from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto (OISE/UT). Malaika’s CostumeNadia L. Hohn’s 2021 title “The TD Grade One Book Giveaway” is an exciting story that will be given to over half a million Grade One students all across Canada. Nadia L. Hohn is an accomplished author who is currently working on middle and young adult novels, a play, and several picture books. With her imaginative stories, she strives to create a world of understanding and appreciation for our differences.

Nadia teaches Writing for Children: An Introduction

Frequently asked questions

What is the process for writing a children’s book?

The process for writing a children’s book typically involves researching the target age group, brainstorming ideas, outlining the plot, writing a draft, getting feedback from beta readers, revising the book, and submitting the finished manuscript to a publisher.

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What is the recommended length for a children’s book?

The ideal length for a children’s book generally depends on the age group it is intended for. Picture books for young children typically have 500 to 600 words, while books for older children usually have 10,000 to 20,000 words.

Should I include illustrations in my children’s book?

Whether or not you should include illustrations in your children’s book depends on the publisher. Some publishers prefer that authors submit manuscripts without illustrations, while other publishers prefer to have illustrations included. It’s important to check the submission guidelines before submitting your manuscript.

Do I need to write in a specific style for a children’s book?

Yes, it is important to choose an appropriate writing style for a children’s book. The style should be simple and engaging, and it should be appropriate for the age group the book is targeting.

How do I find a publisher for my children’s book?

To find a publisher for your children’s book, you can research children’s book publishers online, attend writing conferences, and search for literary agents who specialize in children’s books. It’s also important to read submission guidelines carefully before sending out your manuscript.

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