How to Write a Childrens Book – The Ultimate Guide [With Template]

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The ultimate secret for how to write a children’s book is the same as the secret for how to write a book for adults.

Understand your reader. ReallyMany wannabe children’s authors fail to achieve their goals due to the misguided belief that adding a few elements will be enough to captivate young readers.

Composing for children can be just as difficult as composing for grown-ups. It is a fulfilling experience that could bring about a very fulfilling job. All one needs is some direction to get going.

  • The different types of children’s book
  • Potential pitfalls
  • How to write a children’s book
  • How to publish a children’s book

Using the Children’s Book Template available for download here, you can take your ideas and turn them into action.

‍Download Children’s Book Template


What are the Different Types of Kids Books You Can Write?

Children’s books can be conveniently sorted into distinct age groups. Standards have been set to make sure that the books produced are suitable for their age group.

What are Picture Books?

Picture books often employ illustrations to convey a narrative. Many children first encounter them when read to by family or educators.

As a child matures, picture books can be a valuable tool in helping to hone new reading skills. This should be taken into account when composing.

Picture Books in a Nutshell:

  • Ages 0-4
  • 300-800 words
  • 32 pages
  • Illustrations on every page


The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

Watch more videos on the same topic : How to write a picture book – Advice from a professional children’s author

Video Description

Children’s author and illustrator of over 300 books with 30 years experience gives his advice about writing picture books.nnJoin me on Patreon from more drawing, illustration and self-publishing videos and be part of my creative crew! of people ask me about writing a picture book. It’s just for kids, so it must be easy, right? lolnnI thought I’d make a video where I’d just talk about writing picture books and the difficulties you may come across. If you think you are going to make a fortune and be a famous author, you are better off working at Macdonalds – Honestly, that’s not a joke.nnIt takes an inordinate amount of luck to have a best seller and a huge amount of work to make any sort of living at it. Author incomes have halved in the last 20 years – really!nnBut you may just want to have a few copies of your book for your family, which is great. These thoughts apply to you to. Any questions? put the in the comments box and maybe you will inspire a new video?!nnHere are links:nnNext Video – https://www.scbwi.orgnSCBWI UK https://britishisles.scbwi.orgnnIngram Publishing my Pandora book herennPandora on Amazon USA Amazon UK Amazon Canada Amazon Australia award winning children’s author and illustrator, Shoo RaynernYou can support this channel by joining me on Patreon n➡️ to this channel on YouTube for lots more drawing :)n ➡️ http://www.shooraynerdrawing.comnnmusic by asks about the tools I use when I’m out using my sketchbook. here’s a video to show you what and how I use them. Tikky Graphic Penn in the UK n in the USA n in CanadannThe Pentel Aquash Brushn in the UKn in the USAn In CanadannHuion A4 Tracing Light Padn in the UKn in the USA n in CanadannThe Seawhite of Brighton a5 travel journaln in the UKn in the USA nnThe Cotman sketching watercolour set n in the UKn in the USAn in CanadannNeutral Tint Half Pan Watercolour Paintn in the UKn in the USAn in CanadannNaples Yellow Half Pan Watercolour Paintn in the UKn in the USAn in CanadannSharpie White China Markern in the UKn in the USAn in CanadannPentel Brush Penn in the UKn in the USAn In CanadannFaber Castell Polychromos Pencilsn in the UKn in the USAn in CanadannTwitter http://www.shooraynerdrawing.comnnmusic by Rayner is an award-winning illustrator and author of over 200 books for children. nnThe Shoo Rayner Drawing Channel won the 2011 YouTube NextUp award.nnMake sure you are subscribed for new videos every week delivered to your inbox. ➡️

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What are Early Reader Books?

An early reader book is a book that an early-elementary-aged child can work towards reading independently. In other words: simple sentencesWriting for young readers doesn’t have to be plain or boring. You can create a captivating story by adding creativity, fun, and memorable characters. Have a look at the samples below for ideas.

Early Reader Books in a Nutshell:

  • Ages 5-7 (Grades K-2)
  • Repetition and simple sentences
  • 1,000-5,000 words
  • Illustrations on every page


The Elephant and Piggie series by Mo Willems

The Dog Man series by Dav Pilkey

The Bink and Gollie series by Katie DiCamillo and Alison McGhee

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What are Chapter Books?

If you’re writing a chapter book, your reader is officially reading on their own. This is exciting, especially if you know how to write a children’s book that turns a curious kid into a lifelong reader.A great chapter book offers an engaging story, a relatable character, and vocabulary that is justThis text provides readers with a challenge that will help them sharpen their abilities and progress to the next level.

Chapter Books in a Nutshell:

  • Ages 6-9 (Grades 1-4)
  • Up to 10,000 words
  • Illustrations on most pages, but not all pages


The Alvin Ho series by Lenore Look

The Junie B. Jones series by Barbara Park

The Zoey and Sassafras series by Asia Citro

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What are Middle Grade Books?

If you’re targeting an audience that is in middle school, you’re likely writing a book for middle grade readers.

This is when children’s books begin to more closely resemble adult novels. You follow the same basic story structureWriting a book for adults requires an acute understanding of genre expectations. Particularly in the mystery, fantasy, and realistic fiction genres, these books are extremely popular with this age group.

Middle Grade Books in a Nutshell:

  • Ages 9-12
  • 60,000+ words
  • 12+ illustrations

Middle Grade Examples:

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume

Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

What are Young Adult Books?

YA books are read by people of all ages, including teenagers, young adults, and retirees.

Many people are passionate about Young Adult literature, but when writing for a teenage audience, the same degree of vocabulary and narrative complexity should be employed as if writing for adults. It is also important to adhere to the conventions of the genre.

Ensure that your narrative is focused on characters and matters that are pertinent to adolescents, who are the target audience.

Young Adult in a Nutshell

  • Teens
  • Up to 100,000 words
  • Few to no illustrations

Young Adult Examples:

Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley

Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Having now gained a general understanding of how to create a children’s book that is suitable for the intended age group, let’s discuss some of the most common mistakes made by inexperienced writers.

Things to Avoid When Writing Kids Books

Here’s how not

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Don’t Get Sloppy with Your Age Categories

At the ages of five and seven, a lot of things can change. To ensure that you are meeting the expectations, interests, and reading level of your target audience, it is important to read as many books as possible within that age range. Additionally, it may be beneficial to consult an educator or child psychologist to help in making modifications to your ideas and storytelling techniques to suit the needs of your readers.

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Children often relate to protagonists that are a few years older than they are.

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Avoid Long Sentences

Write in a way that is comprehensible to all readers, regardless of age. Use sentences that are of manageable length.

Note: this doesn’t mean dullerChloe made a loud noise, just like when she yelled loudly.

Don’t Get Hung Up on the Moral of the Story

You don’t need a moral to create a great story for kids. But if there is an important message you wish to convey, don’t preach. Let the story do the work. My favorite example of a kids’ book that delivers a powerful message with a light touch is The Rabbit Listened

Be Relatable… But Not Bland

Gaining an understanding of your audience is important. Think about what matters to them, their hopes and fears, what they are passionate about, and the topics they despise. Consider how they think and communicate, and what answers they are trying to find.

Create an intriguing character with emotional qualities and have them make daring decisions in extraordinary situations. Construct obstacles that readers can relate to, but make them more demanding.

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Don’t Fuss Over Illustrations… Unless You Must

If you plan to publish your children’s book traditionally, you don’t need to think about illustrations at all. Your publisher figures that out. But if you’re going to self-publish, then you willIf you are looking to include illustrations in your book, consider whether you would like to create them yourself or hire an artist. Additionally, take a look at the frequency of illustrations in books within the same category as yours to get a better idea of what is typical.

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How to Start Writing Your Children’s Book

1. Research books in your category.

Research the current best-selling children’s books. See what the parents are saying about them in reviews. Ask your own children, nieces, nephews, and any other kids you may know what their favorite books are. Talk to the talkative kid in the Target checkout line, too – they might have some great insights!

2. Research your audience.

Are there any volunteer programs that offer you a chance to read to children? Have you asked your friend’s twelve-year-old what they adore and detest about being twelve? Are there any books you can read to gain a better comprehension of your intended age group?

3. Come up with an idea.

First, young people take the lead in children’s literature, from baby books on up to YA. Sometimes the protagonist is an animal or a crayon or Amelia BedeliaThe protagonist of the story has a viewpoint that is similar to that of a young person’s.

Second, kids want to see themselves as complex heroes who face challenges, discover inner strength, and save the day. While an adult character can help,

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4. Establish voice and style.

Grover’s hysterical pleas in The Monster at the End of this Book. Holden Caulfield’s 1950s slang. That iconic first line: “Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.”

A strong narrative voice demonstrates that the reader is about to be entertained. Even understood.

  • Picture book and early reader audiences tend to prefer present tense, third person narration.
  • Rhyming well is hard. Do write in verse if you’ve got it in you. But workshop it a lot.
  • Don’t condescend to your reader, no matter how young. They know when it’s happening and they don’t like it.

5. Leap Into the Story Right Away.

Take a note from Mo Willems’ Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus. Guess who’s already trying to creep behind the wheel by page two? BAM. Immediate

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6. Follow standard plot structure

…and keep character arc

The main character has an ambition. As they attempt to reach their ambition, they are met with a challenge. Through overcoming this challenge, they uncover something about themselves.

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7. End the story to satisfy your reader.

When selecting picture books, early reader books, and chapter books, it is important to look for stories that have a definitive ending with a positive resolution.

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8. Self-Edit

Before you ask for anyone else’s input, do some self-editingHave you ensured that your book is the best it can be? Does it adhere to the standards expected of literature in its age group?

Read it aloud to yourself to identify any areas that feel awkward or too wordy. Re-evaluate those sections and see how they can be simplified.

9. Get Feedback

Seek out a variety of opinions by sharing your manuscript with people who can help make it better. To get the most out of the feedback, consider engaging with a range of beta-readers and editors.

  • Educators or psychologists familiar with your target age group
  • Parents
  • Other children’s book authors
  • Kids!

The great thing about writing a children’s book is that your target audience alsoHaving honest feedback from beta-readers can be invaluable. However, nothing is more telling than when a three-year-old child shows complete boredom by literally sliding out of your lap.

10. Revise it until it shines.

Publish Your Children’s Book

Congratulations! You have achieved success in writing a children’s book. Well done!

Now, how do you publish

Traditional Publishing

To publish traditionally, you’ll want to find an agent. Search agent databasesReach out to potential representatives and ask questions to determine who is the right fit for your book.

It is essential to carefully follow the instructions provided by each literary agent. They might desire to view a full manuscript, a book summary, the first five pages, or something else. Be sure to fulfill all of their requirements.

Once you find an agent to represent your book, your agent works on finding a publisher. It is possibleIf you want to get your book published, you may choose to do it yourself. But it is usually better to use an agent to get a better deal or to find a larger publisher.


Getting an illustrator, editor, and formatting your book is the first step in running your own business. Once that is complete, it is time to create a launch plan and focus on marketing.

Taking the initiative and taking control of your own destiny is an exhilarating experience. However, this journey requires dedication and a willingness to learn as the learning curve can be quite steep. To be successful, you must be passionate about the mission and the progress that you make along the way.

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Remember the Power of Your Product

The last suggestion I have regarding creating a book for children would be to ensure it is enjoyable for them to read.

Remember your reader.

When feeling overwhelmed, discouraged, or directionless, it can be helpful to brainstorm children’s book ideas. This practice can refresh your creativity and help you get back on track.

All writers know the struggle of discouragement. In these moments, it helps to recall whyAt our core, we strive to bring joy, evoke empathy, and create meaningful connections through our writing. As children’s authors, we have the privilege of introducing kids to the wonders of literature and helping them grow a lasting appreciation for it.

So hang in there. And start writing.

And if you want to make the process a little easier, consider writing your book with Dabble. Dabble has great features to help you plan, write, and edit your story. Click here to try it for free for 14 days.

Frequently asked questions

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What is required to write a children’s book?

To write a children’s book, you’ll need a good story idea, creativity, a strong grasp of language, and a willingness to accept and incorporate feedback from editors and peers.

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How long does it take to write a children’s book?

The amount of time it takes to write a children’s book can vary greatly, depending on the complexity of the story, the author’s writing style, and the amount of research needed. On average, it can take anywhere from a few months to a year or more to write a children’s book.

How can I make my children’s book stand out?

When writing a children’s book, it’s important to make sure the story is unique and engaging. Crafting a memorable main character, creating an interesting plot with unexpected twists and turns, and making use of visual elements to help tell the story can all help make your book stand out.

Where can I find support while writing my children’s book?

There are many resources available to help you write your children’s book. Joining an online community of authors and illustrators can be a great way to get feedback and advice. Additionally, attending workshops and seminars related to children’s book writing can also help you hone your skills and get inspired.

What is the best way to publish my children’s book?

The best way to publish your children’s book depends on your specific goals and needs. If you want to find a literary agent and pursue a traditional publishing deal, you can query agents and publishers directly. If you are interested in self-publishing, you can work with a print-on-demand service or use a platform like Amazon KDP to make your book available online.

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  1. These videos are so informative and so well put together, thank you so much for uploading these videos!. I am looking at self publishing a children’s book myself, looking at Amazon kindle at the moment and these videos have been so helpful. Looking forward to your other videos.

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