Posted by: Kathy Temean | December 26, 2013

It Takes More than Small Words to Be Successful

christmasSleepy Chimneysweep

It took Andreja Peklar more than this small character in this December illustration to become successful. She graduated in painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Ljubljana and has devoted herself to illustrating for children. Her work can be seen in several picture books, text books, popular science books and magazines. She also designed and illustrated educational material for children for several museums in Slovenija.

Nancy Parker, our Guest Blogger sent in the article below for today’s post. Enjoy!

It Takes More than Small Words to Be Successful

Being a writer for children’s books requires more than putting smaller, less complicated words together. While it’s important to use words that are easy to manage for your target age group, there is a bit more to developing a story in order to impact the audience. Many of these implementations are the cornerstone for any readership whether they are first-grade children or college-level adults. What can you do to help yourself become more successful?

1. Plot – Every story needs an engaging plot line, even children’s books. While the plot for a children’s book can be significantly basic in comparison to more advanced writing, there still needs to be a purpose surrounding the material. Children do have a grasp of linear time and logical development. Without a solid plot, the material could seem more jumbled and confusing to the younger audience.

2. Character Development – Similar to the plot, character development can be basic. While the children are not going to care about a detailed past, they still need a character that they can relate to. A hyper active puppy, a shy turtle, a curious cat and others are easy to describe while giving the child a character that shares similar feelings. A well-developed character could engage a child as well as it could for an adult.

3. Longevity – Never underestimate the attention span of your target audience. A story that is too long could lose the child’s interest. At this stage in their life, it may be difficult to engage the child for too long while developing a story. As they grow, so should the pages of the books they read. You just don’t want to pile on too much on their plate as they may not be able to mentally digest all of the material. Short and simple is all you really need in order to encourage the child to read.

4. Descriptions – Some of the most alluring books for adults are those that describe every sense of being in the time and place as the main character. With children, your descriptions need to be toned down. For one, they will not have the life experience that the older audiences can draw on when understanding the surrounding circumstances. However, they do understand the basics. Instead of a cookie having the aroma as if it were heavy with brown sugar surrounded by the sensation of melting chocolate, you could use something more basic such as, “the cookie smelled sweet.”

5. Illustrations – The images within a children’s book need to help guide the story along. As we get older, our imaginations take control of the illustration for us. However, a child is still developing and the images he or she sees in a book can help them comprehend the meaning of what the story is about. If that page is pertaining to cookies and milk, then the image should pertain to such imagery as well.

In some respects, writing for younger children can be more difficult than writing for adults. Many of us tend to think in a much larger scale and you need to tone it down if you want a child to understand what you’re writing. Plan your book carefully and make sure that you are writing for your target audience and not what you can personally perceive.

Author Bio

Nancy Parker is a regular contributor to and she loves to write about wide range of subjects like health, Parenting, Child Care, Babysitting, nanny background check tips etc. You can reach her @ nancy.parker015 @

Thank you Nancy for taking the time to write and send in the above article. I agree, the biggest mistake a new picture book writer makes, usually is writing a story that is too old for the target audience.

Talk tomorrow,


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