In order to write children’s fiction, you need to understand what sort of audience you are targeting. If you can identify the audience that you are going for, then you will have a much easier time writing a children’s book. Most authors approach this from the other side, deciding to write middle-grade fiction for example, when their writing actually targets older teens. If you can identify the age group that you are going for, then you will have a much tighter, more successful novel. Let’s take a look at each of the age groups and what sort of books apply to those children.
Children Aged 3-5
The first category is children age 3 to 5. This age of children is perfect for what are called the board books. Board books are books for toddlers that are heavy duty and made to last because toddlers tend to throw their books around, chew on them or treat them as toys rather than books. Board books have lots and lots of pictures and very simple stories, usually only a few words, and they are basically intended to get books into the hands of toddlers rather than be first readers, although parents can also read these books their children.
Children Aged 5-7
Children between the ages of five and seven will probably enjoy picture books better picture books are either hardcover or paperback, have lots of attractive and colorful pictures, and have a slightly more sophisticated or lengthy storyline then board books that are intended for toddlers. Picture books include books from Dr. Seuss, as well as lots of well-known books that parents have been reading to their kids for decades. Contrary to popular belief, picture books are not easier to write than middle grade or young adult fiction. In fact, many writers and editors consider them more difficult to write. Some children will enjoy what are called early readers, which have lots of pictures, but around 2000 words of story as well.
Children Aged 7-12
Children that are entering first or second grade will probably enjoy one of two different kinds of books. The first is the chapter book, which is a slightly smaller middle grade novel with pictures. First-graders will enjoy reading ease more than they will middle grade novels with more advanced themes. But as children get older and move up towards the 12-year-old mark, they will likely be more interested in middle grade novels without pictures.
Children Aged 12-Up
Children that are 12 and up are usually going to be most interested in young adult novels, although some will spend very little time reading young adult novels and instead begin reading adult books. Young adult novels usually deal with mature themes and are meant to portray the plight of teenagers. As such, parents may want to be discerning as to which young adult novels they give to their 12-year-olds. The Harry Potter novels are mostly considered young adult novels, especially the later ones.