You think you can write a children’s book?

It’s a common misconception that writing a children’s book is easy, how hard can it really be? Especially a picture book where the story is mainly being told visually! Well the difficulty is that you have to remain clear, concise and swift to the point before interest is lost. That’s pretty damn hard.

Tammy Yee sums it up in a nutshell, extract from her website here:

‘It’s been said that writing for children is more difficult than writing for adults. I suspect this is passed along by children’s authors compensating for the condescension they sometimes face, real or imagined, as the featherweights of literature. Tell someone you write for children and you’re likely to hear, “Have you thought about writing a novel?” After all, how difficult can it be to write a children’s book? We all have childhood experiences from which to draw, and this is where the misconception of children’s writing as child’s play arises.’ Tammy Yee, 2007.

To convey a message with minimal words is one of the toughest challenges I’m currently facing. I could write pages and pages to set the scene, to help create the mood before I get to the punch line, but that is not going to work for a child’s book (unless you are writing for young adults of course). The other difficulty is to captivate the parent, as it will be them buying the book! So children’s authors have to somehow engage two people of complete different age ranges which is a talent in itself. You have to admire the published children’s authors who have achieved this, they are akin to unicorns. They’ve created a children’s book with an equilibrium that both child and adult can enjoy, which brings me back to my blog on the ‘inner child’. We all have a playful side, as an aspiring author I’m working on how to bring this out in the adult reader as without this adult on board, my book is not going anywhere.

The following book was recommended to me and I would like to share:

How to Write a Children’s Picture Book and Get it Published, 2nd Edition By Andrea Shavick – A good, straight to the point and clear read.

Please drop me a line Contact if you have any other recommendations, every little bit of inspiration helps!

If like me, you are aspiring to be published there are plenty of online resources to keep us going. There is the renowned SCBWI: Society of Children’s Book Writings & Illustrators . There is an annual membership cost but I think it is worth it for the support and insight into children’s literature.

If you don’t have the money to pay for the SCBWI I have found the following website, WriteForKids really helpful – and it’s free!

I will eventually start divulging the story of my children’s book, once it’s in the bag and on the road to publication. For now, I’m musing and sharing my experiences of writing and my love of reading. Stay  and observe, hold my hand, like, share and feel inspired.




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