Five Mistakes to Avoid When Writing a Children’s Book

So, you want to write a children’s book? You’re on the right path—children are some of the most devoted readers out there! However, you should know that writing great children’s literature is no easy feat, especially to those new in this game like yourself. 

Anyone can sit down and throw together a children’s story, but this assures neither an interesting read nor success in the future. The journey to becoming a published author is a bumpy ride with lots of ups and downs along the way. As a new writer learning the ropes, you will inevitably make some mistakes. Luckily, we’re here to give you the boost to breakthrough in this industry. With a bit of help and guidance, you can craft a book so good it instantly earns the attention of thousands of young readers. 

This post contains the rookie mistakes you can make when writing a children’s book. 

Assuming that Children’s Books are Easier to Write than Adult Books

Writing for children seems like it would be easy, right? Wrong! Kids are intelligent readers, and you’d best not waste a single word when writing for them. See, this misconception of easy-breezy writing when crafting a story for kids can topple over your career even before you start. Many authors remark that picture books may be the hardest ones to write. These books demand conciseness, simplicity, and a visual sense. Also, the competition is greater because more people try to write them. But bear in mind, good writing is difficult no matter what the target audience’s age. There’s no way to generalize about comparisons. 

Being too Prescriptive with Illustrations

Illustrations are just as important to a children’s book as the narrative. It provides young readers with an immediate vision of the characters, setting, and mood of the story. Everyone knows that younger readers are astoundingly visual readers, but excessive pictures on books seem to insult a child’s reading skills. While you shouldn’t hold yourself back when it comes to the creative venture, you still need to be mindful. 

Telling Instead of Showing

This might be the most commonly cited writing mistake. Authors are naturally prone to telling rather than showing. This means that instead of letting the reader experience a story through action, dialogue, thoughts, and sense, the writer summarizes and describes what has happened. This info-dumping technique will bore the readers, especially children. Younger readers are more drawn to something exciting and fun to read than straightforward storytelling. 

See, one of the tenets of good writing you’ll ever employ is the “show, don’t tell” rule. To put it in simple words, showing has more power, creates more interest, and better engages readers when you draw them in the story. Contrary to popular belief, kids don’t need more “telling.” They are very good at picking up on cues and language and reading between the lines. This technique allows the young ones to experience the story through what they observe rather than through the author interpreting it for them. Showing gives them a chance to learn more on their own. 

Having the Moral Lesson too Transparent

Many picture books aim to teach kids important lessons—like Lynda Daniele’s Grandpa Nick’s Bump, a grandpa’s story on Grandpa Nick’s Bump. However, books like these don’t spell them out right away. Now, this is another mistake rookie writers make. Most newbies mistake children’s intelligence and spell it to them outright to avoid confusion or misdirection. But that’s the essence of children’s books; young readers can interpret the lesson by themselves. So, weave in the lessons to the main story to encourage engagement and critical thinking of kids.  

Lack of Research on Your Part

Writing for children seems like a no-brainer; it would come as a surprise to know that many writers don’t read these sorts of books before writing. If you want to write for kids, you’ve got to read such books, preferably those owned by actual kids. Examine those books and comprehend why this book is such a hit to young readers. It’s helpful to read as many books as you can in your specific genre. This way, you’ll get a better feel of the writing style of the genre and the target audience that might read it. 

Writing a picture book might be an uphill battle, but it’ll be more than worth it when you can finally see the fruition of your hard work in the hands of young readers everywhere. On account of this, apply everything you’ve learned so far and potentially become the next J.K. Rowling or Rick Riordan.