Children’s Writers – How long should your Book be?

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Browse through the children’s section at the nearest book store or the library. You will notice that children’s book fall into distinct categories, each category having a distinct format and target age group.  The reason for these sharp definitions is that these books are used in classrooms for a particular grade. And the libraries and the bookstores shelve these books in a particular order.

As a creative person, a writer is expected to push the boundaries. But if you are a novice children’s writer or a first time self-publishing children’s writer; it is smarter to stick to the rules. Once you have a better understanding of the business, you can flex the rules to suit you.

Board Books

·         For infants and young toddlers.

·         Concept books, rhymes, simple stories, novelty books, lift-the-flap books.

·         Length – 12 to 16 pages (average).

·         Little or no text, illustration on every page.

 Early Picture Books

·         For 2 to 5 years.

·         Simple stories, fairy tales, rhymes, concept books.

·         Length — 32 pages (average).

·         Short text (maximum 500 words), Illustration on every page.

 Standard picture books

·         For 4 to 8 years.

·         Wide range of styles and topics, simple stories with a main character.

·          Length – 32 pages (average).

·         Short text (Maximum 1000 words).

 Easy-to-Read/ Early Readers

·         For 5 to 8 years.

·         Stories that have action and dialogues, fiction or non-fiction.

·         Length – 32 to 64 pages (average).

·         Short text (Maximum 2000 words), grammatically simple sentences, short chapters (optional).

Transition books/ Early Chapter Books

·         For 6 to 10 years.

·         Stories with 2-3 page chapters, books with smaller trim size, an illustrations every few pages.

·         Length -32 pages (average).

·         Books that bridge the gap between early readers and chapter books.

Middle grade

·         For 8 to 12 years.

·          More complex stories, more sophisticated themes.

·         Length- 100 to 150 pages (average).

·         Wide range of genres – historical, contemporary, science fiction/fantasy, non-fiction.

Young adult

·          For ages 12 and above.

·         Complex plots that today’s teen can identify with, wide range of themes and genres.

·         Length – 130 to 200 pages (average).

·         For children who have outgrown middle grade but are not ready for adult fiction.

Since children read at different levels, especially in elementary school, there is sometimes a slight overlap in the age groups. To get a better understanding of the formats, read some of the recommended books from each category. This will also give you a sense of what works and where your children’s book fits in.

avatar a.raodcruz (58 Posts)

A specialist in Children’s book writing and Guide for Children’s Authors

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