Kids have no patience for books (printed or eBooks) that don’t capture their attention. An author has three minutes, maybe four, to hook them. By the first page or two if they are not hooked, kids are “so out of there!” But, if your book does grab them, they’ll devour it. They’ll read it over and over again (or ask you to) until they’ve memorized it. A great book can give children a gift—the desire to read more. There is no need to “dumb down” writing for kids. Richness of language helps kids increase their vocabulary. Children will learn the “big words” if the words are written in an exciting way.
Writing for the Kids of Today:
Although current books still address universal truths we learned as children, the kids of today are different from the way we were. They are far more sophisticated and discerning. There is so much to distract kids from reading—computer games, TV, movies and gadgets. Authors need to think like today’s kids (and be in touch with their own inner child) yet use adult creativity to really think outside the box, because today’s books have to be very imaginative and innovative to compete for a child’s attention. Writers need to be sensitive to the details that make a difference in present day kids’ lives.
As if writing books that appeal to kids isn’t hard enough, books need to also grab the attention of parents and those who purchase them. Therefore, writing books for kids is almost like performing magic. PRESTO! A well-crafted story can inspire incredible art that will be shared with many. Of course, the real trick is to get the story to reach as many readers as possible. Internet technology has enabled books to easily reach kids all around the world now. The road to getting a story from idea to completion is a process that entails learning your craft, giving yourself permission to fail, and using small creative acknowledgements to fuel your motivation to continue to write.
Join Professional Writing Organizations:
So, if you have a strong desire to write for kids submerge yourself in popular books of the age group you want to write for. You’ll need to be familiar with what’s come before. I would also suggest joining the professional association the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators) as you’ll need to “connect” in order to compete in the world of current children’s books. And, listen to the feeling deep within you. It’s what I call a “quiet knowing”—the unshakable belief that you have something special that you must share with kids. Then prepare yourself for a journey to find you own special voice to take on the world of children’s books. No one will write a book like yours—your book belongs to the kids. They deserve and demand the best. Don’t disappoint them!
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