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How to Write a Children's Book


We've got everything you need to learn how to write for kids and teens

Dreaming of writing for kids?  Want to know how to write a children’s book?  You’ve come to the right place!

We are THE experts on writing children’s books. For 30 years, as the publishers of Children’s Book Insider, The Children’s Writing Monthly, we’ve been helping people just like you learn everything about writing a children’s book (in all book genres and book categories) that kids will love, and in doing so, change the world with their words.

 

how to write a children's book

 


 

 

 

First, if you haven’t already done so, get our Ultimate Children’s Writing Cheat Sheet.

If you want to learn how to write a children’s book and get started as a children’s book writer, it’s absolutely indispensable.

 

And it’s our gift to you.

 

 

Click here to get it now.

 

 

 


 

 

 

Now, here’s our hand-picked selection of articles about how to write a children’s book. These are perfect places for beginning folks to start. Enjoy!

 

 

Kidlit Distancing Social #46 Replay: Jean Daigneau & Gloria Adams on How to Get Your Manuscript Submission-Ready

 
 
In this episode, two veteran kidlit authors will share their best self-editing tips to help you get your manuscripts…

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Kidlit Distancing Social #37 Replay – Darcy Pattison on Self-Publishing & the Path to Success as an Indie Author

 
 
This week, meet Darcy Pattison, a prolific kidlit author who has found great success self-publishing her own work. Darcy’s authored…

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Kidlit Distancing Social #25 Replay – Brian Weisfeld on Writing Books that Promote a Passion & Deliver a Message

 
This week, we welcome Brian Weisfeld, author of The Startup Squad series (Macmillan), is devoted to empowering girls with an entrepreneurial…

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Kidlit Distancing Social #24 Replay – Brooke McIntyre on Finding, Joining & Getting the Most of a Critique Group

 
This week, we welcome Brooke McIntyre, the founder of InkedVoices, a platform for writing groups and an online space for writers. In our virtual…

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Kidlit Distancing Social #22 Replay – Candice Ransom, Author of 150+ Children’s Books

 
 
This week, we welcome the amazing Candice Ransom. Candice has written more than 150 books, including 18 books for The Boxcar…

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How to Tell if Your Story Idea is Good Enough

 
Most writers find it very difficult to judge the merits of their own story ideas. In this excerpt from a workshop taught by the prolific and…

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Watch all the Kidlit Distancing Social Replays

 

 
Watch All the Replays Now!
 

 
 
Don’t miss a Kidlit Distancing Social.  To get notified of each week’s topic…

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Watch all the Kidlit Distancing Social Replays

 

 
Watch All the Replays Now!
 

 
 
Don’t miss a Kidlit Distancing Social.  To get notified of each week’s topic…

Continue Reading

Kidlit Distancing Social #12 – Laura Backes on What Picture Book Writers Need to Know About Illustrations

 
On this week’s Kidlit Distancing Social, CBI Publisher Laura Backes discusses the interplay between words and illustrations in picture books,…

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Kidlit Distancing Social #8 – Writing in Rhyme w/Julie Hedlund

This week on the Kidlit Distancing Social, Julie Hedlund, author and creator of 12×12 Challenge, joined us to chat about one of her specialties -…

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children's book genres

Understanding Children’s Book Genres

Published children’s books fall into distinct book genres, each with its own format and targeted age range. These formats evolved for several…

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Kidlit Distancing Social #7 – Tips for Getting Your Book Published w/Mary Kole

This week on the Kidlit Distancing Social, editor Mary Kole of kidlit.com joins us to talk about submitting your work to editors and…

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Kidlit Distancing Social #6 – Writing Young Adult and Middle Grade Books w/Dani Alcorn

This week on the Kidlit Distancing Social, author Dani Alcorn joins us to chat about writing young adult books.

 

Laura also checks in…

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Kidlit Distancing Social #5 – Ask Us Anything – The Sequel! w/Laura Backes & Jon Bard

In part two of our Ask Us Anything extravaganza, Laura answers a slew of questions about writing and publishing.

 

Laura also checks in…

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Kidlit Distancing Social #4 – Ask Us Anything! w/Laura Backes & Jon Bard

In this week’s Kidlit Distancing Social, Laura answers a slew of questions about writing and publishing.

 

Laura also checks in with an…

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Kidlit Distancing Social #2 – Opportunities in Magazine Writing w/Kerrie Flanagan

In this week’s Kidlit Distancing Social, Kerrie Flanagan, author of Writer’s Digest Guide to Magazine Article Writing, joins us to discuss current…

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Children’s Writing FAQ #3: Can I Send My Manuscript to More Than One Editor or Agent at a Time?

 

(This article is excerpted from The Ultimate Children’s Writing Cheatsheet – our free ebook packed with 30 years of children’s writing…

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Children’s Writing FAQ #2: Do I Need to Copyright My Work?

 

(This article is excerpted from The Ultimate Children’s Writing Cheatsheet – our free ebook packed with 30 years of children’s writing…

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Children’s Writing FAQ #1: Do I Need an Illustrator for My Picture Book Manuscript?

 

(This article is excerpted from The Ultimate Children’s Writing Cheatsheet – our free ebook packed with 30 years of children’s writing…

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How to Publish a Children’s Book, Part 1 – Understanding Children’s Book Categories

 
The first step in knowing how to publish a children’s book is to understand the basic categories of children’s books and how they apply to…

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Latest Posts

On the Next Kidlit Distancing Social: Shakirah Bourne on Infusing a Manuscript with Magic & Authenticity

On the next Kidlit Distancing Social (Tuesday, June 22 at 5 PM Pacific, 8 PM Eastern), meet an exciting new voice in middle grade and young adult writing: Barbadian author and filmmaker Shakirah Bourne.  Shakirah wrote and directed the feature film  A Caribbean Dream which earned Best Drama at the National Film Awards UK in 2018.  Her most recent middle grade book – Josephine Against the Sea (Scholastic) – was a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection. Shakirah will be joining Laura to share the impact Caribbean culture has had on her work, how she infuses her books with magical realism and how understanding three act structure from films translates to to writing novels. 

Kidlit Distancing Social #56 Replay: Aimee Jackson on How Indie Authors Can Publish Successfully

This week, meet Aimee Jackson, Owner and Editorial Director of Book Bridge Press, a company that helps independent authors take their work from manuscript to published, illustrated book. BBP specializes in children’s books, and Aimee Jackson is an accomplished children’s book editor and publishing professional with more than 20 years experience in trade publishing.

In this episode of the Social, Aimee provides her top tips for independent authors to give their books the best shot at success in the areas of craft, design and marketing.

Kidlit Distancing Social #55 Replay: Lauren Ranalli on Author Marketing that Really Works

This week, meet Lauren Ranalli, award-winning children’s book writer and marketing coach for aspiring & self-published authors. In this episode, Lauren quizzed attendees’ about their marketing styles, and then gave advice for different marketing and social media strategies based on their answers. Really beneficial to anyone struggling with marketing and promotion!

Kidlit Distancing Social #54 Replay: Becoming a Full-Time Writer with Shannon Anderson

In this episode, meet Shannon Anderson, award-winning author of 14 kidlit books.

Shannon just quit her 25-year day job as a teacher to become a writer full-time. She joins us to talk about creating an author brand, when to know it’s time to quit your day job, what mindset attributes writers need to make it as a full-time author and more.

Kidlit Distancing Social #53 Replay: Violet Lemay on Helping Young Children Find Joy in an Unpredictable World

In this episode, meet author/illustrator Violet Lemay. Working primarily in the board book category (for ages 0-4), Violet has illustrated forty books, six of which she also wrote. She’s worked with such publishers as HarperCollins, Penguin Random House, Scholastic, duopress, ‘Magination Press, and Free Spirit Publishing. Violet has a special mission: to take events happening in the world and help young children process them – and find the joy that’s always present.

Kidlit Distancing Social #52 Replay: Sneed B. Collard III on Nonfiction & Writing Mysteries for Middle Graders

In this episode, meet Sneed B. Collard III, award-winning author of more than 80 books. He’s best known for his science-based nonfiction for readers ages 5-12, and his middle grade and YA mysteries and thrillers. In 2006, Sneed was the recipient of the Washington Post Children’s Book Guild Children’s Nonfiction Writer of the Year Award for his body of work. In 2010, Sneed sought to address the shortage of quality regional children’s books by launching his own publishing company, Bucking Horse Books.

Kidlit Distancing Social #51 Replay: Author/Illustrator Julie Rowan-Zoch on the Dance Between Words & Images in Picture Books

In this episode, we welcome Julie Rowan-Zoch (author/illustrator of I’m a Hare, So There! and illustrator of Louis, written by Tom Lichtenheld) to chat about the interplay between words and images in picture books. We also talk about developing a range of styles as an illustrator, how illustrating her own words compares to illustrating texts written by other authors, and what she’s learned about the market from working at an independent book store.

Kidlit Distancing Social #50 Replay: Michelle Schaub on Concept Books, Picture Books & Poetry

In this episode, we chatted with award-winning children’s author & veteran teacher Michelle Schaub about two fascinating topics: How to make concept books come alive by building layers, and using poetry to boost literacy.

Kidlit Distancing Social #49 Replay: Teen Readers Tell Us What They Like (and Don’t Like) in YA & Middle Grade

This week, a panel of teen readers tell us what they like – and don’t like – in middle grade and young adult books. They’re joined by Sallie Lowenstein, award winning author/illustrator of children’s and young adult books.

Kidlit Distancing Social #48 Replay: Crafting Speculative Fiction & Graphic Novels w/Jennifer Brody (a.k.a. Vera Strange)

In this episode, we welcome Jennifer Brody (a.k.a. Vera Strange) the award-winning author of ten books, including The 13th Continuum trilogy, the Disney Chills book series, and the Stoker Finalist graphic novel Spectre Deep 6 and 200 with Eisner-winning artist and syndicated cartoonist Jules Rivera, prompting Forbes to call Brody “a star in the graphic novel world.”

Laura and Jennifer talk about writing speculative fiction for middle grade and young adult, and what’s happening in the exciting graphic novel market.

Kidlit Distancing Social #47 Replay: Building an Effective Author Platform with Jennifer Swanson

In this episode, we welcome Jennifer Swanson, award winning author of over 40+ books for children (including Parent’s Choice Gold Award winner Save the Crash Test Dummies! and Beastly Bionics). The subject: the do’s and don’ts of creating an effective author platform (i.e. your online presence that enhances your ability to reach potential readers).

Kidlit Distancing Social #46 Replay: Jean Daigneau & Gloria Adams on How to Get Your Manuscript Submission-Ready

In this episode, two veteran kidlit authors share their best self-editing tips to help you get your manuscripts submission-ready.

Kidlit Distancing Social #45 Replay: Middle Grade Author Carmella Van Vleet on Creating Character-Driven Stories

In this episode, meet Middle Grade writer Carmella Van Vleet, author of the Christopher Award-winning “Eliza Bing is (Not) a Big, Fat Quitter” (Penguin Random House), and the upcoming “Nothing is Little” (Holiday House). Laura and Carmella delve into all things Middle Grade, with a particular focus on creating dynamic character-driven stories.

Kidlit Distancing Social #44 Replay: Picture Book Author Tameka Fryer Brown on Rhythm, Rhyme & Celebrating Community

In this episode, meet picture book writer Tameka Fryer Brown, author of Brown Baby Lullaby (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), named by Parents Latina Magazine as one of the Best Latino Children’s Books of 2020 and one of NPR’s 100 Favorite Books for Young Readers.

Laura and Tameka talk about using rhythm and rhyme to pen stories for picture book readers that celebrate family and community, and how Tameka’s books showcase diversity in a way that is accessible and relatable to any reader.

Kidlit Distancing Social #43 Replay: Overcoming the Obstacles that are Holding You Back

This week, Laura welcomes our friend Dani Alcorn of Writing Academy to discuss the things that block writers from finding true success – and how to overcome them. This is a *very* powerful session that is a must-see for any writer seeking to move forward in his or her career.

Kidlit Distancing Social #42 Replay: Book Marketing Expert Colleen Noyes

This episode features Colleen Noyes, founder of Itsy Bitsy Book Bits Promotions. Colleen is an expert of getting attention for new books in a very crowded marketplace. In this episode, Colleen shares her tips on the types of promotion authors can focus on during these socially-distanced times, and which are most effective.

Kidlit Distancing Social #41 Replay: Publishing Attorney Mary Flower Answers Your Questions on Copyright, Contracts & More

Meet one of the most experienced publishing attorneys in the industry, and hear her tips on copyright, negotiating contracts and other key legal issues impacting writers.

Kidlit Distancing Social #40 Replay: Jennifer Swanson, Melissa Stewart & Cynthia Levinson on Why Kids Love Nonfiction a *Lot* More Than You Probably Think

Three top children’s nonfiction authors talk about the growing significance of nonfiction and why “the nonfiction books of today are not the textbooks of yesteryear”.

Kidlit Distancing Social #39 – Overcoming Self-Doubt & Finding the Courage to Put Your Work Out Into the World

Meet Jennifer Vassel, an inspiring self-publishing success story. Jennifer is the author and founder of “I Am Unique!”, a children’s book series and self-love brand aimed to inspire kids and adults to rise above their insecurities and share their unique gifts with the world.

Her work has been featured in national media such as Forbes, Black Enterprise, Thrive, Essence, and
Today.

Join us to find out how Jennifer has overcome self-doubt and insecurity to build a thriving writing career. She’ll also share some excellent self-publishing and marketing advice.

Kidlit Distancing Social #38 Replay – Chris Tebbetts on Middle Grade That Gets Kids Reading… and Laughing

Meet Chris Tebbetts, a successful middle grade/YA author who has mastered a compelling, humorous approach that gets even the most reluctant readers glued to the page.

Chris partners with superstar author James Patterson to create the bestselling Middle School series, and with Survivor host Jeff Probst for the Stranded series. His solo titles include the Viking series and the novel Me, Myself, and Him.

Join us to learn about creating middle grade books with humor and plot that appeal to readers across the board – especially reluctant readers – and the ins and outs of building a successful series.

Kidlit Distancing Social #37 Replay – Darcy Pattison on Self-Publishing & the Path to Success as an Indie Author

This week, meet Darcy Pattison, a prolific kidlit author who has found great success self publishing her own work. Darcy’s authored dozens of books – some with major publishers – but has seen her career truly take off after starting her own independent publishing company.

Darcy describes her journey, and discusses why other authors should consider self-publishing. If you want to be truly empowered to share your words with the world, Darcy is the perfect person to inspire you!

Kidlit Distancing Social #36 Replay – Kirsten W. Larson on Writing Nonfiction/STEM Picture Books

This week, meet Kirsten W. Larson, author of over 25 kidlit nonfiction titles. Her picture book biography ‘Wood, Wire and Wings’ was just named a 2021 Best STEM Book by the National Science Teaching Association.

Kirsten shares her thoughts on writing compelling nonfiction picture books, incorporating STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) into picture books, and discuss her success writing for the school and library market. STEM and the school/library market continue to provide tremendous opportunities for kidlit writers – so you’ll want to hear what Kirsten has to say.

Kidlit Distancing Social #35 Replay – Rethinking Book Marketing: Michael Schein on How Any Author Can Become a ‘Micro Celebrity’

This week, meet Michael Schein, President of MicroFame Media & author of the upcoming book ‘The Hype Handbook’ (McGraw-Hill). The subject: creative author marketing.

Michael is an expert on fame-generating tactics, and has studied history’s greatest self-promoters to discover what they have to teach us about gathering attention in the modern media climate.

Can “hype” be used for good? Michael believes it absolutely can, and that any author can break through to generate and cultivate a fan base. Can “hype” be used for good? Michael believes it absolutely can, and that any author can break through to generate and cultivate a fan base. We know that book marketing and author promotion are overwhelming issues for many writers, and this episode will give you a new way to look at the subject.

Kidlit Distancing Social #34 Replay – How Two Unagented First Time Authors Got Published

Meet two debut authors who got their publishing contracts without an agent. If you think you can’t get published on your own, Cori Cooper and Risa Nyman beg to differ! Cori is the author of contemporary middle grade book Bake Believe and Risa is the author of Swallowed By a Secret, a middle grade mystery. Find out how they captured the attention of their publisher – and get inspired to follow in their footsteps!

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