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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 #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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How to Publish a Children’s Book: Part 2 – Learn How Children’s Book Publishers Work

  
 
Part Two of How to Publish a Children’s Book takes you inside a publishing house to explain exactly how books are selected, edited…

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Latest Posts

On the Next Kidlit Distancing Social: Chris Tebbetts on Writing 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 Petterson 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!

Tonight’s Kidlit Distancing Social Has Been Postponed – But We’ll Be Back Next Week!

Due to some unforeseen circumstances, Holly Hatam won’t be able to join us tonight for the Kidlit Distancing Social. We’ll reschedule Holly as soon as we can. We’ll be back next week with another all-new Kidlit Distancing Social!

Kidlit Distancing Social #33 Replay – Newbery Honoree Steve Sheinkin on Making History Exciting

In this episode of the Social, we welcome Steve Sheinkin, author of Newbery Honoree and National Book Award finalist Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon.

Steve’s hugely popular books make history accessible, fun and exciting for young readers. With wildly diverse topics – from Jim Thorpe and Benedict Arnold to Daniel Ellsberg and the women pioneers of aviation – Steve proves that history can be massively entertaining. And his Time Twisters series bends time to allow for wild adventures – like Abraham Lincoln, Pro Wrestler.

A Writing Opportunity That’s Too Good to Pass Up

Learn about the School & Library Market, and how it offers nonfiction writers tremendous opportunity, with little need for promotion, getting an agent or endlessly querying publishers.

Kidlit Distancing Social #32 Replay – An Evening with Author/Illustrator Lea Lyon

In this episode of the Social, we welcome author/illustrator Lea Lyon, co-author of Ready To Fly: How Sylvia Townsend Became the Bookmobile Ballerina (HarperCollins), and illustrator of seven books including It Rained Warm Bread (Henry Holt) and Lailah’s Lunchbox (Tilbury House). 

Among her honors are a Teachers’ Choice Award, ILA-CBC Children’s Choices list, Skipping Stones (twice), and Moonbeam award (twice.) If you’re an illustrator, a writer who wants to learn more about illustration or just a kidlit fan who enjoys learning about the creative process, Lea is someone you absolutely want to meet.

Kidlit Distancing Social #31 Replay – Ask Laura & Jon Anything!

In this episode of the Social, Jon and Laura from Children’s Book Insider answer a slew of viewer questions about writing, publishing and marketing a children’s book.  There’s a ton of great info, advice and insight here!

In fact, his A Kid’s Book About Belonging was just named one of Oprah’s Favorite Things for 2020!

Kevin has some big things to communicate with kids, and he has a fascinating approach that should make every kidlit author stand up and take notice.

You absolutely don’t want to miss this one!

Kidlit Distancing Social #30 Replay – Kevin Carroll on Communicating Big Ideas to Young Readers

Kevin Carroll has led a remarkable life – and he’s just getting started. Head athletic trainer for the Philadelphia 76ers, Nike’s first-ever “creative change agent”, an in-demand speaker with multiple Ted Talks and now, a successful children’s book author.

In fact, his A Kid’s Book About Belonging was just named one of Oprah’s Favorite Things for 2020!

Kevin has some big things to communicate with kids, and he has a fascinating approach that should make every kidlit author stand up and take notice.

You absolutely don’t want to miss this one!

Kidlit Distancing Social #29 – Lynne Marie on Knowing When You’re Ready to Submit to Publishers

Get some great revision tips from Lynne Marie, who is the author of five picture books including Hedgehog Goes to Kindergarten (Scholastic), The Star of the Christmas Play (Beaming Books), and Moldilocks and the 3 Scares (Beaming Books), and the owner of RateYourStory.org. Lynne Marie will help you answer the immortal question “Is my manuscript ready to submit to publishers?”

CBI Editor Spotlight Excerpt: Eileen Robinson of Reycraft Books

Excerpted from the November 2020 edition of Children’s Book Insider, Eileen Robinson, executive editor of Reycraft Books, talks about the new imprint and offers her best book marketing tips.

Kidlit Distancing Social #28 – Nicole C. Kear on Writing Across Age Groups & Genres

Meet a writer who is making her mark across multiple genres and categories – and learn how you can do the same. Nicole C. Kear has published two chapter book series, a middle grade novel, a highly acclaimed memoir and dozens of articles in such publications as The New York Times, The Washington Post and Good Housekeeping. Nicole is the model of a modern working writer, whose built a fascinating, rewarding career.

Kidlit Distancing Social #27 – Teresa Funke on the Steps You Can Take Now to Become a Successful Author

This week, we welcome back the inspiring Teresa Funke (Dancing in Combat Boots, V for Victory, 10 Things All Successful Authors Do). Teresa will help you get on – and stay on – the path to becoming a successful professional writer. She’ll share the things you can do write now that will pay big dividends down the road. If you need some inspiration and confidence – this is the Social for you!

10 Things That Get Kidlit Manuscripts Rejected – and How to Avoid Them

An all-new workshop led by Deborah Halverson, editor at Harcourt Children’s Books for ten years, and author of Writing Young Adult Fiction For Dummies, Writing New Adult Fiction, the teen novels Honk If You Hate Me and Big Mouth, the picture book Letters to Santa, and three books in the Remix series for struggling readers. Deborah is the founder of the popular writers’ advice website DearEditor.com.

Kidlit Distancing Social #26 Replay – Lyn Miller-Lachmann on Writing Historical Fiction & Creating Inclusive Characters

This week, we have a really fascinating guest – author, translator and sensitivity reader Lyn Miller-Lachmann (Gringolandia, Surviving Santiago, Rogue). Lyn talks about writing historical fiction, writing books with international settings, and the difference between a sensitivity reader and an expert reader (and when you should use each one).

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

Brian Weisfeld, author of The Startup Squad series (Macmillan), is devoted to empowering girls with an entrepreneurial mindset so they can realize their potential. In this episode, Brian gives his advice for authors seeking to change the world with their writing. If you have a passion or cause you’d like young readers to know about, Brian will help you understand how to create books that teach while entertaining.

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

Brooke McIntyre, the founder of InkedVoices.com, a platform for writing groups and an online space for writers, joins us to talk about finding your own critique group, getting feedback on your work and providing feedback on other writers’ work. This is a super-timely topic, and you should definitely check it out.

Kidlit Distancing Social #23 Replay – Tracey West on Chapter Books, Movie Novelizations & Books w/Licensed Characters

Tracey West is the author of more than 300 books for children and young adults, including the Pokémon chapter books, the popular Pixie Tricks series, and the brand new Dragon Masters series. She talks about her first love – writing chapter books – and how she’s built a career writing movie novelizations and books with licensed characters. Tracey is a real pro who will open your mind to new ways to make a good living as a full time writer.

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

Candice has written more than 150 books, including 18 books for The Boxcar Children series, The Time Spies series and the Sunfire series. She wrote the Dungeons & Dragons novel, Key to the Griffon’s Lair. Her work includes picture books, easy readers, middle grade fiction, biographies, and nonfiction. Laura and Candice discuss her fascinating career, and then open the floor for a freewheeling “Ask Us Anything” session!

Kidlit Distancing Social #21 Replay – An Evening with Legendary Children’s Poet David Harrison

This week, we welcome a children’s book legend – poet David Harrison, who is about to see his 100th book in print. He is Drury University’s poet laureate. David Harrison Elementary School in Springfield, MO is named for him, and he was recently chosen to receive the first Laura Ingalls Wilder Children’s Literature Medal for his body of work.

Kidlit Distancing Social #20 Replay – Tod Olson on Writing Creative, Exciting Nonfiction

Tod Olson is a writer with a knack for making nonfiction topics come alive with excitement and vibrancy. Tod is the critically-acclaimed author of middle grade narrative nonfiction series Lost and How to Get Rich, and Into the Clouds: The Race to Climb the World’s Most Dangerous Mountain (all published by Scholastic). He talks about finding that creative, exciting story within the nonfiction topic, and gives some research tips.

Tuesday August 25: How to Add Emotion, Compassion & Heart to Create a Truly Magical Picture Book Manuscript

There’s a magic ingredient that makes an editor take notice, stops an agent in her tracks and makes a delighted child say “Read it Again!” What if you had this magic ingredient at your fingertips, ready to sprinkle it throughout your next picture book manuscript? How different would your writing career be?

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