Saturday, May 11, 2013

Guest Author: David Anderson

Elements of a Good Children's Book
David Anderson

Whether you're choosing a book for your kids or writing a children's story, you'll want to pay attention to these tips. Stories that use some, or all, of the below elements, have a good chance of hooking kids and keeping them reading.   

1) Humor. It's a no-brainer that kids love silliness and absurdity. But remember that kids are smart. They may laugh at a fart or burp joke, but books that have nothing more to offer than infantile, cheap, or overdone humor will bore children. 

2) Heart. A great kids' story has to have heart. Kids respond to sincerity. If a book is funny but has no heart, it's not going to be memorable or cherished.

3) Relatable characters. Kids have to see themselves in the story. The things that are important to the characters in the story should be important to the kids meant to read it. Relatable elements might include: friends, teachers, toys, video games, grandparents, meals, birthdays. This holds if the characters are human, birds, bears, or dragons.

4) Emotional complexity. This one may come as a surprise, but it's an important element of a children's book kids will want to read. Kids may not have a lot of experience, but they have big emotions. They know what it feels like to be angry, sad, jealous, guilty, empathetic, and inspired. They also understanding that sometimes people change, and sometimes they make mistakes. Kids get that life is complex and they prefer characters and stories that are three-dimensional.

5) Dramatic irony. Dramatic irony occurs when the reader is given information the characters don't have. For example, if the main character will soon be in danger, the reader is let in on it beforehand. Kids love to interact with stories, and dramatic irony encourages them to get involved in a book.

6) Imagination. Great children's books are free of adult perceptions of the world. Imagining is part of kids' daily routines. The more imaginative a book is, the more in tune with child readers it will be.

David Anderson is author/illustrator of Charlie Sparrow and the Secret of Flight (Underdog Books, 98 pages) about a young bird's search for the truth behind his feathers. Available for order through Amazon. 

To read a sample, visit:


Related Posts with Thumbnails