Writing a Good Children’s Book

Some kids just hate to read while others do nothing but read. In this e-age when the electronic media have taken over our lives, your child could be missing out. Teachers, parents and those concerned with children, are looking for books that will appeal to reluctant readers. Here are some questions you can ask yourself before you choose such a book or even write one. These will even help you gift good books to children.

Does the book contain a plot that will make the reader want more?
To grab the attention of a reluctant reader, the story should ‘happen fast’. In other words action should start in the very first page and they should know the gist of the plot by the end of the page. However, too many subplots on the book may put off the child.

Are the characters in the story believable and well defined?
Children identify strongly with the characters in the books. The characters should be believable and should face issues that children of the similar age group would face. It does not matter how they look. The characters should be presented in the child’s perspective.

Does the story have incidents that will make the reader laugh?
Children usually love anything that will make them laugh. Associate this with a book and they are sure to enjoy reading it. But make sure the humour is suitable for the age of your child. For instance for easy readers one could use one that has simple verbal humour like wordplay, puns and so on. For others a funny dialogue or a funny situation could be appealing. As children move into the chapter book area, the humour could be carried on over several scenes.

Does the book have short, easy to read chapters?
Chapters that contain one complete event, usually make for an easy satisfying read. But chapters that end at an exciting point are the ones that keep the pages turning. Louis Sachar’s ‘Sideways Stories from Wayside school’ is a good middle grade example. Books where each chapter stands alone as a short story is also a good bet for such readers.

Is the book relevant to the reader?
The ideas in the books must be relevant, meaningful and applicable to the child’s life. A story set in a region that has harsh winters and snow will never appeal to a child living in the tropical regions. A book that uses the reader’s frame of reference and ‘talks’ to them is a good idea.

Does the book contain text that is appropriate to the reader?
The text of the book should be challenging for the age group it is aimed for. The book should use simple sentences with suitable vocabulary and interest level for a broad age of readers.

Does the book seem attractive enough to make the reader want to buy it?
Use of attractive illustrations and placement of text appropriately makes a book catch the eye. Finding an unusual slant to your topic and use of humour keeps the interest alive.

Keeping at least some of these in mind while choosing books for your little reluctant readers may help you develop up their interest in books. It will have a good chance of being loved by all kids. And remember reading can be fun.

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