Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Writing for Children Series

General Overview of Writing for Children
Over the next few weeks, I’m going to look at the different aspects of writing for children. In the early 90s, I wrote regularly for a magazine in South Africa that accepted short stories for children. At the time, I had three children under the age of six and was in touch with what interested them. These days, I write the occasional story to be read at public events and have had a couple printed in local Christian publications.

Writing for Children Requires Skill
There is a common misconception that writing for children is easy and anyone can do it. Some people regard it as a market for beginners. In fact, writing for children is more diverse than writing for adults, and requires skill and understanding.

Why Should I Write for Children
All children love stories and creatively written words are a wonderful medium for teaching Godly values to them. As writers, we can influence young lives and lead children to an understanding of Jesus as their friend. We can also use our imaginations and create wonderful stories that captivate and entertain.

Where do I Start
The best place is in the children’s section of your local library. Set aside a couple of hours and go and browse through the shelves. Look at the different types of books and ask the librarian to point out popular titles. Children’s writers often concentrate on a particular age group so try and pinpoint what bracket appeals to you.

Trends in Children’s Writing
While there are some favorites that keep on going, (Think Dr Seuss, Roald Dahl and Enid Blyton) the children’s market is ever-changing. What appealed to children forty years ago, doesn’t necessarily appeal now. Young children like brightly-colored picture books and humorous stories. Modern stories for older children may include current fashions, popular slang, and references to international events and technology.

Writing for children is not my favorite form of writing, but I recognize the value in it. I have a couple of stories in the free reprints section of, and every so often, I do a Google search to see if they pop up anywhere. Have a look on Page 2 of this site, to see one that has also appeared on several other sites and has been forwarded as an email. I don’t receive payment for these, just the satisfaction of knowing the words are touching children’s lives.

Next week, I’ll be looking at the different age groups and the type of writing within each category. Be sure to come back and have a look.

Writing for Children Series - Part 2

More articles about Writing for Children:

Interview with best-selling children's book author Bob Hartman

Writing Children's Books: Not Just the Facts, Ma'am

Have You Read a Toddler's Book Lately?

Read to Me: Create Memories with Books

Tween Fiction: Disaster or Delight?

Early Reader Books keep kids interested in learning

Debbie Roome works as a freelance writer from her home in New Zealand. Read some of her work at Suite 101 , Take Root and Write and Faithwriters.

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