September 25, 2014

Writing for the right age

Lately I’ve been noticing a trend that makes little sense: books for children that aren’t! By that I mean the intended age group has not truly been considered as shown by these common mistakes:

• Subjects that interest older readers but are too complex or multifaceted for young children

• Subjects that interest young children but are too simplistic for older readers

• Word choices that the intended age group of readers cannot read, sound out, or understand

• Vocabulary and compound sentences appropriate for older readers but that confuse or discourage younger readers

• Abstract concepts toddlers and preschoolers cannot begin to grasp

• Nostalgia pieces written for the writer with no present-day child in mind

• Bible stories that thrill older children and teens but scare little kids who first need to hear about God's love

If you have noticed similar or other trends in #kidlit, I hope you’ll comment below and let us know what concerns you have about children’s books. And, if you see something especially kid-appealing and well-done, that would be good to hear about too.

You might also welcome these previous posts:

Keeping Your #KidLit User-Friendly

Poems can put FUN back in funny

Writing Children’s Picture Books

Writing children's poems for actual kids to read

Writing Children’s Stories With No Pink Fairies or Old Fads

Writing Winner Nonfiction for Kids

©2014, Mary Harwell Sayler, poet-author of Beach Songs & Wood Chimes and an e-book for classrooms and creative kids of almost every age, the Poetry Dictionary For Children & For Fun, has helped other poets and writers for many years through critiques, manuscript evaluations, and development of poetry and children’s picture book texts. For more information, visit the Contact & Critique page on her website.

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