Nancy's Books

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Writing Children’s Books with Child Appeal, Part 2

Fictional picture books often deal with the character solving a problem, and in doing so, the writer’s job is to show the character’s emotional state. A character’s feelings are the gateway into the story.  Emotions make readers feel, make them hunger for the character to overcome the obstacles, and cheer for the victory. Without the emotional stakes, readers are not drawn into the character’s world, so they don’t care. Make readers feel. Make them care. With each scene, consider how the reader will react. Is the event something in which the child can identify? If children see themselves in a story, they identify with it and request it for storytime, over and over. 

Mountains of children’s books have been written on every subject that interest children of every age. Making a book different in some way so it can compete in a highly competitive market is necessary. One way to do this is to write about some thing or experience in which a child is familiar and flip it to present the information or story in a fresh and engaging way. A retelling of a fairy tale from the voice of a minor character: Example: Cinderella as told by the pumpkin or the glass slipper.  

Page turns are fun for the readers and add a ton of child appeal. This approach keeps adding surprises as the story unfolds. Here are three ways to add page turns.

1.      Stop in the middle of a sentence and complete it on the following page. Readers enjoy this because it allows them to predict what my happen next. The more a reader is engaged in a story, the more appeal it has.

2.      Use part of a compound word on one page and the remainder on the next. Example: He found a rattle…snake in the grass.

3.      Transitions words are fun to heighten the interest of turning a page: then, when, but, etc. 

In my next blog, I’ll continue with more ideas for writing books with child appeal.

Nancy Kelly Allen has written 40+ children’s books and a cookbook, SPIRIT OF KENTUCKY: BOURBON COOKBOOK. Check out her blog at 

Call for Submissions for Young Writers:
KidSpirit accepts submissions of poetry, artwork, and nonfiction articles from 11- to 17-year-olds everywhere. Except for artwork, all work should be related to the following themes:
Unity and Division (Fall 2017)
Creation and Destruction (Winter 2017/18)
Submission guidelines at 

Call for Submissions for Adult Writers:

One Teen Story is a literary magazine for teens and adults who read young adult fiction. They publish 12 issues a year digitally and in print. Each issue contains only one story.

They pay their authors $500 dollars and 25 contributor copies for first North American serial rights. The rights revert back to the author after publication.

Submission guidelines at Kelly Allen has written 40+ children’s books and a cookbook, SPIRIT OF KENTUCKY: BOURBON COOKBOOK. Check out her blog at

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