Nancy's Books

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Writing Children’s Books with Child Appeal, Part 3



A character can be a spider, monster, dragon, witch, cloud, rock, or whatever your imagination creates. Think about how the character might act in situations you construct: bossy, loud, shy, intimidated, etc. Whatever the main character is, it should exhibit characteristics of a child.  

A low word count is necessary for books for the youngest audience. Their attention span is short so the text should reflect this. Picture books are usually less than 1,000 words, but the latest target seems to be under 500 words with many publishers. If writers go beyond that, the likelihood of a rejection is greater. 

Is the story delightful? Does it make the reader laugh or contain repetitive phrases the reader enjoys listening to or repeating as the story is read aloud? Are the characters and their antics enjoyable, entertaining, or engaging? Keep the humor and the language of the text age appropriate. 

Picture book plots are simple and fast-paced. Keep them sequential, and based on the character’s actions. A wild, wacky story should have some logic in the cause-and-effect unfolding of events. The plot works best when the main character is highly motivated and likable. A strong character drives the story forward and holds the interest of the reader. 

Transport the reader into another world with a book that has child appeal. 

Call for Submissions for Young Writers:

New Moon Girls. Ideas, Articles, Inventions, Fiction, Gardens, Poetry, Music, Opinions, Apps, Global Villages, Recipes,

Plays, Buildings, Puzzles, Projects, Jokes, Speeches, Games, Screenplays, Sports, Emotions, Equations, Painting, Art, Experiments, Costumes, Activism, Photos, Rockets, Crafts, Designs,Gadgets, Dances, Solutions, Hats and Everything Else You Imagine and Make.
Call for Submissions for Adult Writers:

Narrative Magazine. Our fall contest is open to all fiction and nonfiction writers. We’re looking for short shorts, short stories, essays, memoirs, photo essays, graphic stories, all forms of literary nonfiction, and excerpts from longer works of both fiction and nonfiction. Entries must be previously unpublished, no longer than 15,000 words, and must not have been previously chosen as a winner, finalist, or honorable mention in another contest.

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

1 comment:

  1. Good advice- I always learn from you and your books make use of every word.