Nancy's Books

Sunday, May 13, 2018

CHAPTER BOOKS Characteristics

As young readers (ages 6-9 or 10) transition from short sentences to paragraphs, chapter books become the reading selection of choice. These books are often written as a series, and story is not as dependent upon the illustrations as are those in picture books and beginning readers. Prose carries the story in chapter books along with numerous illustrations. These books bridge the gap between beginning readers and middle grade novels.

Chapter books are written in a wide variety of interests: humor, adventure, supernatural, mystery, and more. Although they differ, they share these similarities:
  • Fast paced—the story/plot moves quickly.
  • Fun to read with loveable/enjoyable characters
  • Plots are clear and simple.
  • A protagonist who is good or means well even if the behavior is questionable. Make it clear to the reader why the character is misbehaving. Characters can be mischievous and make mistakes.
  • Lots of dialog. The voice of the characters should sound like a child whose age is approximately that of the reader (ages 6-9).
  • In comparison to middle grade novels, chapter books have shorter sentences, paragraphs, and chapters. Omit unnecessary words, but sometimes long words can be used if the meaning is made clear by the text or the meaning is evident by sounding out the words. Chapter lengths range from 4,000 to 15,000 words.
  • Interesting, lively language.
  • Humor rules…and sells. Kids love to laugh. Editors love books that make kids laugh.
  • The child protagonist outwits the bad guys.
  • Events can be dramatic. The characters can, and should, experience heightened emotions, including but not limited to joy, embarrassment, or fear (the fear shouldn’t be nightmarish).
  • Most stories are told through the viewpoint of a single character.

Read lots of chapter books to gain an understanding of what publishers are looking for in these tales.

Call for Submissions for Adult Writers:
Golden Fleece Press. Submissions for Wee Tales and Refractions must be age appropriate for the journal (7 to 12 for Wee Tales, 13 and up for Refractions). Refractions short submissions should be between 1000 and 5000 words, Wee Tales submissions should be between 600 and 2000 words.

Submit to  Subject line: QUERY–Title–Last Name
Nancy Kelly Allen has written 40+ children’s books and a cookbook, SPIRIT OF KENTUCKY: BOURBON COOKBOOK.

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