1. Define Your Age Group
You need to decide just how old the children that will read your writing are going to be. This will determine the difficulty level of wording and grammar you use. Decide on your target age group and check your work frequently to make sure you’re focusing on that child
2. What Form Will The Writing Take?
Will it be a story, a historically factual book, or a book with an underlying social message? Think about the age group you are writing for and make a decision based on that. Younger children love to have their imagination engaged with vivid imagery; children above the age of seven enjoy learning bits of history – nothing too intense, though, and children above 8-9 will respond well to basic metaphorical language that issues a positive social message.
3. Consider The Target Demographic
It isn’t just age you need to consider but also ethnicity, culture and religion. Will your book be suitable for children from all backgrounds? Will there be any grounds for particular cultures or religions to take offence? If you are hoping that your book will be used in schools, remember that today’s schools are mixed with children from a variety of backgrounds, and therefore you need to consider how “all-encompassing” your book will be.
4. How Long Will The Book Be?
It is important you work to a word count when writing for children. For example 4-5 year olds will lose interest after a 1000 word storybook, and they will enjoy something they can be read by a teacher or parent in one 20 minute sitting. For very young children, picture books – generally 28 pages in a 32-page book with up to a few sentences on each page – are the norm. Think carefully about the attention and concentration abilities of the children you are writing for.
5. How Do You Want The Children To Feel?
If you are using monsters or dragons, for example, you need to pay particular attention to the way the beasts are portrayed. The last thing you want is for children to have nightmares or become scared of the book. Consider any psychological ramifications the book may have, or negative associations that may not be obvious to you, but may affect a child.