successful children's books

Successful Children’s Books: 12 Essential Parts

Salmaan Ahmad

Salmaan Ahmad

April 24, 2024

What makes successful children’s books? Readers of all ages are drawn to picture books, and most adults may even have a few favorites that they remember reading from their childhood. The littlest readers often pull out their most prized books repeatedly, excitedly following the well-known storylines, engaging with characters and mimicking memorable lines from the book over and over.

But successful children’s books are made up of more than a fun story or fanciful characters. We’ve put together a list of the 12 most important children’s book parts to remember during the planning and writing process of your successful children’s books.

1. Market Awareness for Successful Children’s Books

Before a self-published author even begins the writing process, the first step in creating successful children’s books is to learn about the other books on the market and what readers are choosing as well as discover what types of books are missing from the current offerings. Market research can reveal the trendy themes and topics that authors will want to consider when penning their own successful children’s books.

The easiest way to research the market is to visit bookstores, online book retailers, and websites dedicated to books like Goodreads to scope out current successful children’s books. By looking at the top 10-20 books in each location, self-publishing authors can track recurring themes, story elements, and storytelling techniques, artwork style, and overall design of the most popular books.

Book reviews can also provide authors with insight into the appeal of successful children’s books through the eyes of the parents or caregivers who read the books with children. As a result of thorough research, authors can use that information to create a unique book that fills a niche or gap in the current marketplace, increasing the odds that the book will gain traction with readers.

2. A Meaningful Story for Successful Children’s Books

Crafting a story that is simple enough for a young child to follow yet full of meaningful content will ensure that your book will appeal to little ones. One of the children’s book parts that is critical to success is a meaningful story that will speak to a child in a way that they can understand. Stories that resonate with young readers often include a moral or a lesson, adding depth to the book that stays with the reader long after the last word has been read.

And when children recognize some aspect of the story, like a family bond or a friendship, the book becomes more memorable. In addition to a simple yet authentic story, successful children’s books should include a clear beginning, middle, and end. This straightforward organization helps young readers follow along with the characters and the unfolding story.

3. Unforgettable Characters in Successful Children’s Books

The main characters in successful children’s books are key to capturing a child’s attention and imagination. The characters in successful children’s books can be just about anything, from loveable animals to fantastic creatures in addition to regular people. But one of the children’s book parts that authors must focus on is creating characters that young readers can connect with, empathize with, and understand at their level.

Developing relatable characters starts with understanding the target audience for a book, so authors must recognize the mindset of the age of their intended audience. Children’s book characters that align with a kid’s vocabulary, thinking, and emotions help young readers to relate to the book’s characters, resulting in a story that kids will be thinking and talking about long after the last page is read.

4. Appealing Art for Successful Children’s Books

The illustrations in a children’s book bring a story come to life, so making sure that the artwork reflects the author’s vision while engaging young readers is a key element of creating successful children’s books.

Self-published authors may not be talented artists, so working with a professional illustrator or graphic artist to capture their story’s concept is a great way to add this visual component to a book. The artwork should enhance the story and engage young readers’ attention through detail and color, using a style that complements the characters and storyline.

5. Age-Appropriate Humor

While some children’s books admittedly include jokes intended for the adult book reader, the best way for an author to connect with young readers is through using age-appropriate humor. Young readers love to laugh and discover surprises when they flip through the pages of a book, so including jokes, simple irony, or obvious humor on a child’s level will ensure that the reader is laughing and smiling along with the characters.

6. Suitable Language

Writing a book intended for children requires authors to focus on vocabulary, expressions, and phrasing that young readers will comprehend. Using appropriate language for the age and maturity of your target reader will ensure that your book is comfortable and accessible. Sentence structure complexity should match your reader’s abilities and literary devices like rhyming can help young readers engage with the story as well. Kids love to reread books, so memorable word choices and high readability both help them get excited about a story and want to return to them again and again.

7. Reader Involvement

Some of the most successful children’s books enhance the reader’s experience by engaging them in some way. Children’s books offer a wide variety of ways to involve the reader, from opening and closing flaps to asking the reader questions. Tactile elements are an excellent way to capture the attention of the youngest readers while thinking prompts appeal to the older child who can interact with the story by answering or providing their input.

The best part about including some element that involves the reader is that it encourages ownership in the story and connection with the book. This kind of reader interaction fosters the reader’s creativity and helps to build their imagination at the same time.

8. Emotional Depth in Successful Children’s Books

Children’s books need to walk the line between providing a safe, uplifting story and giving readers a story that includes authentic emotions they can handle. Storybooks are a place for kids to read about the familiar and the new, the fanciful and the everyday and even challenging or comfortable emotions.

Since young readers are still learning to regulate their emotions, reading stories about characters with strong emotions can be highly relatable. But one word of caution when writing a story for the littlest readers: always include a positive ending. The picture book audience will always anticipate a book ending with solving a problem or a happy resolution for the characters, so make sure that the emotional depth in your book matches the age expectations of your target reader.

9. Inclusivity

While you may have a target reader in mind, anyone who runs across your book is a potential reader. And children from every culture and community love to see themselves represented on the pages of a book. Authors can write inclusive stories by including diverse characters or giving character traits that show how society is made up of a fabric of beautifully different people around the world.

Some children’s authors write characters with different personalities, shapes, or clothing styles to demonstrate diversity or include characters who are differently abled so children who can relate will see themselves on a book’s page. Even fanciful characters with an obvious but fabricated difference can be part of a story to provide a subtle message that we are all uniquely different, and that’s ok.

Since children’s books are typically filled with quirky characters, speaking animals, or imaginative heroes, providing a diverse lineup of characters is sure to entertain young readers while also giving them characters they can relate to or learn from.

10. High Readability

Keeping the reader in mind while constructing the text of a children’s book can ensure that your story is highly readable. Repetitive sentence structure, simple sentence formatting, and phrases that flow well all contribute to a book that is easy to read and pleasurable to read aloud.

Reading your book out loud during the writing process can help you write a book that kids will love to hear since you can adjust your word choices and phrasing along the way. Listen for natural pauses and where a reader will add meaningful inflection. Encourage these emotive areas in the book by choosing the right punctuation, word repetition, and sentence formation.

11. Appealing Layout

To assist with the readability of your book, creating an appealing layout can help young readers follow the words more easily while increasing anticipation in the story along the way. Balancing artwork and text layout on each page will allow you to control the story flow and provide locations for readers to think about the story, answer a question, or guess what is going to happen next when they turn the page.

Using too much text on one page can slow the reading flow and frustrate young readers while not enough text may encourage readers to skip over key story elements.

12. Professional Editing and Artwork

One of the most important children’s book parts that self-published authors may overlook is using a professional editor and expert-produced artwork. Engaging experts to assist in creating beautiful illustrations and working with an experienced editor will ensure that each page of your book looks fantastic.

The final step in creating your children’s book is working with a trusted printer like Publishing Xpress who will help you turn your hard work into a beautiful book, ready to put into the hands of your readers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

© 2024 Publishing Xpress. All Rights Reserved.

Email Quote