I’m sure we’ve all read a children’s book to our own children, nieces and nephews, or even kids we’re babysitting, and thought “Wow. Writing a children’s book must be so easy. I could probably do it in my sleep!” I used to be as guilty as the next person, until I learned how complicated and intricate children’s books really are. So, if you have decided to write your own children’s book, make sure to avoid a couple common mistakes. It’s very easy to tell the difference between an experienced author and a rookie from just these mistakes that they tend to make, so set yourself apart by avoiding them altogether!
One of the most common mistakes made by first-time children’s book authors is making the book too dumb. Yes, it is necessary that children are able to understand it, but don’t write a book intended for second graders at a preschool reading level. Kids love feeling smart and acting like adults, so write the story in such a way that they feel grown up reading it. Don’t talk down to the children either, even if you feel you need to to get the lesson across. A good children’s book shows the child the lesson and lets them partake in learning it; it’s not forced or demanding.
Another easy-to-make mistake is not creating any actual conflict. Sometimes we, as adults, are scared to show children real world conflicts and problems because we are scared it might somehow damage them. Because of this, we go along acting like we live in a world of actual unicorns and rainbows. To be honest, that’s just not interesting, especially in a book. A lot of children have trouble getting into reading because they find it boring, so a book with no real conflict, plot, or climax will just bore them even more. It’s important for children to see real problems being fixed by the characters in the book, that way they stay interested and learn how to handle those problems when they arise in real life.
So next time you’re caught reading a children’s book, pay attention to these two things. Is the book written in a demeaning and “preaching” style? Are there actual conflicts the characters must solve? Chances are you’ll be more appreciative of the work that went into the book, and you’ll learn to enjoy it almost as much as the children you’re reading it to.