“For the Kids” vs. “To the Kids”: How to Write Your Children’s Book

Filed in Writing Tips by on June 12, 2015 4 Comments


Writing a children's book, self-publishing a children's book

Are you writing and self-publishing a children’s book? It’s vital to consider a few critical questions, which will ultimately determine your word choices and content within your book. Aside from deciding the basics, such as fiction or non-fiction and the theme or overall topic, the next most important thing to determine is your target audience.

Start by answering these basic questions:

  • Who would you like to read this book?
  • Who are you, as the author, speaking to exactly?
  • Are you writing to Christians or non-Christians?
  • Is it a book kids can read themselves?
  • Is this a book meant for adults to read to children?

If you’re self-publishing for children to read to themselves, from there you have to decide on the reading level. Is this a book for someone who has just started reading? If so, it needs to stay in the “See Spot run” category—words kids can pronounce and easily understand. Keep in mind a kid’s vocabulary at that age. What kinds of words are they using on a regular basis? What words can they recognize and read out loud in their own book?

If this is a book for kids to read that’s a chapter book, for instance, then we’re most likely dealing with an “older” child who has a more seasoned vocabulary than a six-year-old, for example. Remember also, these are kids, so keep the content innocent and clean as they are highly impressionable at this age.

Lastly, if you wish for your self-published book to be an illustrated children’s book, but meant for adults to read to children, you can go a little further in your word choices, but also remember to keep the content easy to understand and light-hearted. This type of book is meant to entertain a child, so put yourself in their shoes and start writing!

Stumped on your target audience? Questions? Leave me a comment below and I’ll gladly help you out.


About the Author ()

Taylor Graham comes to Xulon’s editorial team with over five years of experience writing, editing, and proofreading. Prior to joining Xulon, she worked as a freelance writer and editor, a copywriter for NBC Universal, and an advertising rater for Google. She is most passionate about the written word, the great state of California, and the Be the Match National Marrow Donor Program.

Comments (4)

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  1. avatar Kari Lee says:

    I have 3 kids short stories manuscripts, but I haven’t done pictures yet, wondering how to get them published. thank you

  2. avatar Mary Repko says:

    Dear Ms. Taylor Graham,

    I read your bio above and had to contact you. Not only do I have an idea for a children’s book, but I’m a proud mom of 2 Jack Russells. My book idea is based on the learning experiences of my little female JRT, Daisy Mae, in the world of agility. I look forward to hearing from you.


    Mary Repko
    Naugatuck, CT.

    • Hi Mary!

      I love this idea! Do you take Daisy to an agility course? If only we could get mine to an agility course–he’s too fat to fit through most of the obstacles though! 🙂 Thanks for the comment and I look forward to reading your book! 🙂


  3. I thank god for the fathers day .let all children love. Their parents. And parents love children.
    my country is Africa telephone 254720470113.god bless you all. Yours Pastor bernerd mati Kigaru kenya.

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