Introducing Children’s Books

Goodnight Moon! Oh the Places You’ll Go! Good Night Gorilla! Moo, Baa, La La La! Where the Wild things Are!

All of these books played a very important part in my childhood, entertaining me, teaching me, and helping me dream of a big future. Children’s books really are the foundation for my love of reading and writing, but how does one go about making an impactful and entertaining children’s book?! Let’s see!

From Moo, Baa, La La La!… I most definitely screamed moooooo every time I read this as a kid.

The two most important aspect of any children’s book is to include lots of imagination and to have a specific message or theme. The goal of the story should be to create wild and fantastic worlds that expand kid’s minds, but also to make sure that aspects of children’s natural environments are included. With more imaginative stories (like people who can fly, fairies, monsters, talking animals, etc), kids are encouraged to dream big and create their own stories. That being said, children’s books almost always center the protagonist around a kid character so that the kids reading the books are more likely to see themselves in their shoes.

Once they are able to relate to the character or find them entertaining in some way, they also are more likely to learn from the message of the book. Since kids are learning lots of new things every day, books are a great way to teach them morals like ‘good guy’ vs ‘bad guy’ so that they can (hopefully) emulate the good behaviors. Similarly, children’s books purposely almost always end the story with a positive ending. The idea is that if all their stories end with a “happily ever after,” they will be excited about their future. After all, we don’t want little kids to realize that the prince won’t always carry you off into the sunset and that you probably won’t end up surrounded by a pile of gold. Sorry, but that’s life. But kids don’t have to know that, at least not in these kinds of books.

Children’s books also have LOTS of illustrations! Kids love lots of pictures, bright colors, they catch their attention, and it makes it easier for them to understand. Typically, the illustrations take up most of the page because the importance is on the images, and the words are smaller. That being said, it’s a good idea not to include lots of contemplation and abstract ideas since kids have a harder time understanding those kinds of topics- so one has to try to keep it as simple as possible.

I am excited to try and take a new spin on my topic of plastics for this experiment by trying to reach the people who need to know about it the most: kids. From the books that kids read growing up, they learn what different noises animals make, are transported to the new worlds of Dr. Seuss, and reminds us to say goodnight and be grateful for everything they have. So, why shouldn’t kids learn about how plastics are bad through a fun story in an imaginary world?!

3 thoughts to “Introducing Children’s Books”

  1. I think this genre is a really different approach than your past one, and will allow you to feel out the tone and purpose you want your work to carry. While a satire or more informative piece could stress the pressing issue of plastics in an alarming way to an older audience, the children’s book will be a light-hearted sort of warning/moral issue you can instill in children at a young point. I guess it depends on the force and impact you want your message to come across as! But I can imagine this children’s book being very sweet and moral-focused as well and can get at the core reason of why plastics matter (we love our Earth!) a lot more.

  2. Lauren, this seems like a really creative way to make a point about plastics! I’m interested to see how you break down the topic to make it digestible for kids. I’m curious what the premise of your story would be and how much factual information you’re planning to include.

  3. Lauren, I think this is such a fun way to approach your topic! I feel like children books that tackle social issues are a newer concept, but they can be such a cool way to make some of these larger world issues much more approachable. I also think your art background will lend itself to this perfectly. I am very interested to see the way that you adapt this idea for kids, while still making the importance of it apparent. Do you know what age range you want your book to be for? While children’s books in general have some specific conventions to follow, I think that having a more specific audience in mind might help you in the planning process because it will give you a little more of a foundation to start from. I can’t wait to see how this turns out!

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