Now that we’ve covered the basics of each age group, let’s ton into more detail about style. Age-appropriateness is extremely important when writing for kids, and now, you know a little about each group and what they like.
So, how do you write for them? Let’s start with babies again.
I remember reading the very first book I ever bought for my daughter. “Tick Tock!” says the clock,” was one line I remember. It’s all about teaching them the simple things about language. They’re learning to speak, and it takes a couple of years for most kids to come up with,” Da-da.” They say that first because it’s easier than “Ma-Ma,” but some do start with Mom. Most don’t, but it’s amazing when you hear that first word — whatever it may be.
And, the cool thing is that if you read to babies, they learn a lot faster.
And they love sounds, especially funny ones. They remember them, but they also remember things.
When you’re writing for babies, it can be one word on a page. My big sister taught me to read that way. She made me my very own book with pictures, and the words under them. Just really simple things, like, “ball,” for example. But those simple words taught me sounds I already knew and allowed me to matched them with letters.
So, when my daughter was learning to talk, I thought that would be a cool way to help her — by building her own book. It had pictures only, no words. She wasn’t ready to read yet, so I didn’t write anything at all. Of course, it was totally unpublishable. It only contained familiar pictures specific to Shannon, like Mommy, Daddy, Nonno, Nanna (Italian for grandpa and grandma), Grandma (she had two at the time), Zuzi (one of our cats), Big Bird, Sun, Laughing, etc. Just people, things, and emotions that she saw all the time.
She was “reading to me” when she was about 20 months old. She’d point to the pictures and say the words. It was great. We’d turn the game around, too. I’d ask her to find the picture and she would look for it. I guess she was a little older then, maybe two.
But that’s how you write for babies. Keep it simple. The words are really for the people reading to the kids. So, some books have only one word and a picture or no word at all. But there are more complicated books for babies, too. Let’s talk about them tomorrow.