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Writing for Children:
 


Recommended Books on
WRITING, ILLUSTRATING, AND PUBLISHING BOOKS FOR CHILDREN

 

If you are interested in writing books for children, or if you are already writing for children but want to increase your writing skills, one of the best ways to learn is to listen to the experts-  experienced children's book writers or editors.  Here are some books that can help you do just that.  
 Come on in and browse...! 

Barnes&Noble.com
 

Alibris

WRITING FOR CHILDREN- Categories:

Writing Books for Children- general how-to books, covering many topics on writing for children
Writing & Illustrating Children's Picture Books- how-to books for children's writers, illustrators; books for art lovers
Writing for Children: Young Adultwriting books for young adults
Story Elements- how to create character 
Creativity-  getting story ideas and stimulating your muse
Publishing, Selling, & Promoting Your Children's Books- how to sell what you write
Children's Literature- textbooks and guides to children's literature
Writing for All Ages- reflections on the writing life
Reference Books for Children's Writers- valuable and essential writing tools for writers
Book Search- search any book by title, author, or keyword
Children's Books by Bethany Roberts- picture books and easy-readers
 

General How to Write for Children

The Giblin Guide to Writing Children's Books-

Origins of Story: On Writing for Children- insightful essays on writing by notable authors including Maurice Sendak, Susan Cooper, Ursula Le Guin, Madeleine L'Engle

THE ABCs OF WRITING FOR CHILDREN: 114 Children's Authors and Illustrators Talk About Their Art- compiled by Elizabeth Koehler-Pentacoff 
Includes Karen Cushman, Sid Fleischman, Richard Peck, Rosemary Wells, Jane Yolen, 
Chris Crutche, R.L.Stine.  Many views on writing for children. "A source of encouragement, insight, and inspiration"- Library Journal 


THE ART OF WRITING FOR CHILDREN- Connie Epstein
Good introductory book on writing for children by a children's book editor.  Includes chapters on the 5 senses, setting, dialogue, characters, and plot, as well as choosing the right genre, and finding and working with a publisher.


THE BUSINESS OF WRITING FOR CHILDREN:
An Award-Winning Author's Tips on How to Write, Sell, and Promote Your Children's Books- Aaron Shepard
Emphasis on the nuts and bolts of selling and promoting your book, with some writing tips on writing for children. 
the nuts and bolts from initial idea to sales, contracts, and career.  Especially helpful for folk tale writers and picture book writers.  


COMPLETE IDIOT'S GUIDE TO PUBLISHING CHILDREN'S BOOKS-
 
Harold D.
Underdown-
Excellent book (once you get past the title!)  Written by a children's book editor, it is chock full of basic information from how to get started writing for children to being published.  Answers many questions beginning writers have about the ins and outs of the publishing world.    Highly recommended.


DEAR GENIUS: THE LETTERS OF URSULA NORDSTROM
- edited by Leonard Marcus
Read letters written by the editor of such greats as Maurice Sendak, Crockett Johnson, 
and Margaret Wise Brown.  A fascinating peek!  "Lovers of children's books will treasure all the inside information." -Booklist Review  


EVERYTHING GUIDE TO WRITING CHILDREN'S BOOKS: From Cultivating an
Idea to Finding the Right Publisher- All You Need to Launch a Successful Career-  
Leslie Bolton
Covers the basics of writing for children and getting published.  For beginners.  
 

HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN'S BOOK AND GET IT PUBLISHED
-Barbara Seuling
Good, solid writing advise on writing for children for beginners, from an experienced author/ editor.  Developing ideas, learning your craft (with tips on different categories), and submitting to and working with editors.    
 

THE INVISIBLE CHILD: ON READING AND WRITING BOOKS FOR CHILDREN- Katherine Paterson
The Newbery Award winning author reflects on the importance of story in a collection of more than 20 speeches and essays.  "Inspiring" - Publishers Weekly Review  

IT'S A BUNNY EAT BUNNY WORLD: A Writer's Guide to Surviving and Thriving 
in Today's Competitive Children's Market-
Olga Litowinsky
This inside scoop from an editor, literary agent, and writer gives insight into today's changing marketplace, tips on what editors are looking for in a manuscript, and helpful writing, revising, submitting, agent, contract, and marketing advise.  Honest and optimistic view of the publishing industry.  "A useful and definitive guide." -School Library Journal. Highly recommended.


PICTURE WRITING: A New Approach to Writing for Kids and Teens-  

Anastasia Suen
How-to book on writing for children  that provides writing exercises.  Includes fiction, non-fiction, and poetry, with chapters on plot, character, and setting. 

TAKE JOY: A BOOK FOR WRITERS- Jane Yolen  
Essays on the craft of writing for children and on the writing life by a prolific, award-winning children's writer and master teacher. 

  
THE WAY TO WRITE FOR CHILDREN: An Introduction to the Craft of Writing Children's Literature by an Award-Winning Author- Joan Aiken
Offers excellent advise on writing for children on such topics as getting ideas, character,  plot,  genre, and writing for different age groups.   
Highly recommended.

WHAT'S YOUR STORY? A Young Person's Guide to Writing Fiction- Marion Dane Bauer
Although written for young people, there is much to be learned here about writing for children for writers of all ages by this award-winning novelist.  Step by step advise on  writing a short story: planning, choosing an idea, character, plot, point-of-view, beginnings, dialogue, story tension, endings, revising, and polishing. "many adults... will also find this sensible dissection of the storytelling process invaluable." -Kirkus Reviews   

WORLDS OF CHILDHOOD: The Art and Craft of Writing for Children-   
William Zinsser
Based on talks given by Maurice Sendak, Rosemary Wells, Jack Prelutsky,  Jean Fritz, Katherine Paterson, and Jill Krementz, this book offers fascinating personal  glimpses into the process of writing and illustrating for children.  Inspirational and richly varied.  Highly recommended.

THE WRITER'S GUIDE TO CRAFTING STORIES FOR CHILDREN- Nancy Lamb
Elements of story-telling by an experienced author and editor.  Covers everything from beginnings to endings and everything in between.  Excellent fiction how-to guide on writing for children.   Highly recommended.

WRITING AND PUBLISHING BOOKS FOR CHILDREN IN THE 1990s: 
THE INSIDE STORY FROM THE EDITOR'S DESK- Olga Litowinsky
Guide to writing and getting published from a long-time children's book editor.  Helpful inside information on writing for children, (despite the title most of it still current), from "Secrets of the Slush Pile," to "Your Career is Your Business."  "As good as a semester's tutorial with a wise, amusing, and experienced editor." - School Library Journal Review
   

WRITING FOR CHILDREN- Catherine Woolley (Jane Thayer)
Encouraging and helpful how-to guide.  Using specific examples, this book gives advice on character, conflict, setting, viewpoint, genre, and the business of writing and publishing.


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WRITING FOR CHILDREN AND TEENAGERS-
Lee Wyndham
Excellent advise on many topics concerning writing for children, including work habits, getting ideas, character, dialogue, mood, sensory details, plot, beginnings, middles, and endings, revising, manuscript submission, markets, research, and writing biographies, mysteries, and picture books. A classic!  Highly recommended.

WRITING HANNAH: ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN- Libby Gleeson
A how-to book on the process of writing for children in the form of a journal.  Get an inside peek as this Australian author shares the journey of writing a book.


YOU CAN WRITE CHILDREN'S BOOKS- Tracey Dils
Good how-to book on the nuts and bolts of writing for children  by a writer/editor, with helpful information on different categories from picture books to novels to nonfiction, writing like a pro, and manuscript submission. Includes inspirational exercises. 

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Writing for Young Adults

BLOOD ON THE FOREHEAD: What I Know About Writing- M. E. Kerr
Award-winning young adult author gives writing tips from her own experiences.  
Included are 5 of her short stories and excerpts of 5 novels, with the stories behind them.  "Chatty and practical, Kerr shows and tells where she gets her ideas for her short stories and novels." -Booklist Review

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Story Elements

CREATING CHARACTERS KIDS WILL LOVE- Elaine Marie Alphin
Helpful guide to crafting characters.  Tips cover creating believable, interesting characters, character growth, point-of view, heroes, villains, secondary characters, series characters, adult characters, and nonfiction characters.  Includes writing exercises and recommended books to study. 

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STORY SPARKERS: A Creativity Guide for Children's Writers-
Marcia Thornton Jones 
Need ideas?  This could help!  Includes many brainstorming ideas and creativity exercises to get started, and ways to keep the ideas going throughout the writing process, as well as the nuts and bolts of writing for children. 

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Publishing, Selling, Promoting Your Children's Books

CHILDREN'S WRITER'S AND ILLUSTRATOR'S MARKET
Where and How to Sell Your Children's Stories and Illustrations
Over 800 Listings
Comprehensive guide to children's publishers.  Included for each publisher: address, phone number, editor name, number of books published, type of books published, how to contact, terms, and tips.  Also includes articles, and agent and conference listings. "Excellent publishing resource." - Publishers Weekly Review. 
#1 Best Selling Guide Highly recommended!

AN AUTHOR'S GUIDE TO CHILDREN'S BOOK PROMOTION- Susan Salzman Raab
A small volume, packed with ideas to generate sales of your books

THE SELF-PUBLISHING MANUAL:  HOW TO WRITE, PRINT, AND SELL YOUR OWN BOOK- Dan Poynter
The Bible on self-publishing. 

TERRIFIC CONNECTIONS WITH AUTHORS, ILLUSTRATORS, AND STORYTELLERS: REAL SPACE AND VIRTUAL LINKS- Toni Buzzeo and Jane Kurtz
A guide to successful school and library visits.   Intended for teachers and librarians, but helpful to children's writers as well.  "A handy guide" -School Library Journal Review

WRITER'S AND ILLUSTRATOR'S GUIDE TO CHILDREN'S BOOK PUBLISHERS AND AGENTS- Ellen Shapiro
Contact information, what publishers and agents are looking for, and articles.  Literary agent information especially useful.


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       Writing and Illustrating Picture Books

A CALDECOTT CELEBRATION: Six Artists Share Their Paths to the Caldecott Medal- Leonard S. Marcus
Maurice Sendak, Robert McCloskey, Marcia Brown, William Steig, Chris Van Allsburg, and David Weisner share on the creation of their Caldecott award-winning art. "With Marcus's sure hand guiding this tour, readers will find cause for celebration. All ages." -Publishers Weekly Review 

HOW TO WRITE AND ILLUSTRATE CHILDREN'S BOOKS AND GET THEM PUBLISHED- Treld Pelkey Bicknell
Basic overview of the children's writing field, from constructing a story, to illustrating, to getting published.

WINGS OF AN ARTIST: CHILDREN'S BOOK ILLUSTRATORS TALK ABOUT THEIR ART- Julie Cummins
Twenty-three well-known illustrators contribute samples of their work and discuss how they become artists.  For art lovers of all ages.  "charming"- Library Journal 

WRITING AND ILLUSTRATING CHILDREN'S BOOKS FOR PUBLICATION: 
Two Perspectives
- Eric Suben and Berthe Amoss
How-to book on the basics of writing for children, with emphasis on picture books.

WRITING WITH PICTURES: HOW TO WRITE AND ILLUSTRATE CHILDREN'S PICTURE BOOKS - Uri Shulevitz
Introductory book on illustrating picture books by Caldecott Award winning artist. Excellent advise on telling the story, planning the book, creating the pictures, and approaching a publisher.  (Skip the chapter on color preseparation.)  "useful as a starting point"- Library Journal
Highly recommended.

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Children's Literature

CHILDREN AND BOOKS, 9TH EDITION- Zena Sutherland
Classic children's literature reference book and textbook. "recommended for its intelligent criticism as well as its accessibility"- Booklist

THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO CHILDREN'S BOOKS AND THEIR CREATORS
Anita
Silvey
Guide to contemporary children's literature.   "From Aesop to Zwerger, this title holds a wealth of information about children's literature"- School Library Journal 

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Writing for All Ages

 

BECOMING A WRITER- Dorothea Brande
A classic on writing and the creative process.   Highly recommended.

BIRD BY BIRD: Some Instructions on Writing and Life- Anne Lamotte
Reading this book is like sitting down with a close friend who knows exactly what you are going through, and can put it into words.  Therapeutic, funny,  and inspirational! 
"Superb writing advise...hilarious, helpful, and provocative."  New York Times Book Review. 

Highly recommended.

SNOOPY'S GUIDE TO THE WRITING LIFE- Barnaby Conrad, editor
A light-hearted lift for all Peanuts fans, featuring Snoopy at the typewriter and getting rejection slips.  For you, or a great gift for a writer you know.  "Witty and charming...highly recommended"- Library Journal 

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     Reference Books for Writers

BARTLETT'S FAMILIAR QUOTATIONS
Comprehensive quotation reference, with 20,000 quotes.  "One of the handful of reference staples"- Booklist

THE CHICAGO MANUAL OF STYLE: The Essential Guide for Writers, Editors, and Publishers- John Grossman- 
the standard publishing style reference guide.  "The most important guide for preparing and editing book manuscripts for publication"- Library Journal 

CHILDREN'S WRITER'S WORD BOOK- Alijandra Mogilner
Thesaurus indicating reading levels and graded word lists, K-6 

THE CHILDREN'S WRITER'S REFERENCE- Eric Suben and Berthe Amoss
Useful book of lists, along with writing tips, and examples of books to study.  By an editor and author/illustrator team.  Word list categories include: topics by age group, characters, settings, plots. 

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE-  Strunk and White
A timeless classic on the craft of writing.  Includes rules of usage, principles of composition and form, words and phrases commonly misused, and matters of style for clear, concise writing.  "Buy it, study it, enjoy it. It's as timeless as a book can be in our age of volubility" The New York Times 

ROGET'S INTERNATIONAL THESAURUS
Find the exact word you want to use in this comprehensive classic.  Indispensable writing tool!  Highly recommended.


WEBSTER'S THIRD INTERNATIONAL DICTIONARY, UNABRIDGED
The dictionary used in the publishing world.   


 

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Happy children's writing!  ~Bethany

tip: different keywords or phrases get different results.  Here are some key phrases to try: 
writing for children * childrens writing * how to write for children * writing childrens books * childrens book writing * writing and publishing books for children * writing books for children * children's writing  * writing for kids * writing childrens fiction * illustrating childrens books * publishing children's books 
 

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