How To Think Like A Kid When Writing Children’s Books


How To Think Like A Kid When You Write

One of the toughest things a writer faces is learning how to think like a kid when they write.  Getting inside the head of a child to understand what makes that child tick is key to writing children’s books kids will ultimately love to read.  We can’t rely on pour own childhood as times have changed since then as have children.  They are much more sophisticated than we are and technology has made it even tougher to concoct stories that thrill the imagination of a child.  Our own memories reflect a different time and a different way of life.

The standard advice is to watch and interact with children in a way that allows you to see firsthand how their world operates and is a window into their interpersonal relationships.  When you are around children, it opens up a whole new way of thinking and can lead to story ideas you never even thought about.  But remember, they are aware of you when you are around and they will act differently because of it.  To get around that, you must observe them from a distance without them knowing but even this is far from foolproof.

Of all the ways to think like a child that can help you the most to perfect your writing is reading magazines geared for the age group you are writing for.  This is a much more accurate way to get a better picture of who children really are such as their likes and dislikes, their passions, types of activities they are involved in and how they interact with other children.

The periodic market has become much more niche oriented and editors have, by necessity, become geniuses at knowing their audiences.  Magazines such as Boys Life tailor their articles with certain vocabulary, subject matter, pacing, article length and the overall design of the magazine to suit their audience’s tastes.

If you want to write for this market you have to do your research to stay abreast of what is going on in the minds of children.  This means find a magazine that caters to the age, gender or special interest group you are writing for and study them.  Use this to write children’s books that children will love to read.

Look For These Points

  • Notice how the magazine targets a narrow age group or gender.  Compare the magazines from different age groups and see how the tone, humor and attitude changes.  You must incorporate this type of research into your writing to make your stories seem more real.
  • How do these magazines capture their reader’s interests?  Do they use jokes or relevancy to hook their readers?
  • Notice the differences of the content that is written for girls as opposed to boys.  Read how they target each gender and how you can use this information to write better characterizations for your stories.
  • To get a sense of what kids are reading, you have to read the same books they are reading.  This means reading a wide selection of children’s magazines on a wide variety of topics for both girls and boys.  This way you will know what they are learning in school, what they care about and what they are into.

Reading children’s magazines can help you zero in on what children care about, what’s going on in their world and even what they find funny.  Go ahead, start reading and start learning about kids.



A. J. Westin is a children's adventure book author who specializes in writing stories kids really want to read. He has written over two dozen books and has dedicated his life to helping kids become better readers through his inspirational stories.
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