Conversations: 5/19/2017


Teaching is IN my DNA. I also believe it is in the DNA of every author. Last week I wrote about developing messages of encouragement in our Children’s books utilizing themes that, while reinforcing good qualities, also teach our young readers “how-to” cultivate habits that will benefit them throughout their whole lives. It is my premise today that Teaching and Encouraging need to be synonymous purposes at the core of our children’s books. The inquiring minds of our children need to be exposed to only the best of content and quality writing techniques.

So it is that first, I’ll offer a couple of websites to writers who will take their writing gift seriously enough and go the extra mile to research what is currently perceived as the best quality of Children’s, Juvenile and Young Adult books on the market. The following Parent’s websites, are created to “clue us in” to what our children find on bookshelves and online bookstores today. Here I found an excellent combination of classic and current book titles as well an several well-thought-out discussion points that will help me discuss stories with my grandchildren. It also leads to other parts of the Scholastic site for further research. This site offers “practical tips for parents of exceptional readers” to help parents (and teachers—and writers) find age-appropriate books to challenge and engage the “thinking” reader.

THEN we have the book: The New York Times Parent’s Guide to the Best Books for Children. The 3rd revised edition was released in 2000, and the 4th should be coming out any time now. However, the information available in this one is well worth having at your fingertips because it is organized in six sections according to reading level: Wordless, Picture, Story, Early Reading, Middle Reading, and Young Adult.

IF you’re writing in the Juvenile/Young Adult genres, you already know that the task of creating a quality story—that sells—is a challenge. Today’s youth appreciate very different worlds from the adventures of western lawmen or the deep jungle exploits of Tarzan or the daring explorations of sci-fi heroes like John Carter. Here are a few threads that connect past writing successes with current Reader-expectations:

  • Hidden Treasure: The intrigue of unknown wealth continue to draw the attention of Readers.
  • Surprise Discoveries: Whether the surprise comes in the form of dragons, or elves or giants, young readers will come back for more.
  • Family and Friends: Juvenile and young adult readers are trying to figure out how these relationships work. Give them excellent examples.
  • Develop REAL characters in REAL situations—even if the world they’re living in is a fantasy planet. This will give your Readers the opportunity to “step into the pages” of the story and (again) figure things out (maybe in their real lives) for themselves.

RESEARCH AND REMEMBER WHO ARE READERS ARE. We’re writing for our neighbor’s grandchildren who spend a lot of time in virtual words (online or purchased video games) where the “action” is extremely fast-paced and almost anything can (does) happen. However, these same children are also going to school and studying fractions. The stories we write for them can (should) help them balance their lives and prepare them for adulthood⚓︎

children's picture books
Children reading a book sitting on the roof of the house. Boy and girl reading by the light of a flashlight at night.


ABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene has been writing something since before kindergarten days and continues to love the process. Through her small business—DOYLE WRITING SERVICES—she brings more than 40 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their projects. This is a nice fit as she develops these blogs for Outskirts Press (OP) a leading self-publisher, and occasionally accepts a ghostwriting project from one of their clients. Her recent book release (with OP) titled FIREPROOF PROVERBS, A Writer’s Study of Words, is already receiving excellent reviews including several professional writer’s endorsements given on the book’s back cover.  

Royalene’s writing experience grew through a wide variety of positions from Office Manager and Administrative Assistant to Teacher of Literature and Advanced Writing courses and editor/writer for an International Christian ministry. Her willingness to listen to struggling authors, learn their goals and expectations and discern their writing voice has brought many manuscripts into the published books arena.

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