Learn More About Writing Books for Children and Young Adults

Posted on November 6, 2018

by April S

Librarians are asked about books and writing — a lot!

No, we are not expert writers. And most of us do not have an inside track in the publishing world (but I cannot speak for all librarians).

So, what do librarians do?

What do they know?

And how can they help aspiring writers?

Librarians are experts at finding information on just about anything. They can assist customers by finding resources using the library catalog and online. Let’s say you want to know what the current bestsellers are for the month of October – we can find that information online (we may even print a list for you). We can also help you find a ton of great books on writing and publishing. And if you’re looking for up-to-date information on publishers that specialize in children’s or young adult books – we can help with that too!

Below, you’ll find a small list of books and articles designed to help aspiring writers get started. These resources are hand-picked for individuals interested in focusing on stories for children and young adults.

Learn How to Write Books for Children and Young Adults

Writing Irresistible Kidlit - The Ultimate Guide to Crafting Fiction for Young Adult and Middle Grade Readers by Mary Kole (eBook - hoopla)
Magic words : writing great books for children and young adults / Cheryl B. Klein
Wild ink : success secrets to writing and publishing in the young adult market / Victoria Hanley
Writing For Children & Young Adults by Marion Crook
Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market 2018

Writing Irresistible Kidlit : The Ultimate Guide to Crafting Fiction for Young Adult and Middle Grade Readers by Mary Kole

Captivate the hearts and minds of young adult readers! Writing for young adult (YA) and middle grade (MG) audiences isn’t just “kid’s stuff” anymore–it’s kidlit! The YA and MG book markets are healthier and more robust than ever, and that means the competition is fiercer, too.

In “Writing Irresistible Kidlit,” literary agent Mary Kole shares her expertise on writing novels for young adult and middle grade readers. Mary Kole’s candid commentary and insightful observations, as well as a collection of book excerpts and personal insights from bestselling authors and editors who specialize in the children’s book market, are invaluable tools for your kidlit career. If you want the skills, techniques, and know-how you need to craft memorable stories for teens and tweens, “Writing Irresistible Kidlit” can give them to you.

Magic Words : Writing Great Books for Children and Young Adults by Cheryl B. Klein

The best children’s and young adult novels take readers on wonderful outward adventures and stirring inward journeys. In The Magic Words, editor Cheryl B. Klein guides writers on an enjoyable and practical-minded voyage of their own, from developing a saleable premise for a novel to finding a dream agent. She delves deep into the major elements of fiction like intention, character, plot, and vice – while addressing important topics like diversity, world-building, and the differences between middle-grade and YA novels.

Wild Ink : Success Secrets to Writing and Publishing in the Young Adult Market by Victoria Hanley

Offers advice to aspiring writers of young adult fiction and nonfiction including how and where to submit your manuscript, how working with a traditional publisher differs from self-publishing, and how best to market your book.

Writing For Children & Young Adults by Marion Crook

Whether picture book or novel, fiction or nonfiction, writing for a young audience is about establishing a connection with the young people who read your work. To create that connection with your young readers, you need an understanding of the fundamental elements of a children’s story and the craft of writing.

This book will show you how to create stories that will inspire and educate young readers, and meet the needs of your publishers. From learning to find their own voice to finding markets within the many genres of youth writing, this book is invaluable.

Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market 2018

The Most Trusted Guide to the World of Children’s Publishing!

If you’re a writer or an illustrator for young readers and your goal is to get published, “Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market 2018” is just the resource you need. Now in its 30th edition, CWIM contains more than 500 listings for children’s book markets, including publishers, literary agents, magazines, contests, and more, making it the definitive guide for anyone seeking to write or illustrate for kids and young adults. These listings also include helpful information about who to contact, how to properly submit your work, and what categories each market accepts.

Learn More About Notable Authors of Children’s Literature

Great Authors of Children's Books edited by Jeanne Nagle
Roald Dahl : A Biography by Jeremy Treglown
Girl Sleuth : Nancy Drew and the Women who Created Her by Melanie Rehak
Kid authors : true tales of childhood from famous writers / stories by David Stabler ; illustrations by Doogie Horner
Little author in the big woods : a biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder / Yona Zeldis McDonough ; illustrations by Jennifer Thermes

Great Authors of Children’s Books edited by Jeanne Nagle

Few stories have the power to stay with us the way the tales we hear in childhood do. Great children’s book authors have at their disposal countless techniques to channel young imaginations and appeal directly to their audience’s tender sensibilities. They craft colorful characters whose circumstances and actions resonate with readers in a way that carries through well into adulthood. The creators of some of the most whimsical, witty, thought-provoking, and powerful children’s books of all time-including Lewis Carroll, Dr. Seuss, Beatrix Potter, Maurice Sendak, and Laura Ingalls Wilder, among many others-are presented in this exciting volume.

Roald Dahl: A Biography by Jeremy Treglown

A revealing look at the famous twentieth-century children’s author who brought us “The BFG” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” Few writers have had the enduring cultural influence of Roald Dahl, who inspired generations of loyal readers.

Acclaimed biographer Jeremy Treglown cuts no corners in humanizing this longstanding immortal of juvenile fiction. This book explores this master of children’s literature from childhood – focusing a tight lens on the relationship between Dahl and his mother, who lovingly referred to him as “Apple”- through to his death.

Treglown highlights many of Dahl’s literary achievements as well as his breakdowns and shortcomings, presenting a very personal and telling picture of the author and the inner turmoil that crippled him. Separating the man from the myth, Treglown’s frank, intimate portrait of Dahl illuminates the contradictions within the mind of this beloved author, a man who could be both a monster and a hero. It is required reading for book lovers and film buffs alike.

Girl Sleuth : Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her by Melanie Rehak

The plucky “titian-haired” sleuth solved her first mystery in 1930-and eighty million books later, Nancy Drew has survived the Depression, World War II, and the sixties (when she was taken up with a vengeance by women’s libbers) to enter the pantheon of American culture. As beloved by girls today as she was by their grandmothers, Nancy Drew has both inspired and reflected the changes in her readers’ lives. Here, in a narrative with all the page-turning pace of Nancy’s adventures, Melanie Rehak solves an enduring literary mystery: Who created Nancy Drew? And how did she go from pulp heroine to icon?

Kid Authors : True Tales of Childhood from Famous Writers stories by David Stabler ; illustrations by Doogie Horner

Funny and totally true childhood biographies and full-color illustrations tell the tales from the challenging yet defining growing-up years of J. K. Rowling, Beverly Cleary, J. R. R. Tolkien, and 12 other great writers.

Little Author in the Big Woods : a Biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Yona Zeldis McDonough ; illustrations by Jennifer Thermes

A narrative portrait of the author of the beloved Little House series details her real life as a young pioneer traveling west with her family and homesteading on new territories, revealing how her actual life differed from the adventures in her books.

Articles for Writers

7 Tips on How to Write a Good Children’s Book

4 Tips on Creating Pitch Perfect YA Characters

‘Sunny’ Author Jason Reynolds on Writing, Publishing and Advice for New Writers

Spotlight on Middle Grade and Young Adult Fiction: Agents Answer Burning Questions About Today’s Industry Trends

The 3 Biggest Trends In Publishing Right Now

Toledo Library Blog Posts on Writing and Publishing

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