Children's Writing is a diverse -- and rapidly growing -- industry. Its market includes picture books, novels and textbooks, comics and graphic novels, plays and other performance texts, and more. 


In this course, you'll work through different types of children's texts, learning about the basis of a good story, how to write for different age groups and interests, and the keys to creating a page turner.


A Course for Children's Authors

  • Learn how you may become a writer for children
  • Children's writing is huge (a large % of all that is published)
  • Learn how to write for children of different ages
  • Discover the scope and nature of children's writing and opportunities to work in this field
  • Improve your writing skill and technique

Some writers may not fully recognise the extent of the Children's writing industry; but on reflection, you may be amazed at the scope of this industry.


  • books which parents buy for their children
  • text books that are bought by students each year of their schooling
  • library books stocked by both public and school libraries.

Good children's writing does require a unique understanding of your audience. 

A child's capacity to read and understand is continually changing; and a children's writer does need to understand the different stages of child development, in order to pitch the complexity of language used to the intended audience.



There are ten lessons in this unit, as follows:

1.       Introduction: Understanding Children, their thoughts, needs, development.

2.       Overview of Children’s Writing: Categories (fiction & non fiction), understanding the market place; analyse & understand what is needed for the different categories, etc.

3.       Conceptualisation: Conceiving a concept…where & how to find inspiration/influence.  Developing a concept … how to plan.

4.       Children’s Writing for Periodicals: Children’s pages in magazines, newspapers, etc.

5.       Short Stories

6.       Non-Fiction: Texts (writing to satisfy curriculum. Other (eg. nature, history, biography, hobbies).

7.       Fiction:   settings, characterisation, fantasy, science fiction, adventure.

8.       Picture Books and Story Books

9.       Editing your work: Grammar, spelling & punctuation. Improving clarity. Cleaning out clutter; expansions.

10.   Project - write a short story, picture book or kids page for a (hypothetical) periodical.


Duration:  100 hours

Describe children’s cognitive development and target writing to be appropriate to various developmental stages.
Explain the nature and scope of writing for children.
Describe the process of planning a written manuscript  of children’s writing.
Describe the planning and processes involved in writing articles for children’s magazines.
Develop a short story for children to read.
Discuss the specific requirements associated with writing children’s non-fiction
Describe the various categories of children’s fiction and the writing processes involved.
Explain the scope and nature of literature aimed at young children. 



Here are just some of the things you will do:


  • Determine concepts for children’s writing.
  • Analyse the page(s) in a text aimed at children in terms of language complexity and style, conciseness of the writing, content, graphic layout, etc
  • Develop outlines that would help you to write about each concept.
  • Develop a set of guidelines (or a plan), that a writer should follow in regular  preparation of a children’s page in a newspaper, and consider what, in your opinion, is the purpose of a children’s page in a daily newspaper.
  • Discuss how you would approach writing a comic, and why you think this would be the best approach for you?
  • Write short articles or stories, suitable for situations such as: An educational magazine, A preschooler or infant school age magazine or a teenage boy or girl magazine
  • Write a short story.
  • Identify a non-fiction book for children which you would be suited to write.
  • Write an outline for a proposed non-fiction book. In your outline, you would include a list of major subject areas (or chapters) that the book would cover and a brief description of the content of each chapter. Include a brief description of how the book would be illustrated (ie. are photos appropriate, or line drawings, paintings, etc?). You would then write one or two pages for your non-fiction book.
  • Write a fantasy, adventure or science fiction short story for a 7-8 year old, which fits specified criteria.
  • Write a story for a 5-6 year old child.
  • Edit some sample short articles.
  • Plan, then write, a children’s short story, a picture book or children’s pages for a newspaper



    At the end of each lesson, you will have an assignment to complete and submit. These assignments are an integral part of the learning experience; and having your work assessed, then reading the comments of a professional writer is the way you will develop and grow your capacity to write better and more appropriately for children.

    In our courses the course is all about "learning" rather than being "assessed" (which is not the case in all schools); and the assignment is seen by your tutor as part of that "learning process".


    There is no rule regarding what will sell and what publishers will publish, and things may change rapidly as readers’ interests change in response to many other factors. Some writers express complete disinterest in what publishers want, and consider the business aspect of writing rather undignified or contemptible. Fortunately, most successful writers are more realistic, and realise that they, like the great artists Michelangelo, Matisse and Dali, are also in the business of making a living. Therefore, a writer is well-advised to put aside ideas of the sanctity of art and to consider what it will take to make a living. To do that, the writer must be aware of the marketplace, of who might want, buy and read what he or she produces. Some ways of gaining this information are outlined below.

    Frequent Bookshops
    Even if you have a very clear idea of what you want to write, it’s a good idea to do some market research before you start writing. The easiest way to do this is to visit your local bookshop to see what successful children’s authors are doing. Have a look at a range of books in different categories to get an idea of the level the authors have pitched their writing. Also look at the books’ publishers, so that you get an idea of where to send your final manuscript: some publishers specialise in fiction, others non-fiction. 

    When you look at the books, look beyond the gloss and the colourful pictures to note the subject matter, language used, and layout. Notice the different categories of children’s books available, and writing styles and formatting used for different age groups. If a salesperson isn’t too busy, he or she might be willing to chat to you about their books; if so, ask what’s selling, what’s fashionable, and find out which books which have remained popular over the years.

    If you plan to illustrate as well as write, take note of the kinds of illustrations publishers are using. Keep in mind, though, that many publishers only use preferred illustrators, so even if you do submit illustrations, they may not be used. Otherwise, the publisher organises the artwork after a manuscript has been accepted.

    Frequent Web Sites that Write for Children
    See what other people are writing for children.

    Keep Track of Children’s Book Awards
    Keep abreast with what books are wiling prizes and awards, and which have made it to the finalist list in the Children’s Book Awards in recent years – the lists are published in major newspapers each year.

    Read Reviews
    Book reviews are an excellent way of finding out what the critics think of the current releases. Major newspapers, parenting magazines and children’s magazines regularly publish children’s book reviews. Have a look at reviews in specialist literary and educational magazines/newsletters – available by subscription, or possibly your local library 

    Join a book or reader’s club
    Another way to see what others are reading and what they think of them is to become part of a reader’s club, a book club, some of which are conducted online.

    Attend Writers’ Festivals/Book Signings/Visiting Writers
    Other opportunities for researching the marketplace are writers’ festivals, and book signings and writers’ talks at bookshops. Writers’ festivals are held annually in some of the major cities. The public are welcome to attend, and while it’s unlikely that you would be able to speak personally to the more successful writers, you can listen to their talks, which may give you an insight into their writing and their success.

    On a local scale, authors often attend book signings at bookshops to promote their latest publications. Some bookshops also host talks by visiting authors. Again, depending on the writer’s popularity, you may be able to talk to them or perhaps just listen to their talk.

    Network though Social Media
    Connect with other writers and publishers. Communicate frequently. Take notice of what they write; and communicate back with them to build their awareness of you


    As a children's writer, you could benefit greatly in developing a sound understanding of Child Development. Consider the following courses as a supplement to this one:

    Developmental Psychology  

    Educational Psychology