What Makes a Children's Book Good?

Penlighten Staff Sep 29, 2018
Children need to relate to the characters in a story, in a positive way, identifying themselves with the good personage, choosing good over bad. Hence a good book, that combines the moral and plot in an interesting, inciting, and easy-to-read manner, is essential.
What makes a children's book good? The answer to this question is directly dependable on the kids' age. For instance, books for very small children must have pictures with bright colors, and very less text.
On the other hand, a book meant for an older, 10-year-old kid would require quite a lot of words, and not necessarily include any pictures. Yet, a picture here and there is enjoyable at any age. As is said, "A picture is more than a thousand words."

Things to Consider

There are two types of children: those who love to read, and those who hate reading, and would rather play computer games, or watch TV. Before choosing a book, or even writing one for little ones, there are a few things to consider.

Plot

First of all, it should have an intriguing plot, making it interesting for young readers. A rather rapid sequence of events is preferable. Also, the ending is extremely important; the plot should be entirely solved, without any open endings. It is very desirable for the book to end on a happy note, especially if the book is meant for rather young readers.

Characters

The characters in the book should also be very well-defined, and credible for kids. Their problems ought to be similar to those that children of their age may encounter.

Theme

This ought to be well-chosen. It should focus on people, not on social issues and problems, to have a positive impact, and to be of good quality.

Flow

It is advisable to start with just a little information, just the essential elements, and something about the main characters: their names, their setting, etc. Avoid too many details that may discourage kids to go on reading, as they get frustrated, not understanding the whole point of the writing.

Humor

This is essential for arousing the kids' interest, be it from the dialogs, humorous situations, puns, and so on.

Chapters

These should be organized in a way that makes it easy to read. Moreover, if they have interesting titles, the kids' curiosity is aroused.

Number of Pages

Books with pictures in them should be about 25-34 pages long, while baby board books for younger children should be around 16 pages long.

Letters

The letters should have the form that kids are familiar with, at the age of the target readers. It helps them better understand the words.

Pages

Thick-paged books are likely to enjoy a longer life in the hands of restless little creatures, and round corners will prevent them from breaking up, and also prevent kids from hurting themselves.

The Psychological Aspect

A psychological truth about children is that they seem to belong to two different universes. One is the outside world, that is, the real world. The other world belongs to their inner, emotional life, together with their thoughts and perceptions. Books with pictures in them may refer to both these parallel universes.
As kids' inner dimensions are hard to reach, depicting or employing elements of their daily life can help get into their inner, hidden universe.
Children may prefer fiction to nonfiction, as they are crazy about story-telling and its charming flavor. They love fictional characters and events that make them fully enjoy their imagination, curiosity, and taste for the mysteries of this world.
Children's books should have characters which overcome hardships, and have the courage to live and act according to healthy principles.
Kids like to read stories for laughter, fun, and to learn about heroes and role models. These stories should be imaginative, and need not make much sense, if they are to entertain kids.
In order to possess quality, literature should have a strong teaching element. Good children's books should teach moral issues, ethics, and cultural and religious values. It has become a cliché, that the future of our cultures highly depends on the next generations.
To make a bright, happy future, kids should learn about the power of love, honesty, courage, justice, sympathy towards the others, and choosing good over evil.