|When you hear “children’s book” what do you think of?|
Maybe you think of Robert Munsch's "The Paper Bag Princess", Eric Carle’s “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”, or Maurice Sendak’s “Where the Wild Things Are.”
All these names are iconic, but, there’s one category we tend to forget when it comes to writing for children: Middle Grade Fiction.
By middle grade fiction, I’m referring to books that are targeted towards children aged 8-12 years old.
In some ways, writing Middle Grade Fiction is very similar to writing a picture book.
It has characters, plot, setting, a problem, a solution, etc. In other words, Middle Grade Fiction has all the same ingredients as a picture book.
The difference is the quantity of these ingredients.
While picture books only need a couple of characters, one plot, one problem, and one solution, Middle Grade Fiction needs a whole cast of characters, multiple plots, multiple problems, and multiple solutions.
Here are my best tips for anyone writing for the middle grade fiction audience:
1. Write from a child’s point-of-view (POV)
When writing for children, it’s important to remember that young readers want to identify with one main character. Try to avoid writing complex stories that involve multiple narrators.
2. The main character should be the reader’s age (or just a few years older)
It’s easiest for a middle grade reader to connect with an individual who is around the same age as them. They’ll relate best to someone who thinks like they think and reacts like they would react.
3. Omit adult intervention in your story
Children will enjoy a story much more if the young main character solves their own problems without relying on an adult to do it for them. The more independent your main character is, the better.
There you have it! If you’ve been wanting to write a novel (but for children) it could be that your book would fit into the middle grade age range. I’d love to hear your thoughts, as always, my door is open. You can always shoot me an email HERE.