Writing For Children

I have been granted some extra writing time lately, and I’ve been trying to use it wisely. Having just got back from a family vacation, I started yesterday to really put my nose to the grind stone and get some progress made.

Work on the epic fantasy is still going strong. I have a cover artist beginning work on my full cover, both paperback and digital, and I’m excited for that. My first draft is chugging along to the finale, and I hope to type a few thousand words in the coming days.

But, I thought I’d write a little bit about a personal challenge I started that has proved to be quite rewarding artistically.

With an afternoon to myself, I went through our family library. It has been neglected for a while, and I thought the shelves could use some organizing. To my surprise, I found myself making stacks of old series of children’s books I read when I was very young. I didn’t even know we still had them. The Bailey School Kids was one such series, and The Magic Tree House was another. I already had all of my Goosebumps books stashed safely on a top shelf in my personal library to keep them away from the toddlers.

These books all had a great impact on my love of reading. The prose itself was simple, but the stories sparked my imagination. Could my camp counselor really be a werewolf in disguise? What about that mysterious M written on the floor of the tree house? And what if I stumbled across the evil dummy Slappy at a yard sale?

Needless to say, I went back and re-read a few of these books and the spell was cast again. I was thankful to these authors for giving me their stories at such a young age.

Then I got to thinking, and more importantly, brainstorming. I wondered how difficult it would be to write my own young reader chapter book. I tallied up the average words for most of the books on the shelf, and they were roughly 5,000 per book. That didn’t seem so bad. The plot construction was no different than the short animations I wrote back in college.

So, I set about writing. I was quickly greeted by two siblings who, upon moving to a new town, head to their local library to entertain themselves on a hot, dusty summer afternoon. (That part of the story is partially taken from my actual childhood.) Once there, they are disappointed that the library is so small, but a mysterious librarian invites them to check out the E-Book Room and be the first testers of the E-Book Explorers Club.

Of course, the kids jump at the chance, and soon they are whisked away through time and end up on the deck of a pirate ship. How do they get home? I won’t spoil anything here, but it was a lot of fun to write!

Then there was the question of illustrations and cover design. I have an art background, so I did all the art myself. The cover was the most fun to do. It’s designed to be part of a series in case I do more books, and I like how it came out. Check it out below!

Pass With A Pirate WEBSITE v1

So, that has been my tiny side project the past two weeks. It was a nice break from the struggles of elves and orcs, but it’s time to get back to Garrett and his friends. They’re currently in the middle of a great struggle, so I can’t leave them hanging for long!

I nervously hit “publish” on Playing Pass With A Pirate, so we’ll see what comes from it. Hopefully it’s up and running by tomorrow.

What about you? Any favorite book series from when you were a child? Have you tried to write your own chapter book? What was your experience?


2 thoughts on “Writing For Children

  1. Someone in my writing group wrote a chapter book and is making it a series. It’s about curious boy who travels from city to city with his mom because of her new job. In each place, he gets himself into all kinds of trouble when his mother leaves him alone in the hotel.
    Perhaps not model parenting, but it works well in a chapter book.

    I’m not exactly sure which books I read as a kid qualify as chapter books, but I definitely enjoyed superfudge and read it several times. I also read the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books. Encyclopedia Brown was also a go-to series for me. Those are the only ones I think are in the chapter book age group. I’m not sure if middle grade is lumped into this style.

    If so:
    The Chronicles of Narnia
    The Giver (I think this is technically middle-grade)
    Harry Potter series
    The Witches
    How to Ear Fried Worms
    The Boxcar Children

    A ton I’m forgetting, but I’m not near my childhood book collection.


    1. I read so many of these books as a kid! I loved Mrs. Piggle Wiggle. I actually still use her as a reference whenever my youngest siblings don’t do something quickly and say that I’ll have to call her over. Definitely read Chronicles of Narnia in third grade as an assignment, and had to find them all. They were wonderful.

      The hotel stories sound really funny! I love the stories that leave the kids on their own to get into trouble and then somehow get them out of it. The ideas and solutions are a lot trickier than I originally thought! (“It’s only 80 pages or so…no big deal…” 😉 )


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