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What Not To Do When Writing Children’s Books


Just as writing children’s books has a unique set of rules to follow (you know that the good guy or gal always wins), there are some things you should never do — never! Don’t even consider doing any of the following in a book for children:

  • Write books that preach or lecture.
  • Talk down to children as if they’re small, idiotic adults.
  • Write books that have no real story (nor a plot with beginning, middle, end).
  • Use art that is totally inappropriate for the story or vice versa.
  • Pack picture books with lots of text.
  • Pack nonfiction books with too much text and too few visuals.
  • Create characters who are boring or unnecessary to the development of the story.
  • Create main characters who have a problem they don’t solve themselves or who don’t change throughout the course of the story.
  • Tell instead of showing by using narrative as a soapbox.
  • Anthropomorphize animals or use alliterative names (Squishy Squirrel, Morty Mole — Wretched Writer)



About the Author

Lisa Balthazar has published over 100 books, including several award-winning and bestselling titles. She is also a publishing executive and editor with over 20 years of professional experience in the industry. She has been Editorial/Publishing Director for Golden Books, Price Stern Sloan-Penguin Random House, Intervisual Books, Gateway Learning Corp (Hooked on Phonics), and other established publishing houses.

Lisa is the lead writer for Writing Children’s Books for Dummies Second Edition (2013). Her latest YA, Surviving the Angel of Death: The True Story of a Mengele Twin in Auschwitz, with Eva Kor, got a stellar review by Archbishop Desmond Tutu; it was released in paperback in 2012 and has been published in numerous languages.

Lisa has edited dozens of novels for publishers such as Tanglewood Books, Simon & Schuster, Merrylane Press, and others.

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