I recently had a client who was confused about the different children’s book formats. I remember when I first started out to learn about children’s publishing, I was confused by all the jargon myself. Isn’t a children’instruction of children in 3 types book just a children’s book? Well, hopefully this post will clear up all the confusion.
If you want to succeed in this field, it’s important to know the standard genres and formats associated with books for children and young people. This is crucial information both for the purposes of writing your story, and for submitting your manuscript to agents and publishers. When you query a literary agent for example, you need to include the book genre and format in your query letter. The last thing you want to do is come across as an amateur who doesn’t know their stuff.
Board books are the “baby” of the children’s book family. Board books are often marketed as infant, toddler, or baby books. 0 to 3 and are designed as such. Infants tend to chew, dribble on, and throw down objects, so the pages of board books are made of thick paperboard with a glossy finish to withstand the wear and tear.
Many of them teach early learning concepts, like the alphabet, numbers, or colors. Lullabies, nursery rhymes, fingerplays, or wordless books are typical for this format. The illustrations in board books emphasize bright, colorful imagery to engage tots. The pages of board books often have die-cut rounded corners, or may be shape trimmed with a special die cut. The vast majority of board books are printed and produced in China and Mexico.
At this time, children typically enter the emergent reader and early reader stages. Also, their attention spans are longer and they can sit still for more time. They are now ready to leave board books behind and read longer books, i. Recommended word lengths vary slightly from publisher to publisher, but fall into the 400 to 900 word range.
In terms of your manuscript, that means 2 to 3 pages. The number of pages in a picturebook is always a multiple of 8. Picturebooks are so called because the illustrations dominate the text or are as important. In fact, the hallmark of a good picturebook is that the illustrations and the text accompany and complement each other to the extent that the text would be incomplete without the illustrations, i.
It is not uncommon for every single page of a pictureook to be illustrated. Picturebooks cover an almost endless array of topics and are written in different styles. They require simple, linear plots, i. Picture storybooks have more plot development and higher vocabulary level compared to picturebooks. Another main difference between picturebooks and picture storybooks is the way they are illustrated. Above I explained that picturebooks rely heavily on the illustrations to tell the story.
With picture storybooks, the illustrations aren’t really integral to the story, but rather, serve the purpose of holding the child’s attention. Often, with picture storybooks, the illustrations appear on every other page. Some publishers use the term “picturebook” to refer to both picturebooks and picture storybooks. This is where people can get confused because they may have read on one publisher’s website that picturebooks should be no more than 500, 600 or 900 words, while other publishers state that they accept picturebooks up to 1,000, 1,500 or even 2,000 words. Rebus books aren’t usually included in the round-ups of children’s book formats I’ve seen online which is why I’m including them here. These word substitution books are great for getting children engaged in reading.
Rebus books also allow children to “read” and understand a story that might have been beyond their reading level if text alone was used. If you are submitting a rebus story manuscript to a publisher, you can underline or highlight the words you think would make good pictures. Or you can simply send the full text of the story and the editor will pick which words to illustrate. Check to see what the publisher requires. Easy readers, also called “beginning reader” and “easy-to-read” books, are books for children aged 6 to 8 who are just beginning to read on their own. Easy readers have very simple and somewhat predictable storylines, controlled vocabulary, and are grammatically simple. Easy readers have different lengths depending on the publisher.
That means anywhere from 32 to 64 book pages. Easy readers are commonly used in Kindergarten through 3rd grade classrooms for reading instruction. Many publishing houses have their own brand of easy readers with numbers or letters to indicate different reading levels. Chapter books are for children aged 7 to 10 who are reading independently.
Children can feel a great sense of pride when they begin reading chapter books because they see it as entering the privileged realm of “grown up” books. You’ll often find that children who reach this stage start referring to the books they used to read before as “baby books” or “little kid books”. Chapter books are sometimes written as a series, in fact, some of the most popular and commercially successful chapter books are series. These books are also sometimes marketed as “tween” or “pre-teen” books. The fiction ones can be anywhere from 25,000 to 45,000 words long. Young adult novels are books for teens ages 12 and up. These novels can be anywhere from 40,000 to 70,000 words long, although YA novels in the paranormal, fantasy, sci-fi or historical genres can be longer, sometimes as long as 120,000 words.