Children’s Authors Writing Gibberish

Meghan Cox Gurdon, Children’s Book Reviewer, The Wall Street Journal, says in The Case for Good Taste in Children’s Books, “The body of children’s literature is … shelf after shelf of books, many almost gibberish, but a rare few filled with wisdom and beauty and answers to important questions. These are the books that have lasted because generation after generation has seen in them something transcendent, and has passed them on. Maria Tatar, who teaches children’s literature at Harvard, describes books like The Chronicles of Narnia, The Wind in the Willows, The Jungle Books, and Pinocchio as ‘setting minds into motion, renewing senses, and almost rewiring brains.’ ”

Before you weigh in on her opinion, skim the rest of Meghan’s transcript.

Really. Look at the article. You’re in for a shock if you haven’t read kid lit lately. . . and I don’t just mean Harry Potter books.

Gibberish!  What’s your opinion on Meghan’s stance that children’s lit is becoming too grim, gruesome, dark and pushes the limits of taste and normalcy? Do you think it’s possible that topics covered in children’s lit could be contributing to kids’ problems?

If this blog made you think, then “like” and share with other writers who want to get published.

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Ken’s War, a YA novel by B.K. Fowler, is slated for publication in 2014 by Melange Books LLC

Books and other articles by Beth Fowler are available at


Goldmine for Children’s Writers

Do you want to write for children and get paid for it? Then dig into this goldmine of resources. It includes markets for your manuscripts, information to understanding business aspects of writing, trends, what to avoid and much more.

If this resource list was helpful, then “like” and share this article with other writers who want to get published.

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Checklist for Children’s Story Writers

You’re eager to send  your manuscript to agents and publishers, or perhaps you’re ready to self-publish.

But wait!

_ Is the title snappy and indicative of what’s inside?

_ Does the first paragraph grab young readers?

_ Is the conflict important to kids?

_ Will readers (and listeners who can’t read yet) identify with characters’ desires? 

_ Do characters enter with a bang?

_ Do kids really talk like that?

_ Does every scene advance plot?

­_ Do chapters begin and end with hooks?

_ Have you given “power to the kid”?

_ Are events believable, no strokes of luck?

_ Did you “show not tell”?

_ Is vocabulary accessible to targeted age group?

_ Are implied messages congruent with your intended message?

_ Are lessons or messages subtle?

_ Are loose ends tied up?

_  Is the end satisfying, but not predictable?

_ Can parents, librarians, teachers and others in the adult vanguard stomach this?

_ Have you solicited critiques from kids, a librarian and others children’s authors?

If this checklist was helpful, “like” and share this article with other writers who like getting published. 

If you’d like to add your experience or ideas to this list of tips, then please comment.

Books and articles by this author are available at