Monday, August 16, 2010

Children's Book Week

(News: This is post 90, which means I'll soon have 100 posts on this blog. I have 122 followers, and might do a special prize giveaway for 150.)

Welcome to the very first Theme Week!

Yay, books! lol.

Okay, I'll admit it. I haven't read many children's books myself lately. The only times I read children's books are when my little cousins want me to read to them. That, and I used to be a reading tutor for an elementary school. I worked with kids from 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade. I would help them pick out books that would be close enough to their current reading level but also help them develop the reading skills to one day be at their grade desired reading level. They would read to me. It was the best job ever, I have to say. My first grader boy who was shy at first not only opened up but after Christmas break he tested into the desired grade reading level. I was happy for him. Now I'm an intern with a small publishing company that publishes children books.

Let's look at the different types and levels of books for this weeks topic. It's good to have this information to begin with when considering writing for children. The information comes from Lesley Bolton's book, The Everything Guide to Writing Children's Books.

There are standard categories: Fiction and Nonfiction. (Here we'll talk about fiction but the following groups can be found in non-fiction too.)

Picture Books: Probably one of the most known types of children's books, this is where the books have a combination of text and pictures. There is some variance in age groups, though the younger groups often are limited to picture books while some of the older ones can have a different number of pictures per book.  Picture books have a limited number of pages preferred with a structured design that not many books stray from.  Word count range is from 200-1500 with exceptions.
        Types (include): Baby or Board, Wordless, Novelty, and Concept.
        Examples: Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown, The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter, and The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats.

Early Readers: Early readers help bridge from the picture books to the chapter books. Designed to help children with the skill of reading, these books are important to include in the topic. These books have some similarities to picture books in that they are often illustrated and have similar word count ranges, though they often shoot for the larger end. Another difference is that picture books are often read to kids by adults, whereas Early Readers are meant to be read by the children, which affects how the wording is done in order to provide easiness mixed with the right amount of challenges to aid in developing the readers abilities.
      Examples: The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss, Frog and Toad series by Arnold Lobel and Little Bear by Else Holmelund Minarik

Chapter Books: Next stage in the development of reading skills. The big differences are there tend to be less pictures and there are chapter breaks in the longer story. Sometimes the chapters are individual stories while other times they are one story broken up in sections. Words used here also provide some simplicity while giving challenges too. Closer to the older book range, the different chapters and less white space gives it a "grown up" feel.
     Examples: Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren, Goosebumps series by R.L. Stein, and Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan.

Middle Grade: The big step here, is these books are also known as independent readers. At this stage, though some are picked out by teachers and other adults, the readers often pick their own books when in the store. Preferences develop here, friends influence and series become popular. The word counts vary with a possible range of 12,000-30,000 and also is usually separated into chapters. Less illustrations found here.
     Examples: Black Beauty by Anna Sewell, A wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle, The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau.

The book also counts Young Adult, but I'm going to separate them here and leave YA in a different week.

What are(were) your favorite Children's Books?


Anonymous said...

My favourite books were the Enid Blyton fairy stories. Not so much Noddy or Mallory Towers or even the Famous Five, but the short stories about fairies and elves and magic.

I also started reading R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike from the age of ten. My favourites were the Fear Street and Last Vampire series, though I'm not sure if they're considered YA?

Dawn Embers said...

Yay, a comment!

I only remember a couple children's books. The Giving Tree is one I remember because my Grandma still has the book and I've read it to my cousins. I also remember The Hungry Hungry Catepillar.

I remember Fear Street too. Probably the closest thing to "horror" that I've ever really read. I didn't read too many Stein books but I liked those.