Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Children's Nonfiction--Lucrative and Fun Writing

Jennifer Rova

Wouldn’t it be fun to be responsible for the smile on this boy's face? Editors are clamoring for authors who can write nonfiction books and magazines articles for children of all ages.  Fifty percent of elementary and seventy percent of high school reading will be nonfiction according to Common Core State Standards.* School and public libraries shelves are sparsely furnished with up-to-date nonfiction books. You can help fill the gap.

There are numerous reasons to write children's NF:
---topic choices are unlimited with biographies a constant need. What are you interested in? Probably some children are interested in that same subject and would benefit from reading your book on the topic.
---the field is not crowded thus your chances of being paid are higher.
---teachers are looking for good NF books to use in the classroom.
---you can research and write on one topic but gear and market it differently for different age groups.
---you have a hand in interpreting the world for young readers and sparking ideas for further interests    and jobs through your books.
---you are helping to raise a smarter generation.
---it is fun to share you knowledge or for you to learn something new, share it and get paid.
---parents are looking for books and magazines to teach their children.
---you are fostering life-long literacy skills.
---early readers and emerging readers need to read NF as well as fiction.

Numerous sources are available to scout out what is current and what subjects needs expanding.
1. Visit school and public libraries and book stores. Read NF books. Doing so gives you invaluable information on how to write for different ages, the vocabulary used and what topics are absent.

2. Ask your children, grandchildren or neighbors' kids what they would like to learn.

3. Go to, click on books, advanced search, specify readers' age and specify publication dates, e.g., 2008-2012 to see what has been written and look for missing topics.

4. Query librarians on what topics are most often asked for and for which there are no books.

5. Read children’s magazines to see what hot topics have articles. Are there any books to match these topics? (See list of children's magazines below.)

6. Buy A to Zoo a reference book that lists picture books by subject title and author and Children’s Writer's and Illustrator's Market book by Writer's Digest. The latter lists most of the publishing houses that produce children's books and magazines.

7. Attend one of these conference
*** Second Annual 21st Century Children's Nonfiction Conference, June 20-22, 2014 in New Platz, NY on SUNY campus.
 ***Broward, Florida 27th annual Conference on Children's Literature in April  2014
***22nd Annual Hubbs Children's Literature Conference, Feb. 22, 2014 at the Keffer Library on the Minneapolis, MN campus of University of St. Thomas. http// 2014

7. Look for and attend a state library association's annual convention to smooze with librarians and book publishers. Companies often have lots of free, helpful information.

Go here for an annotated list of children's magazines.

*Mission state for Common Core Standards organization
"The Common Core State Standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. With American students fully prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy."

Look for Friday's post, October 11, 2013 for some pointers on writing children's 
nonfiction literature and how to query editors who publish nonfiction
 children’s literature.


Ana said...

Terrific information Jennifer. Thanks. NF children's books written in a really interesting way could really change education.

Jennifer Lamont Leo said...

I'd never considered writing for children, but now maybe I will. Books were my best friends when I was a child.