Not all children are created equally. As an author targeting your writing to kids doesn’t automatically mean that your book should be 100 pages or less. In fact, children will develop incrementally by age group. Therefore, your writing has to mimic their attention span. It’s important to bear in mind that a three-year-old will need more pictures and visual aids than a 14-year old child.
So, what’s the appropriate length and topic to choose when writing a children’s book? Consider this as a short guide for the best children’s book-length by age.
Babies, Toddlers, And Preschoolers (aged 0-5)
Books for Babies, Toddlers And preschool children, ages 0-5, in most cases, these ages will be guided reads focusing on associating the concept of words to objects through pictures and will be comprised of more pictures and visual aids than they will words and pages.
Books For Babies
For babies, books should be 0-300 words is a guideline. In this age group will be entirely a guided experience and almost entirely visual and auditory.
Books For Toddlers
For toddlers, 1-500 words is a guideline. In this age group will still be mostly a guided experience and still be largely visual and auditory, although these readers
Books For Preschool Children
For preschooler children, a book of up to 1,000 words is appropriate in some cases. These readers will be steadily becoming come more independent, but may still need or want a guided experience and enjoy pictures which have a meaningful context to the words.
Young Readers (children ages 5 to 7)
The young, or early reader category, will encompass children ages 5 to 7. These books are a notch above the picture book category. Think of this category as a group of children who are just starting to read when creating content to publish.
Short books will contain illustrations. However, authors can delve into the content a little more with word count, as opposed to strictly focusing on the visual aspect. For most books in this category, a range of 3,000 to 5,000 words is appropriate. Sticking closer to the 3,000 to 4,000 range is a good point of reference for writers to focus on. This ensures it won’t exhaust the readers but will still provide sufficient detail in the content to pique their interest and read on.
Book by Chapter ages of 6 to 10
In this category, you’re writing books that are written with multiple chapters. Children who are reading these books typically fall between the ages of 6 to 10. When creating these books, a good word count range is anything below 10,000 words. Most chapter books will fall between 7,000 to 10,000 words.
Tweens and Young Teens Readers
When children reach middle school, they’re more focused and more interested in reading content than simply looking at images. Therefore, writers can focus on creating more in-depth books and a more creative writing style.
For tween readers who fall between the ages of 9 to 12, books can reach a word count of up to 60,000 with some publishers. It’s best to avoid hitting the pinnacle in word count, and instead, focus on the quality of the content being published. A good range for these books is 35,000 to 50,000 for most books.
For the young teen, books can hit a word count of close to 100,000 words. The readers in this age bracket are between 12 to 15 years of age and have a greater attention span and can comprehend more words/ideas they couldn’t at a younger age. Books for young teens will typically fall between 60,000 to 100,000 words on the higher end.
The Young Adult Readers
Sci-fi, supernatural, non-fiction, and other topics might reach a word count of 90,000 to 100,000 words. Readers in this category are aged 15 and up to adults. Depending on the genre of books in this category, the word count can fluctuate greatly, so authors must consider their reader, and the reader’s attention span, in creating books for the young adult reader.
In some cases, publishers may have their rules in place as to the best children’s book-length by age, and this will also dictate the length and material density of a book. If you are working with a publisher. It’s best to check before starting to determine the right length for desire age group before starting the writing process.
The best children’s book-length by page will vary for each author. Furthermore, the genre, the direction the book is taking (educational vs. informational vs. non-fiction, etc.) can also impact the word length for a children’s book. So, before you start writing, make sure you have an idea in place as to who your audience is, what their attention span is, and what will pique their interest for the duration of the book, to ensure they’ll get through it.
There’s no clear-cut guide which dictates just how many words to include when writing a book for children. When in doubt, authors should speak to a publisher to see if there are minimum/maximum counts in place. Better to be cautious and work towards the lower to mid-range, rather than overdo it and fluctuate, word count, which can result in losing the reader’s attention.