A to Z: Research as a children’s writer

Throughout April, I’m tackling 26 A to Z topics related to children’s literature. Technically Thursday was R day, and it’s after midnight on Friday as I write this. But it’s still Thursday to me since I haven’t gone to bed yet ā€” so here’s a short and sweet R post about my favorite way to research children’s literature.

As I work on my upcoming middle grade novel, “The Mountain of Dempsey Molehill,” and outline a few other kid lit projects, I’ve found the need to conduct a lot of research.

But it’s not research for plots or characters. Instead, it’s research on writing styles, age-level vocabulary, page and/or word counts for different reading levels, and even layout issues such as how many illustrations and where they fall, font size for different reading levels, cover designs, and more.

As I dabble in writing for different age levels, ranging from early readers’ chapter books to junior high middle grade, I want to be sure my books are tailored to readers’ needs. To do that, I need to research industry standards.

And the way to conduct that research is pretty great. I do it by reading loads of kid lit.

I recently finished reading “Tripping Over the Lunch Lady and Other School Stories,” and during today’s library visit I picked up “The One and Only Ivan” and “The Graveyard Book.”

Even though it’s a shame to cut this blog post short, it’s been a long day and it’s late … and I’ve got some research to do.

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1 Response to A to Z: Research as a children’s writer

  1. Carrie-Anne says:

    I love research! As a historical writer, I’m always researching, even about topics I’m deeply knowledgeable about. We can always learn new things even about our areas of expertise, including learning updated or improved information about things we were unknowingly misinformed about.


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