Posted by Kristen Hamilton on April 23, 2019 at 12:00 PM
Although I generally edit fiction books for adults, I'll take on the occasional YA (young adult) and children's book, ranging from picture books (like Jenny Hoskins' Brave Enough to Fly) to middle grade (Adventures in Fairy Meadow by Kelly McIntire) and all the way up to young adult (The Power Within by Jackie Nelson).
While YA books can be arguably similar to books for adults, children's books are typically a whole different ballgame. Let's talk about the different types of children's books, and what each should include.
Picture Books (ages 0-5)
A picture book—one that incorporates illustrations to tell a story—are designed for early readers, and typically have around 500 words. When all is said and done, these books generally have around 30 pages filled with beautiful illustrations. Check out Dr. Seuss books like The Cat in the Hat or the popular Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. For something I've edited, check out Here Comes the Tool Man! by Lauren Olsen, or With My Hands by Ranine Brown.
Early Readers (ages 6-10)
After they move on from picture books and before they get into middle-grade chapter books, kids in this age group are generally reading early readers books. While these books have more words (2,000 to 5,000 words, generally), they still rely on illustrations to supplement the story—although not to the level of picture books.
Middle Grade (ages 8-12)
Now we're going places! Middle grade books (about 30,000 to 50,000 words) are almost entirely comprised of words on the page, and illustrations rarely make their way into these books. Here, books are broken into chapters—although it's wise to keep them short so young readers don't get overwhelmed. At this stage, middle grade fiction has more nuanced themes dealing with family, rebellion and typically portrays adults as the role of a villain. Check out Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan or Diary of A Wimpy Kid, or for something with the Kristen Corrects touch, Justin Kirkland's JB Pumpernikel and the Not-so-Fun Funhouse.
Young Adult (ages 12+)
This last group is catered to the oldest children—preteens and teenagers—and is the last group of books before kids dive into adult fiction. (Personally, this is my favorite sub-group to edit within children's books.) Generally, YA books range between 50,000 and 100,000 words, and deal with topics pertinent to today's teenagers: angst, teen love (check out the wildly popular The Fault in Our Stars by John Green) or even heavier topics such as social issues (although these are typically portrayed in a fantastical setting, such as in Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games). For some Kristen Corrects-edited gems, check out The Hope Grid by Susan B. Roara or Butterfly Red Sky by Aubrey Moore.
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Book editor Kristen Hamilton is the owner and sole employee of
Kristen Corrects, Inc., where she provides manuscript editing
services for traditionally and self-publishing authors. Several
authors whose books she has edited have won awards and have
topped Amazon's best sellers lists.
Reading is Kristen's passion, so when the workday is over, she
can usually be found curled up with a good book alongside her
four cats. She loves watching cat videos and scary movies,
eating pizza, teaching herself French, and traveling, and she is
likely planning her next vacation. She lives outside of Boise, ID.