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You Can Write Children's Books

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  172 ratings  ·  31 reviews
If you've always enjoyed telling children stories, this book will guide you through the first steps - from writing them down to submitting them with confidence. From inspiration to publication, Tracey Dils shows you how to write the very best children's books and offers important tips for getting published.
Paperback, 120 pages
Published February 15th 1998 by Writer's Digest Books
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3.82  · 
Rating details
 ·  172 ratings  ·  31 reviews

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Mar 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I bought this book for a Picture Book writing class I was taking and I've got to say that this is the BEST book on the topic that I've seen yet. It not only breaks the topic down into manageable chunks, but it provides step by step directions for every aspect of the business. And if those directions aren't clear, the author also provides visual examples of query letters, proposals, and manuscript formatting, etc.

As I was reading this with an interest in writing and marketing Picture books, I on
Jun 25, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing
It's a good resource that covers all ages of children's books, including nonfiction, chapter books, and picture books. It also has some resources for finding a publisher with some sample query letters. Nancy Lamb recommended it in her book, The Writer's Guide to Crafting Stories.... I'm glad I read it, although I enjoyed the focus on story structure in Lamb's book.
Aug 06, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: how-to
Good book for what it covers. The author is obviously both experienced and knowledgible on the subject. I was hoping for a bit more coverage on picture books and the illustration side of the process.
Amina Al motery
very useful and light book, like a quick guide for beginners, i loves it's simplicity and shortness and the query and manuscript examples, also the tips and exercises
Knatia Parson
May 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Referred a lot to other books, and repeatedly advised the reader to keep up with trends.
Fredrick Danysh
An interesting little fact filled guide for those who wish to write and get published children's books. I liked the section on publishers. There are even small exercises scattered throughout.
Faith Rivens
Sep 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-of-2018
A really insightful look into the different audiences that children's books encompasses. Definitely recommend it to everyone considering writing for children whether it be Picture Books or Young Adults.
Melanie Faith
Aug 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a longtime author and creative writing teacher, my shelves are filled with texts about crafting poetry, fiction, and nonfiction for adults. After writing a children's picture book manuscript recently, a new genre for my pen, I was searching for a text specifically geared for picture book authors and others who write for youth. Tracey E. Dils' book more than met my expectations. Her tone is straightforward and inviting, and the chapters are organized exceptionally well.

I found her chapters on
Blaise Morita
Nov 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Required reading for a Children's Book Writing class I attended at Art Center College of Design in 2003, this book stands the test of time. While some instructionals depend on numbers and passing trends to provide often out-dated instructions to a market that is notoriously hard to penetrate, Tracey Dils focuses on the unchanging basics. Grammar. Knowing your target audience. Paying attention to the process. Refine. The list goes on.

Though you can never go wrong absorbing any and all opinions on
James McCann
Feb 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is by far the most helpful book I have found for new writers wanting to break into the children's book market. In fact, even as a four-time published author myself, I still found much of what it had to say pertinent to my daily life.

From the "myths" of publishing (all those urban legends you hear about why your manuscript isn't getting published) to tweaking your manuscript to formatting your manuscript to send out, this book will be an invaluable reference for you.

If you're new to the indu
Catherine Oughtibridge
Sep 21, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: on-writing
My mum bought me this book before I’d even considered writing children’s books and so it sat for a while on the shelf occasionally getting glanced at. It wasn't until I actually sat down and tried writing a children's book that I realised how useful this book is. It's filled with information about all relevant age ranges.

My only criticism is that it could have gone into more depth in the sections devoted to middle grade and young adult fiction. Separate chapters for these separate age ranges mi
Nov 14, 2014 rated it liked it
I started reading this book because, since I also write children's books, I thought it would be informative and useful for me. It was a bit disappointing, since most of the information that this book delivers is the same information you can find anywhere else, even on blogs where you can read that for free. There were a couple of things that I found useful, but as for the rest, I already knew those things. I kept on skipping parts in order to find the parts that were important for me. Good book ...more
I really enjoyed what I read in this book. It had solid tips and advice for people seriously interested in pursing a career in writing children's books. I thought the chapters were easily understandable and they did a good job of breaking down the different genres and categories of writing. I used this book for my Writing for Children and Young Adult class, which I loved! I'd recommend this book.

*Taken from my book reviews blog:
Aug 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a very useful introductory over-view. I got some good ideas from it and it has a great list of resources in the back.

The only thing that bugged me personally, was it completely ignored authors who are also illustrators. I realize it is about WRITING children's books, but still... I think there are enough of us who are both writers AND artists that in 170 pages she could have spared a paragraph on the subject. The only time it was mentioned was when she warned the reader to never il
Alycia Morales
Mar 16, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: on-writing
There is practical advice and teaching in Tracey E. Dils' "You Can Write Children's Books." I wanted to learn about what it takes to write a children's book, particularly picture books. So I went to my local bookstore and chose from the books on the shelf.

What jumped out at me from Tracey's book were the Tips from the Top and Inspiration Exercises contained at the end of each chapter. Her chapters are written to the point and easy to read. She left me with very few questions due to her thoroughn
Jan 16, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The concept drew me in, but it wasn't as helpful as I thought it would be. it was the basics of the basics, but didn't delve deeper into HOW to write a children's book (but I guess that was the point considering it wasn't meant to teach but to encourage?) I just expected more insight in the writing process, and once I saw how basic the young adult section was, and even children chapter books, I knew it wasn't going to give me what I wanted and I stopped.

Guess this book wasn't particularly aimed
Meghan Coffey
Okay, so I technically didn't complete it...but it's a reference book more than a read cover-to-cover book. I'll definitely reference it for future works, but between school and the actual assignment I had to do on this book, I didn't have time to read it cover-to-cover. However, I do like the advice it gives in here, despite being a bit outdated (references MySpace and No Child Left Behind). So for an honest review, this book may be a 3.5
Carolyn James
Dec 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing
I've had a couple of Children's book ideas shifting around in my head and this was a good read to see if any of them were really marketable. It also gave me a lot of good avenues/advice on how I could connect my career with education to help me break into publishing. I'm terrible for devoting myself to one writing idea but if I do look further into the children route, this will be a helpful how-to to keep on my desk!
Blessy Mathew
May 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This craft book offers guidelines for the beginning children’s book writer from the writing process to submission. She offers great advice and tips on how to approach different genres—picture books, beginning readers, chapter books, novels and nonfiction. This is a great book to have on any children’s writer’s bookshelf.

Jun 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
This is an excellent book for anyone thinking about writing a children's book. It is very informative and has suggested activities at the end of each chapter. I have read through the book and plan to go back through it again, this time using it as a workbook.
Sabrina Gilbert
Jul 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
Wow... This book had so much good information, definitely recommend it to anyone seeking to join the world of childrens literature!
Sharon Mitchell
Excellent. Learned a lot.
Oct 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing
Interesting, informative, concise book about what makes a good children's book and how to become an author.
Kimberly Aikens
Aug 06, 2012 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: People interested in authoring a book
An introduction to writing children's books.
Carla Calvert
Jan 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-on-writing
My directive for 2012...
Sep 01, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a very basic intro into writing kids books. Good for the beginning writer, and some specialized info for those wanting to write for kids ranging from picture books to YA.
Dec 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great information for someone getting started

The information in the book is general, and easy to follow. Highly suggested for anyone interested in writing for children.
Mar 18, 2008 added it
Shelves: nonfiction
While there is arguably nothing groundbreaking here, this is an excellent instructional book that gives a good orientation for children's writing. Certainly worth a look.
Jun 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing
Very helpful!
Rowena Cala
rated it it was amazing
Mar 03, 2013
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“When you use single character viewpoint, you tell the main character's story — and only his or her story. Every single thing in the plot — whether it's an event, problem, emotion, or consequence — should be revealed through that main character's eyes. Your main character needs to be on center stage throughout the entire story, acting and reacting to what is happening in the plot. To do that effectively, reveal only your main character's emotions and thoughts. Tell your reader only what your main character is feeling, not the feelings of other characters.” 0 likes
“One of the best ways to ensure that you are creating an effective main character is to spend some time really getting to know her. Some writers do this by writing a simple character sketch about their main character, detailing her likes and dislikes, her goal, her motivation, her age and personal history, and her physical qualities. (The character worksheet on page 90 guides you in writing a character sketch.) Other writers find it easier to let their characters “talk” to them by writing a letter from their main character to themselves. Some writers prefer “interviewing” the main character as if she were actually in the same room. Still others write a character statement in which the character speaks in first person about herself. These latter exercises have the advantage of actually establishing that character's voice. Both methods will allow you to get to know your character more intimately. And, while all of the character traits and details that you develop during this exercise probably won't be worked into the story, you'll know them, and this will help you maintain your character consistently and help you focus the character's motivation.” 0 likes
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