There are a large amount of African American writers who have made their fame and fortune by writing books for children. Thankfully the stigma that used to accompany writing children’s literary books has faded a great deal, as writers are beginning to realize that they can make children extremely happy and that they can also help them to gain a love of reading by writing a great piece of work. Take a gander at J.K. Rowling or Stephanie Meyer and you’ll see two writers who have managed to single-handedly change the way that children and pre-teen books are viewed by the industry. If you’re an African American author and you’re thinking about writing a children’s book, you should learn a bit more about the writing genres before you undertake your task.
All the Genres
There are a large number of genres in children’s writing, and the first one that you may know are picture books. Picture books are the books that are written by African American writers which also have illustrations in them. A true picture book not only has illustrations but is where the illustrations are the core part of the book. The illustrated work should be able to tell the story without any words being necessary. There are all sorts of different types of picture books, from stories for babies to ones for children who are between the ages of 4 and 8. As a kid gets older, the stories become less about pictures and more about reading.
After children have grown out of the picture book phase, they’re next into what are called early chapter books, or transition books. These books are stories for children who are between the ages of 6 and 10 and are books that are easy to read but that focus less on the pictures in the story and more on the writing itself, and they can be tricky to write. There are many an African American author who has believed that they had what it took to write this genre of children’s books but who found that they were unable to create something children would love, so don’t be ashamed if you try but can’t succeed.
Then there are books for middle grade, and books for young adults. These books are often much easier for African American writers to write because they’re very much like writing books for adults. If you’re temped to try writing books for children, you may want to start with this type of work.