Writing for Children

HarperCollins India, Avid Learning, and Mumbai children’s book promoter Lubaina Tyebji Bandukwala put together an informative workshop on writing children’s literature this weekend.

As I begin the search for a home to publish my own middle grade novels, I thought I’d confirm my take on the genre with people who actually know what they’re talking about.

A few top take-aways for me about what children are looking for when they pick up a book:

Simplicity. Spontaneity. …and sophistication.

Relatability. “Children are looking for themselves in the story. Not just in setting or incident, but in finding people just like them.”

Laughter and nonsense.

Nothing didactic: “The era of the moral is over.

None of these findings came as a surprise; rather they reinforced the past decade of reading to my sons and the books we go back to time and again, from Kate DiCamilo to Roald Dahl.

Two areas I found to work on: Title Matters! (…they said to the guy who’s first novels are titled Two Pumps for the Body Man and Patchworks). And “Never miss a chance to pitch to an editor.”

They mean in person, of course. And that day is coming. But as a writer, I’d still rather communicate the contents of my work in writing.

The workshop was led by the curator of the Peek-A-Book Children’s Festival, Lubaina Tyebji Bandukwala, and two outstanding Indian children’s authors Natasha Sharma (Squiqqle Takes a Walk and 17 other titles) and Vaishali Shroff (The Adventures of Padma and a Blue Dinosaur and more) .Harper Collins India publisher Tina Narang shed light on the publishing, marketing, and promotional aspects of the field.





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