Writing Non-Fiction for Children

The Blackberry PatchThis is a guest post by Gina Mcknight, author of “The Blackberry Patch“.

Living in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains promotes inspiration and passion for creative writing; children’s literature, poetry, freelance, and more. Gina is a graduate of The Institute of Children’s Literature, Connecticut USA, and Leadership Scholar/Bachelor of Arts, Franklin University, Ohio USA.

Gina’s poetry has appeared in international anthologies and literary journals. Her first volume of poetry To the Heart was released in 2015. In her second volume, she affirms her love of life, nature, and intangible gifts. Poetry from the Field takes you around the farm, through the countryside, and into the forest.

Children’s literature: The Blackberry Patch (2009 Tate Publishing USA), Trail Ride to Snake Hollow (2016 Tate Publishing USA), Nawaab: Marwari Stallion of India Series (2016 Banyan Publishing India). Gina is also the author of Dr. Abbott “Pete” Smith, DVM, the Official Biography, and Horsemanship: Quotes from Riders Around the World.

As a freelance writer, Gina has written hundreds of articles and is currently a regular contributor to trueCOWBOYmagazine, Florida Equine Athlete, and Arabian Finish Line. She is an award-winning blogger and avid reader.

Website: http://gmcknight.com/

Gina Mcknight

Author, Freelancer, Equestrian, and Poet

As a believer that books are important to a child’s education and that inspiring children to read is of the utmost importance, writing non-fiction for children requires a captivating beginning, a climatic scenario, and a definite conclusion.

Writing non-fiction for children is easy. All you have to do is think of a true event you have experienced. For instance, for this example, I will be a surfer. On a blank page, I will brainstorm and write everything that I have experienced and know about surfing. I can make a step-by-step description of what I wear, what type of surfboard I have, where I will surf, the environment, the sensations I feel, and finally, surfing. My brainstorm may look like this…

  • -Wetsuit – striped yellow and pink
  • -Surfboard – white with gold flowers and a painted bee buzzing
  • -The beach – type of sand, shells, people
  • -The ocean – waves, sky, colors
  • -Sensations – I smell the sea, feel the ocean breeze, see the horizon, taste the salt water, hear the people/waves

 

Once I have my thoughts down, then I can begin writing. The key to writing non-fiction for children is to write what you know. When you have experienced an event, such as surfing, writing about it will make it more believable. Begin your first sentence with action – a verb that will capture interest. For instance, “Stepping through the morning sand…” will bring children into your story, into the sand and onto the beach.

Now that you are on the beach (or wherever your story goes), think of a climatic scenario. Wetsuit on, surfboard in hand, paddling to the next wave, you encounter a… dolphin! Write about your encounter with the dolphin. Maybe the dolphin came close to your board and you explain about echolocation and how the dolphin uses it to navigate through the water. The dolphin ‘squeaks’ to you and lets you know that there is a shark nearby! The dolphin distracts the shark until you make it back to shore to alert swimmers and surfers. Finally, you call it a day and happy that the dolphin was there to help.

Use your own life event to encourage children to encounter new and exciting adventures! In my example, not all children have the opportunity to visit the beach, to see a surfer, or a dolphin. You can write the story that allows children to experience new environments. Take them on a journey that they will want to read again and share with their friends.

Remember that a children’s book title and cover aesthetic are important to draw the child in so that they are intrigued by what’s inside. A bright, colorful cover will catch a child’s eye every time. Once a child has a book (or eBook) in hand, they will want to have you read it to them, then eventually they will learn to read it back to you.

A children’s book should be about 500 words. Depending upon your niche grade level and target age, choose words wisely so that children can learn new words without becoming too overwhelmed. Include crossword puzzles, word searches, and coloring pages that coincide with your story for added fun!

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