Dr Cameron Gonzales’s Guide To Children’s Literature


As a successful children’s author and educator with years of experience in working with all year groups from elementary to high school, Cameron Gonzales is best-placed to advise would-be writers with a guide to children’s literature and its features.

“Writing for children isn’t easy,” she says. “There’s a lot to think about when you’re creating literature for youngsters. Bear in mind your readers are sensitive and young, and that they need to engage with the story that you’ve written and the world that you’ve built for those characters.”

Although becoming a children’s author is no mean feat, she certainly wouldn’t discourage anyone from trying their hand at becoming a success. So, here are the main characteristics that she believes all of the best children’s literature displays.

Simple Themes And Ideas

“Most children’s books don’t have a complex plot and lots of sub-plots,” Cameron says. “They also don’t have any unrealistic situations or characters. All of the events in a children’s book should be relatable to the reader. That means that the situations should all occur in real life unless you’re writing a fairy tale or fantasy.”

Realistic Characters

Not only should the events in your children’s book be realistic, but the characters should also feel real too. “The characters that you write about should feel human, even if they’re in a fairy tale or fantasy story,” Cameron Gonzales says. “They should experience emotional and physical growth during the story and they need to make mistakes then learn from them, just like the reader does.”

Moral Lessons

One of the most common features of children’s literature is the moral lesson that the story contains. Virtually every children’s book will have a moral lesson for its readers to learn, and it will be a simple and easily understandable message that the reader will take home. For example, the story may be focused on the theme of never lying, or of the importance of friendship.

These messages resonate with young readers and speak to them of events from their own lives as well as the teaching they receive from their parents and teachers. Children’s books shouldn’t have a predictable outcome – the stories need to get youngsters thinking about situations and analyzing them.

Illustrations And Easy-To-Read Text

If you’re creating literature for the youngest readers, it’s important not to overlook the visual elements. “Young children are very visual readers,” Cameron says. “They rely heavily on images, especially if they can’t decipher all of the words yet. Illustrations can easily catch a child’s attention and help them to understand the story even if all of the text is unclear.”

With easy to read text and captivating images, children are more likely to persevere with the book and be more eager to learn what is going to happen next. Also, when writing for small children, it’s important to bear in mind the size and type of fonts that you use. Early readers need to be able to see and decipher each letter and this means that you need to make sure they’re large enough and clear enough to stand out.

Trying Your Hand At Writing For Children

Although Cameron acknowledges that writing for children isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, she finds it an especially rewarding activity. By combining her knowledge of the education sector and her love of books, she is eager to instil the same passion for literature in other young readers that she had as a child when she could often be found curled up reading a book instead of playing outdoors! Follow her advice and you too could inspire a new generation of eager readers!