Tag Archives: aladdin and the magical lamp

30 TIPS for Writing Delightful Children’s Books Day 8


When I joined the children’s book industry professionally in 2015, I thought nonfiction was a special genre for writing textbooks or other books for school. It sounded absolutely boring to me and I thought I would never go near that genre.

Fast-forward a few years and it is becoming one of my favorite genres. What changed?

One day, I realized that as a history buff, most of the bits of information I have about world history came from nonfiction books and those books were NOT textbooks. They were actually interesting and fun, some had amazing illustrations and most were relatable. At age 9, I had gone through all the volumes of the big fat red, Encyclopedia Britannica. And that my friends was nonfiction at its worst (well, most voluminous). These days, nonfiction is more interesting. The creation of more subgenres (types) has made it even more interesting for children.  

By the way, nonfiction is really literature which provides verifiable information based on facts. Some good examples are biographies, memoirs,how-to books, etc.

Types of Nonfiction.

  • This is the most popular form of nonfiction. It is particularly loved by writers of fiction because it utilizes the same structure and elements as fiction. Some examples: memoirs, biographies, description of past events, etc. All the picture books on my list below as well as the middle grade book by best-selling author Soontornvat are examples of Narrative Nonfiction.

Other types are: Expository, Traditional, Active and Browsable. For more information, read this article by Melissa Stewart


  • Know the type of nonfiction that you are interested in
  • Read Read Read as many nonfiction books as you can lay your hands on. Ensure that this book is also
  • Research Research and Research some more. Know your subject like the back of your hand.
  • Do find a theme/ through line for your book: remember, the theme is the heart of the story.
  • Remember the elements of fiction, try to use them as much as possible. Think of your subject (human, plant, animal, place) as the character. Your subject’s habitat or the place where the primary event(s) take place is your setting. Find an emotional angle to your story and you’ve found your theme. And then determine the cause of events in your subject’s story: plot. Who describes your subject to the reader? POV

Need a refresher on the elements of fiction. Look at the Tip #4: Elements of Fiction here.


Picture Books

  • Berrne, Jennifer. On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein. Chronicle Books, 2016.
  • Brown, Monica. Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos. NorthSouth Books, 2017.
  • Flemming, Candace. HoneyBee: The Busy life of Apis Mellifera. Neal Porter Books, 2020.
  • Hannah-Jones, Nikola and Renee Watson. 1619 project: Born of the Water. Kokila, 2021.

Chapter Book

Kola-Lawal Constance Omawumi. My Nigeria: Early History. Farafina Tuuti.

Middle Grade

  • Soontornvat, Christina. All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team. Candlewick, 2020.

  1. Action: Look at the tips above and try to go through them one after the other. Read (like a reader, i.e. for fun) as many nonfiction books as you can find.

2. Read (Like a Writer)

Determine the type of nonfiction you would like to try and read as many books in that subgenre as you like. Remember to identify the age group also. For example, if you want to write narrative nonfiction (i.e. maybe a biography of an important person) for younger children, 4 – 8, then read nonfiction picture books.

For every book you read, note the craft element that appealed to you in the book and note how the author used it.  

Want to write a story for children, don’t know where to start? Tell me all about it and we can figure out the theme and some mentor texts for you!

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Tales From the Arabian Nights

imageTitle: Tales from The Arabian Nights
Author: Andrew Lang
Publisher: Award Publications
Number of pages: 304
Type of Book: Fiction; Classic
Age: 8+
Available here: https://www.amazon.com/Tales-Arabian-Nights-Essential-Classics/dp/184135838X
Price: $13.57
Set in ancient Arabian lands between Persia and China, this book tells the story of Scheherazade, the wife of the rich and powerful Sultan Schahriar. The Sultan loved his first wife to pieces. Sadly, she betrayed him, so he killed her and developed a hatred for all women. Vengeful,, he married a new bride every evening and killed her the following morning. His once loyal subjects hated and cursed him because they lost daughters to him daily. Then one day, a young lady, Scheherazade decided to marry the Sultan against her family’s wishes. She told him stories for a thousand and one nights to avoid being killed by him.
Scheherazade was portrayed as a master story teller as she wove fantastic magical tales of enchanted lands, genies, fantastic beasts, life changing adventures and dazzling jewels. She was able to keep him so interested in her stories that he kept postponing her death to be able to hear the end of each story. Some of the stories she told were age-old classics like The Seven Voyages of Sinbad, Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves (Read a review of this book here ) and Disney favorite, Aladdin and the Magical Lamp.
Read the book to find out what happened when Scheherazade ran out of stories.
UP: It is literally a book of stories. It is filled with fun and magical stories for children and adults, some with a moral or two. It also gives readers a sneak peak into life in ancient Arabia.

DOWN: None

4 stars
1 Why did Sultan Schahriar kill his wives the day after the wedding?: He believed all women were deceitful like his first wife and he wanted the world to be rid of them.
2 Who was Scheherazade: The first daughter of the Sultan’s Grand Vizir
3 Some of the stories told by Scheherazade: Blind Baba Abdalla, Ali Baba and the Forty thieves, the Seven Voyages of Sinbad
4 What happened after One thousand and one nights: Read the book to find out

CHALLENGE: Tales from The Arabian Nights

1. Write a 400 word story within a story set in ancient Hausa, Igbo or Yoruba land (8 – 12 year olds)

Send your answers to ugochinyelu.anidi@gmail.com
Entry requirements: Entrants must be within the 8-12 age range. The first correct entry will be announced on this page and will win a copy of this book.
Answers must be submitted before 12:00am on Sunday, February 19th 2017.
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photo credit: amazon.com