Tag Archives: Chronicle Books

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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Press Here


Title: Press Here

Author: Hervé Tullet

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Number of pages: 56

Type of Book: Activity; Interactive; Educational

Age: 0 – 4

Buy it here: https://www.amazon.com/Press-Here-Herve-Tullet/dp/0811879542/ref=pd_rhf_gw_p_img_6?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=RAZS2H4WXVAAHT34M159 ; http://www.tamsinkbooks.com.ng/product/press-here/

Price:  $9.09


This book takes young readers on a magical, colourful journey beginning with two words, ‘Press here’. It starts with a yellow dot which magically multiples with each, ‘press’ (really a rub) of the reader’s tiny fingers. The book enthralls the 1 – 4-year-old reader with commands to ‘press’ it, shake it, rub it, blow it, tilt it and watch the coloured dots change colour, multiply, fly and dance all over the pages. Guaranteed to keep your toddler entertained for ages.

Warning: You may read it over and over and over and over again in one sitting! Be prepared.


UP: It features the primary colours and colours are our theme for our 0 – 4 age group for the month of February! It helps kids build fine motor skills and introduces them to the concept of ‘action’ and ‘reaction’. Author, Hervé Tullet, is an artist so he knows how to literally and figuratively ‘play’ with colours! This is why this award-winning New York Times Bestseller is such a favourite with little children. Other titles by the same author, ‘Mix it Up’, ‘Let’s play’. I recommend for all 0 – 4-year-olds. It’s a sturdy book too so it will survive those little fingers.

DOWN: None


5 Stars


  1. Make your own Press Here mini book (plus other activities) here: http://www.chroniclebooks.com/landing-pages/presshere/images/PressHereActivitySheets.pdf
  2. Watch the book trailer here: https://www.amazon.com/Press-Here-Herve-Tullet/dp/0811879542/ref=pd_rhf_gw_p_img_6?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=RAZS2H4WXVAAHT34M159

CHALLENGE: Press Here 


  1. Draw and colour 5 shapes using 5 different colours (2 – 4 year olds)

Send your answers to ugochinyelu.anidi@gmail.com

Entry requirements: Entrants must be within the 2 – 4 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 Tuesday February 7th 2017.

Next Book of the Week:


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photo credit: amazon.com


Ivy and Bean Book 1


Title: Ivy and Bean Book 1

Author: Annie Barrow

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Number of pages: 120

Type of Book: Fiction; Contemporary

Age: 8+

Available here: http://www.amazon.com/Ivy-Bean-Book-Annie-Barrows/dp/0811849090

Price: $4.13


Ivy and Bean didn’t like each other very much at first. Maybe because their mothers always tried to get them to play with each other. Maybe because they were so different. Ivy was every bit as ladylike as Bean was an unrepentant tomboy. One day, Bean got into trouble and Ivy came to her rescue and they found out that they had a lot in common. And so their exciting friendship began. Together, they got into all sorts of mischief and misadventures, from digging up earthworms to make potions, to trying to make Ivy look like a real witch, to trying to cast a spell on Bean’s annoying big sister, Nancy and pretending to be sick in Mrs. Trantz’s backyard. An award-winning book for girls who love to laugh.


UP: It had a feel-good ending. It was also fast-paced. I read it in a day and then ended up buying the next book in the series and the one after that. It’s well written and very easy to read. I would recommend to kids (especially girls) who have just started reading on their own. Oh yes, and it made me smile, a lot.

DOWN: None


4 Stars 


  1. Why did Ivy and Bean dig a big muddy pit in Ivy’s backyard? To find earthworms.
  2. What did they need the earthworms for? To cast a dancing spell on Bean’s sister Nancy.
  3. What became of the earthworms Ivy and Bean dug up? Bean threw them on Nancy’s face! Some fell into her shirt, some got stuck in her hair and one fell right into her mouth!
  4. What became of the big muddy pit? Nancy fell into it!
  5. Why did Bean think Ivy’s room was cool? Because it was divided into five sections by thick chalk lines drawn on the floor and each section looked like a different room.
  6. The five sections of Ivy’s room: A dressing room, a doll room, a bedroom, an art studio and a reading room. 

BONUS: What item did Ivy need for her invisibility spell? A dead frog!

Visit Ivy and Bean here: http://www.chroniclebooks.com/landing-pages/ivyandbean/index.html

CHALLENGE: Ivy and Bean Book 1


  1. The benefits of reading. Write a short 300-word essay


  1. Draw a picture of the Ivy’s room using the information in Trivia Answers 5 and 6.


  1. Write a poem on ‘Mischief’.

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 Tuesday, November 24th2015

Next Book of the Week: