Tag Archives: middle grade

30 TIPS for Writing Delightful Children’s Books Day 7


Do you have to be a child to write for children? We can guess the answer to that one. Just look at Phillip Pullman, Enid Blyton, Mo Willems, Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka.

Do you need to think like a child, see the world through the eyes of children, to be able to write for children? Definitely.

Can you imagine what it is like to be a child and then go off and write books for children without doing any proper research? Best not to try.

To create truly authentic, child-like characters who will resonate with young readers, you need to ‘be’ a child. So, what happens if you’re, like me, on the wrong side of 30 and very very far from childhood?

Here are some hacks:

1. Revisit childhood memories.

One of my all-time favorites. Childhood memories not only help you remember some of the things you did as a child but also how you ‘felt’ and processed information at the material time. Here is an exercise you can do.

Make a list of 5 experiences that shaped our childhood. They can be fights, heartbreak, friendships, first loves and crushes, competitions and prizes, deaths or losses, etc. Now write about these experiences. Things to keep in mind when you write:

  • What did you perceive with your senses: what did you see, hear, feel, taste, smell?
  • What did you feel or think?

2. Hang around children

Visit parks, spend time with your children or children of friends and family. Study them to determines their interests, speech patterns, what they find humorous, annoying or disgusting. Listen to them speak and act and take notes. Please, do not stalk or take pictures.

3. Be a ‘child’

Do you want to write for or about 7-year-olds? Try to see the world through their eyes. Spend an hour in your home, moving around on your knees so that you are about the height of a 6-8-year-olds. See what the world looks like at that level. What can you reach? See? Hear? How might the 7-year-old perceive these things? Watch cartoons, play games for children: video games, board games, etc. Notice the characters, plot, dialogue and setting in these cartoons and games, they give you insight into the likes and dislikes of your target audience.

1. Action: Pick one of the action points above and try it out.

2. Read.

And of course: Read as many children’s books as you can.

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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30 Tips for Writing Delightful Children’s Books Day 2


Stephen King

15 years ago, I met my ‘then’ role model and I excitedly asked her the million-dollar question: “What can I do to become a world-famous writer like you?” I expected a million-dollar answer, a one-way ticket to stardom, the secret to Enid Blyton’s success, something utterly profound.

What I got was:

Read Read Read.

Mschew, I thought as I walked away.

A decade and some later, I know now that she gave me the best piece of writing advice in the world! In fact, this should have been Tip #1. 😊 Do you want to become a bestselling children book author? Please read hundreds of books by other children’s book authors! Hundreds! Thousands! Set a monthly reading target! There is NO OTHER WAY.

Also ….

A… Read what you would like to write

If you love historical fiction and you would like to write a piece of historical fiction set in Nigeria with a 12-year-old main character, please read at least 20 middle grade historical fiction novels set in Africa before you start writing. Read another 20 after writing your first draft. Note: Novels which provide examples of good writing are called mentor texts.


BRead like a writer.

When you read, look out for craft elements* that the writer used to perfection and write them down. Note the way the writer uses them. Elements to look out for: point of view, character development, plot, theme, worldbuilding/setting, dialogue, scenes, literary devices, etc.

  1. Action: Create a Read like a Writer Journal.

For every book you read, write the craft element that appealed to you in your journal.

Here’s what mine looks like:

1Beasts Made of NightTochi OnyebuchiMemorable Action ScenesYA, African magical realism
2Zahrah the WindseekerNnedi OkoroaforWorldbuilding!!!!!!YA, African magical realism
3Aru Shah and the End of TimeRoshani ChokshiWorldbuildingMG, Mythology
4Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the SkyKwame MbaliaWorldbuilding, themeMG Mythology
5Lalani of the Distant SeaErin Entrada KellyWorld Building, Xter Development (Hetsbi)MG, Magical realism
6How to Find What You’re Not Looking ForVeera HiranandaniCharacter, 2nd person Point of view, emotional connection with writer: lots of heart, theme,MG, Contemporary, Historical Fiction, Disability, Discrimination
7Children of Blood and BoneTomi AdeyemiWorldbuilding, Excellent Xter Development (Amari + Prince Inan), internal dialogue, 1st person point of view x 3YA, Yoruba Mythology, The Orisha
RLAW Table

This table shows you the stuff I loved/learnt from the books I’ve read in recent times but it also shows you something else: the nature of the story I’m currently working on and the type of story I’d like to try after this project.

I am currently working on a middle grade piece of historical fiction with elements of magical realism. The bit on mythology is for my next project. 😊

2. Read.

So, figure out the theme/genre of your next writing project and start reading.

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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*post on craft elements coming soon

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Akuko Baibulu Nso Maka Umuntakiri/Umuaka

Title: Akuko Baibulu Nso Maka Umuntakiri/Umuaka

Author: Ezinwanne Christiana Az’fredrick Mbanu (PhD)

Publisher:  Supreme Publishers

Number of pages: 226

Type of Book: Non-fiction, Christian, Middle Grade, African.

Age: 8+

Buy it here: https://www.facebook.com/AkukoBaibulUmuaka/

Price: N3,000


This a delightful book of bible stories for children 8 years above. It has a good mix of old testament and new testament stories (from David and Esther to Saints Peter and Paul) as well as memory verses and short prayers that children can take on easily. The best part, it’s ALL IN IGBO!!  Perfect for bedtime stories, it can also be read to younger children.


UP: I’ve never seen a book like this in Igbo. There are a thousand and one English bible study books for kids but an Igbo one, this was definitely a first for me! I absolutely loved the memory verses! The text is lyrical (if you are a fan of Igbo language, you’ll love this) (I am a HUGE fan so this was a joy to read). There is a good blend of popular and not-so-popular bible stories. This is perfect for bible club teachers and parents who want to teach their little angels to love God in our mother tongue. The icing on the cake, it comes with a CD! I’ll leave you to guess what’s on it!!  

DOWN: There were a few grammatical errors and the layout wasn’t exactly visually appealing but the content more than makes up for the errors.


🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟


  1. Play the CD.

CHALLENGE: Akuko Baibulu Nso Maka Umuntakiri/Umuaka


  1. Tell your favourite bible story using ONLY 10 pictures and 10 memory verses.  

Send your answers to ugochinyelu.anidi@gmail.com.

Entry requirements: Entrants must be within the 8+ 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 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, February 28th 2021.

Next Book of the Week:

ECHO by Pam Munoz Ryan

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NB: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Meet the Author: Victoria Afe Inegbedion

IG Live with Victoria Inegbedion

Today from 7pm – 8pm , I will have a conversation with debut author Victoria Afe Inegbedion on IGLive!!

Her brand spanking new book for preteen and teen girls “A-Files” published by Narrative Landscape Press just hit the book stands!!

Here’s the author’s blurb:

Some sisters share everything from familial genes to favourite jeans. But. Some. Don’t. And Nita Isime has something to say about that. Read A-Files to find out what that is.

We’ll talk about A-Files, hear her read from it and answer all your questions!

Nip over to @thebookmarketng on Instagram for the conversation. See you there!

A-Files Book Cover


Book review coming soon …