Children’s Writers – How Long Should Your Book Be?

How long should your book be?

Browse through the children’s section at the nearest book store or the library. You will notice that children’s book fall into distinct categories, each category having a distinct format and target age group. The reason for these sharp definitions is that these books are used in classrooms for a particular grade. And the libraries and the bookstores shelve these books in a particular order.

As a creative person, a writer is expected to push the boundaries. But if you are a novice children’s writer or a first time self-publishing children’s writer; it is smarter to stick to the rules. Once you have a better understanding of the business, you can flex the rules to suit you.

Board Books

· For infants and young toddlers.

· Concept books, rhymes, simple stories, novelty books, lift-the-flap books.

· Length – 12 to 16 pages (average).

· Little or no text, illustration on every page.

Early Picture Books

· For 2 to 5 years.

· Simple stories, fairy tales, rhymes, concept books.

· Length — 32 pages (average).

· Short text (maximum 500 words), Illustration on every page.

Standard picture books

· For 4 to 8 years.

· Wide range of styles and topics, simple stories with a main character.

· Length – 32 pages (average).

· Short text (Maximum 1000 words).


Easy-to-Read/ Early Readers

· For 5 to 8 years.

· Stories that have action and dialogues, fiction or non-fiction.

· Length – 32 to 64 pages (average).

· Short text (Maximum 2000 words), grammatically simple sentences, short chapters (optional).

Transition books/ Early Chapter Books

· For 6 to 10 years.

· Stories with 2-3 page chapters, books with smaller trim size, an illustrations every few pages.

· Length -32 pages (average).

· Books that bridge the gap between early readers and chapter books.

Middle grade

· For 8 to 12 years.

· More complex stories, more sophisticated themes.

· Length- 100 to 150 pages (average).

· Wide range of genres – historical, contemporary, science fiction/fantasy, non-fiction.


Young adult

· For ages 12 and above.

· Complex plots that today’s teen can identify with, wide range of themes and genres.

· Length – 130 to 200 pages (average).

· For children who have outgrown middle grade but are not ready for adult fiction.

Since children read at different levels, especially in elementary school, there is sometimes a slight overlap in the age groups. To get a better understanding of the formats, read some of the recommended books from each category. This will also give you a sense of what works and where your children’s book fits in.

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