Why Picture Books Must Appeal to Two Very Different Readers

If you are going to write picture books, your work has to appeal to two very different readers – the adult and the child.

Most of us think of the child as the picture books intended audience.  We are, after all, writing for a group of people who are 3 to 5 years old.  Young readers have limited experience and we have to come up with stories that appeal to this small, still developing world.

If you fail to appeal to this segment of your audience, they won’t sit still while the book is read.  Worse yet, they won’t pay attention.  I add this last bit because my kiddo seldom sat still but he could still tell you what the book was about in great detail especially if that book was No, David!, a book he declared beautiful.

But your book also has to appeal to the adult, the person who will actually read your book.  This is something that cannot be stressed enough.  Your book has to appeal to your young audience but if you don’t tempt the adults to buy it?  You aren’t going to have a young audience.

This Wednesday’s Book on Tap (7/23, 4:00 pm Eastern) will feature Ryan T. Higgins.  Higgins will be interviewed about the story behind the story of We Will Rock Our Classmates.  Penelope, a young T. Rex, has great reader appeal but it was Mother Bruce who first won me over.  If you don’t know the Mother Bruce books, Bruce is a bear who accidentally hatches a nest full of goose eggs when he is attempting to cook them.

Why did I love this book so much?  Higgins is a master of deadpan humor and his dry wit reminded me of Bruce, my son’s boy scout leader.  And the young geese?  Weeblo Scouts all the way.

Read any of his books and learn how he appeals to both adults and young readers and tune in or watch the video to hear about We Will Rock Our Classmates (details here).


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