How to Write a Book of
Inspirational Stories for Children

Writing Children's Books? Write a Book that Inspires Kids!

Learn how to write a book that inspires kids. Studies by child psychologists have found that children need stories to understand their world, to make sense of their own lives. But - and here's the qualification - not all books and not all stories are created equal.

Stories can hurt or heal. Tales of violence and terror can hurt a child's spirit. On the other hand, the right kinds of stories can teach children good morals, help them deal with life's challenges, and promote emotional healing.

How to Write a Book that Inspires and Influences Children

Books exert a powerful influence on children. Story characters often play an important role in shaping a child's mindset. More subtly, readers unconsciously absorb the author's beliefs and values, whether these are transmitted explicitly or implicitly through the story.

Educators and writers like Charlotte Mason, Susan Schaeffer Macauley, Ranald Macauley and Elizabeth Wilson have long realized the importance of providing children with excellent stories that impart good values and that help kids grow up as confident, caring people.

How to Write a Book that Imparts Good Values

Children learn morality through indirect teaching, especially where a story writer uses characters as mouthpieces to convey moral concepts without preaching at the reader (any overt preaching would only arouse the child's resistance).

Arthur Rowshan in his book, Telling Tales: How to Use Stories to Help Children Deal with the Challenges of Life (Oneworld Publications, 1997), demonstrates how to lead kids to the right behavior by having, for instance, a story character tell another to share his food with others. The child reader is not aware that this message is in fact directed at him or her, but takes it to be part of the story. All the while, however, the child's subconscious mind is quietly absorbing the message and the reader unconsciously learns new behavior (from selfishness to sharing with others).

Examples of How to Write a Book that Imparts Good Values
Favorite authors of every age have been writing children's books that influence kids to make good moral choices. Check out these wonderful books:

The Happy Prince; The Selfish Giant: both stories by Oscar Wilde (teaches important lessons about love, kindness and self-sacrifice)
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein (the hero here is the tree, not the man)
The Little Engine that Could by Watty Piper (the hero is the train, and the story teaches kids the value of persistence)
Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder (beautiful stories of love, courage and endurance)
The Chronicles of Narnia series by CS Lewis (teaches good values and the importance of making right choices)
The Berenstain Bears and the Truth; The Berenstain Bears Get the Gimmies; The Berenstain Bears' Trouble with Money; The Berenstain Bears and the In Crowd; The Berenstain Bears Don't Pollute (Anymore): all stories by Stan and Jan Berenstain (these stories and many others in the series teach good behavior simply and sweetly, like the proverbial spoonful of sugar that makes the medicine go down).

How to Write a Book with Good Role Models

Elizabeth Wilson, author of Books Children Love: A Guide to the Best Children's Literature (Crossway Books, 1987), makes a strong case for including good role models in a story: that when children identify with a character who demonstrates courage, honesty or kindness, these values become reinforced in their consciousness.

Bruno Bettelheim in his book, The Uses of Enchantment (Knopf, 1975), makes a similar point: that, in reading a story, the child's identification with a hero or heroine can be so close that the reader even shares in the character's sufferings and victories. This intense identification with the hero's/heroine's inner and outer struggles helps to imprint morality on the child.

Examples of How to Write a Book with Good Role Models
The greatest story characters come alive, out of books, and live in the minds and hearts of millions of children for all time. Here are just a few such stories with memorable heroes and heroines:

Horton Hatches the Egg and Horton Hears a Who by Dr Seuss (Horton, a role model for caring, responsible behavior)
The Happy Prince by Oscar Wilde (models love, compassion and selflessness)
Charlotte's Web by EB White (models true friendship and resourcefulness)
Winnie-the-Pooh series (loyal friends who care for one another despite their individual shortcomings)
Shiloh and Saving Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds (love, compassion and making right choices in difficult situations)
Lord of the Rings trilogy by JRR Tolkien (loyalty, courage and endurance in the face of difficulties and dangers)

How to Write a Book that Heals

Arthur Rowshan is a psychotherapist who uses storytelling in his clinical practice. He relates in his book, Tell Tales: How to Use Stories to Help Children Deal with the Challenges of Life, how he came to realize the immense therapeutic power in stories. Many others who have worked with troubled kids report similar findings in their storytelling experiments with children.

To create stories with therapeutic power, Rowshan advocates that the storyteller first find out the needs and problems of his/her audience; and then craft the story to resemble the problem situation, replacing the people in the real-life situation with fictional characters the audience can identify with. Skill and delicacy come into play to ensure that the audience connect the story with their own situation. Lastly, the storyteller provides a solution to the problem, demonstrating to the audience the new behavior that'll help them attain the desired solution.

Example of how to write a book that heals and helps readers deal with problems
Let's take the case of a child who feels rejected by his peers for some reason -- he's the "wrong" size, shape or color, or from the "wrong" side of the tracks. You, the writer, set about crafting a story that mirrors the problem situation as seen from the viewpoint of the rejected child. You then develop the story, taking the reader on a journey of healing, self-discovery and learning new behavior that leads to a solution of his problem -- for example by perceiving the situation from a fresh perspective or taking active steps to attain a desired outcome.

How to Write a Book that Helps Kids Deal with Life's Challenges

A story is interesting to readers only when they are able to relate to it in some way -- and the more relevant it is to your readers' life experiences and the challenges they face, the more the story resonates in them, and the deeper the meaning it holds for them.

Examples of common challenges kids face: adjusting to a new baby in the family; starting school; moving house; the death of a friend; parents' divorce. Here are some excellent children's books that explore these issues and others:

When the New Baby Comes I"m Moving Out by Martha Alexander
Will I Have a Friend?; The New Teacher; Best Friends: all three books by Miriam Cohen
Dear Mr Henshaw by Beverley Cleary
A Taste of Blackberries by Doris Buchanan Smith
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day; Alexander, Who's Not (Do you hear me, I mean it!) Going to Move; The Tenth Good Thing About Barney: all three books by Judith Viorst
Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret; Blubber: both books by Judy Blume

How to Write a Book that Uplifts Readers and Meets Their Needs

The best-loved stories are those that readers can most relate to, that meet a need in a child's life, be it for love, security or affirmation of one's self-worth, or a thirst for adventure or excitement.

Great stories have an essential quality: they lift the child into the realm of the author's imagination; they enthrall and delight readers; and they give children a fresh perspective to help them deal with issues they are facing.

Find out how to write a book that meets readers' needs, gain insights from how these bestsellers do it:

Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney
Runaway Bunny and Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
On the Day You Were Born by Debra Frasier
God Made You Nose to Toes by Leslie Parrott
Love You Forever by Robert Munsch
Julie of the Wolves and My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
The Chronicles of Narnia series by CS Lewis

For more ideas on how to write books that kids love to read, go to Creative Writing Ideas to Help You Write the Best Books for Kids

Writing for teens? Go to Creative Writing Ideas: Cool Stories for Preteen and Teen Readers

Reading tastes change as a child grows, but certain qualities hold a timeless appeal for young readers of every age. To find out more, go to Creative Writing Ideas: How to Write Stories Kids and Teens Want to Read
For a step-by-step guide to story writing, go to Steps to Write a Book: Story Writing Ideas and Tips that Work!

How to Write a Book for Kids or Teens - and Get It Published!

Have you written a book for kids or teens? Are you looking for a traditional publisher - one who offers a standard publishing contract, pays royalties, and doesn't expect you to foot any part of the publishing expenses? If so, publish with us!

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