If you’re writing a children’s book, it pays to be familiar with how publishers classify them. Understanding the different age groups that publishers assign to various formats can help you target your work to the appropriate audience and increase the chances of it being picked up by a publisher.

Publishers generally assign age groups for readers of various formats as set out in the following list:

  • Board books: These are designed for newborns to age 3, and are typically made of thick, durable cardboard pages that can withstand being handled by young children.
  • Picture books: These are meant for children ages 3-8, and usually have illustrations that accompany the text.
  • Coloring and activity (C&A) books: These are also meant for children ages 3-8, and typically include coloring pages or activities for children to complete.
  • Novelty books: These can be for children ages 3 and up, depending on the content. They can include interactive elements such as pop-ups, lift-the-flaps, or other interactive features.
  • Early, leveled readers: These are designed for children ages 5-9 and are meant to be a stepping stone between picture books and chapter books. They typically have fewer words per page and simpler storylines.
  • First chapter books: These are meant for children ages 6-9 or 7-10 and are the first step towards longer, more complex stories. They typically have more text per page and more developed storylines.
  • Middle-grade books: These are meant for children ages 8-12 and typically have more complex plots and themes.
  • Young adult (YA) novels: These are meant for children ages 12 and up or 14 and up and usually explore more mature themes and issues.

It’s okay to veer off a year or so in either direction when assigning a target audience age range to your work, but it’s important to have a general understanding of the age groups that publishers use when classifying children’s books. This will help you ensure that your book is being marketed to the appropriate audience, increasing the chances of it being picked up by a publisher.

Ayla Myrick
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