There are a lot of things to consider when it comes to children’s books that should be addressed before going to far into the process. The first things to consider are what reader age group the story is written for, and what type of book to produce. So, let’s explore reader age groups, the appropriate types of book, and some of the considerations for writing and marketing to each specific group.
Reader Age Groups at a glance
|Reader Age Group||Book Type||Binding||Illustration Type||Page Print Color||Page Count|
| Newborn – |
|Story Books or Novelty Books||Hardcover||Color||Color||24-40|
|Ages 3–8||Coloring and Activity Books||Softcover||Black line drawing||Black||40-80|
|Ages 5–9||Early Level Readers||Hardcover or Softcover||Color or Black||Black or Color||40-60|
|Ages 6–10||Chapter Books||Softcover or Hardcover||Black||Black||60 & up|
|Ages 8–12||Middle Level Readers||Softcover or Hardcover||Color or Black||Black or Color||80 & up|
|Ages 12 – 14 & up||Young Adult (YA) Novels||Softcover or Hardcover||Usually not illustrated||Black||120 & up|
Reader Age Groups book types, illustrations, and printing and considerations
Newborn + Age 3-5: Illustrated Story Books
For the reader age group Newborn + Age 3-5 laminated hardcover or ‘board books’ are most popular. The story should be simple and enjoyable to both the child, and an adult reader in a shared reading experience. The story should flow along with single or double page illustrations, in colors and styles that will entertain this young and tender age group. The story text should be in a large text size and font that is easy to read. The text is usually broken into small paragraphs that are easy for early learners to follow along as the book is read aloud. Books produced for this age group also have size options to consider that depend on the intended use of the book. A large book will fit nicely in a library of favorite books for bedtime reading, but a more compact size will fit in a tote to take along on outings where reading would be enjoyed.
Ages 5–9: Early Reader
Ages 5–9 are in the Early Readers group so the story content is geared toward early vocabulary paired with illustrations that are relevant to the content to help early reader comprehension and add enjoyment to the reading experience. These types of books can be printed in several book sizes with full color or black only layout depending on story content.
Ages 6–10:First Chapter Books
Ages 6–10 are exploring their first chapter books. The vocabulary of this age group is growing and comprehension is expanding to understand a segmented story line. These books are usually in black only text, but they can also have simple black line or gray-scale drawings used on chapter title pages, or inserted in the story text as appropriate. A 5.5″ x 8.5″ or 6″ x 9″ perfect bound (softcover) book is typical for this age group. Or, if you would like to also offer a hardcover choice we can use the same layout and cover for both editions.
Ages 8–12: Middle Reader
Ages 8–12 are in a Middle Reader book level. The story needs to support a more sophisticated vocabulary and understanding of personal and social situations. Stories have be written for a wider range of reading capabilities, and yet have relevant content that appeals to the age group as a whole. Simple black line drawings or gray-scale illustrations can be included on chapter title pages or inserted into the story as appropriate. Hardcover or Perfect bound (softcover) books in a variety of trim sizes can be used for this age group depending on the intended use. If you would like to also offer a hardcover choice we can use the same layout and cover for both editions.
Ages 12-14 & up: Young Adult
Ages 12-14 and up are in the Young Adult (YA) age group. YA novels are stories written with adult vocabulary but have content that reflects young adult ideas, situations, and imaginative story line that will entertain a younger audience than most adult novels. Like their adult counterpart Young Adult novels are most likely to be printed in Perfect Bound books in the 5.5″ x 8.5″ or 6″ x 9″ trim sizes. If you would like to also offer a hardcover choice we can use the same layout and cover for both editions.
Content Dependent Reader Age Groups
Coloring and Activity books are most often designed with Ages 3–8 in mind but with the latest craze in adult coloring books that age group may be expanded to Ages 3 to Adult depending on content.
Game & Novelty Books are designed with interactive content, popups, fold out maps and games, and can even include toys or objects as part of the game, or items relevant to the story. These books can be geared to a range of Ages 3 and up, depending on content. Beware, these types of books are expensive to produce, requiring specialty printers, costly set-up fees, and minimum orders usually beyond the budget of a self-published author or small publisher.