Earlier in 2020, I went on a socially-distanced walk with my friend Tammy, who is a mother of two boys under 7. We were talking about children’s picture books and she told me about a handful of books that she simply HATES to read with her kids.
It got me thinking about the experience of reading with children and how important it is to create picture books not just that children will want to look at and read, but that parents and adults will WANT to read to their little ones.
So, what makes a book exciting to kids but also appealing to parents?
Topics that both kids and adults can relate to
When I wrote Wally The Wandering Wallaby’s Around The World Adventure, I was writing about things I knew kids would like - like pizza in Italy and elephants in Thailand. But travel is a topic that most adults are excited by. So not only are the kids going on a journey, but the parents are going on a journey with them!
One reviewer said “This story makes me want to travel the world and also gives me a sudden craving for some Tom Yum.” This is exactly the point! To introduce kids to travel and excite adults about travel simultaneously!
Illustrations that both kids and adults will be drawn to
There is absolutely nothing wrong with simple, minimalistic illustrations for a children’s book. But if you want parents to feel excited about reading a picture book to their kids, you might want to think about the colors and images that might appeal to a parent or adult. In The Around The World Adventure, my main focus was to use bright and exciting colors for children with elements of travel that adults would love and appreciate.
An educational element for kids, teaching moment for parents
Like many toddlers, my 3-year-old nephew asks “why” and “what is that” over 100 times a day, maybe more. Instead of parents or adults having to come up with explanations for many of the terms and things mentioned in Wally The Wandering Wallaby’s Around The World Adventure off the top of their head, I created a reference section for kids and parents to reference throughout the book. This way, kids can engage and learn, and the parents can easily reference, point to, and read.