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Children’s Picture Books Need Editors Too

Updated: Mar 16, 2021

Using a Children’s Picture Book Editor Can Mean the Difference between Success and Failure

By Michael Heath /

Children’s Picture Books Need Editors Too

We receive a lot of children’s book manuscripts and are often told by the author that he/she looked it over several times and it is ready to go. Maybe it is. The truth is that it probably isn’t. Just because the story is short and has been read over several times by friends and relatives should not be a reason to skip having a children’s picture book editor look at it.

Children’s Picture Book Standards

Children’s picture books are written for kids one to five years of age. Here are some things to know about this genre:

  • Children’s books are normally 32 pages, but sometimes 24 or 40

  • Word counts should be no more than one thousand words

  • There are three common trim sizes: 8 x 10 (profile), 10 x 8 (landscape), 8 x 8 (square)

  • 80# coated matte is the go-to paper stock due to its low reflectivity

A 32-page children’s picture book translates into 28 pages of illustrations and text. The writing must be such that a young person can understand the story, but not so long that he or she loses interest. Since children’s picture books contain a small word count, each word needs to count. Authors should avoid using wasteful words like big, little, large, very, almost, and nearly that may not elevate the story. The writer will want to employ active adjectives and adverbs that enrich the text. There also needs to be balance and the correct pacing of the story. Creating a mock-up of each page and reviewing how the tale tells makes for a good rehearsal.

Word Usage Matters

Mark Twain said that “the difference between the right word and the wrong word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.” Does such advice apply to children’s picture books? Hell, yes! I mean…heck, yes! Not only should the words be appropriate for young readers, but they should fit their vocabulary. A children’s picture book editor will focus on, among other things, the word usage. He/she will assure that the words used are easily understood by young readers. Some examples might be using train instead of locomotive, car rather than automobile, cat as opposed to feline.

Don’t Forget the Children’s Picture Book Editor

Imagination is a huge component of writing a good children’s picture book, but it is not enough. How sentences advance the plot is just as critical. Most of us have a boss and everyone needs professionals to help on the publishing journey. The writer who prints his/her children’s picture book without the assistance of an editor does so at his/her own peril.

To get the help of a children’s picture book editor go to:

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