5 Composition Improvement Tips for Kids' Books
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 6 min read


  1. Simplify the plot
  2. Use relatable characters
  3. Include dialogue
  4. Repeat key messages
  5. Make the ending satisfying

Ever wondered how to improve composition in a children's book? Whether you're a seasoned author or a budding writer, the world of children's literature has a unique set of rules. The composition, in particular, requires a special touch. It's not just about coming up with a story, but about how you present it. Creating a book that captivates a child's imagination, holds their attention, and imparts valuable lessons is an art form. This blog post will guide you through five key steps to elevate your kids' book from good to great. So, let's dive in!

1. Simplify the Plot

The first step in how to improve composition in children's book is to simplify the plot. A straightforward, easy-to-follow storyline is a pillar of children's literature. It allows young readers to follow along and grasp the narrative without feeling overwhelmed.

Stick to One Main Theme

Having one main theme helps keep your plot simple and focused. It's easy to want to teach children everything at once, but remember—you don't have to tackle every life lesson in a single book. For example, if your main theme is about being brave, let the story revolve around it. Use scenarios that show the value of bravery, and avoid introducing unrelated themes that might confuse your young readers.

Limit the Number of Characters

Too many characters can make a plot convoluted. Stick to a few key characters that contribute directly to the main theme. This also makes it easier for kids to remember and relate to the characters. For instance, Harry Potter, Ron, and Hermione are the heart of the Harry Potter series. While there are numerous other characters, they all revolve around these three, making the plot easy to follow.

Keep the Plot Linear

Children find linear narratives easier to understand. This means your story should have a clear beginning, middle, and end. For example, in "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" by Eric Carle, the caterpillar starts as an egg, eats through various foods, and finally becomes a butterfly. It's a simple, linear narrative that children love.

In the quest of how to improve composition in children's book, simplifying the plot is a great start. It makes your story accessible, engaging, and enjoyable for young readers. Remember, the beauty of a children's book lies in its simplicity.

2. Use Relatable Characters

The next step in how to improve composition in a children's book is to create relatable characters. Characters are the heart of any story, and children are quick to identify with characters that reflect their own experiences, emotions, and dreams. So, how do we make our characters relatable to our young readers?

Create Characters that Reflect Children's Experiences

Children resonate with characters who go through similar experiences as them. This could be as simple as a character losing their favorite toy, facing a bully, or being nervous on their first day of school. For instance, in the popular book "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day" by Judith Viorst, Alexander's experience of having a bad day is something every child can relate to.

Use Characters to Express Common Emotions

Children's books can serve as a great tool to help kids understand and express their emotions. Characters that display a range of feelings—happiness, sadness, anger, fear, excitement—can teach children that it's okay to have these emotions. Consider the "Elephant and Piggie" series by Mo Willems, where the characters regularly express a wide range of emotions.

Make Characters Dreamers

Lastly, make your characters dreamers. Children are natural dreamers, and they love characters with big dreams and wild imaginations. Think of "Harold and the Purple Crayon" by Crockett Johnson. Harold's ability to shape his world with his crayon is a dream come true for any child.

To sum up, using relatable characters is a powerful way to improve composition in children's books. It allows children to see themselves in the story, making the reading experience more engaging and meaningful. And remember, the more your readers identify with your characters, the more they will want to come back to your book.

3. Include Dialogue

Another tip on how to improve composition in children's books is to include dialogue. Dialogue can bring your characters to life, make your story more dynamic, and stimulate the imagination of your young readers. But, how can you write effective dialogue for a children's book? Let's dive into that.

Make the Dialogue Simple and Clear

The first rule of writing dialogue for children's books is to keep it simple and clear. Children are still developing their language skills, so they should be able to understand what the characters are saying without any difficulty. Consider using short sentences and everyday vocabulary. For example, in "The Cat in the Hat" by Dr. Seuss, even though the cat's dialogue is playful and silly, it is still simple and easy to follow.

Use Dialogue to Show, Not Tell

Dialogue is a great way to show the reader what's happening instead of telling them. For instance, instead of saying "Billy was scared," you can have Billy say, "I don't want to go in there. It's dark and spooky!" This way, the readers can infer that Billy is scared, which makes the reading experience more interactive.

Make the Dialogue Sound Natural

Lastly, dialogue should sound natural, just like a real conversation. This doesn't mean using slang or grammatical errors, but rather, it should reflect how kids talk in real life. "Frog and Toad" series by Arnold Lobel does a great job in this aspect. Frog and Toad's conversations are simple, direct, and sound just like two real friends talking.

In conclusion, including dialogue is an effective way to improve composition in children's books. It not only makes the story more engaging but also helps children to better understand and connect with the characters. So, next time you're writing a children's book, don't forget to let your characters speak!

4. Repeat Key Messages

When thinking about how to improve composition in children's books, repeating key messages is a strategy that shouldn't be overlooked. Repeating important points or morals can help children remember and understand the main takeaway from your story. So, how can you effectively implement this strategy in your book? Let's find out.

Use Repetition with Care

Repetition can be a powerful tool, but it's important to use it wisely. Rather than repeating exact phrases verbatim, try to rephrase or present the same idea in different contexts. For example, in "The Little Engine That Could" the phrase "I think I can" is repeated throughout the book, reinforcing the message of self-belief and determination in various situations.

Your repeated message should be linked to the theme of your story. This gives your story consistency and helps the reader understand what you're trying to convey. In "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" by Eric Carle, the caterpillar's constant eating is repeated, which ties back to the theme of growth and transformation.

Make Repetition Fun

Repetition doesn't have to be boring. You can make it fun and interactive by encouraging the children to join in with repeated phrases or actions. "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?" by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle is a perfect example of this. The repeated question engages young readers, making them actively participate in the storytelling.

So, remember, repeating key messages can be a great way to enhance the composition of your children's book. It helps emphasize important points and makes the story more memorable for the young readers. So, go ahead and use this tool in your next book project!

5. Make the Ending Satisfying

When considering how to improve composition in children's books, a satisfying ending is a must. It's the final impression the reader gets, so you want to make it count. But what makes an ending satisfying? Let's explore.

Resolve the Main Conflict

Every good story has a conflict that needs resolving. Whether it's a quest to find lost treasure, a journey to a magical land, or a friendship that needs mending, wrapping up the main conflict gives your reader a sense of completion. In "Where the Wild Things Are" by Maurice Sendak, Max returns home after his wild adventure, resolving the main conflict and providing a satisfying ending.

A great way to create a satisfying ending is to link back to the start of the story. This brings the narrative full circle and provides a neat conclusion. For instance, in "The Snowy Day" by Ezra Jack Keats, the story ends with the snow melting—just as it began with the first snowfall.

Leave a Lasting Message

A memorable ending often leaves the reader with a lasting message or moral. This gives the reader something to think about long after they've finished the book. In "The Giving Tree" by Shel Silverstein, the ending leaves us with a poignant message about love and selflessness.

So, to improve the composition of your children's book, pay attention to your ending. Make it satisfying and memorable, and your readers will keep coming back for more.

If you're looking to improve your composition skills for creating captivating kids' books, we recommend checking out the workshop 'Tips To Compose More Compelling Photos' by Austin James Jackson. Although the workshop focuses on photography, the composition principles discussed can be applied to illustrations and other visual elements in kids' books. Learn from Austin's expertise to create engaging and visually appealing stories for children.