Enhancing Storytelling in Kids' Books: 6 Techniques
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 8 min read


  1. Use of strong characters
  2. Incorporate a clear message
  3. Ensure a well-paced plot
  4. Engage with imaginative descriptions
  5. Apply repetition and patterns
  6. Include interactive elements

Imagine this: You've just finished penning down your latest children's book. With every page, you've tried to weave a magical tale, but something seems missing. Could it be the storytelling? If you're wondering how to improve storytelling in children's books, then you've stumbled upon the right corner of the internet. This blog is your friendly guide through six practical techniques to enhance storytelling in kids' books. Let's dive into the world of unforgettable characters and captivating plotlines.

Use of Strong Characters

Creating compelling characters is like cooking a delicious meal — each ingredient has to be just right. In children's books, strong characters can be the secret sauce that brings your story to life.

Developing Unique Personalities

Ever wondered why Harry Potter, Cinderella, or the Very Hungry Caterpillar are so memorable? It's their unique personalities that make them stand out. When you're trying to improve storytelling in a children's book, remember this:

  • Make your characters individual: Give them quirks, hobbies, and distinct voices. Is your protagonist a squirrel who loves to knit? Or a robot with a passion for poetry? The more specific, the better.
  • Stick to simplicity: While it's important to be unique, remember to keep it simple. Overly complex personalities can confuse young readers.

Building Emotional Connections

Creating an emotional bond between your characters and the young readers is like building a bridge — it helps them cross into the world of imagination. Here's how you can do it:

  1. Express emotions vividly: If your character is happy, show it with their actions, words, and expressions. This helps children understand and relate to the character's emotions.
  2. Illustrate struggles: Every character should have a problem to solve or a goal to achieve. This struggle can make the character more relatable and keep the readers engaged.

Consistent Character Development

Remember how we loved watching our favorite cartoon characters grow and evolve? The same applies to characters in children's books. Consistent character development is key to enhancing storytelling. Here's what you can do:

  • Chart a growth path: Your characters should learn and grow through the story. This can be as simple as a shy kitten learning to make friends.
  • Stay consistent: While your characters evolve, their core traits should remain consistent. If your character is a brave knight, they can still have moments of fear, but their courage should shine through in the end.

So there you have it! Creating strong characters is not just about making them interesting, but also relatable and consistent. And remember, every character you create is a chance to ignite a child's imagination and keep them turning the pages, eager for more.

Incorporate a Clear Message

Now let's tackle another ingredient in the recipe of how to improve storytelling in children's book: the message. It's the golden thread that ties your story together. Including a clear, accessible message can transform a good children's book into a great one. But how do you weave this golden thread into your story? Let's find out.

Choose a Simple, Relevant Message

The first step is choosing the right message. Here's a quick guide:

  • Keep it simple: Your story's message should be simple enough for kids to grasp. It could be as straightforward as "sharing is caring" or "it's okay to make mistakes".
  • Make it relevant: The message should also be relevant to the child's world. For instance, a story about a bunny learning to tie its shoelaces can teach kids about perseverance and self-reliance.

Embed the Message in the Story

Once you've chosen the message, the next step is to embed it into your story. Think of it as hiding a treasure that the kids will discover as they read. Here's how:

  1. Use the plot: Let your story's events illustrate the message. If your message is about bravery, show your character facing their fears.
  2. Let characters embody the message: Allow your characters to learn the message as the story unfolds.

Reinforce the Message

And finally, don't forget to reinforce the message. It's like repeating a catchy song's chorus—it helps it stick. Here's how you can do it:

  • Repeat it subtly: You can repeat the message subtly throughout the story. Remember, the aim is to reinforce, not to sound like a broken record.
  • Use illustrations: Pictures can speak louder than words. Use your book's illustrations to highlight the message.

So, that's how you incorporate a clear message in your children's book. Remember, the goal isn't to lecture kids, but to share a life lesson in a fun, engaging way. And who knows, your book might just become the next bedtime favorite!

Ensure a Well-Paced Plot

Let's move on to another key factor that can improve storytelling in a children's book: a well-paced plot. Have you ever wondered why kids can't put down some books, while others are left half-read? The secret often lies in the pace of the plot. Let's explore how you can strike the right tempo in your tale.

Balance Action and Downtime

Think of your story as a roller coaster ride. It should have thrilling climbs and drops, but also moments of calm to catch a breath. Here are some tips:

  • Action: Action scenes are like the steep climbs and drops. They keep the kids on the edge of their seats, eager to turn the page.
  • Downtime: Downtime, on the other hand, is like the calm moments. They give the readers time to digest what's happening and connect with the characters.

Create a Plot Arc

The plot arc is like a roadmap for your story. It guides you on when to introduce action and when to slow down. Here's a simple way to create a plot arc:

  1. Introduction: Start by setting the scene and introducing the characters. This is where you build anticipation.
  2. Rising Action: Gradually introduce conflict or a problem that needs solving. This is where the pace starts to pick up.
  3. Climax: This is the high point of your story, where the conflict peaks. It's the most action-packed part of your plot.
  4. Falling Action and Resolution: After the climax, slow down the pace as you resolve the conflict and bring the story to a close.

Keep It Moving

Finally, remember to keep the story moving. Avoid getting stuck in one scene for too long. Here's how:

  • Limit Description: While description is important, too much of it can slow down the pace. Keep it short and sweet.
  • Use Dialogue: Dialogue can help move the story along faster than narration. It also makes the story more engaging.

And there you have it! By ensuring a well-paced plot, you can keep the readers hooked from the first page to the last. After all, who can resist a roller coaster ride full of fun and excitement?

Engage with Imaginative Descriptions

Next up on our quest to improve storytelling in children's books is the use of imaginative descriptions. Kids have a vibrant imagination, and your book can become a magical portal to new worlds and adventures by using evocative descriptions. Let's delve into how you can do this.

Paint a Picture with Words

When crafting descriptions, try to paint a vivid picture with words. Let's say, for instance, you're describing a forest. Instead of simply stating it's a "big, green forest", you might say it's a "vast emerald kingdom where towering trees reach for the sky". Can you see the difference? The second description transports the reader right into the heart of that emerald kingdom!

Appeal to the Senses

Another way to make descriptions come alive is by appealing to the senses. Don't just focus on how things look. Describe how they sound, smell, feel, and even taste. For instance, the forest we talked about could have a "symphony of bird calls" and the "sweet scent of wildflowers".

Use Metaphors and Similes

Metaphors and similes can add a touch of magic to your descriptions. They can transform a simple sentence into a powerful image. For example, you might describe the sun as "a glowing orange ball bouncing in the sky" or say that a character's voice is "as soft as a whispering breeze".

Remember, the goal is to ignite the reader's imagination and make them feel like they're part of the story. So, the next time you sit down to write, ask yourself: Are my descriptions vivid enough to transport a child into the world I'm creating? And with that, we wrap up another exciting chapter in our journey on how to improve storytelling in children's books.

Apply Repetition and Patterns

Turning the page, we find ourselves at another strategy to improve storytelling in children's books - applying repetition and patterns. This method is not only beneficial for creating rhythm and structure, but also helps kids anticipate what's coming next.

Repeat Key Phrases or Actions

Consider a catchphrase for your main character or a repeated action that happens at key points in the story. This could be something like a special chant the character says before embarking on an adventure or a ritual they perform every morning. This repetition gives children something to look forward to and helps them connect with the story more deeply.

Use Patterns in Plot Development

Patterns in plot can help children follow the story better. This could be a sequence of events that repeats itself, like the character facing similar challenges and overcoming them in a certain way. It helps establish a sense of predictability, which is comforting for young readers.

Repetition in Language

Repetition in language - repeated words or phrases - can add a rhythmic quality to your storytelling. It can turn a simple sentence into a memorable line. For instance, a line like "And so, day after day, adventure after adventure, our brave hero journeyed on" uses repetition to give a sense of time and progression.

While repetition and patterns might seem simple, they are powerful tools in your storytelling toolbox. They can turn an ordinary children's book into an engaging, memorable experience - another step closer to mastering how to improve storytelling in children's books.

Include Interactive Elements

Another exciting way to improve storytelling in children's books is by including interactive elements. These elements can make reading a more engaging and immersive experience for children, allowing them to feel like they are part of the story rather than just passive observers. Let's explore a few ways to bring this interactive touch to your storytelling.

Create Activities Within the Story

How about adding some fun activities within the story? This could be a riddle that the character is trying to solve, and the readers can try to crack it alongside them. Or perhaps the character is lost in a maze or looking for a hidden treasure. With these activities, the readers become active participants in the story, adding an extra layer of engagement.

Include Questions and Prompts

Questions and prompts can encourage children to think more deeply about the story. You could ask questions like, "What do you think the character should do next?" or "How would you feel if you were in the character's place?" These questions stimulate the reader's imagination and help them connect with the story on a personal level.

Use Pop-up Features or Flaps

Imagine a book where a castle pops up when you turn a page, or a hidden message is revealed when you lift a flap. These physical interactive elements can bring a sense of magic and surprise to the reading experience. They make the story come alive in a tangible way and can make the readers look forward to what's coming next.

Interactive elements are a fantastic way to bring your story to life and captivate your young audience. They can make your book more than just a reading experience - it becomes a journey of discovery and play. And that's exactly what makes a children's book a standout in the world of storytelling.

If you're eager to learn more about enhancing storytelling in kids' books, don't miss the workshop 'Storytelling In Illustration' by Mirelle Ortega. This workshop will provide you with valuable techniques and insights to create captivating and engaging stories in your children's books through the power of illustrations.