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6 Reasons To Spend More Time In The Children’s Section of the Bookstore

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You can learn a lot from a child. In fact, most good business principals are taught and learned at the earliest of years. (That good book: All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten? by Robert Fulghum is worth picking up again).

Be honest. Play well with others. Share. Wait for your turn. Be kind. Don’t bully. You know, the stuff that makes us good humans but that we lose by middle school — and, sadly, where many in entertainment are perpetually stuck. As they say, Hollywood is junior high with rich people.

The Children’s Section in your local bookstore and library is a good place to remind yourself what makes a great story. What connects with kids? What keeps their attention? What makes them stop fidgeting, hang onto every word, and stare wide-eyed waiting for the next page to turn? What gets kids to participate?

And this is true not just for kid’s properties. The same principles of story apply to all of us. Amazing to see heads rise and pen’s stop writing when someone says, “Let me tell you a story.” We are a story-driven people, uniquely so. And while Hollywood may consider itself the land of stories, truth is, great stories are found everywhere — and inside everyone.

Ok, now back to why you should go to the shorter stacks, get down low, sit with legs crossed and start reading children’s books. Here are some styles, elements, characteristics, and approaches that are worth remembering:

  1. Choose Your Own Adventure books. Stories that invite participation and gameplay.
  2. Connect-the-Dots book. Slowly revealing the story through anticipation and imagination. Leading the audience from one plot point (literally) to the next.
  3. Pull and Flip interactive books. An action causes a re-action. That type of reveal is filled with surprises and wonder.
  4. Fun and memorable titles. The kind that you want to say again and again. A twist of phrase. A rhyme. A mystery. Consider these: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Llama Llama Mad at Mama. Great titles.
  5. No fluff. There are no extra words in children’s literature. No wasted sentences. No confusing plots. No authors trying to impress their readers. Just the pursuit of perfect stories.
  6. Knowing the audience. How many times we hear the boastful claim that “this movie is for everyone!” Children’s books know their audience — even down to the exact age, gender, and interests. They know the audience is made up of a million niches.

Storytellers spend time in the world of stories. Marketers and distributors should spend time in the world of audiences — understanding what makes people move, to lift or turn their heads, to drop their doodling pens and listen, to click or swipe or show up … no better place to start than the children’s section of a bookstore or library.

©Aspiration Entertainment, 2020

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