Age Levels For Children’s Books

by Lisa Balthazar

If you’re writing a children’s book, it pays to be familiar with how publishers classify them. Publishers generally assign age groups for readers of various formats as set out in the following list:

  • Board books: Newborn to age 3
  • Picture books: Ages 3–8
  • Coloring and activity (C&A) books: Ages 3–8
  • Novelty books: Ages 3 and up, depending on content
  • Early, leveled readers: Ages 5–9
  • First chapter books: Ages 6–9 or 7–10
  • Middle-grade books: Ages 8–12
  • Young adult (YA) novels: Ages 12 and up or 14 and up

It’s okay to veer off a year or so in either direction when assigning a target audience age range to your work.

About the Author

childrens book editing services by Lisa BLISA BALTHAZAR is a publishing executive and book editor with over 20 years’ experience in the industry. She currently works with writers who intend to self-publish as well as writers who are preparing query letters and book proposals for literary agents and traditional publishers.

Lisa was Editorial/Publishing Director for Golden Books, Price Stern Sloan-Penguin Random House, Intervisual Books, Gateway Learning Corp (Hooked on Phonics), and other established publishing houses.

As an editor, Lisa has helped hundreds of published authors hone their skills as writers. She is always a writer’s toughest critic but biggest cheerleader.

Lisa's critique letter and developmental editing includes character development and character arc, storyline and plot points, drama and conflict, pacing, dialogue, writing style, effective transitions and chapter breaks, grammar, formatting, PLUS any issues with your novel you might not be aware of.

"Lisa is an excellent editor. She has edited several manuscripts for me that were sent to my agent who accepted them without change and sent them on to various publishing houses. They were published with a minimum of editing, thanks to Lisa's insightful and enlightened work. I highly recommend her." —Ellen Jones

Quick tips for children's book writers:

  • If your character hasn't changed at the end of your story, chances are he isn't yet fully fleshed out.

  • If your character talks to himself or does a lot of wondering aloud, he needs a friend to talk to.

  • Don't create main characters who have a problem they don't solve themselves or who don't change throughout the course of the story.
  • Don't talk down to children as if they're small, idiotic adults.

FREEBIE: Lisa's clients receive her Manuscript Formatting and Grammar Guide.

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