Janet Lawler, Author, Poet, Mother, Title Graphic  
The Prehistoric Games
Rain Forest Colors
If Kisses Were Colors
Love Is Real
Ocean Counting
A Father's Song
A Mother's Song

Media/Publicity Kit

Chatting With Janet
Poem Zone
School Presentations
Curriculum Guides
Early Literacy

Upcoming Events

Contact Janet


Child reading book

When I decided I wanted to write children's books, I took several steps that I believe were key to my success. Undertaking the following will help you decide if this creative field is for you and will further educate you about the wonderful world of children's literature.


For a reasonable fee, you can join the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators(SCBWI). You do not have to be published to join this national organization, which provides a wide range of support for its members, including information on how to get started, what publishers want, how to submit your work, regional support, conferences, on-line critique groups and much more.

The SCBWI Home Page includes links to many other web sites that you should browse. You can visit wonderful sites that will improve your craft, inform you about the children’s publishing industry and provide current market information. You can access these links even before you join the SCBWI.


Read, read and read more children's literature, both classic and current. Find out what kids are reading today by talking to librarians and visiting libraries and bookstores. See which publishers are publishing what kind of books.

Read all the Caldecott Medal winners. The Caldecott Medal is awarded annually for the most distinguished American picture book for children published in the United States. Caldecott winners serve as fine examples of the best children's writing.

Read books which have been awarded the Newbery Medal. Each year the Newbery Medal recognizes the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.


If you attend SCBWI conferences you will hear editors from publishing houses talk about trends in the industry and what kind of work they would like to consider. Experienced authors also conduct sessions on the craft and business of writing, for both beginner and seasoned writers.

Some conferences allow you to submit work in advance (for a small additional fee) to be read by an editor or author who will provide a brief one-on-one critique. Other conferences or retreats may focus intensively on one genre, such as picture books or novels.

The Institute for Children's Literature offers correspondence courses. The Highlights Foundation offers workshops and courses. You may wish to take graduate level courses or obtain a degree in children's literature.

See additional programs and links provided by Rutgers University Council on Children's Literature.


Some publishers focus on work for a particular age group. Some publish only fiction, others non-fiction. Some publish only for educational markets, others just for the bookstore market. Get familiar with what a publishing house specializes in and the kind of work they want to consider.

In addition to researching library and bookstore shelves, you can study publishers' “identities” and needs by visiting their web sites where current catalogs are posted. The Children's Book Council can link you to the web sites of member publishers. You can look at what each publisher offers and search by topic to see if the publisher already has a book on the subject of your work. You can also search any of the major on-line book sellers.

Meeting editors at conferences will give you insight into preferences and needs in a way no other research will, since a published book does not identify the editor who acquired and guided the book to publication.

Publishers' requirements, interests and submission guidelines can also be found via the web sites and publications of The Children's Book Council and the SCBWI. Additionally, there are several annual publications that list such information, including Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market (Writers' Digest); Children's Book Market (Institute of Children's Literature); Writer's and Illustrator's Guide to Children's Book Publishers (Ellen R. Shapiro).


Connecting with other authors is a wonderful way to develop needed support. You should consider forming or joining a critique group, or participating in on-line critique groups and/or chat rooms on writing for children.

A critique group can assist in your growth both in the craft of writing and the business of marketing your book. And critique members can ease the sorrow of rejections and share the joy of many small and large steps in your career.

  Janet Lawler
Author Janet Lawler

Resource List

For Children's Writers
Word Version
PDF Version

Sublime Rhyme
(SCBWI NE 2013)
Word Version
PDF Version

How to Write Sublime Rhyme (first appeared in Children's Book Insider, Dec. 2009)
Word Version
PDF Version

Podcast of More Rhyming Tips (Interview by Laura Backus, CBI Clubhouse, Dec. 2009)
Listen to Podcast


The Prehistoric Games  |  Rain Forest Colors  |  If Kisses Were Colors  |  Love is Real  |  A Father's Song   |  A Mother's Song  |  Snowzilla  |  Ocean Counting
Media/Publicity Kit  |  Chatting With Janet  |  Poem Zone  |  
School Presentations  |  Curriculum Guides  |  Contact Janet
Copyright 2009-2016 Janet Lawler, All rights reserved