Jane Friedman

How to Write From a Child’s Perspective—But for Adult Readers

If you’ve ever tried to write children’s literature, you probably found that it’s just as hard as writing for adults, even if the work is typically shorter. Plus there’s the added challenge of understanding and writing about the challenges faced by kids today, which can be different than those you faced twenty, thirty, or forty more years ago. (For those curious about writing for youth, here’s a great post on YA writing.)

But what if you want to write from a child’s perspective for adults? In the latest Glimmer Train bulletin, novelist Sophie Chen Keller offers an incisive look at what’s different about it:

Theme played an important role. I explored topical social issues, like gentrification, homelessness, immigration and alternative family structures, and raised questions around losing, searching and finding—on being human, on living. I relied on symbolism and imagery to imbue simple or childlike elements with depth of meaning. And finally, while the narrator is a child, he is surrounded by adults who are dealing with adult problems and situations; their stories of loss and longing are the beating heart of the book. Their stories are the anchor to this world as we set sail for the golden days of childhood we lost.

Read Keller’s entire insightful essay.

For more writing advice, check out other essays in Glimmer Train: