What Makes a Children’s Story Good?
Children love stories. Stories serve as a great source of both entertainment and education to kids. However, it is generally known that compared to that of the adults, the literary taste of children is more difficult to please and satisfy. In order for a story to be well-received by the young audience, it should be good. But what makes a children’s story good exactly?
There have been some arguments on how to determine the goodness of a children’s story. For some authors, a story is good according to the quality of the writing itself. For others, on the other hand, how much a story is consumed determines whether or not it is good. Ray Sobrino Jr. is a children’s author from California whose stories can be considered good because they are both well-written and well-received. His latest children’s story, particularly, entitled Ralphie the Roach became a finalist for the Feathered Quill Book Awards.
Taking a lesson or two from the stories of Ray Sobrino Jr. and plenty of other authors in the genre, this article adds more elements to the criterion for judging the goodness of a children’s story. As much as possible, this article tries to answer the question, what really makes a children’s story good?
Quality of Storytelling
Storytelling is a very important element of a children’s story. Storytelling essentially refers to the way stories or narratives are told and shared to an audience. It is the art of conveying a message, truth, information, knowledge, or wisdom to this audience. If the storytelling is good, then the story in general can be considered good as well.
There several ways to determine the quality of storytelling. For one, a storytelling is good if the story can be easily understood. This means that the story is told in a language that matches the way the audience communicates. When the storytelling is simple and comprehensible, the readers would no longer need to spend time interpreting and absorbing the story. Another determinant of the quality of storytelling is emotion. Good storytelling requires an emotional component. It should make the readers feel something – sadness, happiness, anger, and more. The more emotional the storytelling is, the more memorable the story becomes.
Amount of Entertainment
More often than not, children love to read and listen to stories because of the sense of entertainment that they bring. Because children easily get distracted due to their short attention spans, it important for a children’s story to be as entertaining as possible. Generally, children do not want stories that are dull and boring. The moment a story becomes uninteresting for them, children can easily leave the story halfway through. Because of this, in order for a story to be considered good according the literary taste of kids, it should have a great amount of entertainment in it. It should hook the readers from beginning to end by constantly making them entertained, excited, and interested.
Relevance of Message
Good stories for children usually contain a strong message that can inspire, enlighten, motivate, or delight them. This message should be relevant to the experiences of children in general. It should convince them or help them identify with a problem that they might be currently facing in their own lives. Topics or issues such as family, friendship, love, identity, and grief are a great premise for a message in a children’s story.
The stories of Ray Sobrino Jr. are good examples of stories that contain strong messages for their young audience. Ralphie the Roach, for example, tackle the issue of bullying, which has been pretty much rampant among schools for a long time. Charlie the Click Bug is another children’s story written by Ray Sobrino Jr. that contains a very relevant message for the kids – a message about accepting oneself and accepting the help of others in order to conquer any adversity in life.
Overall, the goodness of a children’s story can be determined by many things. Generally, however, a story can be considered good according to how effective it is told, how much entertainment it brings, and how much impact its message has on the young audience. If you are an aspiring author who wishes to create a children’s story that is well-written, well-received, and valuable, then always keep these elements in mind – quality of storytelling, amount of entertainment, and relevance of message. If you already have a finished, or near finished manuscript, go back through it and check whether or not your story contains these elements. If any of these elements is missing, then be sure to find a way to weave it in.