If you’ve taken courses about writing for children, or you’ve read any good children’s books lately, you probably comprehend that, most often, a child should be the point-of-view character in any story for kids. Otherwise, what you are writing might be a story About children, but it probably isn’t a story For children. By that I mean, it probably isn’t a story children themselves would enjoy reading.
Quite often, beginning writers think they are telling a story from a child’s point of view when, in fact, they are finding back to what it was like when they themselves were children. What they are positively doing then is telling their story from an adult’s retrospective. This is Not the same thing as telling the story from a child’s point of view.
To tell a story from a child’s point of view, come to be that child right at the start of the story. Don’t begin your opportunity paragraph letting the reader know you are now an adult. That spoils all for young readers.
Here’s a sample of an adult’s retrospective:
I was about 12 years old the summer my family decided to drive our old Chevy to the lake for a week of vacation, but I remember it like it was yesterday even though 40 years have passed since then. All 6 of us kids, and the family dog, Scooter, crowded into the back seat of the car. My mother passed out peanut butter and jelly sandwiches wrapped in waxed paper since plastic wrap was nearby yet back then.
Notice how right away this lets young readers know that the point of view character is now an adult, even though he or she is trying to review what it was like to be a kid many years ago. This ruins it for most kids reading the story and they will probably put down the story and read something else.
It doesn’t take much rewriting to come to be that child once again and tell the story from a child’s point of view. Like this:
One summer my family decided to drive our old Chevy to the lake for a week of vacation. All 6 of us kids, and the family dog, Scooter, crowded into the back seat of the car. My mother passed out peanut butter and jelly sandwiches wrapped in waxed paper. When she and my father unwrapped their sandwiches in the front seat, I could tell they weren’t peanut butter. They were bologna. That’s what adults ate for lunch, not Pb&J. Well, I was 12 years old. To me, it was time I got to eat bologna sandwiches for lunch, too.
Do you see the disagreement in these two passages? Does the second one lead you to believe the point of view character is positively still a kid?
Now…write a story from a child’s point of view instead of from an adult’s retrospective.
Just come to be a child again and write as if that child were showing and telling everything.