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Question
Susan: I'm interested in writing a biography on an African American who was instrumental to the household of a famous person of the 1800s. The story is interesting once this person becomes employed in the household. But nothing of his childhood is known. It is known that he was born a slave in Maryland and that's it. How would you approach this as a children's biography without any or much reference to his childhood. All the children's biographies I see start out this way.

Answer
Hello Lisa:

Hmmm. I can see the problem here.

As I see it, you have two choices. You might aim the book at the youth market, rather than the children's market, where readers do not so much expect to identify with the subject as to simply get information, or just read an interesting book. Young children seem to want to read about children their age, fiction or non-fiction - Harry Potter is a good example - or a little older.

Or, you can write for younger children and make the book sufficiently interesting, and perhaps humorous, that they will be unable to resist it. This will take considerable skill, and would not be recommended for a first book.

What I would suggest is that you go to your local library and have a chat with the children's librarian, who should be able to give you some good advice.

I hope this has helped. If it has, a nice rating would be greatly appreciated. I am proud of my high score over thirteen hundred plus  questions.

And good luck with your writing!

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Susan Rand

Expertise

I can answer questions about the elements of fiction and non-fiction writing: how to get started, writing techniques, re-writing, etc. I will NOT write for you, do critiques except from my website at http://pygmypress.com, or give you ideas. I will not answer home-or-schoolwork questions in any category. If English is your second language, please say so, and I will make an exception. Please submit no more than one or two questions at once, as I tend to go into detail in my answers.

Experience

I wrote my first book in 1957 and have been writing and studying writing since. I have a BA in Written Communications, and have taught writing both privately and through adult education for 15 years. Have also edited (fiction books) for an online publisher and edited/wrote more than 100 articles for a teen sex education site. Currently writing web content and mentoring beginning writers.

Education/Credentials
BA degree in Written Communication

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