Dear Jannie, I am writing a fiction book that I hope will be popular with younger children and also older children and adults. I want to make my central character about 16 years old, because that is what it seems to me like she should be. There will be other main characters who are younger (about 14 and 11 years old), but won't this make it difficult for younger readers to identify and relate to the characters? How can I fix this? If I make the central character younger it just doesn't seem real, like someone that age wouldn't normally think and act like that. Thanks for your advice!
Not at all... younger kids dream of being older... may have older siblings...
You also might talk to your local librarian... get a few books that are directed to this age group... in other words, do some research... if it's a good story, the age problem should take care of itself.
If you are worried about "younger" children identifying with the book, don't. Some young kids read at a much more advanced level... just write the story...