Posted by: nancyisanders | October 8, 2014

Writing Opportunity: Let’s Dig Into Beginning Chapter Books

Since Kaeden Books says in their submission guidelines that they have a particular need for beginning chapter books, let’s dig into beginning chapter books!

Now, what exactly do they mean? I’m not sure, so the first thing I want to do is explore their online catalog to see what beginning chapter books they’re already publishing.

So I went to their site and hovered my mouse over their tab across the top that says BOOK/MEDIA. A drop-down menu appeared and near the bottom was CHAPTER BOOKS. So I clicked on the link. Click here to see the list of chapter books I found that they publish.

We want to study this list carefully and look for a number of things. I printed out this 2-page list of 14 titles and put it in a file folder marked: Kaeden’s Chapter Book Titles.

I was disappointed that none of these chapter book titles here include a Google preview, so we can’t actually see a picture of what their books look like inside as we did with some of their other books.

But there is a lot of information available, so let’s take a close look at what they DO tell us.

How about we study ADVENTURES OF SOPHIE BEAN: THE RED FLYER ROLLER COASTER. Click on that title and click on the tab for “View Description.”

It tells us the plot. Sophie Bean wants to go on a roller coaster ride but she keeps hearing she’s too small. (Sounds like there’s a lot of repetition in the text, which is what we’ve seen in earlier reading levels, too.) So it sounds like there’s a clear beginning where she goes to the amusement park, a middle where she keeps trying to get measured to see if she’s tall enough, and there will be a surprise at the end.

And the description concludes with a sentence that tells us a lot:

Students will relate to this story. Kaeden wants us to use universal themes in our stories that every kid can relate to. If you’re not sure what a universal theme is or how to brainstorm ideas for this, I go into great depth on this in Section 7.1 Fresh and Original on pages 164-171 in my how-to book for children’s writers, Yes! You Can Learn How to Write Beginning Readers and Chapter Books.

You can also find helpful lists of universal themes on the site of my favorite writing buddies, Writing According to Humphrey and Friends.

(The universal theme for one of these stories needs to appeal to kids in second grade.)

This description also says: “lovable character.” Kaeden wants lovable characters. Characters kids will love. This ties back into their submissions guidelines where they say they’re looking for strong characters with potential to become a series. Sophie Bean is one of these characters. That’s the kind of character you want to be thinking of for your own manuscript submission.

To wrap up this post today:
We’ll need to have a plot that has a beginning, a middle, and an end.
We’ll need to pick a universal theme for our story to be built upon.
We’ll need to pick a lovable character who can have multiple books written about him or her.


  1. You’re like a detective, Nancy!

  2. I thought the same thing, Tina–it’s a lot like detective work! Thanks for sharing your thought process, Nancy. I didn’t know you could infer so much from a few small facts.

    • You’re welcome, Sara and Tina. And be sure to get our your Sherlock Holmes detective hat and put it on. Our detective work is just beginning!!!!

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