Posted by: nancyisanders | November 11, 2015

Nonfiction for Children’s Magazines: Engaging Text

DSCN3662 - Version 2

I hope you’re having fun working on your nonfiction article for a children’s magazine. If you’re planning on submitting it to Clubhouse Jr. one of the things I mentioned earlier is that they like quirky, engaging text.

So how can you take your writing up a notch with text so engaging it draws young readers in like these two boys in the photograph who are totally absorbed in catching that wave?

Here are some tips!

1. Write it in Second Person Point of View (POV). With its “you” voice it draws the reader right in.

2. Match your text with your topic. If your topic is poetic or inspirational (migrating whales or dancing cranes for example), choose to write more lyrical text with longer sentences and more passive verbs that produce a melodious and flowing rhythm.

If your topic is quirky (animal noses or tails for example) choose to write with more offbeat text. One way to do this is to vary several long sentences with 3 one-word sentences. For example:

Hop. Skip. Jump. The jumping spider leaps from leaf to leaf in search of tasty prey.

3. Use interesting verbs. Circle all your verbs. See which ones you can switch out for more lively and exciting verbs.

4. Use Onomatopoetic words. These can work well as a single word or a group of three. They are also usually italicized in the text. For example:

The orangutan clanked the chain against the tree. Clink. Clink. Clunk.


The ball bounced on the ground. Boink!

5. Give fun nicknames when appropriate. For example, at times I call the main character in my crocodile article, Mama Croc.

6. Make startling declarative statements. Again, referring to the same article, I state, “Who should win first place for being the best animal mother around? Mama Crocodile, that’s who!”

So as you’re writing your article and preparing it for submission, go through it and see if it passes the “engaging text” test.

And if you haven’t yet started writing your article, go ahead and get your first draft done. At 600 words or less, you can do it!

Then go through and edit it until it shines. Soon you’ll be ready to submit it!


And if you haven’t yet done so, be sure to sign up for a chance to win Laura Sassi’s new picture book, GOODNIGHT MANGER or a free picture book manuscript critique by moi, yours truly. The contest ends midnight, November 15. CLICK HERE for details.


  1. Thank you for your generous sharing of helpful tips!

    • You’re welcome!!! Hope this helps.

  2. Hi Nancy,
    Fantastic information. You really know your stuff. 🙂
    P.S. Did I have to do anything special to be entered in your offer of a free PB manuscript critique?

  3. You are wonderful. Thank-you so much for your tips.


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