Genre tips

Today’s #AtoZChallenge: Genres–Chapter Books

The A to Z Challenge asks bloggers to post every day except Sundays during the month of April on a thematic topic. This year, my second year with A to Z, I’ll cover thirty more writing genres (I covered thirty last year!).

Today’s genre:

Chapter Books


a storybook intended for intermediate readers, generally age 7-10 and tells the story primarily through prose with explanatory pictures.

Tipsa to z

  1. Tell more of the story with prose than pictures. If you can display the entire story with pictures, it’s not a Chapter book.
  2. Don’t include art on every page. Chapter books have 3-4 pictures per chapter.
  3. Do have multi-layered plots and problems, and even subplots.
  4. Have black-and-white (or grayscale) art and a smaller font than is found in picture books, say, font size 14-16.
  5. Use your writing to help kids learn and solidify their reading skills.
  6. Make the story less than 40,000 words, less than 100 pages. The sweet spot is 15,000-20,000.
  7. Consider making your chapter book part of a series.
  8. Include about ten chapters though it’s ok to have more.  Each chapter is about eight pages.
  9. Make the language style conversational and simple.
  10. Always make the protagonist a kid (usually human, but not necessarily), somewhere within the age range of the readers.

Popular Books

  1.  The A to Z Mysteries by Ron Roy
  2. Fish Face (The Kids of the Polk Street School) by Patricia Reilly Giff and Blanche Sims
  3. Flower Fairies Friends by Cicely Mary Barker
  4. Into the Wild: Yet Another Misadventure by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Stephen Gilpin
  5. Judy Moody by Megan McDonald
  6. Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park
  7. Mallory and Max by Laurie B. Friedman
  8. The Magic Tree House by Mary Pope Osborne
  9. Ruby Lu by Lenore Look
  10. The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy

Click for complete list of  2018 A to Z genres

More C Genres:

  1. Cozy Mystery
  2. Commercial Fiction
  3. Children’s Writers
  4. Creative Nonfiction

If you’re doing the AtoZ Challenge, please add your name and blog address to this interactive list. I’ll be sure to visit you each day.


If you’d like to help with my book launch in June, please sign up at this link.


If you’d like to subscribe to my Writing Tips, Book Reviews, and More newsletter, sign up here.


Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the upcoming Born in a Treacherous Time. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer,  a columnist for TeachHUB, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.

46 thoughts on “Today’s #AtoZChallenge: Genres–Chapter Books

  1. Pingback: #AtoZChallenge: Genres–Cozy Plus | WordDreams...

  2. Pingback: #AtoZChallenge: Genres–Chicklit | WordDreams...

  3. The Magic Tree House! One of my favorite stories for a very long time – hits all the sweet spots of this genre – lots of learning, protagonists the same age as the reader and just few enough words not to be overwhelming.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. It was a mark of great achievement when the grands moved on to chapter books, which they gobbled like breakfast cereal. I hope people realize the simplicity of presentation does not mean this is an easy genre to write. I would add that kids love humor and suspense.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Jacqui,
    Ah yes, the chapter book. The very best thing about them is the pride young readers take in announcing that they are out of picture books and have ‘graduated’ to chapter books. When I tell them that I still read some picture books, I get looks of scorn and incredulity.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. ah to be a child again and see pictures of the Magic Faraway Tree and to know that there would be another in the series at some time. Though I’m not sure there was in my day – too long ago for recall. But I do remember liking pictures – as in Dr. Seuss and Roald Dahl when my boys were children ..

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Jacqui,

    Thanks for the highlighting want makes a good chapter book. I used to dream about writing a chapter book series but my brain just isn’t getting behind that idea very well. Maybe in time, it’ll come around to doing it. I’m totally not ruling it out! Thanks for dopping in to check out today’s letter prompt ‘C’ in my iPad art sketching series.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m not doing the AtoZ this year. It’s spring. I have two books ready to launch. I’m ready for a break and can’t take it until June, so the AtoZ would have probably pushed me right off that “edge” we all imagine being deadly. Good luck reaching Z.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I love chapter books!

    It used to be that the art was sparse as you say, but the text to art ratio seems to be trending more toward 50-50 these days. Classic faves like the Rainbow Fairies series, and Magic Tree House are being rebranded with more illustrations. Meanwhile, new chapter books like Princess in Black, Galaxy Zack and Captain Awesome are emerging – sometimes with full color illustrations!

    I think this might have something to do which the graphic novel craze, but I see that I’m getting ahead. No spoiler alerts here!

    Liked by 1 person

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