Saturday 29 March 2014

Getting Feedback from Kids by Melissa Gijsbers #ChaBooCha

A number of years ago, I remember reading a newspaper review for a kids TV show. This was a show that my kids loved at the time so I was familiar with it.

The reviewer, an adult, picked apart the scientific inconsistencies with the story – such as the fact it there was gravity on the moon. For kids aged 3 or 4, the location didn’t matter as much as the bright colours, fun stories and funny looking plants.

Writing for kids, I’ve found similar issues. I’ve had editors tell me the words I use wouldn’t be understood by children, or the language is too hard for children to understand.

This is where I’ve found giving my manuscript to children to read provides invaluable feedback.

I am lucky enough to have two children in my home who love to read, and they are usually my first readers. Aged 10 and 12, they are advanced readers, but I figure if they can’t understand something, then it needs changing. They are very good at asking what something means or telling me that something isn’t clear enough. They are also great at picking up typos.

Once they have read it, I have a number of other children who are happy to read my stories and give me feedback. They are average readers, rather than advanced readers, and again provide me with valuable comments on whether or not they can understand the story and the language.

I’ve found that children are often a better judge of what they can and can’t understand than adults are. This is one of the main reasons I ask children to read my chapter books before they are sent to my editor.

If you are looking at getting feedback from children, I recommend you print out your chapter book and have it bound so it feels like a book. This is often easier for children to read. I also give the children permission to write any corrections or questions on the print out so I can act on them when they have finished reading.

I find this feedback from children is invaluable in developing the story; after all, they are the people I want to read the stories once the books are published. 


Melissa Gijsbers is an Australian author and blogger. She has had flash fiction stories feature in a number of anthologies, including "Teapot Tales: A Collection of Unique Fairy Tales" and "Jingle Bells: Tales of Holiday Spirit from Around the World."  When she’s not writing or coming up with ideas for stories, she’s running around after two active boys and working in the family business. You can find her online at or on Facebook at



Leave a comment on this post in order to be entered to win a copy of "Writing Habit Mastery: How to Write 2,000 Words a Day and Forever Cure Writer's Block" by S. J. Scott. You must comment before noon GMT on March 31st as that is when the drawing will be done. Must be a signed-up member of ChaBooCha in order to qualify.


Amie Borst generously offered a copy of her book "Cinderskella" as a give-away on a previous post. (Residents of the US or Canada, if a winner, may choose either Kindle or paperback formats. All residents of other countries may only enter to win the Kindle format.) Today is the day the winner is to be announced. Rafflecopter randomly selected a winner, and the winner is:

Sharon Putnam

Congratulations, Sharon!


  1. Melissa, I loved reading about this. I agree that kid feedback is a fantastic way to make sure your stories have that certain kid appeal and the words, dialogue, etc fit the audience. I love the idea of letting them write ideas and suggestions for changes into the MS. Awesome!

    Congrads, Sharon!

  2. Great post Melissa and also great advice!! Who better to get criticism from then your audience! Thank you for sharing!

  3. Certainly makes sense to me and I have a couple of nieces and nephews that can help me out with that.

  4. I'm glad these tips were useful :) I know my kids are great at giving me feedback.

    Congratulations Sharon.

  5. Well done Melissa. proud of u. makes absolute sense doesnt it.
    congratulations Sharon. wooohooo

  6. Nothing like a kid to pick the holes in your plot! Love it!

  7. I agree that feedback from the actual readers is needed. Critique groups are great, but you also need beta readers.

  8. It's always interesting to see what the kids laugh at and what they don't get. Thanks for the post.

  9. Great advice. I'll be sure to come back to this post when I go to edit. Thank you so much for posting this!

  10. Great post, Melissa! Kids have a knack of cutting right through to the heart of the matter.

    I can’t believe I won! Thank you Rebecca and Rafflecopter!