The juvenile market is the publishing term used for children's books. But the term “children’s book” covers a lot of territory.
Books for toddlers are very short and have pictures but usually no text. They are often used to introduce children to colors, shapes, numbers, letters of the alphabet, and concepts. They are read to children by adults.
Picture books are approximately thirty-six pages long, tell a story, and are illustrated. Depending on the vocabulary level, the book may not necessarily be one that the child can read himself. Picture books are written for children 3 to 6.
Young readers are books for children who are just beginning to read and are intentionally written with a vocabulary appropriate for the 6 to 8 age group. The average length of these books is 30-60 pages.
Middle readers are longer and are written for children 6 to 10. There's an overlap age-wise between young readers and middle readers since not every child progresses in reading competence at the same rate. Middle readers deal with more sophisticated topics, although many young reader and middle reader titles fall into the category of humor in order to help keep the child engaged in the activity of reading.
Young adult novels, referred to as YA in the publishing industry, are frequently as long as adult novels, usually in the range of 200-300 pages, although there is some variation in length depending on the subject.
The themes of YA novels can be quite sophisticated and deal with serious themes such as discrimination, dating, sexuality, coming of age, history, adventure, and others reflective of a reader's growing maturity.
It should be noted that writing for the juvenile market is not easier because an author is writing for children or young adults. On the contrary, it is more difficult to write for this audience since one must use the proper vocabulary, sentence structure, and syntax for a given age group. Also, an author must always avoid "writing down" to any particular age group, which is usually more sophisticated than we believe, especially in todays world.
As a ghostwriter, I handle middle readers and YA novels for clients seeking to publish in the juvenile market. (Fees are not lower simply because one is writing for children.)
I have two published titles in this area: Circling Goes the Wind (middle reader) and Rimsky Rises (YA).
I'd be happy to discuss your ideas for these two categories within the juvenile market. Send me an email and tell me about your project. I have a lot of experience in the juvenile market and would love to hear from you.
For more information about books I've written for the juvenile market, please see Writing/Editing Credits.