Children’s Book Categories

Children’s books are difficult to write. Trying to categorize a children’s book can be even more difficult as the categories can overlap due to age, reading level, and interest level of children.

Below is simple at-a-glance for the different children’s book categories, or levels. Remember that these are not hard and fast rules. Publishers will sometimes name the categories differently or have more or less categories than listed below.

Cartoon picture of young, brown haired boy hold pink children's book

Children's Book Categories At-a-Glance

Type of Book

Target Age

# of words per book

# of lines per page

# of pages


Board Books

0 to 3


8 to 16


Picture Books

4 to 8


1 to 4

24 to 48

Yes, part of story

Early Readers



2 to 8

32 to 48


Chapter Books

7 to 10

2,500 to 12,000

Up to 15

64 to 130

Yes, on every page or spot art

Middle Grade Books

8 to 12

15,000 to 55,000


60 to 220

Not often

Young Adult Books

13 and up

50,000 to 100,000


200 and up


New Adult Books

15 and up

50,000 to 100,000


200 and up


Board Books Examples

Picture Book Examples

Early Reader Examples

*Note on early readers: Since these books range from about 4 to 8 years of age, the complexity varies. Some publishing houses split them into young early readers and old early readers. Also, each publisher names their early readers differently, some assign number levels, etc. Early readers can also be made from more complex books and stories by simplifying the language.

Chapter Book Examples

Middle Grade Book Examples

Young Adult Book Examples

New Adult Book Examples

There are so many books in each category. Go ahead and search each category if you need more examples of the books. I’ve linked to each book, but I in no way receive any compensation from any purchases made. I just want to make sure you have a quick way to check out the books.

Another way to get an idea of how to categorize children’s books is to visit your local library. The librarians will be able to answer any questions you have about children’s books. I also suggest explaining your story to them and see what they think the appropriate category is.

I hope this helps you in writing your next children’s book!

For more information about copy editing and proofreading visit the About and Services pages.

Have an absolutely fantastic day!

Michelle Merritt

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