What Is A Chapter Book? How Is It Different Than a Middle Grade Novel?

Once a child graduates from picture books, there are several more steps before he is ready to read adult novels. I’ll talk about step readers and graphic novels in other posts, but today, I want to focus on both chapter books and middle grade novels.

Chapter books are shorter than middle grade novels.

Living Chapter Books for Kids: What We Read This Year

Some of the most famous among the classical longer books for children were chapter books, but since the introduction of the middle grade novels, there are fewer chapter books being published today.

Hannah Holt says that the length of chapter books falls into the following range: Here

“Word count varied from 5,000 words to 40,000 words, with an average (mean) of 17,200 and a median word count of 8,500.”

Jon S. Lewis says that the length of middle grade novels fall into the following range: Here

  • Upper Middle Grade: 60,000-90,000 words
  • General Middle Grade: 45,000-60,000 words
  • Lower Middle Grade: 20,000-45,000 words

Hannah Holt has written several articles that discuss the current publishing markets for all types of children’s books, but she said that there are so very few of the chapter books being published now that they represent an entity that is difficult to measure:

When I checked Publishers Marketplace, there were 3,826 deals for picture books, 3,029 deals for middle grade, 4,790 for young adult and 178 deals for chapter books.

Chapter books made up only 1.5% of reported Publishers Marketplace deals for children’s books.”

“Of the chapter book sales listed in Publishers Marketplace… The highest advance was $12,000. There were two deals around $4,000, and two authors accepted deals with no advance.:

About their agents:

All of the authors with chapter books at large houses are currently represented by an agent. These authors collected an average of 29 rejections before signing with their agent.

After signing they waited an average of 10 months before signing a book deal. Their agents sent an average of 2 books on submission late year, and sold an average of 2 books. They all hear back from 70% or more of their submission by the three month mark.

Their agents send stories to an average of 5-9 editors at a time.

Their agents mostly send to Big 5 publishers.