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Alt-Text for Children’s Books

This section will explain how to write Alt-Text specifically for images in Children’s Books.

The same General Guidelines apply to images in Illustrated Books and Picture Books:

  • Write descriptions based on context
  • Write descriptions with a clear structure
  • Aim for conciseness
  • Use present tense / action verbs
  • Be objective
  • Do not censor

The biggest difference between Children’s Books and other types of books is the context. It is important to keep in mind the reading level of the book, and ensure that you write image descriptions that match that reading level.

Surrounding text or even parts of the text earlier in the book can describe what is in the images. In these cases it is good to take an extra moment to scan the book to find these. This will mean you will ultimately spend less time writing the description itself.

Think about repeated characters. Children’s books focus on the adventures of the main characters. When we see a character over and over again we only have to describe their actions and what is different about them. Don't mention a character’s name before it is told in the text. Before this, rely on a general identifier. For example: The boy in the blue hat, the bluebird, or the mouse with a ribbon on her head.

Word choice and tone is also very important. Remember the reading level the book is for and try to choose your words so they are not too complex. It is also important to try and match the tone of the surrounding text so it does not break the narration. We recommend applying the same writing style and terminology as the surrounding text.

Go to Writing Tip: Using Point Form Technique for a breakdown on how you can start the writing process

The following is a good example of tone.

[Alt-text] A great big full moon glows over the city skyline along the harbourfront. There are large city buildings in the skyline. In front of the buildings is a sparkling silver lake. On the lake are two boats, one with an orange flag flapping in the wind. Stars sparkle in the sky.

It is also good to take some extra time to find out the illustration style. This is an example of how beneficial it is to have the author and illustrator write the image descriptions. If you can not do this, don’t fret! Simply do a little bit of research. The illustration style can often be found on the copyright and publication information page, or in interviews with the illustrators, it can also be clear from looking at the image itself.

As with other types of Alt-Text, you only have to mention the style of the illustration once in the first image. After this, you can just keep with the description of the image itself.

Different Types of Image Spreads in Children's Books

Same rules for Age, Gender, and Skin tone apply to Children's Books.
For more on Writing go to the General Guidelines for Image Descriptions and Editing Alt-text.
If you have any questions, post your question on the Alt-Text Q&A

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public/nnels/etext/kids-books/kb_alt-text.txt · Last modified: 2024/02/20 12:27 by rachel.osolen