A Rose By Any Other Name...Might Be Better.

For this month’s TITLE TALK theme, I took an informal survey of fellow children’s book authors asking them if their original titles were the ones used on the published book. I was surprised that most were able to keep their titles at publication. Those that ended up with different titles decided they were better choices for the book. Only one hated the final title chosen.

In my case, BOTH my middle grade historicals ended up with different titles than I’d started with. When I submitted the manuscript for WHEELS OF CHANGE, it had the title THE CARRIAGE MAKER’S DAUGHTER, which is what the story is about. But, the editor thought we would be in danger of excluding boys from reading the book with that title. Boys and girls love the book, so the editor was spot on for that choice.

My soon-to-be-published second historical had the working title of FISH, WISH, AND OTHER FOUR LETTER WORDS.  This was the title I woke up from a dream with and it helped guide me through the poems that make up this novel-in-verse. Many of the entries were indeed four letter words.  But, we all know that kids would see that title and come up with all the WRONG four-letter words!  So, it was no surprise that the tile was changed, and is now WISHES, DARES, AND HOW TO STAND UP TO A BULLY.

For those of us who lament and wonder why our editors seem to want to change titles, take heart.  Be thankful that someone is looking out for you and wants your book to be well received. That isn’t always the case as you can see in these awful titles of actual children’s books:

Here is a link to the Worst Book Titles Ever.   


Do you agree?  I’ll let you decide. Makes me grateful that the changes editors have made for most of the children’s books out in the world are for the better.


  1. Those bad titles are hilarious but not the way one would want a book to be remembered...LOL!

  2. I love the two new titles your editors helped you come up with. One of my author friends was told by her agent to come up with ONE HUNDRED possible titles for her book and try them out on all her friends!

  3. One hundred titles! Most of the time, that's exactly what it feels like it takes! Love the stories of your own titles, Darlene.

  4. I had about seven possible alternate titles, none of which made the final cut. Can't imagine 100, Claudia.I enjoy hearing how others have come up with titles as well, Holly.

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