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Book titles make a huge difference in sales. Imagine if Where the Wild Things Are had kept its working title and concept, Where the Wild Horses Are.

Would it have been as compelling as an island of wild, unknown, monstrous things? I think not.

It’s amazing what a difference one word in a title can make. One PickFu author recently found this out while split testing two titles for a children’s early reader book.

The author asked 50 parents, “Which book title is more intriguing, and that would make you be more likely to buy the Read Along/Early Reader book for children ages 4-8? (Grooty is a tiny, hairless barn baby (homeless kitten).”

Option A’s title reads, Grooty Fledermaus Finds a Home.

Option B says, Grooty Fledermaus Finds a Friend.

Can you guess which one won?

And the winner is…Option B! With a score of 76 to Option A’s 26, it’s obvious readers liked the idea of Grooty Fledermaus finding a friend versus a home.

Let’s find out why.

Friends are more relatable

Parents seemed to like the word friend instead of home because when kids are in the 4-8 age range, they’re starting to build friendships of their own.

One parent said, “You want your child to start developing friends and social skills around these ages, so I’d most definitely go with Option B.”

Another wrote, “I feel like a 4-8 year old would be more interested in a friend than a home. The idea of needing a home of course is universal, but most children reading this book probably wouldn’t relate to that as well as they would making a friend.”

Assuming the children in your life live in homes but are delving into the rewarding yet complex world of friendships, these comments make sense.

Children may not understand homelessness

Unfortunately, this is only true of some children. Plenty of kids would connect greatly with Grooty Fledermaus finding a home because they want a good one, too.

But parents with children in stable homes felt that their kids would not understand the concept of finding a home like they would that of finding a friend.

Said one respondent, “Kids at that age can more readily relate to friendlessness than homelessness. And, I would argue, they aren’t really ready to grasp the consequences of that condition until they are older. In fact, I did not have the talk with my daughter until she was 10.”

Key takeaways

Even though kids with turbulent home lives — or no homes at all — might need a book about Grooty finding a home, they’re less likely to be your target audience.

One respondent suggested having Grooty find a friend first, and then let Grooty find a home in a second book.

That way, you can appeal to audiences with homes — and those without. Plus, this builds empathy and understanding for those experiencing housing insecurity.

Do you have children’s book titles you’d like to test? Take them to PickFu today and run a poll to find out which one your audience connects with the most.

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Laura Melchor

Laura Ojeda Melchor (she/her) is freelance writer whose work has appeared in Parents.com, Mom.com, Gardener’s Path, and of course, PickFu. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her debut middle grade novel, Missing Okalee, comes out from Shadow Mountain Publishing in the fall of 2021. Find her online at lauraojedamelchor.com.

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