This post first appeared on #BookBlastoff.
I often hear the question: “Why do you write for children?” Friends and family are inquisitive. Strangers are intrigued. And children themselves are genuinely curious. In moments of self-reflection, I have asked myself this question as well.
There are many reasons why I write for children. Here are three:
1) I write to offer nuggets of inspiration. When writing, I focus on how children will see pieces of themselves and others in my stories, and how that might provide nuggets of inspiration in their lives. I hope that when children read SCARLET’S MAGIC PAINTBRUSH, they realize they don’t need to strive for perfection, but instead can rely on their own type of magical creativity. Similarly, I hope that after reading READY, SET, GORILLA!, children might consider how they can play fair. And when RETURN OF THE MAGIC PAINTBRUSH releases in 2019, I hope children will reflect on being a kind and generous friend. When children tell me that my words have helped them solve a problem, conquer a fear, or understand the world a bit better, I feel like my mission has been accomplished.
2) I write to spark imagination. During school visits or other book events, I enjoy listening to insightful comments and questions that let me know what children are dreaming about, what they’re worried about, and what they’re hoping for. When I’m reading my books, I watch the kids’ reactions – I love to hear big belly laughs at funny parts, surprise “oohs” at twist endings, and “ahhhs” at sweet sections. As an author, I believe I have a responsibility to give something special to my young readers. I hope I can spark a reaction that stirs the imagination. That’s what books did for me when I was a child, and I hope that I can continue this legacy with my own writing.
3) I write to encourage connection. When I read aloud my chapter book, THE ENCHANTED SNOW GLOBE COLLECTION: RETURN TO CONEY ISLAND, I always field questions about how I researched this time-travel chapter book. I talk about how I was inspired to write the story based on my own family history, and I discuss my grandparents’ adventures in Coney Island during the 1920s. I relish hearing comments about stories children would write surrounding their grandparents or other relatives. Then I know that I have encouraged connection. To further this connection, I hope that families might organize parent-child book clubs, using my stories or other books as springboards for discussion and theme-related activities including projects and field trips. The connections families can make through bonding about books will last a lifetime.
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It’s truly an honor to be part of the lives of children through the books they read. I love telling stories and it’s a privilege to share my stories with children and their families. Ultimately, that’s why I write.