Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Kiddie Lit: A Brave New World

Books are like old friends. I enjoy their company anytime. I can turn to them in the midst of troubling times and find comfort.

I have been thinking about the books that have shaped me into the person and writer I have become. I’m not talking about the Bible or self-help books. To me, the Bible is the ultimate life shaper. But no, I have been thinking about fiction. Books I’ve read throughout my life.

When I carefully consider why I have such fond memories of these books, I realize the joy I found in them went well beyond the story. If you have been following my blog you know I have a goal to work on two books for children this month. One book I first drafted as a teacher. The second I wrote for my grandchildren.

Can I write a book children will enjoy and treasure for a lifetime?

To help me answer that question I decided to look at a few of my all time favorite children’s books. What was it that made me appreciate them? What elements do they have in common? What made me want to read them over and over until the covers were worn and falling apart?

Heidi   Mine was the Golden Book version. I loved the Swiss mountains, Grandfather, the goats. I loved the way Heidi helped Clara walk again. And of course, I loved Peter. Even as a child, I harbored the romantic notion that Peter and Heidi would grow up, fall in love, and live happily ever after.

Nancy Drew    I was a proud member of the Nancy Drew Mystery club. I lived on a farm at the time. Each month a new book would arrive in the mail. What a treat! I would change from my school clothes into my play clothes, grab my book and climb into my favorite tree to read. I never questioned why the books never came in a wrapping of any sort. Years later I learned my mother, who reads everything would retrieve the book from the mailbox and read it before I got home. Nancy Drew solved mysteries. She was a confident teen character. I looked up to her. By the way, I read one those books recently. I learned they were definitely written for a younger age group. That’s okay. I still treasure memories of reading in that tree and trying to figure out the ending.

The Monster at the End of this Book   I didn’t read this book until I had children of my own. I love the illustrations and the story line. Most of all, I loved the surprise ending.

Ramona the Pest    Thank you, Beverly Cleary for Ramona. I read this aloud to first graders at the beginning of each school year. My students could readily identify with five-year-old Ramona as she started kindergarten. I wish it had more diversity, however.

Charlotte’s Web   This is another book I read to my students and enjoyed with my own children. It is a book about friendship and loyalty. But I also used it to teach my students about seasons, farm animals, and spiders. We ended the book in my classroom with a “County Fair.” I like books that launch creativity and teach a little something along the way.

Here is what I know about the children’s books I love:
1.     I like it when good wins out over evil.
2.     I like twists and turns leading to a surprise ending.
3.     I like characters with whom I can identify. Sometimes confident, often not.
4.     I like books that help children learn something without beating them over the head with it.

So can I do it? We shall see. I am working on both books. Then I will need to learn the children’s book publishing world. Any ideas? 

Since my comment section isn't functioning, feel free to send me an email  at 
NOTE: You will need to type the address in your email account. It is not a live link. :(

No comments:

Post a Comment

Leave your comments here. I look forward to hearing from you.