Sunday, June 1, 2014

Writing: One Way into a Child’s Heart

An author of children’s books needs to be in tune with kids’ needs and emotions. How does one do that?

The most important answer to the question lies within one’s own heart.  We must know right from wrong, basic values children need and positive role modeling to name but a few.  Only when we are quite convinced all this is well and truly in place within us, can we dare to instruct, gently and judiciously, through our stories.

We need to know children.  Their hopes. Their dreams.  Their fears.  Their frustrations.  If we are going to address their inner most psyches with our words, we must be careful to honor those feelings and to never belittle or minimize them.  We have to be true to the children we are trying to reach.

Now, this does not have to be carried out as a sad, slow-moving dirge; indeed, quite the opposite. Embedded in our sweet, scary, interesting, adventurous or belly-laugh books should be nuggets of human truth. The same notion that good teachers call implicit curriculum. Live it. Model it. Be it. 

But can we as authors really achieve finding the absolute truth, and courage to write about it?  Carefully, thoughtfully, sensitively, humanely, we can guide our young readers.  If we are successful, we leave the child better for having read our book. We hope s/he has grown and, in a way, has matured because of us.  What else can we ask for as an author?

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