Share a story with a child.
The quote is: "Follow your passion."
I say, "Why follow? Instead, walk beside it. Better yet, dance with it.
Be it. Live it."
I write stories for children. I'm fascinated by the mystery of imaginary characters revealing their lives to me. Truly, I grow to love and care for them. I have to keep writing, hoping to get it right. I simply don't have the heart to let them go, to abandon these characters who have revealed so much to me. They don't seem imaginary anymore. Perhaps because I have glimpsed my own heart in the telling. All I know is that their stories become a part of me and my greatest hope and wish is that I may write their story well enough that a young reader will care about them too. This is also a mystery to me; how a writer writes a story and a reader reads a story and this connection changes them both. Amazing.
It may take years to get a story right and I am glad to spend my time doing so fueled by hope and faith that my words will resonate with a young reader.
I write for children. It's important work.
I am also a children's librarian. I do my very best to encourage a love of reading in children. My mother once said to me, "If you can read and read well, you can do anything." Well, I certainly can't do everything but I have learned so much through books. My life has been shaped by the stories in books. Books opened my mind to new ways of doing things, to new ways of thinking about the right way to live. I have also seen what happens when a child can't read well, or they think they can't and so they don't even try. I believe they can't handle the disappointment of feeling inept, even if they don't admit it. It makes them feel sad. It's heartbreaking.
I was nearly six years old on the very special day when I read words on a page and a picture popped into my mind. I remember the moment. I do. I was beside myself. I know magic! That's what I was thinking. I wanted to jump up from my chair, dance with my classmates, shout through open windows. No one around me seemed to be feeling the same so I sat quietly but inside of me I was jumping with joy. From that very moment, I read aloud to anyone who would listen. Thank you Mom.
How can I bring this magic to children? Read a story. What better way is there? (I must admit that bringing homemade chocolate chip cookies to the Boys and Girls Club brought about great interest and I had a roomful of eager listeners.) Yes, the cookies brought them into the room but the story captured their imagination. The best encouragement comes in a gentle way. It is my hope that the child who thinks they are not a good reader finds the courage to pick up a book and open it. It's the first step. It leads to many more.
So, I encourage. I plant good seed.