Friday, July 11, 2014

Guest Post: Why I Write for Children by Darlene Foster

I began my love affair with books as a child. Some of my fondest memories are being read to by a family member, visiting the library for the first time, and discovering the ability to read by myself. I keep worn copies of favourite childhood books and revisit my old friends from time to time for comfort. Books and children go together like strawberries and ice cream.

Writing for children is important to me because I want children to develop the same love of books I had as a child. That love doesn’t go away. Children’s books create lifelong readers; readers who eventually buy adult books. Without children’s books there would be no market for adult books.

One grandmother recently purchased my Amanda travel/adventure books and sent me this email:

My 12 year old granddaughter just finished your books. She loved them. We were camping and we kept telling her to put the books down and come and play. This is the first time I have seen her get so excited about a book. Your books have given her a love of reading. Thanks for the good reads.

While writing for children can be fun, it is not easy. You have to remove yourself from the adult world and think like a kid. I like to hang around kids, listen to the words they use, observe the gestures, the looks, the trends.  I also read current, middle reader books to see what today’s kids enjoy.  I revisit some of my old favourites like The Bobbsey Twins, Little Women and Anne of Green Gables, to remind myself what I liked about those books. Children notice things adults wouldn’t and could care less about things adults think are important. It’s important to get into their head space. And guess what? While I’m writing, I get to be a kid again - and I love it!

The main character in my first book, Amanda in Arabia-The Perfume Flask, is a Canadian girl who wishes for travel and adventure on her twelfth birthday. The next day she gets a ticket to fly to the United Arab Emirates to visit her aunt and uncle. There she has an adventure of a lifetime.  One young reader said, “I want to know where Amanda will travel to next.”  That motivated me to write Amanda in Spain-The Girl in The Painting.  I had so much fun writing about Amanda, her travels, and escapades that I continued by writing Amanda in England-The Missing Novel. Where will it end? I don’t know but I have many more ideas and am currently working on book number four.  I have to, my fans are expecting it. These very same fans will grow up and buy adult books soon.

When I hear someone say, “She or he only writes children’s books,” I remind them that writers of children’s books are creating readers for life. It’s an important job and one I am happy to take on.

Author links...

Darlene Foster's website

Darlene Foster's blogsite