Well, why not? Although I have to ask myself, am I writing for children, or am I writing for the part of me that doesn’t want to grow up? The answer is both. I have fallen in love with the picture for this post. To see young children completely engrossed in reading, to watch their faces as they read a story that makes eyes grow wide, or faces smile and laugh; where you can almost hear their innocent minds tick over and over as imaginations soar is a wonderful thing, even more so if you’ve written the story.
I volunteer at our local primary school in the small village where I live. The whole school comprises 28 children from Kindie to Year 6 and the Principal and teachers have kindly allowed me to do writing workshops with the kids. I will never forget the first time I read one of my stories to them, The Snowflake Who Wouldn’t Fall. It wasn’t published at that stage, just A4 printed pages with a snowflake design on them. I was completely overwhelmed with nerves … let’s face it, they were my most valid critics and I was relying on their imaginations (with lack of pictures) and my style of writing to see whether this story was going to be a hit or miss. They decided it was a hit and matched my excitement the first time I showed them the official published book.
Wicky the Wacky Witch didn’t go down so well! The bigger kids were at a sports carnival, so I was reading to Kindy, Year 1 and 2. I had deliberately made this story full of witty ‘w’ words and thought myself very clever at the time. Reading it out loud to the kids was a whole different experience. Their poor little brains were completely addled with all the ‘w’ words (I could see it on their faces) and they couldn’t follow the story. I kept tripping over the ‘w’ words myself whilst reading, which of course halted the flow. What a great lesson this was. A writer who hasn’t read their work out loud in their own private space is treading on tricky ground if they’re going to read to an audience. As soon as I got home, I hurled sentences and overuse of ‘w’ to the trash bin and ended up with the final published version, which they all love.
There is much joy in reading stories to a class full of children and seeing their imaginations captured. For that ten or fifteen minutes, we are all taken on a journey into a whole new world, away from the structure of lessons and I’ve seen so many of them inspired with their own creative writing ideas as a result.
I have become a part of the children’s’ community and the relationship between us is magic. They glow with pride in each book I publish as I glow with pride for their writing efforts. This is why I continue to write for children. And of course, it’s so much fun!