WHAT MAKES A CHILDREN’S AUTHOR
It’s been some time since I last wrote a blog. My excuse is that I was busy completing a trilogy. More about that later.
Presently, the following is on my mind: I recently offended someone in a writing class by pointing out that there is a vast difference between an amateur who creates a few poems or a few short stories and a ‘professional’. Also, that if this person is writing for children, that the difficulties multiply. People often assume a children’s author only writes texts for story picture books, often unaware that these are as difficult to produce as a perfect haiku. Some still believe with the aid of a computer that they can write a publishable text for their children/grandchildren. I wonder if those same people who will one day ‘write a book’ could claim to be able produce a saleable painting, or play an instrument in front of an audience without years of practice and experience?
They often seem unaware that children’s authors produce work for differing age levels, though movie makers use books aimed at a young adult audience for their terrific plots and characters.
All this leads me to comment on how little children’s authors are respected. How many names – apart from JK Rowling – can even a dedicated reader come up with? Note how very little space is devoted to critiques of children’s books in newspapers and ezines. Children’s books are often placed at the back of a book store, and too many are an imported series. Yet when overseas book sales are studied, books aimed at children head the list.
But my reason for this rant is the vast number of schools presently turning their libraries into computer rooms. Reading encourages a child’s imagination and an ability to see beyond the immediacy of an illustration or a photo. I watch too many toddlers being distracted with pads and mobiles, the same children who should be listening to someone reading aloud or playing with actual toys. Without fostering the imagination of our youngsters from the very start, we will lose our future creators, and that includes those that work in technology. It seems that we are transforming children’s brains in ways we can’t foresee and we can no longer predict the consequences. If we don’t want to breed a generation of kids who think all knowledge and imagination can be found via Mr Google, we’d best do something very quickly about it.