Children’s Books-No Picnic

Why would anyone want to write a children’s book when it’s the most difficult category in which to obtain a publishing, anything. Believe me, I know this first hand. But, what is moving deep within a person that pushes them on, regardless of the odds? Now, we’ve established that it’s difficult to stir a publisher’s curiosity. But, with a driving force the story lines continue to bubble, because of the love for this particular type. The affection for it makes developing the tale so easy to create. However, through it all, I’m left wondering what fashions the desire, since this genre is so opposite to any other. Maybe it’s a combination of a host of reasons beginning with the writer being a child in his/her own right; young at heart, so to speak. Or just that the end result will be a happy fable, all wrapped up with the fact the author loves children.

I think back to my childhood – I read everyday, every week. I would make my way to the school library once every three or four days, and load my arms with as many books as my little skinny arms could carry. Then, instead of socializing, I’d immediately crack one of those covers, and allow the author’s blood and tears to take me to the land created between those hard covers. I recall on many occasions even having difficulty lifting my head to walk. Could those writers have influenced me to want to develop my space in time – leaving me with a desire to recreate a loved childhood, lost to the years?

Maybe the writer enjoys recalling the time playing outside? As for me I never wanted to go in the house. I always wanted daylight, which meant I could stay out forever. Perhaps a special childhood friendship is the motive, and recreating that alliance on paper will hold those memories close to the heart. Because we know we grow up so fast, and when you reach a certain age, one realizes how fast the years have gone by – didn’t I have my twelfth birthday two years ago? Therefore, why not preserve those precious moments. Watching youngsters play; listening to their heartfelt laughter, and understanding how simple life is then – the way they roll around in the grass, jump rope or play hopscotch without being ridiculed. Does the writer still have these desires, admitting to themselves it really did end too soon, and they weren’t done being a child?

As for me I undoubtedly needed more time. I loved laying in the grass, climbing trees, and riding my bike. Which again states, for me, it may be about reconstructing a bygone era; a time when no worries abound, and summer spelled staying outside until the lightning bugs appeared. Then, chasing and catching them until a parent’s voice summoned. After all of this, I’m still wondering, and asking what drove the greats, George Washington Carver, C.S. Lewis, and Beatrix Potter – how can I possibly hope to be such a writer? Did they also have a longing to return to their childhood? What makes one want to contribute to the young mind? Is it an attempt to be part of a child’s development; bestowing the same morals as were instilled in us by our parents or a combination of the two? Too many questions, too few answers. All I know is that writing children’s books is so close to my heart, and extremely fulfilling. I pass these questions on like handing off the Olympic torch – if you have a love of writing children’s books, take a minute – tell me why, and maybe your answers will resolve some of my nagging questions.

Photos courtesy of iStockPhoto

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4 thoughts on “Children’s Books-No Picnic

  1. I’ve written two children’s stories. The first one for a class and it was my Mom’s story given to new charcters, all toys. The second was something that happened to Hubby and me and I gave the story to a couple of young boys. I never did anything with the first story but the second story won two contests and was later published.

    As a contemporary writer who usually writes about law enforcement and romance, why did I do it? I needed to tell the story. For most writers that what writing is all about.

    • And my other question would be, why is it so difficult to get something published. I have four I think, one is a pic book. I sent it in with a friend to someone at Little Brown, who said, we don’t do picture books. Then, a few years later, I see them doing pic books, but now I don’t want to resend it back with the same person. Go figure.

  2. Someone mentioned that my published short story would make a great picture book. I have a sister who is a children’s book reviewer, but even that didn’t help. She had connections and I haven’t heard a word on the submission. It’s a very tightly controlled market from what I’ve seen and heard.

    I’ve been to events and I find children’s authors are the least friendly and the least sharing of all the genres. They only do programs in schools and they charge big bucks to do so. Just my opinion and experience.

    • I think you’re right. I belonged to SCBWI for a number of years, and never was able to make it to a conference. last year I decided to give up my membership, and you are so right about the tightly controlled market, but something keeps pushing me.

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