Monday, July 22, 2019

Why I Write for Children

Why I Write for Children 

Writing for children is important to me because I want children to develop the same love of books I had as a child. A love that doesn’t fade with time. Children’s books create lifelong readers; readers who eventually buy adult books.

I began my love affair with words many years ago. Some of my fondest memories are being read to as a child, visiting the library, and discovering the ability to read by myself. I still have worn copies of favourite childhood books, such as The Bobbsey Twins, Little Women, Black Beauty and Anne of Green Gables; and revisit these old friends from time to time. Books and children go together like toast and jam, in my opinion. Since I never show up without a book as a gift, my grandchildren call me, The Book Gramma.

It´s not surprising then, that I love to write for children.

While writing for children can be fun, it isn´t easy. It requires removing yourself from the adult world and think like a twenty-first century kid. Fortunately, I like to hang around kids, listen to the words they use, observe the gestures, the looks, the trends. I also enjoy reading current, children’s books to see what sparks the interest of today’s young people. Children notice things adults wouldn’t and could care less about things adults think are important. It’s necessary 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 to me, “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.

While doing a presentation at a school, one student asked, “Why doesn´t Amanda stay in Alberta and have an adventure?”

I replied, “That´s a great idea,” and consequently wrote Amanda in Alberta – The Writing on the Stone. 

Kids are always giving me ideas. I often quote things I overhear them say in my stories. They can be so clever too. Often wise beyond their years.

I recall taking the ferry to Vancouver Island one summer weekend. It was packed, mostly with families. I was pleased to see many of the children, and some of the parents, reading books. I knew that those kids would grow up to be readers and most likely read to their children one day. Studies have proven that children who are read to at a very young age, even as babies, are more likely to be successful in school and in life.

I have written two more books in the series, Amanda on the Danube – The Sounds of Music and Amanda in New Mexico – Ghosts in the Wind.  Book seven, Amanda in Holland – Missing in Action is about to be released in September of 2019. I am currently working on book number eight and have ideas for others. I have to keep writing, as my  fans are expecting more of Amanda’s Travels.

Although it is a lot of work, it brings me much joy to write my books as I know these fans will grow up with a love of reading and buy adult books soon. Writers of children’s books help create readers for life. It’s an important occupation and one I am happy to be a small part of.

Children who read, become adults that think.

Darlene Foster has always been a dreamer of dreams and a teller of tales. Following her dreams, she’s a well-travelled author of the Amanda Travels series featuring a spunky young girl who finds mystery and adventure everywhere she visits. Darlene divides her time between the west coast of Canada and the Costa Blanca, in Spain where she lives with her husband and entertaining dog, Dot.