Recently, I was asked a couple of questions. What is your objective as a writer? Does being a woman have any influence as to why you chose children as your audience? What about your latest development of Little Katie, why did you choose her?
It was then suggested that I take these questions and make them a topic for a future blog, and I thought that was a fantastic idea! I want to give a shout out to Irma P. for her thought-provoking questions, and a helpful topic suggestion for my blog. I will now answer these questions in order.
What is your objective as a writer?
Like all authors, to make the reader feel. When I read a book I always have one request: Make me care. I want to feel my interest piqued. I want to feel something, even if it’s just a stirring of feeling or concern or nervousness or longing. I don’t want to be bored when I read, if so, then I won’t finish the book. If you’re not going to be manipulating my emotions and taking me on a journey of feelings, thoughts, and adventure, what’s the point? How do you make your readers feel emotion? You do it through crafting a character with feelings and goals, and also by knowing your feelings. This is what I try and strive for when writing. I try to keep that curiosity engaged throughout the story, and I keep my audience in mind. Being the fact that my audience is children, I have to try even harder to keep them engaged. What will Lorenzo do next? Will he find Lord Boris, and save Lucy? What happened to Queen Beverlee the Bumble Bee, and why is there no honey? That feeling of wonder is essential to keep the interest in young minds. The other objective I have is to teach something to my readers subtlely. I want my stories to be fun and engaging while teaching at the same time.
My series The Adventures of Lorenzo the Bear teaches the reader about friendship, looking for the good in others, and helping those in need. While my other series Exploring STEM with Little Katie teaches factual things in an imaginative way. Feeling, and teaching, those are my two primary objectives.
Does being a woman have any influence as to why you chose children as your audience?
This is an excellent question, one that I have never given much thought. I guess some may drift toward a particular genre, or audience because the writer feels they can connect more. For example, I could see a man who is a fitness enthusiast writing a book about “How to train like a Super Saiyan.” Even though the show Dragon Ball was targeted for children, many adults (especially males) are the audience of the show. This might be due in part to the majority of the characters in the show being male. So I could see a man who is experienced in the fitness realm targeting other people (most likely men) interested in this show who want to work out because the Super Saiyan’s have to train to improve and grow stronger. My point is, that could be a reason why some chose a particular type of genre when writing because they feel their gender or background will help them to have more insight into what they are writing. For me, being a woman had nothing to do with why I chose to write children’s literature. The reason is simple, Jason, and Desi. My niece and nephew. One asked me to write something to read, and the other asked me to draw something. So, I decided to combine the best of both worlds and create a picture book for them.
The other reason is that children’s books really excite me, they are truly complex when you think about it. The vivid images are more than just accompaniments to the written word. They are a story all on their own. Illustrations help to make the text work, and vice versa. Both components have to go well together to tell the story the way it deserves to be told and to make children understand the message better. This message cannot only be transmitted through written language alone. It needs pictures.
What about your latest development of Little Katie, why did you choose her?
This is a question I’m asked quite frequently. It is no secret that women and minorities are underrepresented in the STEM field we need to bridge this gap by encouraging all children equally to become engrossed in STEM. Exploring STEM with Little Katie is the perfect read to making science and math courses fun and interesting not only help children to learn but might also plant the “seed of interest” that could grow into an exciting and rewarding STEM career.
All children learn differently. Some learn through listening, seeing, or experiencing an academic topic. Most times, children learn the best through hands-on, minds-on experiences. Science, technology, engineering and math skills can be introduced or extended with a good book. I wanted something that would not only be a fun read but something that would teach too. I wanted to take the fun, adventurous side and combine that with learning, but in a way that wouldn’t feel like you are just having facts regurgitated at you.
Little Katie is cute. She’s quirky, she’s adventurous and has a passion for learning (kind of like me only I’m a blonde :P). She along with her puppy Smudge are relatable. Both boys and girls alike have fallen in love with Little Katie. I have had great feedback in the classrooms from both teachers and students over the main character being a girl. This world needs more books with heroines taking charge, and exploring the world while teaching at the same time.
Stories play a vital role in the growth and development of children. The books they read and the characters they get to know can become like friends. It’s also good for children to understand that books are a useful source of information and that good reading skills are important for success in their future lives. Reading also helps children with their confidence levels, coping with feelings and language and learning. Reading children’s literature stimulates a child’s imagination, and reading provides an outstanding visual experience. Let’s not forget the bonding that it promotes within the family.
The family that reads together grows together!
Writing children’s literature is harder than it looks—but also more fun. Writing for children isn’t easy. Kids will abandon a story that doesn’t interest, enchant, delight, thrill, or terrify them. Who can blame them? I am the same way. But when you can find a way into a young reader’s imagination through something as simple as words on paper, well, there’s nothing more satisfying.
Thank you for your questions, Irma! If you have a question to you would like to ask, or would like to suggest a topic for a blog, please leave a comment below!