Confession: I have loved something my whole life long and have never announced it publicly.
This infatuation began in preschool. It grew and grew and I heard it LOUDLY at first. Then it simmered quietly for years. Now it’s LOUD again and I refuse to quiet it.
I LOVE CHILDREN’S LITERATURE!
There, I said it. That feels better. I particularly love picture books but a special place in my heart exists for young adult and middle grade novels, too. I’ve rediscovered how fabulous children’s magazines are, too. And non-fiction textbooks and and…
Sure, having my own little preschooler in the house helps with this reacquainting. But it’s been a long time coming.
Cases in point:
-As a sick preschooler at the doctor’s office one day, I found several free “sign me up for a subscription” postcards in a copy of Highlights. I sent them all in. The company called my parents to make sure they really wanted something like twenty copies of the magazine.
-I taught myself to read at age 4 and haven’t stopped reading to my younger sister, my parents, my dog, or anyone else who would listen (or didn’t have a choice!) ever since. As a kid I even read newspapers, phone books, maps, and dictionaries aloud to my (very patient) family members.
-In my childhood room I built and organized my own library. It even had a card catalog, a kid-version of the Dewey decimal system, stamps, and library cards.
-My very favorite thing each year from elementary through high school was participating in our county-wide literary festival. I won several awards for my writing, which made me feel proud and accomplished. But my absolute favorite part of it was going to the writing workshops given by real authors and talking to them afterwards. I wanted, knew even, that one day I wanted to be like them.
-I became a teacher mainly to (don’t tell!) read books aloud and have an excuse to read children’s stories. (This became a little more difficult to keep secret when I was teaching older kids and adults. But I firmly believe a good picture book can be useful in classrooms of ANY age.)
I don’t just read these books anymore. Now I write them!
I’ve written for adults for a long time. I’ve taught kids and adults how to write for a long time. But in 2015 I shifted my focus finally and entirely to my first true love, children’s literature.
I finally joined the fantastic SCBWI and participated in PiBoIdMo (and now, StoryStorm). Since then things have taken off. I participated in the 12×12 Challenge, have attended numerous workshops and webinars, belong to two thriving critique groups, and am generally doing all I can to hone my craft and learn about this market. I even had a very unexpected and flattering offer of representation from an agent! It was tough to pass this up, but it was the right decision. I’ve got my wide-angled lenses on and know that the right match will come in time.
I am up to my ears in kidlit and I’m loving it!
This is an amazing and daunting journey. Please feel free to share tips, insights, resources, or ideas at any point along the way. I’m excited (and terrified) to embark on this new adventure. And I’m equally terrified (and excited) to shout this news to “the world” (or at least my family and friends and a tiny sliver of the blogosphere). Hi, world!