I'm sure the students learned heaps through the program and had fun doing so, but I also learned a few things as well. In particular, I got to know what kids worry about, as seen through children's literature, some of which seems eerily similar to what I worry about as a writer. Seemed like the perfect thing to share with the folks at the Insecure Writer's Support Group this month, highlighting three of the books I read to the kids. However, even if you're not a writer, I think many of the rest of you can relate too. After all, we were all kids at one point, some of us have kids and many of us are (hopefully) still kids at heart.
"I'm worried that I'll never be grown up (experienced) enough to deserve what all the older kids (authors) have!"
BINTOU'S BRAIDS by Sylviane A. Diouf & illustrated by Shane W. Evans
|Image Source: Bintou's Braids on Amazon.|
THE STORY - Bintou desperately wants long, beautiful braids like her older sister and the other women in her village in West Africa. But, as she's too young for braids, all she has are four little tufts of hair which are cornrowed. Her grandmother explains to her that tradition means that she has to wait until she's older to get braids in order to avoid vanity.
THE WORRY - Let's face it, it sucks to have to wait until you're old enough to get something like braids or a bike. Will you ever grow up? Will you have to wait forever? Writing can be kind of like that at times. Will I ever get enough experience to be able to write a decent novel worthy of publication? Or, will I be stuck being a novice writer forever?
SPOILER ALERT - Bintou saves the day and as a reward gets her very own braids before most girls her age do.
You can find Bintou's Braids on Amazon.
"I'm worried that no one is going to like me and they'll think my name (book) is stupid!"
THE NAME JAR by Yangsook Choi
|Image Source: The Name Jar on Amazon.|
THE STORY - Unhei has just moved to the States from Korea with her family. Her classmates have trouble pronouncing her name and she worries that they won't like her. She decides to pick another name from the suggestions that the other kids put in a jar for her - like Miranda, Suzy and Laura.
THE WORRY - Childhood is utterly fraught with worry about what other kids think of you. Wait a minute, adulthood can be full of that too. Do I look fat in this? springs to mind. Writers worry about what other people think of them too. Does everyone hate my book? Do they think I'm a butcher of the English language? I bet even my mom won't buy a copy!
SPOILER ALERT - Unhei sticks with her own name in the end and stops worrying about what the other kids think.
You can find The Name Jar on Amazon.
"I've taken on a big challenge. Am I up for it? Will I let my family and friends down?"
FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN by Jane Kurtz & illustrated by E.B. Lewis
|Image Source: Fire on the Mountain on Amazon.|
THE STORY - Hoping to secure his and his sister's future, an Ethiopian boy bets his rich master that he can spend a bitterly cold night alone on a mountain. With only the sight of a distant fire to warm his spirit, but not his body, he survives the night. But, his master refuses to honor the bet arguing that the boy cheated because he saw a distant fire, which was as good as a real fire, even though it didn't keep him warm.
THE WORRY - Part of growing up is taking on new challenges, learning new skills and taking risks, like spending the night alone on a mountain or going away for the first time to sleep-away camp. Trying to write your first novel can be daunting. Heck, even telling people you're going to try to write a novel can be daunting, let alone doing it. You might feel like you're never going to finish the darn thing, you'll disappoint everyone and prove to all that you are indeed a failure.
SPOILER ALERT - The boy turns the tables on his master, beating him at his own game.
You can find Fire on the Mountain on Amazon.
What lessons have you learned from children's literature and kids themselves when it comes to worrying about writing and life's other challenges? Do you do any volunteer work?
Linked up with the Insecure Writer's Support Group.
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