Thursday, 8 October 2009

Part of the reason...

...I wanted to be a children's writer was to inspire young people to put pen to paper themselves. Sometimes it just takes a 'connection' with a certain character or an ability to relate to a situation in a story to motivate a child to have a bash at story writing. Encouraging literacy skills in children is crucial since reading and writing provides the tools that might help them cope with the more difficult aspects of their lives - to broaden their horizons and to make them aware that there is more out there for them. It's nice to think that it might be possible for them to make their own escapes with the sweep of a pen. I asked Junior recently what it felt like to be able to read and he said it felt "fizzy". I loved that description! I am forever encouraging children to read for fun. Not because they have to but because they want to. Just read for reading sake.

When I was writing "Bree McCready and the Half Heart Locket" I was determined not to ‘dumb down’ my writing purely because of my target audience (9+). I strongly believe that as adults we so often make the huge mistake of underestimating young people. Children should be treated as clever, intuitive beings and in my opinion the use of complicated, expressive language will not only encourage an extended vocabulary but it will also inspire a thirst for knowledge. So considering all of this, imagine my delight when I received this email last night from "a happy mum".

"Hi Hazel, i went along to parents night tonight and came home a very proud mum. I was reading one of (my little girl's) most recent stories and was convinced she must have copied it out a book. On asking the teacher he informed me it was all her own work! you have most definitely inspired her and when i get a copy of this story home i will send you a copy. thank you for giving (my daughter) a new found confidence in writing"

Amazing! This makes me so happy because it's exactly what I strive to do when writing about Bree, Sandy and Honey and their adventures. Just knowing it's possible to make a small difference makes all the blood, sweat, tears and grey hairs seem worth it! I can't wait to see a copy of the story. Thanks 'happy mum' for the fantastic feedback. : )

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