Thursday, September 18, 2014

Discovering Passion (Why I Write Children's Books)

 When family and friends find out that I write and illustrate children’s books they frequently ask how I got into it, often suggesting that it must surely have grown out of some lifelong dream. As much as I would like to confirm that inspiring explanation, I must admit that it wasn’t like that at all.

The truth is that making children’s books came upon me rather suddenly and inexplicably. True, my whole life I’ve drawn and written poetry abundantly, and creating things has always been of highest fulfillment to me. Perhaps the books are the natural conjoining of these long-existing passions. Predictably, therefore, the creation of these books has been a treasure to me – a life source to my spirit.

I guess it all started when I had an idea for a storyline based on the hilarious true experiences of my younger brother. I created a character for the story and began writing. I had no idea what I was doing… or what I was starting.

The books evolved from there. Each subsequent book was better than the last – I began to find my style and niche.

Often I’m asked, “What is the lesson taught in your books. What is your theme or moral?” Again, I find myself unable to confirm their expectations that my books are intentionally designed to teach lessons to children. Actually, I’ve always seen that approach as a betrayal of my friends, the kids, to tell a story with a hidden agenda for indoctrinating them. Rather, the stories come to me and I write what I imagine. The stories are meant to be fun and entertaining. The interesting thing is that my own morals and beliefs naturally show through in my writing. It is how I view the world. So I suppose there are themes and messages, but they are subtler, originating from the most sincere part of my heart.

Many times, it wasn’t until after the book was written that I discovered the meaning it contained. As I recognized this, I realized how the books could benefit all with heart-warming, hopeful, and inspiring messages. Thus, a hope has been born in me that each book will inspire not only the child, but also, and possibly more importantly, the parent who reads it to them. In this way, I’ve come to believe confidently that these are more than average children’s books, but something much more – something magical.
All that being said, one of the most fulfilling part of this is interacting with the kids in school readings. We have a blast watching Marker Kid videos, coloring, making up our own character like Ethan the Earth (totally dictated by the children, only drawn by me}, and of course reading the books.  The best thing is seeing the creative characters created by the kids themselves. That makes me happy.


  1. It is a good thing you are doing. The kids love your books and they do have a good feeling about them even without you 'meaning' to put it there. Thanks for sharing your creativity!

  2. I remember that white plastic briefcase that you would put all your drawings in when you were little. And then I remember when you started writing poetry in junior high and high school but didn't want anyone to know. They were really good poems too. Thanks for always sharing them with me. I love your children's books. They are all so creative. My favorite two are "The Broken Lighthouse" and "Penny and the #2 Pencil". My piano students read them while they're waiting for their lesson.