Does your child love reading and writing?
Do you encourage your children to write?
Do you know how to inspire and assist your child with their writing?
There really is so much more to writing than putting pen to paper. Writing requires thought, intention, planning and skill, and it is for these reasons that writers and artists have my full admiration.
As a teacher I had a Mary-Poppins bag full of ideas to inspire and prompt creative writing, but I don’t believe any trick can work as well as speaking to professional authors.
Don’t be afraid to contact authors and illustrators. Chances are they’ll be blushing with pride if you do.
Contacting authors and illustrators will:
- Help your child develop a deeper level of respect for books (they’ll learn how long it takes to create a book and how much work is involved).
- Possibly incite a love of reading for your child. They’ll be eagerly awaiting the release of every subsequent book once an author or illustrator has made contact with them.
- Help you and your child compare and contrast different styles and techniques.
- Help you and your child develop an insight into what happens behind the scenes of a book’s creation.
- Help you and your child understand the writing process and what is required. For e.g. inspiration/stimuli, research, planning, purpose and intended audience.
How to make contact with authors and illustrators:
- Search the internet for their website or blog (We’ve started a list). You may be able to leave a message there or find an email address
- Send a letter to the publisher of their book
- Attend their book launches or special author events, and ask them to sign your copy of their book.
What do you say to them?
- Ask questions about their book (e.g. the story, the characters etc.).
- Ask questions to help you find out more about them as a person (e.g. their interests and likes).
- Ask them about how and where they work, and how they learned to write or illustrate.
- Tell them how much you love their books and stories.
- See some of our interviews here.
- Alphabet Soup Magazine has recently been publishing a series of interview questions.
CONTACTING AN AUTHOR MAKES YOU FEEL VERY WARM AND FUZZY:
We feel like we’ve been contacted by a superstar when an author or illustrator makes contact with us . I can almost guarantee that you and your children will be feeling on top of the world when you receive a special reply from your favourite author and illustrator too.
With what we do here at My Little Bookcase we’ve been lucky to correspond with a number of talented people. These responses have been some of our highlights:
- We contacted Mem Fox when we began My Little Bookcase, and this is the message she sent us. We were feeling a little chuffed at the time.
- After we emailed Chris Haughton to tell him how much we loved A Bit Lost he sent us a one of the special fair-trade Little Owls he had made through Mahaguthi ‘Craft with a Conscience’. Take a look at the toy here. I wish I could have bottled the look on my daughter’s face when she opened the package. Straight away, she began to re-tell the story of A Bit Lost. It was a priceless moment.
- It’s also nice to hear from authors who have read our review of their work. When Jon Klassen contacted us with answers to our blog tour interview questions he also let us know that he found our review of his book insightful. That felt good.
- We’ve got a date to meet Tania McCartney for coffee and cake when she visits Melbourne later this month. What starts with an email can sometimes result in a friendship.