Dear Sandra

Dear Sandra,

On the heels of the success of J.K. Rowling’s popular children’s book series “Harry Potter” I have become determined to write a children’s book. How do you get started in this field?

P.M in Windsor, Ontario

Dear P.M,

First and foremost when it comes to writing children’s books you need a vivid imagination, a passion and talent for writing and a pretty good ego to sustain all the “no’s” you are likely to receive before your first “yes”.

Harry Potter is a wonderfully written novel for youth and adults alike, Ms. Rowling herself said “The idea that we could have a child who escapes from the confines of the adult world and goes somewhere where he has power, bother literally and metaphorically, really appealed to me” (http://www.scholastic.com/harrypotter/author/).

As a divorced mother with a young child on social assistance, J.K Rowling wrote the first book in the series, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s (or Philosopher’s) Stone, at a café while her young daughter napped. This former teacher turned thoughts in her imagination into a multi-award winning novel that captures the hearts and minds of children and adults all over the world.

So, how do you become an award-winning novelist whose books are turned into multi-million dollar movies? Well first you have to write, and write GOOD!

There are many websites to help you to break into the children’s literary market after that:

Canadian Authors Associationhttp://www.canauthors.org/;
Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers (famed children’s novelist Robert Munsch is a member) – http://www.canscaip.org/;
Places for Writers offers an extensive list of funding opportunities as well as information on writing – http://www.placesforwriters.com/funding.html;
Page By Page: Creating a Children’s Bookhttp://www.nlc-bnc.ca/3/2/index-e.html.

There are also numerous books on writing and publishing children’s literature to buy on- line or at your local bookstore or to borrow at your local library. For a little background information, Athabasca University offers an informative look at Children’s Literature through the years in ENGL 305, Literature For Children (http://www.athabascau.ca/html/syllabi/engl/engl305.htm).

If you are motivated to write, write – right now! Don’t wait and put it aside, saying you’ll do it when the kids are gone, or when you retire, if you really have the itch, scratch it!

Sandra

I WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU! TELL ME YOUR TROUBLES. YOUR CONFIDENTIALITY IS ASSURED.

This column is for entertainment only. Sandra is not a professional counsellor, but is an AU student who would like to give personal advice about school and life to her peers. Please forward your questions to Sandra care of smoore@ausu.org

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