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” (

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 cafĂ© 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 Association;
Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers (famed children’s novelist Robert Munsch is a member) –;
Places for Writers offers an extensive list of funding opportunities as well as information on writing –;
Page By Page: Creating a Children’s Book

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 (

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!



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

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