I think this article, 11 Writing Tips From Children’s Books , from the Huffington Post has it right. Of all the children’s books that I read as a child, The Little Engine That Could (various authors) has the most enduring lesson for me-the power of positive thinking. Once I started to write, I never really doubted that SOME day I would be published. Oh I wondered a bit now and again WHEN, but never really IF. But positive thinking needs some initiative and realistic thinking, too. Did I think I’d hit the NY Times Bestseller’s list right off the bat, no. But, I think it’s POSSIBLE that one day I might just do that.
Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson is a delightful story. I have to admit I never read it until I was in my 40′s (gasp!) but I was still struck by it’s message of the power of imagination-a needed key ingredient to be a writer. As I work on my first YA novel and invent a new world that hopefully draws the reader in, I know it is my imagination that will make or break this story. Maybe I should write it with a purple crayon first!
Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss is my favorite on this list. According to the article “The story not only reinforces the importance of keeping an open mind, but it encourages you to be relentless in the pursuit of something you believe in.” But, really, it’s my favorite because my daughter, Katelin, LOVES it and isn’t that really the point of children’s books?
There are eleven books mentioned in the article, and there are two I haven’t read, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst and Everyone Poops by Taro Gomi. However, who can’t relate to the titles alone? There are days when I have a bad writing day-either I can’t write because of other things that need to be done, can’t think of what TO write, rewrite the same few lines over and over or rearrange them and then just throw them out. And then some days are just so “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day” days, that writing is the farthest thing from my mind. But, I like the lesson the article assigns to Everyone Poops-” At some point, all great writers produce something, um, crappy. Everyone does it and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.”
So, I will try not to be discouraged if I have a bad day, or what I write is terrible. I will try to remember that imagination matters, that there’s a child out there that will love my book, and that perserverance and positive thinking pays off.
Check out the article and find out what lessons you might have learned when all you thought you were doing was reading a great children’s book!