I am currently visiting my grandchildren who live interstate. It’s a joy I have only a few times every year, but so interesting to see their development and to play with them a whole range of games. Their ages are 4 and 1, so they are still developing in many ways, especially in their imaginations.
One of the special delights is cuddling up for story time. Both parents are book lovers, so their home has many books. Family and friends have also made sure the two little ones have plenty of books in their lives. And to add to the wonderful books in the home, a new branch library has just recently opened up in an old church building five minutes’ walk up the road.
In reading books daily to the grandchildren – and sometimes several times a day – once again has impressed upon me the importance of reading in the life of a child. So much language development occurs in this pre-school period. So many books are rich in wonderful language. But more than that, there is so much cultural heritage which can be absorbed by the young, developing mind. There are also the many environmental concepts which can also be introduced through non fiction. Last night my grandson and I spent nearly an hour pouring over a book about farming; he lives in Australia”s largest city so this is an excellent way of talking about my heritage; I grew up on a farm.
The case for reading to and with children is so important and soundly supported by the research. What is less emphasised, I feel, is the importance of reading children’s books if one desires to be writing children’s books. Just like in the importance of books in the life of a developing child, so is the reading of children’s books vital in the development of the aspiring children’s authors. You cannot read too many, and there are so many wonderful children’s books out there now you will certainly be entertained for many years to come.
The Children’s Book Council of Australia has announced the winners of this year’s Book of the Year awards.
For the full list of both the winning books and the honour books click here.
Permit me a few moments of dreaming: I hope one day my name will be listed in these awards.
Okay – dream over – back to editing my novel so that someday I can be in the running.
Some writers do not understand the power of regularly writing in a personal journal.
Journal writing is an excellent way of honing many writing skills that are essential to the writing process. It doesn’t matter much whether you write fiction, non-fiction, articles or blogs, regular writing practice is essential. If possible, I’d encourage all writers, especially beginner writers, to write every day, even if in the first few months or years journal writing is all you do.
I’ve kept a personal journal since July 1990. That means the 20th anniversary is coming up very soon; I must remember to celebrate it here on this blog. I write about anything that comes to mind about events and people in my life. I filled several hand written volumes at first but in recent years I have tended to use my computer. One day I might get around to printing it all out and binding the pages into booklets.
More recently I have also been keeping a writing journal. In this I have recorded the processes I have gone through in writing my stories, especially my recent novels. The journals include details of my ideas, sources of inspiration, research findings and the decisions I had to make along the way. In part you can read how I went about ‘Writing a Novel’ here.
When I was a classroom teacher I used Journal Writing as an integral part of encouraging children to write. The skills developed in my programme had some amazing results, not just with writing. I wrote about it in this article: The Power of Journal Writing – a Story of Hope.
This article relates the experience I had with one of my former students. I bring it to your attention now – especially for my many new readers who may have missed it at the time.