I have been babysitting a pair of sisters for almost three years now. The oldest is turning nine this summer. This girl is crazy talented when it comes to drawing and painting. At six she had already far surpassed most adults I know in artistic ability.
She wasn't a big fan of reading though and I must confess that broke my poor writerly heart. She would illustrate long drawn out stories (20-30 pages) but never put a word of text in them. Last fall though she woke up at about 10 o'clock one night I was babysitting and found me scribbling away at a novel that I have long since scrapped (or delegated to MS word purgatory if you prefer) and started asking questions.
Within a week she was adding a few words to her books and her teachers were commenting on how much more she was writing (or so she told me). Yeah me! I somehow without trying inspired a kid to write.
A few days ago at work she gave me a copy of a book she was working on to read. It was about a magical Pokemon who granted wishes and was helping Picachu find his friends. She wanted me to read it and let her know what I thought because she had decided when she grew up she wanted to write books like me.
I opened it up preparing to smile and nod politely as I usually do when kids show me their work and pretend I thought the sun shone out of it. Actually I was blown away. The spelling caused my brain to scramble a few times but the story itself was well plotted and contained decent grammar. The illustrations were stellar of course but with this girl I would hardly expect anything less.
I told her exactly what I thought and showed her how to use quotation marks to make it a bit clearer and easier to read. I also told her there was no reason she had to wait until she grew up to write books, there was no reason she couldn't start now.
Whatever comes of my writing be it huge publishing contracts or a life of obscurity I know it has had at least one positive result. It taught this girl to love books enough that she wants to make her own. For me it doesn't get any better than that.
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