Friday, July 11, 2014

Why I Write for Children by Darlene Foster


I began my love affair with books as a child. Some of my fondest memories are being read to by a family member, visiting the library for the first time, and discovering the ability to read by myself. I keep worn copies of favourite childhood books and revisit my old friends from time to time for comfort. Books and children go together like strawberries and ice cream.

Writing for children is important to me because I want children to develop the same love of books I had as a child. That love doesn’t go away. Children’s books create lifelong readers; readers who eventually buy adult books. Without children’s books there would be no market for adult books.

One grandmother recently purchased my Amanda travel/adventure books and sent me this email:

My 12 year old granddaughter just finished your books. She loved them. We were camping and we kept telling her to put the books down and come and play. This is the first time I have seen her get so excited about a book. Your books have given her a love of reading. Thanks for the good reads.


While writing for children can be fun, it is not easy. You have to remove yourself from the adult world and think like a kid. I like to hang around kids, listen to the words they use, observe the gestures, the looks, the trends.  I also read current, middle reader books to see what today’s kids enjoy.  I revisit some of my old favourites like The Bobbsey Twins, Little Women and Anne of Green Gables, to remind myself what I liked about those books. Children notice things adults wouldn’t and could care less about things adults think are important. It’s important to get into their head space. And guess what? While I’m writing, I get to be a kid again - and I love it!





The main character in my first book, Amanda in Arabia-The Perfume Flask, is a Canadian girl who wishes for travel and adventure on her twelfth birthday. The next day she gets a ticket to fly to the United Arab Emirates to visit her aunt and uncle. There she has an adventure of a lifetime.  One young reader said, “I want to know where Amanda will travel to next.”  That motivated me to write Amanda in Spain-The Girl in The Painting.  I had so much fun writing about Amanda, her travels and escapades that I continued by writing Amanda in England-The Missing Novel. Where will it end? I don’t know but I have many more ideas and am currently working on book number four.  I have to, my fans are expecting it. These very same fans will grow up and buy adult books soon.

When I hear someone say, “She or he only writes children’s books,” I remind them that writers of children’s books are creating readers for life. It’s an important job and one I am happy to take on.

Author links...

Darlene Foster's website

Darlene Foster's blogsite

17 comments:

Zee said...

Thanks for sharing this interview.

I write for children for similar reasons. When I was little, I dreamed of being an author one day, and giving others the pleasure, and range of experiences, that my favourite authors gave me. It got pushed back farther and farther as time went on.

Of course, like Darlene said of herself, the most fun is that I get to be a kid again - which I am really, just in a grown-up's body ;-)

Great interview, and it's given me a new MG author to check out :-)

letscutthecrap said...

Indeed, you are building a readership for the future. I love nothing better to see kids read instead of playing with their iPads etc.
Wonderful you do what you love and do so well. Indeed, you must keep those fans happy. :-)

Marian Beaman said...

Thank you, Darlene, for explaining the rationale for writing children's books. Right now two of my grand-children have their nose in a book. Reading runs in our family - writing too.

Darlene said...

Thank you Zee for the comment. I have wanted to be an author since I was little as well. It took me a long time and lots of hard work but I finally did it. I still have to pinch myself to make sure it has really happened. I tell young people to never ever give up on their dreams! From one MG author to another, best of luck.

Darlene said...

It does my heart good to see young people reading as well. I plan to continue to keep my fans happy and hopefully add new ones. Thanks for the comment.

Darlene said...

Thanks Marian. Good to see reading and writing is encouraged in your family as well. My grandchildren call me "The book grandma" because I always show up with a book for them when I visit.

Patricia T. said...

Lovely post. I can't think of a more noble profession -- creating future readers.

lynnadavidson.com said...

Please keep it up, Darlene. You have a wonderfully creative mind.

Darlene said...

Thanks so much Patricia. That made my day.

Darlene said...

Thanks Lynn. That is very kind of you to say.

Laura Best said...

"....writers of children’s books are creating readers for life. It’s an important job and one I am happy to take on." That's absolutely true, Darlene. You're doing a wonderful job of creating life long readers. I like your thoughts on that since I've never thought about the books I write in quite that way. Congrats on your latest book. :)

Darlene said...

Thank you so much Laura. Your books are doing the same thing for sure!

pattisjarrett said...

Aha! So that is your secret--you get to be a kid again. I can think of no better reason. :)

Barbara Fisher said...

What a lovely post, thank you for sharing it.

Sue said...

Wonderful post. How wonderful to create for children and stir their imagination.

Darlene said...

Now you know my secret Patti!

Darlene said...

Barbara and Sue, so pleased you liked the post. I do hope I have stirred the imagination of at least some children.