What’s Your Writing Story? #whatsyourwritingstory
Welcome to What’s Your Writing Story, where Indie Children’s Book Authors present their latest project’s writers journey. Find out the what, where, how, and/or why of the process that brought a children’s book into the world.
I am honored to introduce Natasha Carlow, children’s book author. Her latest work is Mike Nero and the Superhero School, a story of courage and discovery. Today, Natasha tells how to write heavy subjects to our most precious audience.
First days can be tough, especially for someone as shy as Mikey but Mikey’s new school is a little different.
Writing Big Stories For Little Hearts
As children’s authors, we have the incredible privilege of telling stories that entertain, inspire, illuminate and very often, educate. We write about things that are both fun and engaging but also big and confusing. Within the last few years, there have been many beautiful children’s books published that address some harsh realities: the global pandemic, cancer, war and refugees, food insecurities, death, and being born with different needs. The last two hold a special place in my heart as a children’s author who has written on both topics. I can imagine to the children’s authors of the past, these all seem like pretty bold and not especially child-friendly topics. So what has changed? Well most notably, the way we understand a child’s ability to discern and empathize with the needs of others. We now understand that children, when given the right tools, can process complex emotions and they can use their understanding to create meaningful change in their relationships with those around them.
Yet, for those of us who write for little hearts (and their loving parents), we have the added responsibility of caring for those little ones. Yes, they can handle a lot more than we think but they still need to believe that the world is a safe place to live, grow and explore. So if you are endeavoring to share big stories for little hearts, firstly, I want to say thank you and I humbly propose a few questions to you.
- How do you want your reader to feel once they have read your book?
For most of us, the general target may be educated, inspired, and entertained. We want our readers to learn something and to be inspired to do something while enjoying the flow of our words and pictures. This is all possible, even when writing about bigger topics. Through the use of language and imagery, authors can create hope even in the direst of situations. Choosing our words carefully to convey our message that children have a voice and can make important changes becomes crucial to our storytelling.
- What does your book look like?
If you are using images in your book, what do they look like? Pictures are a powerful tool in conveying our true message. Even in images that tell hard stories, we can use color and symbolism to encourage our little readers to be engaged and proactive. Who are your characters? Can your readers see characters who are both different to them or similar to them being portrayed with respect and love?
- What aspect of this story do you want to focus on?
Big stories can sometimes have complex connections. As you write your story, ask yourself which parts of this story do I want to focus on. Example: if I am telling a war story, do I focus on what war is, famous wars of the past, the reasons why war happens, the children of war-torn countries, how we help countries who are at war, what is a refugee… these all important! Should you focus on all aspects in one story, probably not. Keeping stories short and digestible is an important tool when telling big stories to little hearts.
- Where can they find more information?
Don’t leave your little reader wanting more, share resources that they and their parents or teachers can access together. Be sure to include thoughtful questions that encourage genuine learning and expression. When writing my books, I have always loved imagining my reader and their parents/teacher reading my book together. I hoped that my books can generate important discussions between the child and significant adults in their life.
You are a writer, a story-teller. You hold so much potential in your hands and are in full control of how you tell these stories. Enjoy the process, I really believe that little readers can feel not just the intentions behind our words but our enjoyment and love for our characters. Write on!
Natasha Carlow resides in the beautiful twin island country of Trinidad and Tobago. She loves watching her kids play on the beach, cooking really fancy meals then eating them in her pajamas and she is the author of Happy Tears and Rainbow Babies (2019) and Mike Nero and The Superhero School (2022)
Contact: email@example.com, 868-785-4632
Website & Social Media: natashacarlow.com, Facebook: Natasha Carlow Author, Instagram: natashamelissacarlow
Interested in guest blogging at What’s Your Writing Story?
eMail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Work for Peace
You have a voice