Childish Nonsense

Exploring Children's Literature

Childish Nonsense

Surprise! I’m here!

This is a blog mainly about and for children’s literature. I may rant or pout about some other subject, though. And I may occasionally share my own writing.

Most, if not all, my published work involves my opinion of the writings of others, so that will be the trend, at least for the time being.

What is it I’m trying to do here?

I hope to start some discussions on the various work and authors I’ve encountered. The plan is to announce topics ahead of time in case anyone wants to prepare for the discussion. I’m planning to have a different topic each week. For next week, I want to start slowly. So, I’ll touch on books that have been made into movies and the relative merits of that system.

Today, a little bit about me. How did I come to writing for children?

Children’s literature is my third career. I got a BA in social work at the University of Iowa back in the 70s when peace and love were still important concepts. I never had much of a career with that degree. I was mostly a stay-at-home mom. I kept busy, though. Among the jobs I had were working in a vocational rehabilitation center as a driver and all-around assistant, corn detasseling, Sunday rural newspaper delivery, waitress, bailiff, and proofreader. I made a lot of crocheted blankets and other doodads. I read a lot of books, most of them for preschoolers. I canned a lot of vegetables, and I even raised rabbits and chickens.

So, back to school for a BS in math. Odd choice? Not really. I had won the superintendent’s prize in high school for math and was giving in to one of my talents. I got a job as an actuarial assistant in Florida. (!) We don’t say actuary. That is reserved for the übergeeks who pass all, or most, of the exams connected to the career. I only got through four of the ten-or-so exams. They kept changing them while I was in process, so I don’t even know for sure how many there are. Two years in Florida then north to Washington, DC. I spent about twenty years total in that career before I decided I was more interested in theory than practical math.

I started writing. I joined the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), attended workshops and conferences, found a strong critique group, and never looked back. I’ve been happier doing this than I thought possible. Of course, I make no money at it, but I keep hoping to change that.

Reading has always been one of my loves. I remember in the fifth grade, when I had avoided glasses for a couple of years, summer was approaching. The eye doctor said to my mother, “Now that school will be out, she can rest her eyes.”

Mom said, “Not this kid. That just means she’ll read more.”

Thus, one of my best kept secrets: I have very powerful contact lenses. Actually, I don’t care who knows how blind I am, but there are people who’ve known me for years and didn’t even know I wore glasses.

I read a lot of horsey books, a lot of mysteries, and whole lot of classical literature. Robin Hood, Idylls of the King, Ivanho, The Song of Roland. Fell in love with Leon Uris after seeing the movie Exodus. Fell in love with Margaret Mitchell after Gone with the Wind made another round of the theaters. Read and re-read The Autobiography of Malcolm X. You can tell I went for the easy reads. But I never lost my admiration for those who can say a lot in a very few words – Dr. Seuss, Shel Silverstein, E.B. White, etc. There are so many layers to their works.

Children deserve understandable, solid literature that will show them the world and lead them into all types of literature. This blog is dedicated to the children.

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