Finding Your Inner Child

Posted by Jennifer Hudson

My husband was my first critic when I began writing for children.  I used him for his grammatical assistance and his proximity to me.  He was convenient and free.  I’d read aloud my newest creation and he’d smile his painted-on smile and reply, “Nice, honey,” out of marital duty.  Finally, after around the 20th read-aloud session, he said, “I guess you are just more in touch with your inner child than I am.”  

We have to figure out how to connect with children as we embark on a career (or passionate hobby) of writing children’s literature.  Yes, we have to connect with the editors to get to the point of connecting with children.  But how do we find that childlike voice inside ourselves to entertain and excite a child?
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For many of us, we remember important pieces of how our minds worked as children.  I first began writing years ago with a journal of funny stories from my childhood.  For me, it keeps memories alive as my memory fades the details of youth.
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But I also remember what it felt like to be a child.  I vividly remember being at the counter at the bank standing on tippy-toes, trying to see what exciting transaction was occurring over that countertop.  I also recall the thrill when the banker noticed me and handed me a lollipop.  My memories of Sunday church as being torture are quite clear.  To me, the priest sounded just like the adults in those old Peanuts cartoons.  “Wah, wah, wah, wah.”  I counted ceiling tiles and studied nearby parishioners’ funny outfits, until finally it was time for the children’s sermon.  Then they spoke my language!
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I have three children and I work with children every day.  It is not just the interaction with children that helps me write for children.  It is taking these interactions and interpreting them through the eyes of a child.   Once I am able to do this, I can truly find that connection to the children through literature.
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The biggest reward for me is to watch a child react to my story.  When I see their face light up from my writing, I feel that sense of communication that occurred when the banker spoke or the priest during the children’s sermon.
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As you challenge yourself to write children’s literature, find your inner child, embrace your inner child, and express your inner child. And have fun! 
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2 thoughts on “Finding Your Inner Child

  1. My kiddos keep me grounded, too. Keep up with that “inner child”, Jenn. But don’t feed her too many brownies, she might bounce off the walls!

    (confession: I’m getting ready to feed my inner child lots of brownies? I’ve padded my walls, just in case) 🙂

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