Kidlit Author Digest on Finding Inspiration

Welcome to Kidlit Digest; a new feature we hope to use to inspire readers, authors, and more! Once a month, we will ask our author friends questions about writing #kidslit and the publishing industry, then bring their answers to you.

Writing is often thought of as a solitary pursuit, but it really takes a village to bring a book to life. At Qamber Kids we treat our authors as members of our extended family. We hope to use our new #kidslitdigest feature to not only introduce y’all to some fantastic authors but bring our little community together.

In this month’s feature, we’ll talk about the inspirations behind some of our authors’ books!

“Let’s see … where do we find inspiration for our children’s stories? Easy. Long walks. Anna-Grace and I love taking morning walks and hashing out our stories. It’s the little things that get our minds working. Take, for instance, the sound of the birds chirping or the clouds in the sky. We’re always finding ways to incorporate the things we see into our stories.

-L.P. and Anna Grace Dover, Authors of Moonlight and Aleena

“My inspiration is my 4-year-old daughter. One day I kept saying to her you need to practice in order to learn a new skill because she was getting frustrated she didn’t get it on the first round. We say to her all the time practice makes perfect and I wrote a story about a pony wanting to join the circus but he didn’t have any special talents, so he practiced until he achieved his goal. My other story What Do You See In The Mirror? Was written to teach her positive images about some difficult situations and to have a positive body image.

- Justine Scire, Author of Betty for President

“My children’s book’s — Huzzah- A Pool Mouse- idea came from a trip to Williamsburg, Virginia. One night we were swimming in the pool. A couple of girls were learning how to swim. Their mother kept repeating one line over and over as she showed them how to move their arms. While in the pool, I noticed a small hole in the pool mechanic’s room. It made me think it’d be a perfect place for a mouse to live. While I swam, I created the story in my head. Huzzah was the name of the restaurant next door to the pool and hotel and seemed like the perfect name for the mouse. I included the two girls into the story along with the hole in the mechanic’s room.

-Missy Watling, Author of Maple’s Colors and Huzzah, A Pool Mouse

“I find inspiration from life-changing experiences I’ve had as a kid that I’ve wished a book would have addressed. I believe books can offer a safe space for kids to process life’s ups and downs.

One example is the topic of domestic violence which can be a sensitive subject. I spent some time living in a domestic violence shelter as a kid, but I wasn’t sure how to address questions like, “where do you live?” or “can I spend the night at your house?” I also struggled with feelings of shame about not having the most fashionable clothes since a lot of my clothes were donated to the shelter. Although issues like domestic violence can be uncomfortable to tackle, I feel they are important to normalizing the conversation and processing those experiences.”

-Amber Malone, Author of Sweater Girls

“Thank you so much for inviting me to your blog! Inspiration is everywhere, but over the years my three children have been a huge source of inspiration. My oldest son, who loved to draw cartoons in his sketchbook as a tween, lead me to write my first story, Nate Rocks the World. My children are getting older now, but there were perks to driving “Mom’s Taxi” to what felt like a million activities. Conversations between my children and their friends from the backseat were gems. And it was fine, because it wasn’t really eavesdropping when they were right there in my car, right? I mean it wasn’t like I was crouched against their bedroom door listening in … not very often at least. I still draw inspiration from my kids, as well as from my own childhood memories. My latest story takes place in 1978 (the year I was ten years old) and pulls from many of my own experiences and feelings. I hope to share it with you all soon!”

-Karen Pokras Toz, Author of Millicent Marie & Nate Rocks the World

“When writing There’s a Dragon in the Chook Shed, the inspiration came from my experiences of growing up on a farm in Australia. One of the jobs I had to do was to collect the eggs in the afternoon after school. I hated the job, which was silly as it wasn’t hard. I would put it off so long that in winter it would be dark by the time mum or dad demanded I go collect the eggs. My imagination would go wild, walking in the dark, with the torch in one hand, empty bucket in the other, past the big pine trees to the chook shed. The chooks would be inside, sleeping and I’d have to disturb them to get the eggs, which they weren’t overly happy about. I shiver now thinking about it. I used this experience to come up with a fun and imaginative story of collecting the eggs. It was one of the scariest jobs I had to do when I was young, even though there was nothing there that would harm me. It was silly of me really. I wanted to make this experience into a fun story, where the young readers would see and enjoy the fantasy elements in the story alongside everyday life on the farm. While I hated collecting the eggs myself when I was young, I had a lot of fun, thinking of how Sally could see signs of there being a dragon in the chook shed.”

-Lily Rose, Author of There’s a Dragon in the Chook Shed

“I use a lot of the stories I heard from my family growing up, as well as legends that I’ve read about throughout the years. Some are stories about characters (good and bad) but others are tales that teach a lesson. One of the books I’ve come across that does a great job of having some of these stories and is also really colorfully illustrated is Horse Hooves and Chicken Feet: Mexican Folktales adapted by Neil Philip and illustrated by Jacqueline Mair.”

-Selenia Paz, Author of Life and Death

Stay tuned for another issue of “Kids Lit Digest” coming up in the next month! We seriously can’t wait to start sharing more author-insights in hopes to inspire as many of our reading community as possible!



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