What Inspires Me to Write for Children by Debbie Spence
We asked each of the 14 authors on our current roster a variation of the question, Why do you write children’s books? and we loved their answers. We think you will too! So, we’re sharing them on our blog during June and July. If you missed any of the previous posts you can read them right here. We love the beauty of storytelling and seeing how books can impact our own lives and the lives of the children our writing impacts too. We hope you enjoy reading the authors’ personal reflections, and encourage you to get comfy, grab a glass of sweet tea, and be inspired.
I was keenly aware that it was not something a fourth grader should be doing in front of my classmates, but I sat there with tears rolling down my cheeks. My teacher closed the book and I was devastated. Old Dan was gone. He had saved Billy from a mountain lion and perished doing so. Little Ann soon died of grief atop Old Dan’s grave. Where the Red Fern Grows rocked my world. I never forgot that book or the classroom where my teacher read it aloud to a group of emotional fourth graders.
Books are magical. They have the power to teach us, to transport us and to change us forever.
I have been writing for as long as I can remember. From the moment John Boy Walton received his first Big Chief writing tablet, I knew that I too had a passion and a need to write, even at eleven-years-old.
Fast forward many years and as a mom of five children, my love of books and creating them did not dim. Homeschooling for twenty-four years provided countless opportunities to read aloud to my children. I was always searching for the perfect story that would change our lives as my life had been changed in fourth grade.
I wanted better stories for my kids than I could find. I was inspired to write to teach my children, to entertain them with wholesome, faith-based stories, and to reveal the worlds and characters that lived in my imagination. My family has always been my inspiration and my impetus for creating.
Today two little people call me Grandma. Their hunger for stories is insatiable. An afternoon pushing my granddaughter on the swing will consist of one story after another as she demands, “Another one!” I gladly dive into a silly tale of Mr. Robin Red Breast Red Vest who proudly wears a little red vest with four gold buttons. My inspiration, the robin sitting on the fence post. Grandma story telling is improv at its best.
I have often said that writing for children is the opportunity to change a child’s life in 32 pages. I believe that it is a privilege and serious responsibility to write for children. Books influence our thoughts and beliefs. The stories I create must encourage. Children need to know that they are loved, that they are important, and that they can do great things.
I am compelled to write so that children will fall in love with books, so that parents will take the time to engage in story time with their children, and that for generations to come my words will exist to help and delight a child.
Books that we read as children mark us deeply. They stay with us all through life lingering in our memories until we are old. They shape how we see the world, and they often shape how we see ourselves. It is the books we read as children that teach us to discover and to imagine.
I am a children’s author because somewhere inside of me is a little girl still hungering for an amazing story to change my life.
Debbie’s debut picture book with Little Lamb Books, tentatively titled Broken Crayons, is scheduled to release Fall 2021.