Friday, July 17, 2009

Reading More Into The Story...

Last week, I posted a link to Julia Lawrinson's Writing In The Margins blog titled Why I Write For Children. Julia perfectly articulated why most childrens' authors are passionate about writing for children - you have a direct relationship with readers who care passiontaely about what they read. Children have a relationship with books that is lost to most adult readers which makes writing for them so intense and wonderful.

As a new author, I couldn't agree more with Julia Lawrinson. I LOVE writing the story and have considered it the greatest joy - until today. Today I learned that reading the story to a group of children is, by far, the most rewarding part of the author experience.

This morning, I visited Tutor Time, an early childhood development center where my good friend, Faith, goes to school. (You may recall Faith from an earlier post.) I had the privilege of reading The Angry Thunderstorm to two different age groups - both were delightful.

Before we read the book, we talked about thunderstorms. I asked, Who is afraid of thunderstorms? Little hands went up all over the room. And why are you afraid of thunderstorms? Little faces and voices became animated, "The lightning scares me..." "The thunder is loud..." "I don't like the thunder or the lightning." Then I asked, Why do you think the thunderstorm makes lightning? Why do you think the thunderstorm makes thunder? Why do you think he brings rain? Why do you think the thunderstorm's winds blow so strong? When we began traveling down this new path of thinking, the focus went from what happens during a storm to why it happens. That is the point when we began reading the book.

When children read a story, their world become magical. They are transported into another realm and it is as if their little minds are soaking up every detail of this new place. In this world, the Thunderstorm is alive and he speaks directly to them telling them the big, important job he has to do; and why it takes such powerful strength to get it done. In this world, they are the child at the window experiencing the Thunderstorm's bad attempt at a first impression. When a child reads, they experience.

Today's reading was the most exhilerating and humbling lesson. I may have written the story. I may have read the story. But it is the Thunderstorm that held their hand and took them on the intense and wonderful journey from uncertainty to understanding.

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