Recently I had the wonderful opportunity to hear this year's Newbery winner Neil Gaiman speak at an English Convention. He was asked the question what he thought about writing for children in comparison to writing for adults. He stated that he felt writing for children is the most important thing that you can do. He went on to say (to the best of my paraphrasing) that adults might like a book you write & that is it. But if a child likes a book you write that book might change their life or be their world. That if a child loves your books they will remember them, always.
He then spoke about the books that stayed with him & that he loved as a child & shaped who he is as a writer today. The two books he mentioned were Madeline L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time
& the ones he read over & over were C.S. Lewis' Narnia Series
. He felt that reading fantasy & fairy tales opens the mind to the ability to imagine & that is the most important thing, because all the object & stories & inventions all started with imagination. They all started with the question as he put it: "What if?"
This got me thinking... stories are so important to our ability to create & to imagine & to connect to one another. I thought that this would be a great opportunity for us to share the books that we love. Two books that touched my soul as a child & that I will always remember are A Summer to Die by Louis Lowery because it was full of such powerful emotions and beautiful descriptions. It dealt with growing up & finding your place in the world. Another book was A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle because it was exciting & opened up what appeared to be an ordinary house into one full of mystery and magic.
If you are a student in the classroom or a parent, I hope that you will take a moment to share the books that you remember loving when you were a child & that you haven't forgotten. Let's share those books with each other now & tell each other why & together ask: what if? Let us spread the ability to imagine because imagination is so important! After all, without it where would we be?