Friday, November 20, 2009

In defence of children's writers...

I was hugely honoured to receive some letters from readers through the ASB wordbank competition run during NZ Book Month. In this competition young readers were asked to choose their favourite book by a NZ writer and write a letter to the author saying what they liked about the book. There were around 3,000 entries and 6 of them were to me. I loved all the letters and was thrilled that they picked me and my books. A very big thank you to Rosa and Sylvie (Onehunga), Briley (Gore), Jacinta (?), Olivia (Morrinsville) and Albert (Waiuku) for writing to me and telling me what they thought. I was especially thrilled by Albert's comment about Jack the Viking that 'It was the first book I liked and read the whole way through.' The thought that you've given a child a positive reading experience through something you've written is the biggest buzz for a children's writer.

I have discovered that there are very mixed views about children's writers, especially from writers of other genre. Whatever your opinion might be, can I just say that children's writers are a big part of switching children on to books (go teachers, librarians and parents/grandparents as well). And with all the competition for children's attention today from playstation, wii, the internet (youtube, facebook, bebo, twitter), television, after school sports and activities, the task of gaining a share of their time has become that much harder. But we are working hard at it and still succeeding. If an individual is not switched on to reading during their childhood what is the likelihood they will grow up to become a reader? If children's writers are less important than other types of writers, are child readers less important?

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