Friday, June 24, 2016

Books that represent our lives.

Isn’t this what most of us want? 
Children need to be represented in books so they don’t feel alone. What if there’s no one around in a young person’s life to comfort or heal their insecurities, confusion, or abuse. What if they cry for help and no one hears? Maybe a child or teen won’t know they need help until they see themselves in a book. It makes them question, or seek answers, and maybe finally reach out to someone. Victims can suffer alone believing they had something to do with a parent’s addiction or an abuser’s abuse. Lonely with feelings of worthlessness while your self-confidence diminishes. It’s a very poor way to begin life when characterizations are beginning to settle in your personality.

Photo credit, dear friend, Pat Sweeny (2011) My son is 2nd from the left. 
Books are one of the tools we have to help!

In Kate Messenger’s outcry, “A Blog Post I Never Thought I’d Be Writing On Book Release Day”, about her book THE SEVENTH WISH, (Bloomsbury), when a school librarian disinvited her to speak 24 hours before she was scheduled to. Why? Because the book’s theme is about the impact drugs have on families. (Yay, Kate Messenger, for standing up to this!) 
THE SEVENTH WISH is a book that uses magic to explore something many families are afraid to talk about with kids – addiction. …”  And from Publishers Weekly: Authors Respond to Disinvites from Schools.

WTH? Isn’t our public education dwindling enough, kids NEED resources!
Books are one of the few tools that can help children harness this volatile world. I do not understand. Whom does it protect to withhold books?

Books open our minds, open up communication, if not out-loud at least internally. It’s a first step. Books can mirror our environment, or set our sights farther than we could have seen before. Our children need difficult books. Books about addiction, depression, mental health, are of paramount importance. For if you cannot speak it, how can you move through it?

My father was an alcoholic. My mother left him to raise us own her own when I was seven-year-old. But no one talked to me about what was going on. All I saw was his anger and their volatile fights. (He now has a farm and enjoys gardening to drinking, thank goodness.)

I want children and teens to have a something to navigate this crazy world, and complex emotions, help them see another’s perspectives, lend understanding to difficult situations. What an eye opener. Conversation and communication are the beginning steps. Books on subjects kids can most benefit from are essential to their physical and mental heath and happiness.

I wrote THE UNMOVING SKY, with much of this in mind. Alcoholic father, an unwanted pregnancy, domestic terrorism, these things happen every day in our world.
We do a huge disservice to our children withholding difficult subjects for them to read about. How will they learn? Grow? And not feel responsible for the perils they’re put in? 

This is why I became a writer of children’s books. Because our children our greatest resource, and our future. 

*I stumbled across this today from Neil Gaiman on Brain Pickingsif you are protected from dark things then you have no protection of, knowledge of, or understanding of dark things when they show up.”