When I was growing up, I listened over and over to an audiobook version of Charlotte’s Web read by the author, E.B. White. At the beginning of the tape, E.B. White says of his story: “I wrote it for children, and to amuse myself.” I always loved the sound of his voice saying those words, and they’ve come back to me often over the years. Now having been through the process of writing and publishing a kids’ book myself, I’m still inclined to agree with E.B. — writing for children is equal parts self-amusement (sometimes self-help!), and the desire to tell a story that a child might get something from.
Well, Brit and I definitely amused ourselves while writing Margaret and the Moth Tree. But so far, the writing for living, breathing children part has been a bit theoretical. So far, we haven’t got to meet and talk with that many child readers face to face…
This is about to change!!
After counting down the months, we’re off on a journey around Ontario for the Silver Birch Awards! Thanks to the wonderful Ontario Library Association who administer the Silver Birch and the rest of the Forest of Reading awards, Brit and I will be travelling by ground and by air with a group of fellow nominees. In each location, we’ll get to witness the announcement of the favourite children’s book of the year in each age category, as chosen by young voters! We’ll be going from Parry Sound (May 6) to North Bay (May 7-8) to Thunder Bay (May 10) to Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre (May 16), with a school visit in Richmond Hill squeezed in on our off-time. Then I’ll be going sisterless to the final destination, Durham Region, on the 17th.
I absolutely can’t wait, though my nerves are getting a wee bit jumpy… What does it feel like to be surrounded by hundreds and hundreds of book-loving children, cheering at the top of their lungs about how much they love to read? We’re about to find out.