I’ve been to three graduations this summer: one nephew finished up high school and another nephew and a goddaughter graduated from college. Each graduate is off on an entirely different adventure. My younger nephew enters the world of college in the fall and will study engineering. The other two will start sending out resumes in search of that perfect job—one as a sports journalist and one with a career in marketing.
Seeing their excitement and eagerness to move into the next stage of their lives is so inspiring, and reminds me again why I love to write for kids and teens. Their outlook on life is always unique. They approach things with a freshness that we tend to lose as we grow older and get stuck in our routines.
Though I don’t have children, I have plenty of nieces, nephews and godchildren, and they constantly amaze me with their interests and abilities and ambitions. This group of “kids” is aged 2 years (the new generation is here!) to 32, and I’ve watched them grow up, most from birth.
The youngsters are always fun to watch as they show their amazement and delight with each new discovery—discoveries that we have long since taken for granted.
I especially love the 5-8 year olds, the age when I can communicate with them and share with them and teach them. Last summer my husband and I took one of our goddaughters, her husband and their five year old on a camping trip—the little boy’s first. He had a blast, and it was a treat to be a part of his experience.
During the middle-school years, kids are starting to come into their own, learning who they are, and flexing their maturity muscles. Their independence is beginning to flourish as they start to question things and form their own ideas and opinions. And I absolutely love hearing what’s on a kid’s mind–at any age.
I have a great respect for teens. By that age, they’ve developed own one-of-a-kind personalities and strong viewpoints on all sorts of topics. They begin to test and stretch the limits that are attempting to rein them in. Believe it or not, I can still remember those feelings from my own teen years, and it’s an exhilarating time of life.
I think writing for kids keeps me in touch with the feelings from my childhood. It also encourages me to keep an open mind when I’m with kids, to remind me they are unique individuals, and to give them that respect. Finally, in my writing, I hope to entertain, but also to bring to kids the feelings books gave me when I was young, the worlds they opened, the things they taught, the feelings they expressed.
Who is your target audience, and why do you write for them?