Posts Tagged ‘children’s stories’

Kids reading adult fiction?

September 11, 2020

When I was in 5th-7th grade I read “Gone With the Wind.” We had very few adult books in our home, but GWTW sat in an honored place by itself on a shelf of the “What-not” in the Living Room. It was my job to dust that piece of furniture every Saturday. My paternal grandmother, who loved books, had given the book to my mother, and had also taken her to see the movie.

I had books suitable for young people….one about a flying baby elephant, and there was “Delicia” the doll, and “Rowdy” the dog and many more, plus suitable library books for children. In the seventh grade I even began on the Nancy Drew series. But……

That big book intrigued me, and, each Saturday, I sat on the floor in front of the shelf and read while Mama was busy elsewhere in the house.

I was fascinated. I was old enough to understand most of the “adult” parts by then. Baby birthing and certain sexual hints were not beyond me, thanks to slumber parties and the birth of my baby brother. But still, I was pretty sure Mama would not expect me to be reading that book.

She never knew.

I did eventually read the book as an adult years later (that was before we understood it as a racist creation.) But it was the most interesting when I sat beside the What-not every Saturday and read a few pages until I heard Mama leave her work in the kitchen area.

Forbidden fruit! What about you? Were you as daring as I?


December 6, 2011

The second annual national TAKE  YOUR CHILD TO A BOOKSTORE DAY was celebrated on  Saturday,  December 3.  TYCTBD was founded in 2010 by author Jenny Milchman.  Jenny is an active promoter and, in fact, went on a cross-country “vacation” tour across the USA this past summer, calling on bookstores all the way from her home in New Jersey to Portland, Oregon to promote the special day.

The idea caught my attention from the beginning and, this year, I contacted bookstores in my area of Arkansas about taking part. Four independent booksellers ended up joining with enthusiasm, bringing in children’s authors, holding special events like in-store  scavenger hunts,  and  story time.

Since the stores are in four different towns, I could only be at one. I presented the TAKE YOUR CHILD TO A BOOKSTORE DAY program for Trolley Line Books in Rogers, AR.

On that day I was afraid few would come since it had been raining, the weather was cold,  and Christmas parades were scheduled in several towns.

Though Trolley line is not a large store, the owner had set up space in a comfortably furnished back room and provided snacks and juice.  The program was scheduled for 10:00, and until almost ten we had one active girl and her grandmother.  I was talking to Chloe (the child) when a bustle from the front of the store interrupted us, and I looked out to see a crowd of people, children with moms and grandmoms flowing toward us.

We ended up with a good-sized group of children ranging in age from five to thirteen, and I wondered how children with such a wide spread of ages would respond to my program.  I soldiered ahead, and began by reading one of my published short stories suitable for children. The two youngest in the group were bored, I think, but their grandmother stayed with them in the room and managed to offer a bit of side entertainment.   From the reading, I moved on to telling a bit of child-oriented information about writing a mystery story. All the older children understood about having a main character, a “mess up” problem for them to solve, and an interesting place for the mess up to happen. I also talked about writing an opening sentence that invites a reader to continue with the story.   After I shared a few more child-size examples,  everyone was given a booklet with blank pages, a clip board, and a pencil.  Most of the children spent a short time thinking, then all but the youngest began to write.  (Grandmother got the two young-uns to do their story by drawing pictures. Bless her!)

There were questions, plus a bit of conversation and discussion during the writing time, but we were all engaged for maybe twenty minutes while a newspaper photographer moved around taking pictures. (He showed up early, and stayed for the entire program.  Distracting, but nice to be noticed–right?)

Now, I’d like to share with you the charming story written by one of the participants. She honored me by giving me her completed story at the end of the program.  (Side note:  The emphasis in many schools today is not necessarily on spelling or punctuation.  That isn’t this child’s fault. Her creativity is awesome, and her opening sentence definitely a hook.  Watch for her touches of humor!)

I present here  Christina Marshall’s story, THE DRAGON  (Written in twenty minutes with no chance for the author to go back and  edit.  Could the average  adult first draft  short-time writer do much better?)


The Dragon is gone agian.

My Dragon keep’s geting away. Well I should tell yoo who my Dragon is he is a Dragon and his name is Bod. Bod all was gets away then come’s back for food. I try to keep him here but he keeps geting out and he needs to stay here because he Is not allow to be here because he’s a Dragon and the town is not a big fan of him.

I try to keep him here in my back yard because they try to take him away but I want to keep him. He is a baby a big baby. Here he come’s flying over my house and into my back yard.

He’s a good Dragon but people don’t know him so they are scard of him so when they see him they tell on him and the people will try to kill him but he know’s I willn’t hert him so he come’s to me when he is in troble. When he stays here I feed and give him a bath and keep him warm.

I have been trying to build a big back yard an inside yard well right now I have to feed him and he is geting mad at me because I have not got him something to eat.

By Christina Marshall, 6th grade, White Rock
Congratulations, Christina!  And may you become a best-selling author some day.