My three boys are a constant source of inspiration because of their unique way of looking at life. My youngest son (9) said to me the other day, 'the first person was Superman, he died when he crashed his rocketship on Mars'. Children tend to simplify things. It's wonderful. My kids interpret what they experience in a direct completely visceral way that is completely individual, without any thought about what is politically correct. It's refreshing. Their expression is earnest and entirely innocent. At the same time, children can magnify and add super-real elements to everyday events that we adults have forgotten about. They're an ongoing fountain of ideas for a writer.
my first born son
my second son
my youngest boy
I truly believe that a great story for young readers must leave them with hope. Some critics might say love or joy, but I love a good cry. Charlotte's Web certainly doesn't end with joy. But it does end with hope. -Jane Yolen
Anyone who writes down to children is simply wasting his time. You have to write up, not down. -E.B.White
Everything in a good book (perhaps even in a bad book) is a new truth, a new revelation to a child, whose experiences are, as yet, so limited. Therefore writers for children need to be extra careful about preaching, about filling in those empty spaces for a child. -Jane Yolen
What’s the meaning of a life if not the contribution we make to…not to ourselves, nothing to do with “me”…but to the progress of others. Dare I say, the evolution of the species? -PJ Reece
Think of children's book authors trying to write in the voice of children. Trying to warn. Trying to convince. Be careful. Use good soap. -Jane Yolen
If it’s too complicated for adults, write it for children, -Madeleine L’Engle.
I contend that good children's stories are always about the Getting of Wisdom. That's another way of saying, 'Let your characters grow. Up. -Jane Yolen
When she is most lucky, the poet sees things as if for the first time, in their original radiance or darkness; a child does this too, for he has no choice. -Edwin Muir
Everything is fundamentally mysterious... we tend to overlook this basic fact. -Shaun Tan
Several years ago, my husband and I lived through a lifetime in ten days when we found ourselves in the middle of every parent's nightmare: the possibility of a beloved child dying. I found myself understanding for the first time that as humans we live our lives through metaphor. Everything I felt during those dark days, the way I approached mortality, the way I prayed, the way I had to view the world, was in terms of metaphor. All were made up of metaphor, which John Ciardi has so wisely called an 'exactly felt error'. So slowly, agonizingly, I came to understand that metaphor and its sisters--poetry and story--are as natural to humans as breathing. -Jane Yolen
There is an important idea in Nietzsche of AMOR FATI, the love of your fate, which is in fact your life. As he says, ‘if you say no to a single factor in your life, you have unravelled the whole thing.’ ~ Joseph Campbell
Author and former teacher Michael Morpurgo: 'It's not about testing and reading schemes, but about loving stories and passing on that passion to our children. When I was a boy I didn't much like reading either, but it was my mother reading to me and my brother Pieter at bedtime that kept stories and books alive for me.'
For more on my boys, read Down Syndrome, or Heart Kid. For more on what inspires me, read Mythology.