By Zarah C. Gagatiga, Teacher Librarian, Author, Blogger, and Storyteller
In one author visit all those years ago, a grade four student asked me the backstory of the book I read aloud in his class. The book in question is The Day Max Flew Away (Gagatiga and Tejido, Lampara Books). I get asked this question every time. I even blog about the story behind the story of all my books as it is a part of my creative process.
To quote from a blog post, I said, “Max is a very personal story. It is my children’s experience growing up and the relevant role my husband plays in their lives. It is my story too, one about detachment and letting go. At the time of writing, I was grappling with the teachings of St. Ignatius of Loyola, most especially about the truths we hold dear. I have gained perspective since then. Ignatius can do that too. Now I know that to be able to love freely, we need to hold the truth lightly in our hands.”
The stories I have written so far are all derived from experiences in family life, in my own growing up years, and of my work with children and young people as a school librarian. In the future, I wish to write a chapter book and a young adult novel. For now, I will continue documenting my ideas, feelings, and experiences in a journal and in my blog.
I hope that you get to read my books from the Dear Books website. I hope that reading my books will inspire you to write too. I may have written them on my own, but I had a team of wonderfully creative people who made the book a reality. Remember that book creation is a product of collaboration.
If you are an aspiring children’s book writer, here are my five tips to start you off in realizing that dream.
- Answer the question: Why write a children’s book? Define your purpose.
- Do you have the heart of a child? Know who you are as a children’s book author and respect the audience you are writing for.
- How much do you love stories and storytelling? Commitment, dedication, and discipline to the art and the industry can trump talent.
- LISTEN. Listen to kids, your audience. Listen to yourself and discover or nurture the child within. Listen to others when they critique or review your work. It will help you grow!
- Have friends and we will write books! It is a journey. A process. You cannot traverse the path on your own. Reading and writing are not solitary acts.
PLUS: Keep on reading. Keep on writing. Read anything you can get your hands on. Write anything under the sun! Don’t be afraid. Take courage!
Zarah is our Dear Guest Reader for the month of August, celebrating Buwan ng Wika with us here on Dear Books by highlighting local writers and illustrators.
Shop Zarah's books here on Dear Books: