Posts Tagged ‘Children’

Tiptoeing: Toe walking (walking on the balls of your feet) is common in children I just learned. It is idiopathic (no abnormality) and goes away on its own but can be a sign of problems. It seems to run in families and be more common in girls, possibly because of an interest in dances such as ballet. [I do well to walk on my feet, but I am way over 5]

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Children’s Revenge

I was subbing 2nd grade. Their assignment was to write 2 or more sentences about a rocket ship. To show them how to do it, I read aloud 2 sample sentences: The boy ate a bowl of cheerios. The rocket blasted off.

The kids were silent. I waited for them to ask me how the 2 sentences were connected. A boy raised his hand, “What’s cheerios?” The girl behind him replied, “Food old people eat.” Ouch.


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Today, April 2, is International Children’s Book Day 2020. Read to a child. Or give them a book. Or encourage them to read. Though library activities have been cancelled, you can have your own book day at home. Though I am a children’s author, the choice of the book is up to you and your child.

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Second Thoughts

When I wrote Stone Man and the Trail of Tears, I had in mind the children separated from parents during the Trail of Tears. Then I thought of other Native American children separated from parents, the black children separated from parents during slavery and segregation, the same for holocaust children, and now immigrant children are separated from families (regardless of politics, no one wants children hurt). Stone Man and the Trail of Tears is a universal story.


After U.S. soldiers attack twelve-year-old Tsatsi’s Cherokee village, his family flees to the Smokey Mountains. Facing storms, flood, and hunger, they’re forced to go where Stone Man, a monstrous giant, is rumored to live. Their journey is a dangerous one. Will Tsatsi find the strength to become a Cherokee warrior? And will they ever find their family again?

Juvenile Fiction: Boys & Men -Legends, Myths, Fables-Native American – Historical-United States-General
Print ISBN 9781939844620
EBook ISBN 9781939844637
Link: http://www.dancinglemurpressllc.com/new-adultyoung-adultmiddle-grade

Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/Stone-Man-Trail-Charles-Suddeth/dp/1939844622/

iTunes – https://fnd.io/#/us/book/1455664389-stone-man-and-the-trail-of-tears-by-char

Kobo – https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/stone-man-and-the-trail-of-tears

Barnes & Noble – https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1130849102?ean=9781939844620

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44453832-stone-man-and-the-trail-of-tears

Indiebound – https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781939844620

BAM! – https://www.booksamillion.com/search?id=7703817183848&query=+stone+man+and+the+trail+of+tears&filter=product_type%3Abooks

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One of my favorite writing rules is: There are no rules. I would add: But you have to know the rules and your audience before you can break rules.

I am primarily a children’s writer. I belong to the SCBWI (Society for Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators), and I host 2 critique groups: a picture book group and a middle-grade/young adult group. Members often submit manuscripts that either aren’t children’s books or their main character is the wrong age. I also sponsor a children’s writing category for Green River Writers’ yearly contest, and some of the submissions I receive are poems or short stories with children as the main character, but with adult feelings and observations. My contest also receives memoires of adults looking back at childhood, which is not what children enjoy reading.

The rule of thumb is that children like to read books with a main character their age or slightly older. Recommended ages for readers and main characters vary according from publisher to publisher, so these are just guidelines:

Picture Books: Ages 3 to 7, with main character’s ages 5 to 9 (Board Books for younger readers and Easy Readers for slightly older readers will extend this range in both directions)

Middle Grade (Middle Reader’s): Ages 8 to 13, with main character’s ages 10 to 14 (slightly younger readers may read Chapter Books, which are early middle reader’s books with a limited number of illustrations)

Young Adult: Ages 14 to 18; high school readers. Main character’s ages high school freshmen to seniors. (New Adult, Young Adult fiction geared toward college-age readers, is becoming popular)

Two years ago, an adult fantasy anthology published my dark/horror short story about a little boy almost drowning in a well. It didn’t deal with a child’s issues or problems, so I didn’t submit it to children’s publications. Here are the issues the main characters usually deal with for each category:

Picture Books: Searching for Security. Children this age, even while playing and having fun, need to know their parents are there for them with love, protection, and life’s necessities. The Llama Llama series of books by author/illustrator Anna Dewdney is about a baby llama enduring various adventures and challenges, but above all, Mamma must remain nearby. Llama Llama Red Pajama, I believe, was the first book of the best-selling series.

Middle Grade: Searching for Identity. Children in this age are not certain who they are or what their abilities are. They often do things in groups to obtain peer approval, because they lack self-confidence. J K Rowling’s early Harry Potter books are an example. Harry didn’t know he was a wizard with powers or that he would have a quest. And he didn’t know who his allies (his group) would be, but he gradually learned.

Young Adult: Searching for Independence. Teenagers are famous for their rebellion against their parents, sometimes called “attitude.” Psychologists have described this as subconscious psychological efforts to separate themselves from their families, so they can become adults. Most people think of the Hunger Games as pure survival. Katniss lost her mother, but she is seeking independence from the oppressive, totalitarian society that replaced her parents.

Another peculiarity of writing for children is that boys prefer to read books where the main character is a boy, but girls will read books where the main character is a boy or girl.

My other favorite rule for writing is: Take your reader where they are not expecting to go. This rule also applies to children. Once you know your audience you can take them to destinations unknown and even undreamed of.


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