This post is my 100th post on Little Book, Big Story! Finding books to share with you is just my cup of tea, and I can’t tell you how it warms my heart to hear that some of these books have found their way onto your own bookshelves. Thank you all for reading this blog! I love hearing from you and look forward to finding another hundred books to share with you.
To celebrate hitting the hundredth post, I dug up one of my favorite posts from the last two years, fixed it up, and added a little something extra at the end. (One thing I didn’t change but could have: I still write on the couch. Somehow, writing at a desk never took.)
For the first time in years, I have a writing desk. It is little and white and looks like a dresser when closed, but once opened, that desk is a tiny work space in a house full of daughters and cats and wing back chairs and one very patient husband. That tiny space is mine and I don’t have to share.
Until now, I’ve written at the dining room table, on the couch, or in the aforementioned wing back chairs. When I can, I write in coffee shops or at my favorite bar. But now, I have a desk. It is glorious.
In all of those places, I’ve written for you: stories about other stories that we have grown to love. But I’ve also written for my family, and that’s what I really want to tell you about today. You see, it suddenly dawned on me that those two realms might intersect. Here’s how:
You must enjoy reading to your children or you wouldn’t be here. But have you ever considered writing for them? Not “writing for children” in a sense that implies ambition, rejection, publication, and book tours, but writing stories for your own children, the way Tolkien did when he wrote Roverandom and A. A. Milne did when he wrote Winnie-the-Pooh. Have you ever thought about doing that?
Here is what I mean: when I discovered that Lydia enjoyed chapter books but struggled to find one suited for both her reading level and her age level, I wrote one for her. It’s cute and probably not that great by grown-up standards, but what child doesn’t love recognizing herself (and her baby sister) in the pages of a story? She was thrilled to identify with the main character, even though I changed her name. I borrowed graphics from The Graphics Fairy, used Blurb to bind the book and ordered a paperback copy for around $15. Now The Oldest Crow lives on our shelves like a “real” book.
Other books followed. There’s a collection of poems about our family in the style of A Child’s Calendar, and a picture book, illustrated with photos of girls acting out “Little Red Riding Hood” (for fun, I included that whole story in the slider below).
When Lydia’s favorite doll went missing for a few days, she and I collaborated on a story about what Maggie did while she was away and called it The Story of Maggie (and Blankie). There’s the classic “So Long, Binkie!”: A Story About Sarah, written in Sharpie and bound with Elmer’s glue and washi tape (you can read an abridged version of that one, too, at the bottom of this post).
The newest story, A Tale of 3 Sisters, tells the story of Phoebe’s addition to our family (you can read the whole story here).
All of these books have won a place in our girls’ hearts, despite being mostly first draft efforts that would not pass muster at a writing group, much less win the hearts of a wider audience. But my audience is small—just two—and they have a soft spot for the characters.
Perhaps having my own desk has gone to my head, you protest. Perhaps I’ve spent too much time on Pinterest and am taking the meaning of DIY to an unwholesome level. Perhaps.
But don’t tell me that you can’t write or draw, because you know who doesn’t care? Your kids. They’ll be thrilled to have a story written just for them, even if you do pinch the plot of a classic fairy tale or pepper the whole thing with stick figures.
You might not think it’s much but they’ll be delighted, I promise, especially if you’re able to include them in the process somehow. Writing stories for our children has merit, for us and for them, and so I thought I’d throw the idea out there this week as a review of The Book Yet Unwritten. You will write it, won’t you?
Read Little Red Riding Lu
You probably know this, but just in case it’s not immediately obvious, you can use the dots below the sliders to navigate from page to page.