I was deeply touched recently while reading comments from children about why they love reading. Some comments made me smile. Others brought me to tears. These children read fiction chapter books and historical fiction. I’ve rephrased what they said. Perhaps their comments will influence how you write historical fiction. I know it has changed my perspective. Listen to the children you write for:
From an 11 year old: When I read a book all of my troubles leave. I feel as though I’m in the book.
From a 10 year old: When I’m in the story it feels just like I’m the character. It feels like whatever happens to the character is happening to me. It’s like I’m in another world and I never really leave that other world until I finish the book. But even when I’m finished reading the book I’m still there in my mind.
From a 13 year old: Reading helps me escape from a hard day. Reading has helped me to learn right from wrong.
From an 11 year old: Reading is how I escape my life. Without a book I feel lost and empty. If I wasn’t able to read I would be bored and might die. To me reading is a way of survival.
From a 12 year old: Reading does NOT make you nerd or a dork! Reading is one of the greatest pleasures in life. I think the people who make fun of you for reading all the time are the nerds! Reading improves your vocabulary and knowledge.
From an 11 year old: Reading is like going on a vacation. It’s like seeing a movie in your own head and you don’t miss any of the good scenes. When you are sad and lonely and all your friends are gone, a book can be your friend.
From a 12 year old: When I read I can go to the past, present, or future. I feel like I’m exploring and journeying.
From a 14 year old: When I read I feel like I’m traveling to different worlds. I can be somebody else.
From a 12 year old: I can feel the authors words and see pictures in my head. Books are like portals. You can laugh, or be frightened or suddenly be plunged into a dangerous plot. Reading can calm you down when you are mad and when you are sad, reading can soothe you.
From a 13 year old: I feel like I’m really there. If you are lonely, you can read a book about people who are friendly and nice and you feel like they are your friends.
From a 12 year old: Books can help you follow your dreams or even become a hero. There is a whole world waiting to be discovered!
From a 13 year old: I love to read because it helps get me through hard times. When you have a book you will always have a friend.
From a 9 year old: When I read it takes me away from everything that’s going on and brings me to a whole new world.
From a 13 year old: Books can take you all around the world. They can keep you company when you’re lonely. BOOKS MAKE US BELIEVE.
Lots of children need a whole new world for many reasons. Books were referred to as friends, a way to escape troubles, a way to explore, follow their dreams, take a vacation in their mind, even learn right from wrong. To one child, reading was actually referred to as a way of survival. I wonder how many children feel that way.
If you never really thought you could actually change a life with your writing…think again. Write for the children who NEED books in a way some of us never imagined. Write and MAKE THEM BELIEVE!
Source: Alan L. Brown’s website at http://www.alanbrown.com