My 8 year-old daughter Brianna co-authored the first two books in the Purpee the Purple Dragon kid’s book series with me. Yes my 8-year old daughter, and believe it or not, she actually did more of the writing than you may think. Brianna and my younger son AJ who was 4 at the time, through a series of bedtime stories, created the Purpee stories. Then Brianna using her Illustory set started writing the text for the book. At the end, I simply came in and smoothed out some of the words and phrases.
Here are 3 reasons kids make excellent authors (yes your kid too).
Kids Have the Biggest Imaginations
As adults, we tend to be close-minded and act based only on our own perspectives that we have built up over the years. Children, on the other hand, haven’t had time to develop habitual perspectives yet and therefore their imaginations run wild. They can come up with stories about purple dragons venturing into the woods to find a 30-foot long stone-eyed snake, or other off-the-wall ideas. This is something we need to praise children for, not tell them, “That is silly,” or, “That doesn’t make sense.” This imagination is often the starting point for many great children’s book series, novels, or other world changing projects.
Do you know that JK Rowling’s Harry Potter’s series was published, because her publisher gave the first chapter of the manuscript to his 8-year old daughter and she loved it!
Kids Don’t Understand the Idea of Messing Up
Often, adult authors are perfectionists. They write and write until they get the perfect article or manuscript, which can painfully prolong the writing process. Luckily when I wrote my book for engineers, someone had warned me about this. I ended up writing my manuscript in one-moth and self-published the book. Was the book perfect? No. However, it helped a lot of engineers, and recently IEEE-Wiley Press published an updated edition that was closer to ‘perfect’. All because I started and didn’t wait for perfection.
Kids don’t understand perfection; they just do things. They color outside the lines, they leave off periods, they forget to capitalize names, but they create beautiful works of art. This was so apparent when Brianna wrote the two Purpee books. She just wrote and didn’t worry about spelling; she focused on the story. If you have young kids, you are probably smiling, thinking to yourself: this all sounds too familiar.
Kids Don’t Try to Control Everything
Adults, especially type-A ones, often try to control every aspect of every project they work on. I am speaking from experience here. Kids don’t. Kids are fine with someone saying to them, “Great job here, can I help you with the next page.” This is an important trait that often really holds adults back from being successful. When we wrote the Purpee the Purple Dragon books, Brianna was focused on the story but open to my help, suggestions, and feedback.
We Must Inspire to Children to be Creators
I write this article because many kids think that writing is scary or they are not good at it. The fact is that children are in a much better position to succeed as writers than they (and many adults) think.
Next time your kid doubts herself or himself, reinforce the points listed above in kid-talk. Remind your kids how creative they are, and how they can cheer other people up with their artwork. Then sit there, smile, and watch them create.
Brianna and I hope to bring this message to children’s in schools this year and beyond….
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