Despite reading those fascinating stories, the Great American my daughter chose to write about was Mo Willems.
My first thought was that he is "only a children's writer." And that says a lot more about me that about him.
|Not only a children's writer -- he's a dinosaur too.|
He is far more accomplished in his career than I even hope to be in mine, so what does that say about how I value my own career as a children's writer, with one novel published and one picture book to come? It shows that I don't value my own career enough -- I have internalized that I am "only a children's writer."
Mo Willems is not "only a children's writer," and neither am I. Writing for kids is as important -- maybe more important -- than "important writing" for adults. Entertaining and educating children, making them think, laugh, and feel -- these things matter.
At the beginning of the school year, my daughter's teacher asked her who her favorite author was. She said, "My mom." She told me the story and I hugged her.
Then she said, "You're my favorite author as a person. If it's based on books, then Mo Willems, Nick Bruehl, and Bob Shea."
My daughter obviously hasn't learned yet that sometimes you need to know when to stop talking. But no matter how I made it on her list, it's a list I'm proud to be on, just as I'm proud to be part of the community of writers and book lovers that reads this blog.
My daughter says Mo Willems is a Great American. My daughter thinks what he does matters. She's right about him, and I should trust that she's right about me -- and all of you -- too.
About Kell Andrews: I write for children of all ages. My middle-grade eco-mystery Deadwood is out from Spencer Hill Press, and her my picture book Mira Forecasts the Future (illustrated by Lissy Marlin) will be released by Sterling Children's on June 14, 2016. You can also find me at KellAndrews.com or Twitter.