Sunday, November 25, 2007
Kids Who Grew Up to Write for Kids
Crystal, age 7
I used to be a kid. (I know, hard to believe.) But when I was growing up one of the things I wanted to be(of a whole list of things) was a colporter. I don't even know if I'm spelling that right! I only heard the name as a child--never saw it in writing. But every single day in my little 4-grades-in-a-room Seventh Day Adventist school,(I spent 5 years of my schooling in a SDA school) we prayed for these people. From what I could understand, they were missionary book sellers and influencers. They went around trying to sell religious books and Bibles to people, and sometimes they even left books and pamphlets with people. (Some of you may recall seeing large blue Bible story books in doctors' and dentists' offices. This was a result of a colporter.)
I thought this must be the best job in the world--even better than being a librarian. As one of these book missionaries, you basically influenced the reader into reading about Jesus or His followers. I prayed as fervently for these people as I did for my missionary aunt, uncle and 3 cousins in Nigeria. I prayed that God would let me be one of these people! And of all the stories my uncle told of being a missionary in Africa (Nigeria during the Biafran war and Ghana)I thought the most amazing one was smuggling Bibles into Communist Russia (before the Iron Curtain fell) to the Christians there.
Well, in a way, God answered that childish prayer in many ways. For one, I was a primary grade teacher in Christian schools for many years. I taught kids to read and to pick out books to read.I was the department head to the children's Sunday school and ministry department in my church for years. I taught and ran Vacation Bible School. I read tons to my own kids. Have given away tons of books and money for books. I learned to write for publication, and while I never realized my dream to write for children, I have published many articles and columns and over 500 published book reviews. (I lost track of how many now.) I have been working on many (other authors') fiction manuscripts in the pre-published stage as a book doctor and professional reader, but I've also been doing a feaure called, When I Was Just a Kid on this blog and at the Chat 'n' Chew Cafe'.
Starting this week I am having a very special set of interviews on When I Was Just a Kid with Crystal Laine Miller. These are the Kids Who Grew Up to Write for Kids. Each one will feature a children's or teens' author, and a couple will be books written for adults who work with kids. For each one, either I or the author will give away one of his or her books. One author's book won't be out until spring, but he's such an interesting guy that I couldn't resist putting him into this line up now. (We'll get his book when it comes out.)
I know there are other children's authors out there whom I didn't get something back from or who didn't get contacted for one reason or another. If you are one of these people, do email me [crystal.mrsinewa[AT]gmailDOTcom] with the subject line WHEN I WAS JUST A KID or leave me a comment, and we'll set something up. I love children's books and have stacks of my own. It's one of the questions I always ask, "Favorite Book as a Child?" You might have a special child in your life to whom you'd love to give a book this Christmas season. If so, come check out these books and authors.
Each day that I feature a children's author, please leave a comment on that blog and an email contact because I will draw one name (in a couple cases, maybe two names) for a book winner. Unfortunately, because most of these shipping costs come from my own pocket(and from the authors' pockets) and I have three boys in college (and one on the way) I can only accept a winner within the United States.
But for now, this is my small way of focusing on the great people who get to write for children--and also to answer my childhood prayer and dream.
Check back every day as these will go fast and furious. (I will set a time limit for each drawing, so check in!) And be sure to let all of your friends and moms' groups know, too. I want to also bring back a few past interviews because those authors either write for children/teens or write for adults working with children.
Now, tell me what your favorite book was as a child, and why was it significant?