I attended a college whose motto was “Think one person can change the world? So do we.” I graduated unsure of what to do next, but sure that I wanted to see the world and then make it better. I was serving as an Americorps volunteer at a small non-profit organization when I made the decision to start writing children’s books. Initially, I felt guilty and selfish. I wanted to write children’s books because I love to write children’s books. How could writing children’s books begin to put a dent in the problems the world faces?
Then I remembered that I also wanted to write children’s books because I love to read children’s books. People like Shel Silverstein, Roald Dahl and Beatrix Potter had a big hand in making me who I am today. Books, especially children’s books, make a difference in the world not just by preaching morals, but by encouraging the imagination, by teaching readers to think deeply and from different angles, and by revealing humor in almost any situation. Working with kids on creative writing put the icing on the cake as I watched them explore their own voices and gain confidence in their ideas. Still, the question of how writing for children can make a difference is one that I hope to come back to again and again – not to justify my decision to write, but to guide it.