My Departure from Children’s Books

From My Email to a Friend - October 2014

I thought of you this morning because it suddenly clicked in my head why my interest in writing for children had dropped off so much. Basically once I was no longer even occasionally sharing children’s books with my own kids, the wonder of it all faded.

In the summer of 2012 we had a little boy from Russia, an orphan who was not quite 5 years old come and live with us as part of an adoption agency’s “Bridge of Hope” program. The program was set up to try and get older children (most were significantly older than Yuri) adopted by allowing them to come to the U.S. and live with a family for about 3 weeks. The family would then be one step closer to being able to adopt that child. When Yuri returned to Russia at the end of the Bridge of Hope program we began the vast process of adopting him. Then in December of that year (2012), Russia banned any Russian child from being adopted by Americans. For many months of 2013 we hoped that they would special case children who had already met American parents. The State Department was involved and a meeting arranged with Russian officials. The meeting did not go well and as you know Russian/American relations have never been so bad.

I realized because we still have some thought of possibly adopting a child, that this morning as I had chosen the audiobook, The Year of Billy Miller and I thought of possibly having a child in the house, how much of my love of children’s literature was tied to my experiences with my own children. Even when Yuri was here and he spoke no English upon arriving and only a handful of words when he left, I still shared a book with him. I had translated and read Sammy the Seal with the reader alternating between reading each sentence in English and Russian, so that I could turn the pages appropriately and possibly Yuri or I would learn a couple more words of each others language. Every day we listened to how Sammy left the zoo and went to school and swam in the lady’s bathtub. I have always bonded with my own children through books and when that was taken away, a lot of the joy of children’s books went away for me.

I felt better for at least making sense of why I haven’t been excited about writing for kids for the last couple years. I was kind of afraid that my lack of interest was coming from having very limited success in that field and I know now that isn’t it.

So… keep me on the mailing lists and if I am inspired to try my hand at writing for children again, then I’ll be able to jump back in. Meanwhile I have an adult non-fiction title that is my current passion (only about 5% written).

Just wanted to touch base. I also still love hearing about all of “the gang’s” successes.

Take care,

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