Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Mining Family Stories

I just got home from the Society of Children's Book Writer's and illustrator's conferene in Los Angeles. It's always a feast of information, tips, opportunities, and new and old friends. And of course books. I bought one new book to read (the bookstore must have sold out of many titles early) and I loved it. The Red Umbrella by Cristina Diaz Gonzalez. I really enjoyed reading it and I learned a lot too. The book is based on her family's experience in 1961 and 1962 when thousands of Cuban children were sent to the United States alone to escape the new Castro regime. Most of them were reunited with their families later.

So the tip - your family has stories too. Sometimes they happened last week and sometimes they are stories from decades or even a century ago. What has happened to you that would make a funny story? What adventures have you had with your family? Have your grandparents told you stories of when they were kids? Ask them. You may get an idea for a great story. And remember, you don't have to tell it exactly as it happened. You can start with an idea, and if your story is fiction, you can change things to make the story more interesting, longer, scarier - whatever you need. Good luck.

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