A Writer in Wonderland

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By Ivanova Nono Fotso, Cameroon

I know a young woman who has many grown-up responsibilities: university studies, work, chores, volunteering and church. Yet unbeknownst to the rest of the world, this young woman has a secret room in her heart. In that room, she revisits the world of a five year-old girl, filled with wonder at seeing a butterfly, running after a cat, dancing in front of the mirror and enjoying cartoons. That little girl also enjoys spending time with her invisible Father, telling Him about her day, and allowing Him to soothe her heart with His unconditional love.

This is my reality as a children’s author. It’s like sharing time between my young readers and the child in me. While translating Sunday school curriculum, the truth of a lesson, “God hears our prayers,” boosts my faith. As I write my children’s book, “Don’t Be Afraid,” I myself find peace. Even in the simple act of writing memory verses for Christmas, my heart dances in the tinsel light of truth affirmed.

Some people say to me, “You write for children? It’s a good start. Keep working, you will soon be able to write for adults.” They don’t hear the little girl in me chuckling. She knows she will always be ready to dance, skip and wonder.

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Matthew 19:14). Writing for children can help mold in us a loving and humble heart, an eagerness to learn, and trusting dependence on our Heavenly Father—all characteristics of little ones. Writing for children also gives us a glimpse of the greatest Wonderland, the kingdom of God.

Thank you, Heavenly Father, for giving me the privilege to write for children. Help me to seek you and to keep a trusting and humble heart.

This article was published in our unique book, Light for the Writer’s Soul: 100 Devotions by global Christian writers.

Order your copy on SALE until 12/21 for only $9.99USD with FREE shipping within the USA.  Place your order now. Email: [email protected] or call 630.260.9063.  Light_Writers_Soul_MAI_2D

Ivanova Nono Fotso has written the children’s book, Même Pas Peur, short stories and articles for Jouv’Afrique and AMINA magazines, and parts of the comic collection Eclats d’Afrique. She resides in Cameroon.

Read more about Ivanova’s work in A Comic Strip That Borders Heaven.

 

Spirited Children’s Book Writing

What’s the secret of writing compelling children’s books? Learn tips from Emily Lim, an award-winning children’s author in Singapore. Watch the short video below for details.

  1. Be Less of a “Tell-Tale”
    Don’t narrate. Add dialogue, show action and create an emotional connection with your reader.
  2. Strong Beginning
    A compelling beginning will keep the reader turning your pages.
  3. Hopeful Ending
    Children need hope.
  4. Greater Purpose
    Don’t try to write a bestseller; try to write a “hope-seller.”
  5. Memorable Characters
    Characters should be realistic, relatable and possess a special quality that makes them stand out.
  6. Character Wisdom
    Your characters need to grow in wisdom. No one is all good or all bad. A good character should have flaws. A bad character should have saving graces.
  7. Clarity in Conflict and Resolution
    A good story has a clear story problem with solutions. Resolve your conflict satisfactorily by the end.
  8. Faith in Your Reader
    Don’t talk down to a child reader, don’t moralize as you write. You’re a writer, not a preacher. Have faith that your reader will take away some of your message.
  9. Truthful Voice
    Be authentic. Avoid cliches. Be true to why you’re writing.

Check out Emily Lim’s blog.

This video was shot by Team David Films at MAI’s international publishing conference, LittWorld 2015, in Singapore.

You can create culturally relevant children’s curriculum

Have you heard of Corrie ten Boom? Hudson Taylor? These are household names in many Christian families. Why? Because someone told their stories. One of the most exciting ways to create culturally relevant children’s curriculum is to use true life experiences and heroes of the national church. Every country is filled with heroes of the faith. Author Jeanette Windle describes how to turn these stories into captivating curriculum.


1)       Biography

Example:  Go to the historical sites of the person being studied. Using a digital device, collect and record the history of the local church through interviewing the person herself or survivors who remember her.  Write a five chapter biography.

2)      True life experiences

Example:  A nine-year-old street child who is looking for the love of a family learns three important lessons:   1. You are created by an Almighty God, 2. God loves you very much, and 3. God is with you wherever you go.

Five simple steps for turning stories into curriculum:

1)      Choose a Bible verse

2)      Introduce the story

Example:  “Have you ever felt alone?  Is that true?  Let me tell you about a little girl who discovered she was not truly alone.”

3)      Tell the story

4)      Make the Biblical application

5)      Offer a take-away thought and activity

This LittWorld 2012 video was shot and produced by Good News Productions in Nairobi, Kenya, for MAI .

Meet Coki the Carrier Pigeon and His Creator

Yunita Harahap is an author and former editor from Indonesia, now residing in Yunita cropped headshot2the US. She describes her journey as a children’s writer in this interview, condensed and shared with permission of fellow Indonesian author Fida Abbott.

Q: Why did you want to be a children’s book author?
I am a children’s book lover and cannot stop buying them for my collections. They always bring comfort and joy with their simple stories and good teachings. I want to make children happy with my stories by creating a character that can be a good friend to them through educational, simple and fun stories.

Coki booksQ: Tell us a little bit about your Coki children’s books.
Coki is a loving, kind young pigeon carrier who is curious about everything and dares to take risks for his friends’ sake. In Coki’s stories, we can see his many good traits. Coki makes mistakes but is willing to learn from his mistakes to become a better bird. We can see the nature of children in Coki’s heart.  He loves to play with his friends and is often tempted to delay his tasks.

Q: Where do you get inspiration to write children’s books?
Sometimes I got ideas by walking at a park or around my house. As I heard birds chirping in trees, my heart was tickled and I wanted to know what they were “talking” about? If I saw a bird fly quickly overhead, my heart wondered, “Why is this little buddy in a hurry? Is there an important message that it wants to pass to its friends?” My imagination and my observation blended together to develop the stories.

Q: What are important keys to make stories interesting for children?Coki image
I intentionally begin Coki’s stories with the setting at home near Coki’s family to stress the importance of family. Children love to be surrounded by their families, so that will attract young readers.  The other key is to add humor because children love to play and have fun. In each book, I add a simple game so the readers can have fun playing the game while enjoying the story. Another key is the stories’ cute illustrations. I am so blessed that I met Yoseph Jee, a talented, dedicated illustrator for children’s books.

Q: How do you participate in making your books available to children?
In Jakarta, I occasionally joined a ministry to an orphanage where we could tell stories to the kids and introduced Coki to those children. I also gave Coki books to the street kids I met every day on the bus. If my friends were going to remote areas of Indonesia, I entrusted Coki’s books to them so they could give them away to children or school libraries. In 2012, when Coki celebrated his 12-year anniversary, I invited Coki’s fans to donate books to libraries in remote areas of Indonesia or give them as gifts to children they knew.

Yunita’s books are available online from Bina Kasih publishing house (in Indonesian).