word craft


Writing books for kids in a time of war 

sunflowersI can only speak for myself but these days as I sit at my desk and try (empha­sis, try) to write while a wicked war rages in Europe, is not easy. At night when watch­ing the news, and see­ing, among oth­er awful things, the waves of refugees flee­ing with fright­ened, weep­ing, and ter­ri­fied chil­dren, I have to ask myself what in the world am I doing. Do I con­tribute any­thing to the world with my sto­ries, my words? For those young people? 

Years ago, when I was only just begin­ning to write for young peo­ple, I came up with the notion that my books, my col­leagues’ books, tell tales of kids who do things, achieve things, solve things, become, answer, dis­cov­er, untan­gle……… in short, grow up, becom­ing ful­ly real­ized by liv­ing in won­der­ful ways. That is to say, a children’s book is a book of promises. 

And when we promise some­thing to a child we need to keep our word. 

Which tells me I must keep try­ing to write. 

6 thoughts on “Writing books for kids in a time of war ”

  1. Have you heard about Writ­ers for Ukraine? It’s one way to focus the emo­tion­al tor­ment. that many of us writ­ers are feel­ing. https://activatedauthors.com/ I’ve seen you talk with chil­dren, Avi, and I know you have a ten­der heart.

  2. I think it’s more than writ­ing in a time of war, a time of a pan­dem­ic, or a time of eco­nom­ic depres­sion. the ques­tion, for me, is how to write about these things.

  3. I am halfway through read­ing The But­ton War now and it’s hard to read a book with such haunt­ing par­al­lels to the ongo­ing war. Still, it is right and true that writ­ing about hard things, espe­cial­ly for chil­dren, is impor­tant and always will be.


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