I was just at the Calvin Festival of Faith and Writing. I had the chance to hear a lot of writers talk about their work - why they got into writing - what motivates them and challenges them - what they are afraid of and why they do it even when it's hard.
One of the writers I heard was a young woman named Jenny Han. She writes young adult fiction. I bought a copy of her book Shug for my daughter. Jenny is much younger than I am and already has three published books with more on the way (I must admit I am a bit jealous).
At this session, I learned (from an author's perspective some of the challenges these authors face when writing for our kids.
1) The vampire, dragon, fairy trend is all-consuming. Not all of the authors want to write about vampires or dragons, but they feel the pressure.
2) They are often reluctant to write about faith - not because they don't have personal views about God and religion, but because publishers or booksellers are afraid it won't sell.
3) They care about their readers. They try to set good examples. These girls were worried about the language they were using in their books and the situations they placed their characters in.
4) They were funny and real and charming. I loved Jenny's book. As she read a passage - I heard a real voice that sounds like real girls that I have met. I laughed out loud at some of her quirky humor. I wish I had books like that when I was young.
Thanks Jenny and friends for writing great books like these! I hope you keep at it...it almost makes me want to be thirteen all over again.
To see Jenny's book go to this link: