There is something very special about the books that I love the most, that I want so desperately to put in the books that I will write.
Books like The Chronicles of Narnia or The Psammead Trilogy from E. Nesbit, Anne of Green Gables, National Velvet - the books that have founded me as a reader, a writer, and a person.
Not only do they help a child to feel more important, and special, they also help the parent to reconnect with the inner child inside them. I want to write books that parents read to their children. I am not afraid to write with long words at times. Long words were my favourite when I was a little kid reading to myself. They were challenges to learn. When I saw a word that I didn't know, I would run to the dictionary and look it up, writing it down afterwards in a little index book - my own dictionary of new words.
Also the gift of reflection. If I read a book that I didn't quite understand, there was a different challenge - to think about what I had read until I made up my mind that I understood it. Of course, being young, what I often ended up with was quite different to the author's actual meaning, but there you have it - room to grow, room to reread and relearn each time as I age.
So for myself as a writer, I want to offer children at least these two challenges - to learn and to think. And these two challenges can be surrounded in a story that they can share with their mum and dad as they snuggle up before bed for a bedtime tale.
For parents, reading to their children is a big deal. Of course there is the connection that they make with their child - the process of growing closer and closer as they journey together alongside their favourite book heroes. But also, there is the deeper, more personal appeal to their own inner child - that childlike wonder that might easily have been marginalised or even entirely abandoned during their adulthood. Reading children's books can be a simple way to reopen that path of communication with wonderment - to feel young and get excited, and wonder what will happen next.
In the books that I love the most, and in the books that I hope to write, there isn't a line between a story for adults and a story for children. The stories that I want to tell are for both, especially if they are shared together between them.