21 January 2021 A story for under 7s

Our zoom meeting today was about writing for the under 7s age group. We welcomed two new members.
I used five picture books to illustrate the points that the writer should take into account. At the beginning of the first forty-minute session, I asked about everyone’s experience of writing for this age range. This meant that all sixteen of us made a short contribution. My plan for the meeting started fifteen minutes late, but the time wasn’t wasted. I had sent out the stories I would use in my talk in an email a few days before our meeting.

Going through my checklist, I referred to Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, Refuge by Anne Booth, Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers, Paddington by Michael Bond and Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty. These books have super main characters that children can relate to and a magical element that hooks the reader and the listener (the child) to the narrative.

Everyone was enthusiastic about stories and books for children. We brought our own favourite books from our childhoods. One of us had written for their children and produced a book. The second session (Zoom only allows forty minutes before the group have to re-enter) was for those who had brought a story to read aloud.

First was Once with the Queen by Wilma Ferguson. It felt good to hear about Isabel who went to the palace to have tea with the Queen. She was worried that her table manners were not as good as they should be, but it turned out the Queen loved a slapstick mess!  This story won second prize in the Scottish Association of Writers under 7’s story competition.

Then it was the turn of The Littlest Elf by Myra Duffy. The elf tried to become stronger and taller by eating. Then his father told him fresh air and exercise was best for growing, and he walked in the woods where he helped a fairy. Only he could do it because he was small. This story won first prize in the SAW competition.

The third story was Adam’s Big Shop by Maura McRobbie. Adam thinks he knows how to put away his mummy’s shopping, but he manages to use all the wrong things when he wants a snack.

The last reading was The Dancing Child by Katharina Amanda Adler with her own illustrations. We discussed the market for children’s literature and Amanda’s best plan of action for finding a publisher.

A good morning’s session on writing!