“I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see. The longer I live the more my mind dwells upon the beauty and wonder of the world.”
John Burroughs, naturalist and author
To cultivate a mind that “dwells upon the beauty and wonder of the world” — what more hopeful and creative work can we do, both as writers and lifelong learners than this? I was reminded of how important our contributions are when I talked with a woman named Bella at a festive get-together. After chatting a bit, I mentioned that I was a writer and told her about the story I’m writing for kids.
Bella began telling me about a wonderful series of stories that one of her grandkids is reading and about a very creative Swedish adventure series that her other grandkids watch. This led us to talk about some of the novels we had enjoyed as kids and what an escape they provided us both when things at home were hard to handle. Bella, who’s a former social worker, talked about the importance of fictional worlds as places where kids’ imaginations can be free to wander and wonder.
Then she told me something scary: The Common Core programs now being implemented in public schools are focusing on nonfiction and downplaying the importance of fiction for young readers. What a terrible idea! Why should one form of writing be stressed over another when both are so important to the development of young creative minds? Just one more reason why we need to stay true to the “beauty and wonder” of the worlds we create through the stories we tell. Write on!