Dirty Bertie, David Roberts
I love the structure Roberts uses in his writing to tell this funny story about a boy who learns to improve his bad habits. I also like the predictability of the text that the child is able to participate in and the fact that the story becomes a teachable discussion that I can use in my classroom. This story gave me a lot of inspiration in terms of finding my own structure and making my story simple, relatable and fun in a way that the child will understand and appreciate.
Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak
As an all-time children’s classic, this story invites the child to not only step into the imagination of Max, but to learn that frustration and anger can be expressed by pretend play and being the ‘king of all wild things!’ I love how the illustrations capture the story and allow the child to really become engaged in Max’s relatable world. Allowing the pictures to tell part of the story is what makes a good picture book great.
Green Eggs and Ham, Dr. Seuss
Children are engaged by this classic partly due to the predictability and participation that they get to express while listening to this story. Dr. Seuss was not only an expert with words, but was able to teach phonetics and rhyming using those very words to the young reader. It is through his careful language that I have been inspired to be creative and thoughtful in my own ‘write.’
My Favorite Stories for Children through Film
When I think of my favorite films made for children, the ones that stand out to me are ‘Toy Story,’ ‘Finding Nemo’ and ‘The Wizard of Oz.’ It’s funny to me how my top three favorite children’s movies encompass the same theme: home. The reason I find that so interesting is because the idea of ‘home’ is a very familiar theme for me. I used to sing and write songs a lot. I have written over 100 songs in my day, most of which deal with the idea of either being lost or missing being at home. After I left for college, my parents divorced and I think a lot of my suffering I secretly journeyed through during my 20s was accepting this new idea of ‘home’ since the one I grew up in was dead and gone. I left for college after graduating high school and by the time I returned for Christmas that same year, it was gone. It was as if it never existed. I didn’t even get to say good bye to my room. I moved around a lot during my college years and into my 20s and so did my divorced parents. And so, I’m touched by stories that contribute to this theme of being home or finding home. In fact, I am realizing now as I write this that when I write stories for children, the home I envision is so intact. It’s almost as if I’m reaching into those forgotten memories that must still exist in my brain and making that home I actually remember a part of characters I create. Subconsciously I am drawn to these stories because they ring so true and speak to the inner child in me.