Once upon a time, I was a little girl who didn't quite fit in. I was the youngest of five children, all of whom were quite a bit older than me, and there weren't any other little kids in the neighborhood for me to play with. I had friends at school and was well-liked, but was still a bit of an outcast because I was the "smart kid." I was older than my years and surrounded by people (family mostly) who were older than me. This all lead to my feeling isolated much of the time.
Before you pull out your baby violins, let me say that this bit of background isn't provided to pull your heartstrings, but to help me illustrate just how important books and imagination were to me as a kid. I learned to read by the time I was three, thanks to my mom and siblings who were always willing to read to me. I learned to tell stories at a young age because one of my dear uncles made a habit of sitting me on his knee and asking me to tell him a story, never doubting that I would be able to do so. Since he was confident in my creativity, I was too, and I never hesitated to make up a new story for him every time. One of my sisters says I began each story by looking up thoughtfully and saying, "Well, let's see..." I was a voracious reader, and I developed a love for writing as well. In books and stories I found adventure, companionship, knowledge, advice, wisdom, acceptance, wonder and experiences I might never have had otherwise.
Until high school, I always thought I would be a writer when I grew up. Logic eventually whispered doubts into my ear, however, and I decided to study the natural sciences in college, believing that writing could never provide a substantial living, and that I would never be able to make the positive impact on society that I wished to through writing alone. (I have since changed my mind, but that's beside the current point.) I never stopped reading and writing, though, in both my work and for fun. And I certainly never forgot how important books were in shaping the person I became, or in supporting the child that I was. I always told myself that if I became a mother, I would do everything I could to teach my own children about the power of the written word. I have two toddlers now, a daughter and a son, and I do strive to open the door for them into the magical realm built of book bricks held together with the mortar of imagination. We read, we sing, we make up stories, we draw and participate in the discovery of childhood. Reading with them has allowed me to rediscover my appreciation for children's books. A good writer can produce a work to move adults. It takes a real magician to enchant a child, and the adults that care for that child, and to leave a mark on that child's mental landscape which will be remembered even after the child has children of her own.
My purposes for writing this blog are to share information with fellow parents and any adult who cares for a child, that might help those adults encourage a love of reading, learning and imagining in our children. I am also exercising those old writing muscles as I attempt to make writing a more prominent part of the way I earn my living.
The blog is named for the children who dominate my attention and rule my heart. My daughter's name means "light," and my son's name means "little seal." So, my research into quality material for children will involve my Little Light and my Little Seal, and it is for their sake and for that of the children in your life that I share what I find.