The Tweedlers are thrilled to welcome Karen Pokras Toz to the blog! Karen is the author of Nate Rocks the World and Nate Rocks the Boat and is on tour with her exciting new release Millicent Marie Is NOT My Name.
Why I Chose to be a Children’s Book Writer – Karen Pokras Toz
Whenever I am asked this question, I always respond: Well, I didn’t actually choose to be a children’s book author, children’s books sort of chose me. Let me explain.
I have always loved to read. I remember one childhood book in particular called, “The Best Loved Doll,” written by the wonderful Rebecca Caudill. In this book, Betsey, like so many other little girls, had a collection of dolls. Some were very old, some did things when you wound them up, some had beautiful clothes, and some were just well loved. The book had an important message: Beauty is within. I would read this book over and over throughout my childhood and could not wait to purchase a copy for my own daughter.
As I moved on to chapter books, I fell in love with Judy Blume’s stories. The wonderful thing about her books was that they spoke about important and relevant topics that kids such as myself were dealing with, yet she did it in such a relatable and easy to understand way. Whether I realized it or not, every book had a message that stayed with me. I speak in the past, because that was when I read them, but truth be told, they are timeless. In fact, my own children have read and enjoyed many of her books.
So where does that leave me? Well, even though I loved to read as a child (and still do), I never liked to write. In fact, I hated it. But a story popped into my head (for adults) a while back, and I decided to give it a go. It was awful; I’m not going to lie. But, within my adult story, were flashback scenes to my main character’s childhood. These mini stories were so enjoyable to create. I loved writing in a child’s voice. I could be light, and funny, and I could send a message.
It was during this period of experimentation, that I realized writing for children was in my future. I am now working on my fourth book. Each follows that same model as the books I loved as a child – they are fun to read, yet have an important message. Nobody was more surprised than I was of this career path . . . well except for perhaps every English teacher I ever had who tried to get me to enjoy writing!
They say it’s important to follow your dreams, but sometimes letting your dreams find you works equally as well.