This past weekend, I spent time with my 6 1/2-year-old niece. She's extremely intelligent -- and I'm not just saying that because I'm a biased aunt; she already reads at a fifth or sixth grade level. She's way past picture books and has already devoured the Little House series. Right now, she's obsessed with books that follow girls from various periods in the past.
My niece also loves to make up and write her own stories. She has a wild imagination and reminds me a bit of myself at her age. She especially likes to create stories about magical creatures, such as fairies and unicorns.
Anyway, my children's writing teacher noted that one of the best ways to get ideas for kids' books is to simply spend time with kids. I took advantage of this and picked my niece's brain for the types of books she'd love to read. Here are some of her ideas: they're pretty interesting!
1. Have a story where the princess DOESN'T marry the prince. My niece is already very cautious about making stereotypes (and yes, she knows the word and what it means) and already has strong opinions about how women should be independent. Her parents are raising her well! She likes princess stories, but would like to see something that doesn't follow the typical formula. Frozen came close, but there was still a romance...
2. Lost jewels and imaginary animals. She loves the idea of a magical land filled with treasures and never-seen-before creatures. This idea has been done many times, but hey, a classic is a classic.
3. Poor and needy shepherds. She'd like to read a story about lower class characters who AREN'T secret royals or don't have special powers. She wants to read about people succeeding through hard work... or a story, like Robin Hood, where the poor are helped.
I don't know if my niece is going to end up becoming a writer herself. She's still quite young and insists she's going to become a vet or a paleontologist... or the President. I envy her for having so much hope for her future! I do hope she continues to write, though, and continues to be a cool, quirky, creative little girl.
Check out and review my YA novel REVENGE OF A BAND GEEK GONE BAD.