Lee McAvoy

Children's Book Writer
Licensed Mental Health Counselor

Inspiration for Writers

Write with Empathy

Posted on February 16, 2016 at 2:40 PM

Just returned from the SCBWI conference in New York City, an amazing event with 1,150 attendees from 48 states and 19 countries. Many of the best authors, illustrators and editors spoke on panels and/or gave amazing critiques and presentations. I was most inspired by Gary Schmidt, author of many children's books, including one I just finsihed entitled Orbiting Jupiter, a middle grade novel about an abused boy with a kind heart who gets his girlfriend pregnant.

Gary challenged us to "Write for the kid on the log who is waiting for the first person to come along because no one ever does." After teaching elementary school for 30 years and working as a therapist for 20, I know the cycles of abuse will not end until victims are given a chance to speak their truths and to heal. Books such as Orbiting Jupiter, that deal empathically with controversial topics, have tremendous power to reach kids who are suffering in silence. A child who finds his or her story in a book is no longer alone.     

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