Courage in Kids Literature

IMG_9012 I always root for a main character who shows courage. Don’t you?

This week, World Read Aloud Day’s theme is courage. 

Please indulge me as I share one my favorite passages in kidlit. In this excerpt from The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, one little girl courageously enters a new world with curiosity and wonder. Hmm, maybe my own journey into the world of kidlit is like stepping into Narnia.

“‘This must be a simply enormous wardrobe!’ thought Lucy, going still further in and pushing the soft folds of the coats aside to make room for her. Then she noticed that there was something crunching under her feet. ‘I wonder  is that more moth-balls?’ she thought, stooping down to feel it with her hand. But instead of feeling the hard, smooth wood of the floor of the wardrobe, she felt something soft and powdery and extremely cold. “This is very queer,’ she said, and went on a step of two further.

Next moment she found that what was rubbing against her face and hands was no longer soft fur but something hard and rough and even prickly. ‘Why, it is the branches of trees!’ exclaimed Lucy. And then she saw that there was a light ahead of her; not a few inches away where the back of the wardrobe ought to have been, but a long way off. Something cold and soft was falling on her. A moment later she found that she was standing in the middle of a wood at night-time with snow under her feet and snowflakes falling through the air.

Lucy felt a little frightened, but she felt very inquisitive and excited as well. She looked back over her shoulder and there, between the dark tree-trunks, she could see the open doorway of the wardrobe…She began to walk forward, crunch-crunch over the snow and through the wood. In about ten minutes she reached it and found it was a lamp-post. As she stood looking at it, wondering why there was a lamp-post in the middle of a wood and wondering what to do next, she heard a pitter patter of feet coming toward her. And soon after that a very strange person stepped out from among the trees into the light of the lamp-post.”

  

Hon, do you think I was courageous or crazy to rappel and rock climb on cliffs abutting the Atlantic Ocean? 

Rappeling down Otter Cliffs, Acadia National Park, Maine.
Rappelling down Otter Cliffs, Acadia National Park, Maine.

Rock climbing at Otter Cliffs, Acadia National Park, Maine.
Rock climbing Otter Cliffs, Acadia National Park, Maine.

Determined Like a Turtle

Box Turtle found in my garden.
Box Turtle found in my garden.

What do a turtle and writing have in common?

When it comes to writing, I’d rather be compared to a bunch of other animals. I’d rather soar, roar and wag my tail. But, alas, progress in the world of children’s books crawls along like a turtle. 

Speaking of turtles, look at the colorful Box Turtle who showed up in our garden. She had bright orange legs and was quite brave. Just like the courage it takes to submit manuscripts, this little lady didn’t shy away from potential danger. Just like my determination to bring my characters to life, she plodded ahead with purpose when I set her down next to a river.  (How do I know she was a she? Her irises were yellowish-brown, rather than red.)

One of the things I do to improve my writing is participate in a Critique Group. I recently wrote an article about writing groups for the Children’s Writer’s Guild called the Critique Group Sandwich. Not only did the CWG publish my post, they included me in their list of contributors.  Yay!

Hon, maybe I’m crawling in the right direction.

Turtle kiss.
Turtle kiss.

Ready to re-locate.

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Box Turtle Source: Smithsonian National Zoological Park

Related Posts:  Stories and CeramicsQuotes and Notes (from the NJSCBWI14 Conference), My Writing Process (Bunny Hop) Blog Hop

 

Quotes and Notes (from the NJSCBWI14 Conference)

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The last weekend in June, I attended the New Jersey SCBWI Annual Conference.  I entered the conference nervous but excited. I left the conference exploding with ideas, anxious to start revisions, and encouraged by the connections I made.

I was inspired by illustrator and writer Floyd Cooper‘s Opening Keynote speech, and choked up after listening to Rachel Vail‘s Closing Keynote speech.  If a writer leaves me with a lump in my throat and tears threatening to make my mascara run, then her words have reached the core of why I persist with passion.  Surely, I’m on the right path?

Hon, I thought you’d enjoy quotes from the conference paired with pictures.

“Voice puts color and emotion on the page.”  (Susan Hawk)

Color and emotion.
Color and emotion.

Each girl has her own voice.
Each girl has her own voice.

“What does love require of us?”  (Rachel Vail)

Me and Three when they were 12 weeks.
Me and Three when they were 12 weeks.

“We have to have the courage to press that bruise.”  (Rachel Vail)

An accidental shiner care of my "Plus One."
An accidental shiner care of my “Plus One.”

“Make me laugh.”  (Quinlan Lee)

Laughing is contagious.
Laughing is contagious.

“Being brave is not the opposite of worry.”  (Rachel Vail)

I should've joined the circus!
I should’ve joined the circus!

“Gaze through a world made up paper and ink.”  (Rachel Vail)

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 This quote isn’t from the conference, but it speaks to me just the same.

“Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.”  (John Wayne)

Monument Valley, Utah
Monument Valley, Utah

Monument Valley, Utah
Tween and me in Monument Valley, Utah.  We galloped to the base of the buttes and our American Indian guide sang us a lullabye his grandma sang to him.

 

 

Flying High

At Club Med Sandpiper in Florida, I just had to try the trapeze. Thoughts as I climbed the ladder to the platform:
1. I’m not afraid of heights but, wow, this is high up.
2. Ummm, I have to stand on that thin platform?
3. Thank goodness I have a harness on (and there’s an instructor on the platform with me). Starting to wonder if this was a bad idea.
4. Grab the trapeze with my right hand. Got it.
5. Stretch, reach and grab the trapeze with my left hand while leaning my body over the platform–uhhh, I’d rather not!
6. Step off the platform, swing and use all of my strength to hook my legs over the trapeze–now!
7. Arch back, swing and I’m flying high!
8. Gottcha! I did the “catch”–OMG!!
9. A not so graceful drop to the net.
10. Exhiliration!