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January, 2008

Yuk Yuks

The Importance Of Voice (Kid's Lit)
Now listen to this... tell your tales truthfully
By  Charles Ghigna

The best voice for writing for children is hiding, inside the child inside of you.
he "voice" of the story or poem, when writing for young kids, is one of the most important elements that is often overlooked. 

Instead of thinking about the process as writing for children, think of it as writing from the child in you. Let the child speak. If the child honestly and imaginatively speaks the truth, other children will listen.

The first step in developing an appealing voice for your young readers is to imagine yourself whispering a big secret to one very special child. See that child in your mind's eye and begin writing your poem or story to that one child as though you are drawing them in real close.

Now in a big-eyed, hushed voice that is about to reveal the most exciting secret they have ever heard, begin your poem or story as though they are sitting in front of you on the edge of their seat, breathlessly awaiting your wonderful tale. Imagine your poem or story as beginning with those magical words, "Now listen to this..."

Everyone has their own breathless, natural, magical voice within them. It is hiding somewhere back there in your own childhood when the world held such wonderful mysteries that you could hardly wait to discover them all. Back when clouds were not clouds, but long-tailed dragons and endless fleets of flying ships. When the shades of trees across the sidewalks were not simply afternoon shadows, but were dangerous dungeons around which you must step in order to make your way home.

Begin your poems and stories with that same childlike sense of wonderment and excitement.  Enter the poem with a sense of discovery. Trust your verbal instincts. Let your poem take you where it wants to go. Let it surprise you. If it does, it will be a keeper.

Write wildly and recklessly. The rhythms and momentum of your tale take you to each new moment of the story. Do not stop until you discover on the page or screen something you did not know you knew until you wrote it. That's when the good stuff happens.

Sometimes those inspired moments are rare, but the more journeys you take in that direction, the more rare gems of poems and stories you will create until they are no longer rare, but simply a procession of poems leading on and on into a life time of memorable poems for children of all ages, just like you, just like the ageless child in you.

That's where your best voice for writing for children is hiding, inside the child inside of you. Once you've rediscovered that child, that voice, it's yours again forever. The child in you speaking to the children of the world. Find it. Speak it. Enjoy it. It's always been there waiting for you, waiting to take you back home to where the best stories and poems are still waiting to be told.

A Poem Is A Little Path

A poem is a little path
That leads you through the trees.
It takes you to the cliffs and shores,
To anywhere you please.

Follow it and trust your way
With mind and heart as one,
And when the journey’s over,
You’ll find you’ve just begun.

Read Charles Ghigna's excerpts from his poetry books.IN Icon

Charles Ghigna (aka "Father Goose") is a poet, children's author, and nationally syndicated feature writer who helps promote the love of children's literature by speaking at schools, colleges, conferences, and libraries. Charles is the author of more than thirty books of poetry for children and adults. He can be found at

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IN This Issue
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Remember The Reader
Making It Real
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Reality Suspension
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Writer’s Block
The path to inspiration starts
Upon the trails we’ve known;
Each writer’s block is not a rock,
But just a stepping stone.

Poetry Is Not
Penned to the page
Waiting for us to admire.
It is only a lonely thought
Caught by tears on fire.

Silent Echoes
A quiet rhyme upon a page
Is what a poet gives;
Some gentle words whispered in trust
To see if memory lives.

Bard From Deadlines
What makes a poem finally work
Is not the time it takes;
It’s how the poet used the muse
To prophet from mistakes.

Be Mused
The art and craft of poetry
Are not so far apart;
The craft comes from the cunning,
The rest comes from the heart.

Fine Vintage
Don’t plant your poem on the page
As though you’re hanging drapes;
It’s shape and flow should come and grow
Like wild summer grapes.

Getting It Write
Writers write what they know best,
Their passions, fears, and dreams;
Writers rarely write about
What other call their “themes.”

Double Vision
A writer’s life is paradox,
It’s more than what it seems;
We write of our reality,
The one inside our dreams.

The echo of a promise,
The thunder of a sigh,
The music of a memory,
A child asking why.

Letter Perfect
Twenty six symbols arranged on a page
Can send a soul to heaven or torment it with rage,
Can free a fragile world or hold it in its net--
The power and the magic of the mighty alphabet.

The Write of Passage
The jump from writing just for fun
To getting paid for it
Begins when you first realize
You know you’ll never quit.

It is not the magic of his wings
That sets us free from our bond.
It is the muse within ourselves
That lets our words lift us beyond.

Photo Poet
Consider your mind the darkroom,
Consider your life the lens,
Consider your eye the camera
On whose focus the poem depends.

Rising Moon
A poem is a rising moon
Shining on the sea,
An afterglow of all we know,
Of all we hope to be.

Star Light
Writing a poem,
Reaching a star,
In making good art
We find who we are.

Spider Web
A poem is a spider web
Spun with words of wonder,
Woven lace held in place
By whispers made of thunder.

The final draft upon the screen,
At last my poem’s through;
A verse of only four short lines--
I rewrote twenty-two!

Read All Of Charles Ghigna's Poetry at

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