The Book that Kit Built
That was the name of Kit Pearson's talk in Toronto on Saturday. Sadly, I have no photos; so here's my photo in words: A slender woman, wearing a blue sweater with a white turtleneck, and whitish colored hair. The presenter used these adjectives to describe her: honest, compassionate and beguiling. Kit said, that to be a children's writer you have to remember the emotions of your own childhood, and not see childhood through another child's eyes.
Here's a few other things Kit said. There's no right or wrong way to build a book, but you have to start somewhere and often using a 'manual' of some kind helps. Then you adapt this method to make it your own. Kit described herself as a 'fence-builder' with posts put in first, and then board by board the rest is put up, with gaps here and there to be filled. I love that image!
Her best advice came at the end. Writing the book must be an emotional experience that changes the writer, and also, the reader. False emotions equal sentimentality. The more powerful the emotion, the less you should write about it. She quotes E.B. White from "Charlotte's Web." He writes, "Nobody was with her when she died."
Kit suggested that the theme of her books, looking back over her career, is about how children are victims of an adult society.
Her newest book is "The Perfect Gentle Knight" and it's based on a childhood situation from the 50s. Must read!