Laugh & Learn

Family time is a big deal. Children absorb values with or without help from the adults in their lives. Sharing the best ideas and values shouldn’t be a chore for parents. Literature and the arts can make family time easy. I like to share ideas that are exciting and fascinating for both kids and adults—and picture books offer both art and literature. I write mostly from my own experiences (and have been doing so since college); but some of my best ideas come from the children in my life. I love to weave clever plots, filled with nuances and wit that make kids (and parents) go back and pour over them again and again.

Growing up in San Jose, California, USA, I didn’t always like to read. Fortunately, my parents enjoyed good books, so eventually I found one that grabbed me. WOW! Books could take me on adventures! Living abroad for a couple of years increased my perspective and gave me a breadth that, I hope, is reflected in my stories.

Since I learn visually, I always want images with my stories to attract and hold attention. My first picture book, “Sounds in the House,” is a rollicking bedtime story on facing fear. The day we were to print, my publisher passed away. With the unexpected crash course in marketing and publishing, I published my next title: “Crumbs on the Stairs – Migas en las escaleras: A Mystery” (in English and Spanish). It has finding, counting and Spanish activities. 

My third book was requested by a publisher in Utah. “Anna’s Prayer” is my first non-fiction book; it’s about my great-great aunt—who emigrated from Sweden at ten years of age (not knowing English)—and what she did when she arrived completely alone at her U.S. destination.
 
“She Doesn’t Want the Worms – Ella no quiere los gusanos” is an activity book mystery (in English, Spanish, or bilingual versions) with a pronunciation guide. The illustrator incorporated lots of juicy surprises and secrets in every page. “Bad Bananas: A Story Cookbook for Kids” is a wisecracking picture book on the short (shelf) life of a bunch of bruisers—with seven easy recipes to save families from “I’m bored” disease. It’s full of laughs and yummy, hands-on fun.

I have never experienced “writer’s block.” Ideas come to me daily—and I love that what I share might make some child somewhere a ravenous reader. Because of e-books and Spanish, English and bilingual versions, I have 21 titles on Amazon.com, plus eight manuscripts ready to go (some just waiting on illustrations) —and files full of ideas. Now I share my stories and adventures as a speaker. It’s fun to inspire children and adult groups to imagine, play, learn and create their own stories.

Ideas can compel us as we absorb them from literature/art, or as we are absorbed by them in giving them a voice. I hope to always be compelled by ideas. To me, that is success.

Posted by Karl Beckstrand at 9/23/2011 11:53 AM

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