As soon as I could walk my mother took me, my siblings, and our red Radio Flyer Wagon to the library. Every week we would fill out the entire wagon with books. It was already a habit for me to read. So when things got unbearable for me, I turned to my books. If I ever needed to escape from the day-to-day I could always be carried off by a tornado to the Land of Oz, or fall through Alice's looking glass. I knew that if I needed strength, that Matilda Wormwood would take a stand with me and invent a delightfully wicked punishment for the baddies. It felt as though the characters from some of my favorite books were reaching out to me. I gained strength and comfort through them and their stories. I am so grateful for all the kidlit creators, whose books I grew up reading. They have helped me through some very dark moments in my childhood.
I feel like it is important to share my wounds with you because I know my experience isn't singular. Unfortunately there are so many other children out there that are suffering; children that need relief, children that need to know they are not alone, children that need your empathy, children that need your stories.
As kidlit creators, we will likely be a lifeline for some other child. Let us keep that in mind as we are creating the stories and crafting our illustrations. What we do is important. What we do does makes a difference.