Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Goliath of Story Topics

A few years ago, I had a brilliant idea for a new YA novel. It was inspired by true events in my native Holland during WWII. The story was epic, exciting, and I started writing it with the enthusiasm you have when it's a first draft.

Then I went to Holland. For my research, I visited the Dutch Theater (Hollandse Schouwburg in Dutch) where one of my characters would be held. I felt the sadness of the place, read the letters of those who perished, saw the baby shoes of babies who never got to grow up.

And I stopped writing. The story was too big. The responsibility of getting it right too great.

I've put that project aside; maybe I'll finish it someday. For the moment, I'm right where I should be, writing Linc's story and keeping it on the lighter side.

But for some strange reason, the whole Holocaust stories for kids topic came up twice at Springmingle, a recent SCBWI convention I went to. I talked with Claudia Pearson of Look Again Press, a small publisher in Birmingham, AL. She was passionate about a book by Eve Tal called A Truth to Tell. It's a critical look at children's books on the Holocaust, and how so few stories exist on the ghettos and camps.

Tal talks about how Holocaust stories are so indicative of culture: here in the States, we like stories to be hopeful; in Israel, those same stories speak more of resistance. Fascinating stuff. Not your light reading for the night, but a very interesting analysis if children's books are your business.

Find out more here.

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