I don't think I've been quite as grumpy as Bear (though my children might argue that point), but like him, I have pushed away a persistent visitor for years. The first time this visitor (fittingly, in the form of a mouse) arrived, I was in fifth grade. Steven Kellogg gave a presentation at my elementary school. I sat in awe as he talked about writing picture books and drew characters from his stories.
Fast forward to college when that visitor followed me to England. While participating in a semester-long, direct exchange program at Westminster College in Oxford, I had the privilege of taking a children's literature class. I logged hours and hours of reading children's books. I couldn't believe I had an excuse to spend time in a children's library and earn college credit for it! Yet, as much as I enjoyed basking in the creativity of others, I denied the urge to create them myself. Besides, I needed to be practical and get a job when I graduated, right? Bye-bye little mouse . . . .
Well, mostly, anyway. I did take the time to jot down funny things my children said or did. I wanted them (and me) to have a record of these little moments in time. At the time, I really didn't think of these as elements that could be used in picture books, but, there was that pesky little mouse again! Did I invite him to stay this time? Stay tuned for Part 2 to find out.