Children’s author to host workshop for young writers

— image credit: Greg Skinner | Staff Photo

Every child’s life matters, and every child has a great story to tell. For local children’s author George Shannon, those are words to live and work by.

The importance of children’s lives and stories are behind the primary philosophy of a workshop Shannon plans to host Saturday at the Sylvan Way Library.

The workshop, titled “Kids! So You Want to be a Writer?” offers young people that are interested in storytelling an opportunity to learn from the award-winning author.

Part of the Kitsap Regional Library’s ongoing efforts to engage families in reading and learning, the workshop includes practice, tips and advice from the author’s own experience as a writer for kids.

For Shannon, who has published 40 books of his own, it is also a way to share his life-long love of books.

From an early age, Shannon loved family visits to the library. When he was a young reader his family could not afford many books. The library offered a world of discovery for free, he said.

Labeled a “daydreamer,” Shannon loved to create his own stories, and, by seventh grade, he was writing his own. Almost two decades would pass before his first manuscript was accepted and turned him into the published children’s author he is today.

Shannon worked as children’s librarian for five years while writing his first book, “Lizard’s Song.” One of the obstacles he had to overcome was thinking that his life was not interesting enough to form the creative basis of a good children’s book. One of the primary goals of the  workshop is to help young story-tellers avoid that pitfall, he said.

“Everyone grows up thinking they do not have a life that is interesting,” he said. “I want young people to know that their life matters, and that they have a great story to tell.”

The workshop will offer interactions on elements of story-telling. Shannon said one important method he used was to help children find their own voices from within the books and stories they love.

“Children discover what they like, and if they discover it they remember it,” he said.

Shannon has won multiple awards including being honored by the Bainbridge Island Arts and Humanities Council as an “Island Treasure.” He said, however, his greatest honor was often found on library shelves.

“My biggest award is when I go into a library and one of my books is falling apart because it has been checked out so many times,” he said.

Shannon said he has toured as an international lecturer and held workshops for over 30 years, and parents and young people alike had enjoyed the events.

The event will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. June 30 at the Sylvan Way Library in Bremerton and Shannon encouraged parents to bring their young story-tellers to the event and help them unleash their own creativity.

“If your child has a love of stories, this is a chance for them to make their own,” he said.


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