Translated into writer speak, this quote might read “writer, know thyself.”
As writers, we want to hook our readers. This is especially difficult if, like myself, you are an adult writing for non-adults. Why? Because in our society we often think of children as different from us. While they are different in experience, they are the same in many ways.
Children and adults both want things. Sometimes they want things so badly that it makes them just a little crazy and they do something that they truly know better than to do. Sure, what a five year-old wants more than anything may be different than what a forty-five year-old wants, but the wanting will be the same.
Children and adults both fear things. Sometimes it is the fear of being found out or caught. Sometimes it is the fear of some natural force that they cannot control. Fear motivates both children and adults. Fortunately, fear isn’t the only motivator.
Children and adults both want to be loved and accepted . . .
So, do you get my point? If you want to write for children, connect with something that they will understand. Don’t look down on the things they want, fear or love. Instead, think about how you feel in a situation that scares you, that drives you to excel, that makes you want to show how much someone else means to you. Once you’ve connected with your own feelings, you can bring them into the story where your young reader will encounter it and think, “Wow. This grown up really understands.”