This edition of the Journal of Canadian Urban Fiction is dedicated to the writers who have committed themselves to sharing diverse stories and celebrating children from all backgrounds through literature. We take a brief look at their history, their inspiration, their favourite children’s titles, and ask them to share some advice for aspiring authors.
CELEBRATING CHILDREN’S AUTHOR J.L. CHEATHAM
1) How long have you been writing children's literature, and what first inspired you to write this genre of books?
I started writing children's literature in 2013, and what inspired it was a trip to a bookstore with my daughter. In the children's book section, there weren't a lot of books with black characters on the cover, which inspired me to pursue writing books.
2) How does your personal culture influence your writing?
Fredrick Douglass said, "It's easier to build strong children than to repair broken men." This explains my mission as a writer. In my community, I want to create stories that show us in quality, positive storylines.
3) What do you remember about children's books when you were growing up, and how to you hope to change the experience with your audience?
What I remember about the children books I grew up reading (The Giver, Goosebumps series) was how powerful the creativity was with the story-telling. As well as the relatability of the characters. My hope to present the same opportunity of involvement for my readers. I want them to desire to join the world, which are created with my books.
4) Who is your favourite children's author, and why?
My favorite author is R.L. Stine because of the originality of his work and the creativity of his books.
5) What is one piece of advice you would give to an aspiring children's author, based on your experiences thus far?
Learn how you want to see the world and write about how it can be created.
SOCIAL MEDIA: @jay_elcheatham2
FACEBOOK: Jeffrey Lee Cheatham II