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 ANGELOT NDONGMO
1) How long have you been writing children's literature, and what first inspired you to write this genre of books?
I have written the majority of my life! I was a book addict. Reading and writing stories/ideas that came to my mind is what I did for fun; never once thought to become an author. Sure, I squeezed in time for friends, but I was always carrying my latest read in case there was ever any down time (on the bus, waiting for a friend at the mall, etc.). Publishing my work happened in 2008 when I was part of Knowledge Bookstore's book club. The owner, Sean Liburd, expressed enjoying my reviews I would leave on their website of all the books we covered. He asked me: "When will you write your book?" The rest, as they say, is history!
2) How does your personal culture influence your writing?
My culture is one of the main influences as to why I write today. My own lack of cultural exposure growing up (not many options at the time) is the catalyst for my tenacity throughout the process of publishing. Young children need to be exposed to culture early on so they can grow with a love and/or appreciation for it.
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?
I remember the various fun, magical, or adventurous journeys they would take me on. I realize now more than ever that the stories we read shape our expectations, teach us how we fit in to the world, and blast open our imaginations! I had great stories growing up, so my goal is to provide something equally enjoyable that features children from the community as the main characters and enrich their experience even more. My goal is to offer stories that educate or offer humour, or intrigue, etc.
4) Who is your favourite children's author, and why?
There are a lot of authors I love, so I will select just one: Itah Sadu ~ Christopher Clean Up Your Room!
Not only do I love the story, I love and admire what she has accomplished with her work! Very inspiring.
5) What is one piece of advice you would give to an aspiring children's author, based on your experiences thus far?
Don't give up no matter what, no matter how long it takes!
Find your team of believers that will push you to go on and keep climbing the stairs to success...there are no elevators!
FACEBOOK: Loving Me Series
SOCIAL MEDIA: @AngelotNdongmo