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 ADRIAN STERLING
1) How long have you been writing children's literature, and what first inspired you to write this genre of books?
My name is Adrian Sterling and I mostly write and draw comic books. I have been an artist almost my whole life, but decided to take it serious as a career only about 3 years ago.
2) How does your personal culture influence your writing?
I was always fascinated with art as a child and even developed my own style with influences from urban art and Japanese manga.
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 children's books while growing up is that they could be silly, funny but also be used to teach children valuable lessons. I once read a children's book about black people and it uplifted me and educated me about the self-worth of all black people. My books incorporate all these things, the comedy, the urban based art and the educational part to teach and to bring about awareness on a variety of issues.
4) Who is your favourite children's author, and why?
Growing up my favorite children's author would have to be Robert Munch. As a child I was always attracted to picture books, or books with bright colors. Robert Munch's books had great art and his stories were usually silly and comedic. His books made me laugh the most, and I didn't realize it back then but humour is a very important thing in life for me.
5) What is one piece of advice you would give to an aspiring children's author, based on your experiences thus far?
For all aspiring children's authors, the only piece of advice I give to them is, if you get stuck, don't give up. Based on my own experience it can be frustrating a demotivating when you get stuck in a particular area. My advice is don't give up, stay positive, keep pushing, and ask questions when you don't know the answers. In my case, I got stuck when I couldn't find out how to get my book published, but I asked questions, and talked to people, and when I least expected it, everything fell into place. The same will happen for all aspiring authors so long as they keep working hard, have perseverance, and stay humble.
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