Lilly and Fin by Cornelia Funke

Today is the first day of my two days off of work.  Naturally, I decided to start the day with a book.  I actually wanted to read this book last night, but I was so tired that I did not get through many pages – maybe 3 or 4.  I started over this morning.  I think I will spend most of the day reading and doing laundry.

The first book of the day was Lilly and Fin by Cornelia Funke.  Lilly and Fin tells the story of two young merpups (mermaid children) named Lilly and Fin.  They leave the mermaid city to go exploring and encounter the submarine of three two-legs.  One of them is caught, they encounter a kraken, and the adventures continue from there.

This was a fun twist on The Little Mermaid fairy tale.  Funke is an excellent writer, and this is another of her books for earlier readers.  I have been pleasantly surprised by the quality of her early reader books, and I wish that they were as popular as her other books (the Inkheart series, Dragon Rider and its sequel, The Thief Lord).  I wish I had known about them when my kids were younger at any rate.

I have been focusing on reading children’s books and young adult books lately.  I find that I really enjoy them, and it helps me in my writing.  One of the books I am working on right now is a young reader (mid-grade) book.  It is an idea that I have been playing with for a while, and the thoughts are starting to take shape finally.  Reading mid-grade, young adult, and early chapter books has reminded me of the creative writing that I used to do when I was younger.  Why is it that it was so easy to do that when I was younger, but as an adult I am afraid of my creative work being rejected or not good enough?  What causes us to lose our curiosity and willingness to try our creative hand?

I think we are pushing kids and young adults to “behave like adults” far too early, and, in the process, we are squashing their creativity and the willingness to take chances.  The educational system is not designed to foster creativity.  When kids are creative and try something different, it simply does not fit the standardized test-oriented world of education today.  This is a horrible tragedy in society.  We should be encouraging and fostering creativity and creative thought and expression, not repressing it.

I think it is time for me to commit to exploring my creativity without that fear of failure hanging over my head.  It has contributed to a crippling writer’s block that has caused me to stop trying to write for months.  Today I will dust off my notepad and pen and start working on the story that I have spent so much time thinking about and jotting down notes for.  It is time to actually write it.

First, I will spend a couple more hours reading and waking myself up.  Stay tuned for the next book review.  I intend to return to some of my favorites from childhood in the coming weeks.  Until next time, Happy Reading!

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