Wednesday, August 21st, 2019

Who Inspires You?

November is “National Inspirational Role Models Month,” so it seemed like a good time to write about my own role models, and whom I look to for inspiration and ideas. Prepare for some unabashed mushiness.

My greatest source of inspiration is my own family. My kids are wonderfully unique individuals who never cease to fascinate me. They do, say and experience things, and I think, “There’s a book in that!”  Our Dumpy the Dump Truck books were completely inspired by my son Sam, and The Very Fairy Princess is largely based on my daughter Hope. I am also frequently inspired by my wonderful husband, Steve, who is a one-man cheering section, the world’s best Dad (and cook!), and who has been known to solve plot problems for me in his dreams.

All four of my parents are endlessly inspiring, as are my many siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles and in-laws. Their varied and interesting lives enrich my own in so many ways, and their constant support makes it possible for me to do what I do.  And I can’t begin to count the number of inspirational friends and colleagues whose lives and stories continuously touch and inform mine. Other writers, of course, are a huge source of inspiration. Among my current heroes in the children’s literature field are Peter H. Reynolds, Mo Willems, Jon Scieszka, Jack Prelutsky, Lauren Child, Katherine Paterson and Phillip Pullman. These gifted writers never cease to inspire me with the scope and freshness of their style and ideas, and the unique contribution they make to the lives of children everywhere.

But perhaps my most inspirational role model is – drumroll, please – my Mom and writing partner. Never one to rest on her laurels, she continues to stretch herself in new ways and mediums, and at an age when most people have long since retired, she is the hardest working person I know. She is always proactive, ever optimistic, never complains, and is generous beyond all reason.  She is beautiful, vibrant, smart, funny and a veritable font of creativity.  If I am ever half the gal she is, I’ll be happy.

Who inspires you?


3 Responses to “Who Inspires You?”
  1. Beth says:

    Wonderful post, Emma! (I’m going to have to do my own blog post for National Inspirational Role Models Month” — what a great thing to celebrate!)

    One of my greatest inspirations in my life, and in my writing, is my Mum. As I write this, I’m dealing with watching her life ebbing away, and so there are tears just beneath the surface, but I need to pay tribute to her. Not only has she been a role model for warmth and love and interest in people, and eagerness to learn and to teach at every opportunity, but I owe her a great debt of gratitude for asking me one day, “Why don’t you write?” I started writing, and that has grown to be one of the greatest joys in my life. Oh gosh, here come the tears…

    I have to admit that someone who is truly a role model for me, though I’ll likely never meet her, is your Mum. Her indomitable spirit in the face of difficulties, her optimism, her zest for life, for writing, for embracing one’s own creativity — all these inspire me, and help to keep me going.

    One children’s writer in particular who inspires me is a Canadian woman who has been blind, or nearly so, for most of her life. She writes using voice-recognition software, so that she can then listen to her manuscript, since reading is not a possibility for her. Her name is Jean Little, and she writes wonderful books. If you’ve never encountered her writing, I’d urge you to find her “From Anna” and “Listen for the Singing” for a start. Her two autobiographies are wonderful as well — “Little by Little” and “Stars Come Out Within”.

    Thanks, Emma, for this opportunity to express some of the thanks I owe to some wonderful people!

  2. jan says:

    when my online friend, beth, told me about this blog and it’s inspiration month topic, i could only think of the wonderful teachers, instructors and professors who have shaped my life and work.

    the elementary teacher who saw the shy little girl and put her in the xmas pageant. the junior high teacher who thought my being on stage would draw me out. the high school teacher who saw in me the potential for being a scholar and teacher. the professors who helped me through so many personal and family crises and helped both financially and emotionally so i could continue my education and begin to explore the world with travel.

    after a lifetime of doing and being, i thought, in my old age, that there could be no more highs or people who would inspire me. but, last year i found there was one more person who could bring out the best in me and make me believe that age has no limits. like beth, i discovered your mum, emma. she has brought so much joy into my life with her books, movies, charities and optimism, i can’t think of anyone who can match her in inspiration.

    some years ago, i wrote to all my favorite teachers and thanked them for being so important in my life. fortunately, they were all still alive and were so touched by my letters. sometimes we don’t thank the people who mean so much to us. i think it may be time now to send your mum, emma, a note telling her that, too.

    thanks, emma, for letting me acknowledge the important people in my life.

  3. Diane says:

    Hi Emma, I am sitting here doodling… (well that’s what I call it when something springs to mind and I jot it in one screen and then something comes up for something else and I jot it in another screen..)when suddenly your twitter post of “10 Reasons I love to Write” flashed on my screen. That made me think and it was certainly not hard to come up with 10 reasons.

    Who inspires me?.. That’s easy, your Mother Emma, and like Beth, I find her optimism, her enthusiasm in her writing is such a joy and delight, it inspires one to reach new boundaries.
    I had some years earlier become a huge fan of your mothers and going through the websites and reading articles, interviews etc I came across an interview she had done back in 1968 I think for Life Magazine. Not sure of its title, but she mentioned that in starting a new phase in her life, utmost in her mind was her daughters happiness. Without going into to much detail, this interview moved me to tears in remembering my own parents very long separation and painful divorce when I was a teen. (I had a couple of years earlier been asked to try my hand at writing, but thought it impossible to put what is in ones mind down on paper, especially in such a hurried fashion). The release of bentup feelings and thoughts the article stirred for me, the understanding and coming to terms.. was such a relief. I decided to put it down on paper and so my venture into writing began. They say the best writing is in part, often taken from ones own life experiences. I have had the delight of meeting your mother on two occasions and had always been in awe of her. Please pass on my gratitude to her, for leading me to a new creative outlook.
    Thankyou Emma.

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