Touching the Hearts of Kids


One of my favorite quotes is in the last chapters of the apocalyptic novel, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome:

“Still in all, every night WE DOES THE TELL, so that we ‘member who we was and where we came from… but most of all we ‘members the man that finded us, him that came the salvage. And we lights the city, not just for him, but for all of them that are still out there. ‘Cause we knows there come a night, when they sees the distant light, and they’ll be comin’ home.”  MAD MAX BEYOND THUNDERDOME

Storytellers “do the tell” so we remember “who we was” and “where we came from.” Yes!

Stories tell us who we have been and what paths we have already trod. But they also are a blazing light for those who are wandering alone, afraid, needing a beacon in the night. Who are we as humans on the planet Earth? We welcome them home – with story.

Narratives: The Storyteller’s Way

Stories, narratives, are my strength and passion. My passion is for storytelling, a story with a beginning, middle, and an ending that resonates. The story’s takeaways will stick with you, will make you think, weep, laugh, or celebrate our lives.

My nonfiction stories reach out to touch a reader’s heart with hope and determination. DIEGO, THE GALAPATOS GIANT TORTOISE tells the story of a tortoise species that almost went extinct. Only 14 individuals were alive when Ecuador started the Tortoise Restoration Project. It took 50 years. Hard work, daily vigilance, experiments, failures, heartaches, triumphs—for 50 years the scientists and natives worked to save a species. In 2022, the original 14 tortoises were returned to the island of their birth because now there were 2250 tortoises on the island.

It was thrilling to write the last words of this nonfiction picture book.

 “Sometimes, humans get it right.”

Deigo, the Galapágos Giant Tortoise, by Darcy Pattison

Likewise, my fiction stories focus on the emotional state of humans. I hope I never bash a kid over the head with a “lesson.” But I build in takeaways—emotional moments to light our lives.

The picture book GREATEST asks what is the greatest thing in this world? Again, it was thrilling to write the last words of this fictional picture book:

“And your heart will swell with love because you’ll be laughing and chatting with two THREE friends.”

Greatest, by Darcy Pattison

Connecting with Readers

 I want to write and publish great children’s books – even if they fall into a crowded marketplace that drowns them out. Still – in my own little eddy in the river of books – I know that these things matter:

A child in the lap turning to the adult reading a book and saying, “I love you.”

A child laughing with delight, gently touching an unexpected illustration.

A student asking questions I can’t answer without deep research.

A tween who believes Angel, PittyPat and Quincy are important to the cat world of Kittytube.

A reader who opens my book and…reads the story I have spun for them.

Connecting with a reader, in whatever way they need a story to connect with them, is my goal. Just one reader at a time.

Finding the Story

My creative process takes facts, characters, information, startling events—and experiments with ways to convey information while making a reader’s heart tremble with excitement. I’m willing to experiment, unafraid of failure, because I have full confidence that the next draft will get it right. It’s a messy, confusing, iterative way of working that eventually resolves into a story that connects with a reader.