I still remember the first book I read and disliked. It was Alice in Wonderland; I found it boring.
I also remember the first book I read, liked and reread. That was Robinson Crusoe and I was 8. I found it brilliant and it certainly shaped my love for adventures.
Once full grown up I got back to both of them. Yes, even to Alice in Wonderland. Thing is both books stayed with me no matter what. They changed me; in a way they made me the reader I am today and the writer I hope to become one day.
What you read as a child will undoubtedly stay with you forever; that's just how important is to keep writing good, heartfelt books for children; and that's just how important is to train writers to produce the best when it comes to children, because maybe their books are the one they will cherish the most once adults.
But how can we achieve this? How can writers, aspiring and not, contribute to children's literature in the current digital era?
That's what I have been trying to understand during the weekend.
Writing for Children is the name of a conference I attended on Saturday; a full day of workshops, activities and networking with fellow aspiring writers, illustrators and children's books readers of all ages.
If this was the beginning of a children's book I would probably say that:
"On a frosty morning I embarked on an early train with a fuming cup of strong coffee and a raspberry muffin hidden in my bag; there was no coming back now. My choice was made and there was nothing I could have done differently to change my path."
For what I know, I might even have ended up in Hogwarts. There was definitely something strange in the air; but maybe it is just when there is so much good energy on work.
Organised by Literature for Wales, the national company for the development of the literature in Wales, and The University of Glamorgan, the conference saw an incredible attendance of writers, illustrators and families; with children being the main protagonists of the event.
The workshops were absolutely amazing and they covered various levels and stages of the writing and illustration process. I had the chance to network with other children's literature lovers; I attended Huw Aaron's Dynamic Visual Storytelling where I had the opportunity to look at comics and learn from the best; I also learned more about the amazing work of Nosy Crow, an Independent Publishing House based in London.
Other workshops covered Dystopian Writing, Breaking into The House of Poetry, Words and Pictures and many more.
It was a day to remember because it celebrated the importance of children's literature in Wales from both the writer's and the illustrator's point of view; and, it also introduced what will be Wales' most expected literature festival this year: Cardiff Children's Literature Festival from 20 to 24 March; but that would be another train journey and another story to tell.
For more information please visit cardiffchildrenslitfest.com