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I often get asked about what influences my work as a writer. Inspired by the amazing website Kindertrauma–which is right up my alley–I’m compiling all of my childhood (and some adult) terrors.

Mosquitos 1

One of the things that lead to my becoming a writer was my extraordinary love of reading, and this was instilled in me by my parents, who read to me every night before bed and sometimes during the day (they also taught me to read before I was in kindergarten, so I could disappear into my room at any time and read on my own—which I’m sure they did for their benefit more than mine, actually).

I have a number of favorite childhood books, among them Rabbit and Skunk and Spooks, The Penguin that Hated the Cold, The Monster at the End of this Book, and The Courage of Sarah Noble (this last one was hugely popular in our area because it was about a real event in my hometown). Each left an indelible impression on me, but one that frightened me—but made me understand a few things about death, moving on, and taking responsibility for your actions—was called Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears.

The book, written by Verna Aardema and illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon, is a retelling of a West Read the rest of this entry

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