Writing for children is not an easy task. Writing period isn’t an easy task. So when I was at a coffee shop with my new writing friend, reviewing my critical paper with him, he asked me what I have learned in my MFA program. Oh, I said, lots of things, like, well ummmm. Well, there the endured object…
What? he said.
Opps, I mean the adored object! I can’t talk anymore.…I says to him.
What’s that?, he asked.
It’s the object in the story that revels something about the main character or secondary character. Typically, the object is reoccurring throughout the story. The object becomes the secondary character like the scenery it should tell us something about the character that the character and no one has voiced.
WOW! For a second I felt super smart!
I began to think about how objects work well in Teen and YA literature. In picture books the object is easy to identify but I wonder if it tells us something about the character that hasn’t been revealed already in the narration.
In Mimi Chapra’s and Martha Aviles’s book,
Amelia’s Show-and-Tell Fiesta / Amelia y la fiesta de muestra y cuenta
Amelia fiesta dress is her object that transports her to her island and is the object that creates her show and tell day into a moment of building her inner strength and pride. I saw her dress as the object but it can be said the island was her object because it was what defined her.
In the story she talked to her dress, and her dress talked to her. I truly enjoyed this story of finding your pride in an embarrassing situation. Spoiler alert: She feels embarrassed because she brought in her dress for show and tell and everyone else brought in ‘things’. I totally can relate to this story, many times I felt ‘outed’ in my school because of my culture/race. I would feel embarrassed of how young my mother was I would tell ppl she was my tia. I was embarrassed of our annual barbacoa winter feast– as a tween it gets hard to explain a giant cow head on your stove!
Objects in cultural stories are real game changers for the audiences. It’s nice for anglo audiences, because the object is outside of their ‘relm’ of reference so the hook is there. For Latino/a kids they will love to see an object that will open other memories of other times they have felt embarrassed of what they are. In the end Amelia gets the courage to swag and dance with her skirt like its nobody’s business! The whole class joins in as well! Perhaps, in our lives we need to hear the song of our ‘objects’ and trust that being different is okay~~~
Keep on writing, Sigue la voz~