Today, I am going to visit my niece (one month shy of twelve). It’s amazing how freaked out I get when I’m going to be around young people. I think I want so hard to treat them well that I completely freeze up. I remember how annoyed I was as a kid by condescending adults, but in my extreme efforts not to be condescending, I think I come off as condescending.

All this seems utterly ridiculous when I think, “I am a children’s writer.” So aside from having fun with my niece and getting to her better, I will of course be filing things away as “research.”

I had a good time a few weeks ago visiting friends who have two little boys, ages five and seven. I was quite happy that I was able to engage both boys in subjects of great interest to them: cars (we talked about Mustangs and racing stripes) and sports (favorite football teams).

I can’t really offer any advice when spending time with kids, but I like finding out what they like and then getting their opinions. Young people always astound me with their knowledge and wisdom. Why can’t I be more like that?

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