In April of this year I attended the North Texas Book Festival as an exhibiting author. It was a very pleasant venue and I met a lot of nice folks. Two in particular stood out—eight-year-old exhibiting author Bridget Nye and her mom Megan. Bridget has been writing books for about a year now and her parents support her passion by helping her in various ways, including having the books published, and taking her to events such as the North Texas Book Festival.
Last week I wrote a little about some of the unexpected benefits that happen when parents recognize and nurture their children’s gifts. In connection with that, I thought I’d interview Bridget and her mom to share a real life example of some parents who help their daughter do what she loves. I realize that many parents may not have the time or resources to nurture their children’s gifts to this extent, but to whatever degree parents are able to assist their children to find and do something they love, it will benefit their children.
I especially appreciate Megan’s suggestions about how to help your kids find what they love and how you can tell that it’s real and about encouraging kids to use their talents to help others in some way (see numbers 4 and 5 from Megan below).
Interview with Eight-Year-Old Author Bridget Nye
- How old were you when you decided that you wanted to write stories?
I was 7 when I wanted to start writing. I wanted to start writing because I liked reading books.
- How many stories have you written?
I have written two books. My first one is called Bridget’s Trips and it’s about all my family going all over the United States and a little bit of Mexico. It’s a true story. My second book is called The School Yard Crazy Summer. It’s going to be a series and I’m working on the second one in the series now. It’s about 8 friends who travel all over California on their summer vacation and they bring their dog Murray. They forget him a lot and he has his own adventures. The next book will be about their winter vacation.
- Which one is your favorite, and why?
The School Yard Crazy Summer is my favorite because all my friend’s names from school are in it and I like the characters that I made up.
- Where do you get your ideas for your stories?
I get my ideas from personal life. I get lots of ideas from school and I try to remember cool things that can go in my book.
- What are your future plans?
Some of my writing goals have been met- I have a book in the school library and the town library. I have books for sale in our town book stores, and one of my friends told me he loved my book! My next goal is to be like Jeff Kinney and to have my book made into a movie. Thank you for interviewing me!
An Interview with Bridget’s Mom
- Is your family a family of readers?
Reading is a huge part of our family life. We all love to read and snuggle up with a good book. My father never went anywhere without a book and he would be so proud of Bridget today.
- Did you and your husband read to Bridget and her brother extensively when they were young?
We read to them a lot when they were little, but Bridget’s love of reading took off when she started reading series. Diary of a Wimpy Kid is her favorite series and her dream is to meet Jeff Kinney. She loves The Magic Tree House books and The American Girl doll books. She loves waiting for a new book to come out and I think that’s why she decided to start a series of her own.
- What do you and her father do to foster her creativity and encourage her talents?
Her father and I have tried extremely hard to not push our kids into doing what we want them to do, instead [focusing on] what they want to do. When Bridget started showing an interest in writing, I told her we could start writing a book. I never expected it to grow into what it has. She dictates the story to me and I type word for word what she says. She stands over my shoulder and makes sure that I don’t change anything. These books are Bridget’s ideas and expressions, not mine. She wakes me up at 6:45 AM to write before school and working on her book is the reward at the end of the day once homework is finished. Once she became serious about becoming a writer and getting her books published and out to the public, I started researching craft shows, book fairs and book signings, anywhere that she could try to sell her books. If this is what she wants to do, then it’s our job as parents to find a way to make it happen.
- What do you recommend to other parents who see talent in their own children?
It doesn’t matter what the talent is that a child shows, there are outlets to help the child grow. If they are good at painting, find them art classes. If they are good at cooking, find them culinary classes. Usually a child will know within 3 or 4 classes if they really like something or if they change their mind. I think exposing them to as many different things as you can gives them the opportunity to decide for themselves what they like the best. It’s not worth fighting with them every day to practice piano if they hate to play. When they find something they love, they will be begging you to let them do it more often.
- Any ideas you’d like to share with other parents about helping children pursue their talents?
My husband and I are firm believers in giving back when you are blessed and we are trying to teach our children this. Bridget has been making very good money for an eight year old selling her books. She has to put some money into savings, some money into publishing fees, she donates some money to the Oklahoma City Alzheimer’s Association in memory of her grandfather, and then she is allowed to spend the rest of her money. This has been teaching her a valuable lesson about money management and what it takes to be a successful author.