Today for PiBoIdMo, I’d like you to remember a favorite childhood moment.

Well, no, I lied. Sorry ‘bout that. I’m just trying to ease you into things.

What I really want you to do is recall an unfavorite childhood moment.

A time that you were scared.



Really wanting your mommy.

Now, turn that situation around. Imagine you have magic powers to leap back in time and make everything better. What did you do? Create a silly scene? Make things disappear? Rewrite your own history?

Many authors have used the childhood creepy-crawlies to create something special instead.

ineedmymonsterAfraid the boogeyman’s under your bed? Well, don’t be. In I Need My Monster by Amanda Noll, the kid actually likes the creature that dwells beneath his boxspring. When Gabe the monster leaves on a fishing trip, Ethan wonders how he’ll ever get to sleep.

Thunder and lightning scary? Not in Thunder Cake. The grandmother in Patricia Polacco’s story assures her granddaughter that the approaching storm means it’s time to bake a delicious cake. They quickly run around the family farm collecting eggs and milk (and a tomato) to bake a dessert that celebrates the crashes and booms.

notafraidofdogsAnimal phobia? In Susanna Pitzer’s Not Afraid of Dogs, a boy’s bravery in the face of storms, spiders and snakes shrinks away at the sight of a spaniel. But when Daniel’s Aunt leaves her dog Bandit with his family for a week, Daniel learns that dogs have fears, too. Daniel witnesses Bandit trembling during a thunderstorm and his concern for the canine makes him realize that he might like dogs after all.

orangeshoesTeased by others? Trinka Hakes Noble takes a sad situation from her childhood and writes a happy ending in The Orange Shoes. The main character Delly is an artistic girl from a poor family. Delly’s teacher announces a shoebox social to raise funds for art supplies, but Delly doesn’t have shoes, so she is teased. When Delly’s father forgoes buying new tires and instead purchases orange Mary Janes for his daughter, Delly’s classmates stomp on her feet and destroy them. This is where Trinka’s story ends, but Delly’s tale takes off. Delly paints the shoes with a gorgeous pattern, camouflaging the scuffs and scrapes with vines and flowers, winning the highest bid at the shoebox social.

*Sniff, sniff.* (Sorry, I love that story so much, I can’t help but cry when I recount it.)

So let’s think. How can we work childhood’s murkier moments into stories of humor and heart?

Pick a moment.

Relive it.

Now rewrite it.

So how’s it going today?