I was an avid reader since a very early age, and a few of my childhood favorites are The Little Prince, Andersen’s Tales, Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Arabian Nights, Charlotte’s Web, and Fengshen Bang (The Legend and the Hero). As a mother of two young children who both love books, I read to them daily and often make up stories for them. Here are some of the stories my children have inspired me to write. ( * All the art on this page are the work of my daughter, Maya, who wants to be a gymnastics olympian and a marine biologist when she grows up.)
Little Brother, Big Sister
It’s dark, it’s quiet, it’s bedtime,
Inside a house, in front of a burning fireplace, in mom’s lap,
A girl and her little brother are talking.
The little brother always has many questions.
And the big sister always has many answers.
“Why is it dark outside?” The little brother asks.
“Because the sun has gone to bed,” the big sister replies.
“Why do stars twinkle?” The little brother asks.
“That’s how they greet each other,” the big sister says. Then she tells her brother how big and cold the skies are and how important it is for the stars to be good friends.
“Why does rainbow have so many colors?” The little brother asks. He thinks that his sister will look beautiful in a rainbow dress.
“Because she’s spilled her paints all over her clothes,” the big sister says. Then she adds, “I don’t spill my paints when I draw.”
It begins to snow. Snowflakes dance gently against the window panes in a slow waltz.
“Why are snowflakes white?” The little brother asks.
“Because they are the downs of the white swans in Heaven,” the big sister says. She once saw a flock of swans in a lake and fell in love with them.
“Will a watermelon grow in my stomach?” The little brother asks. He’s been worried about the watermelon seed he accidentally swallowed this morning.
The Big sister knows her little brother’s worry. She says, “I don’t think so. It’s too dark inside your stomach and the seed needs sunlight to grow.”
“Why do fairies and elves only appear in dreams?” The little brother asks. He dreamed of a fairy last night. In the dream the fairy told him about a treasure island far far away. If he dreamed of her again tonight, the little brother decides, he would ask her for the map to the island. Will his big sister be interested in finding the island with him?
“Because they sleep during daytime, just like our cat,” says the big sister and yawns. She’s had a long day at school.
The burning woods in the fireplace crackle loudly.
“Why does firewood pop?” The little brother asks.
It takes his sister a while to reply because she’s very tired. “That’s because they’re happy. That’s how they laugh,” she says. “They like to watch us just as much as we like to watch them. They like to listen to us just as much as we like to listen to them laughing.”
“Why do you know so much?” The little brother looks up at his big sister. He knows that his big sister doesn’t always give correct answers to his questions, but he doesn’t mind. He wishes he could be as smart as she is.
This time he gets no answer. His big sister has fallen asleep, her breath soft and even, her cheeks tinted pink by the fire. The little brother wants to wake up his big sister so he can ask more questions. But instead, he yawns and rubs his eyes.
It’s darker, it’s quieter, it’s over bedtime.
Inside a house, in front of a dimming fire, in mom’s lap,
The girl and her little brother are sleeping
Mom rocks back and forth, singing a lullaby
A lullaby about a little boy who loves asking questions
And about his big sister who loves answering his questions.