My love of art and creative writing have been part of my soul since I was a very young girl. In those early years, my calling was to help other people’s artistic dreams come to life. If they could imagine it, I could build, paint it and bring it to life.
My passion for working with children grew from the 18 years I devoted to Valley Baptist Church in its Children’s Ministry and Vacation Bible School. The artwork the kids and I worked on together over the years still adorns the halls of the church classrooms. A special set of twin girls (Rachel and Leah) both worked at my side for years and have gone on to create their own very successful art businesses.
My own heart is soft and childlike, so it is exciting for me to engage in a child’s world through things like swimming, dancing, twirling, splashing, giggling or crying. These things tend to further soften my own heart. Writing is fun when you can feel and see as a child does!
I feel that if my parents had read to me at an early age, I would have been more confident growing up. When I write for children, I want them to recognize that the characters in the book learn how to be adventurous and that they are not afraid to be strong, gentle or kind. I want my writing to have a positive impact on the children who read it.
My goal is to help all the children who read my books see that they can accomplish anything they put their minds to. Through my writing, I hope to encourage them to have self-confidence and self-esteem, to be kind to others, to work hard and to do their best at whatever they are attempting. It is important to me that each child see his or her life is a true gift.
When children express themselves, their thoughts instantly come to life for me as illustrations. My ongoing passion to this day is to listen to a child and love as a child loves. When we do, dreams can come to life! It’s fun to imagine as a child.
My decision to write and illustrate my first children’s book was inspired by a joyous experience I had with my granddaughter. She was bored one day and I told her we could take a trip around our pond. She has a wonderful imagination and she blurted out, “Do you think we can find Paris?” I said, “I don’t know, but get your things and take any of the toys you want and let’s go see what we can find.” The book “A Trip Around the Pond” was created from that sweet experience.
Writing children’s books is a way for me to share with children that dreams can come true when they put in hard work, a little luck and a lot of determination. I love how my grandkids and other children think big when they’re little. I want to support and nurture their dreams through books that build self-esteem.
Be imaginative in Bakersfield. ￼
Jennifer Gardiner is an author, artist and partner in her family’s agricultural businesses. Inspired by her grandchildren, she hopes to share imaginative stories of life as seen through the eyes of young children. The views expressed are her own.