What is "Daniel and the Old Woman"

David Trammel's picture

A bit of background first...

I have a short commute to work at 5am, and normally have National Public Radio on. Sometime last Fall, there was a segment which discussed a children's books series published in the 40s (or 50s or 30s) which had as its two characters a young child (seemed like in his pre-teens) and an old man, his neighbor. They would get together at the edge of each family's backyard, where the old man would impart bits of his wisdom on various subjects to the boy.

Wish I could remember more on the segment.

This idea stuck with me in the back of my brain, and I realized that an updated version, with a Green Wizard slant might be the perfect vehicle to spread the ideas of green living, concern for the environment and sustainability.

I've written and been published, so I must at least be moderately competent as a writer BUT I know that writing for children is a specialty skill set. I'd like to explore this idea among the writers here and see what we can do.

If you consider that one of the most bonding of activities is for a parent to read with their child, AND that teaching a person at a young age those three ideas of Green Wizardry means they are aware of and perhaps will promote those ideas later when they are adults.

"Get them young and you have them for Life", a friend of mine in Marketing once said over noodles.

I won't be cynical and say this is a marketing ploy. Its not.

The fact is that many parents now are un-school in what we teach here. And a children's book well received could educate not just the young but the old as well.

Plus it would offer a way for those Green Wizards who are not writer's BUT artists to spread their talents. We would need illustrations as well as stories.

I had a first story, but its on a computer with a fried power supply. I'll try and rewrite it this weekend and post it. There is a common format, introduction and ending that I would like to keep.

And we should discuss topics too. The first story I wrote discussed earthworms and their role in the ecosystem.

What other topics would be good for stories? I had thought perhaps composting and separately seed germination?


Thoughts and opinions?

David Trammel's picture

This is a sensitive topic BUT Green Wizards don't shy from sensitive topics.

The original 40s childrens' stories involves a older man and a child. I changed it to an older woman because lets face it, with all the accusations of priests and young boys, I'm hesitant to do such a relationship. Especially since the old man in this story would be a bit of a loner and outsider to his neighborhood.

In contrast, an old woman is considered an outsider an loner would be thought of more like an eccentric grandmother or aunt. Especially since I envision Billy being and only child with a mother who is single and either divorced or unmarried. Like so many are now.

It is a good idea.

As a primary school teacher I'm always looking for stories with a good environmental message (particularly ones that don't have a techno-utopian silver bullet kind of slant).

I've tried writing a few, as has my mother (also a teacher) the hardest thing as an unknown author is getting a publishing house to take you on and distribute your work - I think having an outstanding illustrator upfront and presenting the manuscript and illustrations together would increase your chances.

David Trammel's picture

We might have an advantage with the publishers that have printed the After Oil series and the works of Greer. They already know the niche and have seen some of our work. I haven't checked their catalog to see if they have children's books but I would suspect that if they don't and are not interested in publishing some, then they would be likely to help us out with a introduction to a publisher that will.