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Thursday, December 10, 2015

Creating places for children to go

“There are so many magical places in books that you can't go to, like Hogwarts and Middle Earth, so I wanted to set a story in a place where children can actually go.” – Cornelia Funke

A German author of young adult fiction, Funke (pronounced Foon-ka) was born on this day in 1958 and is perhaps best known for her Inkheart trilogy, published in 2004–2008. The books chronicle the adventures of teen Meggie Folchart whose life changes dramatically when she realizes that she and her father, a bookbinder named Mo, have the unusual ability to bring characters from books into the real world when reading aloud.

Mostly set in Northern Italy and its parallel world of the fictional Inkheart, the central story's arc  concerns the magic of books, their characters and creatures – and the art of reading.
 An avid reader herself, beginning during her “growing up years in northern Germany," she said she always wanted to be either an astronaut or a pilot but then gravitated toward social work and working with children.  And that, she said, led to her writing for kids.

As for her ideas, she said "they come from everywhere and nowhere, from outside and inside. I have so many, I won't be able to write them down in one lifetime."  As for her characters, Cornelia said, "Mostly they step into my writing room and are so much alive, that I ask myself, where did they come from?”

A worldwide advocate for strong libraries, she said she encourages every child and every aspiring young writer to “Read – and be curious.   If I was a book, I would like to be a library book, so I would be taken home by all different sorts of kids,” she said.  “A library book, I imagine, is a very happy book.”

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