Did you ever have a moment where one person showed up and set you on a new path?
I can vividly remember several points in my childhood where my natural inclinations and talents were directed – sometimes purposefully, sometimes unknowingly – towards a life of writing. A fourth-grade substitute teacher who noticed I added my byline to a ‘write a news article’ assignment. A sixth-grade teacher who commended me for my self-editing abilities. A guest speaker who quickly answered my question on which university an aspiring writer should attend and sealed my academic fate.
Hearing children’s author Tracey West share the story of how similar moments shaped her dreams – which have turned into a reality that includes more than 400 children’s novels to her credit and a spot on the New York Times Best Sellers’ List – was nothing short of inspiring.
I came to know Tracey’s writing from her latest series, Dragon Masters, a world full of magic and childhood wonder that has captivated myself, my husband, and our children. Like much of Tracey’s writing, it’s aimed at what I think is an underserved literary population: the emerging reader, ready for engaging, evolving characters and continuing plot lines, but not quite ready for traditional chapter books series that need an adult guide. Her books, in particular the Dragon Master series, are ideal for those early elementary school students who are ready to begin self-directed reading — but they still make for wonderful family read aloud sessions, as well!
Normally, Tosh & I record the weekly Pickle Planet Podcast in the studio together, meaning we limit ourselves to local guests. But with the current pandemic, we’ve been recording remotely and realized it’s the perfect time to expand our guest list and invite some of our favourite folks who aren’t local to join us. Of course, we started with reaching out to Tracey – and she so graciously said yes!
Join us for a lovely chat about how Tracey’s love of writing began, why she focuses on books for emerging readers (generally ages 6 to 8), and what’s next for the Dragon Masters!