Video: Missed It? Interview with Meredith Scott Lynn and Write Brain Books

WRiTE BRAiN BOOKS are richly illustrated, textless books, with lines on the pages, ready for any writer’s content. They are designed to ignite and inspire creativity and imagination in kids of all ages. Our books enable kids to write their own stories, publish beautiful hardcover copies, and build a personal library of self-authored books.

From President & CEO Meredith Scott Lynn

One early September morning, I was in San Francisco visiting my sister Marcy and her family for a long weekend of “Auntie M” time with my ten-month-old niece Lila, a.k.a. “LilaBean”. Marcy asked if I would read to Lila so that she could take a long shower, something new moms don’t get enough of. I leaned over to reach for a book from my niece’s well-stocked bookshelf, and she wailed. I sat up straight and was grateful to see a small children’s book resting on the radiator next to the chair we were rocking in. Relieved, I opened the book to read the first page, but there weren’t any words– nothing but illustrations of a mouse running past various animals for the next nine pages. In order to keep us both entertained, I quickly shifted into imagination mode, and created a colorful and compelling story, inspired by the images on the nine wordless pages.

Meredith-6797_retouched+copyI muttered a curious “Hmmmmmmm. Richly illustrated, wordless books with lines on the pages for anyone to write their unique version of the story they see unfolding in the images!” I got to work turning my small idea into a big reality. Unlike kids today, I did not grow up in a world overwhelmed by a staggering amount of digital devices and “techtivities”. (My Atari was only minimally distracting compared to my remote-controlled cars and Barbie dolls.) Instead, I invented scenarios and played them out, occasionally casting my sister when I was feeling generous. We ran a grocery store in our shared bedroom. We were each student and teacher in our pretend schoolhouse, and we even managed an ice cream parlor in our bathtub. I may have waited until she licked the first soapy cone I made before telling her it wasn’t edible.

I was a very “active child”, though most would say hyper. If I were a child today, I’d likely be diagnosed with a disorder and given medication to calm my constantly creating mind. I read every Judy Blume book, but found reading for long periods difficult. However, writing for long periods was easy, and I like doing it. I liked putting MY OWN thoughts on paper, then reading them over and over. I competed in school-, district- and borough-wide storytelling contests in New York State.  I was an excellent student, got great grades, but did not have a talent for passing standardized tests. I recall I had a 98% average in my high school math class, yet failed the state test on the topic. By that time, I had discovered my voice, and knew my worth beyond my test scores. In later years, I pursued what became a relatively successful acting career. Acting is, after all, the craft of bringing a character’s story and world to life, and I feel empowered every time I have the chance to do it.

Encouraged as a child to have and share my ideas and opinions, I developed some self-esteem…despite having a “froggy voice”, “brillo hair” and feeling responsible for my parents problems. Beyond acting, I have written, produced, and directed stories. I understand their power. The freedom to imagine and manifest gives any young person more than just a creative outlet; they gain confidence, a strong sense of self, and valuable communication skills.

I see a world in which young people (especially tweens & teens) are making fewer connections; not just to other people but also to big picture and holistic concepts, dreams for their future and to their own ideas. Kids today are constantly overloaded and over stimulated. Their experiences are shared instantly and forgotten quickly while their responses are automatic and auto-corrected. They text, type, scroll, and swipe while handwriting becomes a thing of our past. Your kids’ brains are being forced to develop fast-processing skills at the expense of vitally important, slow-processing skills such as critical thinking, and the abilities to empathize and make connections. Studies say that most kids spend an average of 74 hours per week on a digital device of some kind. This level of exposure crowds their minds and provides immediate, though often substance less gratification. They are auto corrected at every turn, think less and less for themselves, and soon won’t know how to sign their own name.

uuM3HgtLHonestly, I couldn’t do what I do every day without my laptop and cell phone and most of our books are illustrated by artists working digitally. Students in schools across the country are building robots and taking interest in science. I think that’s wonderful and I’m not anti-tech by any means.  But we need a more balanced approach to technology, both in education and in the relational realms of young people’s personal lives.

I created WRiTE BRAiN BOOKS to give young people of any age opportunities to slow down and shine– especially at school where they are graded and assessed at every turn.  Whether in the classroom, at home, in a restaurant or on an airplane, writing an original story to artwork interpreted by YOU is an exciting experience! SHARPEN YOUR PENCIL AND GO!

Every child has a story to tell. I believe it is in our listening that they will discover who they are.

WRiTE ON!

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