I knew I wanted to write for children when I was fourteen. I think it was the absolute joy of finding all those fairytales, reading C.S.Lewis and Hugh Lofting, J.R.R.Tolkien, Hans Christian Andersen, and the amazing fables of Greece, Rome and India. I think I still loved those kinds of stories in my adult life because I immensely enjoyed the riotous translation of Monkey by Arthur Waley.
It is important to evolves the imagination in children and give them a wide variety of experiences they can share with past generations. Firing that imagination will help them as they grow into adults. Like all things though it is a two edges sword. Because the world is not as fantasy filled as the books, and maybe that is their attraction. No other worlds to walk into through wardrobes, no talking animals, no magic off-stage.
And yet in a strange way the world is very like the books for there are honest people and liars, people you can trust and people you must ever trust, sour people and loving animals. There are brave things you can do which no one will ever know about, moments of crisis when you count more than others (look at the Russians who died stopping a nuclear disaster in their Submarine – they probably saved the world from war). And even more brilliant than in the books these things are in the real world.
No one asks you believe in giants and dwarfs and fairies; just that you recognise them when they meet them.